The Complex Legacy of Brazilian Explorer Cândido Rondon

By Amanda Audi

The general was an early advocate for Indigenous people—but reality has fallen brutally short of his ideals.

This article is adapted from AQ’s special report on Lula and Latin America In 1914, Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a dangerous journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, following the mysterious River of Doubt. Across the two-month-long trip, the former U.S. president injured his foot in the river, lost 60 pounds, and nearly died—surviving only thanks to the efforts of a five-foot-tall Brazilian man, who came from a poor and partly Indigenous background.  This was Cândido Rondon: two-star general, explorer, scientist, conservationist and anthropologist. Born in a small...

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