Attack on Salazar

04 July 2021

#inthisday On July 4, 1937, the Portuguese twentieth century could have taken a different course, if the bomb placed on Avenida Barbosa du Bocage, in Lisbon, had accomplished the mission of liquidating Salazar.

Under the sign of the Spanish Civil War, anarchist militants, with connections in Spain, taking advantage of Salazar’s weekly trip to attend mass in Josué Trocado’s private chapel, placed a bomb in a collector so that it would explode when Salazar’s car arrived. And so it happened that Sunday morning, but without the expected result. An error of a few centimeters in its placement caused the bomb to explode in the wrong direction.
A violent explosion caused a huge crater in the ground, destroyed the surrounding sewers, shattered window panes in the area, and caused rocks to fly from the chase. The dictator would escape unharmed and go on to mass.
The political police, between the need to show results, to blame the attack on the communist conspiracy and obvious incompetence, made a series of arrests of elements that had nothing to do with what had happened.
They were subjected to the most violent torture, to the extent that two of them, José Lopes da Silva and Jacinto Estêvão de Carvalho, and possibly a third, Augusto Martins, lost their lives.
Usually attributed to anarchist elements, such as Emídio Santana, these would have acted in connection with other elements of the Popular Front, namely those linked to the PCP.
If the attack did not cause any victims, the same cannot be said of the PVDE investigation and the brutality of its methods.


Maria Lamas
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