Australian Left Review

Article Title

Africa Without Portugal: Prospects for liberation


For more than a decade, Portugal has been engaged in a bitter struggle with nationalist

guerrilla forces in the African territories of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique. This struggle, in support of a seemingly anachronistic colonial policy, has drained men and resources

from a country which is the most economically undeveloped in Europe. Over half of Portugal’s budget has been committed solely to defence. Needless to say, this effort was not made simply to satisfy the pride of an imperial past. It is true that since the sixteenth century, when the Portuguese national poet, Camoens, celebrated the voyages of Vasco da Gama, the theme of empire has been a dominant one in the national ideology of Portugal. But it is also true that there were sound economic reasons for Portugal's continued colonial presence in Africa. Increasingly, however, with the continuing success of the guerrilla forces, particularly of the Party for the Independence of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC), and of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), it became clear that the costs of a continuing colonial presence were outweighing its benefits,