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In 1964, 56 year-old Josué de Castro was serving as Brazilian diplomat at the United Nations, in Geneva, when his political rights were revoked.
The fruitful intellectual activities of this humble Brazilian physician ended abruptly. His career had begun in the city of Recife, where, at the age of 21, he began practicing medicine. Later he served his country as representative abroad.
Long was the path that this nonconformist northeastern-Brazilian trailed, making him known worldwide for the books he wrote, positions he reached, tasks he accomplished, organizations he created and classes he taught, both in Brazil and abroad.
But of all his activities, either teaching, chairing FAO, at the Brazilian parliament (as a legislator of the former PTB party), in classrooms or in his solitary moments as a renowned writer, he became best known for having chosen a topic to dedicate himself to, that even he considered as a delicate and dangerous theme: hunger. It was against hunger, in all its extension and manifestations, that he fought the battle of his life.
The publishing of the first edition of Geography of Hunger, in 1946, his best known book, translated into 25 languages, marks the beginning of the discussions he intended bringing to his fellowmen and to the world on this plague that still afflicts human beings. Geopolitics of Hunger and other books came afterwards and the author became associated to and identified with the central theme of his works.
During exile, even though he was welcomed by many different countries, he chose to live in France. There he created the International Center for Development (Centro Internacional de Desenvolvimento) and resumed teaching Human Geography at the University of Paris, until his death ten years later, in 1973.
Josué de Castro's life was a important lesson of participation in ones own reality and culture. He tried to establish a science based on the worst side of underdevelopment: hunger. He tried to create an explanatory theory for the wretched reality of underdevelopment, poverty and misery. He tried to change the history of his country. And this is the man that Brazil has to stop neglecting.