Historical Background

The Second Republic was installed in Spain after democratic elections in 1931. In 1936 General Franco, aided by Hitler and Mussolini, raised his army to fight against the Republican Government.

Jesús Vázquez-Gayoso (born in Pontenovo, Galicia, on April 5, 1909) was then a young lawyer who became a diplomat of the Spanish Republican Government in 1931. He lead a troup of Carabineros during the war against Franco's army. The sad end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 with the victory of Franco's army, led the Spanish Republican Government to establish its headquarters in Paris, with official representations in other countries.

Jesús Vázquez-Gayoso survived the war, and was able to cross by foot the Pirineos. With most of his family with him, they escaped towards France, avoiding the death penalty that Franco had declared against all the loyal Republican army leaders and diplomats that had survived the war. He was appointed an office in Central America by the Governement in Exile. His parents and most of his siblings settled mainly in Cuba and Venezuela, by 1940.

Jesús Vázquez-Gayoso served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was a Professor and Dean at the University in Havana, Cuba. He met Felisa Abad in 1945, while she was visiting in Havana, Cuba. They began a romantic relationship that has been documented in numerous poems written by Jesús Vázquez-Gayoso to her during the years of 1945 to 1948. They married in 1948.

Felisa was the only child of Antonio and Josefina Abad. She was born in Madrid on June 30th, 1930.
She was 6 years old when the Civil War began, and her father, Antonio Abad, was able to take his wife and Felisa (their only daughter) safely to France, where they stayed until they were able to board a ship to Venezuela.
Felisa grew up there, she studied in the Instituto Escuela in Caracas. In 1945 Antonio visited Cuba with his wife and daughter where they met Jesús. Felisa recorded in her diary the many feelings she had during her relationship with him, a mature man, 22 years her older who simply adored her. After their marriage, Jesús and Felisa settled in Havana, Cuba.
They had 3 boys. Jesús Antonio was born on August 30, 1951. José Angel was born on May 10, 1953 and Juan Félix on May 18, 1955.

Felisa and Dolores were born on March 14, 1960 in Havana, Cuba, where their father was still Minister of the Spanish Republican Government in Exile. Shortly afterwards, he was assigned to Caracas, Venezuela, where the family lived until August 1962, when they finally settled in Mexico City. In 1968 the children acquired Venezuelan citizenship and the next year they all became permanent residents of Mexico.
They were educated in Mexico, first at the Colegio Madrid, a prestigious school founded by Spanish Refugees that emphasized the study of science, and later at the National University of Mexico.

Felisa moved to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1985, where she completed her Ph.D. studies, and in 1990 to Montreal, Quebec, where she is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Montreal. Dolores moved to Connecticut, in 1989, where she was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center, until 1998.

Felisa is spending her sabbatical 1998 in Melbourne, Australia, where she is a Research Fellow at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Melbourne. She is collaborating with David Everitt's group in the study of Wavelength Divison Multiplexed Optical Telecommunication Networks.

Dolores is currently Associate Director at Pfizer.

Dolores Vázquez-Abad
e-mail: vazquez@panda.uchc.edu

Felisa J. Vázquez-Abad
e-mail: vazquez@iro.umontreal.ca