April captain Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, who died this Sunday, aged 84, shared “great affinities” with musician Zeca Afonso, recalls Associação José Afonso (AJA).
Both shared values where universal freedom and solidarity prevailed, as an emanation of popular will and struggle”, writes the association, on its website, in homage to the colonel who “collaborated with AJA whenever he was asked, in conferences, debates and, especially, in schools”, to “explain how a group of men risked everything in one day and defeated the fascist regime”.
In an interview with Lusa, in February 2017, Otelo acknowledged that Zeca Afonso’s “intervention music” “hugely” stimulated his political awareness.
We entered a whirlwind of friendship, of very great companionship”, recalled Otelo, in the same interview with Lusa, speaking of Zeca as the “brother he would have liked”.
Othello only met and gave an “emotional hug” to José Afonso after the 25th of April 1974.
Regarding the choice of “Grândola” as the password for the Carnation Revolution, he said: “It could be ‘Five more come’ or ‘Bring another friend too’. It ended up being ‘Grândola’, because the others were on the censorship index”.
Othello was imprisoned in Caxias, in 1986, when Zeca Afonso, already very ill, went to “say goodbye” to him, months before he died.
As the composer of “Venham Mais Cinco” could not go up to the parlor, the prison director authorized the soldier to come, to sit in a car – he and Zeca in the front seats, the two companions in the back.
José Afonso, the singer, had doubts whether “the fight” had been worth it since the times of the dictatorship, and he thought his musical work would be forgotten.
“Then, I almost got excited: ‘Oh Zeca, man, never say such nonsense. You were a remarkable guy and what you did will last, man, until the end of the world’”, he recalled, to Lusa.
“Without Othello, nothing would have been the same, nothing would have been possible”, says Associação José Afonso, describing him as “a great strategist, courageous, solidary and dreamer”.
AJA also recalls that Zeca Afonso supported Otelo’s candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic, in 1976 and 1980, and that, in turn, Otelo was the Association’s No. 2 founding member.
He died today, Othello, also on the 25th, as was the 25th day that projected him into the future and into history, as a worker in one of the happiest days of our lives. Thank you, Othello!”, thanks Associação José Afonso, sharing a photograph that brings together the musician and the colonel.
Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho died this morning, at the age of 84, at the Hospital Militar, in Lisbon.
Born on August 31, 1936, in Lourenço Marques, now Maputo, Mozambique, Otelo Nuno Romão Saraiva de Carvalho had a military career from the 1960s until the post-25 April 1974, including a commission during the colonial war, in the Guinea-Bissau, where he crossed paths with General António de Spínola.
In the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), which overthrew the Salazar and Caetano dictatorship, he was in charge of drawing up the military operations plan and, hence, being known as the 25th of April strategist.
After the 25th of April, he was commander of COPCON (Continent Operational Command), during the Revolutionary Process in Progress (PREC), arising in association with the more radical military left, and was a presidential candidate in 1976.
In the 1980s, his name was associated with the Popular Forces 25 de Abril (FP-25 de Abril), an armed organization responsible for dozens of attacks and 14 deaths. In 1986, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a terrorist association. . In 1991, he received a pardon and was amnesty five years later, a decision that raised much controversy at the time.
The body of Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho will be veiled in the Church of the Academia Militar (Lisbon), on Tuesday, and cremated the following day, Wednesday.