Every year, on 25th April,
Novo” was preceded by another authoritarian
regime, of military nature, which paved the way for Salazar’s rise to power,
first as Minister of Finances (1926; 1928-1940), and later as Prime-Minister,
from 1932 to 1968. Authoritarianism in
When António de Oliveira Salazar was in the power, all freedoms (most notably, freedom of expression and freedom of the press) were severely restricted, this situation enforced by the surveillance and conduct of a specific state police ("Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado" – PIDE). Individual opinions and media information were surveilled, repressed and censored. But can it truly be said that, to some extent, the same doesn’t happen today? In varying degrees and employing different strategies, governments still exert control over what is said and published within their borders, and even beyond.
Take the recent
This is not to say we do not live in
freedom. But it is a freedom with limits, with too many nuances and grey areas.
If we pass the limits and enter into the State sphere, we will run into
problems and encounter resistance; the same that Assange and Snowden are
now struggling with, when their findings provoked a malaise in the relations
between some countries, such as between the
The main problem comes when governments control citizens through new technological “toys”, to know whether we are spies, terrorists, threats, or just "regular" people. They invade our privacy while choosing to shield themselves from scrutiny inside a “black box”, not wanting us to know their secrets, or worse, the secrets of others countries they already know of. We have reached a point where they now seem to know too many things, including some they were not supposed to.
Espionage has always been a recurrent practice between States, but now this practice seems to be going beyond the expected standards for democratic regimes. Not only these democratic countries seem not to trust each other but, what’s worst, seem to treat their people with suspicion and distrust.
While it is expected that individuals and States will go to great lengths to protect their own secrets, seeking to know the secrets of others can very easily degenerate in a severe violation of the privacy of individuals and curtail, to a certain extent, some of the very defining principles of any democratic regime, namely, freedom.
We will still live in freedom but it is never absolute, it is a limited freedom. In democracies, citizens live more freely than under authoritarian regimes, but always in the shadow of governments that will seek to control us, taking from us some of our freedom and invading our privacy without our knowledge or consent, arguing it is only for our protection. But who will protect us from them?