Aristides Pereira

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Aristides Pereira
Aristide Pereira detail DF-SC-84-10021.jpg
Pereira during an official visit to the United States in 1983
1st President of Cape Verde
In office
8 July 1975 – 22 March 1991
Prime MinisterPedro Pires
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded byAntónio Mascarenhas Monteiro
Personal details
Born(1923-11-17)17 November 1923
Boa Vista, Overseas Province of Cabo Verde, Portugal
Died22 September 2011(2011-09-22) (aged 87)
Coimbra, Portugal
Political partyAfrican Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (after 1981)
Other political
African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (before 1981)
Spouse(s)Carlina Fontes Pereira (?–2011; his death)

Aristides Maria Pereira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐɾiʃˈtidɨʒ mɐˈɾiɐ pɨˈɾejɾɐ]; 17 November 1923 – 22 September 2011) was a Cape Verdean politician. He was the first President of Cape Verde, serving from 1975 to 1991.


Pereira was born on the island of Boa Vista. His first major government job was chief of telecommunications in Guinea-Bissau. From the late 1940s until Cape Verde's independence, Pereira was heavily involved in the anti-colonial movement, organizing strikes and rising through the hierarchy of his party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, known as PAIGC). In clandestine activity he often used the pseudonym Alfredo Bangura.

Although Pereira initially promised to lead a democratic and socialist nation upon becoming president, he compounded the country's chronic poverty by crushing dissent following the overthrow of Luís Cabral, who was President of Guinea-Bissau and Pereira's ally in the drive to unite the two Lusophone states. However, Cape Verde had a much better human rights record than most countries in Africa and was known as one of the most democratic (despite the restriction on party activity) because of the power delegated to local citizens' committees. Cape Verde is one of the few African countries that never had the death penalty. After the November 1980 coup d'état in Bissau, which overthrew President Luís Cabral and replaced him with Nino Vieira, any formal attempt to achieve unity with Guinea-Bissau was over. The political repression sharply decreased but the one-party PAICV state established at independence remained until 1990.

The country's policies during Pereira's rule tended toward Cold War nonalignment and economic reforms to help the peasantry. He controversially allied his country with the regimes in China and Libya. Pedro Pires served as prime minister for the duration of Pereira's presidency.

After PAICV decided to introduce multiparty democracy in February 1990, Pereira stepped down as General Secretary of PAICV in July 1990 and was succeeded in that post by Pires. Pereira was the PAICV candidate in the February 1991 presidential election, but António Mascarenhas Monteiro defeated him by a large margin.[1]

While hospitalized in Portugal, Pereira died on September 22, 2011.[2] Rabil Airport on the Cape Verdean island of Boa Vista was officially renamed as Aristides Pereira International Airport on November 19, 2011. His widow, Carlina Pereira, the former First Lady and a leading figure in the country's independence movement, died on December 11, 2011, at the age of 87.[3]


  1. ^ Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, pages 113–114.
  2. ^ "Former Cape Verde president dies", Angola Press Agency, 22 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Carlina Pereira, widow of Aristides Pereira, dead at 85". A Semana. 2011-12-12. Archived from the original on 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-18.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
President of Cape Verde
Succeeded by
António Mascarenhas Monteiro