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Carlos Placido de Sousa

News has reached Britain that the Portuguese communist militant Carlos Alberto Plácido de Sousa has died. Carlos was well known in Britain as a key figure in the Portuguese migrant workers community and editor of the English language Portuguese and Colonial Bulletin.

A man of courage, resourcefulness and great modesty Carlos was born in 1925 and became a member of the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party in 1947, a key activist in the democratic and anti fascist youth movement.

Trained as a medical practitioner he worked in the clandestine apparatus of the PCP working particularly on the illegal distribution of the party newspaper Avante!

In 1960 he was involved in the daring escape from the Peniche fortress of members of the PCP central committee including Alvarto Cunhal. Using his professional connections he acquired the anaesthetic that was administered to the prison guards and drove the getaway vehicle. As a consequence he was forced in emigration and worked as a medical researcher at Universiity College London.

Apart from his practical and political work among the Portuguese in Britain his great contribution was to bring a clear sighted account of the processes that led to the 1975 Portuguese Revolution and the liberation of the Portuguese colonies, providing a labour movement and democratic readership with detailed analysis of the special relationship between British imperialism and Portuguese colonialism, the forces for revolutionary change in Portugal and its colonies. He brought a piercing insight into the dangers of both ultra left and right wing opportunist explanations of these processes.

After the 1975 April Revolution, he returned to his home region Cerveira , where he was active in the regional organisation of the party, particularly in the leadership in Viana do Castelo where he was an election candidate for the CDU coalition.

In a statement issued by PCP it was noted that Carlos Placido “devoted much of his life to the struggle of the working class, the workers and the Portuguese people, the struggle of his party against fascist regime, against exploitation, for freedom for democracy, for a new society, socialism and communism . ”

At the funeral, held on Saturday, PCP was represented by a delegation consisting of Albano Nunes, of the Secretariat; Joao Frazao, Policy Committee, and Philip Vintém, the Central Committee. At the time, John Frazao recalled the appreciation that Carlos Placido felt “by younger cadres, often old enough to be his grandchildren”.

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