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Letter signed by Marechal Rondon (1925)

Letter signed by Marechal Rondon (1925)

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From his headquarters in Argentina, the future Marshal Rondon , orders tons of goods for a mysterious destination.

Telegram from General Rondon to Paulo Demoro, Consul of Brazil in the city of Posadas, in the province of Misiones, Argentina. One page. 22cm x 22.5cm. In Portuguese and Spanish. Guarapuava (Paraná), April 15, 1925. Medium condition, some fingerprints, a bend in the middle. Single document.

...) two thousand kilos of rice, two thousand kilos of sugar, five hundred kilos of lard, six hundred kilos of coffee, three thousand kilos of dried meat, six hundred kilos of onions, two thousand kilos of beans, three thousand kilos of flour, five hundred kilos of salt, two hundred kilos of soap, six hundred liters of vinegar must be purchased. … Five thousand kilos of alfalfa, one hundred thousand cigarettes, seven thousand boxes of phosphorus and two thousand kilos of biscuits and I will indicate the port of destination in due course, but I cannot say when I will be able to dispose of these supplies. Gal Rondon

Born in 1865, in the state of Mato Grosso, the man who would go down in history as a peacemaker and great defender of the Brazilian Indians, began his military career at the age of sixteen, as a simple soldier. Candid Rondon (1865-1958), however, does not owe its success to any military feat. For half a century, a revolution based on a single watchword: "Die if necessary, never kill! "

In 1890, after leaving the Military Academy where he taught as professor of mathematics, Rondon had embarked on the construction of a telegraph line, linking the east coast to the western border of Brazil. At the head of a handful of officers and soldiers entirely dedicated to his person, he managed to fulfill his task of exploration and construction in the heart of the hostile jungle of Mato Grosso, in addition to dealing with the Indians, until then the object of an almost systematic massacre, in a peaceful way.

In 1910, thanks to the intervention of Rondon , the Brazilian government created the Indian protection service, and entrusted it to its direction. Having indigenous blood in his veins, Rondon , a faithful disciple of Augusto Comte, swore to serve the cause of the Indians and also “to the cause of humanity wherever and whenever I could” . He kept his word.

Rondon , who recommended that the Indians gradually adapt to modern ways of life, sought above all to safeguard what without which "primitive" peoples often lost their zest for life: their traditions, and their social and religious organization. He never intervened in disputes between rival tribes, except when asked, knowing that to side with one or the other was to lose their trust.

Since 1919, Rondon worked in the cartography of Mato Grosso. During that time he discovered rivers and made contact with certain Indian tribes. He was named head of the corps of engineers in Brazil and was assigned to the position of head of the Telegraphic Commission.

Precisely in this telegram of 1925, Rondon orders large quantities of food - and lots of cigarettes and matches! - from Argentina, near the border with Brazil and Paraguay, without explaining the destination or the reason for this request.

Theodore Roosevelt, who participated with Rondon in the scientific expedition of 1913-1914, stated: "he is a valiant officer, a true gentleman, an intrepid explorer".

In fact, Rondon was more than that. The services he installed in the central and northern regions of Brazil, aimed to protect the Indians against hunger and misery, the exploitation of whites, and the diseases brought by the arrival of "strangers". Almost 100 years ago, he was one of the first environmentalists in Brazil and the world.

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