III Congress of the Democratic Opposition, 50 years later

  • III Congress of the Democratic Opposition, 50 years later
  • Organization: Commemorative Commission for the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April
  • Scientific organization: Aniceto Afonso and Rui Bebiano
  • CCB . 19 and 20 April. Wednesday and Thursday. 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
  • Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen Room. Free entry, subject to room capacity


April 19th

  • 14:30 – 15:00 – Opening Session
  • 15h00 -16h30 – Testimonials I and debate
    Carlos Carvalhas, Maria Emília Brederode, António Neto Brandão Moderation: Aniceto Afonso
  • 16:45 -19:00 – Interventions I and debate
    Fernando Rosas: Congress of Aveiro: in times of eve
    Francisco Seixas da Costa: 1973 – A Fardado Look
    José Manuel Lopes Cordeiro: Aveiro, 1973: An Opposition outside the Opposition Congress
    Luísa Tiago Oliveira: From the Conclusions of the Congress of Aveiro to the MFA Program
    Moderation: Irene Flunser Pimentel

April 20th

  • 14:30 -16:00 – Testimonials II and debate
    Helena Pato, Mario Simões Teles, João Soares
    Moderation: Maria Inacia Rezola
  • 16:15 -18:30 – Interventions II and debate
    José Pacheco Pereira: What the III Congress revealed about the state of the Opposition
    Luís Trindade: We have to be more I know, Sounds, images, and utopia in 1973
    Manuela Tavares: Women in the democratic opposition and the slow path for their rights
    Miguel Cardina: April 1973: a portrait of anti-war opposition
    Moderation: Rui Bebiano
  • 18:30 –  6:45 – Closing session

The III Congress of the Aveiro Democratic Opposition was a historic event that took place in Aveiro, in 1973, during the period of the Salazar dictatorship. This congress brought together a set of political and social forces that opposed the regime, including political parties, unions, student movements, and other organizations. The main objective of the Congress was to unify the various opposition forces around a common political program and establish a strategy for the fight against the dictatorship.

On the 19th and 20th of April, between 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm, the III Congress of the Democratic Opposition 50 years later, celebrates the 50th anniversary of this congress, recalling its historical importance and that of the struggles against the Estado Novo dictatorship in Portugal, and contributing to the debate on the current challenges of democracy and universal human rights.

The III Congress of the Democratic Opposition, held in Aveiro in April 1973, had a marked significance in national politics, as it strengthened the democratic opposition movement, having managed to mobilize the participation of representatives of the various democratic currents and ideologies.

Organized by a National Commission made up of dozens of people, representation from all the country’s districts was ensured.

Three general objectives were established: elaboration of a critical diagnosis of the Portuguese reality, dynamization of democratic activities throughout the country, the definition of the general lines of democratic action; and organized into 8 thematic sections: economic and social development, structure and transformation of work relations, social security and health, urban planning and housing, education, culture and youth, regional development and local administration, human rights and State organization, situation and political perspective at national and international level.

Open to the greatest number of participations, collective and individual, this debate of ideas was prolific and decisive for the opposition to gather and run together, for the first time on a single list, in the 1973 legislative elections.

Quoting Jorge Sampaio: «(…) The importance of the debate of ideas was decisive. Without him, it would not have been possible for us to understand the true nature of the regime that had been established in our country from 1926 onwards. The importance of the proposals was equally decisive. They made it possible to gather around the democratic alternative a credible program and a qualified group of technical and political staff. The importance of wills was also decisive, as it was in the convergence of the commitments of the various groups and personalities that the democratic struggle acquired strength and effectiveness. (…)»

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