At the beginning of May 2008 I switched from civil protection to forest protection. I received a call from Álvaro Barreto, who knew about parliamentary life and who invited me to speak at a dinner that he believed would meet a group of “relevant figures in Portuguese society”.
My first reaction was suspicion. What would lead to a foreign minister being invited from areas that are normally of no interest to Portuguese “elites”? Very curious, two days later I replied and accepted.
I remember everyone who was there for that dinner that day. Some of them would fall with the scandals of the second decade of this century.
Álvaro Barreto didn’t want to talk about forests or rural development in his slime, he was minister of the portfolio, which I still knew well. What he wanted was to know even more about the way Socrates is governed, the organization of socialist power that seemed to be slowly disintegrating, the ideas the PS would have after 2009. At dinner, many of the questions raised revolved around my personal and political knowledge of the Prime Minister and also of the PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho. These people were very fond of the news of the barracks, which I did not give up and which might have let them down.
In this unrepeatable meeting, I realized that there was a very determined routine. Two monthly dinners, one with a guest, organize the dissemination of information on important decisions related to public contracts and investments. I got to know a part of this country that was later called perfect – DDT.
The recent debate surrounding Rui Rio’s proposal to force politicians to explain which organization they belong to led me to that dinner in May 2008.
Rio and those closest to him are not interested in the long list of cultural and sports associations that MPs and mayors can join. It occurred to Rio that Freemasonry “planned” it and that it would do so with greater decency in relation to the interests of the country.
Of course, Rio does not surround itself with hardworking people and therefore, in the flood of Freemasonry, Opus Dei would also come. This “bipolarity” is a journalistic invention that good people have protected.
Freemasonry has existed for centuries, has undergone many changes in today’s society, and was crucial in Portugal against the Estado Novo regime. Opus Dei is a personal prelature that is not yet a hundred years old and emerged from a worldview and political position characterized by the Spanish Civil War and a traditionalist religious option in social interventions.
I have never been to Freemasonry before but have attended events organized by Freemasonry. And when I say “this” I am referring to the exteriorizations that are known and that are not only revealed in the historical and relevant Lusitano Grande Oriente. I felt the dislike of some well-known Freemasons when I voted against the current IVG law and when I proceeded in the same way with the euthanasia vote.
I also never belonged to Opus Dei, although I am a believer and a practitioner, although I have read all of Josemaria Escrivá’s work, even though I have completed the senior management program at the prestigious business school associated with him. I sensed the aversion of well-known personalities and employees of the plant when I mentioned in a text published in this newspaper the non-existence of the visions of Fátima and, more recently, the questions in connection with the still beginning “mental decolonization” of the Portuguese overseas.
The question that can be asked in the circumstances described is as follows: What is the relationship between the experiences that I have had and that I now share in this text? For me there is only one – there are many secret communities that, legally non-existent, organize, direct and maneuver private goals in the face of public obligations and interests; and there are legally constituted institutions, even with very reserved or elitist forms of organization, which, if they have readings of society and which they want to imply, always find the limits and syndicates of their actions in the various powers.
The leader of the largest opposition party has a caudal impulse. And in the areas of individual rights, the current PSD leader even succeeds in overcoming his predecessor Cavaco Silva in times of absolute majorities and daily interventionism in the media.
In all that I reveal, it is important to align the PSD initiative with the letter and spirit of our Republic Constitution. Freedom of association would be threatened if some kind of counting of Benfica and Porto players in the universe of political life were introduced for no substantial reason. Yes, because the legislative initiative leaves nothing out, not even a parents’ association. For Rui Rio, being an autarch and breeder can be dangerous, and such a law must be proclaimed urbi et orbi.
The declarative obligations that are imposed on politicians today are already extensive. In them are the jobs they come from, the goods they own, are married or live with, the business relationships they maintain. This list is one of the most complete that can be seen in the countries of the European Union.
At a time when the Portuguese are grappling with the greatest problem of their lives, Rui Rio dedicates himself to capturing old witches. Imagine what it would be like if this person were one day ahead of the fate of the country – everything would be flat. The leader of the largest opposition party has a caudal impulse. And in the area of individual rights, the current leader of the PSD even succeeds in overcoming his predecessor Cavaco Silva in times of absolute majorities and daily interventionism in the media.
Former member of the XVII. Constitutional government
The author writes according to the new orthographic convention