Codovilla, Vittorio (1894–1970)

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Codovilla, Vittorio (1894–1970)

The Italian-born Vittorio (also Victorio and Víctor) Codovilla was the principal figure of the Argentine Communist Party (PCA) from the mid-1920s until his death in 1970. Known less as a strong theorist than as a strict enforcer of the Moscow political line, Codovilla has remained a controversial figure for the non-Communist left.

Commonly credited as one of the PCA's principal founders, Codovilla first joined the party's Central Committee in 1921 and, together with Rodolfo Ghioldi, quickly came to dominate the party. Before the end of the decade, Codovilla had become head of the Latin America Bureau of the Communist International, a position from which he intervened in disputes surrounding Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui and the Mexican Communist Party's reactions to the presence of the exiled Leon Trotsky in that country. Codovilla traveled to Spain in 1932 as agent Medina of the Comintern, charged with the task of unifying the ranks of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE). With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Codovilla played an even greater role in the PCE, working to enforce the demobilization of anarchist and Trotskyist militias in Barcelona and other areas of the Spanish Republic.

Upon his return to Buenos Aires in 1941, Codovilla once again took up the reins of the PCA, making the party a driving force in assembling the Unión Democrática coalition of parties that unsuccessfully challenged Juan Domingo Perón in the 1946 presidential elections. Though Codovilla tempered the party's stance toward Peronism for the rest of the decade, the PCA supported the 1955 military coup that deposed Perón. In the course of the 1960s, Codovilla embraced the early success of the Cuban Revolution while also working to marginalize Guevarist, New Left, and Maoist currents within the PCA and in the Latin American left more generally. Vittorio Codovilla died in Moscow 15 April 1970.

See alsoCommunism; Ghioldi, Rodolfo; Mariátegui, José Carlos; Perón, Juan Domingo.


Caballero, Manuel. Latin America and the Comintern, 1919–1943. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Codovilla, Victorio. Vigencia y proyección: Breve selección de trabajos. Buenos Aires: Editorial Fundamentos, 1980.

Dominguez, Pablo. Victorio Codovilla: La ortodoxia comunista. Buenos Aires: Capital Intelectual, 2006.

Radosh, Ronald, Mary Habeck, and Grigory Sevostianov, eds. Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

Ramos, Jorge Abelardo. El partido comunista en la política argentina: Su historia y su crítica. Buenos Aires: Editorial Coyoacán, 1962.

                                             James Cane