Aged 22 and with a master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations, Rita Matias is the “benjamim” of the top governing body of Chega, the national director of 13 elements, already counting the president, André Ventura.
Daughter of the former leader of the Pro-Life / Citizenship and Christian Democracy Party (PPV / CDC), Manuel Matias – also a militant and parliamentary advisor to the newly formed political force with which his party merged in September 2020 -, the young “practicing catholic” and “right-wing conservative” took on the task of dealing with the social networks of the presidential candidate and the national populist party.
“This is for those who do not really want to know what is said. One of our principles is the dignity of the human person, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation,” he told the Lusa agency, about the accusations against the only deputy of the party of the parliamentary extreme right to have a racist, xenophobic and even fascist speech.
“What we point out are some errors and the lack of integration in society of certain communities that prefer to remain on the margins, while benefiting from various subsidies and support. They do not comply with the rules and obligations of life in society and still receive money from State !? “, he rebelled, without ever mentioning Roma ethnicity.
The leader and deputy of Chega was fined for discriminating against gypsies, even defending, at the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, a specific plan of “approach and confinement” for Roma communities, and in television debates he has accused them of living “at the expense” of RSI.
In each campaign action – from Serpa to Portimão, from Santarém to Portalegre – the Chega caravan vehicle that appears first on the horizon is a minivan with tinted glass, which carries the “digital leader”, the press officer of the tribune in the Assembly of the Republic, Patrícia Carvalho, and another party leader and press officer, Ricardo Regalla.
“Armed” with mobile phones and cameras, Rita strives to record all the details and interactions of Ventura with militants and supporters, in the midst of an overwhelming majority of middle-aged male militants, many of them with a past or career in the Armed Forces or security, although there is one woman or another who approaches “the doctor” for hugs and kisses, despite the anti-covid-19 masks.
“I do a little bit of everything. From updating the agenda, so that militants know where we will be, to capturing videos and photos for the campaign diary, which always has moments of greater relaxation between André and the people, a kind of backstage from campaign, “he described.
The third of seven members of the national board of Chega was born when the first of two Governments of the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, the socialist António Guterres, came to an end, having no memory of the 48 years of fascist dictatorship of the Estado Novo, of ” Carnation Revolution “of 1974, from Portugal’s accession to the current European Union or even from the 1998 world exhibition in Lisbon.
The first of five “vices” by Ventura, ideologist and “no. 2” of the party, Diogo Pacheco Amorim, with 49 years (71) more than the mandatory for youth, was always on the right margin of the 25th of April, especially in the “hot summer” of 1975, and he is the “elder” of Chega’s national leadership.
Amorim belonged to the Movement for Independence and National Reconstruction (MIRN), led by General Kaúlza de Arriaga, and to the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Portugal (MDLP), influenced by General António Spínola and who promoted acts of violence against left-wing parties, especially the PCP, and even went so far as to cause bomb deaths like those of Father Max and student Maria de Lurdes, in Trás-os-Montes.
Pacheco Amorim, who has been absent from the campaign for 18 continental districts and is professionally engaged in real estate business, also has the head of the parliamentary group office of the CDS-PP between 1995 and 1997, during the leadership of Manuel Monteiro, with which later moved to the New Democracy.
Away from the life experience of the former journalist and former advisor to the then vice-minister Freitas do Amaral, in the first executive led by Sá Carneiro (Democratic Alliance – PPD, CDS-PP and PPM), Rita Matias is energetic and enthusiastic, despite the “difficulties” on the ground.
“The biggest challenge is this context of the pandemic that prevents a normal campaign. It is a great wear and tear to travel across the country, but we like to be with people on the streets. Then there is the stress and pressure of being constantly chased by activists antifascists and the Roma community, “he said.
Since the start of the campaign on Sunday, Chega’s presidential candidate has been received, in cities like Serpa or Portalegre, by protesters with anti-fascist posters, many of whom are Roma.
Sporting enthusiastic Rita, hasn’t really experienced the sensation of seeing the “lions” win the main national football championship, since she was 19 months old when the Alvalade club became champion in 2000, after a “drought” 18 years old, and about three and a half years in the last conquest of the I Liga (2002), almost 19 years ago.
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