Gabeira, Fernando (Nagle) 1943-

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GABEIRA, Fernando (Nagle) 1943-


Born 1943 (one source lists 1941), in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Politics: Partido Verde (green).


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Publifolha, A. Barão de Limeira, 401, 6 andar, São Paulo, SP, CEP 01202-001, Brazil.


Politician, activist, and novelist. Worked as a journalist, c. 1960s. Cofounder, Green Party.


Carta sobre a anistia: a entrevista do pasquim: conversação sobre 1968, Codecri (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1979.

O que é isso, companheiro? (autobiography; title means "What's This, Pal?"), Codecri (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1979.

O crepúsculo do macho (autobiography; title means "The Sunset of the Macho"), Codecri (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1980.

Hóspede da utopia, Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1981.

Entradas e bandeiras (autobiography), Codecri (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1981.

Sinais da vida no planeta Minas (novel; title means "Signs of Life on Planet Minas"), Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro), 1982.

Diário da crise, Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1984.

Vida alternativa: uma revoluçã, L & PM (Porto Alegre-Rio, Brazil), 1985.

Goiânia, rua 57; o nuclear terra do mundo, Espaço e Tempo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1987.

Nós que amávamos tanto a revolução, Rocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985.

Diário desalvação do mundo, Espaço e Tempo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1987.

Greenpeace, verde guerrilha da paz, Clube do Livro (São Paulo, Brazil), 1988.

Etc & tao: crönicas de fim de século, L & PM (Porto Alegre, Brazil), 1993.

Viagem ao coraço do Brasil, Scritta (São Paulo, Brazil), 1994.

Meio ambiente e sociedade, Senac (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1995.

O que é isso, companheiro? (screenplay; based on Gabeira's book), released in English as Four Days in September, Miramax Films/Paradora Cinema, 1997.

A machonha, Publifolha (São Paulo, Brazil), 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including Zero hora.

Author's works have been translated into French, German, and Spanish.


Brazilian activist Fernando Gabeira found fame as a kidnapper before he achieved success as an author. Involved in the 1969 kidnapping of U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Charles Burke Elbrick, the twenty-six-year-old Gabeira was arrested, tortured, and exiled to Latin America and ultimately Sweden, only returning to his homeland after that country's military government announced a general amnesty in 1979. Since returning to Brazil, Gabeira has altered his political viewpoints to Green, advocating on behalf of Brazil's women, minorities, homosexuals, and environment. Entering the political realm, he helped found the Partido Verde (Green Party) and ran unsuccessfully for governor of Rio de Janeiro in 1986 before his successful election to Brazil's parliament in 1994. Among his works are the autobiographical O que é isso, companheiro?, which has elevated him to the status of a celebrity since its 1979 publication, and the novel Sinais da vida no planeta Minas. Interestingly, he has been viewed less approvingly among his former colleagues of the guerilla left due to his newly adopted liberal ideas. As Alan Riding noted in the New York Times, Brazil's Marxists "denounce him as a publicity-hungry opportunist who flits from one political fad to the next, while his admirers, particularly younger followers, regard him as something of a guru."

Gabeira recounts his political activities of the 1960s as part of the Marxist Movimento Revolucionário 8 de outubro (MR-8) underground in his autobiographical book O que é isso, companheiro? The book follows the four days in the fall of 1969, when MR-8 forcibly abducted Ambassador Elbrick and successfully exchanged the American diplomat for fifteen political prisoners held by Brazil's military government. O qui é isso, companheiro? was eventually adapted by Gabeira into a screenplay directed by filmmaker Bruno Barreto, starring Alan Arkin, and released in 1997 as Four Days in September. Other testimonies of Gabeira's political life include Hóspede da utopia and O crepúsculo do macho, the latter an account of his life in Chile up until the ouster of Salvador Allende and the author's flight to Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America before leaving the region for Sweden.

In the novel Sinais da vida no planeta Minas, Gabeira comments on sexism through telling the story of a wealthy young woman who is murdered by a jealous lover. Noting that the author's "notions of sex-role analysis are wondrously fuzzy," World Literature Today reviewer N. Lindstrom nonetheless determined Sinais da vida no planeta Minas to be "worth reading for its detailed and vivid recreation of life among the well-heeled" and for the wealth of "legend, social history and gossip" Gabeira includes within its pages.

Commenting on Gabeira's nonfiction works, Robert Kruger noted in an essay in The Discourse of Power: Culture, Hegemony, and the Authoritarian State that the former guerrilla's rebirth as a Westernized liberal notwithstanding, there is a "strong nostalgic attitude throughout Gabeira's writings.… [He] writes with wit and humour, yet he tends to smother criticism in a satire often burlesque and lampoonish. Gabeira's is the indiscrete charm of an outraged petty bourgeoisie.… [whose] popularity lies precisely in the ideological process by which truly revolutionary ideas … are depopularized, that is, taken out of context, and away from the working class, and debased, transformed into bourgeois ideology … through the media and transmitted finally as political farce which reinforces mass cynicism."



Larsen, Neil, editor, The Discourse of Power: Culture, Hegemony, and the Authoritarian State, Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literature (Minneapolis, MN), 1983, pp. 177-178.


American Historical Review, April, 1998, Darién Davis, review of Four Days in September, pp. 632-633.

Financial Times, October 13, 1997, Geoff Dyer, "Brazilian Maverick Shifts Spiritual Home," p. 4.

Guardian, February 25, 1998, Alex Bellos, "Naked Gun," p. T9.

New York Times, August 5, 1985, Alan Riding, "Exile, Back in Rio, Agitates for Change on the Left," p. A2.

ULULA, annual 1984, Dulce-Maria Viana, "O narcisismo da mesmoria," pp. 73-80.

World Literature Today, winter, 1984, N. Lindstrom, review of Sinais de vida no planeta Minas, p. 82.


Fernando Gabeira Home Page, (November 5, 2003).*