MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Cunhal, Álvaro (1913-2005)

Cunhal Born in 1913 in Coimbra. Studied Law at the Lisbon University. Having joined the Communist Party in 1931 at the university, his final graduation thesis was presented under ubnder guard by the political police of the fascist Salazar regime.

In 1936 he was elected for the Central Committee of a party that was struggling to organize in very hard clandestine conditions (which lasted 48 years). He took a very relevant part in the reorganization of 1940, which built the foundations of a Leninist party. In 1937 and 1940, he was imprisoned and was tortured during both these periods. In 1948, he was again imprisoned and sentenced to 11 years prison. The first 8 years – in the Lisbon penitentiary – were passed in absolute solitary confinement. His defense in court, which he turned into a remarkable political accusation of the fascist regime, was prepared without any possibility of taking notes. Transferred to the fortress of Peniche, he escaped in January 1960 along with 10 other communist cadres.

Since the death in 1948 of Bento Gonçalves in the Tarrafal concentration camp, the Party did not, for 23 years, have a secretary-general. Álvaro Cunhal was elected in 1961.

In the same year, the Central Committee decided that it was necessary for his protection (if he was arrested he would certainly be murdered) to leave the country. He resided in the USSR until 1969, and after that went to Paris. His presence in the exterior created new conditions for the reinforcement of the international solidarity with the Portuguese anti-fascist resistance and of the ties between the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party with the international communist movement, in which Cunhal became a very prominent personality.

Days after the 25th of April 1974 revolution he returned to Portugal. He was a minister without portfolio in the first four Provisional Governments, until 1975. These governments approved social, political and economic measures of very large democratic scope which were in its majority reversed after the right-wing coup of November 1975.

The Portuguese Communist Party, under his leadership, directed for decades the resistance to this counter-revolutionary threat.

He remained Secretary-General of the party until 1992, and a member of the Central Committee until his death.

Cunhal was a very multifaceted personality. Besides his very extensive political and theoretical work, some of which was translated all over the world, he was a draughtsman and a painter, and wrote literary fiction. Two of his fiction books had a film version.

Álvaro Cunhal died on 13th June 2005. His funeral was a massive demonstration, with hundreds of thousands present.

Cunhal Archive.


Cuno, Theodor Friedrich (1847-1934)

Pseudonym Frederico Capestro. Prominent figure in the German and International working class movement. Engineer. Expelled from the country at the beginning of the 'seventies, took part in the organisation of a section of the International in Milan, Italy, opposing the anarchists, and stood for the line of the General Council. At the Hague Congress (1872) he was chairman of the commission which decided on the expulsion of Bakunin from the First International. Cuno later emigrated to America, where he collaborated in the New York People's Paper.


Cunow, Heinrich (1862 - 1936)

German social democrat and university professor who was a ethnographer, and theoretician of the group led by Scheidemann. Before WWI considered himself an orthodox Marxist and consistently fought against revisionism. During the war he became a social-chauvinist.


Curiel, Henri (1914-1978)

Curiel Born in Alexandria, Egypt to a well-to-do Sephardic family, at an early age Curiel became active in the nascent Communist and anti-colonialist movements in his homeland. In the post-war years he was key in organizing anti-British demonstrations, and in 1950 he was deported to Italy (of which he was a citizen, under the concessionary system in place in Egypt), eventually moving illegally to France.

There he was the heart and soul of the group that was to become know as the “porteurs de valises,” the valise carriers, French men and women who actively and materially aided the Algerians in their fight for independence. In their valises they carried money to Switzerland, and on the return trip arms for the FLN.

Curiel was jailed for his activities, and upon his release in 1962 he expanded his field. He led the group Solidarité, which provided assistance to Third World liberation groups in the areas of cadre formation, sabotage, fabrication of false papers, mapmaking, and coding.

All his life he fought for Israeli-Palestinian friendship, and that issue, as well as the liberation struggle in South Africa, was the main focus of his final years.

He was murdered in his Paris home by a group calling itself Delta. The killers were never found, and it was speculated that they worked for either the Israeli Mossad or the South African BOSS.

Gilles Perrault, in his biography Un Homme a Part (translated as A Man Apart) said of him that this “stateless Jew was one of the great citizens of the Third World.”

See article by Gilles Perrault in Le Monde Diplomatique


Curzon, George Nathaniel (Lord Curzon) (1859-1925)

Aristocrat educated at Eton and Oxford. Viceroy of India 1898-1905: strengthened the apparatus of colonial rule, partitioning Bengal and fortifying the North-West Frontier against a threat from Tsarist Russian imperialism. Became an earl in 1911; joined Lloyd George's War Cabinet in 1916; Foreign Secretary first under Lloyd George in 1919 and then under Bonar Law and Baldwin, 1922-24. A leader of the right-wing of the Conservative Party in this period, he combined traditional hostility to Tsarist Russia with his class loyalty culminating in constant aggression towards the R.S.F.S.R. through diplomatic manoeuvres.