Message of the President of the Portuguese Republic to all Portuguese Communities during the Day of Portugal, of Camões, and of the Portuguese Communities

Unfortunately, the official site for the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic doesn’t offer translations of the speech made on the launch day of their virtual presence in SL, nor of the website area related to Second Life. The text below is an attempt to give all English speakers a rough idea on what has been said. All errors or mistakes are my own responsibility — Gwyn

Portuguese and Portuguese descendents,

On this Day of Portugal, of Camões, and of the Portuguese Communities, I greet the Portuguese living or working outside their Country, as well as all Portuguese descendants who, on the seven parts of the world, keep alive the flame of Portugueseness.

“The further away I go, the nearer I stay”, are words left to us by Miguel Torga in one of his unforgettable poems. Torga knew and lived the reality of the the diaspora and knew what he was talking about.

It is crucial to know what we are talking about, when we talk about the Portuguese diaspora. That is the reason why I have made an effort to be in close contact with the Portuguese communities spread around the world.

Every time I travel on official visits to foreign countries — like what happened this year on the trip to Germany — I try to include in the official programme some moments of direct dialogue with the communities of the diaspora.

It is fundamental to understand the concrete reality of the Portuguese who emigrated. It is the only way to be aware of their anxiety, their needs, their love to their Fatherland, their profound and touching desire to keep the ties to Portugal.

But these ties have to be materialised in concrete actions. Mere words of thanks or speeches are not enough.

It is not possible to build an authentic relationship with the Communities using just rhetorical proclamations about feelings.

One has to guarantee that the Portuguese of the diaspora keep effective ties with the Portugal they left. Among those, naturally, is the tie to their citizenship. Thus I have defended, through concrete actions, that the exercise of the civic duties by the emigrants is fully ensured.

We ought not to forget that, as the writer Mia Couto said, the identity of the emigrants is a “fleeting identity”.

It is crucial that the identity of our emigrants does not become fleeting, and that, as time goes by, the essential elements tying the communities of the diaspora with the land where they came from are not lost. Because that land has a name: Portugal.

Since we are all Portuguese, we have a collective and patriotic duty: make real what can be fleeting, build our own identity, able to surpass distances and nostalgia.

In the 21st century, where the distances in the global world diminish, the questions about the diaspora cannot continue to be handled with the traditional nostalgic speech, tied to the past, where the feelings are exalted but the concrete actions forgotten.

Not by coincidence, just yesterday I had the pleasure to award the “Entrepreneurship Innovation Award for the Portuguese Diaspora” to a young person who, in the Netherlands, created a mobile phone software application developer company, with a yearly income of 2 million Euros and with 70 million customers, as well as to a Portuguese living in California, CEO of a company in the agriculture/food processing sector, the largest world-wide producer of sweet potatoes, with a yearly income of 36 million Euros and employing 700 people.

I am proud of having contributed towards having the diaspora policies more aware of the urgent need to keep all civic rights of the emigrants intact.

I am proud of Portugal and of being Portuguese. And on this day of June 10, I wish to most emphatically tell you: I am proud of all who wish to remain Portuguese.

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p style=”text-align: right;”>Anibal Cavaco Silva President of the Portuguese Republic