“Affront to democracy”: MPs condemn plan for museum to Salazar’s dictatorship

Left-wing MPs have joined forces to condemn a plan to open a museum dedicated to the dictatorship of António Oliveira Salazar.

The plan – by authorities in the late dictator’s hometown of Santa Comba Dão – has been labelled an “affront to democracy”.

A motion tabled by PCP communists claims that if allowed to go forwards, the monument could become a shrine for far-right sympathizers.

Supported by ruling PS Socialists,the Left Bloc, Greens and PAN, the condemnation has the echo of an online petition signed by 17,000 people – all of them outraged that such a museum could open on national territory.

But the people behind the plan – including Socialist mayor Leonel Gouveia – insist the infrastructure would be a place to study the history of Salazar’s 36-year regime.

Commentators have stressed that hundreds of thousands of people flock every year to Auschwitz, not to glorify in what it stands for, but to learn from it and remember all those so brutally killed.

In other words, there are two ways to look at this museum, and Santa Comba Dão may well shrug off the political wailing.

Centre-right parties (PSD and CDS) diplomatically abstained from voting on the motion which went on to call on organisers to “think again” and implore entities that might become involved to “neither directly or indirectly” give the project any support.

Picking up on the brouhaha, Reuters remarks that Salazar was in fact Europe’s longest-serving right wing dictator, and that he ruled the country with “an iron hand”.

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