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Portugal

Portugal’s Revolution 40 years on: 5 Voices

In April 1974 a coup carried out by left-leaning army officers led the way to democracy in Portugal. The coup on April 25, was led by soldiers and joined by a popular resistance movement. Nowadays austerity measures are threatening the welfare state, healthcare, education, pensions, labour and all the social achievements accomplished 40 years ago.

The Carnation Revolution toppled a dictatorship that was ended by a bloodless uprising against the fascist Estado Novo was named after the red spring flowers that were placed in the muzzles of the soldiers’ rifles.

Portugal’s bloody colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau were a major factor in persuading the army officers to revolt.

In 2011, Portugal was ‘bailed out’ under a plan devised by an elite who lived far from the country, and under which ordinary people had to  foot the bill of the greed and folly of those bankers, bureaucrats and politicians in the pockets of corporations. They are still paying.

1. Col.Vasco Lourenço, leading Captain of 1974 Carnation Revolution 

“The policies being implemented now have nothing to do with April 25. All the social achievements of the revolution – the national health service, education, pensions – are under threat from austerity policies. They can’t just have a pause to applaud the Captains of April and then go back to what they are doing, destroying the values of April 25.”

2. Brig. Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, leader of the 1974 coup as a 37-year-old major

“I look at the situation in Portugal today with great disappointment, almost disaster. It’s lamentable what’s going on. The ideals we had when we made April 25, the hopes for rapid improvement of people’s economic, social and cultural conditions — that’s all gone. I think another revolution is needed. ”

3. Catarina Martins, MP and coordinator of the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc)

“The Carnation Revolution forty years after the April 25, 1974, stands as an inspirer of our struggles for democracy and freedom against government austerity and dictatorship of the markets which require the bankers and the troika.”

4. Joaquim Chissano, former guerrilla leader, Mozambique president from 1986-2005

“Our struggle always went hand in hand for the struggle for democracy in Portugal. April 25 is seen as a great day, a historic day that saw the fall of fascism and contributed to the freedom of all our peoples.

5. Pedro Guerreiro, a leader today of Portugal’s communists, a party that played a central role in the coup 

A culmination of almost 50 years of heroic resistance and anti-Fascist struggle, the Portuguese Revolution liquidated fascism, ended the colonial war and recognized the peoples’ struggles, their right to independence, carrying out deep democratic changes – bringing many political, economic, social and cultural achievements based on the affirmation of national sovereignty and independence, opening the path towards a socialist society…After 37 years of a counter-revolutionary process, many of the major Portuguese Revolution achievements have been destroyed….But a people determined to struggle, sooner or later, will achieve its path towards victory.”

 

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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