This chapter traces the back-and-forth history from 1927 to 1935 between Luís Carlos Prestes and the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB). Prestes’s experience in exile during this period shaped his own political trajectory and also his relationship with the PCB. As Prestes evolved from a liberal Army officer into a Marxist, the PCB also had to navigate new policies directed by the Comintern in 1928 and 1935. These shifts created friction between the PCB and Prestes, who would later become its most prominent figure. Whereas most studies tend to treat the early history of Prestes and the PCB as an almost predetermined prologue to his eventual leadership position, this chapter uses a transnational perspective to chart a more nuanced view of Prestes’s trajectory. Transnational politics not only influenced the disjointed relationship between the man and the Party—they made the relationship possible in the first place.
Keywords: Luís Carlos Prestes, Brazilian Communist Party, Brazil, Prestes Column, exile, tenentismo, Olga Benário, Getúlio Vargas