Cândido Alves Barja

(Castro Verde, 24-04-1910 – Tarrafal, Santiago Island, Cape Verde, 26-09-1937)

Cândido Barja, son of Francisco Alves Barja and Maria do Rosário Alves, was born in Castro Verde, in 1910. A sailor, he was first sniper on the ship Bartolomeu Dias and participated in the Naval Revolt, a military uprising intending to overthrow the Estado Novo carried out on 8 September 1936, organised by the Revolutionary Organisation of the Navy (ORA), a structure linked to the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).

He was, therefore, handed over, on that same day, to the State Surveillance and Defence Police (PVDE) by the Navy authorities, accused of insubordination, and sent to the Penitentiary of Lisbon.

He was tried in Military Court on October 13 and sentenced to five years of imprisonment, followed by ten years of exile. He embarked to Tarrafal Concentration Camp, in Cape Verde, on 17 October 1936, with the first group of prisoners that were sent to the newly established prison camp.

Due to severe hygienic deficiencies, the generalisation of various illnesses, forced labour, ill-treatment and torture, Cândido Alves Barja died on 26 September 1937, at the age of 27. In just four days, apart from Cândido Barja, five more prisoners died in Tarrafal.

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