Portuguese consul in Johannesburg Vasco Pinto de Abreu was in Lisbon this weekend to report on the plight of some 200,000 Portuguese nationals caught in the latest wave of violence in South Africa.
He described himself as “shocked” by the “disinterest” and “disregard” given to what is a large Portuguese overseas community.
“We are around 450,000 (in Africa)”, he explained, stressing that the lack of interest did not come only from the government, but from the press and Portuguese society as a whole.
“Africa is in a complicated spiral, and sometimes the community feels abandoned because the authorities do not contact us,” he said, explaining that the reactions of the government and the Portuguese embassy in South Africa. Sud only intervened five days after the violence and looting that erupted as a result of the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for failing to appear during a corruption investigation.
Hundreds of Portuguese-owned and operated businesses have been ransacked during a week of lawlessness that is only slowly being brought under control.
President Marcelo, currently on an official visit to Angola, expressed his concern over the situation last Friday, saying that it was “a reality which is accompanied by the Portuguese government”.
Two days before Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva reiterated his appeals to the Portuguese people of Johannesburg to “stay at home” during the escalation of violence, and to show “a maximum of prudence and prudence ”.
But it is clear that Mr. Abreu de Pinto felt that these demonstrations were too little too late.
Indeed, he said he felt that the Portuguese were more concerned about what was happening in Cuba (where citizens are protesting against the communist regime) when “we have compatriots who see their lives destroyed, their businesses trashed and no one does anything. . This is what annoys me the most. It’s sad”.
Mr. Pinto de Abreu gave his opinion in an interview with Lusa before entering a scheduled meeting with the Secretary of State for Communities Berta Nunes.