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The environment of wartime migration: labor transfers from the Brazilian Northeast to the Amazon during World War II.

A brouhaha erupted during the Brazilian Constituent Assembly of 1946, convened after the fall of Getulio Vargas's Estado Novo regime (1937-45). Congressmen from Ceara and other Northeastern states alleged that of the estimated 52,000 nordestinos who had been transported by the Brazilian government to tap rubber in the Amazon during World War II (comprised of an estimated 32,000 male workers and their dependents), 23,000 migrants were "dead or lost." Under a bilateral agreement of March 1942, Brazil had agreed to export its surplus raw rubber to the United States, which lost over ninety percent of its traditional supplies following the Japanese invasion of the Malayan peninsula. The U.S. government subsidized mass labor transfers to the forest to maximize production in the absence of a compliant local work force. In the 1946 congressional debates, Northeastern delegates charged that the Vargas dictatorship had lured desperate drought evacuees and gullible peasants to the Amazon with the promise of quick riches and state assistance, only to abandon them to malaria, malnutrition, and price-gouging bosses. The ensuing controversy culminated in a special parliamentary inquest of the Brazilian Congress between July and September 1946 that aimed to uncover the migrants' wartime fate. (1)

Postwar scholarship overwhelmingly has sided with the Northeasterners. (2) As Marco Antonio Villa argues, the Estado Novo, preying upon drought victims, had its "hands' free to lead the workers as it wished to Amazonia." (3) In 2006, a New York Times article alleged that wartime migrants to the Amazon had been "dragooned" by Brazilian government officials. (4) In testimony to journalists, documentary filmmakers, and on websites, the migrants have also told tales of deception and victimization. (5)

If we can set aside classic canards of the Amazon as Green Hell, students of migration will readily recognize a broader trend. In sending regions, anti-emigration Cassandras often blame unscurpulous recruiters--whether government officials or padrones--for duping ingenuous peasants, draining local labor, and unleashing moral disaster. (6) Migration looms as an inherently coercive or reactive process, never as a choice or strategy to improve the well-being of a household or its individual members, or as a form of protest. (7) Indeed, since the days of the classic Amazonian rubber boom (c. 18.50-1920), a number of prominent Cearenses had bewailed false pictures of social mobility advanced by Amazonians that lured their compatriots into debt servitude. (8) In particular, the northeastern drought evacuee, immortalized in regionalist literature and political discourse, epitomizes the reluctant migrant (and hapless victim): "he only leaves his plot of land when he can no longer tight against rebel nature and his children have already been taken from him one by one, dead from hunger and thirst." (9) As one author notes more broadly of such representations, the sertao, or backlands, of northeastern Brazil is "space without history, hostile to change, a wilderness where the camp-lire still warms the heart, without radio and without news of civilized lands ... Places, loves, family, beloved animals, little farms are as if suspended in rime in the hope that one day the migant will return and find everything just as he left it." (10)

This essay revisits northeastern migration to Amazonia during World War II, the largest state-subsidized domestic transfer of free labor in Brazil's history. I argue that wartime migration must be understood in the context of larger historical and socioeconomic patterns of northeastern labor flows to the Amazon. By the time of the war, sizeable migration between the northeast and the Amazon had existed for nearly a century. Historians have estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 nordestinos had arrived in the Amazon by 1910. (11) According to Raimundo Girao, a historian of Ceara, 225,526 migrants from that, state alone went to the Amazon between 1869 and 1900. (12) Although plantation rubber from Southeast Asia eclipsed Brazilian latex in the 1910s, devastating the Amazonian trade and stanching the mass migration of previous decades, even during the interwar period the existing micro-social linkages between the regions, as well as depressed conditions in the northeast and occasional economic upswings in rubber prices, sustained nordestino migration to the Amazon. (13) Through the trail of financial remittances, the first-hand experiences of return, migrants ("paroaras"), the verse of popular poets, and the lore of families and communities, images of the Amazon as a site of both opportunity and risk long circulated outside official, institutional channels in the northeast.

Drought did play a role in "pushing" out northeasterners to the Amazon during the war. As Joaquim Moreira de Souza, who emigrated from the Jaguaribe Valley to the Amazon during the war, succinctly explained in 1998 his reason for leaving Ceara: "drought nudged me along." (14) Although migrants' testimonies often isolate climatic adversity as the culprit for their personal odyssey, drought may function in such narratives as shorthand for the larger, punishing socioeconomic forces over which they likewise had little control, or as a linguistic shield for family dramas too intricate or intimate to affirm publicly. The misery wrought by drought originates in the political as much as the natural landscape: like other "natural" disasters, drought must be understood as a social phenomenon, mediated by existing political, socieconomic, and cultural networks, in which climatic conditions gravely exacerbate deep-seated social inequalities. (15) Put another way, drought does not kill people or force them to leave their homes: hunger and disease do. This in turn raises broader questions about unequal access of the rural population to food, water, credit, transposition, medical care, and government assistance in weathering the effects of drought. In this sense, wartime migration to the Amazon during World War II must also be assessed in the context of the differential impact of drought on backland populations, the diverse political strategies by Cearense elites and federal officials to manage social crisis, and the constrained options of the rural poor to cope with privation.

In Ceara, rapid demographic growth, inequitable land distribution, increase of agroexports, and expansion of transportation networks had prompted emigration to southern Brazil even prior to the war. With a steep rise in the local cost of living during the war, opportunities arising from a commodity boom and labor shortage in the Amazon offered seemingly viable alternatives; state-subsidized transport, slashing the financial cost of relocation with free passage and a small daily wage in transit, undoubtedly acted as a stronger incentive than any siren-song of official propaganda.

As Jose Moya notes, migrants respond to larger macrostructural forces over which they have little control, but in the process they become active participants in the shaping of history. (16) Although individual wartime decisions to go to Amazonia were, in fact, structured by numerous factors--environmental disaster, socioeconomic status, age, gender, family dynamic, health, accessibility to transportation and information--migrants were not passive victims or dupes, but historical actors who possessed varied motivations, expectations, resources, and opportunities in embarking for the valley. (17) At the most fundamental level, nordestino migrants hoped for fair pay and decent work in the Amazon.

The Political Economy and Ecology of Wartime Drought

The state of Ceara experienced two years of drought between 1941-42, and a partial drought in 1943. (18) Like its neighbors in northeastern Brazil, Ceara had a dearth of industry, banks, schools, hospitals, and skilled labor. (19) In 1940, 77 percent of Ceara's population of 2.1 million was rural. Over 78 percent of the state's population was illiterate. (20) By the early 1940s, the extraction of xerophilous plants such as the carnauba palm (wax), oiticica tree (oil), castor seed (oil), and the caroa cactus (hemp-like fiber) complemented cotton as the state's leading ex-port commodities. Cash crops, however, continued to be controlled by a small group of larger landowners. Most agriculturists were subsistence farmers, whether smallholders or sharecroppers, although peasant households might also engage in cultivation or gathering of a cash crop. (21) With an agricultural sector largely devoid of irrigation, storage facilities, machinery, inputs, and pesticides, rain acquired supreme importance in the reproduction of peasant households and the broader economic life of Ceara. (22)

U.S. observers estimated in November 1942 that 300,000 people had been affected by the drought in Ceara, albeit in varying degrees, with approximately 100,000 concentrated in the vicinity of small towns living from occasional jobs and begging, and 18,000 men (supporting 80,000 people) working on public road construction. (23) Thousands of flagelados, or drought evacuees, converged on the backland towns, congregating near the commercial establishments, churches, and municipal offices in search of food, work, or alms, overwhelming local resources. (24) Francisco de Menezes Pimentel, the federally-appointed governor in Ceara, pressed the Vargas administration to subsidize public works in the state, but also endorsed an existing program of federally-sponsored migration to the Amazon as a measure for drought relief. (25)

The history of drought in the Brazilian northeast and the efforts to combat it are well documented. (26) Eighty to ninety per cent of the rainfall in the sertao, a heterogeneous territory of some 650,000 square kilometers covering the backlands of Northeastern Brazil, is concentrated during the wet season, which ordinarily begins in January and reaches its peak in April, making agricultural cultivation tricky, even in normal times (27) Droughts, which occur at random intervals (although averaging one in ten years) and of varying duration (one to three years), afflict a large part of the agricultural and pastoral pursuits of a vast realm of the Northeast interior, particularly in the states of Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, and Pernambuco. The climatic challenge of the Northeastern sertao, thus, is less its dryness than the irregularity of the dry spells (the irregularity of the crises, in turn, bedeviling both individual and government actions to preempt its devastating effects.) (28)

Until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the sertao attracted few Portuguese settlers given the region's harsh climate, challenging soils (when compared to the fertile coastal plantation region) and hostile Indians. During the late colonial period, however, settlers began to push inland, subduing indigenous groups and receiving land grants from the Portuguese crown. By the early 1800s, large cattle ranches had been established in the sertao to supply the coastal plantations with meat and cattle by-products. The population of the backlands remained relatively small, but the introduction of cotton in the mid-nineteenth century, favored by the plunge in U.S. exports during the Civil War, fuelled an export boom that attracted a large numbers of small fanners and rural workers. (29) As a mixed cattle and cash-crop economy took hold in the sertao, a variety of tenancy arrangements emerged. The rural workforce commonly cultivated subsistence crops in conjunction with, and often on a similar basis to arrangements regarding, cotton: landowners granted tenant farmers (rendeiros) and sharecroppers (parceiros) the right to occupy land in return for payment in cash, or more typically a stipulated share of the crop. A stratum of workers earned petty wages for random chores performed on the estate. But a large group of small landowners and their families also eked out a living on their own plots, mixing subsistence farming with small cash-crop production. (30)

Writing in 1942, a Brazilian government official offered an explanation to the classic question (posed typically by outsiders) as to why communities persist in regions chronically haunted by the threat of natural disaster. In years of abundant rainfall "fortunes are made," he noted, but when drought "surprised" dwellers and state officials, the need for emergency assistance, emigration, and public works surged; when the crisis ended, things returned to normal. (31) This assessment was somewhat misleading in that only a relatively few large landowners earned "fortunes," but he did rightly point to the region's intrinsic links to the agroexport economy. We might also add that the family labor of peasant households, drawing upon extensive knowledge of crops, soils, and cyclical seasonal, patterns, as well as utilization of local flora and fauna spread over a range of microenvironments, further served to sustain the backhand population. (32)

Following the great drought of 1877-79 in which an estimated one half of Ceara's population of one million perished as a consequence of hunger and epidemic disease--the worst "natural" disaster in Latin American history--the federal government undertook the first of many studies to prevent future catastrophes and to combat the personal and political profiteering that had occurred during the tragedy. (33) The Inspetoria Federal de Obras contra as Secas (IFOCS), created in 1909, endorsed technical solutions to solve the problems of northeastern drought--creation of dams and storage reservoirs (or acudes), establishment of meteorological and pluviometric stations, geological surveys, and construction of railroads and roads to assist in future relief efforts. (34) But overall, the Northeastern states' measured political influence and economic subordination to the coffee-producing and industrializing southern states limited federal responsiveness to the problem of drought.

After Vargas came to power in 1930, the federal government significantly expanded public works in the northeastern sertao: between 1931 and 1944, the regime constructed thirty public acudes with the capacity to store three times as much water as prior to that period; an increase in the number of private (state-subsidized) acudes boosted water storage capacity by more than tenfold. (35) The road network, comprised primarily of improved and unimproved dirt highways, expanded between 1930 and 1942, by over 6,000 kilometers. (36) Yet the Vargas regime, proffering technological fixes for thorny sociopolitical problems, failed to stem the differential impact of drought, on backland populations. State-funded reservoirs and dams, constructed without simultaneous preparation of an irrigation network (which due to the prior settlement of downstream lands would have required expropriation of estates), benefited large cash crop producers and a handful of adjacent smallholders. (37) Road construction, promising greater mobility of goods and people during crisis, might primarily reward backland bosses. (38) As Manoel Taigy de Queiroz Mello of Taperoa, Paraiba wrote to Vargas in February 1944: "roads only serve to 'richen' ("enricar") truck owners, reservoirs are very good for the mayors and their cronies, and even so need rain to fill up." After three years of drought, his neighbors were "veritable skeletons," reduced to begging, or stealing barbed wire to sell for food. (31)

Their plight was sadly familiar: drought was far more likely to devastate subsistence farmers than the owners of cattle herds, cotton or carnauba palm plantations, or other cash-crop xerophilous plants. Larger properties concentrating their assets in cattle, cultivation of cotton, or other drought-resistant plants were more directly linked to the market economy and could rely on cash and other liquid assets in times of need. Although cotton production declined across the hoard during drought, large landowners who sold directly to wholesalers were less likely to suffer a drastic drop in income than smallholders who lacked storage facilities to withhold cotton, and were often obliged to deal through intermediaries offering a lower price or payment in kind rather than cash. Larger landowners, able to store staples, were also poised to take advantage of spikes in food prices occasioned by drought. Likewise, although ranchers suffered kisses in livestock, they might lead or haul cattle to more humid valleys, dispense with hired laborers, switch areas of cotton and staple food production to grazing, or let loose their animals on sharecroppers' plots. (40) Large landowners also brokered political power in the Northeastern backlands. In Ceara, prominent clans controlled discrete geographical regions: the Feitosas of Inhamuns, the Montes of Sobral, the Queiroz of Quixada, the Gouveias of Iguatu, the Tavoras of Jaguaribe. (41)

Sharecroppers and smallholders, on the other hand, were hobbled during drought by inequalities in land distribution and tenure, access to water, and insertion into the market. Concentrated on maximizing returns on crop cultivation through the use of family labor, they could not quickly decapitalize when faced with an emergency, while their resources stretched thin to support numerous dependents. Indebted to a landowner, a local store owner or a peddler, they lacked assets and storage facilities, and were chronically forced to sell a crop during harvest well below market price. (42) With only a small cash income garnered from the sale of their produce or from wage payments, they depended primarily on meager stocks of staple foods to survive droughts, yet these staples were most hard hit during drought. A 1970 study comprised of nearly 3,000 interviews conducted on public work fronts in the Northeast during drought found, for example, that sharecroppers accounted for 42% of the workers, although they comprised only 7% of the total rural labor force in the sertao. (43)

Analysis of 1940 census data reveals the widespread poverty and stark social inequalities in the state of Ceara. While agriculture (along with extractivism and ranching) formed the principal livelihood of the Cearense population, properties over 100 hectares, comprising slightly less than 20 per cent of total landholdings, controlled over 76 per cent of the land. [See chart]:
Size of Landholdings in Ceara  Percentage of  Percentage of
     in 1940 (hectares)            Rural      Area Covered

0-1.9                                   5.18           0.05

2-9.9                                  18.48           1.07

10-99.9                                55.89          22.11

100-999.9                              19.19          51.24

Over 1,000                              0.55          25.53

Source: Anthony Hall, Drought and Irrigation in North-East
Brazil, p. 34.

And while many small farmers maintained direct access to the means of production through the use of family labor, rapid demographic growth strained these units. From 1920 to 1940, the population of Ceara increased from 1,319,228 to 2,091,032, one of the fastest growing populations per capita of any state in Brazil. Nearly 32 per cent of the state's population in 1940 was under the age of ten. (44)

The expansion in export commodities prior to the 1942 drought likely widened the gulf among rural dwellers based on comparative access to the cash economy. Cotton was a case in point. The "white gold" of the northeastern backlands, which had launched the economic and demographic boom in the nineteenth century, enjoyed a resurgence in the 1920s and 1930s with the introduction of moco cotton into the central sertao of Ceara in 1922, hailed as a hardier, drought-resistant crop. (45) Whereas raw cotton exports from all of Brazil in 191 7 amounted to only 5,941 tons, in 1938-39, Northeastern Brazil produced between 50-60,000 tons of cotton for domestic consumption, and 122,000 tons for export primarily to Europe and Japan. (46) With an average production of 27,000 tons per year, Ceara placed third in cotton production in Brazil (after Sao Paulo and Paraiba), accounting for 30% of the total annual income of the state in 1944. (47)

In 1935, U.S. geographer Robert Platt reported that in Quixada, cotton pouring in from nearby plantations was busily ginned and baled, while trainloads of the fiber crammed Fortaleza's warehouses and foreign ships crowded its harbor. (48) Three years later, Quixada was Ceara's second largest cotton-producing region, and boasted a new school, church, public square, and radio transmission. (49) On his visit to the Sao Joao cotton plantation near Quixada, Platt noted that the estate, owned by a Brazilian of Portuguese ancestry "whose family has owned property in Ceara for generations and has been influential in domestic affairs," was comprised overwhelmingly of alluvial land within reach of water channeled in canals from the Cedro reservoir. (50) But cotton also served as the "poor man's crop," cultivated by thousands of smallholders and sharecroppers on small plots throughout the state like a great patch quilt. (51) In 1944, the U.S. consul in Fortaleza, Walter Hoffmann, estimated that 389,440 people or 18.5% of the total Cearense population depended on cotton for their livelihood, which he broke down as 1,650 plantation owners, 68,000 rural workers, 3,500 factory hands, and 3,925 laborers in gins (the remainder comprising families of the persons enumerated). Hoffmann noted that cotton was generally grown on farms ranging from 25 to 60 hectares under primitive and inefficient methods--indiscriminate planting of tree and bush varieties of cotton, cultivation by hand and the use of hoes, careless gathering, and improper storage--due to the inability of smaller farmers "to put aside the capital necessary for the acquisition of machinery." (52)

With the advent of drought in 1942-43, cotton production in Ceara was more than halved from the previous year and nearly seventy-five percent lower than in 1940-41.
Year     Production of Ceara Cotton (in Kilos)

1937-38                             30,645,000

1938-39                             27,692,200

1939-40                             27,745,000

1940-41                             31,009,000

1941-42                             19,633,000

1942-43                              8,203,000

1943-44                             12,298,000

1944                    25,000,000 (estimated)

Source: Walter W. Hoffmann, Ceara Cotton, Fortaleza, August 10, 1944

Smaller formers, mired in debt, could not secure credit to weather the storm. As another U.S. consul noted in November 1942: "at what is generally the height of the cotton ginning season many gins in the sertao region are already preparing to close down for the year. The poorer farmers and laborers in this district are in desperate straits, due to the lack of employment and have no means of providing for themselves and their families." (53)

The boom in carnauba wax and oiticica oil in the late 1930s and 1940s, relative newcomers to Ceara's export economy, effected similar socioeconomic disparities. Extracted from the leaves of a palm found in the forests bordering the principal rivers of the northeast, carnauba wax had been traditionally used in industry as a base for shoe, floor, and furniture polishes, and also in the manufacture of lubricants, soap, phonograph records, automobile paints, and electric insulators. But demand surged in the late 1930s with carnauba's application to war armaments and materiel, as surface waxing had been found to increase the speed of airplanes. (54) Between 1938 and 1944, the price of carnauba wax more than doubled; over half of Brazilian exports came from Ceara, with, the state's Jaguaribe valley leading in extraction. (55) The carnauba boom brought the trappings of modernity to towns in the Jaguaribe valley and increased commercial and transportation links with Fortaleza. The radio came to Limoeiro in 1936, telephone service in 1939, and a cinema in 1940 (56) By 1939, carnauba wax was Ceara's leading export, and by 1941 had jumped to sixth place in Brazilian exports, with the United States the largest importer. (57) The American consul in Fortaleza estimated in 1944 that 25 to 30 percent of the population of Ceara was directly connected with this "industry." (58)

During the drought of 1942, carnauba output was compromised by adverse climatic conditions, as well as the shortage of workers from out-migration. (59) But the uneven dividends of the carnauba trade redounded in the differential impact of drought. The U.S. consulate, for example, noted that most workers on the carnauba properties seldom earned the equivalent of two cruzeiros daily--and the harvest was short, lasting on average less than two months during the end of the dry season. During the winter months, when the wax could not be harvested, thousands were bereft of any income whatsoever. (60) Some workers devoted their time to small agricultural clearings, while others living near more populated areas might find temporary employment in town. (61) To acquire food, clothing, medicine and other incidentals, palm "cutters" became indebted to owners or merchants through advances or store purchases. The "donos das varzeas" ("owners of the river banks") where the carnauba grew, on the other hand, were key beneficiaries. (62) One such elite member was Joao Ivo Xavier, the ex-mayor of Russas, who nor only owned a large carnauba property, but a mill for refining the wax; his "enchanting" country house, the "best in that region," even had electricity, sustained by a powerful generator. And like other wealthier landowners in the early 1940s, Xavier did not reside on his rural estate, but rather in Fortaleza where he could educate his numerous children. (63) Thus, with his wealth and diversified assets Xavier was well equipped to ride out a drought.

Oiticica oil, another raw material impacted by global militarization, likewise generated unequal returns in local communities. Since the mid-1930s, the oil--obtained from the pecan-sized nut of the large evergreen which grew wild in the grasslands bordering the Jaguaribe river and other riverbeds in the sertao--had been used in the paint and varnish industry and as an industrial sealant. The huge wartime demand in the United States for drying oils--rising from 640 million pounds in 1940 to an estimated 900 million in 1941 alone--conjoined with a cut in traditional Asian supplies and improved technology to prevent coagulation of oiticica oil, resulted in an unprecedented boom. Oiticica jumped to become Brazil's eleventh largest export commodity in 1940, with more than 20 oil-producing plants in operation, fourteen of which were in Ceara (primarily in Fortaleza) and the others in the drought-belt states. Oiticica nuts, gathered in the wild, were harvested from January to April; gathering was usually undertaken by entire families who brought the nuts to collecting stations along the few available roads or the railroads, or furnished them to large landowners to sell to the extracting companies. Although the oiticica tree resisted drought, its "fruiting was almost nil in the droughts, and therefore considered a crop that required irrigation." Consequently, gathering of oiticica nuts offered minimum protection for flagelados, who were forced to seek relief in more hospitable regions. (64)

The export, boom further exacerbated the effects of drought for the poorer populations by diverting labor and capital from food staples, compromising local production and deepening Ceara's dependency on food imports. An agricultural journal of 1939, for example, noted that in Ceara the production of manioc flour, the staple diet of the poor, had undergone a complete reversal over the previous two decades: whereas between 1919 and 1929 the state had exported 24 million kilos of flour, during the following decade the state had been forced to import 84 million kilos. (65) Dulphe Pinheiro Machado, a civil engineer and member of the federal government's Council on Immigration and Colonization (Conselho de Imigracao e Colonizacao) who surveyed drought conditions in rural Ceara in May 1942, noted that farmers and herders in the Jaguaribe Valley had earned their greatest profits in the extractive industries of carnauba and oiticica, but this shift had contributed to "the restriction in agricultural production and, consequently, its insufficiency for popular consumption." (66) Likewise, the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) noted that, although accurate statistics for crop production in Ceara were impossible, staple crop production had decreased from 1940-41, while cotton and carnauba wax increased, [see chart] The drought would also deplete meat supplies as livestock perished, ranchers drove their herds to other states, and smallholders slaughtered cattle for consumption. (67)

The problem of agro-exports crowding out food staples in northeastern Brazil was clearly not new. The deadliness of drought in the nineteenth century--northeastern Brazil's "late Victorian Holocaust"--had been linked to the vulnerability of the rural population to an economy increasingly dependent on monocrop cotton production. (68) The rapid growth of Ceara's population in the 1930s, however, rendered the state's decreased food production particularly ominous during drought. As demand for food increased, prices skyrocketed. (69) William Rambo, U.S. vice consul in Fortaleza, noted in April 1942 that the cost of living was two to three times higher in Ceara than normal due to the serious drought which resulted in the loss of basic food supplies grown for local consumption and reliance on imports from other states, the prohibitive price of canned goods due to lack of transportation, gasoline shortages, and higher costs, and commercial speculation on food imports. Rambo took the opportunity to ask the Secretary of State for a raise. (70)
Crop Production in Ceara in Pounds, 1940-44

                 1940         1941         1942

Rice       54,238,140   40,626,696   33,000,000

Com       249,301,536  197,016,463  111,012,000

Beans     117,685,688  114,977,280   29,040,000

Manioc    953,431,600  857,054,000  792,200,000

Cotton     35,200,000   68,200,000   41,905,600

Carnauba    7,696,359    7,738,654    4,511,712

                 1943         1944

Rice       17,600,000   26,243,000

Com       123,200,000  275,000,000

Beans      33,300,000   61,146,400

Manioc    880,000,000    1,100,000

Cotton     48,400,000   55,000,000

Carnauba   11,000,000    9,900,000

Source: S.B. Fenne, Chief of Region IV, Division of Food
and Nutrition, OCIAA, "Ceara," July 25, 1944, NA, RG 84,
Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil,
Fortalesa Consulate, 1944

The poorest sectors of Ceara, with slight chance of securing credit, or getting a raise, suffered disproportionately the socioeconomic effects of drought. In the countryside, merchants typically extended credit in the form of tools, seed, and food to smallholders and sharecroppers in the non-harvest season between October and April (71) An IFOCS report of 1942, however, noted the dilemma faced by small farmers and sharecroppers, who were: "lacking resources from the previous year in which the rainfall was notoriously scarce; struggling, from the beginning, against, shortages and exorbitant prices of basic foods; devoid of indispensable assistance from the (large] rural landowner who, with few exceptions, has left them to their own devices, or better said, had delivered them to public officials at the first sign of a bad winter." (72) The effects on small farmers were devastating: "without financing or furnishing of foodstuffs the rural workers abandoned their home and the cotton trees that might [allow them to] recoup such losses one or two years later when they produced once again their 'white gold."' (73)

A similar trend was described by anthropologist (diaries Wagley, contracted by the OIAA to oversee the directed migration of nordestinos to the Amazon. In a five-day field trip that he made in November 1942 through eastern and southern Ceara and western Parafba, Wagley noted that in the central sertao of Ceara, between Jaguaribe-Mirim and Quixada, the problem was not the lack of food per se, since imported food was found in all small stores, but the lack of money to purchase it. The lack of transportation caused by gasoline shortages only exacerbated the high cost of food supplies. In the town of Laranjeiras, Wagley noted, few people were starving refugees who had been forced to pull up stakes; but they were chronically hungry and getting by on one meal per day comprised of farinha and piaba, a small fish about the size of a goldfish eaten in dried form. In other regions of the state, however, large numbers of families were on the move in search of work or assistance. (74) Wagley noted that if rain arrived, landowners and commercial houses would import and furnish supplies and food so char the farmer could plant, taking a chance that he could produce for them. But the merchant firms were withholding supplies until there were bountiful rains to ensure a productive harvest. (75)

In one of the few telegrams sent to Vargas from an agriculturist during the 1942 drought, Joaquim Alves de Freitas emphasized the socioeconomic factors that had exacerbated the ecological effects of drought. Bemoaning that the 'magnate and usurer" Antonio Freitas Nobre had seized his only property "below cost" after refusing to accept new terms for loan repayment, Alves de Freitas pleaded for the protection of poor farmers from unscrupulous creditors. (76) And Jose Pires Ferreira, another ruined farmer, addressed Vargas in December 1943 with heartrending abjection: "I am a worker. We have had 3 years of draught [sic] in Ceara and my family and I are now in mizery [sic]; winter is arriving and I don't have one tool left. I have turned to the state interventor Dr. M. Pimentel and have not received a reply." The farmer asked the president to provide three sickles, three axes, and three hoes. (77) Ferreira had reached rock bottom: small farmers sold their tools, mules, or livestock typically as a last recourse during drought, only to fetch below-marker prices.

In a primarily rural state such as Ceara, drought crippled production across the board. Rivers and smaller reservoirs dried up, cattle perished and even xerophilous crops diminished. State revenues plunged and credit contracted. But the impact of drought, tempered by socioeconomic and political factors, rendered starkly differential outcomes and options for backlands populations. From her ranch in Taua, Dondon Feitosa wrote a friend on July 10, 1942: "Here, aside from a situation of absurd shortages, we are living through a terrible drought due to the great lack [of rainfall]." But she noted, "Our friends remain firm, as if suffering has the capacity to unite us even further" As a member of the traditional Feitosa clan--with her one son in high school who planned to attend the military academy in Fortaleza and another son married and living in the south of Brazil (whom she had just returned from visiting)--Dondon could better afford to "stand firm" in the face of "absurd shortages." (78) She and her "friends" certainly would not have to suffer the indignities of begging in town, internment in concentration camps in Fortaleza, underpay on public works projects, or relocation to the Amazon as a method of drought relief. To wit, Dondon Feitosa's ability to write a letter to record her plight is in itself telling: a survey of 54 release forms of the Servico de Mobilizacao de Trabalhadores a Amazonia (SEMTA), the Brazilian state agency-entrusted with transporting nordestino men to the Amazon (subsidized by the U.S. government), reveals that 28 of the prospective recruits could not even sign their name. (79)

Drought Migration and the Amazon: Subaltern Strategies and Public Policies

Like other "natural" calamities, droughts are seen differently by different people. For scientists, they can be seen as a challenge to order, progress, knowledge and power. (80) It is these technocrats who dominate the public discourse--and the written historical documentation--on drought. In attempting to physically wall in the places and occasions of disaster as zones of exclusion, technocrats often treat everyday life and natural disaster as opposites, cementing what one social scientist has termed, a "myth of ordinary life." (81) But the risks and uncertainties that bear upon the poor's preparedness for drought flow from the everyday conditions of work and social security--"ordinary life"--that consume their energies. At the mercy of merchant, capital for loans and marketing of goods, small farmers rarely had the motivation or the means to invest in input or technology, even when they owned their own land. The lack of long-term, low interest loans, usurious credit, and the montage of crop advances (safra 'na folha') gravely reduced agriculturists' profits, often resulting in chronic indebtedness or insolvency. In his 1939 study of 46 families living at the agricultural post of Sao Goncalo maintained by IFOCS in Paraiba, Duque found an illiteracy rate of 75% for the population over 10, and an infant mortality rate of 31% (under 1 year old). All of the families had debt ranging from 50$00 to 250$000, representing a deficit of one to two months of work. (82) In other words, as one anthropologist noted of smallholders in Ceara in the 1960s, "even in normal conditions" they faced the constant dilemma of whether to hold on to domestic stocks, which were replenished only once a year in the dry harvest season, or to satisfy the need for other consumer goods such as food and clothing involving unfavorable trade with merchants. (83)

Migration to the Amazon must be viewed as one of numerous tactics that backlanders pursued to cope with the effects of drought in 1942-43, although it was not the principal one. Sertanejo populations, burdened with the historical memory and imminence of drought, developed their own understandings, networks and strategies for mitigating its effects. Many viewed drought as a divine punishment for sin; faith offered hope and gave meaning to human suffering, even if it failed to stem it, at least in this life. (84) Local responses showed flexibility based on the learned experience from previous calamities, most recently in 1915, 1919, and 1932, as well as historical contingency. (In the county of Independencia, for example, many residents were "rescued" from drought by wartime demand for titanium oxide, which the population procured in dried riverbeds. (85)) Paulo de Brito Guerra, an IFOCS engineer who directed the institute at Sao Goncalo, noted that in 1942 drought evacuees showed a definite order of preference: they asked for land first, then employment, and "avoid whenever possible begging." (86)

Most evacuees roamed closer to home than the Amazon to tide them over until the next winter's rain allowed them to return to plant anew. A traditional recourse for drought evacuees in the northeast was to relocate to the Sao Franciso or Parnaiba rivers and to the humid enclaves or water reservoirs in the sertao. In the state of Paraiba, migrants flocked to the various brejos of Borborema, the breadbasket of the backlands; in Ceara, the Cariri Valley at the foot of the Serra do Araripe had fertile lands where evacuees could also forage for wild fruits. But since the population in these regions was already dense and the land occupied, the humid enclaves could only accommodate a limited influx. (87) A similar problem occurred at the public reservoirs. Over five thousand people were living near the edges of the Cedro reservoir and eating from gardens planted on damp soil--where in normal times there might be 2,800. Each day the reservoir's caretaker had to turn away eight to ten newly arrived families. (88)

Employment on public works offered another option for drought relief. Laborers on public works were referred to as "cassacos": many sertanejos, arriving at work sites carrying their children in slings of fabric were said to resemble the small marsupial of the northeast. One IFOCS engineer lauded the cassaco who built roads and reservoirs in the northeastern backlands as "an anonymous hero who de-serves a bronze statue in the Northeast. One in each State." (89) Others have contended that laborers on public works were referred to as animals because they were treated that way. (90) Wielding pick axes or shovels during the day and sleeping in hammocks and sacks near the jobsite at night, cassacos earned meager salaries for their backbreaking labor--a mere 4 milreis per day (20 American cents )--payable in scrip and redeemable with the unregulated purveyors of food and merchandise. (91) Yet most cassacos had large families, and with profiteers typically charging ten percent above the going rate on food, they were forced to reduce their diet to farinha and to go hungry. (92) Mistreatment was compounded by racial and class bias that historically bonded to blame sertanejos for their tribulations. Jose Guimaraes Duque, an IFOCS engineer, deemed the flagelado "ignorant and indifferent and inured to continuous suffering," a natural by-product, in his mind, of their biological origins that "derive more from the Indian and Black with a smaller dose of European blood." (93) Notwithstanding miserable pay and degrading conditions, public works failed to absorb demand due to sheer overburden. (94) When the mayor of Quixada, for example, shipped evacuees by truck from town to an IFOCS project, the agency refused to accept them, because more than 5,000 people had already signed up. (95)

Evacuees also flocked to Fortaleza in search of work or assistance. Ceara's political and commercial center, and a hub for coastal and overland transport, Fortaleza's population had jumped from 111,651 in 1930 to 182,158 in 1940. (96) As in the drought of 1932, the railroad facilitated transport from the backlands to Fortaleza, diminishing the mortality rate by sparing evacuees the debilitating walks to the capital that had claimed many lives during the great drought of 1877. (97) Still, alongside the roads, could be found "long lines of countless 'flagelados' who, fleeing from their parched fields, pitifully dragged themselves hundreds of kilometers towards Fortaleza, where they hoped to find some relief from their tribulations through public or private assistance." (98) In January 1943, there were an estimated 5,000 evacuees clustered in camps and public grounds in the capital. (99) Health officials in Fortaleza noted the "terrible physical conditions" of the evacuees who had been "starved out" by incessant drought. (100)

The arrival of droves of ragged, malnourished peasants to Fortaleza brought drought's orphans to the doorstep of the capital. (101) More broadly, the chaotic influx disrupted the narrative of progress underpinning the urban renewal of Fortaleza, and the larger developmentalist discourse of Vargas's Estado Novo regime. (102) When Good Neighbor "ambassador" Waldo Frank visited Fortaleza in 1942, he praised the city's "rectangular streets, crowded at nightfall, [that] converge to a pleasant plaza with palms and jambeiros" where residents gathered to enjoy the cool breeze from the sea," but noted that the city was "full of sertanejos driven in by thirst and starvation." One sertanejo, "tall, with lean and straight features" and wearing "a broad straw hat, a ragged shirt, [and] leather breeches," Frank noted, went from bench to bench in the town plaza "speaking a few words and collecting money" while his wife stood on the opposite side of the plaza draped in a shawl with a baby in her arms. Eventually, the sertanejo accosted Frank with a plea for help: "My family is here from the sertao. We bad to leave, and nothing was alive when we left. I need the fare to rake us to Acre. There's work there in the seinguals [sic]." Frank, offered the man "more than the average contribution"--and informed his readers that the rubber properties in Acre, upriver in the Amazon, were more than 3,000 miles from Fortaleza. (103)

The jeremiads of political, religious, and business leaders in Ceara underscore the devastation wrought by drought and the bundling of pity and fear that such disarray elicited in local elites. In a society structured by patron-client relations and imbued with the moral dictates of Catholicism, landowners and merchants were expected to reward the deference of their subordinates in times of need, while the clergy tended to their spiritual and physical well-being. (104) During the first two weeks of April 1942, town leaders from the sertao of Ceara sent urgent telegrams to Vargas imploring IFOCS to undertake the construction of roads and reservoirs in their counties to provide employment and assistance to the evacuees. (105) The Catholic Church distributed alms, coordinated charity campaigns and public works, and appealed to government officials as well as dioceses in southern Brazil for contributions. (106) Fortaleza's merchants implored the federal government to provide emergency assistance. (107) But the documentation also reveals an edgy elite endeavoring to control social unrest as evacuees pursued varied initiatives to cope with the horrors of drought. The broader demographic dislocation and specter of violence provoked by drought not only strained the patron-client bonds that stuctured day-to-day life in the backlands but the urban social order as well. (108) Mayor Jose Ribeiro of Pentecoste, bemoaning that the lack of rain, the high cost of goods, and hunger had wreaked havoc in his region, fretted: "yesterday flagelados invaded Pentecoste en masse asking for bread and work." (109) In Iguatu, merchants shuttered their stores to stave off looting, while in ltapicoca one hundred flagelados stormed the slaughterhouse after futile appeals to the mayor for food. (110) Historian Frederico de Castro Neves, analyzing the phenomenon of saques, or looting, by drought evacuees, has argued that such, direct actions were less a spasmodic, chaotic response to hunger than a calculated measure by the rural poor to negotiate the defense of moral economy with back-land elites and the state. (111)

Likewise, although many residents of Fortaleza were moved by humanitarian concern to help their unfortunate brethren, others viewed evacuees as vectors of epidemic and social anomie. During the drought of 1932--which had claimed the lives of 14,738 children and 7,878 adults--the Vargas government had created seven concentration camps in Ceara to house, feed and "uplift" the refugees, as well as to block migration to the capital or corral those who had arrived: five were located in the sertao near the principal access roads to the capital, congregating over 100,000 people, while two were set up in Fortaleza neat the train station to quarantine the evacuees. (112) In 1942-43, evacuees were blamed for everything from vagrancy, theft, and prostitution to the increase in food prices. Fortaleza dailies whipped up public hysteria with stories of evacuees committing armed robbery in backland towns, invading trains, and disrupting rail service, and unnamed "con-artists and opportunists" shirking employment on public works. (113) And while sanctifying a virtuous poor, Archbishop Antonio Lustosa inveighed against those who "become habituated to idleness, acquire thousands of vices, and learn how to exploit the good faith of those from whom they ask help." (114)

During the 1942-43 crisis, Brazilian federal and state authorities promoted Amazonian migration as a mechanism to expedite the "decongestion" of Fortaleza and backland towns. (115) To wit, in the wake of the U.S.-Brazilian diplomatic accords, U.S. subsidization of northestern migration to the Amazon facilitated large labor transfers. While the Brazilian National Immigration Department (DNI), which Vargas had entrusted since October 1940 with directing northeastern migration to the Amazon, had relocated only 435 migrants in April 1942, between April and July 1942, with credit extended by the U.S. government, the DNI provided free passage to the Amazon to over five thousand northeastern workers and their families. By February 1943, the DNI had relocated 14,484 people (including 7,435 men). (116) Officials of the OIAA, who viewed drought evacuees as "the major source of a possible labor supply for rubber collection in the Amazon," even discussed in June 1942 whether the agency's agricultural projects in Northeastern Brazil that aimed at increasing food supplies might be "regarded as unwise" because they might undermine the Amazon migration program. (117) By Fall 1942, representatives from U.S. and Brazilian agencies and the state of Ceara had begun coordinating the construction of camps in Fortaleza and in the backland towns for migrants embarking to the Amazon. (118)

Notwithstanding their postwar indignation, Ceara influentials in 1942-43 actively promoted state-sponsored migration to the Amazon as a humanitarian and patriotic endeavor. Governor Menezes Pimentel sought to rally the state's mayors to support migration, while Archbishhop Lustosa's pastoral letter urged parish priests in the backland towns to endorse the measure to their congregants. Fortaleza dailies also served as key propagandists in the Amazonian campaign. To be sure, some local merchants and landowners were vociferous opponents. The Retailers Syndicate of Fortaleza complained to Vargas that, "the dispatch of Cearense workers to Amazonia does not remedy the problem as it benefits only the few [physically] sound workers selected. The majority of flagelados, those most lacking assistance, are left only with meager official assistance or public charity." (119) U.S. observers noted a healthy dose of self-interest among local elites who "simply want the Federal Government to spend more money on aid for the refugees here," thus bringing "added extra works and added commerce." (120) A number sought to sabotage outright Amazonian recruitment: Benedito Vianna, a municipal inspector from Acarau, spread rumors that the government intended to ship migrants to North Africa to fight the Nazis. (121) In sum, although local elites may have opposed emigration, high-ranking officials in Ceara adhered to the federally-directed migration program that fulfilled broader geopolitical objectives of the Estado Novo to populate the Amazonian hinterland and to cement diplomatic alliances with the United States.

Yet if top Brazilian and U.S. government officials sought to channel drought evacuees to the Amazon, it is misleading to portray laborers as dragooned. Evacuees pursued varied strategies to cope with the effects of drought, yet archival documentation suggests that thousands looked to the Amazon to improve their plight. During his visit to Ceara, Dulphe Machado claimed that emigration to Amazonia was the "anxiety" of the sertanejo. (122) In this vein, many evacuees did not view Fortaleza as their refuge but rather as the gateway to the Amazon. A newspaper report from May 1942, for example, noted that the Labor Ministry in Fortaleza had great difficulty convincing evacuees to relocate from the grounds of the Maritime Police near the port to the city's inland migrant way station because they did not want to lose their chance to embark at once from Ceara. (123) Likewise, Archbishop Lustosa noted that Fortaleza contained drought evacuees from Ceara and the neighboring states of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba who "naturally seek the port where they might embark most easily for Amazonia." (124)

Beyond Drought Evacuation in a Hemisphere on the Move

Drought did play a role in wartime migration to the Amazon, even if its impact was not "natural," or neutral, on backland populations. Still, a number of prominent wartime observers overstated drought migration to explain regional exodus--a misconception replicated by postwar politicians and historians, who have also mixed Vargas's chicanery into the brew. In December 1942, for example, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Jefferson Caffery reported to the Secretary of State that the commencement of the rainy season earlier than usual most likely would limit population movement from the backhauls to the Amazon "as peasant, farmers do not generally leave the interior except under pressure of severe drought, and then only reluctantly. They usually tend to return from the coast as soon as drought is broken." (125) Explaining northeastern migration, however, requires an exploration of the historically contingent socioeconomic forces and microsocial networks that have structured labor flows. In the context of World War II, it implies moving beyond climatic factors or dictatorial designs to examine the broader impact of wartime dislocations on the poorer populations of the Northeast.

Ceara was roiled not only by the diminished harvest caused by drought but by wartime disruptions in trade and a near collapse of the transportation sector. The blockade in Europe severed cotton exports to traditional European and Japanese markets. As Menezes Pimentel noted in 1943, with the United States effectively the sole foreign purchaser of Ceara's exports, only strategic war materials, such as carnauba wax and vegetable oils, had fared well. (126) German attacks on Brazil's merchant marine and a dearth of commercial shipping crippled interregional trade, which was primarily seaborne, curtailing or delaying the sale of Ceara's cotton to textile factories in southern Brazil and the acquisition of industrial goods and foodstuffs. (127)

Ground transport in Ceara also came to a crawl during the war as locomotives of the Rede Viacao Cearense, which operated two trunk as well as several branch lines, suffered from overload, disrepair, and lack of replacement parts. (128) The southern town of Crato, for example, received an average of 47 railroad cars per month, less than its previous average of 100 cars. (129) Producers from the state's rich agricultural southern regions, unable to dispose of their manioc flour, cotton, castor seed, cotton seed, corn and beans, could receive only one-tenth of the market price in the capital, or had to incur heavy expenses, interest payments, and the threat of deterioration if they opted to hold onto crops in the hope of eventual disposal. Vegetable oil seeds filled warehouses in the interior and often took up to six months to reach Fortaleza, only three hundred kilometers away. (130) Cotton farmers, already hard hit by the loss of European markets, faced the same problem in transporting their crop to mills. (131) Buyers' capital was tied up as merchandise deteriorated in storage, while shippers faced uncertainty of having goods on hand to fill contracts and to meet loading opportunities. (132) To move freight, shippers sought to rely on road transportation wherever possible, but this alternative was compromised by gasoline rationing and higher rates. (133)

The wartime collapse of Ceara's transport system and export trade provoked a sharp rise in the cost of living, particularly in the north of the state. Profiteering compounded the woes of the poor population. The American embassy in Brazil concluded that the daily cost of living in Fortaleza for a family of five or six, for example, had more than doubled from 1941 to 1943. (134) In April 1943, newspapers in Fortaleza noted that monthly expenses for a working class family of five, factoring in food, rent, clothing, and transportation, were more than four times the monthly minimum wage of CR$150. (135) In fact, Fortaleza would be the largest recruitment pole for migrant workers to the Amazon, at least through June 1943: SEMTA's documentation indicates that more than four thousand of the male migrants who went to the Amazon enlisted in Fortaleza. (136) It is unclear from extant government records, however, how many were recent arrivals from the countryside and small towns and how many were longer-term residents of the capital; state officials were more interested in body counts than life stories. For what it is worth, during the war, Amazonian elites repeatedly complained that many migrants arriving in the rubber zones were not "from the interior" of Ceara but rather "coast line riff raff." (137) We do know from government records that male migrants to the Amazon who were heads of households had a considerable number of dependents to support: an undated control sheet from one government camp in Fortaleza registered the names of 56 migrants with a total of 229 dependents, or an average of four each. (138)

Low wages, limited employment, and the meteoric rise in the cost of living in wartime Ceara dimmed economic prospects, just as the new rubber boom, the expansion of public works and infrastructure in Amazonian cities, and the regional labor shortage seemingly offered promise. Indeed, Charles Wagley perceptively argued that mass labor transfers were not contingent upon pluviometry. As the anthropologist noted, because the wage scale in Ceara was extremely low--3 to 4 cruzeiros per day, as opposed to 6 to 10 cruzeiros in the Amazonian state of Para--and since prices were nearly the same in both states, many would be attracted to the opportunities in the Amazon, "come rain or shine." He did speculate that more workers might have been recruited if the migration program had been initiated earlier at the height of the drought, before evacuees had begun moving back to their homes to wait for rain, hut noted that most were still anxious to go when they learned of the offer of free passage, (139) Wagley was correct: although rainfall had increased by mid-February 1944, migration surged over the next months. (140)

With hard times at home, thousands of nordestinos looked for economic opportunities in the Amazon. They included Antonio Moreira da Silva, Manoel Ferreira da Silva, and Antonio Batista de Souza, who identified themselves collectively in their letter to the camp doctor as "three fothers [sic] of families who are sining [sic] up with the Americans," and who requested financial help for their families "in great need." (141)

Their story, in fact, may be seen as part of a broader trend in the Americas in which the drive to produce materials for the war--organized by the government and encouraged by private employers--brought about dislocation in national and continental labor markets. A 1943 essay on inter-American wartime collaboration rightly viewed the mass migration of nordestinos to the Amazon as part of a hemispheric trend: the movement of Bolivians to tap rubber in the Beni; of Hondurans and British Hondurans to rubber projects in Panama; of Peruvian workers to Bolivian mines; of Central American workers to the Canal Zone; of Anglophone Caribbean laborers in U.S. agriculture; and tens of thousands of Mexicans to work in U.S. agriculture, canneries, packing plants, and railroads. The authors also noted that although wages had increased throughout the Americas during the war, virtually every nation suffered from inflation and ineffective national price controls. (142)

Northeastern Family Affairs in the Amazon

Nordestinos who relocated to the Amazon also possessed their own understandings of migration deriving from an amalgam of historical experiences, informal social networks, and cultural norms. They came to the Amazon under varied circumstances, with different knowledge, motivations, and assets. For some, "the Amazon" conjured the pursuit of rubber tapping, or refuge or remuneration of any kind, while others had a specific property or geographic destination in mind. Many imagined a temporary sojourn, although others envisioned a longer or perhaps permanent stay. In interviewing newly arrived migrants in Manaus, the Amazon's principal upriver huh, in 1943-44, Samuel Benchimol, an undergraduate geography major at the time, sought to shed light on the migrants' varied backgrounds and objectives. Of the 55 men interviewed, 39 came from Ceara, 9 from Paraiba, 6 from Rio Grande do Norte, and 1 from Pernambuco. (143) Although the majority, 30, classified themselves as agriculturists, 8 identified themselves as artistans, 3 as ranchers, 2 as cowboys, 4 as employees, 2 as businessmen, and 6 without a specific profession. Parsing out their motivations for migrating, Benchimol noted that 12 claimed they were forced out by drought, 11 were attracted to the rubber properties, and 22 were "swept up"--although such cut-and-dried distinctions reflect his own efforts to disaggregate the more ambiguous and diffuse realms of subjective experience and to shoehorn migrants into dubious psycho-social typologies.

Perhaps one of Benchimol's most interesting findings (which curiously he failed to employ as an analytical category) is that 18 of the 55 migrants--neatly one third--were "mansos," nordestinos who had already tapped rubber in Amazonia. Benchimol included the testimony of two such returnees. One stated that he had come back to the Amazon because he had never readapted to life in Ceara: "Everyone called me a paroara, and hated me. I found everything so strange. I couldn't get used to things there. So I picked up once and for all." Likewise, another noted the animosity he had experienced when he returned to what had once been home: "We come back and can't walk the walk or talk the talk of the sertao ... No one speaks to us because they say we are filthy rich." Benchimol also pointed out that the majority of the interviewees already had relatives in the Amazon, although they did not know necessarily how to find them. (144)

In another revealing wartime report, Brazilian official Jose Carlos Ribeiro underscored how migratory networks had coalesced to harness state-Subsidized transport to familial strategies of social mobility. Ribeiro noted that although the first wave of migrants transported in the first months of 1943 by the DNI had been made up of evacuees "expelled by the drought and consequently by hunger," in the latter months, as conditions in the countryside stabilized, families "in better conditions" had come to recruitment camps "seeking to improve their lives" in the Amazon. Many already had family members in the region or were "led there by relatives who had returned from Amazonia where they had previously gone as scouts." He noted that these families frequently sent "a small branch [of the family], often armed with capital collected from numerous relatives, as advance troops" to scout out and report on conditions in the Amazon. After gathering information and even beginning to work in the Amazon, the migrant(s) "either returned home to serve as a guide for the test of the family or wrote with the necessary instructions ... to try their luck in another region." Thus, many migrants that arrived at the way stations in Fortaleza demonstrated "a will to move on and a firm resolution to leave home" and frequently "gave precise indications right away as to where they intended to go." (145) In the Amazon, enterprising Cearense rubber bosses sought to funnel relatives their way. In September 1941, for example, Raymundo Alves de Oliveira of Tefe had requested subsidized passages to Manaus for four individuals from Ceara, affirming "I can place them [on the rubber property]." Since all had his last name, it is likely that they were family members. (146)

Wartime migrants, of course, did not undertake or understand their journey solely as "sharecroppers," "artisans," "drought, evacuees" or "first-timers," but as family members as well. Inflected by gendered and generational norms, migration is a family affair charged with all of the emotional intensity and conflict that pulsate in households. The husband and father who embarked for the Amazon to provide a better life for his wife and children; the son who hoped to send home money to help out his parents and siblings; the patents who arrived with young children in the Amazon to await the following winter in the northeast or to start anew represent the real-life, subjective drama of thousands of nordestinos during the war. As a strategy for social reproduction, migration can serve to defend or strengthen family bonds. "I'm mad with saudades for you and my daughter," wrote Antonio Fereira Amancio from Belem to the wife and child that he had left behind in Ceara in 1943, attempting to express in several words an immeasurable absence. (147) "Don't forget to write me," wrote Sebastiao Felix de Oliveira, en route to Manaus, to his wife, enclosing forty cruzeiros as a sign of his devotion to her. (148) But migration to the Amazon also strained families, draining them of breadwinners and labor, and testing bonds of marital loyalty, parental generosity, filial submission, and fraternal solidarity.

Historically, men had dominated non-drought migratory currents from the northeast to the Amazonian rubber properties. (149) In the 1920s, Father Constant Tastevin noted that men migrated from the Northeast to the Amazon "only in order to return home and marry after acquiring a small capital in Acre." (150) In 1906, for example, the entourage of President Afonso Pena that traveled from Fortaleza to Quixada was surprised to find primarily women tending to agricultural plots since many men bad emigrated to the Amazon. (151) Often, in fact, bachelors ended up marrying in the Amazon and staying put. Thus, in the nineteenth-century genealogies of Sobral, Ceara, we find that one of the sons of Alexandre Carneiro da Silva and Maria Barbosa, Domingos, migrated and "married in Amazonas" (a common entry for men in such genealogies, whose wives' names are never listed); subsequently, three of Domingos's nephews followed in his footsteps, also "marrying in Amazonas. (152) The aforementioned family history illustrates the inter- and intragenerational webs of male nordestino migration. The forest, of course, was no more the "natural" domain of northeastern men than women, but gendered ideologies, conjuring the rubber properties as dangerous and dishonorable sites, served to emptor the odysseys of male household members.

Migrants to the Amazon apparently assumed the burden of sustaining family left behind with a mixture of pride and vexation. In 1941, for example, widow Antonia Telles de Mendonca noted that her husband, Jose Sobreira de Mendonca, had migrated as a young man from Ceara to Codajas on the Solimoes River, where he had "triumphed," acquiring land with Brazil nut trees. Aside from supporting his children in the Amazon, Jose had "never forgotten or turned his back for one moment on his family" in Ceara, sustaining "old and decrepit parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, nephews and nieces, and many other relatives." (153) Youth, in particular, engendered a distinct mix of ascribed social obligation and restive personal ambition in nordestino men that found an outlet in the Amazon. In his autobiographical Dez anos no Amazonas (1897-1907), Alfredo Lustosa Cabral recounts the return of his 24 year old brother, Silvino, to their hometown of Patos, Paraiba in 1897 after a stint of 5 years in the Amazon. Regaling family and friends with tales of adventure and adversity and, above all, a Cosmorama that he brought back with him from Belem, Silvino captivated Alfredo, who jumped at his brother's invitation to return with him to the Amazon. Alfredo was fourteen years old at the time. (154) For younger nordestino men, whether unmarried or unaccompanied, migration to the Amazon spelled both opportunity and risk, the chance to sustain, found, or flee a household.

In reconstructing the filial ties threading wartime migratory patterns, for example, we find cases such as Inacio Epifanio Souza, who sent 100 cruzeiros to his "good and saintly mom" from Belem alongside his photograph as a memento. "I know you are in great need," Inacio stated, requesting a "blessing for an obedient son who has not forgotten you for even a minute." (155) Likewise, Antonio Fereira Amancio enclosed 10 cruzeiros for his mother in Sobral, begging forgiveness for not being able to send more. (156) Yet oral testimonies of poorer wartime migrants suggest: that emigration to the Amazon was a decision that some young men took in defiance of paternal authority. In an interview with Samuel Benchimol in 1944, Edgar Pereira da Silva recounted his decision to come to Amazonia: "I fled from my house and followed destiny. I left my cotton growing and my father's house and picked up and left with some buddies ... I hope to return in time to pick the cotton that I left growing there on my father's land." (157) The testimony is revealing in that Pereira da Silva refers to his departure as flight from his father's house and land.

The 1940 census data of Ceara identified the profession of a large number of male agriculturists between the ages often and thirty as "family members," or subsidiary members of the household: Of the total 260,504 men in this age group who worked in the primary sector, 96,719 were occupationally defined as "family members," of which 77,346 were between 10 and 19 and the remaining 19,373 between 20 and 29. (158) In his ethnographic fieldwork among Cearense sharecroppers in 1966-67, Johnson found that unmarried men over fifteen were expected to contribute entirely to the household, turning over wages and crops to their fathers. Conequently, the idea of becoming the "head of household" appealed to both young men and women of marriageable age. (159) Johnson's research was carried out two decades after the war, but his findings jibe with historical patterns of northeastern migration to the Amazon as well as oral testimonies of wartime migrants on peasant household dynamics. (160) In sum, wartime migration must, also be viewed in the context of the historical patterns and microsocial networks, inflected by gendered and generational norms, which undergirded population flows between Ceara and the Amazon.


In 1956, nordestino journalist. Jose Stenio Lopes charged that his wartime compatriots, "true victims of drought," had been led by Vargas to the Amazon like "cattle to the slaughterhouse or Jews to the Nazi gas chambers." (161) The Vargas regime did not fulfill wartime promises to eliminate price gouging, debt-merchandising, malaria, and other ills that long plagued the Amazonian rubber trade. The number of migrant-tappers who died of disease and malnutrition undoubtedly exceeded Brazilian army casualties in Italy--the latter numbered 454 (of a total force of more than 20,000)--although there is no precise calculation or consensus for the rubber campaign. Yet during World War II, nordestinos who migrated to the Amazon had not been stupefied by drought or government propaganda. As Barbara Weinstein has argued for the classic rubber boom, after decades of northeastern presence in the Amazon, few migrants probably imagined they could get rich quick in the region, but rather viewed rubber tapping as a means to earn some cash to send back to family, or at the very least, ensure a family's or individual's subsistence. (162)

If U.S. officials had subsidized labor transfers to boost latex yields, and the Vargas regime promoted frontier colonization as a geopolitical strategy to plug demographic "voids," nordestinos who migrated to the Amazon wanted a chance to improve their lot. In September 1942, U.S. officials who inspected a way station in Manaus were told by migrants that they merely sought "fair conditions and fair pay" in the Amazon. (163) Or as another migrant affirmed: "I came to earn money in the rubber properties and then return home." (164) Indeed, because Northeastern migrants had their own views of the Amazon, based upon historical patterns and social expectations, they would confound rubber bosses and government officials who had hoped to flood the market with a pliant and regimented labor force.

Revisiting northeastern wartime migration to the Amazon underscores the intermeshed geopolitical, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that structured mass labor transfers. Socioeconomic inequalities in the Northeast, exarcebated by drought and wartime dislocations, affected which populations would migrate to the Amazon, and under what terms. U.S.-subsidized transportation, rather than dictatorial duplicity, was key to channeling workers. Moreover, informal social networks and familial and communal pathways of northeastern migration, traditionally buttressed by gendered and generational norms, molded wartime trajectories. Enveloping populations at the margins of the Brazilian nation-state and Allied military theaters, northeastern wartime migratory flows to the Amazon reveal the inteplay and tensions among local, national and global factors that shape "personal" decisions and historical outcomes.


(1.) Anais da Assembleia Constituinte, Volume XVII, (Rio de Janeiro, 1949), Sessao 98, pp. 331-354.

(2.) See Warren Dean, Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber: A .Study in Environmental History (Cambridge, UK; 1987); Robert Levine, Fattier of the Poor?: Vargas and His Era (Cambridge, UK: 1998); Alcir Lenharo Colonizacao e trabalho no Brasil: Amazonia, Nerdesiu e Centro-oeste: os anos 30, (Campinas, 1985); Pedro Martinello, A batalha da borracha na Segunda Guerra Mandiai. (Rio Branco, 1988).

(3.) Marco Antonio Villa, Vida e morte no Sertao: Historia das secas no Nordeste nos seculos XIX e XX (Sao Paulo: 2000), pp. 162.

(4.) Larry Rohter, "Of Rubber and Blood in Brazilian Amazon," New York Times, 23 November, 2006.

(5.) See, for example, the documentary film by Wolney Oliveira, Borracha para Vitoria (2004), and the special report on the rubber campaign by Ariadne Araujo, "A saga dos arigos" in O Povo, 21 June, 1998.

(6.) See Jose C. Moya, Cousin, and Strangers: Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires, 1850-1930 (Berkeley, 1998), pp. 21,80.

(7.) Isabel Cristina Martins Guillen, "Seca e Migracao no Nordeste: Reflexoes sobre o processo de banalizacao de sua dimensao historica." Trabalhos para Discussao, 111 (Recite, 2001)

(8.) Antonio Bezerra, O Ceara e os Cearenses (Fortaleza, 2001 [1906]), pp. 1-2; 36-41.

(9.) Mario Martins de Freitas, "A mistica e as realizacdes do Estado Nacional," in Cultura Politica 2, 19 (September 1942): 104-05.

(10.) Durval Muniz de Albuquerque Junior, "Weaving Tradition: The Invention of the Brazilian Northeast," Latin American Perspectives, 31 (2004): 58.

(11.) Roberto Santos, Historia Economica da Amazonia (Sao Paulo, 1980), pp. 99-100. See also Douglas H. Graham and Sergio Buarque de Holanda Filho, Migration, Regional and Urban Growth and Development in Brazil A Selective Analysis of the Historical Record, 1872-1970 (Sao Paulo, 1971).

(12.) Raimundo Giran, Historia Econdmica do Ceara (Fortaleza, 1947), pp. 392.

(13.) Jose Bonifacio de Sousa, Quixada & Sera do Estevao, (Fortaleza, 1997), pp. 61-63.

(14.) Joaquim Moreira de Souza, quoted in Ariadne Araujo, "A saga dos arigos."

(15.) Frederico de Castro Neves, "Getulio e a seca: politicas emergenciais na era Vargas," Revista Brasileira de Historia 21, 40 (2001) pp. 107-29.

(16.) Moya, Cousins and Strainers, p. 117.

(17.) Marilda Aparecida de Menezes, "Migration Patterns of Paraiba Peasants." Latin American Perspecitives 31,2 (Match 2004): 116-17.

(18.) Walter W, Hoffmann, American Consul, to Ambassador Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Fortaleza, August 14, 1945, National Archives [herein NA] RG234 Records of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation [RFC], RDC, Central Files 1942-1949, Brazil-Dispatches 1-1-43 to 12-43 thru Brazil-Equipment and Supplies Tinplate [Box 56].

(19.) Information on population of Ceara's county sears is found in letter from Jorge M. da Rocha to Keeler, Fortaleza, August 9, 1943, NA, RG229, Office of Inter-American Affairs, Records of the Dept. of Information Regional Division Co-ordinating Committee for Brazil, General Recors (E-990 (Box 1278).

(20.) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, Censo Demografico: Populacao e Habitacao (Serie Regional, Parte VI- Ceara, Tomo 1) (Rio de Janeiro, 1940), p.1.

(21.) Waller W. Hoffmann to Walter J. Donnelly, Fotraleza. October 5, 1944, NA, RG 84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1944, Vol.5-6 [Box 12].

(22.) Allen W. Johnson, Sharecroppers of the Sertao: Economics and Dependence on a Brazilian Plantation. (Stanford, 1971), p. 21.

(23.) Memorandum from Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard King regarding Ceara Drought, November 1942, NA, RG84, Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records 1942, Vol. V (Box 5).

(24.) Neves, "Getulio e a secn," p. 116.

(25.) Menezes Pimentel to Vargas, Fortaleza, Jonuary 12, 1943, Arquivo National (AN), GCPR, Box 460, Interventoria do Ceara, 1941-44, Processo 1312 See also Neves, "Getulio e a seca," p. 117.

(26.) On the challenge of public policy see Albeit O. Hirschman, Journeys Toward Progress: Studies of Economic Policy-Making in Latin America (New York: 1973) and Anthony L. Hall, Drought and Irrigation tit North-East Brazil (Cambridge. UK, 1978). On the administrative history of IFOCS, see Almir de Andrade Contribuicao a Historia Administrativa do Brasil, Volume II (Rio de Janeiro, 1950), pp. 235-66; Vila, Vida e Morte; Thomaz Pompeu Sobrinho, "As seccas do Nordeste (1825-1925) in Livro do Nordeste, commemorativo de primeiro centenario do Diario de Pernambuco, 1825-1925. (Recife, 1925), pp.49-52. For an extensive bibliography on Northeastern drought, see Aziz Nacib Ab'saber, "Referencias bibllograficas do Nordeste seco." Estudos Avancados 13, 36 (May-August, 1999). For an interdisciplinary account weaving history, literature, art, and travelogue see Nicholas Gabriel Arons, Waiting for Rain: The Politics and Poetry of Drought in Northeast Brazil (Tucson, 2004).

(27.) Hall, Drought and Irrigation, pp. 15-17.

(28.) Hirschman, Journeys Toward Progress, pp. 13-17.

(29.) For a discussion of the cotton economy in the northeastern backlands, see Linda Lewin, Polities and Parentela in Parallel A Case .Stride of Family-Based Politics in Brazil (Princeton: 1987); for a gendered perspective, see Martha Santos, "On the Importance of Being Honorable: Masculinity, Survival, and Conflict in the Backhands of Northeast Brazil, Ceara, 1840-1890," The Americas 64, 1 (2007): 35-57.

(30.) Hall, Drought and Irrigation, pp. 2-4, 33.

(31.) See the reference in Pinheiro Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao, p. 28.

(32.) Johnson, Sharecroppers, p. 64. See also Walter W. Hoffmann to Wallet J. Donnelly, January 9, 1945, Re: Annual Economic Review of Ceara [for 1944], NA, RG 84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1945, Vol. 5-6 [Box 14].

(33.) On the great drought of 1877-79, sec Roger L. Cunniff, "The Great Drought, 1877-1889," (Ph.D. Diss., Univ. of Texas, Austin, 1970); for elite interpretations blaming the victims, see Gerald Michael Greenfield, "The Great Drought and Elite Discourse in Imperial Brazil," Hispanic American Historical Review 72, 3 (1992): 375-400.

(34.) Hirschman, Journeys Toward Progress, pp. 22-28.

(35.) Almir de Andrade, Coutrbuicao a Historia Administrative, pp 247 55.

(36.) Phyllis Faria and Leo Callahan, Annual Review- 1943, Pernambuco Consular District, Pernambuco, April 5, 1944, NA,RG166 Foreign Agriculture Service, Narrative Reports (1942-45) Brazil: Transportation-Vegetables [Box 95].

(37.) Hall, Drought and Irrigation, p. 5; Hirschman, Journeys Toward Progress, pp. 42-43.

(38.) Villa, Vida e Marte no Sertao, p. 159.

(39.) Manoel Taigy de Queiroz Mello to Vargas, Taperoa, Paraiba, February 20, 1944, AN, GCPR, Box 3843, Proc 8236.

(40.) Hirschman, journeys Toward Progress, pp. 22-53.

(41.) Cesar Barreira, Trilhas e Atalhos do Poder: Conflitos Sociais no Sertao (Rio de Janeiro: 1992), p. 45.

(42.) Ibid., pp. 22-47.

(43.) See Hall, Drought and Irrigation, pp. 22-53.

(44.) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, Censo Demografico: Populacao e Habitacao, p. 1.

(45.) See, for example, Thomas Pompeu Sobrinho, "O algodao como subsidiario das Obras contra as Secas," Boletim da IFOCS 1, 2 (February 1934): 65-72.

(46.) Harold Sims, American Vice Consul, "Review of Strategic Northeastern Brazilian Raw Products in Relationship to Wartime Influences," Pernambuco, October 2, 1939, NA, RG166 Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports (1920-1941) Brazil; Land-Rice.

(47.) Walter W. Hoffmann, "Ceara Cotton," Fortaleza, August 10, 1944, NA RG166 Foreign Agricultral Serivice, Narrative Repents (1942-1945) Brazil: Cooperatives-Cotton [Box 56].

(48.) Robert S. Platt, Latin America; Countryside and United Regions (New York, 1942), p. 438.

(49.) Waldery Magalhaes Uchoa, Atraves do Serial, (Fortaleza, 19.38), pp. 36-37.

(50.) Platt, Latin America, pp. 4.34-38.

(51.) Sousa, Quixada, pp. 84-85

(52.) Hoffmann, "Ceara Cotton."

(53.) Leo J. Callanan, American Consul, to Ambassador Jefferson Caffety, Recife, November 6, 1942, NA, RG 166, Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports 1942-1945, Brazil; Corton-Ctop Conditions, Box 57.

(54.) Prescott Childs, "Carnauba Wax," American Embassy, Rio de Janeiro, March 18, 1941, NA, RG166 Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports (1920-41) Brazil: Credit-Finance [Box 18].

(55.) Humberto R. de Andrade and Arthur Salgado, Cera de Carnauba, Second Edition (Ceara: 1945), pp 8-9; Dudley E. Cyphers, American Vice Consul, Camauba Wax Industry -Ceara, Fortaleza, May 13, 1944, NA, RG166, Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports 1942-1945, Brazil: Fats and Oils [Box 64].

(56.) Cicinato Ferteira Nero, Estudos de historia Jaguaribana: documentos, notas e ensaios diversos para his toria do baixo e medio Jaguaribe (Fortaleza:2003), pp. 449-53

(57.) Girao, Historia economica do Ceara, p. 379.

(58.) Cyphers, Carnauba Wax Industry - Ceara.

(59.) Ibid.

(60.) Dr. Jona Lins, chefe do Posto do Senadot Pompeu, to Hider Correa Lima, Fortaleza, Match 18, 1943, AN, PAR, Caixa 4, Doc 7.

(61.) Cyphers, Carnauba Wax Industry.

(62.) Ferreira Neto, Estudos de historia Jaguaribana, pp. 449-53.

(63.) Girao, "Economia do Mana," Valor 7,26 (May 1944): 31.

(64.) Harold Sims, American Vice Consul, Northeast Brazil," Pernambuco, April 27, 1940, NA, RG3166 Foreign Agricultrual Service, Narrative Reports (1920-1941) Brazil; Credit-Finance [Box 18]; Report of United States Vegetable Oil Mission to Bazil, March 9 to April 28, 1942, Washington, June 1942, NA, RG229 Office of Inter American Affairs, Records of the Department of Information, Regional Division, Coordination Committee for Brazil, General Records (E-99) 53.2 [Box 1343]; Philip P. Williams, Vice Consul, American Consulate General, Brazilian Oiticica Oil, Rio de Janeiro, October 23, 1939, NA, RG 166 Foreign Agricultural Service Narrative Reports (1920-1941), Brazil: Credit-Finance (Box 18).

(65.) Pimentel Lira, "Farinha de Mandioca," Nordeste Agricola 4, 1-2 (Sept-Oct 1939): 21-29.

(66.) Dulphe Pinheiro Maehado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao atraves do nordeste em Main de 1942," Revista de Imigracao e Colonizacao 3: 2 (August 1942): pp. 54-56. The same point was made by Carlos dos Santos Veras, "A carnaubeira: sua influencia na sociedade e na economia do nordeste," Cultura Politico 2, 17 (July 1942): 183.

(67.) Walter W. Hoffmann to Walter J. Donnelly, Charge d'Affaires, November 3, 1944, NA, RG 84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1944, Vol. 5-6.

(68.) Mike Davis analyzes the great drought in northeastern Brazil in comparative global perspective as shaped by El Nino Southern Oscillation and the spread of agroexport capitalism in the developing world. See Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World (London, 2001).

(69.) Maehado, "Relatorio de uma vragem de inspecao," pp. 84-87.

(70.) William Preston Rambo, American Vice Consul to Secretary of State, Fortaleza, April 4, 1942, NA, RG 84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1942, Vol.1-II.

(71.) Sousa, Quixada, p. 91.

(72.) Quoted in Villa, Vida e morte no sertao, 161.

(73.) Henrique Doria de Vasconcelos, "Viagem de Inspecao ao Norte." Revista de lmigracao e Colonizacao. 3:2 (August 1942): 108.

(74.) Memorandum from Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought, November 1942, NA RG84, Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records 1942, Vol. V (Box 5).

(75.) Ibid.

(76.) Jose Alves de Freitas to Vargas, Jaguaribe, April 21, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Proc 10097.

(77.) Jose Pires Ferreira to Vargas, Queimados, December 8, 1943, AN. GCPR, Box 3826, Proc 608.

(78.) Dondon Feitosa to Fernandes Tavora, Fazenda Abraial, Taua, 10 July, 1942, Arquivo Publico do Estado do Ceata, Fundo Virgilio Tavora, Subsserie Fernandes Tavora, Caixa 12 (Cartas Recebidas do Brasil).

(79.) See the numerous SEMTA release forms in AN, Fundo) Paulo Assis Ribeiro, Caixa 4, Doc 7.

(80.) Kenneth Hewitt, "The Idea of Calamity in a Technocratic Age," in Kenneth Hewitt, ed., Interpretations or Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human Ecology (Boston, 1983), p. 9.

(81.) Ibid., p. 22.

(82.) Jose Cuimaraes Duque, "O fomento da producao agricola," Boletim do IFOCS 2, 2 (April-June, 1939): 159-62.

(83.) L. F. Raposo Fontenelle, Rotina e fome em uma regiao cearense: estudo antropologico (Fortaleza, 1969), pp. 137-42.

(84.) Kenia Sousa Rios. Campos de Concentracao no Ceara: Isolamento e poder na seca de 1932 (Fortaleza, 2001), p. 76.

(85.) "Crise de transporte," Unitario, 13 June, 1942.

(86.) Paulo de Brito Guerra, Flashes das Secas: Coletanea de fatos e historias reais (Fortaleza, 1977), p. 15.

(87.) Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao," pp. 66.

(88.) Memorandum from Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought Situation.

(89.) Guerra, Flashes das Secas, pp. 3, 17.

(90.) Alberto Santiago Galeno, Territorio dos Coroneis (Fortaleza, 1988), pp. 48-49.

(91.) Ananias Arruda, prefeito municipal Baturite, to Vargas, Saboeiro, July 3, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Processo 21173.

(92.) Pinheiro Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao," pp. 61-62. See also Memorandum from) Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought.

(93.) Duque, "O fomento da producao agricola," 155. In "The Great. Drought," Gerald Greenfield also analyzes how tenets of Social Darwinism and scientific racism informed views of drought victims

(94.) See Diogenes Nogueira to Vargas, Jaguaribe, May 28, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Processo 9136; Memorandum born Chatles Wagley to Dr Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought Refugees.

(95.) Pedro Oto Rodrigues to Vargas, Quixada, April 6, 1942; Mons. Jose Lima, Pe. Manoel Kermes. Monteiro, Pe. Raimundo Monteiro Dias to Vargas, lco, April 8 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Processo 9560.

(96.) "Metropoles do Brasil: Fortaleza," Cultura Politica 1, 8 (October 1941): 170-84; Sousa Rios, Compos de Concentracao, pp 2 3-26; and Linda M P. Gondim, "Creating the Image of a Modern Fortaleza: Social Inequalities, Political Changes, and the Impact or Urban Design," Latin American Perspectives 31, 2 (March 2004); 63-65.

(97.) On the role of the railroads in the drought of 1932 in Ceara, see Sousa Rios, Campos de Concentracao, pp. 10-12.

(98.) Jean-Pierre Chabloz, untitled document, n.d, Museu de Arte da Universidade Federal do Ceara [herein MAUC], Arquivo Jean-Pierre Chabloz, SEMTA, Diarios. A similar scene is described in Jean-Pierre Chabloz, Revelacao do Ceara (Fortaleza: 1993), p. 22.

(99.) Menezes Pimentel to Vargas, Fortaleza, January 12, 1943, AN, GCPR, Box 460, Interventoria do Ceara, 1941-44, Processo 1312. See also Neves, "Getulio e a seca," p. 117.

(100.) Brazilian Field Party- SESP, Project Description, Project MM-FOR-5-1 (Alagadico, Fortaleza), 1943. Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz [herein FIOC], SFSP, Box 21, Folder 25.

(101.) Neves. A Multidao e a Historia: Saquese: e Outras Acoes de Massas no Ceara (Rio de Janeiro, 2000), p. 105.

(102.) See Simone de Souza, "Da 'Revolucao de 30' ao Estado Novo," in Simone de Souza, ed., Uma nova historia do Ceara (Fortaleza: 2004), pp. 287-316.

(103.) Waldo David Frank, South American Journey (New York, 1943), pp. 319-20.

(104.) Rios, Clamper de Concentracao, p. 33.

(105.) Jose Queiroz Pessoa to Getulio Vargas, Quixada, April 5, 1942, AN, GCPR. Box 92, Processo 9560.

(106.) See Antono de Almeida Lustosa, Carter Pastoral sobre de Seca de 1942 (Fortaleza, 1943); and "Absolute exito da Campanha do Mil Reis do C.E.C na Zona Jaguaribana, "O Unitario, 5 April, 1942.

(107.) J. Torpuato Praxedes Pessoa to Vargas, Fortaleza, July 6, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Proc 21600.

(108.) Neves, "Getulio e a seca," pp. 113-114.

(109.) Jose Ribeiro to Getulio Vargas, Pentecoste, April 6, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Proc 9560.

(110.) Machado "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao," p. 34.

(111.) Neves, A multidao e a historia.

(112.) Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspegao," pp. 39-40; Rios, Campos de Concentracao, p 41; Neves, "Getulio e a Seca," p, 109; Villa, Vida e Morte no Sertao, p. 154.

(113.) See, for example, "lco sob a ameaca dos flagelados," O Unitario, 1 April, 1942; "Assaltado o horario pelos flagelados,"O Unitario, 5 April, 1942; "Armado a face os rerirantes assaltam os comerciantes" O Unitario, 6 April, 1942; "Malandros e exploradores dificultam um auxilio mais eficaz aos flagelados," Correio do Ceara, 6 May, 1942.

(114.) Lustosa, Carta Pastoral, p. 52.

(115.) Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao," pp. 42.

(116.) "Economic Mobilisation and Man-Power Problem, in Brazil," International Labour Review 47 (Jan,-June 1943): 724.

(117.) Memorandum from Bernard Bell to James be Cron, June 26, 1942, NA, RG 229, Office of Inter-American Affairs, Records of Department of Basic Economy, Food Supply Division, Project Files ("Country File") (E-447) Argentina-Brazil[Box 1681].

(118.) Pierce Archer III to Doria de Vasconcelos, Rio de Janeiro, October 20, 1942, FIOC, SESP, Box 20, Folder 16; and Berent Friel to Hyder Correa Lima, Rio de Janeiro, October 19, 1942; and Hyder C. Lima to Berent Friele, Fortaleza, October 26, 1942,NA, RG229 Office of International Affairs, Records of the Department of Information, Regional Division, Coordination Committee for Brazil, General Records (E-99) 53.2.

(119.) J Torquato Praxedes Pessoa to Vargas, Fortaleza, July 6, 1942, AN, GCPR, Box 92, Processo 21600.

(120.) Memorandum from Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought.

(121.) Leter from SEMTA Seccao do Disciplina to Hyder Correia Lima, Fortaleza, May 19, 194,5 AN, PAR, Caixa 4, Doc. 7; "No pouso do SEMTA a Quadra de Esporte Mais Original do Estado," Cancha (Fortaleza) 3, No. 31 (May 1943). The article is found in AN, PAR, Box 4, Doc. 23.

(122.) Machado, "Relatorio de uma viagem de inspecao," p. 78.

(123.) "140 vitimas da seca ja estao abrigadas em Jm. Tavora," Correio do Ceara, 15 May, 1942.

(124.) Lustosa, Carta Pastoral, p. 38.

(125.) Jefferson Caffery to Secretary of State, Rio de Janeiro, 29 December, 1942, NA, RG 229, Office of Inter-American Affairs. Records of Department of Basic Economy, Food Supply Division, Project Files ("Country File" (E-147) Argentina-Brazil [Box 1681].

(126.) Estado do Ceara, Relatorio, de 1943 apresentado ao Exmo Sr. Dr. Getulio Vargas presidente da Repliblica Dr. Francisco de Menezes Pimentel (Fortaleza, 1945), pp. 191-200.

(127.) Walter W. Hoffmann, American Consul, Fortaleza, to Walter J. Donnelly, January 9, 1945, re: Annual Economic Review of Ceara [for 1944], NA, RG84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1945, Vol. 5-6; Reginald S. Kazanjian, Second Secretary of U.S. Embassy, Increased Cost of Living in Ceara, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, July 8, 1944, NA, RG166, Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports 1942-1945, Brazil; Economic Conditions.

(128.) Walter W. Hoffman, New Rolling Stock of the Rede Viacao Cearense, Fortaleza, August 27, 1945, NA.RG84, Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazi, Fortaleza Consulate, Unbound General Records, 1945 [Box 5].

(129.) Walter Hoffmann to Adolf A. Berle, Jr., August 8,1945, FZ RG3 84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Btazil, Fortaleza Consulate, Unbound General Records, 1945, 851.2-875.2 [Box 5].

(130.) Walter W. Hoffmann, American consul, Fortaleza, to Walter J. Donnelly, January 9, 1945.

(131.) Phyllis P. Faria and Leo J. Callahan, Annual Review-1943: Pernambuco Consular District, Pernambuco, April 5, 1944, NA, RG166, Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports 1942-1945, Brazil: Economic Conditions [Box 60].

(132.) Walter W. Hoffmann to Walter J. Donnelly, Fortaleza, January 9, 1945, re: Annual Economic. Review of Ceara [for 1944], NA, RG84 Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1945, Vol. 5-6 [Box 14]: and Walter W. Hoffman, New Rolling Stock.

(133.) S.B Fenne, "'The Following information was Gathered in Part from the Departamento Estadual de Estatistica do Ceara," Sept. 1,1944. NA. RG 84, Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Brazil, Fortaleza Consulate, General Records, 1944, Vol. 5-6 [Box 12].

(134.) Reginald S. Kazanjian, Second Secretary of U.S. Embassy, Increased Cost of Living in Ceara, Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, July 8, 1944, NA, RG166, Foreign Agricultural Service, Narrative Reports 1942-4945, Brazil: Economic Conditions [Box 60].

(135.) "O SEMTA facilita proletariado cearense elevar o nivel do seu padrao de vlda." Correio da Semana, 25 April, 1943.

(136.) Jose Carlos Ribeiro, Relatorio de 1943, SESP, Projeto de Migracao, NA, RG229, Office of Inter-American Affairs, Records of the Department of Basic Economy, Health and Sanitation Division, Monthly Progress Reports of Field Party (E-143), Brazil, March-December 1943.

(137.) Homer G. Pease and Bruce V. Worth, "Report of Pease and Worth for the Period of May 11 to June 15, 1942," Rubber Development Corporation, Amazon Division Records, Box 10, Folder Tech Report Pease and Worth, Public Policy Papers, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

(138.) SEMTA, "Relacao dos Trabalhadores Cujas Familias Estao no Nucleo de Porangabussu," n.d, Museu de Arte da Universidade do ceara (MAUC), Arquivo Jean-Pierre Chabloz (AJPC).

(139.) Memorandum from Charles Wagley to Dr. Bernard Krug regarding Ceara Drought.

(140.) Supplement to the Report of the Brazilian Field Patty lot the Month of Match 1944, Amazon Program, NA, RG229 Office of Inter-American Affairs, Records of Department of Basic Economy: Health and Sanitation Division Monthly Progress Reports of Field Parties (E-143) Brazil, August-November 1944.

(141.) Antonio Moreira da Silva, Manoel Ferreira da Silva, and Antonio Batista de Souza to Dr. Paulo, Fortaleza, 2 March, 1943, MAUC, AJPC.

(142.) Otis E. Mulliken and Sarah E. Roberts, "Labor and Social Welfare," in Arthur P. Whitaker, ed., Inter-American Affairs, 1943 (New York, 1944), pp. 67-68.

(143.) Samuel Benchimol, O cearense na Amazonia: inquerito antropogeografica sobre um tipo de imigrante (Rio de Janeiro: 1965), pp. 80-81.

(144.) Ibid., pp. 33; 56-57.

(145.) Jose Carlos Ribeiro, Relatorio de 1943.

(146.) Raymundo Alves de Oliveira to ACA President Oliveira, Tefe, September 21,1941, Arquivo da Associacao Comercial do Amazonas, Caixa 3, Pasta 3.1, Correspondencia Recebida dos Municiplos, 1936-1949.

(147.) "Carta de um soldado da borracha," O Estado, .30 April, 1943.

(148.) Sebastian Felix de Oliveira to Regina Frota, 31 May, 1943. MAUC, AJPC.

(149.) See Robin L. Anderson, Colonization as Exploitation in the Amazon Rain Forest, 1758-1911 (Gainesville: 1999).

(150.) Constant Tastevin, The Middle Amazon: Its People and Geography, trans. Strategic Index of the Americas (Washington, DC: 1943), pp. 66-67.

(151.) Villa, Vida e morte no sertao, p. 93.

(152.) See the various genealogies cited in Vicente Martins, Diocese de Sobral: Subsidios para a Historia e Geneologias das Paroquias (Fortaleza, n.d.).

(153.) Antonia Telles de Mendonca to Getulio Vargas, Manaus, October 17, 1941, AN, GCPR, Box 460, Interventotia do Amazonas, 1941-43.

(154.) Alfredo Lustosa Cabral, Dez. anos no Amazonas (1897-1907) 2d edition (Brasilia, 1984), p. 23.

(155.) "Continua palpitante o interesse pela correspondencia dos soldados da Borracha," Correio da Semana, 11 June, 1943.

(156.) "Catta de um soldado da borracha."

(157.) Benchimol, O cearense na Amazonia, p. 72.

(158.) IBGE, Censo Demografico, pp. 6-8, 22-26.

(159.) Johnson, Sharecroppers, pp. 29-34, 77, 100-01.

(160.) See Lucia Arrais Morales, Vai e vem, vira e volta: as rotas dos soldados da borracha (Sao Paulo: 2002).

(161.) Jose Stenio Lopes, Rio de esquecimento. (Fortaleza: 1956), pp. 47, 108.

(162.) Weinstein, "Persistence of Caboclo Culture in the Amazon: The Impact of the Rubber Trade," Studies in Third World Societies 32 (1985): pp. 96-97.

(163.) William L. Clark to Berent Friele, September 15, 1942, NA, RG229 Office of Inter American Affairs, Records of the Department of Information, Regional Division, Coordination Committee for Brazil, General Records (E-99) 12.1-13.1 [Box 1333].

(164.) Benchimol, O cearense na Amazonia, pp. 42-43.

Department of History

Austin, TX 78712

By Seth Garfield

University of Texas, Austin
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Date:Jun 22, 2010
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