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Prestes, Luís Carlos (1898–1990) and Prestes, Olga Benário (1908–1942)

Paula Rodrigues Pontes and Diogo L. Pinheiro

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Brazil

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, communism, democracy, reform movements, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01215.x


Luís Carlos Prestes was a Brazilian communist and leader in the movement for democratic reform. Born in Porto Alegre, Brazil on January 3, 1898, Prestes was a central figure in the Tenentismo (lieutenants' movement) demanding greater electoral democracy in Brazil during the first half of the twentieth century. He was married to Olga Benário Prestes, a German revolutionary born Olga Gutmann Benário in Munich on February 12, 1908. Prestes came from a poor family. His father, Antônio Pereira Prestes, was an army captain, and his mother, Leocâdia Felizardo Prestes, was a schoolteacher. In 1904, Prestes and his family moved to Rio due to his father's failing health. After his father's death in 1908, the family was driven into poverty. Prestes was home schooled until 1909, when he joined the military school and started his career in the armed forces. In 1920, he graduated from military school with a degree in engineering and the rank of second lieutenant. Soon after graduating, Prestes was promoted to first lieutenant and started working in the Companhia Ferroviária (Railroad Company). It was during this period that he became acquainted with the Tenentista movement. Tenentismo did not follow any particular ideology, focusing instead on demanding the implementation of certain democratic measures, such as secret voting and educational reforms. In 1921, newspapers published letters by the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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