Othello Saraiva de Carvalho, one of the most emblematic military captains of the Carnation Revolution because he designed the plan to end the Salazar dictatorship, died this Sunday in Lisbon at the age of 86.

Saraiva de Carvalho, who died at dawn at the Lisbon Military Hospital where he was admitted fifteen days ago, according to local media that did not specify the cause of his death, went down in history as the man who designed the military operations plan that ended the dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar on April 25, 1974.

Born in 1936 in Lourenço Marques, today Maputo, capital of the then Portuguese colony Mozambique, he spent most of his childhood and youth in Africa, where he was one of those responsible for military intelligence in Angola.

There he began to become aware of the colonial problem and in 1973 he was assigned to Lisbon, which would mark his role in the revolution.

Your home, operations center

Urban art representing Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho.

His house in the capital became a center for meetings and encounters that forged the coup and he was elected head of the Executive Committee of the Movement of the Armed Forces, the military organization that ended the dictatorship.

It was Saraiva de Carvalho who designed and directed the military operations that surrounded the Cuartel do Carmo, where Prime Minister Marcello Caetano (Salazar’s heir) was located and whose surrender dictated the success of the uprising.

Thus, he became one of the main faces of April 25 and was part of the Council of the Revolution.

Saraiva de Carvalho aligned herself with the most radical wing of the Armed Forces Movement and spent three months in prison for her involvement with the leftist uprising of November 25, 1975.

Elections and prison

After his release from prison, he ran for the presidential elections of 1976, the first free in democracy, where he was second with 16% of the votes, behind António Ramalho Eanes.

He would again present his candidacy for the 1980 presidential elections, that time with only 1.5% of the vote.

The image of the captain would be tarnished years later, when he returned to prison for his relations with the left-wing terrorist organization Forces Popular Veinticinco de Abril (FP-25), which left several fatalities in the country.

Saraiva de Carvalho was accused of being a “mastermind” and leader of the terrorist organization, a fact that he always denied, and spent five years imprisoned in preventive prison in the military fort of Caxias, on the outskirts of Lisbon.

In 2011, in an interview with the Lusa agency, the military man was disappointed with issues that still affect Portugal, such as the “huge salary differences”.

“I would not have done it on April 25 if I thought we would fall into the situation we are currently in,” he said.

The military man was bigamist, as revealed in a biography written by journalist Paulo Moura: he married young and later had a second love in prison. “From Monday to Thursday he lives in one house; Friday, Saturday and Sunday he spends them in the other,” he picks up the book.


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