The Brazilian Communist Party was one of the largest Communist parties in Latin America until its split and dissolution in the 1990s. Although not granted legal status as a political party of Brazil until 1985, the Partido Comunista Brasileiro (PCB) has been tolerated by that country's regime.
Such governmental tolerance of the PCB was not always the case. In the past, the regime of Getúlio Vargas practiced savage forms of repression against Brazilian leftists, whose "Red extremism" was cited by both government leaders and the press as sufficient cause for Vargas' adoption of the most extreme measures.
Brazilian Communism, 1935–1945 is an objective and remarkably comprehensive account of the Brazilian Communist Party's struggle to survive those days of repression.
From his prison cell, PCB leader Luís Carlos Prestes guided the Party's quarreling factions. All who were associated with the Left shared a common enemy: the police, who used the most brutal forms of torture to extract information about leftist activities. Young Elza Fernandes, companion of the PCB's secretary general, was one whom the police interrogated. Suspecting that she had betrayed them, the Party itself arranged her murder.
Dulles' vivid account of this violent chapter in Latin American history is based on exclusive interviews with leading activists of the period and exhaustive research in the archives of both the PCB and the Brazilian police. The results make fascinating reading for Latin Americanists, historians of World War II, and students of international Communism alike.