Ho Chi Minh’s Time in Rio de Janeiro Helped Make Him a Revolutionary

In 1911, Ho Chi Minh was forced out of his homeland. Between then and his stay in Paris in revolutionary 1917, he lived countless adventures around the world — including in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Ho Chi Minh, hero of the Vietnamese revolution, passed away on September 2, 1969. At the time of his death, the war in his homeland was still ongoing. But the Vietnamese resistance had already turned the tide against the US imperialist invasion. In his youth, the communist militant who later became president of North Vietnam had traveled around the world as a ship’s cook. This episode remains little known, at least relative to his later life. And even less known is the fact that in the early 1910s this work led him to visit Rio de Janeiro. The Brazil he saw was deeply unequal. Yet Rio was also a city full of hope and struggle — an environment which itself helped to shape one of the twentieth century’s leading revolutionaries. … The transformation of Nguyễn Sinh Cung into Ho Chi Minh — in Vietnamese, ‘the one who enlightens’ — did not happen suddenly, and nor was it a purely personal process. This was part of the young Ho’s transformation and the revolutionary struggle that liberated modern Vietnam. We might say that Ho created Vietnam, but Vietnam had already created Ho. Indeed, if there was any good side of being born in the middle of the plague that was colonialism, it was that of having access to the whole world, through its shipping routes. An iconic figure, Ho fought and defeated the imperialisms of France, Japan, and the United States. This record of struggle also sowed the seeds that would allow his people to guarantee its autonomy from the Chinese in the late 1970s, when socialist Vietnam resisted and defeated Cambodia’s barbaric Khmer Rouge regime. Ho’s lesson was profoundly internationalist. With black Americans’ civil rights just won on the basis of a great struggle, the American working class stood up against the fact that their children were now being sent to kill and die on the other side of the world. This neocolonial war, like any such conflict, could only serve the powerful in the imperialist country. …”
W – Ho Chi Minh: The Vietnam War
Behind the Mind of Ho Chi Minh

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