Una de Teodoro / Alexis Márquez Rodríguez

One About Teodoro

To my friend Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa

January 1958. The general strike against the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship was being organized, it was supposed to start on the 21st of that month.

With Dr. Antonio Requena, a well-known doctor, at the head, a committee of people from diverse sectors had been organized, in order to coordinate participation in the strike. The support of the businessmen was decisive in assuring that commerce and industry close their doors.

We would meet at Dr. Requena’s house, in a little street in the Country Club neighborhood. Among the representatives of the businessmen were Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa, Oscar Machado Zuloaga, Alfredo Rodríguez Delfino and a few others.

By chance it was up to me to be the link between the business group and the Junta Patriótica, which was promoting the strike from its clandestine places. The contact was through Fabricio Ojeda, a reporter for El Nacional. My ties with that newspaper made it easier for me, since my presence there raised no suspicions. Of course, I didn’t know that Fabricio was from the Junta Patriótica, nor that he was its president, a position they rotated among themselves.

One day Dr. Requena tells me that an individual is offering the Junta Patriótica three radio stations, designed so as to not be easily found. I give the information to Fabricio. Soon he tells me that tomorrow, at noon I should meet someone on the bridge for the Country Club’s Avenida Principal, to then go see Dr. Requena. I ask him about who I’m going to meet and he tells me: “I can’t tell you. But when you see him you’ll know.”

In effect, on the next day at 12 sharp I’m crossing the bridge in my car, and already emerging from it appears, from I don’t know where, Teodoro Petkoff.

We go to Dr. Requena’s house. After the introduction and rigorous greetings, Requena says to Teodoro: “Tomorrow at 3 in the afternoon, in the atrium of the church of the Las Mercedes neighborhood, you will meet up with Dr. Francisco De Venanzi, who will explain to you about the radio stations.”

Teodoro responds: “Alright, I’ll be there. But I don’t know Dr. De Venanzi. I’ve never seen him and I don’t know how to recognize him.” To which Requena replied: “No one else will be there at that time. But if anyone else is there, you pay attention, and when you see a man with an idiot’s face, that’s Dr. De Venanzi.”

We all laughed, of course. I took Teodoro back to the place where we met and each one went his own way.

The handover of the radio stations was successfully accomplished, and the transistors were very important in calling together the general strike, which ended on January 23 when the dictator fled.

Thirty years later I was at El Nacional one day, with other people, in the Brujoteca as Oscar Guaramato called the cubicle of the legendary Arístides Bastidas, already in a wheelchair and a victim of all the plagues of Egypt, and I don’t know how the topic came up. I narrated the episode, and when I was finished Arístides said to me: “You were in on that too? I was the one who received the radio stations and handed them over to the Junta Patriótica.” Neither of us knew we had both participated in that episode. A living testimony of a well-done political job, impeccable and thus successful, the product of a mysticism and discipline that, unfortunately, were lost forever after the 1960s.

{ Alexis Márquez Rodríguez, TalCual, 21 April 2006 }

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