Carnation Revolution: the peaceful coup that brought freedom to Portugal

On April 25, 1974, Portugal staged a peaceful coup that would profoundly mark its history and open the doors to a new era of freedom. Known as the Carnation Revolution, this day symbolizes the fall of the authoritarian regime of the Estado Novo, led by António de Oliveira Salazar and subsequently, Marcelo Caetano, who ruled the country for almost half a century. The revolution was triggered by a military movement led by the “Movimento das Forças Armadas” (MFA), composed mainly of middle and lower patent officers. The blow was executed and was marked by the iconic image of red carnations placed on rifle barrels of soldiers, symbolizing peace and hope. In addition to marking the end of the authoritarian regime, April 25 also had a significant impact on the Portuguese colonies, scattered across the African continent and Asia. The Carnation Revolution triggered a rapid and, in many cases, tumultuous decolonization process. In the years that followed, countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe achieved independence, ending centuries of Portuguese colonial rule. This liberation was not without conflict and challenges, but it represented a crucial step towards self-determination and sovereignty for those nations.

Paradoxically, as the Portuguese prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic event, the country reflects on the achievements made and the challenges it still faces. Citizens understand that the celebration of this milestone is not only an opportunity to remember the past, but also to renew commitment to democratic values ​​and the construction of an even more just and inclusive future.

However, the anniversary coincides with a moment of political challenge because for the first time in half a century of democracy a far-right party is consolidating itself as the third force in the country. In the last elections, the party with populist and nationalist agendas, Chega, experienced a considerable increase in popular support, challenging the values ​​of inclusion and tolerance that have been achieved over the last five decades. This rise of the far right It occurred after eight years of socialist hegemony and during a deterioration of essential public services coupled with an increase in the cost of living that has hit the Portuguese middle class. Some thought Portugal's authoritarian past would slow the rise of the far right seen in other European countries. But a party created in 2019 established itself as the third political force in the country, obtaining 18% of the votes in the recent legislative elections.

Although the founder and president of this party, Andre Ventura, has criticized the old regime, Chega includes some of his nostalgic ones. While celebrating the achievements of the past, Portugal also faces the pressing need to strengthen and defend the foundations of democracy against internal and external threats. Therefore, this historic celebration is not only an opportunity to look back, but also a call to responsibility.