02 May 2022

Capitães de Abril: the memory of an uncertain future

Capitães de Abril: the memory of an uncertain future

On the day that the 48th anniversary of the April 1974 Revolution was celebrated, it became all too evident that the legacy of our Captains of April, undeniable figures in the history of our country, could be at risk for the conformism installed in our society.

It was at dawn on April 25, 1974 that the day that would mark the end of 48 years of dictatorship installed in Portugal began.

Through the studios of Rádio Clube Português, soldiers from the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) announced to the country their intention to overthrow the regime and ensure the freedom of the people.

We heard “E Além do Adeus”, by Paulo de Carvalho and “Grândola Vila Morena”, by Zeca Afonso, passwords that started the Revolution and that set in motion the military column led by Captain Salgueiro Maia, who would later position himself next to the ministries and surrounding the barracks of the National Republican Guard, in Largo do Carmo.

Marcelo Caetano, Salazar’s successor, found himself surrounded, and what was a military-orchestrated coup d’état became a national revolution.

One of the main faces of this historic landmark is Captain Salgueiro Maia, to whom the phrase is attributed: “Gentlemen, as you all know, there are different types of State. The socialist states, the capitalist states, and the state we have arrived at. Well, on this solemn night, let’s put an end to the state we’ve come to.”

Salgueiro Maia, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, Vasco Lourenço, Vasco Gonçalves. These are some of the names that mark the history of our country. Men who put Freedom above all else, risking their own lives so that we could be here today, reading this text without fear of reprisals.

It is to them that we owe our Freedom, our Democracy, our Portugal. It is for them that we must remain alert to the threats that appear and that are normalized in our society. We are oblivious to the symbolism of the 25th of April, we are oblivious to the suffering our people have gone through, we are anesthetized by the today’s easiness, we are tolerant of what is intolerable.

“Whoever falls asleep in Democracy, wakes up in Dictatorship”, and our country has been falling asleep.