BOSTON — Referring to the centuries-old strong ties between Portugal and the United States, Portugal’s new Consul General in Boston, Tiago Araújo, said there are many opportunities to further cement this relationship given the current state of affairs. world affairs and the Russian-Ukrainian war. “has made it even more urgent for us to think about the way forward.”
“We need a renewed vision of Atlanticism and Massachusetts is well positioned to lead that debate on this side of the ocean, with Portugal also and equally well positioned on the other side,” said Araújo, guest speaker at the 38th Annual Heritage Day. of Portugal at the Massachusetts State House, held virtually on June 21 and hosted by the Massachusetts Portuguese US Legislative Caucus.
Founded by former Representative Robert Correia in 1985, the annual event is usually celebrated in person at the State House in the House Chamber to recognize the achievements of Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans in Massachusetts and the country.
According to the diplomat, the concept of Atlanticism should go “beyond simple questions of defense and military power” and encompass “closer cooperation in the economy, innovation, science and technology, digital transitions and energy and the fight against climate change”.
He stressed that the current strategic environment highlights even more the importance of this bilateral cooperation and that Portugal, due to its geographical position, can play a privileged role in the energy security and diversification of the European continent due to its potential for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and transatlantic transit routes.
“Portugal and the United States have developed a productive dialogue on current and future energy policy and infrastructure,” he said. “The Port of Sines, for example, has enormous potential as a European gateway for US energy exports to European markets. It is therefore essential to ensure the development of infrastructures favoring an efficient and interconnected LNG market linking the Atlantic coast to the European hinterland, thus reducing energy dependence on Russia.
The consul also underlined the particular role that the Azores can play on several fronts to advance this bilateral relationship.
“They played a crucial role in projecting NATO’s military power, but their centrality in the Atlantic region goes far beyond that,” he said. “It is in the Azores that we are currently developing some of our most innovative projects based on collaborative efforts with many partners.”
These partners include the Air Center to study space, climate, ocean and energy; the spaceport to launch mini and micro satellites; and the Atlantic Center to serve as a platform for research, political dialogue and defense capacity building in the Atlantic area.
“The United States remains an invaluable partner in all of these collaborative efforts, and I dare say Massachusetts in particular,” he said. “Because of its Atlantic nature and its leadership in many areas crucial to the future of our economies and societies, our country is open to the world, peaceful and stable… We are already working with companies and organizations based in the Massachusetts, and we look forward to deepening this cooperation.
Araújo, who took up his new position in Boston about a month ago, said he met with as many people as possible to learn about the community, its members and their life stories.
“I have heard incredible and humiliating stories,” he said. “All of these individual stories, and many more, taken together tell the collective story of the Portuguese in Massachusetts, a story told by the 300,000 voices of Portuguese and Portuguese descendants in the Commonwealth…It is a story to success that connects the past, present and future of the Portuguese presence in Massachusetts.
As is customary, Governor Charlie Baker issued a proclamation declaring June Portuguese American Heritage Month in the Commonwealth in recognition of the significant contributions Portuguese Americans have made to the state and the nation.
“I think the Luso-American community has a history of being involved in their communities, giving back to their communities and to their state,” said Representative António FD Cabral, giving the example of Tiago Reis, who came from Portugal in the United States. at age 10 and was the first soldier from New Bedford to die in Vietnam.
“When we are called to defend our freedoms, to defend our values, our security, at the national or international level, the Luso-American community has many examples of resistance and response to this call. We should be proud of that,” said Cabral, who co-hosted the event with Senator Marc Pacheco.
For Pacheco, this celebration is not only very important to maintain relations between Portugal and the United States and to celebrate Portuguese-American contributions and achievements, but it also provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other.
“When we think of the Portuguese, we know how connected we are to our families, to our heritage, to our religion, to our work, to our community, to our countries, and we thank everyone for being involved for make life here in the United States a little better and more diverse,” the senator said.
House Speaker Ron Mariano said the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is blessed with the second-largest population of Portuguese-speaking and Portuguese-speaking immigrants in the nation.
“These people have helped bring the diversity of knowledge, culture and language that makes the United States great,” he said. “As a former history teacher, I think it’s also important to remember that Portugal was one of the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent country, establishing a strong and steadfast relationship between the two countries that still exists to this day.”
During the ceremony, some of the 14 members of the Portuguese American Legislative Caucus, who can trace their origins to mainland Portugal, the Azores, Madeira, Cabo Verde and Brazil, offered their remarks.
Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, called on all Portuguese-Americans to proudly celebrate their heritage, history, culture and language.
“It’s important for all of us Portuguese-Americans to continue to be proud of our roots,” he said. “I hope to see you at a Portuguese party, enjoying our traditional dishes or maybe taking part in a procession. It is important to preserve our culture for future generations to come.
Instead of handing out the usual Portugal Heritage Day awards to exemplary members of the Portuguese-American community, this year the caucus invited nine Portuguese community leaders to submit a video message.
As the daughter of immigrants from mainland Portugal, the executive director of Ser-Jobs for Progress in Fall River, Maria Ferreira-Bedard, said that on this day she not only celebrates history, culture and language of his ancestors, but also the great sacrifice that his parents and others endured. seek a life that offers better opportunities for themselves and their children in this country, while maintaining a connection to their indigenous traditions.
“Because of this business and my hybrid identity, not only is my life richer for having the benefits and knowledge of two languages and cultures, but our local communities are richer for all civic and cultural contributions than our Luso-compatriots. Americans brought us,” she said.
New Bedford Councilwoman Maria Giesta, who came to the United States from the Azores when she was three years old, left a message for everyone watching the virtual celebration.
“Like all immigrants, my family came here to provide a better life for their children,” she said. “It’s something we should never forget. Immigrants, who come here now and have come in the past, did so to provide a better life for their families. Never forget that we must support and include all immigrants. I am a very proud Portuguese-American and want to thank my community for their hard work and demonstration of what immigration really is.
Somerset singer Sandy Batista and students from Discovery Language Academy in New Bedford sang the US and Portuguese national anthems respectively. The singers Dionísio Garcia and Maurício Morais completed the entertainment part of the program.
Lurdes C. da Silva can be contacted at email@example.com. To read more stories about the Portuguese-speaking community in English and Portuguese, please visit ojornal.com.