Guerra do Brasil - Toda a Verdade Sobre a Guerra do Paraguai (1987)


Uploaded by docsprimus on 02.09.2012

Transcript:
"In 1860, an armed conflict in Rio da Prata was waiting to happen.
When Don Carlos Antonio, father of the "mariscal" Solano Lopez...
starts pulling Paraguay out of its political and trade isolation...
to which it had been reduced by his antecessor...
the self-acclaimed perpetual dictator, José Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia...
international greed is reawaken...
along with old frontier problems between Argentina and Brazil.
With the fragile geopolitical balance of the Prata...
the Paraguayan regime's nationalist totalitarianism finds on the 1860's...
support from the conservative government of Uruguay...
constantly threatened by financial and economic interests from abroad...
the English included, with the intervention of its neighbors.
Through non-official diplomatic and party means...
especially through López' desire to validate Paraguay's voice...
a mutual pact was designed with the East Band of Uruguay...
just in case Brazil or Argentina decide to strike.
The sudden occupation of the South of Mato Grosso...
region covered with fields and cattle, was a retaliation...
to Brazil's armed intervention in Uruguay...
with no official war declaration, just like López had done it."
"Truth is concrete." Hegel.
History...
has the trait of looking old although it is very up-to-date.
The events of the 19th century relating to the Paraguay War...
and even after that war...
show us an amazing reality.
"GUERRA DO BRASIL"
"In memoriam of Maraidith Rne. Flores"
In December 27th, 1864, in Mato Grosso...
the first blast of the Paraguay War was heard.
The target was the Coimbra Fort, up the Paraguay river...
the most Western frontier of Brazil.
The fort was quickly taken by Colonel Barrios and 4,500 troops...
whose lack of experience sacrificed over 200 lives.
Such episode symbolizes Brazil's lack of will power for war...
unlike Paraguay, which had been fighting for months.
The commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ermenegildo Carreiro...
who was inspecting the fort by coincidence...
at first refused Barrios' command to surrender.
Cornered by the gunfire and the assault attempts...
Porto Carreiro leaves the fort at night, unharmed.
They had ammunition and troops to resist the attack...
and reinforcements were on their way.
Attention!
Company, march!
We are marching!
Brazil! Brazil!
Getting ready to stop!
Halt!
Left turn!
Now!
In Corumbá, panic takes over the Colonel Carlos Augusto de Oliveira.
Even though he hadn't even seen the invader...
he flees to the capital with his high office and his troops.
Cuiabá, after being home for them...
and submitting Carreiro to the War Council...
starts to fear a Paraguayan attack, which never went beyond threats.
ONLY FOR THE FATE AND THE HONOR OF OUR ARMS...
WE WILL SURRENDER THE FORT.
When the rain was really heavy, when it came down strong...
we could see all the bones.
So the kids would scavenger through them to find gold...
in the teeth of the Paraguayans.
We would take it out and sell it to goldsmiths.
That was really normal, it didn't bother us at all.
Anyone who walked by could see heads with perfect teeth.
We used to find little bullets.
I think they used to insert little round bullets.
So all the kids would gather those.
If the bone was too big, the commanding officer had it cleaned...
and later buried in the cemetery.
They were all buried. There were lots and lots of them.
I believe some 800 men, just in the church grounds.
From the entrance of the church to a distance of 160 feet...
all you could see was bones from the Paraguayans.
On the ground, a second group of 3,500 troops...
commanded by Colonel Resquín crosses the Apa river...
and takes over the South of Mato Grosso...
pillaging whatever is in sight: Cattle, guns, powder...
and groceries, to send it all over to Assúncion.
At the same time in Dourados...
Captain Martin Urbieta and his 200 troops...
attack the vanguard of Lieutenant Antonio João...
in charge of as few as 15 men.
Feeling the enemy's presence...
Antonio João wrote to his commanding officer.
His note said:
"I know I will die. But my blood and that of my brothers...
will serve as solemn protest against the invasion of my motherland."
There is some controversy and doubt around such heroism.
Until this day, Antonio João is considered a ghost.
The pictures shown here are but fantasies.
The Army still searches for the real face of the patron...
of its auxiliary officers.
He executed his words.
He honored his soldier words.
It's nothing but the unilateral desire of López...
who took advantage of a series of circumstances...
such as the Civil War in Uruguay...
to start the War of the Triple Alliance.
The fact that it took both Argentina and Brazil a year to get ready...
shows us that neither of them was instigating a war.
Brazil had to start importing battle material...
training soldiers...
and even freeing slaves because it did not have its own army.
When the war started, the court believed that in Rio Grande do Sul...
there was a large enough army to stop the Paraguayan invasion...
which happened down there.
They thought that because, every month...
they'd send a certain amount of money so that the generals...
could pay their soldiers.
The problem was that those generals, our forefathers...
would put the money in their pockets...
and the soldiers had been invented so that they could receive the money.
When the central government finds out about the scam...
instead of putting those generals in jail for stealing...
they hide the case and even give the generals more money...
for them to buy guns and uniforms for the slaves and "voluntaries"...
coming from all over Brazil. They had to buy horses, too.
Then what happens? The officers from Rio Grande do Sul...
and some from other regions...
who were used to their easy money-making methods...
became the worst horse thieves in the world!
They would buy dying or dead horses...
or they would fake their purchases and fake the receipts for them...
in order to go to war.
New Paraguayan Army answering to López' new proclamation!
Paraguay was a happy country...
despite its authoritarian government system.
It was a rich country.
It had railways, telegraph...
it had gun factories...
a series of things other American countries had not achieved yet.
To us and to some historians, it sounds strange...
the way the combat ended up uniting Brazilians...
Argentines and Uruguayans.
According to our point of view...
it should have been Argentines, Uruguayans and Paraguayans...
against Brazilians.
General Bartolomeu Mitre...
conducts the brave Argentine army to war.
The Argentines get deeply offended when we say...
that the Brazilians led them...
by the hand towards the war.
They do not like to hear that the Brazilians led them by the hand...
as if they were children. We wish they could understand...
that what we mean by that is they entered the war as gullible children.
The Argentine people was totally against that war.
There were riots in many provinces against the war.
Men were forced to go to war.
Very often, they were taken to the front wearing ball and chain.
I believe such union was caused mostly by the masons.
Pedro II, the Duke of Caxias and others were all high-ranked masons.
Mitre, for example, was a rank 33, the highest in the organization.
And with the help of the Brazilians...
Venâncio Flores was included, and he was a mason also.
Therefore, it was a gathering of masons...
which afterwards turned against Paraguay.
The Triple Alliance was literally surprised...
by López' declaration of war...
and by Mitre's position as an ally...
for Pedro II, something not natural at all, obviously.
So they were all surprised by that declaration of war.
Consequently, the Triple Alliance was not the result...
of a liberal conspiracy to transform Paraguay into a liberal country...
or anything like that.
It was simply a war imposed by the circumstances back then.
López, who clearly had no diplomatic skills...
believed he would be able to balance the power in Rio da Prata...
when there was no such balance in power.
Brazil was much more powerful than Argentina and Paraguay combined.
Surprising the whole Brazilian fleet early in the morning...
during their stay 9 miles South of the town of Corrientes...
taking advantage of the fact that the whole crew spent the night on land...
was the plan of a strategist during the preparation stage in Humaitá.
But as we can see throughout the entire war...
López was never at the front...
and he commanded officials who had no training and no initiative...
despite their bravery and patriotism.
On his way to Riachuelo, Captain Meza is concerned with the damage...
in one of his eight ships...
delaying the onset of the operation.
With his 7 trading vessels, one combat vessel...
six of them having cannons...
he sees himself facing 9 Brazilian steam war boats.
With the help of the coastal artillery...
Meza is able to turn the table of technical disadvantage mid-fight...
considering the whole fight lasted 8 hours...
and he had some Paraguayan soldiers flying their flag...
on a Brazilian ship.
At the moment all the ships got stuck...
and our ships started being boarded by the Paraguayans...
they had difficulties maneuvering in the narrow canal...
the combat was taking place.
That's when Admiral Barroso had the genius idea...
of deciding to use the potential he had at hand, the Amazonas ship...
investing with his own ship against the Paraguayan ships...
using the bow wheel of the Amazonas as a battering ram.
By doing that, he turned the table on our favor.
Until then, we were in an inferior position...
for the simple reason that it was very difficult to maneuver.
But when Barroso invested against Paraguayans ships...
and sunk them...
the ones left standing realized they were going...
to go down also...
and the whole situation was turned in our favor.
Our near-defeat was transformed into a glorious victory.
This episode had two leading roles:
One claiming he had initiate it Captain Delfim de Carvalho...
and the other who was identified by witnesses...
the Argentine Bernardino Gustavino.
Both of them questioned the heroism of Admiral Barroso...
as to his brilliant intuition, that saved Brazil...
from a naval defeat never seen before.
To stop the rumors about his nervous breakdown...
reacting to the Paraguayan audacity of blocking his commanding voice...
he files a law suit to prove the initiative was his.
Right after the war, there was this accusation...
but Admiral Barroso addressed all the commanding officers...
and the crew of the Amazonas ship...
interrogating them about it and the answer was unanimous:
The initiative had come from the Admiral.
In the war records...
you see all the responses from the officers.
If all of them failed to tell the truth, that's a different story.
López' quick advance to rescue Uruguay...
by attacking Rio Grande do Sul and its unable defense troops...
gathers a series of shameful events.
With ease, General Stigarribia arrives at Uruguaiana...
thanks to the cowardice of General Canabarro...
a mistaken hero from the Farroupilha Revolution.
For that, Canabarro was submitted to War Council...
along with other officers.
Across the Uruguay river, the rest of Stigarribia's troops...
are victims of the first bloodshed in the war.
General Flores, with 9, 000 Uruguayans...
400 former slaves included...
kills 1, 700 Paraguayans...
and captures over 1, 000, many of which were coldly beheaded later.
Stuck in Uruguaian...
Stigarribia allows himself to be surrounded by the allies.
Without any fight, he surrenders...
along with the best trained soldiers of Paraguay.
The ceremony was witnessed by the very own Pedro II...
and his Secretary of War, the Marquis of Caxias.
General Robles follows Stigarribia's steps...
and remains motionless in Goya, South of Corrientes...
with 16, 000 men.
López suspects his loyalty and has him executed as a traitor.
THE FALL OF URUGUAIANA
Any Paraguayan soldier killed in behalf of the country...
will rise up again in Assunción.
We will execute every dead soldier...
who does not report back to Assunción.
Violating every human rights in case of war...
the allies share amongst themselves 1,200 war prisoners from Ataí.
Therefore, Uruguay incorporates over 500 Paraguayans into its army...
under the threat of cutthroat or other punishments.
300 of them are sent to Buenos Ayres...
to work as domestic employees.
The Brazilian share is sent to Rio de Janeiro...
where the Paraguayans end up being sold as slaves.
The war was not triggered by England.
I'm not even sure what interests England might have had to do that...
since trading could have been damaged.
Although, in the case of Argentina...
the fundamental financial resources...
were provided by England.
For example...
the London - South American Bank...
which still exists in Buenos Ayres...
would deliver great amounts of money daily...
to the Mitre administration...
to pay for the daily expenses of the war.
At that moment, an Argentine by the name of De La Riestra...
was sent by the government to London to close down a loan.
That loan came through.
Later on, another loan came through. With that money...
they bought guns, ammunition...
animals, food for the animals and all that.
I believe that, without such financial support...
Argentina would not have been able to participate in the war.
Besides, when one analyses the loans Brazil has received...
the dates on those loans are surprisingly similar.
The largest loans Brazil has received...
from the first days of the Empire until 1865...
they relate to the period immediately before the War of Paraguay.
In any way am I insinuating England triggered that war.
Especially if you think that England has always...
linked its interests...
to episodes more or less democratic, or falsely democratic...
or even totalitarian.
Brazil was assaulted by the troops of Solano López.
The territory of Mato Grosso was invaded...
and there the Paraguayans committed violent acts...
which caused Brazil to stand up to the occasion...
as a one-man army, and retaliate against such assault.
No matter how long it would take...
but the wound had to be mended.
That's how I see the War of Paraguay...
from the point of view of the Brazilian people.
As proof of that, the government had to resource to voluntaries...
in order to form its troops, because we did not have...
a powerful army.
The male population massively responded...
and formed battalions of the Volunteers of the Motherland.
That holds proof that the War of Paraguay, in an early stage...
was a war of the people here in Brazil.
Brazil barely had an army.
There was a national guard, mostly formed by older men...
which controlled the power and prevented riots and all of that.
When the war started, we found ourselves with no army...
so we had to form one as quick as possible.
A law was instituted, calling for volunteers...
in the hopes that patriots would agree to die for Brazil in Paraguay.
The problem is that...
the patriots were those older men...
who did not think it was a good idea to die in far away Paraguay...
when we had available a large number of black slaves...
who could very well replace them. So, what really happened was that...
they would send black slaves in their place.
The slaves were taken off the fields and sent to war.
Obviously...
some or other patriots agreed to go to war.
There was a lack of soldiers as the war went on.
So they would complete their ranks...
going around, forcefully "recruiting" disabled men...
street beggars, drunks, people who didn't even have a chance.
That's how the Brazilian army was formed...
and sent to the War of Paraguay.
It's obvious that the result was pathetic.
The Volunteer of the Motherland enlist with great enthusiasm.
Recruiting on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
That's how they hunt the Black slaves.
Soldiers going crazy to die for Brazil.
Heroic embarking of the Volunteers of the Motherland.
In a province in the countryside of Argentina, called Catamarca...
a silversmith writes down a receipt to the governor.
"I received this much of patacones..."
which was our currency at the time...
"...for the iron anklets I made for the volunteers of the war."
Iron anklets.
We have letters from our generals that say:
"Our warriors walk tied to each other by the elbows."
It was not a popular war. It had nothing to do with the people.
From Uruguaiana, the Triple Alliance army...
leaving its mark across the plains of Argentina...
arrives at Corrientes...
after the evacuation of López' expeditionary group...
who in their fruitless attacks across the borders...
suffer 21, 000 casualties and take not one single prisoner.
April 15th, 1866 is a sad day for Paraguay.
65, 000 Brazilian, Argentine and Uruguayan soldiers...
invade their territory, from where they only left 10 years later...
leaving behind a destroyed country and an interim government.
Incapable to resist in Paso de la Patria and Itapiru...
López sets back to Estero Bellaco, near Tuiuty...
and waits for the enemy.
For Paraguay, the war starts all over again.
I am checking the map to get an exact location.
The bisectrix is being formed before the shadow.
The shadow has to show 12 or 6. It's 4 o'clock now...
so the North is here, according to the bisectrix.
We have North right here.
Now, we follow the map...
according to the direction we have determined.
This place here was the camp site and GQ for López...
right after the allies had crossed the Paraná river...
and settled in Paso de Patria and Paso Pucu.
Therefore, over there, we have...
Curupaiti, Humaitá this way...
and Paso de Patria ahead of us.
Ever since Corrientes...
to fight against the technological superiority of the Triple Alliance...
Paraguay decided to alternate...
between conventional and guerilla techniques...
using both hand strikes on land...
and incursions into the Paraguay river and its branching rivers.
Hence the large number of casualties among the allies...
which did not totally happen on decisive battles.
To the South, we see Tuiuty...
which is that elevated piece of land over there, and also the swamps.
The importance of such elevation is the control you have over the area.
This is where we had the Estero Bellaco and the Tuiuty battles.
The first one was offensive...
against the allies forces.
Then there was the Battle of Tuiuty, where the "mariscal"...
in a deciding battle...
tried to finally end the war...
on May 24th, 1866.
This is where Marshall López commanded his army.
Fire!
Fire!
Fire!
On the fields and swamps of Tuiuty...
López not only lost his only opportunity...
to lead the allies to the negotiation table...
but also cries over a horrible defeat...
caused more by the inefficiency of his command...
than by the strategic wisdom of his opponent...
who goes from the invader to an immobilized defender.
López figures out a maneuver involving both flanks...
a quick and unexpected one...
to position himself on the back of the enemy.
But it turns out to be a fiasco.
In the ratio of 2 for 1, for 4 hours...
with 250 cannons covering 3 miles of iron, lead and smoke...
the Triple Alliance breaks down, morally and physically...
López' army.
It could not have ended in Tuiuty. The battle occurred right here...
and it was the bloodiest one in South America...
with approximately 13,000 Paraguayan casualties...
and 4,000 allies casualties.
This battle greatly influenced the shutdown of the operations.
With the arrival of the battalion of Porto Alegre...
they were able to operate in Curuzu in early September.
And there was a great defeat on the part of the Triple Alliance...
over at Curupaiti, on September 22nd.
10 days before the Battle of Curupaiti...
López asks to talk to Mitre, in the vain attempt to conciliate with him.
After 5 hours of conversation, without witnesses...
the meeting of Taiticorã...
results in nothing more than an exchange of compliments...
gifts and hugs.
Mitre says he cannot step away from the Treaty of the Triple Alliance...
which López cannot accept.
Therefore, the immediate truce is impracticable...
and the conflict gains even more stamina.
Fire!
September 22nd, 1866.
The bloody lesson received by Argentines and Brazilians...
at the Battle of Curupaiti...
was the culminant point of the uncertain offensive of the allies...
for the conquering of Humaitá.
At a time wisely chosen...
with the ships positioned to chase away the enemy's coast guard...
20, 000 men...
including the Argentines wearing elegant parade uniforms...
the allies get ready to attack the trenches of Curupaiti...
occupied by 5, 000 Paraguayans and 49 cannons.
The defeat accelerates the implosion of the allies high command.
Tamandaré, Polidoro, Flores, Mitre and Porto Alegre...
had been already fighting for future glory...
despite the array of mistakes the Triple Alliance had collected...
all the way from Tuiuty.
From that point on...
the War of Paraguay becomes an exclusive topic for Brazilians.
I've been to this place and stayed there for a week.
So I can attest for the nature of the terrain.
The terrain over there is really difficult.
There are little rivers...
swamps at the river bank and around the river...
Without knowing the terrain...
it is very dangerous for a military chief...
to move a large number of troops, 30,000 men, for example...
without previous knowledge of the terrain.
That's why Caxias, at the stabilization period...
employed the use of balloons for terrain observation.
With those, he could have a better idea about the conditions.
With cavalry and naval landscape scans...
it would not be easy to operate, after what happened in Tuiuty.
The Paraguayans show the allies their worst angle.
The episode of the retreat from Laguna...
became an epic thanks to narration of one of its participants...
a very young Vice-Count of Taunay.
But it had secondary importance in the whole context of the war.
In the mid-1867...
Colonel Carlos de Morais "Camisão"...
who had fled from Corumbá after the invasion...
commanding 1, 700, including Goicuru and Terena native indians...
women and salesmen...
starts his bold march into Paraguay up to Villa Concepción...
with the intention of creating a North front.
Camisão wants to erase his image of cowardice...
which had stained his conscience and his career.
Right after his group takes over Bela Vista...
near the Laguna farm...
Paraguayan troops force him to retreat to Aquidauana river...
with the loss of a third of his soldiers and volunteers.
Besides the Paraguayan attack...
his group is afflicted with cholera...
killing dozens of soldiers and officers...
among them, the very own Camisão.
At a certain point of their escape...
Camisão is forced to leave over 100 sick soldiers behind...
and ask for the forgiveness of the enemy troops.
According to Taunay...
who contradicts himself on the report of a survivor...
who claims having not seen one single bloodshed...
the Paraguayans killed every sick Brazilian.
DID I SAVE THE TROOPS?
Caxias plans to sharpen every Brazilian sword...
before the offensive in Humaitá.
While the allies do not make a decision...
Solano López enjoys himself taking pictures.
18 months later, November, 1867.
The allies are literally stuck in Tuiuty...
and López goes back to that same operation scene...
to try and convince Caxias to retreat back to the Paraná river.
The sudden arrival of the Paraguayans in Tuiuty...
where the officers pass their time growing flowers...
causes so much panic...
that an entire Brazilian battalion is imprisoned...
along with its commanding officer.
Among the trophies, besides cannons and flags of the ally countries...
Paraguay gets a trophy of political significance:
The battalion called "Paraguayan Legion"...
formed by enemies of López regime, exiled in Buenos Ayres...
and by prisoners forced to fight their own country.
That battalion is practically destroyed.
Besides the battle of Tuiuty...
with its victory widely celebrated with balls and decorations...
Paraguay counts as victory many previous defeats...
such as in Parecuê, Tataíba, Totrerobeja and Itaí...
which were in fact military merits of the Triple Alliance.
With the fall of Humaitá...
the result of a maneuver credited to Caxias...
but which had been elaborated by Mitre 2 years before...
once more, the war is apparently lost to López.
After 28 months of battle on the delta formed...
by the rivers Paraná, Paraguay, and the Humaitá Fortress...
over 70, 000 soldiers are dead...
both from the Paraguay and the allies side...
not to mention the thousands of cholera patients...
wounded and maimed soldiers, and deserters.
We are here in Humaitá, and we can see above us...
the ruins of the Humaitá's church...
which bore 18 months of attacks from the ally squad.
233 cannons attacked the fortress of Humaitá.
On the water, there was the London battery...
which went around the canal of the Paraguay river.
After the London battery...
they had spread chains to prevent anyone from passing.
Humaitá was covering the back of Curupaiti.
Up the river, we have Villa Pilar.
Humaitá was a very important strategic spot.
In February 1868...
the ironclads passed Humaitá...
probably because of a flood, according to History records.
That's why the squad was able to cross.
From here, the ships went on to Assunción...
where they started to attack the nations capital.
On November 10th, 1867, the "mariscal"...
had crossed the Paraná river.
He had come from Paso Pucu and, when he arrived at Humaitá...
he went on to the western region...
and headed to Tebecuari river.
That happened in November...
and the ally squad crossed in February 1868, 3 months later.
Unfortunately for us at the time, the Paraguayans...
started an operation which can be considered very successful.
The operation was the retreat of López' army, by López himself...
heading towards the North, leaving at Humaitá an unimportant group...
which surrendered later on.
The retreat of over 12,000 López soldiers...
through what now is the Argentine swamps...
saved the Paraguayan troops from total defeat.
In June 11th, 1865, there was the Battle of Riachuelo.
Then the disembarking on Paso da Patria, Battle of Tuiuty in 1866...
and the Crossing of Humaitá only happened in February...
1868.
Therefore, over 2 years after the Battle of Riachuelo.
Why? Because we did not have a squad...
capable of carrying out the crossing.
We had to prepare the squad.
The river was narrow...
the Paraguayan fortifications were powerful...
and any ship made of wood that tried passing them...
would have certainly been sunk.
So Brazil decided to build an array of ships...
then we ironclad them...
and we also bought ships from other countries...
including the ones ordered by the government of Paraguay.
Those ships, when they eventually started to operate...
we were able to start our offensive against Paraguay.
Caxias started with the flanks...
along the margins of Humaitá...
and only then we were able to cross.
We had to wait for the right time.
The river flooded...
we were able to attack from the river and sink the pillars...
holding the chains together...
the chains blocking the river from side to side.
When the pillars sank and the chains gave enough way...
the ships crossed over them...
under heavy Paraguayan fire...
to the point of untying some of the ships...
which later were taken by the current.
A Brazilian decoration which has caught our attention...
was the one for the Crossing of Humaitá.
Only after over 6 months...
bombarding, day and night...
the Brazilian squad was able to cross Humaitá.
But the medal reads "The Crossing of Humaitá".
However, later on, even in Brazil...
there was a lot o criticism...
about the unpleasant fact that it had taken them so much time to cross.
Because of that, that decoration was removed...
from the officers who had received it.
They've heard about it, but they don't know about it.
They've read about it, they've been lectured about it...
just like I have been, by my father. But I speak the truth...
because my father told me everything.
Why would he lie to his son?
I know he took Corumbá back, but young people do not know that.
I was 3 years-old when he started telling me about it.
It was 1907, and I remember everything to this day.
- How was Corumbá taken back? - This is what my father told me.
The force was formed in Cuiabá.
Their commanding officer asked them who wanted to take Corumbá back.
He said "Take a step forward". 600 men took a step forward.
Those 600 men came to take Corumbá.
My father was among them...
plus two brothers of the young ladies and the young man...
made prisoners by the Paraguayans.
That's what he told me.
- Was it violent or was it easy? - He said it was violent.
It was easy, because there was not too much resistance.
- Why not? - Because it was unexpected.
The Paraguayans were all asleep.
The commanding officers were about to have some coffee...
The two ladies were in the kitchen, saying:
"This would be a good time for the Brazilians to come".
My father was told that, and then he told it to us.
The ladies said that in a very low voice, while preparing the coffee.
As soon as they said it, they heard "Hail to the Brazilian nation!"
There was immediate fire, and the commanding officers fled.
They all fled under fire. The priest was killed.
I don't remember if they killed the Colonel. I can't tell you that.
But the priest was killed.
They killed him, ripped off his ribs...
roasted it and ate them! I don't know if that's true.
The salvation of Corumbá was real.
It happened on June 13th, 1867.
How long had the Paraguayans been here?
2 years and almost 6 months.
- How do you know that? - Through History and...
through some personal history.
My grandfather was a soldier and he fought in the War of Paraguay.
He used to tell us that story from beginning to end...
because he participated in the salvation of Corumbá.
It was a very balanced fight.
What they say about the Paraguayans being asleep is not true.
Both sides fought in a very balanced way.
17th BATTALION OF HUNTERS BAND
The occupation of Mato Grosso...
and the Paraguayans taking over Corumbá for 2 and a half years...
at first appeared to have only a psychological effect.
However, along the war, its strategic value is revealed:
Protect the back part of the country...
and protect López opportunity to communicate with the Pacific Ocean...
through Bolivia.
The Paraguayans counted on the sympathy...
of the dictator Mariano Mergarello...
who promised to lend López 12, 000 Bolivian soldiers...
but he never kept his word.
During the entire war, with the blockage of Rio da Prata...
López kept open his diplomatic channels with South America...
France, England and the United States...
besides being able to import guns, medication and food.
On this square, there were some cannons. This is Republic Square.
They installed them here because...
there was a good view of the Paraguay river...
and they could see the ships coming.
It happened during the War of Paraguay.
In the year of 1867...
200 soldiers of the Lieutenant Colonel Antônio Maria Coelho...
went down the Cuiabá river aboard fragile vessels...
to chase away from Corumbá...
the invaders commanded by Solano López.
So few accomplishing so much for so many Brazilians.
Every little detail of it, exactly as Military History has recorded...
is reenacted in a natural performance close to real facts...
full of emotion.
Now, it's time for the symbolic action of taking Corumbá back.
A great epic, rich in civism, honoring the History of our country.
The rescue team in action.
This reminds us that the enemy was more powerful and calm.
The Brazilian soldiers took the enemy by surprise.
It was an overwhelming fight.
I see the rising of this idea of portraying López...
as the incarnation of the National State...
of a desire for Latin-American freedom...
and that happens in the 30's...
with the totalitarian ideas coming from contemporaneous Europe.
It happens in the days of Getúlio Vargas and Perón...
who considers Rosas a nationalist. Rosas was not a nationalist...
in any sense of the word.
In 1934, it is released in Berlin a book which presents Simon Bolívar...
as a proto-Fuhrer, an enlightened leader...
who knows what his country wants, who represents everything...
his country wants to be and must be.
It was a time when democracy, liberal values...
and dissension were being set aside.
At the same time, people started to reawaken...
the political image of the great leader López.
According to current classification, Solano López was a dictator.
At the same time, he was a figure...
whose popularity and ability to lead the Paraguayan people...
were something Homeric, fantastic.
Although he hadn't been chosen by the people in an election...
he was chosen by the Paraguayan people as a leader.
On the other hand, "liberalism", as many other words...
is used to hide realities that do not comply with its meaning.
If I say that I am handsome, no one is going to believe me...
unless I keep saying so many times that people will believe it.
Same thing happens with liberalism.
The war happened, especially in Argentina, on behalf of liberalism.
The whole thing hides a whole array of phenomena...
related to the organization of a National State of Argentina.
The organizers of such state believed that their inside enemies...
would find in Paraguay a good outside ally.
They might have been right.
President Mitre's biggest fear...
was that his inside enemies, with the help of Solano López...
who had a significant army...
would be able to frustrate the enterprise...
Mitre was putting in place at the time.
There was no freedom of speech...
because of a very peculiar dictatorship instituted in 1812...
by Dr. Francia.
As a counterbalance, no other country had freedom of speech...
and all the countries supported the keeping of slaves.
So we cannot see the dictatorship of Dr. Francia in Paraguay...
under the same light, under the same critical point of view...
of what we believe freedom is today.
Even though there was no freedom in Paraguay...
to express certain ideas...
there was the freedom to be a free citizen...
in the sense that every person had a decent life.
They had enough to eat, they never went hungry...
they weren't slaves and they were free to work.
The first thing we should clarify about freedom of speech...
in Brazil and in Argentina is:
Freedom of speech was limited to specific minorities.
In Paraguay, freedom of speech was non-existent...
but the people didn't see that as a problem.
It was a people formed by small field workers...
whose main problem was daily survival.
Their problem was not the inability to express themselves politically.
They expressed their political view...
with unconditional support to López.
It had been the same way with Solano López' father.
It was a dynasty.
And, before him, with the acclaimed Francia...
who had declared himself as "perpetual dictator of Paraguay".
There was no freedom of speech.
But we have to analyze that having in mind...
the way society was formed.
What we would call an aristocracy, or bourgeoisie...
did not exist there.
There was a small group of people in charge, the López family...
including brothers, brothers-in-law and other relatives...
and then there was the people, a mass of peasants.
It had to do with the rising, in Latin America...
of a series of totalitarian dictators...
from both the right and the left wings.
We can include in that Fidel Castro, Perón or Getúlio Vargas.
Those people seek to bring back what López meant to his people:
A great enlightened despot...
a ruler who knows what his country wants.
That kind of despot attracts some enemies in England, in the U. S...
in liberal capitalist countries where there is some kind of...
freedom of ideas and dissension.
To justify some actions of the present...
they base their ideas on those historical figures...
and try to find in them some reference to values of this century.
I believe Bolívar is seen that same way.
They are always looking for a Hispanic-American hero...
to justify that kind of thing...
again, for completely political reasons...
for a certain populism, to make sure the people will always be happy...
if they are led by the hand in a patronizing way...
by a great man, be that Perón, Castro or Vargas...
who knows exactly where his people wants to and must go.
Paranoia or not, because of the lack of documents to prove it...
López finds out in San Fernando in 1868...
that there's a conspiracy to pull him out of government...
and to give the country away to the Triple Alliance.
The revolution is articulated from Assunción...
by American secretary Charles Washburn...
with the support of Caxias.
Brazil's gold reactivates the involvement of López family...
including his own mother, Doña Juana Carrillo...
whom he sends to jail and sentences to whipping.
Madame Lynch, López' lover, a beautiful and attractive woman...
swooped off her feet by him in the ballrooms of Paris...
has the right to remove or suggest someone to be punished or killed.
Over 1, 000 so-called "traitors" are brought to justice...
including López' brothers, ministers, generals...
and even Father Palacios...
who were executed after a direct order from a one of his inferiors...
Father Maiz, who presides the trials.
There was a conspiracy due to the wearing out of a lost war.
There was no reason to go on with it. López felt that way.
He was willing to stand until the last shot, and he did.
He went on with it until his life was finished...
and almost until his people was finished.
López' mother, brothers, generals, they knew the war was lost.
They had to surrender and be done with it.
The alternative was a catastrophe, a holocaust.
Differences aside, that famous attack against Hitler...
planned by a group of generals from the Grand State...
with that bomb which did not hit the target...
was the same thing, they knew it was over.
However, the dictator's self-centrism and egomania...
led him to the end, to suicide. Hitler killed himself.
López, in a certain way, also killed himself.
"As a foreigner...
I came to this restless and palpitating country...
linked by love to the most illustrious of its children.
For him, I adopted this land as mine.
I made my own its nights and its legends...
its eagerness to a greater power...
the candid beauty of its women...
the innocent rawness of its men.
I loved this land...
because I loved the man who represented it...
and I had children who learned the language of this land.
In the war...
I cleaned the wounds of its heroes...
I splashed myself with the blood that ran across the battlefields.
I cried with widows, with childless mothers.
We all became sisters in this unstoppable pain.
What punishment may be compared to the horrors of this war?"
During the month of December of 1868...
19, 000 Brazilians and 6, 000 Argentines and Uruguayans...
fight exemplary battles in Itororó, Avaí and Lomas Valentinas...
destroying the entire Paraguayan army.
The cost of these victories were the lives of a third of the ally army...
leaving Osório out of combat after a shot on the jaw.
On Christmas Eve...
the Triple Alliance urges the dictator to surrender.
López' response was a fantastic escape...
right before the eyes of the commanding officers of the Allies.
Strategically speaking, what was the meaning of his escape...
to the War of Paraguay?
It represented the destruction of the Paraguayan army...
which was an underlying goal of the war itself...
according to its own rules.
That is, the journey to the South, the Battle of Itororó...
The Battle of Avaí...
and later on, the Battle of Lomas Valentinas...
and the occupation of Angostura...
represented the total destruction of the Paraguayan army.
López, by going towards the mountain range...
reorganized a different army.
But his escort group was so small...
it could not be considered a company.
What's the explanation for Caxias allowing López to escape?
That's exactly where History starts getting really blurry.
Personally, I do not believe in the Paraguayan version:
The Duke of Caxias was a mason...
and therefore he helped López escape.
The Duke of Caxias was a man of character...
extremely refined when it came to ethics.
So, I do not think he would let the enemy escape...
in such an open battle, typical of a war.
Militarily speaking, how do you explain that López...
with only 60, 80 men by his side...
was able to escape from a 20, 000 men army?
The permeability of the terrain at the time...
and our lack or knowledge of the terrain...
during the Battle of Lomas Valentinas opened the path for that.
López was an experienced officer...
but he was never present where battle was taking place.
He commanded from the back, which was common at the time.
With the knowledge he had of the terrain, he was able to...
escape and take a small escort group with him...
without the possibility of being intercepted.
That is the Brazilian version, which is accepted by historians...
about this controversy in our History.
Militarily speaking, it is impossible that a victorious army...
would let a group of 80 men escape.
Unless the allies were so excited about the victory...
that they failed to cover the whole terrain...
through which such group could have escaped.
Some say that happened due to the brotherhood of the masons...
but that is not proved.
The masonry in Paraguay tried to find some document...
but I assure they did not find any document to prove...
that López was a mason.
Other people may believe he was, but I don't, because...
he came from a eminently catholic family.
Don Carlos Antonio López had 3 brothers who were faithful priests.
The Catholic church has always been against masonry.
The occupation of Assunción was...
an act of violence on the part of the victorious army.
Assunción had been evacuated...
because its houses had been occupied by military.
The women who started coming back to Assunción...
became toys in the hands of the occupation troops.
The Argentine army occupied Villa Occidental...
which today is Villa Hayes, and the imperial army stayed in Assunción.
On January 1 st, 1869...
Caxias gives orders to occupy Assunción.
For 5 days, with the entire Brazilian contingent...
and a small group of Uruguayan troops...
Assunción suffers heavy pillaging...
and no mercy towards its few citizens...
foreign legions, churches and cemeteries.
Officers and soldiers load private and Navy ships with tea herb...
tobacco, pianos, garments, furniture...
curtains, carved door frames and window frames...
china and crystals...
jewelry and gold.
Ironically, in La Ricoleta's cemetery...
among all the violated graves and tombs...
the only one never touched is the one of General Diaz, from Curupaiti.
At the age of 65...
tired, sick and worn out by the two years of a conflict...
which he had helped to extend...
Caxias decides to proclaim the end of the war...
even though he knew López was rearticulating his army.
Such rushed act had a high price.
Back in Brazil...
Caxias is heavily criticized in the Senate and in the press...
for having allowed López to escape...
for giving unjustified leaves, gratifications and promotions...
to his officers, and for stealing horses and mules.
About the pillaging in Assunción, Caxias and staff don't say a word.
As a replacement to Caxias...
the emperor nominates his 27 year-old son-in-law...
husband of Princess Isabel, the Count of Eu...
to hunt down López until death.
Believing that he spotted and detained López in Piribibuí...
the Count of Eu attacks 1, 600 men, women and children...
who defend themselves, once they are out of ammunition...
throwing stones, bottles, anything they have at hand.
During the fight, General Mirna Barreto is killed.
As revenge...
Eu demands the cutthroat of the commanding officer of Piribibuí...
and of most prisoners.
To top it off, he burns down a hospital full of wounded people...
after locking all the doors and all the windows.
ACOSTA ÑU MILITARY SCHOOL IN PARAGUAY
On the plains of Campo Grande, or Acosta Ñu for the Paraguayans...
is where the worst combat of the entire war took place.
There, General Taballero...
who commands what's left of López entourage...
is completely surrounded by the Ally forces...
who took 8 hours to break the resistance...
of 3, 000 Paraguayans...
including hundreds of boys under the age of 14.
The mythology of such combat tells that the boys...
wore fake moustaches and beards...
made of corn hair to look like they were veterans...
when observed through binoculars.
2, 000 Paraguayans were killed...
against 46 officers and soldiers of the Count of Eu.
After the combat...
the count sets on fire the bushes of Acosta Ñu.
Mothers who had come to rescue their wounded sons...
or bury the dead ones...
get trapped inside the gigantic fire.
"So what?
When have the streets of Assunción been free of rumors?
I was still away from that city, I didn't know it yet...
but my name was pronounced with disgust.
Stories about my frivolity and ambition...
filled the siestas and the nights of Assunción.
Has anything changed since then?
It's been 10 years now that they are entertained by my past...
by my present, and even by my future."
Madame Lynch was not exactly someone with no ambitions.
She was a very ambitious lady.
In Paris, she tried to hang out with the nobles...
or at least with the bourgeoisie.
She decided to follow López because of the promise...
of wealth and social status he represented.
However, in Assunción, she faces the tragedy of a society...
that was small-minded, colonial and Spanish...
and that rejects her for not being married to him.
Even López father, Carlos Antonio, forbids that they live together.
Priests of the Catholic church refuse to baptize their children.
Later on, they manage to do that in the countryside...
but the priests of Assunción refused to do it.
She is also responsible, in a certain way...
for getting access to the fortune of the López family...
with the importing of the first two pianos to exist in Paraguay...
which is very important to the country's cultural history.
She was very rich, due to her association with the López...
who basically owned the whole country.
An American historian said once...
that Paraguay was almost like the backyard of the López.
Madame Lynch was the owner of 24 of the best houses in Assunción.
She had a summer cottage, which was almost a castle...
to the Paraguayan standards of the time, at Lake Ipacaraí...
near San Bernardino.
During the war, López transferred to Madame Lynch...
the ownership of lands that were so extensive...
that they beat many European countries in size...
such as the Netherlands and Belgium.
She must have been, between the years of 1865 and 1869...
the most powerful land owner in the whole world.
The lands she had been given were in dispute...
both with Brazil and Argentina.
The legend of...
the great social celebration of the military victory...
says that even the winning countries were in a very bad situation.
They had huge debts because most of the loans...
that had enabled the war, had come from England.
The three countries were already in debt before the war...
and after the war is over...
their debts started piling up on their backs.
Paraguay was totally and absolutely destroyed...
so the first thing the new government did was...
getting a loan from abroad.
The symbol of the birth of the Paraguayan democracy...
was a loan from abroad.
Until before that, until before 1865...
there were many foreigners working in Paraguay...
on the railways, in the plants...
with education...
but those foreign technicians were there to serve the people.
It was not that the people was working on foreign enterprises.
We're at the banks of Aquidaban.
This is where the "mariscal" Don Francisco Solano López died...
the president of the Republic of Paraguay in 1870.
This is where he died, after being wounded.
He came from over there, where that landing strip is now.
He came with his horse to check in his command post.
Horse and man fell in the water, but the horse was the only one to cross.
The "mariscal" fell down right there.
He was seriously wounded, and he was helped out of the water...
by Colonel Aguiar, Colonel Caminos...
and Captain Arguello.
Colonel Aguiar helped him a little further.
He was sitting down, holding his saber...
when he was urged to surrender.
He said: "I will die with my country".
That's when the commanding officer of the Ally army...
General Câmara...
gave order to Corporal "Devil" to finish him.
He said: "Kill López, the tyrant".
Obviously, the corporal followed his orders and killed López.
After that, a letter was written and sent to Rio de Janeiro:
"Today, the 1 st of March, 1870...
we have killed...
the tyrant López with shots and knife strokes.
The soldiers wanted a souvenir of López...
such as his ear, a tooth...
or a lock of hair to take it back to their country...
as a trophy for the War of Paraguay.
At the sight of the body of López...
Major Floriano Peixoto, who later was known as "The Iron Marshall"...
does not resist and says:
"Brazil needs some leaders like this man. "
Madame Lynch, grieving over the bodies of López and her son...
Marshall Panchito, who was only 15 years-old.
Turns to the major and says:
"Is this the kind of civility you were going to bring to Paraguay?"
"The war is over.
The 'T o win or to die' cry has just silenced in the waters of Aquidaban.
My hands have buried two bodies who were loved by me.
There is nothing left to do...
but covering the memories of heroes with prayers...
and hope that our chest does not burst with the pain."