Carlos Lacerda

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Carlos Lacerda
2nd Governor of Guanabara
In office
5 December 1960 – 11 October 1965
Vice Governor Eloy Dutra
Preceded by José Sette Câmara Filho
Succeeded by Raphael de Almeida
Personal details
Born (1914-04-30)30 April 1914
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died 21 May 1977(1977-05-21) (aged 63)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Political party National Democratic Union
Profession Journalist, politician

Carlos Frederico Werneck de Lacerda (30 April 1914 – 21 May 1977) was a Brazilian journalist and politician.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Lacerda was the son of a family of politicians from Vassouras, Rio de Janeiro state.

When he was a law student, Lacerda became sympathetic to left-wing ideas, but by the 1940s he had transformed into a staunch anti-communist conservative.

He started his journalism career at Diário de Notícias (English: News Daily) in 1929. In 1949 he founded the newspaper Tribuna da Imprensa (English: Press Tribune).

Starting his political career in 1947, Lacerda was elected to the legislative chamber (city council) of the city of Rio de Janeiro. In 1950 he was elected a UDN party representative for the state of Rio in the Chamber of Deputies. He became well known for his uncompromising opposition of the government of President Getúlio Vargas, even demanding Vargas' overthrow.

He survived an assassination attempt in August 1954 which became known as the crime of Rua Tonelero. The attempt is widely believed by historians to have been made by men acting under the orders of Gregório Fortunato, O Anjo Negro (Portuguese for "The Black Angel"), a Black man who was the head of Vargas' personal bodyguards. Brazilian Air Force Major Rubens Vaz was killed in the attempt and Lacerda was slightly injured. This sparked a political crisis that culminated with the suicide of Vargas.

Lacerda was re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies later in 1954 with the most votes of any candidate. He also opposed the government of President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira.

Lacerda was elected governor of Guanabara State (Rio de Janeiro city) in 1960. His administration was praised for his efforts to solve some chronic problems of Rio such as water services, public transportation and housing.

An opinionated and controversial politician, Lacerda was involved in the crisis of the resignation of President Jânio Quadros in 1961 and conspired against the presidency of João Goulart. Hoping to be elected president in the 1965 elections, Lacerda initially supported the military coup d'état of 1964 and was nominated the UDN candidate. Since the military was not willing to give up power, the 1965 elections were cancelled and Lacerda began to oppose the regime. In 1968, due to his efforts to restore democracy in Brazil by allying with his old enemies Kubitschek and Goulart, Lacerda was arrested for a brief period and stripped of his right to run for political office for 10 years. After that, he retired from politics and resumed his journalism and publishing career. In 1977 he died suddenly in Rio de Janeiro.

Popular culture[edit]

Lacerda was portrayed by Marcello Airoldi in the 2013 biographical drama film Reaching for the Moon and by Alexandre Borges in the 2014 biographical drama film Getúlio.

His relationship with the architect Lota de Macedo Soares is the subject of the 2013 film Flores Raras (Reaching for the Moon), directed by Bruno Barreto and starring Gloria Pires.

He is also mentioned in the book, "Child of the Dark", The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus.


Biographical reference[edit]

  • Dulles, John W. F. Carlos Lacerda: Brazilian Crusader. Austin: University of Texas, 1996.
Preceded by
José Sette Câmara Filho
Governor of Guanabara
Succeeded by
Rafael de Almeida