The father of the Brazilian geryla. The urban partisan war of Carlos Marigella

The middle of the 1960s was marked by dramatic events for many Latin American countries. It was during this period that, under the influence of the successful experience of the Cuban revolution, left-nationalist and communist forces became more active in Latin America. The revolutionaries, who were active in almost all Latin American countries, proclaimed their liberation from the political and economic dictates of the United States as their main goal. The interests of the communists, the socialists, and the left-wing nationalists, the Bolivarians, converged on this. In response, the Latin American oligarchy, closely associated with the ruling circles of the United States, has tightened repression against opposition movements. Brazil was no exception - the largest country in Latin America. In the year 1964 in Brazil, there was another military coup. The military overthrew the country's president, João Goulart. Marshal Humberto Castelo Branco (1900-1967), formerly chief of the General Staff of the Brazilian armed forces, came to power.

As president, Castelo Branco has begun to tighten the political regime in the country. He introduced laws on national security and on control of the press, and suspended the activities of the country's political parties. Naturally, the policy of Marshal Castelo Branco provoked outrage from numerous Brazilian leftists. Moreover, with the direct connivance of the government, the ultra-right "death squads" launched a real terror against the Brazilian left. By this time, Brazil had two of the largest communist organizations - the pro-Soviet Brazilian Communist Party (BKP), created in 1922 year and sticking to the Soviet version of Marxism-Leninism, and the more radical Communist Party of Brazil, which split off from BKP in 1962 year and focused on Maoism. It was founded by Joao Amazonas, Mauricio Grabois, Pedro Pomar, dissatisfied with the “revisionist” policy of the pro-Soviet Brazilian Communist Party.

18 July 1967, Marshal Castelo Branco, died in a plane crash. He was replaced by Marshal Arturo da Costa i Silva (1902-1969), who was formerly Minister of War. It would seem that there were ideal circumstances for the Left forces to speak out against the military government. However, the Brazilian Communist Party did not dare to call on the people to speak and to begin an armed struggle against the government. This made the Maoists from the Brazilian Communist Party and the radical communists who were part of the left wing of the BKP even more opposed to it.

The informal leader of the radicals in the ranks of the Brazilian Communist Party was Juan Carlos Marigella (1911-1969), better known to the world as Carlos Marigella. Unlike most of the ultra-left Brazilian 1960s, Marigella was no longer a young man. In 1967, he was fifty-six years old. Not the most suitable age to go to the partisans, but Marigella, of course, did not think so. A man of the Comintern generation, Marigella joined the Brazilian Communist Party in early youth, in the 1927 year. He was only sixteen years old when he became a member of the Brazilian Communist Party, which itself was a very young organization — its first founding congress was 25-27 in March 1922, and in 1924, the party joined the Comintern.

The thirties, when Marigella became a political fighter, was especially difficult for Brazilian communists. In November, the communists and tenentists (left-wing nationalists of Brazil) launched an armed uprising against President Getulio Vargas. However, the uprising was quickly crushed by government forces. The uprising led former tenant engineer Luis Carlos Prestes (1935-1898) was arrested and imprisoned, and his pregnant wife, a Jewish woman, was sent to Germany, where she died in a concentration camp. Only nine years later, in 1990, was Prestes released. Many other communists and members of the left-wing nationalist organizations of Brazil were subjected to repression. Young Carlos Marigella was also in prison. He was arrested in the 1945 year, but was released a year later. However, already in the 1936 year, Marigella was again arrested and held in custody for six years - until the 1939 year. In 1945, the Brazilian Communist Party was legalized, and political prisoners were amnestied. But already in 1945, President Vargas again banned the activities of the Communists, fearing the rapid growth of their influence in the country. The Communist Party has moved to an illegal position.

Back in 1943, he became a member of the Central Committee of the Brazilian Communist Party, and in 1957 he was elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Brazilian Communist Party. That is, by this time Marigella was among the recognized leaders of the Brazilian communist movement. However, he always took a more radical position than the leadership of the Communist Party, and was inclined to the Maoist interpretation of Marxism. In 1953-1954 Marigella visited China, where he was officially invited by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. All this time, the Brazilian communists remained in an irregular situation. The situation changed only at the beginning of the 1960s, when democratization processes began in the country. The Brazilian Communist Party managed to hold its fifth 2-6 congress on September 1960. However, already in 1964, a military coup occurred in the country and the Communist Party was again banned.

Отец бразильской герильи. Городская партизанская война Карлоса Маригеллы

Back in 1964, Carlos Marigella criticized the position of the party, as he found it hesitant, unable to respond quickly to changes in the political situation in the country. In 1967, Marigella officially declared that he was resigning from a member of the Central Committee of the Brazilian Communist Party and accused the party of opportunism and refusing revolutionary methods of struggle. Now Marigella and his associates had only one way - to create their own organization capable of armed confrontation with the regime of the military junta. At the end of 1967, Marigella and his supporters created Action for National Liberation (port Ação Libertadora Nacional - ALN), a communist-style military-political organization that proclaimed the overthrow of the military dictatorship, the establishment of the power of the working people and the creation of a revolutionary government. The ALN fighters chose the urban guerrilla, that is, the guerrilla war within the cities, as the main method of achieving the goals. For Latin America, urban guerilla was a new word in the armed struggle of revolutionaries, since most of the radical organizations of Latin American countries, taking into account the Cuban experience, were guided by the traditions of rural guerrilla warfare in the mountainous and wooded areas.

The theoretician of the urban partisan war in Latin America was precisely Carlos Marigella. Unlike Ernesto Che Guevara, who argued for the need to launch a guerrilla war in the countryside, Carlos Marigella, as a classic Marxist-Leninist, was convinced of the leading role of the urban proletariat. He believed that the guerrilla war had to start in the cities, and only then, from the cities, the avant-garde workers would extend it to the countryside, where they would receive the support of the poorest peasantry. However, the final success of the revolutionary movement, given the specifics of Latin American countries, Carlos Marigella still connected with the victory of the guerrilla war in the countryside. However, unlike such theorists of the revolutionary guerrilla, such as, for example, Régis Debre, with his concept of Fokism (“Foco” - a revolutionary center, liberated territory), Marigella believed that in no way could revolutionaries create “liberated districts”, as prescribed Maoist doctrine. Such "pockets" will allow government forces to throw all forces against them, and the revolutionary movement will be crushed with great losses, including among civilians.

Turning to the illegal situation, Carlos Marigella wrote a large number of articles in which he expounded his views on the organization of the insurgency in Brazil. Marigella explained the need for armed struggle by the fact that in modern mass society the consciousness of the masses is increasingly blunt with the tools of propaganda, and only armed struggle can arouse the masses to a general revolutionary uprising. Peru Carlos Marigella owns the famous book "A Short Textbook of the City Guerrilla", written by a revolutionary in June 1969, shortly before his death. In it, Marigella reflected the many and many-sided aspects of the urban guerrilla warfare, paying attention to the partisan's psychology, its physical training, weaponry, equipment, and methods of armed propaganda and psychological warfare. He analyzed Marigella and the main mistakes that partisans may encounter in the process of armed struggle.

In 1968-1969 The action for national liberation carried out a number of armed operations, mainly involving attacks on police stations and banks. The largest operation was the taking hostage of US Ambassador to Brazil Charles Elbrik. He was seized by the fighters of the Action for National Liberation together with the fighters of the October Revolutionary Movement 8, placing the demand for the release of 15 political prisoners - revolutionaries. The Brazilian authorities had no choice but to agree to the demands of the revolutionaries - the stakes were too high. The life of the US ambassador hung in the balance, and only the release of 15 political prisoners, who immediately flew to Mexico, led to his release. Charles Elbrick returned to the United States.

In its daily activities, the action of national liberation worked closely with another radical organization, the Revolutionary Popular Avant-garde. She was supervised by Carlos Lamarck (1937-1971) - a native of the large shoemaker family, who, nevertheless, was fortunate enough to get a military education at the Agulhas-Negras Military Academy. In 1962, a young officer served in the Brazilian peacekeeping battalion in the Arab-Israeli conflict zone, where he became interested in Marxism. In 1967, Captain Carlos Lamarca, together with several colleagues, set up an underground group, the Revolutionary Popular Avant-garde. After contacting Carlos Marigella, he, thanks to the latter’s international connections, was able to ship his wife and children to Cuba. After that, Captain Lamarck had nothing to do and did not stop. 24 January 1969 Lamarck and his comrades attacked a military barracks, where they seized 63 rifles FAL and 3 submachine gun INA. After this action, the officer moved to the illegal position. In the underground, Lamarck created a training center for training urban partisans, and the Revolutionary People’s Vanguard began to make expropriations to fund the activities of the Revolutionary People’s Vanguard. In total, the Lamarck group conducted 20 attacks on banks, during one of which Lamarck personally shot and killed a bank security officer.

The revitalization of the urban guerrillas has led to the strengthening of the police regime in Brazil. The authorities tried to do everything possible to overcome the wave of violence in Brazilian society that broke out after the start of the armed struggle of the communist radicals. Patrolling of the city suburbs was intensified, the special services focused on listening and surveillance of suspicious citizens. In the end, 4 November 1969, Carlos Marigella got into a police ambush and was shot dead. Prior to its 58 anniversary, this legendary revolutionary did not live exactly one month and one day. Two weeks later, Mario Alves, the closest ally of Marigella, died from torture in prison.

After that, the Action for National Liberation was headed by Joaquim Camara Ferreira (1913-1970). Like Marigella, Ferreira, a journalist by profession, was an old communist who joined the communist party back in the 1933 year - a very young man. It was he who, together with Marigella, created the Action for National Liberation. But Ferreira managed to briefly guide the city partisans. October 23 1970, after torture and beatings, he was shot dead in the back of the head by the police in one of the prisons of São Paulo.

In the same 1970, government forces managed to go on the trail of the partisan detachment of Carlos Lamarck. Government troops attacked guerlieros training camp with support aviation and artillery. But Carlos Lamarck, as an experienced officer, managed to get his squad out of the circle and hide. Already in December 1970, the revolutionary vanguard declared itself the abduction of the Ambassador of Switzerland to Brazil, Giovanni Bucher. In January 1971, according to the same model as the American ambassador, he was exchanged for seventy political prisoners.

In 1971, the city of Carlos Lamarca left the Revolutionary Popular Avant-garde and joined the October Revolutionary Movement of 8. In July, 1971 Lamarck and his girlfriend Yara Yavelberg went to the state of Bahia to organize a partisan movement there. But the Brazilian police found out about the plans of the revolutionaries. Yaru Yavelberg was shot dead in a safe house during an exchange of fire with police officers, and Carlos Lamarca was wounded during an attack on a training camp in the village of Buriti. Together with his colleague Jose Campus Barreto, Carlos Lamarck fled to the jungle. In twenty days, the fugitives walked three hundred kilometers through a difficult forest area, but 17 of September was overtaken by government forces and died in a shootout.

History revised attitudes towards the Brazilian guerilleros of the end of the 1960-s, which at that time were referred to only as terrorists. In modern Brazil, the square in the city of Ipupiara is named after Carlos Lamarck, in the vicinity of which this revolutionary died, and the street in São Bernardo do Campo. Joaquim Camara Ferreira is today considered a hero of the Brazilian people, the streets in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife are named after him, and the city council of São Paulo is posthumously awarded the title of honorary citizen of the city. The culprit of the death of Carlos Marigella back in 1996, the court recognized the Brazilian military government of the time, and in 2008, his widow Clara Scarf was appointed life-long maintenance by the Brazilian government. Today, Marigella, Ferreira, Lamarck and other resistance fighters are viewed as national heroes, fighters against American imperialism and military dictatorship.
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  1. +1
    5 October 2016 06: 40
    Hmm ... and all the splits in the world communist movement are associated with the 20th Congress and 22nd Congress of the CPSU ... If you read the theoretical Soviet magazines of the 60s ... the KPSU condemned the armed struggle ... And then the CPSU lost its orientation altogether. - some general after an armed coup, somewhere in Africa, declared himself a Marxist-Leninist, immediately became a "friend" of the USSR .. They did not understand .. Marxist or not a Marxist .. took their word for it .. Thank you, Ilya .. interesting article. ...
  2. 0
    5 October 2016 17: 44
    Hello, Ilya. In the morning I tried to find something in the encyclopedia and network about this time in Brazil. I am very interested in these countries, the population. I did not think and did not know about this topic. .Also before I read your article, I wanted to prepare. I have 2 encyclopedias at home ---- BSE and current. This time is not mentioned. Several sites ----- the same.
    Of course, if you read the article and know the names ----- you get a specific question, and if you don’t know at least ---- then you don’t know anything.
    Now I’ll try to search, before reading.
    Thank you very much for your articles, for new information for many readers.

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