REVOLUTION IN RIO
"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
"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
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
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.