The story

Luis Carlos Prestes

Luis Carlos Prestes



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Commander of an extraordinary and revolutionary march, the Prestes Column, and leader of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) for over 50 years, Luis Carlos Prestes was one of the most persecuted Latin American figures of the twentieth century. Born in Porto Alegre (RS), attended the Military School of Rio de Janeiro. Transferred to Rio Grande do Sul, led in the state a tenentist revolt against the government of Arthur Bernardes in 1924. Made up of young army officers, the "lieutenants" intended to raise the population against the power of the ruling oligarchy and, through the revolution demand political and social reforms, such as the resignation of Bernardes, the convening of a Constituent Assembly and the secret ballot. After several fighting, the gauchos went to meet the rebel Paulista troops commanded by Isidoro Dias Lopes and Miguel Costa, in Foz do Iguaçu (PR), forming the Prestes Column, with the purpose of touring Brazil to propagate the tenentist ideas. The members of the Column made an incredible march through the interior of the country, covering, by foot and horse, about 25 thousand km. The march ended in 1927, when the insurgents went into exile in Bolivia. In this country, Prestes met Astrogildo Pereira, one of the founders of the PCB. Converted to Marxist ideology, he traveled to Moscow (former USSR) in 1931. He returned clandestinely to Brazil in 1935, married to the German Jewish communist Olga Benário. After commanding the failed coup known as Communist Intent (1935) to overthrow then-President Getúlio Vargas and install a socialist government, he was arrested and his wife handed over to the Gestapo (Nazi political police) and pregnant deported to Germany, where he died in a concentration camp (1942). After being released from the redemocratization process (1945), Prestes was elected senator by the PCB. With the annulment of party registration (1947), he was ordered to remand and was forced to return to hiding. His pre-trial detention was revoked in 1958, but with the 1964 military coup, the communist leader was again persecuted. In 1971, he managed to leave the country and went into exile in the former USSR. With the 1979 amnesty, he returned, but moved away from the PCB.