Cordel regarding Peasant Leagues

Today we are going to present a genre of text little known outside Brazil: Cordel. Cordéis are small leaflets containing popular poems, they are displayed for sale hanging from ropes or strings, being written with rhymes and some containing woodcut illustrations. I came to present a Cordel about the Peasant Leagues, a movement active between 1940 and the mid-1980s. The text talks about João Pedro Teixeira, one of the Leagues' activists who was shot to death by landowner gunmen. The following text is called "The story of João Pedro Teixeira, his wife Elisabete and the Sapé-PB Peasant League" and was written by Francisco Diniz.

I will tell a story

That occurred in the Northeast,

In the lands of Paraíba

That's where it happened

The struggle of a poor people

And of a leader who died.

In the year 59, (1959)

In the city of Sapé,

On the soil of Paraíba,

Land of people of faith,

A Peasant League emerged,

Pay attention if you can:

It was João Pedro Teixeira

The creator,

Who dreamed of a world

Where love reigns

With abundance and justice

For the worker.

Registered at a notary's office,

Civil society

And Private Law

Because here in Brazil

A rural union,

At the time it didn't work...

To take care of interests

Of all workers

That's why it was founded

The Farmers Association

And Agricultural Workers

Who welcomed the suffering.


But this association

She was really known

As Peasant League

That gave hope to life,

Only legal means

Of those suffering people.

The emergence of that

Strong Peasant League,

As well as any other,

It was certainly due to

There are 4 reasons

Which makes me sad when I remember.

First: the increase in forum,

The annual rent,

Given to landowners,

Because it is disproportionate,

The loss was unfair

From the rural worker;

Mandatory work

And also without payment

It was the 2nd reason

To cause the gathering

From the people around the League

At that given moment;

The humiliating eviction

And without compensation

For all the benefits

And all over the plantation

It was the 3rd reason

Uniting the population;


The fourth and final reason:

The use of violence

From landowners

That they used vehemently

Jagunços and even the police

Who never had mercy

And much less prudence,

They acted cowardly

Against the workers

They simply wanted

Respect for your rights

To stop being needy.

To face this oppression

João Pedro Teixeira

Sowed unity

Of all the foreign people

From the Sapé region,

But always in an orderly way.

Thus, the aforementioned League

In the Northeast it was the largest,

Around 7 thousand members,

No one felt alone

And as an organization

It can not be better.

This for the latifundium

It bothered me too much,

Who used violence

Explicit and persistent

Robbing the worker

Your life or your peace.


Never João Pedro Teixeira

Came to be intimidated,

Faced the threats,

Never let yourself go

Who wanted to buy it

So he can shut up.

He didn't shut up, quite the opposite,

The peasant defended;

He fought for justice

I did what I could:

Order that the latiundium

Pay what he owed.

He also preached

The expropriation

From the lands, so that the humble

Get out of submission

What was that life

Almost slavery.

The power reacted quickly

Without pity and without mercy,

He had João Pedro killed,

Great bad action,

Exterminating a man

Who only spoke of kindness.

*Paraíba:Brazilian state located in the northeast region. This was the place where Joao Pedro Teixeira was born and lived

*Sapé:City in Paraíba, close to the capital João Pessoa

If you want to read the rest of the text, click here!


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