Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti

Virginia Barbosa
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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Sugarcane factory owner and politician from Pernambuco, Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti was born on the Caetésugarcane plantation, in the city of Amaraji, in the Pernambuco’s Northern Forest Zone on the seventh day of July, 1892.

He graduated in law from the University of São Paulo (1915), although he had started the course in 1910 at the Recife Faculty of Law.

Still young, he embraced political life by joining the Democratic Republican Party (PRD) led by Governor Manoel Borba (1915-1919), to whom he remained allied even after the party suffered a deep rift.

In 1918, his father died and Carlos de Lima took over the Pedrosa Sugarcane Factory that was owned by his family, in the municipality of Cortês, in Pernambuco’s Southern Forest Zone.

He was elected state representative in 1922, with the Peace and Concord Coalition, and was re-elected in 1925.

Engaged in the political direction of the country, especially in Pernambuco, he supported the candidacy of José Rufino Bezerra Cavalcanti, coreligionist of Manoel Borba, for state governor. When José Rufino died in 1922, Pernambuco political groups, including Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti, chose and supported Federal Judge Sérgio Loreto (1922-1926)to govern the state. In his first year in office, Loreto decreed the closure of union organisations, which resulted in the rupture of political relations with many of the politicians who supported him. In 1926, Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti published the book Pernambuco saqueado: reminiscências de um desgoverno (Sacked Pernambuco: reminiscences of misrule), which combines interviews, articles and statements with allegations and accusations towards Governor Sergio Loreto, secretaries and aides.

From then on, there were newspaper campaigns led by Carlos Lima and his brother Caio Lima against the Pernambuco oligarchy and the economic policy of the federal government, represented by president Arthur da Silva Bernardes (1922-1926). Such campaigns intensified by 1927, when the brothers began to devote themselves to journalism and founded the Diário da Manhã(Morning Daily) and soon after the Diário da Tarde(Evening Gazette)in Recife,which defended the ‘tenentista’ (lieutenant)ideology and attacked the governor of Pernambuco, Estácio Coimbra (1926-1930).

In Brazil, the period from 1930 to 1937 was politically troubled, as it involvedevents that both added strength to and broke national and state governments. In March 1930, Carlos de Lima supported the candidacy ofVargas againstWashington Luís for the presidency. As Vargas was defeated in the campaign, Lima Cavalcantiexpressed in Pernambuco,in October 1930, that the armed movement that would depose President Washington Luís. With the coup, Vargas became president of Brazil and, as an “award” for his political support, appointed Carlos de Lima Cavalcantias Federal Interventor in Pernambuco (1930-1935).

In the early years of the new regime, the then-interventor of Pernambuco stamped his political authority with thedefence of the unions of the working class, by encouraging demonstrations of popular force and by the fight against proposals for the country’sre-institutionalisation. In parallel, he had to deal withan armed uprising sparked in the 21st Battalion of Hunters, in Recifein October 1931, who had rebelled against his government and paralysed Recife for three days with the occupation of barracks and police stations. In the end, the participants in the movement were arrested and exiled to Fernando de Noronha, where they suffered abuse and persecution. In 1932, with the Constitutionalist Revolution of São Paulo, Lima Cavalcanti sent six thousand men to assist the federal government in the fight against São Paulo. He thought that with this act he would recover his prestige on a national level, weakened by the rebellion of 1931 in Recife. Also in 1932, he began the manoeuvrings that formalised the creation of the Social Democratic Party (PSD).

In 1935 he was elected Constitutional Governor of Pernambucoby the Legislative Assembly, a position he held until 1937. He formed a new secretariat, and in this period  he implemented same changes that were seen as a social advances for the time: school meals, rural schools, urban and financial policies, improvements in hospitals, creating the Department of Assistance to Psychopaths, the Mental Health Service; in the Education area he created the Improvement School, the Experimental School, the Normal Model School and the Physical Education School, encouraged education in rural schools in the interior, the teaching of crafts, and officialised the Schools of Engineering, Medicine and Agronomy; organised the Military Brigade.

Led by sectors of the National Liberation Alliance (ANL) in November 1935, the leftist uprising against the federal government occurred. Some members of Carlos Lima’sstaff who were accused of participating in that movement were removed from their positions.

The prestige that Lima Cavalcantihad with President Getulio Vargas, earnedduring his time as federal interventor in Pernambuco, began to decline. Some argue that his political opponents and former allies, like Agamenon Magalhães, accused him of supporting the revolutionaries; others claimthat it was President Vargas disappointment in learning of Lima Cavalcanti’slikely support of José Américo de Almeida’spresidential candidacy (1937). The fact is that in November 1937, after the enactment of the ‘Estado Novo’ (New State) (1937-1945), Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti was deposedas Governor of Pernambuco.

GetúlioVargas invitedhim to be Brazilian ambassador to Colombia (1938), Mexico (1939-1945) and Cuba (1945).

With the end of the dictatorship and overthrow of Getulio Vargas, Lima Cavalcanti returned to Brazil and resumed his political life: he was a Member of the Assembly (1945), representing the National Democratic Union (UDN), and Congressman (1946-1954/1956-1959). In 1954, President Café Filho appointed him as president of the Institute of Sugar and Alcohol (IAA), a position he held until December 1955.

Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti died on 19 September 1967, in Rio de Janeiro. 


Recife, 20 november 2006.
Update: september 14, 2009.
Update: july 19, 2017.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.







ANDRADE, Manuel Correia de. Revolução ou simples rebelião? In: ______. Pernambuco imortal: uma revolução se aproxima. Recife: Jornal do Commercio, 1995. Fascículo 11. 

BORBA, Andréa de Miranda. Elites políticas nos anos trinta. Revista do Arquivo Público: 1930, 60 anos depois, Recife, v. 40, n. 43, p. 24-36, out. 1990.

CARLOS de Lima Cavalcanti. Disponível em: <http://www.cpdoc.fgv.br/nav_história/htm/biografias/ev_bio_carlosdelimacavalcanti.htm>. Acesso em: 23 out. 2006.

CARLOS de Lima Cavalcanti. Disponível em: <http://www.pe.gov.br/governo_galeria_carlos_cavalcanti.htm>. Acesso em: 23 out. 2006.

MACIEL, Ayrton. Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti: todo poder ao rei. Recife: Assembléia Legislativa do Estado, 2001. (Perfil parlamentar. Século XX, v. 5).

CARLOS de Lima Cavalcanti [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <http://www.pe.gov.br/governo/galeria-de-governadores/carlos-de-lima-cavalcanti/>. Acesso em: 19 jul. 2017.

SILVA, Jorge Fernandes da. Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti. In: ______. Vidas que não morrem. Recife: Secretaria de Educação do Estado/Departamento de Cultura, 1982. p. 115-120.







Source: BARBOSA, Virgínia. Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti. Cardeal Arcoverde. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar_en/index.php>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009


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