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Diego Salazar

Diego Salazar’s life was a constant fight against injustice and inequality. In 1956, it was this desire for change that pushed him, at the age of just 16, to become a member of the Communist Youth in Venezuela, and also what led him to join the student resistance against the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez at the Central University of Venezuela. His insatiable thirst for justice drove him to take part in the historic university strike of 1957, although it also resulted in him being imprisoned and tortured by the fearsome Seguridad Nacional police organization.

In the wake of the movement that toppled the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez on January 23, 1958, Diego Salazar was freed, along with other political prisoners of the regime, and returned to the university. He later formed part of the first group of young communists who received military training from active officials of the National Armed Forces. Once the armed struggle began, he found himself at the front of the first brigade of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) movement.

In April 1966, he accompanied Douglas Bravo in the division of the Venezuelan Communist Party and organized the first urban areas at national level that made up the Venezuelan Revolution Party (PRV). Just a short time later, he assumed the National Urban Leadership of the National Liberation Front (FLN-FALN).

On September 18, 1971, he was detained along with Francisco Prada and Tirso Alberto Meléndez and was tortured again, although under a democratic regime this time, and was then tried for militarized rebellion. He was freed in 1974 and became leader of the Ruptura political movement.

On January 23, 1975, five days after the historic escape of 23 revolutionaries who dug a tunnel out of the San Carlos barracks, Salazar was detained and imprisoned for the second time in that building, which was being used as a military and political prison. There, he wrote “Después de Túnel” (“After the Tunnel”), a book of poems published in 1976. This work led him to have a new military trial, despite still being a prisoner. Two years later, in 1978, he wrote and published his second book of poems, “Los Últimos Días de Pérez Jiménez” (“The Final Days of Pérez Jiménez”) while still in prison.

Freed at the end of 1978, Diego Salazar joined the political struggle once again and became part of the National Political Committee of Ruptura. During this period, he worked as a journalist writing for the newspapers Últimas Noticias and El Mundo in Caracas, and was also in charge of editing the magazine Ruptura Continental, where he got an exclusive interview with the renowned Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar.

In 1992, he was part of the group of civilians who participated in the February and November military uprisings. In 1999, he was elected as Constituent by Carabobo state, and later, as member of the National Leadership of the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR-200), he assumed the Secretaryship of International Relations.

He died at the age of 63 on May 19, 2003, at the Clínica Santa Sofía in Caracas.


After the tunnel by Diego Salazar

The final Days of Pérez Jiménez

America´s Poets / Anthology edited by Luis Llamo