45 years ago the country was full. Democracy, daughter of the revolution, was modeled on the recently adopted constitution of the Portuguese Republic. In the highest social contract a new Portugal was written, pointing to the equality of all, in which health and education became universal rights and the horizon of a socialist society has been preserved to this day. A bright day that had such a bloody night.
There were those who rejected the path of freedom, who denied the republic or democracy, who hated the constitution and all that it meant because they wanted to return by April 24, 1974. The losers of the revolution still planned and spread terror. It happened on kilometer 71 of the road to Vila Real that night when death came onto the road.
Father Max sat next to Maria de Lurdes at the wheel. They returned from another peasant literacy session teaching reading and writing in the land that the dictatorship had left illiterate. They tried to save young people from the fate that had plunged into poverty, ignorance or alcoholism for so many generations. It was a militancy, the devotion that picked up the word preached in the letter: “There is no point in talking about good when one is not doing good.” And it was the good they did that brought them back to Vila Real from Cumeeira when evil appeared to betrayal. A cowardly bomb blew up the car and stole their lives. Maria de Lurdes died immediately, Father Max died hours later. It was the first political assassination attempt since April 25, 1974.
Maria de Lurdes was a student in Vila Real, the daughter of immigrants in France, who was involved in the student struggle and was a member of the Students’ Union for People’s Democracy (UEDP). Father Max was an independent candidate on Vila Real’s UDP lists in the elections for the Assembly of the Republic on April 25, defender of a convergence between Marxists, Christians and left-wing democrats – advocates of unity among all emancipatory currents of humanity and confident that the priesthood is being fulfilled. Both stood up in the name of the newly created constitution and that went against the extreme right, which, even after almost two years of revolution, still believed itself to be the lady of this region.
The judiciary found no guilty party for the heinous murder, and far-right infiltrators in the units investigating the crime demolished evidence and boycotted the investigation. Impunity is the mark of this tolerance, but it was a crime that cost them their lives. Nevertheless, it was recognized in court that it was an attack organized by the MDLP (Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Portugal). This right-wing extremist organization, founded by António Spínola and Alpoim Calvão, was responsible for a wave of violence in 1975 and 1976 that sowed fear with terrorist attacks and sparked revanchist actions on April 25th. They have been denied justice, we have guaranteed their memories, and we say they are greater than death.
45 years after the Marão bomb spread, the extreme right is the weeds that threaten to attack the country with its reactionary ideas, colonial revivalism, the nostalgia of the Estado Novo, and racist and xenophobic violence. History requires us to defend this constitutional barrier, which does not open the door to the heirs of the MDLP and does not make them guarantors of a government. On the anniversary of the Constitution, we owe him loyalty and the fight against intolerance.
The farewell to Father Max and Maria de Lurdes was emotional, shaped by the grieving population who took to the streets en masse. In the middle of the crowd, a blank sheet of paper made you feel like “They didn’t kill you, they sowed you”. The strength and the assurance that the ideals for which they gave their lives are the same ones we will continue to fight for: freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance and solidarity.
The author writes according to the new orthographic convention