Alvaro Cunhal, ex-leader of the PCP, who led the Portuguese democratic forces to victory in the Revolution of 25th April, 1974 in Portugal, ending the colonial war between Portugal and its African colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and St. Thomas and Principe islands, is ill in Lisbon. His successor, PCP leader Carlos Carvalhas, has asked the Portuguese Press to show more respect in their coverage of the party’s main event of the year, the Congress on 8th, 9th and 10th December, in which a serious battle is expected to be fought between the Orthodox wing and the Revisionists, a motley gang of misfits who evidently do not consider themselves as Communists but who are unable to become Socialists because these in Portugal are as reactionary today as the Fascists were in the past. Alvaro Cunhal, who lived in exile in Moscow during the last years of the Fascist Dictatorship in Portugal (1928 – 1974), is seen as a permanent influence over the party, a true Marxist-Leninist whose discourse marries the theories of Marx, Engels, Hagel and Lenin to the modern reality, presenting the theories which created great and long-lasting revolutions in the past to today’s populations, devoid of hope or comfort or influence. He is and always has been the marriage of the great Socialist and Communist theories to the modern daily reality of the average citizen. This great man, who is simultaneously a politician, writer and plastic artist, has left his mark on a country which at times does not have the capacity to respect those who made superhuman efforts to contribute towards the benefit of its people. Millions of Portuguese workers owe their membership of the European Union and its inherent benefits to the hard work and courage of the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party), led so heroically and so unselfishly by Alvaro Cunhal for the first decades of its existence. May we use this space to wish Dr. Alvaro Cunhal good health and good luck! Get better soon! We speak in the name of all those (many) people who met him in Russia and who were touched by his intelligence, insight and good humour.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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