President of the Republic decorated Spínola without making it public

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The first President of the Republic after April 25, António de Spínola, was decorated by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa last year, without the Presidency of the Republic having disclosed the fact, Público newspaper reports today.

According to the newspaper, António de Spínola was posthumously awarded the Grand Collar of the Order of Liberty, the highest insignia of freedom, on July 5, 2023.

On the same day, writes Público, Spínola’s successor as President of the Republic, Francisco da Costa Gomes, was decorated with the same award.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa decorated all the members of the Junta de Salvação Nacional, which, in addition to António de Spínola and Francisco da Costa Gomes, included Admiral Rosa Coutinho, General Jaime Silvério Marques, Carlos Galvão de Melo and Diogo Neto. All these personalities were decorated on July 6 with a lower rank: Grand Officer of the Order of Liberty.

Vasco Lourenço, the president of the 25 de Abril Association, had proposed that the President of the Republic only award António de Spínola, Costa Gomes and Rosa Coutinho, but Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa wanted to extend the award of the Order of Liberty to the other members of the National Salvation Junta – set up at the end of April 25, after the coup d’état overthrew Marcello Caetano’s government.

The newspaper also writes that the choice to decorate Spínola “in such a way that it would be almost impossible for anyone to know” – you have to go to the Portuguese Honorary Orders website to find out – “could be interpreted as a way for the President to avoid a public controversy”.

He also recalls that following a news report published by Público in 2022 indicating that the President intended to decorate all the members of the Junta de Salvação Nacional, several personalities wrote an open letter in which they argued that decorating Spínola with the Order of Liberty would represent “an affront”.

Among the personalities who signed the letter were Fernando Rosas, historian and founder of the Left Bloc, Carlos Brito, former parliamentary leader of the PCP, jurist Domingos Lopes, historian Manuel Loft, retired teacher Maria do Rosário Gama and Left Bloc founder Francisco Louçã.

The letter referred in particular to Spínola’s creation of the political movement Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Portugal (MDLP), an extreme right-wing terrorist organization to which the current vice-president of the Assembly of the Republic Diogo Pacheco de Amorim and the commentator and lawyer José Miguel Júdice belonged.

Público also writes that the Presidency has several news items and photographs of April decorations on its website, the latest dated May 16, 2023. A total of 20 personalities linked to April 25 include the name of Vasco Gonçalves, the former prime minister, whose award was received by his grandson.

A source from the Presidency did not explain to the newspaper why it had made public some of the decorations, but not others, such as Spínola’s, saying only that “all the recipients are listed on the Honorific Orders website”.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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