Architect of Portugal’s 1974 Revolution, ‘Otelo,’ Has Passed Away At The Age Of 84.
The April Captains group stated that Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, the architect of the so-called Carnation Revolution that ended more than four decades of tyranny in Portugal, died on Sunday at the age of 84.
Colonel Vasco Lourenco, a spokesman for the group behind the April 1974 coup, told national media that Otelo, as he was known in Portugal, died at a military hospital in Lisbon.
The high-profile but divisive character was a pivotal figure in the bloodless coup that transformed Portugal’s social, economic, and political landscape.
The Carnation Revolution took place in the early hours of April 25, 1974, overthrowing a dictatorship that lasted from 1926 to 1968 under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar and Marcelo Caetano.
In a statement, Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s office said, “He properly became one of the emblems of the revolution that ended the longest dictatorship of the twentieth century in Europe, opening the door to democracy.”
According to the statement, his “strategic and operational competence (as well as) his passion and generosity were key” in the movement’s success.
In 1936, Otelo was born in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese colony.
He joined the military in the early 1960s, during a period when Portugal was fighting colonial wars.
Following the revolution, Otelo attempted two unsuccessful presidential campaigns to capitalize on his military image.
However, the nonconformist ended himself in jail for allegedly being a member of the far-left FP-25 movement, which was implicated for several violent attacks in the 1980s.
He was condemned to 15 years in prison in 1987, but was later pardoned in 1996.
The Portuguese communist party reacted to Otelo’s death by saying that he should be remembered for his role in the 1974 revolt rather than his political career.