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Emigrants and the PIDE

One particular type of denunciation, not infrequent in the PIDE Archives, are the denunciations made by Portuguese emigrants (in this case in France) against other Portuguese emigrants, usually accused of having emigrated illegally or of spreading ‘blasphemies against Dr. Oliveira Salazar [sic]’.

Often these letters were rooted in personal rivalries. But they usually contained an element of truth and as such contributed to the PIDE’s efforts to keep an eye on the increasingly large Portuguese community of emigrants in France. In this particular case, from 1962, the denouncer included the holiday address of the ‘suspects’ in Portugal, in order to facilitate the PIDE’s task. The fact that parts of the letter were underlined in red by the PIDE agent who received the letter, indicates that the political police took these letters seriously. An investigation was launched into the activities of the two ‘suspects’. In this way the PIDE’s ‘capillary operation of power’ spread beyond the national borders.


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