sexta-feira, 10 de junho de 2016

From Manuel Leal to His American friends



Dear friends,

This picture, which seems to me a place off the coast of Pico, my mother's birthplace in the Azores, is an outstanding image of the sea surrounding the archipelago of that Portuguese colony. Blue and serene, pristine and beautiful.

The Portuguese do not call the Azores a colony. True to their dark past of imperial deception and oppressive policies, which enslaved thousands of people in three continents, they claim the Azores is an autonomous region.

So much autonomous they keep a viceroy-like governor to watch the islanders’ local legislation.

The one chamber Assembly of the Republic, Portugal’s corrupt parliament, is made up of Portuguese and only a few Azoreans and Madeirans. It has the power to annul local ordinances. Recently, with a stoke of the pen of the Prime minister, the Portuguese claimed the sea of the Azores does not belong to the Azoreans. It is to be administered by Portugal. The reason is that mineral concentrations within the island's sea have been found to be worth at least 78 billion euros. No legislation was necessary. The unelected, all appointed National Council, a body of which the head of government is the chairman, can make such decisions. There is no appeal. The all Portuguese Constitutional Tribunal agreed with the Prime Minister.

If we were to consider all things equal, to understand this situation, imagine President Obama had the power to shut down one of our state’s senates or houses of representatives.

Imagine the Federal Government disregarded the Constitution and took over the Port of Newark, claiming it will run that facility from now on. The reason is that it is profitable. It is estimated the Azores generated in 2012 between 5 and 7 billion euros for the Portuguese economy. In return, the colony received 170 million euros.

49% of all income taxes collected in the Azores belong to Portugal’s treasury. Quite frankly, it is not enough for what politicians and bankers have robbed just in the last two or three years. But unlike other countries no one goes to jail. It is how the former president of the Republic, Cavaco Silva, got away with a fortune. No deed could be found of a property that supposedly he exchanged for an expensive villa for his retirement.

He was adamant about keeping the Azores as tight and inaudible as possible.

Suppose we all got together and decided to start a new political party called the Jersey Party. And suppose further that President Obama sent some guy to Trenton, and called him the Federal Governor, his own personal representative to oversee the political process in Trenton. Is it not wild this notion of a representative to keep track of what you do? This Federal Governor then goes to Trenton and tells the New Jersey Assembly the law governing some aspect of our state affairs is illegal. Said who? Said some court appointed by Obama with no say from New Jersey.

They call it the Constitutional Court, made up of all Portuguese and none of them is a jurist. Not a single one is required to pass judgement of law. All good, obedient politicians.

No Madeirans are there. No Azoreans are also there. Among many other things I would like to tell you, consider this one before I finish. No Azorean may run to any political office in his or her own land unless approved by a Portuguese Political Party. The people who vote may only confirm one of the candidates from one of the Portuguese parties. The law does not allow Azoreans parties. The Azoreans disagreed and protested. Too bad. It is the law. Portuguese law.

Although the United Nations Organization gives every territory without its own government the right to self-determination, Portuguese law prohibits the Azoreans to exercise this fundamental universal right.

Contrast this with British Overseas Territories such as Bermuda, or the Falklands. They have their own political parties and no British parties. Their political constitution recognizes de right to self-determination. It is the first article in the constitution of the Falkland’s.

The Azorean people under the Portuguese have less freedoms than our founding fathers when Samuel Adams raised hell in Massachusetts and the colonies pushed King George out of our lives.

The next time you happen to talk to your State or Federal senator or representative, please let them know there is a people living in islands right between these United States and Europe who are still oppressed as a colony. The Azores. Tell them to study the situation and voice their concern. In your school, tell your kids’ teacher that it would be beneficial for them to hear someone talk about our American freedoms and those of other suppressed, friendly people who look toward us as the utmost beacon of freedom in the world. How lucky they are to live in the land of the free and the brave. Don’t worry. I know how to talk to kids. I am a retired psychologist. Not a Portuguese psychologist. I studied in this country, in which all my children were born. I am glad they are proud Americans. Long live the United States of America.

Do me a favor, please. Pass this to your friends. Let us show that in America we do care about the underdog. Thank you.




Manuel Leal