(Page 12) Resource sheet 2

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"Nothing would have stopped me that morning", said Damasio, Vice-President of one of the unions in the Brazilian port of Rio de Janeiro. Recently he had brought the port to a complete halt for fifty days, forcing the dismissal of the port manager. Now the union was again calling for a strike.

However, Nelson, an official of another union, announced that he would open his baggage department because two ships were coming into the port with foreign diplomats aboard. The good reputation of Brazil would be at stake if their luggage could not be unloaded. But Damasio would not allow any of his men to work. He continues the story, "My men had warned Nelson that if he tried to work his life would be at risk. Arming myself with a second revolver in addition to the one which I always carried, and also a knife, I went to the luggage depot at the head of a group of other well-armed comrades.

"When we arrived, I confronted Nelson. I was ready to shoot at the slightest movement from him! I expected a violent reaction. But to my great surprise, he calmly started saying how sorry he was that we were enemies, when we were both fighting for the good of our workmates. To my amazement, he even admitted that he himself had made mistakes and that his union had too.

"I stopped in my tracks. I could not believe my ears. What was behind this? Was it a trick? If he was sincere, it was worth talking about." They agreed to meet the next day.

Damasio went home thinking how close he had come to using his gun and so leaving one wife a widow and another with her husband jailed for murder.

When they met the next day Nelson told Damasio that recently he had met managers and workers who had been able to settle conflicts when they had stopped thinking only about their own self-interest and personal ambitions.

That morning Nelson had arrived at the port all ready to defend his life. But then he remembered what these men had said and felt a peace in his heart. There was no fear, no hatred. He had only one desire; to win Damasio's friendship and confidence so that together they might unite the port workers.

Damasio and Nelson did just that. Soon the dockers gave up carrying weapons and matters were decided through the ballot box instead of the gun.

R2-M3-PAGE 12

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