Spread the love

Portugal celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution

Portugal commemorates on Thursday the fiftieth anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, a military coup carried out by the United States. without bloodshed by young officers, which ended à 48 years of dictatorship and 13 years of colonial wars in Africa.

The culmination of hundreds of initiatives spread over several weeks, Thursday began with a military ceremony in a large square in the center of Lisbon, on the edge of the Tagus estuary.

It will be concluded by a meeting between the Portuguese president, the conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and his counterparts from African countries that became independent after the Revolution: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.

M. Rebelo de Sousa created a surprise by raising the question of possible colonial reparations.

Portugal celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reviews military forces on the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, April 25, 2024 in Lisbon © AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

“We are responsible for what we did there. (…) We have to pay the costs”, he said in front of representatives of the foreign press in Lisbon.

However, he did not specify how Portugal could “repair” these “unacceptable historical behaviors” and, above all, his position is not supported by the new right-wing government resulting from last month's elections.< /p>

“It's a toxic subject” and “inappropriate”, indicated a government source cited by the weekly Expresso.

– Breakthrough of the extreme right –

As every year, the country's main political leaders will take the speech during a “solemn session” planned in Parliament then, in the afternoon, thousands of people are expected for the traditional popular parade in the center of Lisbon.

Portugal celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution

Photos of the Carnation Revolution by Portuguese photojournalist Alfredo Cunha projected on the facade of the triumphal arch at Rua Augusta, Praca do Comercio, in Lisbon, April 24, 2024 © AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

The celebrations of the advent of democracy in Portugal take place this year in a context also marked by a new electoral breakthrough of the far right, the “Chega” (“Enough”) party having clearly strengthened its rank as the third political force in the country with 18% of the votes.

According to a survey published last week, half of those questioned believed that the authoritarian regime overthrown in 1974 had more negative aspects than positive ones, but a fifth of them said the opposite.

In any case, 65% of the sample considered that the revolution of April 25 was the most important event in the history of Portugal, far ahead of the accession to the ancestor of the European Union in 1986, or the end of the monarchy in 1910.

“The main motivation was to resolve the problem of the colonial war”, reminded the 'AFP retired colonel Vasco Lourenço, president of the April 25 Association, heir to the “captains' movement” which organized the uprising.

These young officers took almost a year to set up this “conspiracy” and carry out “a coup d'état aimed at opening the way to freedom, ending the war and building democracy in Portugal”, he said. added.

– “God, homeland, family” –

The Carnation Revolution was so named because the population, who immediately sided with the putschists, distributed these spring flowers to certain soldiers who planted them in the barrel of their rifle.

” Above all, it will be the images taken that day which will transform the red carnation into a symbol of the April 25 Revolution and which will end up giving a romantic, poetic vision to an act which had a lot to do with heroism, even if this revolution was been particularly peaceful”, explains historian Maria Inacia Rezola, in charge of the vast program of commemorations.

During the years of lead marked by the slogan of dictator Antonio Salazar – “God, homeland, family” – Portugal remained “a poor, backward, illiterate country and isolated from the rest of the world”, she describes.

After months of tension which almost degenerated into civil war, the revolutionary period closed on November 25, 1975 with a military intervention by General Antonio Ramalho Eanes, who became the first democratically elected president of Portugal the following year.

Another key figure of the time, the socialist Mario Soares won the first free elections by universal suffrage, organized on April 25, 1975 to form the constituent assembly which drafted the current law fundamental of the country.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116