Never one for banter or apparent bonhomie, former president of the republic Cavaco Silva has suddenly burst back onto the political scene, laying into the government, his own hugely popular replacement President Marcelo – and even the press.
News sources are having a field day reporting the ‘outrage’ that emerged as Cavaco addressed young members of the PSD party in Castelo de Vide, Portalegre earlier today.
Taking it from the top, it appears – according to Eco online – to have started with criticism of the nation’s press, and the existence of ‘fake news’ in Portugal designed to influence public opinion similar to that cited by the United States’ President Trump.
What kind of box that pops Cavaco into has not been suggested by Eco which diplomatically moves on to quote the two-term president as saying that when it comes to Portugal’s television and radio commentators “of which there are many hundreds” one soon comes to a conclusion over which are “worth anything”, and these “do not fill the fingers of one hand”.
Charming, really, from a man famed for keeping his opinions to himself.
The real spice however came when Cavaco touched on the Socialist government that so affronted him for snatching power from election defeat in 2015 (click here).
Cavaco has clearly not swallowed any of the bile, stressing PS Socialists are without any kind of credibility, simply playing ‘party politics’ in an arena that will eventually have to come up hard against reality.
It was a devastating speech, reports Diário de Notícias, targeting António Costa, the anti-euro left and “implicitly” President Marcelo.
Cavaco’s much-more popular successor Marcelo came in for flak for the very reason his country has come to love him. The fact that he talks, loves to talk and does so as if he has known people all their lives.
Citing the example of President Macron in France, Cavaco told his young audience that the role of a president should be “like Jupiter, a God of few words on his Olympian mountain”.
Macron’s strategy “contrasts with the frenetic drivel of the majority of contemporary European politicians”, and he has already made it quite clear that he will not talk about his nation’s politics.
“How many people in Portugal would have the courage to say such a thing”, Cavaco quizzed.
Says DN, “in a phrase that could only be directed at Marcelo, he added that it would not enter anyone’s head that Macron would call a journalist to pass him (or her) news or information”.
Again, Cavaco could be forgetting that Macron may not have the close relationship with journalists that Marcelo has had for years – due to his former role as a television commentator – but true, Jupiter on an Olympian mountain might not call anyone.
Entering into more detail, what has clearly enraged the country’s former PSD head of state is the current government’s “unthinkable” three-time veto of names suggested by the Bank of Portugal and the Court of Accounts to sit on the council of public finances.
The impasse smacks of nothing less than political censorship, Cavaco told his audience, warning there are even “credible voices” who say “censorship is on its way back”.
Cavaco’s diatribe will be analysed through the day, with no doubt references being made to his early connections to the much-feared PIDE (Portuguese secret police) which was very much connected to censorship of all kinds.