Carlos Costa, anti-fascist resistant and former leader of the PCP died

Carlos Costa, 93 years old, died today in the hospital in Portimão, victim of pneumonia. Carlos Costa was an anti-fascist resistant and prominent leader of the PCP, having also been the second husband of Margarida Tengarrinha.

There is still no information about their funeral ceremonies.

Carlos Costa was one of the protagonists, with Álvaro Cunhal, of the escape from the PIDE dungeons, in the Fort of Peniche, in 1960. He lived in hiding for several years and was imprisoned in various political prisons for a total of 15 years. Often tortured, he never made a statement.

In 1951, already in hiding, he became responsible for the PCP’s Algarve Organization. Two years later, he was arrested by the Albufeira GNR because his house was searched not motivated by the political activity of Carlos Costa, but because he was mistaken for an individual who, at the time, was responsible for several robberies in the area and who was physically very similar to you.

The GNR informed PIDE that it had found a Communist Party house and these two organizations encircled the town, arresting Carlos Costa on his return to Albufeira.

After the 25th of April, he was a communist deputy in the Assembly of the Republic, elected by the Porto constituency. He also held several leadership positions at the PCP.

In recent months, already quite ill, Carlos Costa was in Portimão, first at Margarida Tengarrinha’s house, then at a nursing home.

Biographical data

Carlos Campos Rodrigues da Costa was born on March 28, 1928, in Fafe.
He was attending the 1st year of the Higher Institute of Economic and Financial Sciences when he was arrested for the 1st time (20 years old).

His education and political career were very influenced by his father (Manuel José da Costa), republican, progressive and with very advanced ideas for the time.

1943 – Joins the PCP (15 years old)

1946 – He is one of the founders of the MUD-J (Youth Democratic Unity Movement), with great participation in its organization in the District of Braga; he was a member of its High School Board in Porto; he was a member of its Central Commission.

1947 – Becomes a member of the Local Committee of Fafe, with three other comrades, two of whom ended up murdered by the PIDE.

27/11/1948 – At the age of 20, he is arrested for the first time in Lisbon for political activity in Fafe (accusation: “exercise of subversive activities”).

19/04/1949 – It is handed over to the Plenary Court of Porto and returned to freedom on bail.

11/02/1950 – It is judged by the Plenary Court of Porto, together with over 50 militants and sympathizers of the PCP of Fafe. (Sentence: acquittal for lack of evidence; sentenced to 1 year of “security measures” of internment for “dangerousness”). (Note: the “security measures” were nothing more than a version of “life imprisonment”, although, unconstitutionally with retroactive effects and extendable indefinitely. It was a measure with the objective of “avoiding serious danger of repetition of facts criminals”.)

1950 – Becomes a political official of the MUD-J (while still awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice regarding the 1948 arrest process).

06/1951 – Becomes an employee of the PCP, going underground and participating in the organization of dozens of struggles for demands and policies of the working class and the people.

1951 – Becomes responsible for the Algarve Organization (writing the Report Sobre o Algarve, edited in book by Edições Avante, in 2000).

12/06/1953 – He is arrested by the GNR of Albufeira, because his house was searched not motivated by the political activity of Carlos Costa, but because he was mistaken for an individual who at the time was responsible for several robberies in the area, and who was physically very similar to you. The GNR informed PIDE that it had found a Party house, and these two organizations encircled the town, arresting Carlos Costa on his return to Albufeira. On this occasion, he spent 3 days in a GNR dungeon, having been transported on the 15th to the Aljube prison, in Lisbon.

12/06 to 5/12/1953 – He was tortured by the PIDE. He was almost always incommunicado in a cell in Aljube (“curros”). He spent several nights at PIDE headquarters in continuous interrogation, with serious physical attacks. Illegally, he spent 4 years in prison until his trial in pre-trial detention (the law provided that pre-trial detention should not exceed 1 year).

03/05/1954 – There was a punishment in Caxias, on the day one year after Stalin’s death, and by whom, in the parlor, he asked for a minute of silence. At the time the prison guards did nothing, but he was later punished. He was punished several times (being transferred to the secret of Caxias, PIDE do Porto, and Aljube).

07/23/1957 – Convicted by the Plenary Criminal Court of Lisbon, to 10 years of prison term and “security measures” of internment from 6 months to 3 years extendable; in this trial he was expelled from the courtroom at the 1st hearing for having declared that they should have a minute of silence in which all the defendants and lawyers participated, in honor of two comrades who had been murdered by the PIDE, and later for having for returning the insults to a judge, (they did not let him return during all the following hearings, and his sentence was read in the dungeons of the court). (Accusation: being a “member or leader” of the “so-called” Portuguese Communist Party, a “secret and subversive organization that seeks by violent means to alter the Constitution and the form of the State”). Go to Caxias. Later he went to Peniche to serve his sentence.

03/01/ 1960 – Escaped from Peniche jail (along with 9 comrades, among them Álvaro Cunhal, and with a GNR); back underground.

04/04/1960 – He was tried, in absentia, by the Plenary of the Criminal Court of the District of Lisbon, which aggravated his previous sentence by 30 days in prison. From the point of view of the law, no prisoner could be tried for running away, so it was illegal).

1960 – He is elected to the Central Committee of the PCP, where he remained until 2008.

1961 – Co-opted to the Secretariat of the Central Committee; is responsible for the Lisbon District Directorate and for Youth; is responsible for the PCP’s document falsification laboratory; is responsible, through Manuel da Silva, for the central printing houses and for the border organization (the organization responsible for clandestine crossings across the border); is part of the editorial staff of the newspaper Avante.

12/17/1961 – Is arrested by the PIDE, on his way to a party house, where a document forgery laboratory operated; during this arrest, several comrades of great importance in the functioning of the Party were arrested.

17/05/1966 – He was tried, illegally in absentia (because they didn’t take him to trial), being at the time in the Fort of Peniche. (Conviction: 5 years in prison and “security measures” of internment from 6 months to 3 years, extendable; he spent about 8 years in this prison.

08/08/1969 – He is released on parole (because, at the time, a law was issued that allowed a prisoner to be released on parole after serving half of the sentence).

03/1970 – Back to the underground; assumes the task of responsible for the Northern Regional Organization (which covered 10 districts, from Viana do Castelo to Coimbra).

1972 – He was rapporteur for the Report on the Demonstration of 15 April in Porto against the Lack of Life, prepared by the PCP’s Northern Regional Directorate and published in a book by Edições Avante, in 2000.

25/04/1974 – I was in Matosinhos (where I lived clandestinely) when the 25th of April occurred.

1974 to 1989 – Member of the Political Commission of the Central Committee. He was responsible in the Political Committee for the Committee for Economic Activities. He played a prominent role in the organization of PCP Conferences (1977, PCP National Conference for Economic Recovery, published in a book with the name A Exit da Crise; 1978, PCP Organizations Conference for the Defense and Dynamization of the Nationalized Sector of the Economy , edited in a book with the name As Nacionalização: Defesa e Dinamização; 1980, Conference Portugal and the Common Market, edited in 5 volumes; 1985, National Conference of the PCP, edited in 2 volumes with the name A Way of Development to Win the Crisis ).

1976 – He was head of the list for the PCP in the legislative elections, for the constituency of Porto.

1976 – 1988 – Was responsible in the Political Commission for the Work Front of Local Power. It had an outstanding role: in defining the PCP’s guidelines for the performance of elected communists in local authorities and for the collegial and collective work style with greater connection to the populations; in the preparation of fundamental laws for the Local Government (Law of Attributions and Competences and Law of Local Finances); in the organization of the PCP Conference on Local Power – Solving the People’s Problems, defending Democracy (Almada, 10/18/1981) – the set of works of this conference is published in 14 volumes, the 1st book having the title Local Power in Portugal de Abril – Interventions by Álvaro Cunhal and Carlos Costa.

1978 – Co-authored the 2-volume Manual for the Democratic Management of Local Authorities (Coleção Poder Local), edited by Editorial Caminho.

1976 to 1987 – He was head of the list for the PCP (in all coalitions for the elections for the Assembly of the Republic), having been elected in all these terms, by the constituency of Porto.

1975 to 1990 – He was a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, where, within the scope of his competences, he performed multiple functions and performed various tasks.

1988 to 2004 – Member of the Central Control and Management Commission.

1992 to 1996 – Member of the National Council, created at the XIV Congress.

Wrote dozens of articles in newspapers and magazines.

Biography authored by Helena Pato, based on biographical data authored by Paulo Pereira (shared in the group “Fascism Nunca Mais” by Raul Lopes) and: Dictionary of Fafenses, by Artur Coimbra, 2001; A História da Pide, by Irene Flunser Pimentel, 2011; Conversations with Carlos Costa himself, 2011/2012.