On the 4th of December 1980, Portugal received, at the beginning of the night, the news of the fall of an aircraft, in Camarate, which had resulted in the death of all the crew. The lament, which is always felt in similar circumstances, has been amplified because this plunge brutally robbed the country of its prime minister and defense minister.
But the shock and dismay that these deaths, unexpected and premature, generated, was not only due to the disappearance of two rulers: it was, above all, to the loss of two of the most relevant personalities in Portuguese political life after the 25th of April.
Francisco Sá Carneiro had started his political journey in the Liberal Wing of the National Assembly, where he courageously exposed the abuses and arbitrariness of an authoritarian regime, based on its “truths” of 1933, which the evolution of the times had made obsolete and, more than than that, unacceptable.
After the fall of the Estado Novo, he founded the PPD / PSD based on a political project for the democratization of politics and society, having as inspiration the Western European freedom regimes of which we are geographically, civilizationally and historically.
With a complex personality, his path was marked by episodic exits from political life and, once again, he was preparing to do so, should he win the presidential elections. But, because in politics one almost always returns, the doubt remained of what he would do after the period of disgust due to the defeat in the presidential elections in which he had decided to bet everything, as was his timbre.
Adelino Amaro da Costa was a staunch Christian Democrat. Like Sá Carneiro, he was associated by “family inheritance” with the Estado Novo and held positions with one of the reforming ministers of the government of Marcello Caetano, Veiga Simão. He, also an unbeliever in the regime, saw on April 25 the opportunity to achieve a Democratic and European Portugal, volunteering to create a political party that embodies the doctrinal values in which it believed.
Despite his political qualities, which everyone - from left to right - recognized, his future was not certain. Number two of Freitas do Amaral, to whom he was linked by bonds of friendship and political identity, it is not certain that he would ascend to leadership, once the exercise of his first president was over.
Internally contested, the more likely it is that it would end up abandoning the CDS, as so many of its historical leaders did, especially after the party took on nationalist nuances and reservations about the community project. The next chapter of his political biography, however, remained, like that of Sá Carneiro, for writing.
Francisco Sá Carneiro and Adelino Amaro da Costa rendered a relevant service in the defense of pluralist democracy, either in 75, when it was threatened by competing political projects, or in the early years of the new regime, in which they dedicated themselves to dismantle the “wall of constitutional steel that separated Portugal from the national destiny that both aspired to.
Forty years later, a tribute is due to two of the combatants who fought on the front lines for the freedom we enjoy today.
The author writes according to the old spelling.