Portuguese MPs denounce museum dedicated to dictator Salazar – The Guardian

Plan to honour Estado Novo founder in home town called insult to victims of regime

A Portuguese flag

A Portuguese flag. Critics said the proposed museum could attract people sympathetic to Salazar.
Photograph: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

Portugal’s parliament has voted to denounce a planned museum dedicated to the former dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, calling it an “affront to democracy”.

Leonel Gouveia, the mayor of Salazar’s hometown of Santa Comba Dão in central Portugal, announced the plan to create the museum last month. Critics said it could attract people sympathetic to Salazar, who ruled Portugal with an iron fist for more than 30 years.

Portugal’s leftwing majority parliament said on Wednesday that the museum, to be built in an old school next to Salazar’s former home, would be an “insult to the memory of victims of the dictatorship”. Parliament asked “all public and private entities not to support the project directly or indirectly”.

Salazar rose to power in 1932 following a military coup four years earlier, and ruled until 1968. He died in Lisbon in 1970. A military uprising toppled his Estado Novo, or New State, regime in 1974, putting an end to 13 years of colonial wars in Africa.

It is not the first time authorities in Santa Comba Dão have come under fire for publicising the town’s links to the dictator. In 2012 the mayor at the time, João Lourenço, failed in an attempt to have a wine called Salazar’s Memories registered as a trademark.