Brasilien: Ana Montenegro

Respecting the people is to see to their needs.

— Ana Montenegro

Ana Montenegro (1915) has been a communist militant since her youth. She was part of the creation of many female organizations. With the military coup of 1964, she went into exile with her two small children. After 15 years, she came back to her country to continue her battle. As a lawyer, she helped, for free, women suffering with domestic violence. Journalist, writer and a poet, she is an unmistakable reference in the recent history of Brazilian social struggles.

1945 was not just any year. It celebrated the end of the Second World War and of one more Brazilian dictatorship, of Getúlio Vargas' government. It was an interesting year: against fascisms and massacres, in favor of freedom and human rights. It was also the year when Ana Montenegro affiliated herself to the Brazilian Communist Party. Ana wrote for the party's newspapers and magazines. She also wrote for the radio and for diaries of the great press, about health, salaries, education. She was part of the foundation and the daily life of women and social organizations. She is a lawyer convinced that the people are the great master. Today, at age 90, she advises young lawyers “to be sensitive to popular needs.” In 1964, with the tanks on the streets and the military truculence on its way, Ana left for a long exile. But she did not stop. Ana walked around Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Palestine, Eastern Germany. The distance allowed her to improve her thoughts on Brazil. The fight against racism and for women became primary to her. With the amnesty in 1979, Ana came back to do what she has always done: popular mobilization and agitation. She supported ‘invasions’ of neighborhoods of the outskirts of the city of Salvador. She fought alongside underprivileged residents of the Historical Center of Pelourinho, when the region was dominated by real estate speculation.