Carlos Marighella

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Carlos Marighella
Marighella foto3 deputado 46-47 apeerj.JPG
Born(1911-12-05)5 December 1911
Salvador, Brazil
Died4 November 1969(1969-11-04) (aged 57)
São Paulo, Brazil
OrganizationBrazilian Communist Party
Ação Libertadora Nacional

Carlos Marighella (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈkaʁluz ˌmaɾiˈɡɛlɐ]; 5 December 1911 – 4 November 1969) was a Marxist Brazilian writer, politician and guerilla fighter who lived during the 20th century.[1]

Marighella's most famous contribution to revolutionary[2] literature was the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, consisting of advice on how to disrupt and overthrow an authoritarian regime, aiming at revolution. Written shortly before his death late 1969 in São Paulo, Minimanual was first published in North America by the Berkeley Tribe in Berkeley, California in July 1970 in an English edition.[3][4] Marighella also wrote For the Liberation of Brazil. The theories laid out in both books have greatly influenced contemporary ideological activism. His ideas of revolution were complementary to Che Guevara's, who proposed guerrilla activity in the countryside, Marighela's theories on urban guerrilla warfare envisaged cities as a key point of support for the peasant's armed revolt. As an advocate of urban guerrilla warfare as means to assist a larger scale rural uprising, Marighella's work was the latest tome in the small library of revolutionary political literature in the 20th century. The Minimanual was highly admired among student revolutionaries in America, Europe and Ireland including the Weathermen, Irish Republican Army, Greek N17, Basque ETA separatists, the Red Army Faction, Red Brigades and Direct Action-France.



Marighella was born in Salvador, Bahia, to Italian immigrant Augusto Marighella and Afro-Brazilian Maria Rita do Nascimento. His father was a blue-collar worker originally from Emilia, while his mother was a descendant of African slaves, brought from Sudan (Hausa blacks). He spent his young life at a house in Rua do Desterro, at the Baixa do Sapateiro neighbourhood, where he would graduate from primary and secondary education. In 1934, he left the Polytechnic School of Bahia, where he was pursuing a degree in civil engineering, in order to become an active member of the Brazilian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Brasileiro - PCB). He then moved to Rio de Janeiro to work in the restructuring of PCB.

Marighella was first arrested in 1932, after he wrote a poem criticizing the administration of Bahia intervener Juracy Magalhães. On 1 May 1936, during the Getúlio Vargas time in presidency, he was once again arrested for subversion. He was tortured by the political police led by Filinto Müller, now considered the "patron of torturers" in Brazil. He remained in jail for a year. He was released by "macedada" (the measure which freed political prisoners without pressing charges against them). After his release, he once again entered clandestinity, along with all members of PCB. He was recaptured in 1939, once again being tortured. He was not released until 1945, when an amnesty during the democratization process of the country benefitted all political prisoners.

The following year, Marighella was elected constituent federal deputy by the Bahian branch of PCB, but he lost his office in 1948 under the new proscription of the party. Back in clandestinity, he occupied several offices in the leadership of the party. Invited by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Marighella visited China between 1953 and 1954 in order to learn more about the Chinese Communist Revolution. In May 1964, after the military coup, he was shot and arrested by agents of the Department of Social and Political Order (Departamento de Ordem Política e Social - DOPS), the political police, at a movie theater in Rio. He was released in the following year by a court order. In 1966, he wrote The Brazilian Crisis, opting for the armed struggle against the military dictatorship. Later that year, he renounced his office in the national leadership of PCB. On August 1967, he participated at the 1st Conference of Latin American Solidarity in Havana, contradicting what party had determined. In Havana, he wrote Some Questions About the Guerrillas in Brazil, dedicated to the memory of Che Guevara and made public by Jornal do Brasil on 5 September 1968. That same year he was expelled from PCB, and founded the Ação Libertadora Nacional (ALN) on February 1968. In September 1969, ALN members kidnapped the U.S. ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick in a coordinated move with the Revolutionary Movement 8th October (Movimento Revolucionário 8 de Outubro — MR-8).

After a series of successful robberies and kidnappings, the police force was determined to eliminate him.[5] He was shot by police at an ambush at 8pm on 4 November 1969 at 800 Alameda Casa Branca, São Paulo. This ambush was organized by police deputy Sérgio Paranhos Fleury, known for his work inside DOPS.


  1. ^ Mário Magalhães, Mário Magalhães (2012). Marighella [Marighella] (in Portuguese). Companhia das Letras. ISBN 9788580864717.
  2. ^ Williams, John W. (1989-01). "Carlos Marighela: The father of urban guerrilla warfare". Terrorism. 12 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1080/10576108908435757. ISSN 0149-0389. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ library of america/berkeley tribe
  4. ^ University of newspapers/microfilm collection
  5. ^ Holmes, Richard; Hugh Biceno; et al. (2001). Oxford Companion to Military History. Oxford University Press. p. 549. ISBN 0-19-860696-6.

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