Processo Revolucionário Em Curso

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from PREC)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Processo Revolucionário Em Curso (English: Ongoing Revolutionary Process) is the period of the history of Portugal from the Carnation Revolution in April 25, 1974 to the establishment of a new constitution and the legislative elections in April 25, 1976.

The causes for the revolution[edit]

By 1974, half of Portugal's GDP and the vast majority of its armed forces were engaged in wars in three of Portugal's African colonies. Whereas other European powers had ceded independence to their former African colonies in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Portuguese dictator António Salazar had refused to even countenance the option of independence. He had further resisted independence for the province of Goa, first occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but was powerless to intervene when the Indian army marched in and incorporated the province into India in 1961. Salazar took the unusual step of appealing to the United Nations against the Indian action but was shunned (see Invasion of Goa). Salazar's appointed successor Marcelo Caetano continued the costly war in the colonies. By 1973, Portuguese control of Portuguese Guinea was collapsing rapidly. In Angola and Mozambique, it faced several guerrilla groups, like the Soviet-backed MPLA in Angola and FRELIMO in Mozambique. Losses in its conscript army, increasing military expenses, and the determination of the government to remain in control of the overseas territories, led a right-of-centre General António de Spínola to openly criticise the government's colonial policy. This gave expression to a growing rumbling of discontent within the army led by the captains. The Revolution and the whole movement were also a way to work against Laws that would reduce military costs and would reformulate the whole Portuguese Military Branch (Decree Law: Decretos-Leis n.os 353, de 13 de Julho de 1973, e 409, de 20 de Agosto). Younger military academy graduates resented a program introduced by Marcelo Caetano whereby militia officers who completed a brief training program and had served in the overseas territories' defensive campaigns, could be commissioned at the same rank as military academy graduates. The protesting captains were to form the backbone of the military revolt against Caetano and the eventual overthrow of the Estado Novo regime.

Portugal's right-wing, authoritarian dictatorship had taken root when Salazar assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1932 having been Minister of Finance since 1928.[1] The regime evolved into a classic fascist dictatorship heavily influenced by the corporatist ideas of Benito Mussolini in Italy. This was evidenced in the formation of the Estado Novo – the new state – and the permanent rule of the governing party. Trade unions were to be vertically integrated into the state machine. By 1974, this lack of democracy in a western European country came under increasing criticism from within and abroad. Amnesty International was formed after the experience of its founder who encountered examples of torture in Portugal.

Salazar's personal ideology was pro-Catholic, anti-communist and nationalistic. Economic policy was frequently protectionist and mercantilist. One former economics minister has expressed amazement at how little economic integration there was between Portugal and neighbouring Spain (currently, under European Union-driven market liberalisation, there has been corporate integration though often seen[by whom?] in Portugal as an economic takeover by Spain[citation needed]). While the two countries on the Iberian peninsula experienced economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s – largely as a source of low cost labour and tourist destinations – poverty and illiteracy remained high. Portugal experienced high levels of emigration and this remains a feature of the economy today.

The revolution led to an explosion of political activity with sixty political parties active at one point. The Portuguese Communist Party had long operated underground under the leadership of Álvaro Cunhal. Though its electoral support was limited, its position in the trade unions and countryside gave the party huge influence. A combination of this and the country's poverty levels as well as a lack of social and economic development gave impetus to calls for nationalisation. By different estimates, sixty to eighty per cent of the economy was taken over after the revolution. For many on the left in Portugal, the 1974 revolution had overthrown both the dictatorship and those economic forces that had benefited from it. Only in the eighties did the centre-right in Portugal win the argument, decoupling fascism from capitalism and privatising state concerns while maintaining democracy.

The revolution[edit]

Main article: Carnation Revolution

Two indirect consequences of the Carnation Revolution were a collapse of the economy and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people who returned from the colonies to Portugal as refugees.

The retornados[edit]

Portuguese population 1961-2003, in thousands, (2005 Data from FAO) with emigration giving way to retornados,[2][3] ranging from 500,000 to 1 million after the revolution.

The retornados (from the Portuguese verb "Retornar", to return) are a Portuguese population who fled their overseas colonies during the decolonization process which was managed by the revolutionary National Salvation Junta, in the following months after the Carnation Revolution. After the military coup of 25 April 1974 Portugal faced political turmoil and the colonial army, often highly politicised by the Salazar Regime and the Independence Wars returned home, taking with them much of the European populations of Portuguese Angola, Portuguese Mozambique and to a lesser extent from Portuguese Guinea and Portuguese Timor. From May 1974 to the end of the 1970s, over a million Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique) and Portuguese Timor left those territories as destitute refugees – the retornados.[4][5] The total number of those among these refugees that arrived in Portugal is not clear: they range from 500,000 to 1 million. Some, especially from the military, came into conflict with the communist wing of the new government, and their involvement fed into both right-wing and pro-democracy political forces, which overthrew an attempted coup by radical leftist military units on 25 November 1975.[6] Among these forces were the Salazarist ELP (Army for Portuguese Liberation) and the Spínola-led and Francoist funded MDLP (Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Portugal). These groups carried out a number of attacks and bombings during the "Hot Summer" of 1975, mostly in the north of Portugal, while the MDLP was involved in the attempted coup of 11 March. When Spínola and his allies came to power in November, the MDLP disbanded, the ELP continued its campaign. When Portuguese Timor achieved its independence in 1975, the territory was taken by Indonesian rule after 9 days and thousands of civilians were massacred.

Post-colonial[edit]

After the fall of the Portuguese Empire and the overseas territories' independence, East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, resulting in an estimated 200,000 civilian casualties. Angola would enter into a decades long civil war which became a proxy war for the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States. Millions of Angolans would die either as a direct consequence of the war or of malnutrition and disease. Mozambique, would also enter into a devastating civil war that left it as one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world.

Economy[edit]

The Portuguese economy had changed significantly by 1973 prior to the revolution, compared with its position in 1961: Total output (GDP at factor cost) had grown by 120 percent in real terms. Clearly, the pre-revolutionary period was characterized by robust annual growth rates for GDP (6.9 percent), industrial production (9 percent), private consumption (6.5 percent), and gross fixed capital formation (7.8 percent).[citation needed]

Shortly after the Carnation Revolution, the change of direction from a purely pro-democracy coup to a communist-inspired one, became known as the Processo Revolucionário Em Curso (PREC). Abandoning its moderate-reformist posture, the revolutionaries of the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA) leadership set out on a course of sweeping nationalizations and land expropriations. During the balance of that year, the government nationalized all Portuguese-owned capital in the banking, insurance, petrochemical, fertilizer, tobacco, cement, and wood pulp sectors of the economy, as well as the Portuguese iron and steel company, major breweries, large shipping lines, most public transport, two of the three principal shipyards, core companies of the Companhia União Fabril (CUF) conglomerate, radio and TV networks (except that of the Roman Catholic Church), and important companies in the glass, mining, fishing, and agricultural sectors. Because of the key role of the domestic banks as holders of stock, the government indirectly acquired equity positions in hundreds of other firms. An Institute for State Participation was created to deal with the many disparate and often tiny enterprises in which the state had thus obtained a majority shareholding. Another 300 small to medium enterprises came under public management as the government "intervened" to rescue them from bankruptcy following their takeover by workers or abandonment by management. Several high profile entrepreneurs had to leave the country due to the pro-communist radicalism of both a section of the population and the new revolutionary leadership in charge of the government - the Junta de Salvação Nacional (National Salvation Junta).

Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average in 1974. Post military coup it would collapse and it would only be in 1991 – 16 years later that the GDP as percentage EC-12 average climbed to 54.9 percent. In the longer term the revolution led to democracy and Portugal's economic resurgence due to participation in the European Economic Community since 1985.

In the agricultural sector, the collective farms set up in Alentejo after the 1974–75 expropriations due to the leftist military coup of 25 April 1974, proved incapable of modernizing, and their efficiency declined. According to government estimates, about 900,000 hectares (2,200,000 acres) of agricultural land were occupied between April 1974 and December 1975 in the name of land reform; about 32% of the occupations were ruled illegal. In January 1976, the government pledged to restore the illegally occupied land to its owners, and in 1977, it promulgated the Land Reform Review Law. Restoration of illegally occupied land began in 1978.

Political changes[edit]

Portugal's experience with democracy before the Carnation Revolution of 1974 had not been particularly successful. Its First Republic lasted only sixteen years, from 1910 to 1926. Under the republic, parliamentary institutions worked poorly and were soon discredited. Corruption and economic mismanagement were widespread. When a military coup d'état ended the First Republic in 1926, few lamented its passing. This was the beginning of a dictatorship under the Estado Novo regime.

In the early 1960s, independence movements in the Portuguese overseas provinces of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea in Africa, resulted in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). Throughout the colonial war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community.

In April 1974 a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, would led the way for a modern democracy as well as the independence of the last colonies in Africa, after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso, or On-Going Revolutionary Process), characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left- and right-wing political forces. These events left Portugal on the brink of a civil war and made it a fertile ground for radicalism. Some factions, including Álvaro Cunhal's PCP, unsuccessfully tried to turn the country into a communist state. The retreat from the colonies and the acceptance of its independence terms which would create newly independent communist states in 1975 (most notably the People's Republic of Angola and the People's Republic of Mozambique) prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique),[7][8] creating over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados. The country continued to be governed by a military-civilian provisional administration until the Portuguese legislative election of 1976.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Salazar was also Minister of Finance in 1926 for two weeks.
  2. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (16 August 1975).
  3. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, 7 July 1975).
  4. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (16 August 1975).
  5. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, 7 July 1975).
  6. ^ Kenneth Maxwell. The Making of Portuguese Democracy. Cambridge University Press (1997) ISBN 0-521-58596-1
  7. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (16 August 1975).
  8. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, 7 July 1975).

External links[edit]

  • BBC website article on Portuguese revolution [1]
  • A huge resource of newspaper articles from across Europe in 1974 and after [2]
  • EU website [3]
  • AFP article on thirtieth anniversary of Portuguese revolution [4]
  • Portugal Timeline on history website [5]