This is the preface to Ensaios Americanos, the book by Newton Freitas published in 1945 by Zélio Valverde in Rio de Janeiro. The text by Mário de Andrade (1893–1945) is an edited version of his newspaper article “Um sul-americano”, previously published in Diário de São Paulo on January 8, 1944.
Newton [Coutinho de] Freitas, the Brazilian writer and journalist, was a member of the Communist Party. He wrote for cultural publications in Latin America after being forced into exile in Argentina by the Estado Novo imposed by Getúlio Vargas in 1938. While in Argentina, Freitas promoted de Andrade’s work, and was among those responsible for reintroducing this author to intellectuals in Buenos Aires, following their original contact in the 1920s. Although the Paraguayan attempt at autonomy failed, it gave Mário de Andrade an opportunity to criticize the “Good Neighbor Policy” advocated by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–45) administration, which lauded the concept of close relationships between Latin American countries as a thinly veiled strategy for advancing the political hegemony of the United States throughout the continent. De Andrade’s support for Paraguay should also be seen as part of the critical revision conducted by “modernist” writers—which in Brazil were the equivalent of the avant-garde rather than the followers of Ruben Darío’s ideas, during the 1920s and 1930s—through which they challenged Brazil’s position during the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–70). In addition to the Modernists, the writer José Monteiro Lobato (1882–1948) and other intellectuals associated with the Revista do Brasil also condemned Brazil’s belligerent stance.
On the subject of Brazilian writers who traveled in Spanish-speaking countries and how their work was received in Brazil, see the following: “Amérique Latine” (1934) by Mário de Andrade ; and “Os brasileiros e a nossa América” (1992) by Antonio Candido .
Chapter III of Volume One of the book Critical Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art (MFAH/ICAA, 2012) was entirely devoted to this subject: “The Good Neighborhood and Bad Times,” with an introduction by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto (pp. 424?37). The chapter includes key essays on this matter: “Annual Message – The Monroe Doctrine” by James Monroe (1823) ; “The American Illusion” by Eduardo Prado, available in ICAA’s digital archive in Portuguese, “A ilusão americana” (1894) ; “The Ailing Continent” by César Zumeta, in Spanish, “El continente enfermo” (1899) ; “Europe and Latin America…” by Manoel Bonfim, in Portuguese, “A Europa e a América Latina” (1905) ; “Landings: Culture and Hispano-Americanism” by Samuel Gili Gaya, in Spanish, “Aterrizajes: cultura e hispanoamericanismo” (1930) ; “Bolívar-ism and Monroe-ism” by José Vasconcelos, in Spanish, “Bolivarismo y Monroísmo” (1934) ; and “The Puerto Rican Personality in the Commonwealth” by Luis Muñoz Marín, in Spanish, “La personalidad puertorriqueña en el Estado Libre Asociado” . All these documents have been published in English in the aforementioned Volume One.