Iberian Dictatorships

September 1, 1962

Report Outline
Winds of Change in Portugal and Spain
Portugal, Spain, and Free World Bases
Spain's Position in the Western World
Internal Threats to Iberian Dictatorships

Winds of Change in Portugal and Spain

Signals of Warning for Salazar and Franco

Unchanging iberia—stronghold of the West's most enduring dictatorships—is being forced to take notice of the world around it. External economic and political forces are combining with persistent undercurrents of domestic political opposition to produce grudging attempts in both Portugal and Spain to adapt to the revolutionary changes taking place in the world.

In Portugal, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, premier since 1932 and in effect dictator since 1928, has long been faced with domestic opposition of a sporadic, unorganized nature, which he has repeatedly quelled by harsh repressive measures or simply by paying no attention and waiting for it to evaporate. These tactics had been so effective that a British observer wrote early in March 1961 that “The prospect of an upheaval, a strike, or even an open labour dispute appears to be something that simply could not happen here.” This statement no longer stands up, for in the past six months Salazar's police have had to put down two mass riots in Lisbon and a prolonged student strike, while Portuguese troops have still not completely stamped out the rebellion that began in Portugal's African territory of Angola more than a year and a half ago.

The new strength behind the opposition to the 73-year-old dictator stems from the forces of anti-colonialism and African nationalism in the huge colonies of Angola and, to a lesser degree, Mozambique. The costly insurrection in Angola has given Salazar's enemies the controversial and damaging issue they needed. The regime has had to take steps to carry out social and economic changes that may mark the beginning of the end of stagnation in the mother country.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Europe