Open Letter To The Prime Minister


Listen, Passos…

Listen, Passos… my name is António Mariano, I’m Portuguese for 55 years, dockworker for 35 and a union representative for 18. We were both elected to represent a particular universe, in my case in direct elections, in yours in indirect, as you have been chosen by a majority of the MPs elected for the Portuguese Parliament.

I represent nearly 400 dockworkers that choose my team to lead our centennial class association, created in 1896, in order to represent our individual and collective interests, as well as that of those who, in the future, will play this profession of passionate risk. You represent further than 10 million citizens of Portugal, in which dockworkers are included. Everything else is a sea of conflicts which divide us, so different are the models of society and the values we stand for.

Starting from the values on which you base your formation, I emphasize the Lie which you embody, which you so well cultivate, which crosses throughout your existence. I look at your example and I find myself thinking how would I be able to remain in the role for which I was elected if I were constantly lying to my associates, telling them one day the opposite of what I had stated the day before, failing to keep with the celestial-music-promises of the last electoral campaign.

I can speculate about the tremendous guilty conscience problems which would assault me, unless I was serving opposite interests to those who elected me, if I had sold myself out. Fortunately the dockworkers would never allow me such a behaviour and, at least, they would have shown me the exit door.

You keep yourself grab to power but I imagine you’ll have sounding reasons to do so, taking into account your gurus, counsellors and the rest of the gang surrounding you. It were those bad influences, allied to the economic groups which sponsor you while dominating the port sector, which led to the legislative attack and to the climate of impunity in view of the repeated legal and contractual violations that we have been subject to.

As you can now verify, by the agreement which we signed on the past day February 14th with the Lisbon employers, the most significant thing we achieved was the reinstatement of the 47 dismissed dockers. That struggle of ours should be yours too, the struggle for quality jobs, with the dignity you should also recognize to the Portuguese, for real employment policies which avoided the bleeding out of our young and less young into rivers of unemployment, emigration, desperation and death.

There is not a single day when you do not talk about the effort of the Portuguese people, as there is not a single day you fail to disrespect them. We, port workers, even during a long struggle process, never failed to ensure the imports and exports which the country requires. What did you do, besides making everything more difficult? Is there a less productive Portuguese than you? Even considering that, for you, economy are the corporations, when for me it is the people. I do not know anyone who has done more to destroy the national economy, moreover in the footsteps of a predecessor of yours, accomplice of this your governance.

The fury with which you implement this ideological agenda is so radical that you are unable to see the consequences for the people’s lives. At the Port of Lisbon, for example, that is the reality I do know best, the irrationality of the ports law, which you approved against everything and everyone, led to 47 dockworkers being wrongly dismissed, when their work was crucial to ensure the best port performance. The employers have already recognized that fact and engaged to reintegrate each and every one of them, but nothing erases the pain of being for a year out of work. Do you have any idea of what that means? I know that your only concern is the performance of exportations – reality that thus you harmed – but let me tell you, your intransigence has a tremendous impact on the real lives of people. Unemployment is almost always the cause of other avatars, from divorce to depression, from giving up having children to the loss of housing, from the lack of horizons to the illusory escape of emigration.

Listen, Passos… we are sick and tired of watching the emigration of our family members, our rights, our dreams, and we will continue to fight to make you understand as soon as possible that the best for all of us is that you, your government, your bankers, are the next to leave. No one will shed a tear when you finally set sail. That trip is now the condition for people to regain hope for a better future. It will not suffice, it is true, but everything will resume at that initial day, entire and clean.

Originally published here


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