a history lesson: sa carneiro

The man known as Sá Carneiro (real name: Francisco Manuel Lumbrales de Sá Carneiro) was born July 19, 1934 and died December 4, 1980. He was Prime Minister of Portugal for 11 months in 1980.

Short history from Wikipedia:

A lawyer by training, he became a member of the puppet National Assembly, where he became one of the leaders of the "Liberal Wing", which attempted to work for the gradual transformation of António de Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship into a normal Western European democracy.

In May
1974, a month after the Carnation Revolution, Sá Carneiro founded the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), together with Francisco Pinto Balsemão and José Magalhães Mota, and became its secretary-general. The PPD was soon renamed the Social Democratic Party (PSD); despite Sá Carneiro's original claims to be leading a left-of-centre party, he and the party soon drifted to the right. He was minister without portfolio in a number of provisional governments, and was elected as a deputy to the Constitutional Assembly the next year.

1976, he was elected to the Assembly of the Republic. In November 1977, he resigned his office as president of the party, only to be reelected to that office the next year.
In the general election of late
1979, he led the Democratic Alliance, a coalition of his Social Democratic Party, the right-wing Democratic and Social Centre Party, and two smaller parties, to victory. The Alliance polled 45.2 percent of the popular vote and gained 128 of the 250 seats in the Assembly of the Republic; 75 of these were from the PSD. President António Ramalho Eanes subsequently called on him to form a government on 3 January 1980, and formed Portugal's first majority government since the Carnation Revolution of 1974. In a second general election held in October that year, the Democratic Alliance increased its majority. The Alliance received 47.2 percent of the popular vote and 134 seats, 82 of them from the PSD. Sá Carneiro's triumph appeared to augur well for the presidential election two months later, in which Sá Carneiro was supporting António Soares Carneiro (no relation).

His victory was short-lived, however. On
4 December 1980, en route to a presidential election rally in Oporto, his plane crashed into a building in Camarate soon after take-off from Lisbon Airport. Eyewitnesses said they saw pieces falling from the plane a moment after takeoff. Rumours have continued to fuel conspiracy theories that the crash was in fact an assassination, but no firm evidence has come to light.

Dependent to a considerable extent on Sá Carneiro's personal popularity, the Democratic Alliance was unable to maintain its momentum in the wake of his death. Faced with a national crisis, the public rallied around the incumbent President, António Ramalho Eanes, who easily defeated the Alliance candidate in the presidential election a few days later.

airport of Oporto to which Sá Carneiro was heading, has been named after him: Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, despite objections that it would be in bad taste to name an airport after someone who died in a plane crash.

So, that's his history, now for exploring the conspiracy theory....which may not have been a theory at all?

Theory: Was Sa Carneiro killed to cover up White House arms deal? According to this theory, the plane Sa Carneiro was on was shot down to cover up deals between Iran and the US. Interesting stuff...Other source and more info here.

They have even made a film about this in Portuguese: Camarate: Acidente ou atentado?

Here is another blogger's posting about the incident (in Portuguese): here and herePosted by Picasa

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