Julião Arruda de Paula, Francisco (1915–1999)

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Julião Arruda de Paula, Francisco (1915–1999)

Francisco Julião Arruda de Paula (b. 16 February 1915; d. 10 July 1999), honorary president, Peasant Leagues of Brazil. Born to a once-prominent landowning family in Pernambuco State, Julião became a lawyer and politician who defended peasants and advocated land reform. He was twice elected state legislator in 1954 and 1958 and entered Congress in 1962. In 1964 the military imprisoned him, and in 1965 Mexico granted him asylum. Exiled, Julião returned to Brazil once in 1979 and again in 1986, when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. Rejected by voters, he returned to Mexico.

Julião was a controversial figure in the rural labor movement. He believed that feudalism reigned in Brazil and only a bourgeois revolution could bring progress. He pushed for radical agrarian reform—the quick redistribution of large landholdings without compensating owners in cash—and the complete enfranchisement of the rural poor. Fiercely independent, he devised his own spiritually rich discourse of revolt and resisted the directives of organizations, even his own.

Key supporters of the rural movement, such as the Brazilian Communist Party, distanced themselves from Julião. Within the Peasant Leagues, his independence spawned factionalism, with some members forcefully seizing land and others supporting legal methods of change. All the same, Julião did more to popularize the cause of the rural poor in Brazil and abroad than any other individual.

See alsoBrazil, Organizations: Peasant Leagues .


Francisco Julião, Cambão—The Yoke, the Hidden Face of Brazil, translated by John Butt (1972).

Joseph A. Page, The Revolution That Never Was: Northern Brazil, 1955–1964 (1972).

Additional Bibliography

Alexander, Robert J. A History of Organized Labor in Brazil. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.

Castellanos Hidalgo, Diana Guadalupe, and Batista Neto, Jônatas. Um olhar na vida de exílio de Francisco Julião. São Paulo, 2002.

Julião, Francisco. Cambão. México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1969.

                                                     Cliff Welch