Patriotic Front for National Liberation

12 January 2021

#Inthisday January 12, in 1965, General Humberto Delgado created the Portuguese National Liberation Front in Algiers after breaking with the Patriotic Front for National Liberation in October 1964.

Going back a few years, sectors of the Portuguese opposition, seeking to capitalize on the great popular mobilization generated by the 1958 elections, had been taking convergent steps towards the creation of a unitary organization. In the last days of 1962, at a meeting in Rome, an opposition unitary movement designated as the Patriotic Front for National Liberation was founded, a formulation that encompassed the Central Board of Patriotic Action and the Patriotic Action Boards. At this conference it was also decided to create a delegation of the movement abroad that was established in Algeria, where it would operate until 25th April 1974.

However, in the revolutionary Algiers the tensions between the oppositions represented there become irreconcilable. The movement will be crossed by disputes between the Communist Portuguese Party, the line of Humberto Delgado and elements linked to the Revolutionary Action Movement and the Popular Action Front.

New and old, these divergences – around the role to be attributed to the external front, the importance of the colonial issue, the priority to be given to the armed struggle, the Sino-Soviet dissidia, the dispute over the hegemony of the movement or the general’s own personality – lead to Humberto Delgado, who had assumed the presidency of the Front in June 1964, to break with the Patriotic Front for National Liberation and create the Portuguese National Liberation Front.

About a month after the creation of the Portuguese Front, Humberto Delgado and Arajaryr Campos would be murdered, on February 13, by PIDE agents in Spain, near the Portuguese border, thus implementing the plan that had been delineated by the political police since the beginning of 1962 after the coup of Beja.

Image: II Conference of the Patriotic Front for National Liberation (FPLN), held in Prague in 1963. Mário Ruivo, Pedro Soares, Manuel Sertório, Rui Luis Gomes, General Humberto Delgado, Fernando Piteira Santos, Álvaro Cunhal and Tito de Morais. GES/PCP

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