MpD legislator representing Europe takes up cause of Cape Verdean neighborhood in Amadora, Portugal 15 May 2012
National Assembly legislator Emanuel Barbosa, elected for the MpD to represent Cape Verdean communities residing in Europe, has requested a meeting with city officials from Amadora, Portugal, to understand why people whose houses are being demolished in the Santa Filomena district of the Lisbon suburb, the majority of whose population is of Cape Verdean origin, are unable to be included in the city’s resettlement program.
The legislator spoke following the demolition of the home of a Cape Verdean citizen who lived alone, Nelito, whose wife and children reside in France. The demolition gave rise to a major protest on the part of local residents and the local neighborhood association, led by Alcides Mendes, who were scheduled to have a meeting with Amadora city officials this Tuesday afternoon.
Emanuel Barbosa says he has also requested a meeting with the Cape Verdean Embassy in Portugal to get to know the diligences carried out alongside Portuguese authorities in order to keep people – even those who are not eligible for the resettlement program – from ending up on the street, homeless.
The incident, which on Monday, May 14, ended up resulting in the involvement of police, is related, according to Alcides Mendes, to the fact that the resident was notified that his house was going to be demolished.
A Semana Online has learned, however, that many locals had been aware of the program since December of last year. Some houses have, since that time, come to be demolished, and their ruins are still visible in the neighborhood.
Alcides Mendes explained that the problem is that these individuals have nowhere else to go, and are forced to turn to family and friends. What is under way, according to Mendes, is the demolition of the entire neighborhood, which began in December 2011. Half of the residents of the neighborhood, which is home to some 300 families, are expected to be included in the Amadora municipal chamber’s resettlement program, but the program covers only those who have been living there since before 1992. Those who moved to the neighborhood later – some 60 families – are being offered three months of rent so that they may seek out new lodgings.
The association leader explained that these three months of rent are not enough to find a new home, and that many will be unable to pay rent, given that they are unemployed.
A Semana Online attempted to obtain clarification from the Amadora municipal chamber, but was told that it would not be possible today.
The neighborhood of Santa Filomena, near downtown Amadora, is considered “problematic,” and has been stigmatized as a “school of crime.” It has for some time been the object of pressure for it to be demolished.