Archetype: Pocahontas of Brazil: Anita Garibaldi

Official name is Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiroda  Silva di Garibaldi, commonly known as Anita Garibaldi. Anita was born August 30, 1821 and died August 4. 1849. Anita was the Brazilian wife and comrade in arms of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi. Giuseppe and Anita’s relationship was epitomized during the 19th century’s age of romanticism and revolutionary liberalism.

Anita’s early socio-economic background was not the greatest; born into a poor family of Azorean Portuguese descent, or what some people would refer to as Creoles. Anita was originally from the southern state of Santa Catarina, born into a newly independent Brazil. At the age of 15, in 1835 Anita was forced to marry Manuel Duarte Aguiae, who later abandoned her.

Giuseppe was a Ligurian sailor turned Italian nationalist revolutionary. He had fled Europe in 1836 and was fighting on behalf of a separatist republic in Southern Brazil, or commonly known as the War of Farrapos.

It has been said that Anita taught Giuseppe about the gaucho/caudillo culture of the plains of Brazil, Uruguay, and Northern Argentina.  In 1841, Anita and Giuseppe went to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he worked as a schoolmaster and a trader before taking the command of the Uruguayan fleet in 1842 and raising an Italian Legion for Uruguay against Argentine dictator; Juan Manuel de Rosas. There isn’t much of Anita’s occupation was during this time. Anita lacked a formal education and what we do know about her was dictated notes.

Anita and Giuseppe married March 26, 1842 in Montevideo. They had five children; Menotti (1840-1905), Rosita (1843-45), Teresita (1845-1903) and Ricciotti (1846-1924). Anita was carrying their 5th child when she died during a tragic retreat against Neapolitan and French intervention of Rome.

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Anita Leocádia Prestes

Anita Leocádia Prestes, born 27 November 1936 in Berlin, is a Brazilian historian. She is the daughter of militant Communists Olga Benário Prestes and Luís Carlos Prestes.

She was born in the Frauengefängnis Barnimstraße although she was handed to the care of her paternal grandmother, Leocádia Prestes, at age 14 months.

In 1964, Prestes achieved a degree in Chemistry from the then “University of Brazil”, now known as the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Two years later she gained a Masters in Organic Chemistry.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Prestes moved into exile in the USSR (present day Russia). In August 1972, she was indicted in Brazil for political activities, with the Conselho Permanente de Justiça para  Exército (the Army supreme court) sentencing her in absence to 4 .5 years in prison.

In December 1975 Prestes added a Doctorate in Political Economics from the Institute of Social Science in Moscow and four years later in September 1979, the Brazilian courts reduced Prestes’s sentence by four years as part of a wider amnesty.

In 1989 Prestes received a Doctorate in History from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, with a thesis named A Coluna Prestes (The Prestes Column), which was the movement commanded by her father of almost 1500 men trying to struggle the presidency of Artur Bernardes. Anita is presently a Retired Associate Professor of Brazilian History, but she continues teaching on the Master’s and Doctorate’s Compared History Program at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

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Olga Benário Prestes

Olga Benário Prestes was an interesting person; she was a Jewish Communist from Munich, Switzerland. Her father was a social-democratic lawyer of Jewish origin, and her mother was a member of Bavarian high society. In 1923 Olga joined the Communist Youth International, and it has been theorized that in 1928 she organized and successfully freed her lover, Otto Braun from Moabit prison. She went to Czechoslovakia and from there, reunited with Braun, to Moscow, where Olga attended the Lenin-School of the Comintern and then worked as an instructor of the Communist Youth International, in the Soviet Union and in France and Great Britain, where she participated in coordinating anti-fascist activities. She parted from Otto Braun in 1931.

Olga in 1934 was appointed the task to return Luis Carlos Prestes to Brazil. This was only successful because of originally false documents that they were a married couple, by the time the couple had reached the shores of Brazil from Russia in 1935 this was a reality.  Olga and Carlos were arrested after the failed insurrection of tenenates of 1935-6, this was the result of the anti communist campaign carried out by Getulio Vargas. Why so?

Well Vargas was an interesting character, he was a sociopath that had a habit of changing political stances to keep himself in power. At this particular time Hitler was coming into power in Germany. And Brazil at the time depended on Germany to take the exports of raw materials from Brazil, so to keep in good relations with Germany and Italy. Vargas adopted the fascist ideals of Hitler and Mussolini. Now Carlos was the leader of Brazil’s communist party, and Vargas wanted to make an example of Carlos. So Carlos was tossed in jail and to add salt to the wound Olga, pregnant was sent as a personal gift from Vargas to Hitler.

On arrival, Olga was put in prison, where she gave birth to a daughter; Anita Leocadia. Afterwards Olga and her daughter were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp and from there to an experimental extermination camp where Olga and Anita were gassed.

Correction: Olga was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and Prestes’  mother took custody of Anita. Later Anita returned to her father, Carlos in Brazil. Where she became a historian.

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