In Memoriam Mario Soares, lighthouse-man

Monday, January 30, 2017

"The future of humanity is threatened,
such as democracy itself,
  above all because of the absolute control of the markets over the States,
because money became the supreme value,
without ethical principles and without any respect for the dignity of people. "

Thus expresses at the end of his work "Un Poeme político asume-se"
in Vau / Campogrande, in September 2011.

“We must recognize -I am writing another of the paragraphs of this book- that the crisis of the world is in the farthest depths. We are in a moment of radical change of civilization. Poverty and the great inequalities -between people and States- are growing and less bearable on all continents.

The generations that were raised in the last decades of the twentieth century -and who dreamed of living in peace, in a better future for all and in more equal and
supportive societies- will hardly bear thinking about the current horizon without falling into deep skepticism, despair and rebellion.... ".

President Mario Soares is one of the great contemporary celebrities whose trajectory is permanently at the forefront of the struggle for equal human dignity. Conciliator, tireless in the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts. I have met him on many occasions and, especially in recent years, I have had frequent occasions to enjoy his teaching. At the age of ninety, he remained one of the few leading-examples of the present. He kept thinking of unusual solutions, in anticipations that are only possible when the world as a whole  is looked at from a high watchtower. In the midst of so much conceptual confusion, with such somber perspectives, President Mario Soares was able to bring new points of view, typical of an original way of looking at reality in order to change it.

Not only I enjoyed them very much but  learned a lot from the long conversations we had in 2005 and 2006 and which contributed to the book "An Iberian Dialogue", in which, from the peninsula, the present world situation is analyzed already in the digital era and the anthropocene, Mario Soares giving his visions and expectations according to the experience of his long journey.

His values and ethical principles applied to politics are the unifying thread of an exceptional life. In a moment of great precariousness of people who live up to the immense challenges we face, the leading figure of President Mario Soares is still increasing.

The moral fall of the West, with the United Nations substituted by plutocratic groups, can only be countered by following guidelines such as those that President Soares depicted and provided. "There is never a good wind for those who do not know where they are going," says a sailor saying. Mario Soares, lighthouse-man to foresee and to prevent.

It is obvious that at global level, only the democratic multilateralism based on the same principles of the United Nations Charter, updated and provided with personal, technical and financial resources, is one of the most urgent solutions that President Soares was committed to proposing and facilitating its implementation. "Only the United Nations can contribute to the design and construction of a new international order able of ensuring peace and welfare for all people, regardless of race, gender and social position. We are one world, getting increasingly interdependent”, wrote in his autobiographical political and ideological essay.

I am sure that Mr. Antonio Guterres, newly appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations, will be very aware of the guidelines of his great colleague, friend and President.

Interdependence, solidarity, eliminating walls, establishing bonds... "Building more solidarity-based societies from an economic and social point of view and eradicating the poverty that upsets two-thirds of humanity is our great task.  And consider on how after half a century we can renew the great United Nations’ pact so that international governance can become more effective and democratic, because the great problems of our time -poverty, aggression against the ecological balance of the planet, organized crime, education, scientific and cultural development - are of an international nature and go through the boundaries of national States... It is essential to progress towards a democratic global governance ... It is not enough to denounce.  It is necessary to propose solutions.”

He was born in 1924. He began at the age of seventeen his studies in 1942 at the Faculty of Arts in Lisbon. Later, during the "voyage" (exile), he studied Law.

In his long journey, Mario Soares, always reflective, always was meditating updated and
timely solutions, always republican, antifascist, communist militant at one time, Europeanist, anti-colonialist... and then the exile, later leading the socialist party..., with freedom as endowment and permanent commitment. From Portugal to the world, proclaiming that the solution is authentic democracy, of which he is today, citizen of the world, with a vision that includes the different dimensions of human life, an icon of special importance.

The "revolution of the carnations", putting flowers in the guns' bores, is a symbol and stimulus of the peaceful, firm revolution, but uses words and conciliation efforts instead of weapons. This revolution is the climax of a trajectory of deep human importance. It took place on 25 of April of 1974.

The Portuguese "revolutionary transition" achieved a rapid international recognition: Paris, London, Bonn,... The transition from a decades-long dictatorship to a democracy that was taking place in a way that only a few weeks ago was unpredictable. But the seeds that were planted in time had germinated. Over the years, Mario Soares established contact with many countries and politicians in the world as Minister of Foreign Affairs. As a good Portuguese knows that the earth is round and the human beings who inhabit it have a common destiny. Then, he becomes Prime Minister. Then, President of the Republic....

"I always thought it is necessary, that it is a duty, to fight for the values ​​on which a more just, better and more caring world can be based." Difficult and turbulent road, with ups and downs, forests and deserts, victories and defeats... at the service of the Portuguese people and, from this cross-road country, the world as a whole.

The deep crisis that we suffer is not only economic. It is, above all, democratic and ethical. We will not overcome it postponing with all sorts of intrigues the coming of the power of "We, the peoples”...

I vividly remember the World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre in 2003, which became the counterpoint to the Davos Economic Forum. Shortly before the mass event, where he had to address a real human tide, we were talking to the newly appointed President Lula, President Mario Soares, Danielle Mitterrand and I. I will never forget the importance of the recommendations and points of view that were expressed in that unusual occasion. I also now recall another occasion, also in Porto Alegre, with Ignacio Ramonet, José Saramago, Roberto Savio, Eduardo Galeano, Susan George, Rigoberta Menchú, Bonaventura de Sousa Santos, and Mario Soares, the "paused revolution", everyone in his eyes, admired catalyst.

"The culture of peace," he said at the Autonomous University of Madrid in January 2004- is to root the universality of human rights and democracy in the spirit of women and men of our planet, the value of dialogue between cultures and religions, based on respect for the other, on tolerance, on multiculturalism”. "

When he turned 90 on December 7, 2014, he said "there are only two leaders: Pope Francisco and Barack Obama”.

Today I add to these two preferences, also mine, the leading figure of Mario Soares. From my aversion to war, I admired at first who was able to guide a revolution peacefully and is today one of the examples that humanity has to inspire the coming transitions and historical inflections. Mario Soares, a lighthouse-man.