domingo, 24 de abril de 2016

O 25 de Abril e a NATO

STANAVFORLANT foi acrónimo para "Standing Naval Force Atlantic" que englobava navios de diversos países da NATO, desde 1968, em exercício e patrulha pelo norte do Oceano Atlântico... "contra os russos", como era característica da época de "guerra fria".

Acontece que em 1974, esta força iniciou um périplo atlântico, e estava estacionada em Lisboa, por "grande coincidência", em Abril:

Cruise Book - 1974, do navio americano USS Julius A. Furer (DLG 6, primeiro à esquerda)
O plano da expedição está traçado numa carta naval, onde como é fácil ver, Lisboa era apenas o 6º destino, de um conjunto de 17 escalas programadas.

Ora, o Cruise Book de 1974 é escrito no passado provavelmente em Julho de 1974... e há um destaque sobre a passagem por Lisboa, e esse destaque era sobre o quê?

- After almost two weeks crossing the fickle gray Atlantic, the exciting and unforseen adventures of Lisbon (Texas Bar, anyone?) were a relief to many seafarers.

Certo, certíssimo, o destaque ia para o Texas Bar, no Cais do Sodré.

- For the next two-and-one-half weeks, NATO shipmates were to enjoy a most pleasant and friendly port-of-call - not to mention the 25th anniversary of the NATO Alliance!


Ah, claro, para além do Texas Bar havia o 25º aniversário da NATO (a 4 de Abril de 1974). 
Sendo o relato posterior, de Junho... fica a imagem duma tourada no Campo Pequeno, e abaixo uma imagem da comemoração dos 25 anos da NATO em solo português. 

Sendo mais um livro de fotos que outra coisa, o facto de ter ocorrido o 25 de Abril durante a estadia das forças da NATO (e assim ter mudado o regime que os acolheu nas comemorações dos 25 anos da NATO), foi um mero detalhe não mencionado, afinal "unforseen adventures" eram no Texas Bar.

Se pelo lado americano não conseguimos mais informação, pelo lado canadiano, a perspectiva pareceu algo diferente:
  • International Operation Name:  Portugal 1974
  • International Mission Name:  Portugal 1974
  • Mandating Organization:  Government of Canada
  • Region Name:  Europe
  • Location:  Portugal
  • Mission Date:  4/25/1974 - 4/25/1974
  • Mission Mandate: Potential non-combatant evacuation operation if the coup of 25 April 1974 had become prolonged or violent.
  • Mission/Operation Notes:
For 48 years, Portugal had been ruled by a dictatorship, first by Antonio Salazar and then by Marcello Caetano. On 25 April 1974, members of the Movimento das Forcas Armadas (MFA - Armed Forces Movement), composed primarily of military personnel at the captain and major ranks, staged an almost bloodless coup d’état. Known as the “Carnation Revolution”, the revolution converted Portugal from a fascist state into a liberal democracy in two years. The MFA was led and organized by Major Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho.
Although the MFA did not have the support of senior officers, many of whom were loyal to the regime, they faced little opposition from the rank and file of the Portuguese armed forces and it took only one day for them to bring down the government.
Canada’s relationship to the coup was purely by chance. NATO naval Exercise Dawn Patrol was scheduled to start on the morning of 25 April. On 16 April, HMC Ships Preserver, Huron, Iroquois, Assiniboine, and Annapolis departed Halifax for Lisbon. They and other NATO vessels rendezvoused in Lisbon on 23 April for pre-exercise briefings and a two-day port visit. HMCS Yukon was the flagship for the Standing Naval Force Atlantic, meeting up with the other NATO ships in Lisbon, where she turned over flagship duties to HMCS Annapolis. While events unfolded ashore, the NATO ships were moved from berths alongside Lisbon harbour to anchorages in the harbour – this was part of the normal schedule and not related to the coup. Later that morning, around 11:00 AM, they departed, following the script of the exercise.
The only Canadian ship to remain in Lisbon was HMCS Assiniboine. Enroute to Lisbon, she had been detached from the Canadian Task Group on 22 April to assist the MV Trade Mariner, which had suffered an engine failure. Assiniboine towed the ship into Lisbon, arriving on 24 April. As a result, she received permission to stay in Lisbon an extra day, to 26 April. At 7:00 AM on 25 April, Assiniboine was moved to an anchorage so the rest of the NATO fleet could sail later in the morning. Shortly after 9:00 AM, the Almirante Gago Countinho, guns at the ready, was observed circling the harbour and the Assiniboine. Assiniboine moved to a higher state of watertight readiness; however, by mid morning the tension was defused when the Coutinho elevated its guns skywards, indicating its neutrality in the coup attempt.
About 10:25 AM, the commanding officer of Assiniboine took a small party ashore to meet the Canadian ambassador and seek guidance. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge about what was happening prevented the Ambassador from providing any specific instructions. What was known was that there appeared to be no direct threat to Canadians. The Commanding Officer was later approached by the American Assistant Naval Attaché who could provide some details, which were then passed on to the Canadian Embassy. By 3:00 PM Assiniboine slipped her anchorage and sailed down the Tagus River.
An Argus maritime patrol aircraft detachment, from 405 Squadron, happened to be at Montijo, on the other side of the harbour from Lisbon, preparing for Exercise Dawn Patrol as well. With the airport shut down, they could neither depart, nor take part in the exercise.
Como saliento no texto, e nem era preciso referi-lo, "a participação canadiana no golpe foi completamente acidental", tal como foi a de toda a NATO, que estava ali por acaso - no Texas Bar, já se sabe, e dá-se uma revolução - que aborrecimento. Querem sair todos às 11h00 do dia 25 de Abril, conforme planeado no exercício "Patrulha da Madrugada"... um nome certamente inspirado nas madrugadas ("dawn") após o Texas Bar.
Ora, há uma fragata portuguesa - a Gago Coutinho, que circunda o navio da NATO, Assiniboine - um dos 5 navios canadianos, que se juntaram com os restantes navios da NATO no dia 23 de Abril - para briefing do exercício e visitar o porto. Os canadianos, menos explícitos, não revelam que a verdadeira intenção era visitar o Texas Bar. As coisas com o navio Assiniboine só acalmam a meio da manhã, quando a Gago Coutinho levanta as armas para o céu - indicando neutralidade no golpe... isto numa altura em que os canadianos não sabiam o que se passava em Lisboa, mas achavam por bem que os aliados portugueses não interviessem, no que quer que ocorresse (imagine-se se fossem os comunistas com apoio dos russos...).

Ora, também como manifesta coincidência, é no dia 23 de Abril que se dá o primeiro sinal de vida dos revoltosos, com o estabelecimento da linha de transmissões entre os Pupilos e o Colégio Militar, com o posto de comando do MFA na Pontinha... e curiosamente, noticiava o Jornal de Notícias que nesse dia 23, o norte do país tinha estado isolado do mundo. «caiu uma faísca no cabo coaxial Porto – Lisboa»
A preocupação do MFA com as forças da NATO estacionadas em Lisboa... e que "nada sabiam do golpe" (lembremo-nos), era uma preocupação nula. Avaliando a versatilidade de Otelo, o MFA teria controlado a situação com o dono do Texas Bar, que entreteria os gringos.

Em 2014, quarenta anos depois, ainda se discutia qual o papel do Comandante da Gago Coutinho, ou seja, António Seixas Louçã, numa disputa de um comunicado de vários intervenientes no 25 de Abril e a versão dos filhos do comandante (um dos quais, o conhecido Francisco Louçã).
Quase como análogo à posição americana ou canadiana, a relevância das forças da NATO é também negligenciada pelos "capitães de Abril"... os gringos estavam ali por acaso, e não interessava nada haver em Lisboa uma força militar capaz de tomar a cidade de assalto.

Não se percebe que raio de glória é que esta gente quer levar para as tumbas, mas certamente parece que não deixam cá nenhum apego pela verdade... e à conta de meias-verdades que caem bem, a um ou a outro, a pena que umas gerações deixam às outras seguintes, é a persistência na ocultação da verdade.

Vem isto a propósito de um postal que coloquei no Odemaia: Mary Poppins, Dona Celeste e o 25 de Abril... face a informação de Carlos S. Silva, e onde se mostram fotos da Gago Coutinho com as canhoeiras levantadas, e do contra-torpedeiro canadiano Huron, com canhão em posição de disparo.
Fragata Gago Coutinho (F 473) ameaça bombardear posições revoltosas
Contra-torpedeiro Huron (DDG 281) da NATO bloquearia a Gago Coutinho
face ao seu alvo - forças de Salgueiro Maia
Na revolução republicana de 1910, o grão-mestre maçon foi pedir a benção às lojas francesa e inglesa, antes que mexessem uma palha... Neste caso, passados estes anos, continua a insistir-se no fabrico caseiro da revolução, sem conhecimento externo. Acresce a presença de um enorme contigente da NATO no porto de Lisboa, que se reune a 23 e parte a 25 de Abril.
Já sabemos, foi tudo co-coincidência, mas tanta incidência de CoCos tem um preço, isto mesmo sem precisar de ir buscar o jardim da Celeste para falar das flores.


6 comentários:

  1. nos dias seguintes ao golpe ouvia-se nas ruas de Lisboa que a esquadra da nato estava ao largo pronta a intervir contra a revolução, como qual não é assim tao fácil de enganar o zé povinho... estive nesse movimento de mirones das 9 às 23h vi feridos e pide morto, muitos tiros no Carmo, uma granada na Ribeira, não foi assim tao "poética" a revolução, morreu muita gente durante o prec... curioso o meu cunhado estava lá na baixa nesse 25 como alferes dos rangers e eu como adolescente civil, ele nunca falou sobre esse dia, eu tinha bastante que contar mas ninguém quereria saber o que é o espirito de "matilha de lobos" da populaça, que passa rapidamente a de rebanho de carneiros. triste de passar num dia de império a país pobre, a França tem ainda "colónias" em todos os cantos do mundo, os portugueses são muito BURROS!

    Cpts
    José Manuel

    P.S,
    uns dias antes da revolução vi um jipe do exército cerca das 2 da madrugada com um oficial a tirar medidas da rua no largo da camara de lisboa, mas esta da nato estar directamente envolvida no golpe de estado foi novo para mim, penso que houve um deixar fazer pela parte do poder aos comunistas, o Salgueiro Maia entra no Carmo desarmado e como disse o oficial da guarda na TV num minuto podia ter levado um tiro dum GNR e morrido, mas não levou... e o Carmo estava cercado por uns dois pelotões da GNR. e depois vem o Spínola se meter naquele barulho no Carmo de mercedes e sem escolta, tudo como se tivesse sido com timings, uma grande farsa esse 25 de Abril de 1974.

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    Respostas
    1. Caro José Manuel,
      o seu comentário foi apanhado no Spam do Blogger... pois, pois é!
      Esses testemunhos são bastantes importantes... especialmente para quem não vivia em Lisboa, já que fora do centro de acção, no tempo e no espaço, chega apenas aquilo que é para ser transmitido, e mais nada!
      Toda a gente aprendeu muito bem a versão florida dos cravos nas espingardas, e como a história era bonita, cativou, e ainda bem que não foi pior - porque poderia ter sido.
      É como diz, se não houvessem grandes certezas de bastidores, ninguém tinha ali chegado armado em herói sem apanhar um tiro... e é esse tipo de história distorcida que interessa passar, até porque o próximo herói julga que pode ter a mesma sorte... e não tem, acabando-se num instante o heroísmo. De qualquer forma, ainda quero crer que Salgueiro Maia não se prestou a ser a marioneta que queriam que ele fosse, e por isso mesmo acabou desconsiderado, à esquerda e à direita.

      Abraço.

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  2. Deixo aqui este texto do Capitão R. H. Thomas, que complementa a história do navio Assiniboine no 25 de Abril de 1974.

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    HMCS Assiniboine and the 1974 Portuguese Coup or "Where was this covered in command exams?"

    Captain Robert H. Thomas, RCN, Ret'd

    In the spring of 1974, Portugal had been in political turmoil for some time, with dissent focussed within the Army over policies in overseas Portuguese territories. In Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Basseau revolution and terrorism had challenged the Portuguese colonial administrations for over a decade. An attempted coup on March 16, led by junior officers opposed to the extreme right-wing government, had failed, lulling the government into complacency. Six weeks later, a second military coup succeeded and seized power.

    HMCS Assiniboine found herself in the middle of the coup. She was part of a NATO fleet scheduled to assemble in Lisbon and to sail at first light on April 25. The timing of the coup had been planned, in part, to follow the departure of the fleet to ensure that the Tagus would be free of foreign warships.{1} The vagaries of the sea intervened.

    In the morning of April 22, while en route to Lisbon, Assiniboine sighted a small Grenadian merchant vessel, the Trade Mariner, which had been adrift without power for eight days. Day-long attempts to repair her engine were unsuccessful so Assiniboine took her in tow and headed for Lisbon, 350 miles away. This delayed Assiniboine's arrival until 11:00 a.m. on April 24. However, Captain Jock Allen, Commander of the Canadian Task Group, approved a 48 hour stay in Lisbon.

    On arrival, Assiniboine secured outboard of several other warships and had to shift very early on April 25 to permit the others to sail as planned for the exercise. The pilot in charge of the move arrived late, almost incoherent and complaining of a traffic jam in the city. A "cold" shift by tug to the anchorage duly commenced at just before 7:00 a.m.{2} Two members of Assiniboine's ship's company were left ashore to move a rental vehicle to the Doca de Marinho, where the ship was due to move.

    At anchor, permission could not be received to move alongside and it soon became clear that something serious was going on. The pilot was talking to authorities ashore but either could not, or would not, explain what was happening. In fact, unbeknownst to us, the coup had started at 3:00 that morning and the Army had moved rapidly to seize control of the city.

    Shortly after 9:00 a.m. a Portuguese frigate, the Almirante Gago Coutinho, approached Assiniboine. She was clearly at action stations and circled around us. Our reaction was to go to a higher degree of watertight integrity but to take no overt action which might be perceived as threatening or provocative by the Portuguese. At the same time, we were giving serious thought as to what to do if she attempted any hostile action. What we did not know was that the Army was equally uncertain about the frigate's intentions and had tanks ready to fire at it if it took hostile action. However, in mid-morning, after its officers had apparently refused the orders of the Captain to fire on the city, the ship elevated its guns skyward and withdrew.{3}

    We were finally ordered to remain at anchor at 10:00 a.m. hours due to political unrest ashore. To find out what was going on, the Commanding Officer, Commander Robin Corneil, took a small party ashore at 10:25 in an attempt to meet the Canadian Ambassador and seek his instructions.

    Meanwhile, our two sailors ashore had blissfully driven to the ship's destination and parked, only to hear gunfire and witness considerable commotion. Here members of the PIDE (International Police for Defence of the State) had barricaded themselves in their headquarters across the street and fired indiscriminately into the crowd.{4} Ultimately, five individuals were killed and many more wounded - the only bloodshed in the coup.{5}

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    1. On his trip ashore, Commander Corneil first spoke to Commander Gregor MacIntosh of HMCS Yukon which was about to sail from back to Canada after participating in The NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT).{6} Meanwhile, the boat's crew was standing by a railing around the square watching the gunfire! Commander Corneil called the Canadian Embassy and was advised by the Second Secretary that there did not appear to be any danger to Canadians. He then contacted the Canadian Ambassador, R. Duhamel, seeking advice and direction. He was unable to get any specific direction from him, being told repeatedly to "do what your superiors tell you to do". After these many repetitions, Corneil finally said "Mr. Ambassador, you are my superior officer, until you decide what you want me to do!" He was then advised to get back to the Embassy.

      Shortly afterwards, the American Assistant Naval Attache, in plain clothes, approached Commander Corneil. He was fluent in Portuguese and described what was going on. From this, Corneil was able to give the Embassy a detailed account of events and the uncertainty of the Portuguese naval officers present who did not want to leave the Doca until they were certain who was going to win. At 12:18 the Commander Corneil returned to the ship, having picked up the two members of Assiniboine's ship's company who were ashore.

      There were other Canadian complications ashore. A Canadian Air Force Argus detachment from Greenwood was at the international airport at Portela which had been seized at 3:30 that morning by a unit of the officer training school.{7} Several personnel had brought spouses to Lisbon and were with them in downtown hotels. There was no way of contacting them or ensuring their safety, but the swiftness and lack of violence in the coup prevented any harm coming their way.

      By mid-afternoon it was clear that there was nothing further we could do. Therefore, we weighed anchor shortly before 3:00 p.m. and sailed slowly down the Tagus, watching the activities of crowds ashore, especially their rapid dispersal when a tank suddenly appeared at an intersection.

      The author was the Executive Officer of HMCS Assiniboine at the time.

      Notes:
      1. Michael Harsgor. Portugal in Revolution, The Washington Papers, (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications), 1976, p. 21.
      2. All times are taken from the log of HMCS Assiniboine for April 1974. (Times have been converted to a.m./p.m. and rounded out in some places - Editor)
      3. Insight on Portugal (London: Times Newspapers Limited, Andre Deutch, 1975), p. 83.
      4. Harsgor, p. 22.
      5. Insight, p. 96.
      6. All details of Commander Corneil's activities ashore are from a letter to the author 11 Jan 98.
      7. Insight, p. 84-5.

      © Copyright NOAC 1998

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      HMCS Assiniboine and the 1974 Portuguese Coup or "Where was this covered in command exams?"

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  3. Caro Alvor-Silves.
    Achei muito interessante conhecer esta versão dos acontecimentos. Espero que não se importe mas vou tomar a liberdade de publicar no "feicebuque".
    Rui Santos.

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    1. Claro, esteja à vontade.
      Obrigado pelo comentário.

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