My personal relationship with Brazil is deeply embedded in this book. Soon
after graduating from college, I moved to a working- class neighborhood in
Philadelphia with seven other young radical Quakers to live in a commune
and engage in a weekly Latin American study group. Each of us chose to re-
port on a different country. For some reason, I selected Brazil. In gathering
material for my report, I discovered the publications of the North American
Congress on Latin America (nacLa) and an interview with the Brazilian stu-
dent leader Jean Marc Van der Weid, published by the Chicago Area Group on
Latin America. They captured my imagination and started me off on a quest
to learn more about the country, its history, and its political situation during
the military regime. I am very grateful to Pamela Haines, Alan Blood, Ellen
Forsythe, Peter Blood, Ruth Reber, Shay Long, and Eli Hochstetler (who has
since passed away) for that intense two- year experience. At some point, I
sent a letter to the Committee against Repression in Brazil (carib). After
receiving a response, I journeyed to Washington, D.C., where I met Marcos
Arruda, a principal character in this book. Marcos was, at the time, a Bra-
zilian political exile and one of the leaders of the antidictatorship movement
in the United States. I was immediately struck by his charismatic and gentle
nature, and he encouraged me to help out in the campaigns being organized
about Brazil. He also introduced me to his sister, Martinha, who has become
a lifelong friend.
I played a marginal role in working against the Brazilian military regime
in the early 1970s. In gathering signatures to help obtain the release of the
jailed activist Manoel da Conceição, I soon discovered how little people in the
United States knew about Brazil. The coup d’état in Chile turned my atten-
tion toward that country, and between September 1973 and December 1975 I
worked endless hours first in Philadelphia and then in the San Francisco Bay
Area to educate the U.S. public about the military regime of Augusto Pino-
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