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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 27, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, April 27, 1974 THE LETHBRiDOE HERALD an .NOVA IISBOA CENTURA Portugal's best-known soldier By PAUL MONTGOMERY New York Times Service NEW YORK Since he returned from the beleagured Portuguese colony of Guinea- Bissau to a hero's welcome in Lisbon 18 months ago, Gen. Antonio Sebastiao Ribeiro De Spinola has figured prominently in speculation ajout the country's future. Though hardly a liberal by international standards, the 64-year-old cavalryman has been the prime mover in a month of debate and unrest that culminated in Thursday's coup against a firmly entrenched dictatorship. It would surprise few observers if he became Portugal's new strongman. Until two months ago, Spinola's career had been a military one, his fame garnered in Portugal's debilitating 13-year campaign against rebel guerrillas in its African colonies. In a country where recent heroes are few, the dapper, daring officer became the nation's best- known soldier. Then, on Feb. 22, his book, "Portugal and the appeared in stores with the force of an explosion. The volume, which became a bestseller, began with a sense of impending history: "Portugal is living today, without doubt, one of the gravest hours, if not the most grave, of her history." Spinola went on to argue that his country could not win militarily in Africa, and would lose its place among nations if it kept trying to do so. Instead, he proposed, very tentatively, a commonwealth arrangement in which the colonies would have equal status with metropolitan Portugal. Domestically, he advocated a freeing of Portugal's constricted, one-party political life, but warned that liberalization could come only "in discipline and under the sign of firm authority." The manifesto was hardly a severe breach with the gradualist policies of Premier Marcello Caetano, but it brought down the wrath of the right. Spinola was dismissed from his post as deputy chief of staff of the army on March 14. The general was born in Estremoz, in southern Portugal, on April 11, 1910. His father was inspector general of finance in the 40- year dictatorship of the late Antonio Oliveira Salazar. His military career began at the nation's military academy in 1930. He fought as a volunteer with the fascist forces in the Spanish civil war and received German training. During the Second World War, in which Portugal was neutral, he was an observer with the Nazi army in Russia. In 1961, after a succession of staff jobs, he volunteered to serve in Angola, where guerrilla warfare was just beginning. A courageous officer who fought with his troops, he was promoted to colonel in and general in 1964. From 1968 to 1972 he was commander-in-chief and governor of Guinea-Bissau. Strife with rebels eroded hope at home By HENRY GINIGER New York Times Service LISBON Portugal's effort to preserve its overseas territories produced a steady demoralization that eroded the country's political and social stability and led to the coup against the government of Premier Marcello Caetano. With the help of spring sunshine and an influx of tourists, this capital up to Thursday seemed to have returned to its placid ways after the tension caused by an abortive military coup last month. But a visitor who did more than visit monuments or contemplate the passing crowd from a cafe terrace could sense strong undercurrents of frustration and division centering on the costly struggle to fend off rebel forces in the African territories of Portuguese Guinea, Mozambique and Angola. The frustration resulted from a lack of any clear prospect of bringing the fighting to an end and Portugal's inability to enlist the help of her North Atlantic allies to do so. The latest and most important example was the vain effort to persuade the United States to lift an embargo on the use of its armaments in Africa. The Portuguese say they had wanted antimissile weapons to use against rebel- controlled areas where the Portuguese air force was hampered by the guerrilla's deployment of mobile missile launchers supplied by the Soviet Union. The increasing sophistication of rebel arms, said to include Soviet MiG's in the neighboring Guinean republic, had helped to make the Portuguese hold over their Guinea territory more and more tenuous. Portugal's contentions that the Guinea- Cape Verde area was important to western defense because it commanded north-south sea-lanes and that the Azores were useful to the United States had been to no avail. The answer had been that Congress would not accept a change in policy. "Pridefully alone" had been a frequent description of Portugal's attitude toward her diplomatic isolation. But the pride was turning sour and Portuguese at all levels were finding no comfort in being able to look only to Rhodesia and to South Africa for sympathy. The policy of white supremacy pursued by those two countries did not square with Portugal's proclaimed policy of building a multiracial society in which whites and blocks would have equal status. The isolation that a rigid, traditionalist and authoritarian regime encountered abroad also was reflected at home. Officials talked of a "conflict of generation" in which young people no longer accepted the patriotic values of their elders. At the end of February, the 63-year-old Gen. Antonio De Spinola, a man of undisputed patriotism and one of the most respected members of the older generation, encouraged the rebelliousness of the young by publishing a book condemning the war as unwinnable in military terms. Although the general himself did not urge abandonment of Africa, his book helped to increase the sense of hopelessness about Lisbon's African policy and reinforced the tendency among young people to feel a lack of involvement in the war. The need to devote more financial and human resources to development at home was a major point made by Spinola, who thus reflected a strong current of business and economic opinion. The general's book led to his dismissal as deputy chief of the defense staff. It was one of the clearest symbols of the demoralization that had set in among soldiers and civilians, and it burst with tremendous impact upon a startled public. There were other clear signs. Youths of draft age were refusing in increasing numbers the four years of military service imposed on them. Of the last class called to the colors, or 50 per cent, were said to have refused to report. About draft refusers are estimated to have taken refuge abroad. The military academy with room for 400 officer candidates, was reported to have well below a hundred, as the prestige of the uniform for sons of upper-class and middle- class families plummeted. Troops in the field were said to be showing an increasing tendency to shy away from contact with the enemy, taking defensive stands only. The officer corps in Portugal and overseas was badly split, with junior officers, in some cases up to the rank of lieutenant colonel, disgruntled over low pay and repeated tours of duty in Africa. They were also haunted by the prospect that if the African territories were finally lost, they would be made the scapegoats, as happened when Portugal lost Goa to' India in 1961. The white population of Mozambique has been showing increasing nervousness to the point of panic as rebel forces, with the help of better arms, have spread southward. Emmigration from Portugal to other West European countries, mostly by persons seeking work, rose last year after a three- year period of decline. In the past decade about a million Portuguese, more than a tenth of the population, have left to seek a better life elsewhere. One of the wry jokes in Lisbon has been that Paris, with expatriates, has become Portugal's second largest city. Discontent over unchecked inflation, about 20 per cent last year and one of the highest in Europe, has been general. Few housewives seemed to make any connection between the spectacular rise in living costs and the war, but the inflation contributed to general dissatisfaction and the feeling that the government should have been worrying more about home conditions and less about the African colonies. The lethbridge Herald Circulation Department Invites applications from boys and girls 12 years of age or older as paper carriers in the following areas in Lethbridge: 1. Downtown 2. Glendale 3. Dieppe 4. Park Meadows Please Write or Phone 1 THE CITY SUPERVISOR CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT PORTUGUESE Specialists in all types of ENGINE REBUILDING CYLINDER BORING AND RESLEEVING CRANKSHAFT REGRINDING Ask about our Guarantee ENGINES WISCONSIN ENGINE Sales and Service Centre Custom Engine Parts Ltd. 1605 3rd Avenue South Phone 328-8181 Need a Country Tell! Call AGT now about phone service for your acreage, summer cottage, farm or rural business. All out-of-town phone lines now are underground cable. New lines must be buried before winter. This means that you and AGT must plan well ahead. So for country telephone service this year, call AGT now and tell them when you need it. Call your local AGT business office AG7T Keeps you in touch wherever you are ;