• Short Summary

    Portugal, which once had one of the farthest flung and wealthiest Empires in the world, is now one of the poorest countries in Europe.

  • Description

    GV PAN Empire Square

    GV African produce being unloaded at dock (2 shots)

    GV Troops in Lisbon streets (2 shots)

    GV Fruit stores with African produce

    GV Mozambique posters

    Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Initials 1608 ET/1627

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Portugal, which once had one of the farthest flung and wealthiest Empires in the world, is now one of the poorest countries in Europe. Only five months after the revolution in Lisbon, it is clear that President Spinola in beset by problems both at home and abroad.

    Portugal's plans for decolonisation in Africa are not proceeding as smoothly as hoped and at home political pressures, Which have built up over half a century of dictatorial rule are already threatening the present coalition Government.

    There is much labour unrest in Portugal, which has a galloping inflation rate of 25 per cent and an unemployment figure which could be as high as half a million.

    Tourism, the No 2 foreign exchange earner, has been hard hit by a cholera epidemic. And to make the economic situation even more difficult, jobs and housing will have to be found for the considerable number of Portuguese settlers who have fled Mozambique after the recent riots there.

    It is in this uneasy atmosphere that Portugal's political parties are shaping up for the electoral battle next year to form a new Government, by which time the 500-year-old Portuguese Empire will have almost completely faded away.

    SYNOPSIS: This is Empire Square in Lisbon, a symbol and relic of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known - an empire stretching from the americas, to Africa, India and China. In five hundred years of colonial rule a vast amount of wealth poured into Portugal from her colonies. Even today goods from Africa pile up on the docks.

    But Portugal now is one of the poorest nations in Europe with half a million unemployed and an inflation rate of over twenty-five per cent. Five months after the Lisbon revolution troops still patrol the streets.

    General Spinola's policy of decolonisation in African has not been an unqualified success as the recent riots in Mozambique with their high death toll have shown. His aims of a well-ordered withdrawal from Africa have been largely outpaced by industrial and political unrest at home.

    Portugal's African Empire will soon be non-existent....Guinea-Bissau has been recognised as anew nation.....a transitional Government has been formed in Mozambique....and Angola, the most valuable of Portugal's African colonies, also will eventually get independence. The Portuguese Government's main confrontation is no longer with its colonies but with conditions nearer at home.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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