I thank you Ambassador for the invitation to present this book.
As a member of the government – but first of all as an Italian citizen – I cannot fail to remember – and to be thankful – for the efforts that Brazil made when sending to Italy 25 thousand soldiers of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force – FEB – in those difficult years of our history. With its 2500 dead, Brazil has given an important contribution to liberate an area crucial from the military point of view. It is possible to affirm that this was not a mere symbolic contribution.
On July 1944, along with the FEB, there arrived in Italy names that would have an important role in Brazil, such as the great intellectual and economist Celso (Selso) Furtado, and the brilliant writer Clarisse Lispector. Since September of the same year the Brazilian soldiers took part in a military operation that made way for the passage of the Anglo-Americans through the Apennines towards the Northeast. As the Ambassador previously remembered, in Massarosa, Monte Plano, At the Serchio valley, in Camaiore, Collecchio, Castelnuovo di Vergata and Monte Castello, the Brazilians had to face ruthless temperatures, under 20 degrees, and they did it with courage and dedication. It was the Brazil of Getulio Vargas, of the Estado Novo, an era the ended in 1945. That Brazil has made a contribution to the construction of our democratic and plural Republic. This is a page of history of both countries that must never be forgotten.
In order to close, I must remember that Italy has given its contribution in the construction of a new and democratic Brazil, while sheltering many Brazilian citizens exiled during the military regime that governed Brazil for another 20 years. And it’s been a few days since the news of the Condor operation, which had as objective the repression of political dissents.
Today, in a way still threatened by instability and wars, Italy – President at its turn of the European Union, a reality in which we have had a protagonist role from the beginning and that now represents the greatest area of peace and democracy in the World – hopes strongly that it may continue to count with Brazil, a natural leader, a natural giant (as the national anthem says), a country that is exercising democracy through popular vote in this very day, once again, with passion and vitality that are typical of the Brazilians, the country that in the distant 1944 knew how to assume its very own responsibility in the international scenario.