Paulo Guerra

Virgínia Barbosa
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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Politician Paulo Pessoa Guerra was born in Nazaré da Mata, Pernambuco, on 10 December 1916, to João Pessoa Guerra and Maria Gaião Pessoa Guerra, on the Babilônia sugarcane plantation.

 He attended and completed his primary education at the Athenaeum Nazarene, in Nazaré da Mata, high school at Marist College in Recife (1933), and graduated from the Recife Faculty of Law (1935-1938).

Pernambuco interventor Agamenon Magalhães (1937-1945), played an important role in his political career, as Paulo Guerra was connected with him from his university days, which began at the age of 21. Guerra was appointed by Agamenon as a Mayor of the cities of Orobó (22/08/1938 to 02/05/1940) and Bezerros (05/02/1940 to 07/16/1941), and also to occupy Recife’s 2nd District’s Regional Press Department (IPD), a position he held from 16 July to 10 December 1942. Also in 1942 and until 18 November 1945, he was warden of the Itamaracá Agricultural Penitentiary.
 In 1945, appointed by Senator Etelvino Lins – the substitute Pernambuco interventor at the time – he became political leader of Igarassu and was elected federal constituent representative with the Social Democratic Party (PSD), also under the influence of the then-Minister of Justice, Agamenon Magalhães, for the 1946 to 1950 mandate.

Ideologically, Paulo Guerra was always faithful to the PSD, considered one of the most traditional and biggest parties in the country. In Pernambuco, the creation of the party was organised by Agamenon Magalhães and formed by interventors appointed by Getúlio Vargas, basically those who supported the guidelines of the New State, coupled with political leaders in the state. Moreover, the power remained in the hands of the PSD in state elections for the years 1947, 1950, 1952 and 1954. The breaking of that succession of victories took place in 1958, when the candidate of National Democratic Union (UDN), Cid Sampaio, defeated the PSD candidate, Jarbas Maranhão.

Paulo Guerra’s career coincided with the great social and political upheavals that marked the history of Pernambuco: the creation of the PSD and the UDN, the Estado Novo (New State), the end of the multiparty system, the installation of bipartisanism, and the military movement of 1964, among others. And in this swarm of events, Paulo Guerra remained faithful to the PSD, even after he joined the National Renewal Alliance (ARENA) in 1965.
He began his parliamentary life traveling in the opposite direction to other politicians. First, he was a Federal Representative (1946, 1950), then a State Representative (1954, 1958). He chaired the Pernambuco Legislative Assembly (1961-1962), was vice-governor under Miguel Arraes (1962-1964), Governor (1964-1967) and Senator for ARENA (1970-1977).
In addition to his political activities, Paulo Guerra was a farmer and sugarcane plantation owner, but his great passion was cattle ranches. Paulo managed the Paulo Pessoa Guerra and Sons Organisation on the Santa Maria do Tamboril Farm; the Olho d’água Farm in Itauba, Paraíba, and directed one of the largest public registries in Recife, the Paulo Guerra Notarial Service.

He was the father of thirteen children, fruits of the marriage to Virginia Borba. Of these, only three pursued public careers.

From his administration, worth highlighting are his impetus to the industrialisation of the State through the implement of rural electrification and water supplies, the creation of the Federation of Higher Education of Pernambuco (FESP), today the University of Pernambuco (UPE), highway construction and the building of the Emergency Hospital.

In his honour, in 1978, the Paulo Guerra Bridge was inaugurated, which connects the districts of Cabanga and Pina in Recife, and in the 1980s, the then Joaquim Nabuco Institute for Social Research (now Joaquim Nabuco Foundation) named one of its buildings after him.

Paulo Pessoa Guerra died on 9 July 1977.

Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.


ALCÂNTARA, Christiane. Paulo Guerra: frases e fases de uma trajetória política. Recife: Assembléia Legislativa, 2001. 141 p.

PAULO Pessoa Guerra. Dados biográficos. In: Arquivos de Documentos Textuais. Recife: Fundaj, Cehibra, [19--].

PAULO Pessoa Guerra. Disponível em: >.  Acesso em: 10 maio 2007.

PAULO Pessoa Guerra. . Acesso em: 10 maio 2007.

PAULO Pessoa Guerra. Disponível em: http://www.pe-az.com.br/biografias/paulo_pessoa_guerra.htm. Acesso em: 10 maio 2007.


Source:  BARBOSA, Virgínia. Paulo Guerra. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009

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