The 48th anniversary of the 25th of April was marked this Monday with the usual solemn session in the Assembly of the Republic, now without restrictions due to covid-19. Before the President of the Assembly of the Republic and the President of the Republic, deputies from the eight parties with parliamentary seats in increasing order of representation gave speeches.
“A Day That Was Worth Decades”
The sole deputy of the Free party was the first to speak in the Assembly of the Republic, although the first part of Rui Tavares’ speech was inaudible to those who watched the speeches on television, due to a problem in the sound system of the Assembly of the Republic. . Praising the 25th of April as “a day that was worth decades”, Tavares highlighted public education as one of the great achievements of the revolution.
He also made reference to the three D of the 25th of April 1974 – Democratize, Decolonize and Develop – to leave a warning. “Of the three D’s of Democracy, Development and Decolonization, it is sometimes thought that the last one was the most immediate to be fulfilled. But if we think that abandoning colonial structures means treating everyone with the same respect and dignity and finding a new place in Europe and in the world, we will soon realize that, like the other two D, it is a long task to be accomplished”, he warned. “The path that opens up ahead of Portugal is now very different from the one we have been used to tread for centuries, and that’s good. From now on, we only count on valuing people, knowledge and territory as keys to our future “, he stressed.
“April still doesn’t have a woman’s face”
Inês de Sousa Real, a member of the PAN, decided to focus her discourse on gender inequality. Initially recalling the war taking place in Ukraine, to say that democracy cannot be taken for granted. Sousa Real stressed that the sun, wind and oceans can be the solution to guaranteeing Portugal’s energy autonomy, noting that two million people still live in energy poverty in our country and eight thousand are homeless. “The same country that has its hands wide to finance bank losses and does nothing to prevent the loss of many billions of euros to tax havens or corruption”, she underlined.
Addressing gender inequality, the PAN deputy said that “April still doesn’t have a woman’s face”, when listing the problems of women in Portugal, namely domestic violence, slow justice, genital mutilation and wage inequality. “We are only 84 deputies and we have never had a woman as President of the Republic”, stressed Sousa Real. “It is necessary to fight for the end of sexism and transform female emancipation into reality. Only then will the April morning be able to wake up in full equality and freedom”, defended the PAN deputy.
Underpaid workers and Maina Mendes’ kick
José Soeiro, deputy from the Bloco de Esquerda, began his speech by describing the work of “hundreds of people behind the scenes of democracy”, whose action allowed the commemoration session to be held in parliament. The poorly paid workers – “700 and a few euros in salary” – who clean up “the world and Parliament”.
“At 04:00, long before the first light of the day, a handful of women were getting out of bed to go to work. They took a transport at 4:45, arrived at the Assembly at 6:00. our alarm clocks went off, they had already washed the main staircase, polished the polished woods of Passos Perdidos with the rotary presses, scrubbed the bathrooms. carnations were well stuck in the green sponges that we don’t see,” said Soeiro.
Accounting for “what is left to live” for those who receive the minimum wage, the deputy says that democracy does not just owe them “gratitude”. “How democratic are inequalities?”, asked Soeiro, saying that it is time to listen to people who “are not in the framed portrait of notables, who do not have and will not have medals or streets named after them, who are on the opposite side of places, but without which places would not exist”.
The deputy from the Bloco de Esquerda even used the example of Maina Mendes, protagonist of Maria Velho da Costa, who “put both hands on her body and kicked the other legitimate superiors in the ass”.
“There are those who seek to whitewash what fascism was, we will not allow it”
Paula Santos, leader of the parliamentary bench of the PCP, began by recalling that the April Revolution established freedom and democracy, put an end to the exploitation and misery that affected the majority of the population and put an end to the colonial war.
“There are those who seek to whitewash what fascism was, we will not allow it,” said Paula Santos. “There are those who seek to distort the content and meaning of the 25th of April”, said the MP from the PCP, adding that there were those who did not conform with the achievements of April and sought to “impose setbacks”.
“It is up to all democrats to defend it. On the part of the PCP (…), against attempts of intimidation, we reaffirm our commitment today and always against fascism and war, for peace, freedom”, underlined the deputy who is a member. of the Central Committee of the PCP.
“As a result of the right-wing policy, living conditions are getting worse”, said Paula Santos, referring that there was a “brazen use of war and sanctions” as a pretext for accumulating profits. “But the PS and the parties to its right refuse this answer and ask the people to pay the bill for the war”, concluded the communist.
Portugal “stagnant, hypnotized and politically disconnected”
Bernardo Blanco, deputy for the Liberal Initiative, recalled that before the 25th of April “Portugal was a puppet country controlled by a closed hand”.
“Before the 25th of April we had almost 50 years of silence,” he said. Recalling the “no crimes” political prisoners, the banned books and the “puppet political system”, Bernardo Blanco asked “how is it that a large part of the Portuguese did not want to know”.
“For me, who was born in the 90s, the Estado Novo is the old state. For me, the greatest gift of the 25th of April is not material. For me, the 25th of April is the day the Portuguese wanted to know” , he stressed.
The Liberal Initiative deputy also said that “Portugal is a stagnant country, hypnotized and politically disconnected”, ending his speech by reminding the citizens of Ukraine: “Today, all free people, wherever they live, are citizens of Ukraine. Let’s, with the nonconformity of April, break the stagnation.”
“If this is April, we prefer another”
André Ventura, from Chega, defended that it is necessary to apologize to the Portuguese, because they failed the promises of April, “in an empire that dissolved and left countries at their mercy and families to their fate”. And he remembered the returnees and the victims of the expropriation after the 25th of April, receiving the first applause of the solemn session in the Assembly of the Republic, from the deputies of his party.
The president of Chega also said that cloves are “worthless” to pensioners who have the worst purchasing power in the EU at the supermarket and that the country failed in “reconciliation”, stressing that the 25th of April only exists because of the 25th of November. – when he was applauded by the Chega deputies.
Addressing the President of the Republic directly, calling him a “rival” – recalling that he also ran in the last presidential elections – André Ventura asked him not to honor “those who killed and expropriated in Portugal” and destroyed the Portuguese economy in the years 70’s and 80’s of the last century.
“If this is April, we prefer another one,” he said. Ventura was strongly applauded by the deputies of his bench at the end of the speech.
April 25th has to be a “time for self-criticism”
Rui Rio, leader of the PSD, spoke at the April 25 formal session for the last time as president of the party. And he started his speech by saying that April 25th “cannot be a repository” of what has already been said several times.
“If for some of us the carnation revolution is a very present memory, the truth is that for most Portuguese it is already just a historical date that occurred before their birth”, he said, adding that “that is why the 25th April needs to be a moment of self-criticism”.
“To stick with the simple praise of the past is to objectively renounce the future,” said Rio.
Rui Rio also spoke of the growth of extremism in Portugal, saying that “the solution lies in ourselves”, in reforms that break with the established and not in “absurd sanitary cordons”. In his speech, Rui Rio listed some of these reforms, which while he led the PSD in the last four years, he was pointed out as urgent: the alteration of the electoral system; the constitutional revision; the reform of the Justice; the decentralization; the law of the political parties and its logic of operation and even a reform of the State that “ promote the quality and productivity of public services and allow tax reductions”.
“The solution lies in facing reality without cowardice or hypocrisy. It is in reforming, or rather, in breaking with what has long been ingrained and at the service of sectoral or group interests. the logic of collective interest, but according to the sector or corporation that immobility takes advantage of.”.
“A girl born in 2022 will know a country at peace”
Pedro Delgado Alves, from the Socialist Party, began by saying that commemorating the 25th of April is “first of all to honor the memory of those who resisted”, remembering the late former president Jorge Sampaio, which earned him applause from almost the entire hemicycle. “It joins the eternals that we are so sorely lacking in remembering that respect, cordiality, conviviality are essential to democracy”.
The socialist underlined that the Portugal “that we are only exists because of the open doors at the time”, deciding to confront the democratic Portugal of today with what existed before the 25th of April.
Giving the example of a girl who is born in April 2022 “and wants to live freely”, Delgado Alves underlined that this child will not run the risk of living in a country with a high rate of infant mortality, with a low literacy rate and will not be marginalized due to of sexual orientation, with the right to protection in employment and retirement.
“You will have the right to be informed and to be informed”, free from “professing any faith or not professing any faith at all”, and will be able to participate “with your vote” in political decisions. “A girl born in 2022 will know a country at peace”, summarized Delgado Alves, also talking about the importance of European integration.
The socialist also said that the ultimate reason to continue to celebrate the 25th of April is the open future, noting that “we are proud of what we have accomplished”, there is still a way to go and many of the achievements “are neither perfect nor complete”. “Many of those who are not satisfied with what still needs to be done are not enemies of April but are at risk of being manipulated,” he added.