April 24, 2014

Carnation Revolution is 40 years old

A great poster created by painter Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, A poesia está rua.It means Poetry is in the streets.
Adres, a Portuguese street artist, made this graffiti 
to celebrate the Revolution in 1981.

Hello again!

I am back with a few more lines about April Revolution. One day left for Freedom Day

April 25 is now celebrated as a national holiday. Now you know that it marks the bloodless military coup that was supported by the civilian population. It allowed democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese people after almost five decades of dictatorship (1937-1974). The Carnation Revolution ended the Estado Novo regime, the longest dictatorship in Europe, changing the Portuguese political system from an authoritarian dictatorship to a democracy.

However I must say that by all standards, 40 years later, Portugal is still one of the poorest counties in Europe and of the European Union. Presently we're  undergoing political turmoil and general discontent from large sectors of the population. Everyday someone will say that we need a new April 25. Everyday will say that most promises of April 25 aren't fullfilled. The truth is that Portugal is in recession. Purchasing power of the Portuguese population is gone, unemployment and infaltion are high. The cost of living went up, salaries came down and benefits were reduced. The ones who thought that were safe are getting their pensions shortened. Young people are leaving the country every week. Working middle class sufocates with tax rise. Portugal is turning into a two class country of rich and powerful and poor! So tomorrow popular demonstrations will show discontent on the streets and not joy. Yet, a lot changed  in a couple of hours and I feel thankfull to those who decided to act. 

I made a quick summary of some of the immediate consequences of the Revolution:

- In April 1975 a constitutive assembly was elected by universal suffrage for the first time and a constitution drawn up by the ones elected.

- Over the course of the next decade a stable two party system was established.

- General Spinola served briefly as interim president and was succeeded by General Francisco da Costa Gomes.

- Banks and big industries were nationalized and a major redistribution of land was carried out.

- Hundreds of political prisoners were released.

- Finally there was freedom of speech for everyone, citizens, authors, artists. The press, radio, television were now free of censhorsip.

- The road network increased and decreased the isolation of the interior.

- The quality of life improved in many aspects.

- In 1980, the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores became autonomous regions to enjoy self-government.

- Over the next few years Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde Islands, São Tome and Príncipe, and Angola all became independent. By the end of 1975, the colonies had been granted independence - only Macau remains to be handed over to China in 1999. The independence of these former colonies produced over one million Portuguese refugees (retornados).

- Portugal's entrance into the European Union (1986) opened up opportunities for trade and increased funding.

Celebrating 40 years of Revolution.
Portuguese street artist Carlos Farinha
Place: Calçada da Glória/Largo da Oliveirinha -  Lisboa
GAU - Galeria de Arte Urbana

April 23, 2014

April Revolution and women!

Hello friends and Zazzlers! Here's another short posts about April 25. There's a lot to be told but I don't want to be a bore! Tomorrow I'll publish the last one of this series of postages. 

So, about women, what was in April Revolution for women? A lot.  

Carnation Revolution made a big difference in women life. Being a woman in the old regime had to be suffocating. Before April 25th 1974 we couldn't talk about equality between men and women. (Now it's a lot better, not perfect yet, of course!) By then a woman's salary would be 40% less than man's. The position of a woman was but secondary and relative not only in society but in family as well.

- Until the late 60s, women could only vote if they were householders - like if she was being a widow - and possess intermediate or higher education. In 1968 the law established equal vote for the National Assembly of all citizens who could read and write. But many women were analphabet.

- If a woman got married their rights were exercised by the householder, the husband. The man could open the wife's mail. If she got a job and the husband did not agree, he could terminate it. A married woman could not go abroad without her husband's permission.

- Contraception was allowed just for therapeutic not prevention measures and abortion was prohibited and punished with prison. Advertising of contraception was also prohibited. A husband could ask for a divorce if he knew his wife was using contraception methods and he did not agree.

- A woman should be charming and decorative. Maternity was an important value to the old regime but the mother had less rights than the father in the education of their children.

- A good woman should stay-at-home as the domestic government was her specific function.

- Divorce was forbidden, due to an agreement with the Catholic Church. All children born of a new relationship, after the first marriage, were considered illegitimate.

- Boys and girls attended different schools. Dating in public was phroibited. Dating should be a short period and end in marriage. Even a kiss in the street could be sanctioned with a fine.

- Nurses and teachers could not marry freely. Permission to get married should be granted by the Minister and the authorization was published in the newspaper. A teacher could only marry a man whose salary was bigger than her´s.

- The access to certain professions was completely fenced. Women had no possibility of exercise any political office. The judiciary and diplomacy careers are two examples of professional sectors that women could not access. She could not be a police office neither.

The Carnation Revolution finally brought the equality of rights and duties for spouses. The direction of the family belongs to both spouses. Man and woman both agree on the direction of the common life. And finally an economic value to the work done by women in the home was no longer ignored. The duty of the spouses to contribute to family life can be done by allocating their income to family responsibilities and also by the labor expended in the household and raising children.

The law ensures equality at work between men and women but they continue to earn less, have less access to decision-making positions in business, to work more unpaid hours and be the first to lose his job. The fight for equality is not over. 

Don't miss my last post on the Revolution! Tomorrow! See you!

(Image is from Cipriano Dourado, 1921-1981, Portuguese artist)

April 17, 2014

The songs of the Revolution

Portugal's Radio Renascenca played a folk song called Grândola Vila Morena at 25 minutes past midnight on Thursday, 25 April 1974 - Fair town of Grândola, land of fraternity, the people is the one who rules most within you, city

For more than a hundred army officers that song was was the signal they were waiting to start the move to Lisbon. This was a song from Zeca Afonso. This composer/singer and songwriter is aclaimed for his folk/social intervention and protest music.

But 90 minutes earlier the radio station played the first agreed signal, another song called E depois do adeus.(After Good-bye) This song was Portugal's 1974 entry in the Eurovision song contest in Brighton. The singer Paulo de Carvalho had also no idea that his song would become so famous and a symbol of the revolution.

Grândola Vila Morena - a creative and revolutionary protest in Parliament February 2013. 

Parliamentary debate saw an intervention by 20 people from a social movement called Que se lixe a troika. They sung Grândola and interrupted Prime Minister. He said: "of all the ways work might be interrupted, this would seem to be in the best possible taste." Last year, 38 years after the Carnation Revolution, the former soldiers who made it happen did not take place in official celebrations at the Parliament. Instead they choose to participate on a demonstration on the streets of Lisbon. They joined a protest against the economic crisis and the austerity measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. The conservative government of Passos Coelho is still aiming to reduce the fiscal deficit, a condition imposed by the "troika" of creditors - the International Monetary fund (IMF), the EU and the European Central Bank (ECB) - that approved a 110-billion dollar financial bailout for Portugal in 2011. How? Everybody says that he's killing April's conquests. We are facing pay and pension cuts, more tax imposition, the possible end of free universal public healthcare. Prices for natural gas, electricity, fuel, transport are rising. Now it's easier to hire and fire workers. Unemployment benefits were reduced also, among other measures.


Grândola Vila Morena sung by huge crowd (Oporto demonstration, March 2013) 

Music and movies inspired by the Carnation Revolution! If you want to go shopping I found these for you at Amazon's store!

Capitaes De Abril - April Captains
by  Antonio Victorino D' Almeida
Original soundatrack of the movie with the same name. Curiosity: the composer is the father od the director Maria de Medeiros.
Buy Now

Capitaes De Abril (Widescreen Edition)

Portuguese movie with subtitles in English.The film pays tribute to the men that plotted the coup. The script could be better. Still it's a nice way to learn about Captain Salgueiro Maia deeds and Portuguese Carnation revolution.
Buy Now

Portugal's Revolution: Ten Years On 
by Hugo Gil Ferreira, Michael W. Marshall
Major socio-political study of the fate of Portugal in the decade since the coup d'état.Buy Now

Vivo: 50 Anos De Carreira

A romantic concert! Paulo de Carvalho will be forever connected to the history of the country. But there's more to the artist than the song E depois do adeus!
Live concert from 2010 at Fundação Oriente when he was celebrating 50 th year of his career. In this record Paulo de Carvalho revisits some of his most iconic themes.
Buy Now

José Afonso - ao vivo no Coliseu

The one and great recorded concert with Zeca Afonso. Lisbon Coliseum.January 1983. The author of Grândola Vila Morena was already very sick when he performed. He died 4 years later. Memorable!
Buy Now

April 16, 2014

Why did Carnation Revolution take place?

Hello friends and Zazzlers!

Here I am with a few more facts about Carnation Revolution. I don't know if you're fond of history. I am! So, why did this revolution take place? 

- Civil liberties and political freedoms were inexistent.

- People could not assembly or make a demonstration or create freely. Just an example of someone who likes movies, me! Foreign movies could not be dubbed, only subtitled. The subtitles were more easily adjusted by the censors if they disapproved the original dialogues.

- The "blue pencil" was the symbol of censorship. Censors used a blue pencil to make cuts of any text, image or design that should not be published in the press. Books were seized.

- The people was tired of the oppressive government. Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado or P.I.D.E. (International State Defence Police) was a wide network that spread its tentacules throughout Portugal and its overseas territories.

- The police encouraged citizens to denounce suspicious activities against it. These men and women were called bufos (snitches). Everyone lived in fear. Private, social and profissional life was under constant surveillance.

- The prison of Tarrafal was created in the Portuguese colony of Cape Verde. It was the destination for those political prisoners considered dangerous by the regime. Tarrafal was known for its severe methods of torture. More than 30 persons were killed there. It was a real concentration camp.

No one managed to escape this concentration camp. It was called Campo da morte lenta - Camp of the slow death. Tarrafal was a place for the physical elimination of antifascist prisoners, through abuse, punishments and diseases. When the prisoners arrived at the concentration camp they were housed in canvas tents. For two years they underwent authentic forced labor to built the accommodation for soldiers under hot sun of the tropics. Soon they fell ill with malaria and other tropical diseases. There was no doctor or nurse, or medicine in the camp. One of the camp's Captain's had been part of a military commission in Nazi German charged with studying the operation of concentration camps. An example of punishments inflicted was "the pan" - a cement building with just three holes made in the heavy iron door for light and air. Inside prisoners suffer from the heat. They survived in small compartments with small quantities of water and bread. Horror.

- The start of the sixties brought with it the Portuguese Colonial War. Salazar had refused to give up Portugals' colonies in Africa - Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. The dictatorship's 14 years efforts to hold on to the colonies was responsible for countless deaths among the young generation.

- Many young men were emigrating, often illegally, as a means of avoiding conscription. Many escaped because they could not stand the lack of freedom.

- Portugal was living under a strong influence of the Catholic Church. Portugal was the 3 F's country: Fátima, futebol and fado.

More about April 25 on my next postage!

April 15, 2014

What is Carnation Revolution?

Images on this video show how the siege of Carmo Headquarters by the Armed Forces Movement took place. Salgueiro Maia leads the operation. The military are surrounded by thousands of people who supported the revolution. There was eminent danger as no one knew how the government forces would react. Marcelo Caetano and two ministers of his cabinet were inside. The siege began at 12:30 and 16:30 Marcelo Caetano announced that he would surrender. An hour later, General Spinola entered the Carmo Headquarters to negotiate the surrender of the Government.The Carmo Headquarters hoisted the white flag. At 19:30 Marcelo Caetano surrenders. Victory!

In a nutshell:

- A bloodless coup occurred 25th April 1974 which ended the repressive and dictatorial leadership of the country.

- The longest dictatorship in Europe, the Estado Novo, had prevailed for almost 50 years - Old regime or Estado Novo was founded by 1933. It was led by António de Oliveira Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. Then Marcelo Caetano took over.

- Just past midnight tanks moved into Lisbon and took control of television, radio centres and the airport. Troops armed with machineguns stormed the barracks where the Prime Minister and two of his ministers had taken refuge. Spontaneous demonstrations filled the streets. Thousands of civilians mingled with the soldiers, the newly formed MFA - Movement of Armed Forces - despite orders to stay inside.They shouted O Povo unido, jamais será vencido! This means The united people will never be defeated.

- General António de Spínola received the surrender of the prime minister Marcelo Caetano. Caetano spent the rest of his life in exile in Brazil.

- Above is the most famous poster of April 25th. The kid was three years old and his name is Diogo Bandeira Freire. Today he lives in the UK and married an English woman. He never voted in Portugal.