Portugal will not develop a reparations program for former colonies

The Portuguese government will not develop “specific reparation actions” for the country’s former colonies, such as Brazil, Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Rangel told Parliament this Wednesday (15), after President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared that he was in favor of compensation.

Rangel (from the center-right PSD) defended “reconciliation, not resentment” with countries with a “Portuguese colonial past”, in addition to promoting a relationship of equals, of sovereign states.

On the other hand, he left open the possibility of apologizing when necessary. “When an apology is fair, it will be made,” the minister told deputies.

The controversy began at the end of April, when Rebelo de Sousa told journalists that Portugal has “the obligation” to lead a process of reparation to its former colonies, although this does not need to be compensation, but rather gestures like some of those already were made by Portugal, such as debt cancellation.

In response, the conservative Chega party, which has the third largest group in Parliament in the country, called for an emergency debate in the House this Wednesday. The leader of the party, André Ventura, described the Portuguese head of state’s statements as a “profound betrayal of the country” and “criminal irresponsibility”.

For the spokesperson of the CDS-Partido Popular (right-wing and part of the Democratic Alliance coalition, which is part of the current government), Paulo Núncio, Sousa’s statements “are serious, but they do not make him a traitor”.

The Liberal Initiative deputy, Rui Rocha, described the president’s statements as a “mistake”, although he considered Chega’s attitude as “profound hypocrisy”.

Pedro Delgado Alves, deputy from the Socialist Party – the largest opposition party – argued that “no opinion is a crime in the Portuguese Republic” and called for a “serene debate” to address the issue of reparations to the six former Portuguese colonies.

The spokeswoman for the Bloco de Esquerda (BE), Joana Mortágua, was very critical of Ventura and in favor of colonial reparations and claimed that “even colonized peoples suffer social, political or cultural consequences”, such as “racism ”, and demanded “reconciliation and recognition”.

Chega also announced last week that it would propose to Parliament that the Portuguese president be taken to court for “treason” for his statements.

This Wednesday, the report of the special parliamentary committee analyzing the matter was released. The document concluded that “there is no evidence of crimes of treason, coercion against the constitutional body or similar crimes”.

By Editor

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