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EUROPE / Mário Soares: Funeral eulogies can’t rewrite history
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 08/01/2017
Original: Mário Soares: Os elogios fúnebres não podem reescrever a história

Mário Soares: Funeral eulogies can’t rewrite history

Translated by  John Catalinotto


Portuguese Socialist Party leader and counter-revolutionary Mário Soares died on Jan. 7, 2016 at age 92. This op-ed was written by the editors of the communist newspaper O Diario.

Zé (Portuguese John Doe), very relaxed, to Soares as he came back from exile a few days after 25th of April, with clothes in one suitcase and programmes in the other one: Let's see what gifts you brought me from Paris - João Abel Manta, 1974

In such a long political life that followed a path as contradictory as that of Mário Soares, not all aspects will be negative. But if you want to fix his place in history at this point, there is a fact that for our people and our country is more relevant than any other. If on April 25, 1974, the most important event in our history to this day took place, Mário Soares should be remembered as one of its most outstanding and fierce opponents. [Former Prime Minister in 1974-75] Vasco Gonçalves and [historic Portuguese Communist Party General Secretary] Álvaro Cunhal identify him as the main political leader responsible for the Portuguese counterrevolution.

He must be remembered as one who, from the very first day, staked his life on guaranteeing that the revolution of April did not exceed the limits of a bourgeois revolution. He wanted to assure that the conquest of political freedom did not bring with it the economic, social and cultural transformations that would guarantee that, with the overthrow of the fascist regime, the workers and the Portuguese people would open the way to a society not only liberated from oppression but equally free from exploitation, inequality, dependence and backwardness, and that the peoples of the Portuguese colonies would achieve effective national independence.

This perspective alarmed big national and transnational capital. Mário Soares became one of the central political interpreters of this alarm. He conspired, allied and supported by the most reactionary sectors of the rightwing and imperialism. He worked tirelessly to divide the progressive forces, both civilian and military. His became the most reactionary slogans, and he was the spokesperson for the most fanatic and anti-communist fanatics. There was no counter-revolutionary coup in which he was not directly or indirectly involved, not only in Portugal but also in Africa. He gave political cover and justification to the terrorist offensive of the extreme rightwing.

He contained the revolutionary flow by promoting the coup of November 25, 1975 (which reached the verge of triggering a civil war). Mário Soares assumed, as prime minister, the task of destroying and reversing, from the government center, the great transformations that had been unleashed in the interim by the astounding revolutionary creativity of the masses in motion: Agrarian Reform, nationalizations, workers 'and peoples' rights. He agreed with the rightwing on bringing about successive constitutional revisions that sought to withdraw from the Constitution its guarantees defending the revolutionary achievements. He culminated his disastrous destructive action with the process of adhesion to the European Economic Community, the decisive instrument of submission of Portugal to big transnational capital.

6 years ago, Soares met an old friend, former US ambassador Frank Carlucci in the same safe appartment they were used to meet once a week during the year 1975, to discuss strategy and tactics to stop the "Reds"

It is in these terms that Mário Soares left his mark on the 1970s and 1980s in our country. Decades of unleashing right-wing politics, decades of social and democratic retreat, decades of subordination and national dependence.

If his later role is in some respects less negative, this is mainly due to the fact that the policies and political protagonists whom he opened the way for had further aggravated the policies and action he had begun earlier. As president of the republic, he was less evil than as prime minister. But he never abandoned the fundamental features of his political and ideological choice: the alliance with big capital and imperialism, the readiness to act against any anti-capitalist transformation project wherever he might exert influence, particularly within the framework of the Socialist International.

His place in history is fundamentally that of someone who fought stubbornly for the liquidation of the hope of April [the revolution of 1974]. It is of someone whose action opened the way and initiated the policies that led Portugal to the current painful situation for the Portuguese workers.

No eulogy can elude this historical reality.

The Editors of


Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Publication date of original article: 07/01/2017
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Tags: Mário SoaresCounterrevolutionSocialdemocracySocialist InternationalPortugalEurope

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