Marília Guimarães Freire: An interview

By Nathália Urban

In her interview for Veias Abertas at Brasil 247, Marília Guimarães Freire, educator, former guerrilla fighter of the Vanguarda Armada Revolucionaria Palmares, recounted what it was like to flee to Cuba amidst the Brazilian military dictatorship in 1970 with two small children.  Marília said that “President Dilma took care of Marcelo and Eduardo after a year they were almost only with me. They stayed 15 days with Dilma, she is so tender, this woman is so strong, so wonderful.  She took care of these boys in such a sweet way.” 

Marília lived a year in hiding with the children trying to outwit the military.  The only way she could see how to get back to a normal life was to hijack a plane and make it to Cuba.  The trip was strenuous, and it took 4 days to be made, and the educator thanked the journalists who widely reported that there were children on the flight, as that is why she believes they were not attacked when they stopped to refuel.  Tired and dehydrated, as she had not brought food on the plane, only milk and cookies for her children, Marília needed medical care, and it was in a hospital in Havana that she had her first meeting with Comandante Fidel Castro in a lift. “I was so enchanted that I couldn’t even speak”, but that was at first, as she later became close friends with Castro and several important officials of the Cuban Revolution, and it was at this time that she realized how special the Cuban people were.

Marília experienced the attacks of US imperialism and said that even in the face of heavy blows Fidel Castro continued to give strength to the Cuban people.  She lived for ten years in Cuba with her children, before returning to Brazil in 1980, after the Amnesty Law, but even so has a close relationship and is committed to keeping the Fidelista struggle alive, and she considers the commander of the Cuban Revolution to be the greatest statesman of our times. 

Along with Fidel and other Latin American intellectuals and politicians, she created in 2003 the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements “In Defense of Humanity”, known as REDH, and founded the Brazilian chapter of REDH together with urbanist architect Oscar Niemeyer.  Currently, REDH is active in several countries around the world and works with anti-imperialist awareness and, of course, solidarity with Cuban socialism.

You can watch the interview In Portuguese here: