On 18th November the Brazilian Supreme Court announced its intention to extradite the Italian leftist militant Cesare Battisti, a former member of Armed Proletarians for Communism. Below we publish an open letter he wrote to Brazil’s President Lula, translated by Carlos Ferrão.
“Thirty years can change a lot of things in somebody’s life, and sometimes those years can be the whole life itself”.
(The Rebel – Albert Camus)
If we look at our past from an historical point of view, how many among us can sincerely say that they never wished to assert their own humanity, to develop it in all its aspects in total freedom? A few. Only a few men and women of my generation did not dream of a different, fairer world.
Meanwhile, whether through curiosity or circumstances, only a handful have decided to join the struggle, sacrificing their own life to it.
My personal story is already too well known to refer again what led me to choose armed struggle. I just know that there were thousands of us, some died, others got arrested and many ended up in exile.
We knew it could end like this. How many revolutions had gone down in history only as failures? Still, we started from the beginning, made mistakes and even lost. But not everything! The dreams remain!
Many social conquests that the Italians enjoy today were won thanks to the blood spilled by those friends of utopia. I am, like many comrades here in Brazil including some of which are even in power, a child of those 70s. To be honest, I didn’t lose anything, because I didn’t fight for something which I could take with me. But now, imprisoned here in Brazil, I can’t accept the humiliation of being treated like a common criminal.
Now I face the surprising stubbornness of some the ministers (judges) of the Supreme Federal Court who can’t face the truth of what Italy was like in the 70s, who deny the true intention of my acts, who close their eyes to the total lack of technical evidence that tie me to the four homicides, who don’t recognise my right to be trialled in absentia, the statute of limitations and who knows whatever other reasons not to proceed with the extradition.
Besides, it is both surprising and absurd that Italy has convicted me for political activism and in Brazil some insist on extraditing me for involvement in common crime. It is absurd, especially after having received from the Brazilian Government the status of refugee, a decision to which I am eternally grateful.
Facing the fact that it will be incredibly difficult to win a battle against the almighty Italian government, who used all the arguments, tools and weapons at its disposal, I have no other alternative but to start a “TOTAL HUNGER STRIKE”, with the goal of being granted my rights as a refugee and political prisoner. I hope with this last act of despair to stop the extradition which to me would be the same as a death sentence.
I’ve always fought for life, but if I’m meant to die I am ready, but not at the hands of my executioners. Here in Brazil, I will continue my fight until the end, and, although tired, I will never stop fighting for the truth. The truth that some insist in not wanting to see, and this is the worst kind of blind man – the one who doesn’t want to see.
I finish this letter by thanking my companions who, from the start of my struggle, have never abandoned me. I also want to thank those who are late arrivals but who are as important as those who have been by my side since the beginning. To all of you, my sincerest thanks. And as a last suggestion, I advise you to keep fighting for your ideals and for your convictions. It is worth it!
I hope that the legacy of those who fell in the battlefront was not in vain. We might lose a battle, but I’m convinced that victory in this war is reserved for those who fight for the generous cause of justice and freedom.
I put my life on the hands of Your Excellency and of the Brazilian People.
Brasília, 13th of November 2009.