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Antonieta Rivas Mercado, the Mexican intellectual who committed suicide at Notre Dame

 Mexico, .- The cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, burned down on Monday, has been the scene of a myriad of events during its almost one thousand years of history, some related to Mexico because here the writer and cultural promoter Antonieta Rivas Mercado took her own life .

It was on February 11, 1931, when this intellectual entered the Parisian cathedral and shot herself in the heart, it is believed, with the pistol of the Mexican politician José Vasconcelos, with whom she would have maintained a romance.

Rivas Mercado (1900-1931) was one of the main promoters of art, culture and literature in Mexico in the 1920s, especially during the last stage of her life.
Daughter of the architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, architect of the famous monument of the Angel of Independence of Mexico City, financed numerous cultural projects, promoted exhibitions and translated plays into Spanish.

The sponsor supported writers such as Andrés Henestrosa, Xavier Villaurrutia, Salvador Novo and Gilberto Owen, and painters Roberto Montenegro, Julio Castellanos and Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, among others.

He also founded the first independent theater in the country, Ulises, and formed and financed the patronage for the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carlos Chávez.

According to her biographers, she was a multifaceted, intelligent, passionate woman who dedicated many years of her life to Mexico, to support women and children, to promote education, art and culture.
But his life was cut short at Notre Dame, one of the most emblematic buildings in the world.

When the writer José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) undertook the Mexican presidential race in 1929, she devoted herself body and soul to support his campaign.
It is said that he came to invest what was left of his fortune and that he wrote most of the speeches of the candidate, who had distanced himself from the governments that emerged from the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

Vasconcelos only won 5% of the votes against 95% of Pascual Ortiz Rubio, in what many consider the first electoral fraud of the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), forerunner of the current Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The disappointment was widespread among Mexican intellectuals who supported him and Rivas Mercado went to the United States and France with Vasconcelos, who despite being married was romantically involved with her.

However, the intellectual, after a long struggle for the custody of the son she had with Albert Edward Blair, went into a depression and began to announce to her acquaintances her intention to commit suicide, although nobody believed her.

His tragic death in the Parisian cathedral inspired a book and his film version, the film “Antonieta” (1982), directed by the Spanish Carlos Saura and starring the French Isabelle Adjani. .

At 19:00 local French time (17.00 GMT), after the closure of the monument to the public, the fire of the cathedral was declared that has consumed a good part of its structure and whose causes are unknown. (EFE)

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