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Marcelo José das Neves Alves Caetano, GCTE, GCC, also spelled Marcello Caetano ( ; Lisbonmarker, 17 August 1906 – Rio de Janeiromarker, Brasilmarker, 26 October 1980), was a Portuguesemarker politician and scholar, who was prime minister from 1968 until his overthrow in the Carnation Revolution of 1974.

Early career

He was a son of José Maria de Almeida Alves Caetano and first wife Josefa Maria das Neves. Graduated as a Licentiate and later a Doctorate in Law, Caetano was a Cathedratic Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbonmarker, where he graduated and of which he would also become the 9th Dean or Rector. An ultraconservative politician and a self-proclaimed reactionary in his youth, Caetano started his political career in the 1930s under the authoritarian regime of António de Oliveira Salazar. He soon became an important figure in the "Estado Novomarker" regime, and in 1940 was appointed chief of the Mocidade Portuguesa (Portuguese Youth), then Minister of the Colonies (1944–1947), President of the Executive Board of the National Union since 1947, and President of the Corporative Chamber (1949–1955).

Failed succession of Salazar

From 1955 to 1958 Caetano was the number two of the regime, as Minister Attached to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, second only to Salazar himself, who was approaching retirement age. His relationship with Salazar was tense at times, hindering him from becoming clearly a successor. Back to the academic career while maintaining formally important political functions (executive president of the National Union), Caetano was the 9th Rector of the University of Lisbonmarker from 1959 on, but the Academic Crisis of 1962 led him to resign, after the brutal reaction of the riot police against the students in the University's campus.

Prime Minister

In August 1968, at 79, Salazar suddenly suffered a stroke after falling from a chair, and after 36 years as prime minister he was removed from power. President Admiral Américo Tomás, after weighing a number of choices, appointed Caetano to replace Salazar on 27 September 1968. Tomás never consulted Salazar about this decision. By some accounts, when Salazar died in July 1970, he still believed he was prime minister.

Most of the people hoped that the new 102nd prime minister would soften the edges of Salazar's authoritarian regime and modernize the economy. Caetano moved on to foster economic growth and some social improvements, such as the awarding of a monthly pension to rural workers who had never had the chance to pay social security. Some large scale investments were made at national level, such as the building of a major oil processing centre in Sines. The economy reacted very well at first, but into the 70's some serious problems began to show, due in part to two-digit inflation (from 1970 on) and to the effects of the 1973 oil crisis.

On the political side, Caetano's power was largely held in check by Tomás, who had been largely a figurehead under Salazar. This was due more to a balance of power and personalities than any constitutional provision. As a result, there wasn't much that Caetano actually could or was willing to do. He considered running for President, which would have given him more power, but dismissed the idea.

Caetano made some attempts to blunt the harsher edges of the regime. Among some gestures, the PIDE, the dreaded secret police was renamed the DGS (Direcção Geral de Segurança, General-Directorate of Security). The opposition was allowed to run in the 1969 elections, as it was formally possible since 1945, but again with no realistic chance of winning any seats. The National Assembly during the Estado Novo was not conceived as a chamber for parties, but merely for popular representatives, chosen and elected on single lists. The 1969 and 1973 legislative elections changed little in that practice, and the National Union won all seats, as it happened before.

These changes were not enough for large elements of the population who were eager for more freedom and civil rights and had no memory of the instability that preceded Salazar. However, even these reforms had to be extracted with some effort from the more hardline members of the government, namely Tomás. At bottom, Caetano was still an authoritarian himself, and didn't understand democracy. He was very disappointed that the opposition was not content with the meager reforms that he was able to wring out of the hardliners.

Since the beginning of the 1960s, the Portuguese colonies (the so-called overseas provinces) in Africa (Angolamarker, Mozambiquemarker, Guinea-Bissaumarker, São Tomé e Príncipemarker and Cape Verdemarker) had been struggling for independence, but the Lisbon government was not willing to concede and Salazar sent troops to fight the independence movements. By 1970, the war in Africa was consuming as much as 40% of the Portuguese budget and there was no sign of a final solution in sight. At a military level, a part of Guinea-Bissau was de facto independent since 1973, but the capital and the major towns were still under Portuguese control. In Angola and Mozambique, independence movements were only active in a few remote countryside areas from where the Portuguese Army had retreated. However, their impending presence and the fact that they wouldn't go away dominated public anxiety.

Overthrow, exile and death

By the beginning of 1974, signals of rebellion increased. A movement named Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA) was formed within the army and started planning a coup d'état to end the "Estado Novo" regime. In March, an unsuccessful attempt against the regime was made. By that time, Caetano had offered his resignation to the President more than once, but it was denied. There was now little attempt or political possibility to control the opposition's movements. On April 25, the military overthrew the regime in the "Carnation Revolution". There was almost no resistance. Caetano resigned, and was flown under custody to the Madeira Islandsmarker where he stayed for a few days. He then flew to exile in Brazilmarker, where he died in Rio de Janeiromarker of a heart attack in 1980.


Marcelo Caetano published several books, including several highly rated law books and two books of memoirs in exile: Minhas Memórias de Salazar (My memories of Salazar) ISBN B0000E8L13 and Depoimento (Testimony).

He was one of the world's top authorities in administrative law, some of his works being studied even in Soviet Universities. He also wrote Os nativos na economía africana in 1954. During his exile in Brazil, Caetano pursued academic activities, and published works on Administrative and Constitutional Law.

Marriage and descendants

On 27 October 1930 he married Maria Teresa Teixeira de Queirós de Barros (23 July 1906 - 14 January 1971), ironically the sister of antifascist politician Henrique de Barros, 1st and only President of the Constituent Assembly of Portugalmarker, daughter of writer João de Barros and wife Raquel Teixeira de Queirós and paternal granddaughter of the 1st Viscount of Marinha Grandemarker, and had four children:
  • José Maria de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 17 August 1933), married firstly to Maria João Ressano Garcia de Lacerda, daughter of João Caetano Soares da Silveira Pereira Forjaz de Lacerda (Parismarker, 13 September 1903 - ?) (a distant relative of the 1st Baron and 1st Viscount of Nossa Senhora das Mercês, the 1st Baron of Salvaterra de Magosmarker and the 1st Viscount of Alvalademarker) and wife Maria Júlia Cardoso Ressano Garcia (Lisbonmarker, 4 December 1909 - ?) (granddaughter of the 51st Minister of the Treasury on 7 February 1897 Frederico Ressano Garcia, Spanish, and twice great-niece of the 1st Baron and 1st Viscount of Nossa Senhora da Luz), whom he divorced, and had issue, and married secondly as her second husband to Maria Laura do Soveral Rodrigues Luís (b. Benguelamarker, 23 March 1933), divorced with issue from Edmundo Gastão da Costa Ribeiro da Silva and daughter of António Carlos Luís and wife Ernestina da Lança do Soveral Rodrigues (b. Castro Verdemarker, Castro Verde), a distant relative of the 1st Viscount of Belvermarker, and had issue:
    • Maria João de Lacerda de Barros Caetano (b. 1957), married to Abel Saturnino da Silva de Moura Pinheiro, a great businessman, and had issue
    • Rita Maria de Lacerda de Barros Caetano, married to John Ronald Martin, divorced and had issue:
      • Sophia Catherine Caetano Martin. Married to João Girão Vieira Lamy da Fontoura.
      • Sean Michael Caetano Martin.
    • Maria do Soveral Alves Caetano (b. 13 November 1974), unmarried and without issue
  • João de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 12 December 1931), married to Françoise Michelle Nicolas, French, and had issue:
    • Filipe Nicolas de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 18 May 1960), married and divorced to Luísa Maria Tavares Inácio, and Architect, and had issue:
      • Catarina Inácio Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 20 June 1996)
      • Francisca Inácio Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 16 October 2003)
    • Marina Nicolas de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 21 February 1962), married with Marc Vielard, and had issue:
      • Henri Caetano Vielard
      • Clara Caetano Vielard
    • Manuel Nicolas de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 13 January 1965), married with Ana Pinheiro, journalist, and had issue:
      • Ema Caetano
      • Alice Caetano
    • Ana Nicolas de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 4 September 1970), together with Luis Filipe Ramos Gonçalves Pereira, lawyer, and had issue:
      • Lourenço Alves Caetano Gonçalves Pereira
      • Vasco Alves Caetano Gonçalves Pereira
      • Joana Alves Caetano Gonçalves Pereira
  • Miguel de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, São Sebastião da Pedreira, 26 July 1935), married to Maria José de Freitas Pereira Lupi (b. Lisbonmarker, Lumiar, 26 September 1934), daughter of José Lupi (Lisbonmarker, Encarnação, 22 September 1902 - Lisbonmarker, Lumiar, 16 January 1970), of Italian male line descent, and wife (m. Lisbonmarker, 19 June 1930) Maria Amélia de Freitas Pereira (Lisbonmarker, 4 July 1900 - Lisbonmarker, 5 December 1982), and had issue:
    • Jorge Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 23 April 1959), married on 5 September 1988 to Catarina de Ataíde Mota de Melo Antunes (b. Ponta Delgadamarker, 6 October 1962), daughter of Ernesto Melo Antunes and wife Gabriela Maria da Câmara de Ataíde Mota, and had issue:
      • Maria de Melo Antunes Lupi Caetano (b. 5 December 1990)
      • Pedro de Melo Antunes Lupi Caetano (b. 24 October 1995)
    • João Marcelo Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 5 May 1960), married to Ana Filomena Rochartre Álvares (b. 22 December 1959), of maternal French people, and had issue:
      • Miguel Álvares Lupi Caetano (b. Portomarker, marker, 23 May 1985)
      • Francisco Álvares Lupi Caetano (b. Portomarker, Cedofeitamarker, 15 March 1988)
      • Isabel Álvares Lupi Caetano (b. Portomarker, Cedofeitamarker, 2 December 1991)
    • Francisco Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 8 May 1961), married to Maria Teresa dos Reis Sobral (b. 17 October 1962), without issue
    • Pedro Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 29 June 1964), married to Marina Haroutounian de Sequeira Costa (b. 28 May 1966), of maternal Armenian descent, and had issue:
      • Marta Sequeira Costa Lupi Caetano
      • Sofia Sequeira Costa Lupi Caetano
      • Diana Sequeira Costa Lupi Caetano
      • Maria Sequeira Costa Lupi Caetano
      • Ana Sequeira Costa Lupi Caetano
    • Diogo Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 13 November 1965), married to Maria João Peixe Risques Pereira (b. 2 March 1969), daughter of Óscar Marques Risques Pereira (Moçambiquemarker, 17 October 1935 - Cascais, 11 November 1999) (a distant relative of Pedro Santana Lopes and the mother of Joaquim de Almeida's daughter) and wife Ana Maria do Nascimento Peixe, and had issue:
      • Tiago Risques Pereira Lupi Caetano
      • Nuno Maria Risques Pereira Lupi Caetano
    • Luís Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 15 October 1966), married on 9 December 1995 to Rosa María de Castro y de la Montaña, Spanish, and had issue:
      • Pablo de Castro Caetano
      • Carlota de Castro Caetano
    • Rui Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 16 January 1972), married to Anabela Cardim Pinto de Queirós (b. 13 April 1972), without issue
    • José Miguel Lupi Alves Caetano (b. 9 November 1962), married to Maria José Simão Pereira, without issue
  • Ana Maria de Barros Alves Caetano (b. Lisbonmarker, 7 December 1937), married in Lisbonmarker, Alvalademarker, in 1997 as his second wife to Caetano Maria Reinhardt Beirão da Veiga (b. 1941), divorced with issue from Maria Teresa Nunes de Albuquerque Teotónio Pereira, a renown Architect, without issue


Notes and references

  1. At 20, Caetano directed the review Ordem Nova (1926–1927), which declared itself on the cover as "Catholic", "monarchist", "anti-democratic", "anti-liberal", "counter-revolutionary", "anti-bourgeois", "anti-bolchevist" and "intolerant", among other epithets.
  2. See Decree N° 48597.
  3. Time Magazine

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