The Araguaia guerrilla in cinema

Dora Longo Bahia. Revolutions (calendar design), 2016 Acrylic, water-based pen and watercolor on paper (12 pieces) 23 x 30.5 cm each


The debate on guerrilla warfare is not closed, as capitalism continues to act and radicalize its process of exploitation against the working class.

“There are no forces that can hide history… There is no silence that keeps pain secret…”
(Araguaia: sacred field).

“Whoever believes in the future cannot fear the truth, nor the broad and deep debate that its search demands and gives rise to. This is why only authentically revolutionary forces can be at the forefront of criticizing their own errors, one of the most important aspects of the incessant attempt to make political word and act correspond to the trend of historical evolution.”
(Wladimir Pomar).

The Araguaia Guerrilla went through a process of attempting to erase the fact and developments, the debates and consequences and mainly the political, social and economic reasons that led to a process of radicalization of the fight against the military dictatorship that began in 1964 in Brazil. The process of armed struggle became inevitable, as Danilo Carneiro states in the documentary Araguaia Guerrilla: the hidden sides of history (2007), “as repression gets in the way, it forces the other party to confront each other.”

The film Araguaya. The Conspiracy of Silence (2004), by Ronaldo Duque, as the title suggests, sought to go precisely against this attempt at invisibilization, bringing to light the open wounds in memory. Silence turns everything into speculation, with no possibility for scientific sociological debate. The film is a quest to verbalize the traumas of the past so that we can reflect on our own history. From what I could observe, this was one of the first films produced about the Araguaia guerrillas.[I] This is a super production that features Cacá Amaral playing Maurício Grabois, Fernando Alves Pinto, Frenchman Stephane Brodt and Norton Nascimento playing Osvaldão. The film, sponsored by Petrobras, Banco da Amazônia, Telemar, Banco do Brasil, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and other large companies, also mixes documentary language with testimonies from José Genoíno, Zezinho do Araguaya, João Amazonas and Criméia Alice.

It is clear that the issue of erasing the memory of struggles is not something exclusive to the Araguaia Guerrilla, but to practically all radical processes that dare and have dared to advance beyond the limits of bourgeois representative democracy. The ruling class acts both in the sense of criminalization and direct repression against these movements and in the erasure or revisionism of memory and history. This happens historically in Brazil and around the world, regardless of the success or failure of these struggles. This dynamic is part of class struggles. Therefore, even though many institutional efforts have been made, such as the Truth Commission, it is impossible to reconcile interests between workers and the bourgeoisie and its auxiliary classes, especially when workers decide to organize and face the problem far from legal bodies. Coexistence between these two main classes is always prone to generating increasingly intense and bloody conflicts.

The role of literature and cinema has been fundamental to avoid the erasure of memory and the depoliticization of this important social process, which, despite having failed in its main purpose, must be thought critically by us. These films were produced roughly from the 2000s onwards, most of them documentaries, but many curiously adopted mixed language, such as the feature film by Duque, Belisario, Vandré Fernandes and the one I directed with André Queiroz, Araguaia, Presente! (2018) All of these films use this aesthetic that mixes testimonials and fictional scenes in their narrative to better acclimate the viewer to the territorial, social and political context of the time, in addition to bringing elements of playfulness.

There are numerous very relevant productions that address specific issues of the struggle. Soldiers of Araguaia (2018), by Belisario Franca, for example, addresses the participation of soldiers who worked directly in the repression. This process was also extremely brutal within the armed forces, which chose this path to be more efficient in repression. The deponents, all soldiers, report that those chosen to serve in the mission came from the most impoverished sectors. “The children of people who had money, no one was called,” says one of the soldiers. They themselves report that they do not feel any pride in what they did.

That process was the result of planning by the highest hierarchies, which in turn responded to the interests of the national and international bourgeoisie, which was not even remotely known to the lower ranks. They were content with jingoistic slogans that were out of touch with concrete reality, which at best created scarecrows where the firepower was directed.

Even though today we are clear about the limits that were placed, this process imposes on us the important task of thinking critically about the struggles of the past and present in a way that continues to stimulate possibilities of struggle that do not expect from the established leaders any way out of the social crisis, which it deepens with the advancement and development of capitalism, which revolutionizes and adapts to the new stages of modernity, both in countries with central and peripheral capitalism. It is important not to simply fall into an uncritical apologetic reading or one that ends up pointing out the errors in a condemnatory movement, failing to recognize the efforts of those who fell in the fight against the military regime. As Wladimir Pomar states:

This (here he refers to the critical conception) is also the best way to prevent the bourgeoisie and its agents from demoralizing the historical legacy of those who fell in the fight against the regime. In the ideological and political offensive it undertakes, the bourgeoisie seeks to mix the defense of reformist points of view with a nihilistic, unprincipled critique of the mistakes made by revolutionaries. With this, they prepare a well-camouflaged trap for those who, instead of being firm both in the fight against reformism and in criticizing errors, allow themselves to be confused and turn to pure and simple apologia for revolutionary activity. (POMAR, 1980)

The limits of guerrilla warfare have been debated since the 1970s by the PCdoB itself and subsequently by intellectuals, researchers, activists and those interested in the topic. In short, the guerrilla's military and material unpreparedness was enormous, while there were also fundamental contradictions in the political theory that founded that organization. An important point was also the precariousness of communication, which was carried out by messengers. The detachments had few weapons and ammunition, and there were even improvised weapons. Food was also a problem. Despite the abundance of the jungle, it was necessary to hunt, plant crops, etc. The medicines and other utensils needed to help the guerrillas in case of accidents or illnesses were scarce. There were countless diseases and dangers in the jungle that exposed the militants daily. Food and weapons were buried so as not to be discovered, compromising this equipment due to the moisture in the soil which rendered the ammunition unusable. The disproportion in the correlation of forces was brutal and popular support was negligible. Finally, a point not touched upon much, there were desertions among PCdoB activists in the context of the guerrilla, such as Pedro and Tereza, who fled in 1971.

Other tensions also arise within the organization. Danilo Carneiro reports that he questioned Grabois saying there were no conditions for guerrilla warfare due to lack of training. The training that existed, even those carried out in China, was insufficient. Carlos Amorin, in his book Araguaia Stories of Love and War, even categorizes the guerrillas as juvenile, innocent and unprepared, moved only by the love of fighting, demonstrating despair in relation to what was happening. Claudinei Rezende, in turn, wrote the book Suicídio Revolucionário, where she analyzes this process in detail.

There is a permanent question about the struggle processes of left-wing organizations, especially since the 1960s, which leads us to think, among other things, about the failure or possible victories of organizations. This work of thinking about the set of elements that aims to evaluate such issues, permeates both the practical actions of parties, organizations and guerrilla actions, as well as reflecting on the theoretical orientations of each sector, as well as thinking about the current situation.

Claudinei Cássio de Rezende, author of Suicídio Revolucionário, works with the hypothesis that the real threat to the State was dissolved along with the grassroots popular movements in the early 1960s, with the dismantling of the PCB, which resulted in a constellation of organizations. For Claudinei, the armed struggle “acted as a form of democratic resistance” and not simply as a first step towards the socialist revolution. The author says that the popular influence of armed resistance was small “especially because the left took up arms late and disorganized”.

But armed action was a process through which part of the left was practically forced. This process, according to Gorender, took place late, only coming to fruition in 1968, four years after the coup. And says Gorender in Combat in Darkness: “Under unfavorable conditions, increasingly distanced from the working class, the peasantry and the urban middle classes, the radical left could not fail to adopt the concept of unconditional violence to justify the immediate armed struggle.” Despite all the difficulties, the intention of the armed left was in fact revolution. However, for Claudinei this conception was still diffuse, primarily as already pointed out by Gorender, due to the distance from the base. This was obviously due to the effectiveness of repression in dismantling left-wing resistance and organizations, as the military dictatorship fought a real battle against the left. The enemy was built based on a demand from the ruling classes, very similar to the way neofascism has been operating in Brazil since 2014.

Secondly, there was, according to Claudinei, a strategic and theoretical error. The following passage from chapter 2 is important in this sense:

For Marighella, the appearance of this objective (and here he refers to revolutionary terrorism) would immediately bring the masses to power, in a revolutionary process, in such a way that the intention of the armed struggle advocated by the Bahian revolutionary was not for it to act as a bastion of democracy, but as a revolutionary movement. However, Marighella did not directly present what the processes of revolution and its phases would be, both those that were ongoing and those that would follow, so that the left could lucidly undertake a double revolution: first, that would place it against the order immediately established policy, that is, dictatorship; and second, that it aimed to surpass all current social metabolism. To the detriment of this, what was presented was the statement, which was not fulfilled, that the guerrillas would lead the dictatorship to an insurmountable siege.            

And goes on:

Given this general context, how does the ALN stand in relation to the Brazilian revolution? It is based on the idea of ​​anti-feudal revolution, although in its newspapers and in its dissemination theses its members have never managed to establish a deeper debate on revolutionary strategy.

It is a fundamental criticism; while pointing out the merits, it also highlights their weaknesses in realizing their projects. This leads him to assert that the tragedy of the left was present from its genesis. An important point about this: “This is the particular character of the armed struggle in Brazil: a fundamental portion of the left incurs the imbroglio of etapismo and foquismo, sometimes resorting to the Cuban revolution, sometimes resorting to Maoism, but without ever actually breaking with the stageism.”

The conclusion is that Marighella did not actually break with the tradition that the left had been following, as her break, according to Claudinei, “was purely formal and of a tactical nature, keeping the strategy untouched.” It is also important to note that Marighella's theoretical construction took place throughout the historical process. The conception of a possible alliance with the national bourgeoisie was once affirmed and shortly thereafter in 1968, with the worsening of the political context, it was rejected by Marighella himself with the advent of Institutional Act nº5. The idea of ​​a united front, therefore, falls apart. Three points were decisive for his break with institutional policy: ·         

  • The peaceful reaction to the coup by the PCB
  • The so-called strategic withdrawal of the PCB
  • And the assembly of the anti-Marighella committee by Luis Carlos Prestes

Therefore, Claudinei says further: “If, initially, for Marighella, it was just a form of complementary struggle, armed struggle became the only possible form of resistance against the military dictatorship.”

The genesis of the failure initially pointed out by Claudinei is complex and concerns, among the facts already pointed out previously, an underestimation of the left in relation to repression and, as Claudinei points out:

There is a total inability to specify the strategy and methods of the revolutionary war in Brazil. (…) What caused an even greater problem for the Brazilian left was the fact that the imbroglio did not only refer to guerrilla tactics, but to communist strategy, that is, how to determine the nature of the Brazilian revolution.

It is in this context that the author then analyzes the annihilation of the Araguaia Guerrilla which took place at a time when the dictatorship had already dismantled the Brazilian left, pointing to the future disaster of the guerrilla in the south of Pará. Regarding this, Claudinei states: “This guerrilla movement was headed towards suicide even more likely than that of the urban guerrilla movement of the late 1960s, especially due to its limited geographical location and the complete absence of mass support.”

Some films, however, work with testimonies from peasants who were somehow affected by the guerrillas, going against this assessment. “The attraction of the conflicts taking place here was not just the difficult access. Here too, it was already a region of land conflicts before the 1960s and 1970s. This social context, this social movement led to conflict over the law, which is scarce, as some authors say, also attracted PCdoB staff to come here. ” Alex – Peasants of Araguaia – the guerrilla seen from the inside (2010).

Even though it was little and insufficient, the guerrilla directly interfered in the lives of local populations and the intensity that occurred created deep bonds, so deep that they were reported in films more than 40 years later. The movies Araguaya – the conspiracy of silence (2004) Araguaia: sacred field (2011) Peasants of Araguaia: the guerrilla seen from the inside (2010) and Osvaldão (2015) approach guerrilla warfare from the experience of peasants. It is a fact that the groundwork was insufficient, but it was not absent while the Paulistas were there. Furthermore, defeats are inevitable in fights against large and powerful enemies. The Brazilian army carried out a devastating attack against the guerrillas and the population in three campaigns. The army carried out Operation Mesopotamia in 1971, eliminating 50 suspects. In October 1973 the 3rd Campaign took place. It was a mega operation that involved 20 thousand men including the army, navy, air force, military and civil police. In the case of Araguaia, it was not only the army that acted in the repression, but also the thieves and gunmen at the behest of the local elite, who helped the army locate itself in the forests.

The disparity in the correlation of forces is an element already mentioned. The ruling class owns the State and its entire apparatus. Justice and repression act at your command. The repression is at an economic level through the super-exploitation of labor or physical against not only those who radicalize the struggles, but workers who only demand respect in the face of harsh work relations, suffering at the hands of the armed forces that have historically acted to neutralize revolutionary organizations. Local residents who did not want to or simply did not know anything were harshly repressed, tortured and threatened.

This attempt at erasure and depoliticization, however, failed. Even though there are today producers specialized in producing a reactionary reinterpretation of the past, such as Brasil Paralelo,[ii], critical productions speak louder. This, on the other hand, causes the right to invest more and more in cinema. And they are expensive figures.

Films about the Araguaia Guerrilla in any case place the responsibility for the crimes committed on the State. This filmography is directly related to the bibliography produced on the case, which proves that even in the face of the most varied justifications, there was a brutal disproportion in the forces involved. Romualdo Pessoa, for example, participated in some of these documentaries. Furthermore, the repression against the guerrillas was a development that focused on militants in the urban area. The documentary Araguaia Guerrilla – the hidden sides of history (2007) shows that the militants who worked in the guerrilla were already registered because many of them were active in the student movement and on October 13, 1968, the police repressed around a thousand students who were participating in the 20th Une Congress in the interior of São Paulo. It is a permanent, preventive counter-revolution, which nullifies not a revolutionary movement, but small social advances, which from the point of view of the dominant sectors is unacceptable, as it would compromise their high rates of profit. Both in the countryside and in cities, criminalization was intense and the bibliography on the subject is vast. Immediate History is the first publication about the guerrilla.

The number of productions around the theme also provided variety in the approaches to the main issues that covered this important episode that occurred in Pará. Peasants of Araguaia: the guerrilla seen from within (2010), by Vandré Fernandes, is based on reports from peasants who in some way they experienced this context. Peasants in that region were attracted by the possibility of having access to land and working on the farm in a self-sustainable way. Diamond and crystal mining, chestnut harvesting and rubber extraction and fishing, hunting and planting activities were common, with poor people, according to Pedro da Mata, one of the witnesses, who arrived in the São Domingos do Araguaia region in 1971 through Transamazonian. Zé da Onça also says that as a child he was an ice cream seller in Marabá. These peasants had no knowledge of who those people were who arrived loaded with goods and who were later called Paulistas.

Even films with a more novelistic and caricatured language, such as the aforementioned Araguaya – the conspiracy of silence (2004), which represents the guerrillas in an almost childish way, shows that the mobilization in that distant region was an outcome of the impossibilities that the military dictatorship produced by choosing for the brutal repression of a social process that had been seen as dangerous, which basically included reforms within the framework of capital. Even a small advance as far back as João Goulart's basic reforms were made unfeasible, demonstrating the country's level of backwardness and its strong colonial stance. The reading that prevented the advancement of basic issues of the national economy was produced by the United States and accepted by the leadership of the Brazilian armed forces. The documentary Citizen Boilesen (2009), by Chaim Litewski, addresses the direct participation of Ambassador Lincoln Gordon in the 1964 coup d'état. Today we know through the United States' own documentation that if there was popular armed resistance, the Brazilian armed forces would have the assistance of Operation Brother Sam, which had an aircraft carrier with high destructive power.

The fear at that moment was real. The Cold War was the shadow that never passed. This shadow had been present since the end of World War II with the unfolding of economic and territorial disputes between world powers, which put the world in real danger, as another major war would simply devastate a large part of the world. The atomic bomb was the innovation that placed the most advanced countries as the true drivers of world politics and economics. Even though there was revolt around the world, sectors of the left did not concretely threaten the dominance of the bourgeoisie, nor the hegemony of the armed forces. The CPSU completely abandoned the possibility of a world revolution, contenting itself with a model of state capitalism. The revolutionary experiences of the Russian, Chinese and Cuban Revolution, despite being inspiring, did not take into account the Brazilian specificity, with there being an abysmal distance between these historical realities and Brazil. Even the struggles in Argentina and Chile had greater proportions both in terms of popular organization and in terms of interventions by the State, always associated with the United States.

The classic The Battle of Chile (1975), by Patricio Guzmán, is indispensable for understanding the methods of the bourgeois reaction against the advance of Salvador Allende's reformism. The outcome is simply tragic. This can give us an idea of ​​what could have happened in Brazil if the struggle had actually advanced at the mass level and the United States had gone on the offensive against the resistance. Of course, it is not our place here to make any attempt to predict what did not happen, but some pieces that were present on this board could be used depending on the developments of the 1964 coup.

There are few references to black characters in the armed struggle in Brazil. The documentary Osvaldão (2015), by Vandré Fernandes, addresses the decisive participation of this important leadership in the formation and preparation of the Araguaia Guerrilla, which has always been in the imagination of the local population, militancy and youth. There were many important cadres: João Amazonas and Maurício Grabois played a fundamental role in commanding the guerrilla. Maurício Grabois was a member of the PcdoB leadership, a former student at the Escola Militar, he was also a journalist and leader of the communist bench in 1946-47. Elza Monerat, Angelo Arroyo, Osvaldão were also important members of the party.

Osvaldo Orlando da Costa became a kind of mythological figure who had a series of skills and a great resourcefulness to deal with extreme situations. He was a woodsman, hunter, farmer and commander in the context of the guerrilla. He was also a boxer defending Vasco da Gama's shirt. He acted in a film in Czechoslovakia in 1961 called Encounter in Anti-Babylon, learning the language in five months. This facility with languages ​​was already present since school; his highest scores were in Latin and French. Osvaldão said he was the grandson of slaves and the son of a baker. His sense of justice had been present since the 1950s, when during school he led an action against a bus company that had run over a student. As the company did not want to pay compensation to the mother of the dead boy, Osvaldão encouraged the students to burn a bus on line 109 in Leblon.

Some activists report their experiences with him, such as Eduardo Pomar and José Genoíno. Eduardo talks about his experience in Czechoslovakia in 1960, the result of a demand from students who were fighting for a scholarship. In Prague they studied mechanical engineering. José Genuíno's contact with Osvaldão occurred during the formation of the B detachment. Osvaldão had been preparing the guerrilla since 1966 together with Maurício Grabois and João Amazonas, who were researching an area suitable for the concept of popular war and prolonged war, siege of cities from the countryside . This research revolved around the North of Goiás (today the State of Tocantis), part of Maranhão until settling in the south of Pará. 

Genoino went to Araguaia in July 1970, leaving São Paulo and heading to Campinas, then Anápolis and finally Imperatriz. He met with Osvaldão and vice commander Humberto Bronca of detachment B. Six days after the start of the guerrilla Genoíno was arrested. Osvaldão died in a fight in the Gameleira region. The arrests only took place in the first campaign. From 1973 onwards, the dictatorship's orientation was to eliminate. Torture was carried out publicly to cause panic among the population.

The Araguaia region became a strategic area of ​​the agricultural frontier. The motto was to integrate so as not to deliver, which began with the opening of the Transamazônica (BR-230) in the 1970s, under the government of Emílio Médici, who expected a movement of two million people within ten years to be an instrument of the country's progress. Most of these people gave up and migrated to the North and Northeast regions of the country. The damage caused to the environment was devastating. The devastated area would cover the entirety of Rio de Janeiro. BR was first and foremost part of a military strategy. The intention was to stimulate large agricultural projects, logging, mining and the concentrating model in the south of the Amazon.

The transamazon, which is 4.260km long (just to give you an idea, you could connect Moscow to Lisbon and still have 100km left), served to unite the eastern and western sides of Brazil. It starts in Cabedelo (PB), passing through Ceará, Piauí, Maranhão, Tocantins, the whole of Pará (the state where most of the highway runs), ending in Amazonas. In this context, southern Pará was the great agricultural frontier. There was no legal state there. This region was controlled by batos, gunmen and local chiefs. Therefore, it was the period when the dictatorship wanted to occupy the Amazon, with a rush to the region. Serra Pelada is perhaps a great example of the wealth of minerals in the region. It is possible that the guerrillas were already fully aware of the region's riches, which would consequently lead to intense disputes both from a domestic and international point of view. Romualdo Pessoa states, in the documentary Osvaldão (2015), that “Osvaldão had already been there in the area where Serra Pelada later emerged and everything indicates that the guerrillas had studies and knowledge of the wealth that existed there in that region.”

Although the region was favorable for the guerrillas' military plan, the factor of popular mobilization and awareness was difficult, given the ease in being discovered by repression. This (very precarious) groundwork only began when hostilities began. At that time there was no grassroots work in the region, no unions, parties or any type of political association. The population had no collective experience of struggle. The houses were very far from each other, which made the politicization process difficult. Even though it had all its weaknesses, the guerrilla lasted two years. And what made the guerrillas last so long? Precisely the way the guerrillas handled the region, their knowledge of the territory, the population, etc. Guerrilla warfare presupposes initiative, freedom of movement and surprise. The references at that time were the Vietnam War and the Chinese Revolution.

When we were given the task of producing a film about the Araguaia Guerrilla, the central theme was also raised, which should guide the narrative: the theoretical question would force us to think about the genesis of the main problems surrounding what happened, also placing the understanding the developments and conclusions that could point to the direction of current struggles. So much so that the LCP (League of Poor Peasants) was mentioned and the conclusion was that it would be necessary to organize a truly revolutionary party, abandoning certain uncomfortable issues such as Stalinism, the institutionalization and bureaucratization typical of the co-optation of the bourgeois class state, as Danilo Carneiro puts it in his long 12-hour testimony! This long material, which I called “Memoirs of a Guerrilla”, was made available in full and divided into chapters on my YouTube channel 202 Filmes and I have been working on the production of a new documentary for a few years, even as a way of paying homage to Danilo, who passed away. in January 2022 at age 80. I particularly have deep appreciation for Danilo for helping us and encouraging independent production, which certainly meant progress for us at that time (even though the production process was contradictory).

Araguaia, Gift! (2018) was made possible thanks to a previously produced documentary called El Missing Pueblo (2015), produced by myself and André Queiroz. On an occasion when he was showing this film, Danilo Carneiro approached him and offered the possibility of financing a new film about the Araguaia Guerrilla, but without raining on the water, as the filmography on the subject was extensive. Danilo financed the work, giving a total of R$100.000,00. The film's total budget was R$120.000,00. In the first stage of production, we filmed the testimonies of Danilo Carneiro, José Genoíno, Criméia Alice, Dagoberto Costa, Wladimir Pomar and Victoria Grabois. It is important to highlight here that the interview with Danilo required greater effort from us. We went to Florianópolis and recorded a long 12-hour interview, where Danilo analyzes the Araguaia guerrilla and the Brazilian historical context. It's really something amazing, given Danilo's intellectual level, an excellent reader and knowledgeable about Marxism and Brazilian history. Assembling this material required a few months of work, totaling 17 cuts. Secondly, we filmed the fictional scenes with almost twenty actors and several extras in the Lumiar region and in Niterói at Teatro Popular.

The debate surrounding the theoretical issue is broad and dates back to the 1950s, when the PCB made clear its position vis-à-vis the national bourgeoisie and Brazil's industrial development. For the PCB, the role of the national bourgeoisie was fundamental and the alliance with this sector raised hopes of a possible relationship, given the supposedly progressive character of the Brazilian ruling class. Pomar (1980) states that:

The ideology unilaterally highlighted and exaggerated the progressive character of national capitalist development, denying or hiding the essential features of capitalism, features that stand out regardless of the nationality of the bourgeoisie. It said nothing about the process of exploitation of the working class, about the creation of a huge and miserable industrial reserve army, about unemployment and the crises inherent to capitalism, at the same time that it reserved for the bourgeoisie a “revolutionary” role for which it has never demonstrated that it is capable, in its entire history.

The PCB adopted an openly conciliatory, liberal and reformist orientation because it believed that at that moment the national bourgeoisie needed to be supported. It was necessary to promote Brazil's industrialization process, which was still far behind compared to other countries. According to Pomar (1980),

The Marxism of these sectors began to give cover to that “ideology”, clearly national-reformist, and to influence broad comrades of the proletariat, feeding illusions in the reformist and transformative capacity of the bourgeoisie. (…) He argued that the contradiction with North American imperialism united the entire nation and that, after its solution, it would be possible to resolve the contradiction with the landowners more easily.

And he concludes: “it was around the path, conception and method of armed struggle that the greatest divergences arose within the Brazilian left.” (POMAR, 1980) The formation of the guerrilla begins precisely with internal debates about revolutionary violence. The PCdoB method at that time was revolutionary, but the theory was not. Therefore, the possible results would fall into problems already historically known, such as class conciliation. The rupture and emergence of the PCdoB in 1962 is one of the consequences of an openly conciliatory and deceitful policy promoted by the PCB. The 1956 Khrushchev Report was crucial to the split.

By reformulating the party and concentrating forces on the necessary decisions to be taken at that time, the PCdoB stated that the conditions for guerrilla warfare were in place. In this context, the debate on revolutionary violence is placed as a touchstone along with the search for a region where guerrilla warfare could develop. This debate, however, was only raised internally. The conclusion that the historical conditions for this struggle were in place and all other points such as the exhaustion of other forms of intervention and demands by the working class, established this diagnosis as true, resulting in the need to put into practice organizations capable of starting from a centralized organization, spreading the struggle across the countryside with the participation of the masses who would become politicized in this process.

Araguaia, Gift! (2018), therefore, was the most recent film produced on the subject, but certainly not the last; the debate on guerrilla warfare is not closed, as capitalism continues to act and radicalize its process of exploitation against the working class. The films also serve as a factor in mobilizing the masses, since such productions are focused on not letting the reading produced about the guerrillas fall into the trap of merely criminalizing or condemning their methods. We know that the struggle is made up of advances and retreats and must continue to come from the workers themselves with forms of organization capable of sustaining all phases of the Brazilian revolutionary process.

*Arthur Moura is a PhD student in Social History at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).


POMAR, Wladimir. Araguaia the party and the guerrilla. São Paulo: Brasil Debates, 1980.

AMORIM, Carlos. Araguaia stories of love and war. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2014.

REZENDE, Claudinei. Revolutionary Suicide, armed struggle and the inheritance of the chimerical revolution in stages. São Paulo, Unesp, 2010.

GORENDER, Jacob. Dark Combat. São Paulo: Popular Expression, 2014.


[I] The filmography that I know and researched on the theme of the Araguaia Guerrilla were eleven: Araguaya – the conspiracy of silence (2004); Guerrilha do Araguaia: the hidden faces of history (2007); Araguaia: sacred field (2011); Guerrilha do Araguaia (TVE documentary) (2010); Peasants of Araguaia: the guerrilla seen from the inside (2010); Araguaia (2015); Osvaldão (2015); Soldiers of Araguaia (2017); Araguaia, Present! (2018); Guerrillas – communists who fought in the Military Regime (2022); Memoirs of a Guerrilla (forecast 2025). If we think that the Araguaia Guerrilla was part of the general context of the dictatorial period, there is a reasonable amount of film production on the subject.

[ii] Brasil Paralelo produced the mini documentary Guerrillas – the communists who fought in the Military Regime (2022), which begins with the voice-over saying that “even before 1964, rural guerrillas and armed movements already existed and were determined to make the revolution. After March 31, these groups started to adopt heinous methods and subjected Brazil to dark years. Revolutionary terrorism becomes everyday. Crime, fear and blood are present in the lives of Brazilians.”

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