Paulo Afonso Aguena (1961-2022)



Homage to the comrade who was a revolutionary, whose absence makes the world smaller and imposes a crushing silence

“Y en nosotros nuestros muertos\ Pa' que nadie quede posterior” (Atahualpa Yupanqui).

The time to say goodbye is the saddest. Paulo Afonso Aguena, “Catatau”, or just Cata, left us yesterday. Forty-two years of militancy, always in the front line. He had been fighting, since last December, against aggressive liver cancer. He has always been brave, tireless, irreplaceable. He bravely resisted the devastating advance of the disease, remaining active to the limit of his strength. He died at the age of 60, just days before his birthday.

Paulo Afonso Aguena was one of the main leaders of the Socialist Convergence, the PSTU and the Resistance, an internal current of the PSol, an heir to the tradition of the Fourth International of Leon Trotsky. The Amnesty Commission recognized him as a victim of persecution by the dictatorship. He was, for the forty years of his adult life, a professional revolutionary. He assumed, at a very young age, immense responsibilities. But he was always a discreet leader.

Paulo Aguena was born into a family of Japanese origin in the interior of São Paulo. He began his militancy in the student movement when he entered the Federal University of São Carlos, in the early 1980s, and joined the Socialist Convergence. I saw him for the first time at the 1981 UNE Congress, when we shared accommodation in a friend's house. Precociously mature for his age, just two years later, he was already at the national secretariat of the Socialist Convergence, responsible for editing the internal bulletin, a publication with an analysis of the week's conjuncture, and guidance for political campaigns distributed to groups throughout the country. country.

Organizer of struggles and militancy, he worked for many years in the trade union movement. He was present in countless strikes and mobilizations, with civil construction workers in Cubatão, alongside metallurgists in ABC, in Minas Gerais. He was one of the organizers of the fight in defense of Pinherinho in São José dos Campos. He crossed the country from north to south. He has lived in Contagem, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. He traveled throughout Brazil, from the Amazon to Rio Grande do Sul, dozens of cities, to hold plenary sessions, organize conferences, plan training courses, prepare congresses. An internationalist, he wanted to get to know the Argentine left more closely and lived in Buenos Aires for a few years.

Paulo Afonso Aguena meticulously studied reality in search of more information when he decided to write about a topic. He had a horror of superficiality. He was an aggregating leader, concerned with building, training new leaders, expanding implementation. When differences were suggested and the need to open a debate was concluded, he went to the end. He did not rush to divulge a text until he was satisfied. And, as he had utmost seriousness, he was always dissatisfied. You had to snatch the texts out of his hands. His documents were careful with the mediations, but they were always limpid with clarity. He had no patience with hermetic language, labyrinthine reasoning, confused proposals, ambiguous directions. Paulo Afonso Aguena was a man of action.

Paulo Afonso Aguena had the ability to easily build trusting relationships. He brought out the best in everyone who worked alongside him. He was a highly respected leader for the militancy of the organizations he helped build, and for those who knew him in the Brazilian left. He had immense revolutionary passion, political audacity, personal honesty, and an intelligence that got to the heart of the strategic dilemmas posed by the tactical problems, in the face of every swing in the political conjuncture.

The loss is irreparable, and its absence imposes a crushing silence on us. But you have to remember. Courteous but cheerful, serious but daring, Paulo Afonso Aguena was great, and we are more fragile. Our world got smaller. In his last public intervention, in a farewell ceremony last April, he asked us for courage, trust, hope. Courage to be sure that our militancy will not be in vain. Confidence in the working class and its ability to fight. Internationalist hope in the fate of the struggle for socialism.

Catatau leaves two children and a partner. He also leaves a legacy of enormous dedication, and much to be missed.

*Valerio Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of No one said it would be Easy (boitempo).


See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank