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Logo introduces Portugal to cultural wars

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. The sun is out, there's a new Government in place, and everyone's talking about...logos. Here's how it all turned into a hot mess.

TALK OF THE TOWN



POLITICS

23 days after the snap elections of March 10, President Marcelo swore in Prime Minister Luís Montenegro and his 17 Ministers. Today, the President will swear in the 41 Secretaries of State of the new Government (More).
Former PM Antonio Costa bid farewell to São Bento Palace with a “Thank you” message on X. But he did leave the door open for a return to politics (More).

SOCIETY

Two authorized demonstrations - one anti-immigration and the other anti-fascist - will take place 350 metres apart on Saturday afternoon in downtown Porto (More).
The military top brass weighted the return of conscription - which ended in 2004 in Portugal - citing the war in Ukraine and NATO's excessive dependence on the United States (More).

ECONOMICS

In March, Portugal had the highest inflation growth in the Eurozone, growing three times faster than the average of the 20 countries in the single currency (More).
Portugal's water reservoirs are at an average of 89% of capacity, with 75 out of 80 basins above their March water storage levels average since 1990 (More).

CULTURE AND SPORTS

The world's oldest book on chocolate written by a Sevillian doctor and printed in 1624 - one of the only three known copies - is going under the hammer next week in Guimarães (More).
The highest-ranked Portuguese tennis player, João Sousa, played the final match of his career on Wednesday, bowing out at the Millennium Estoril Open (More).

IN FOCUS

WHAT’S IN A LOGO?

On Tuesday evening, immediately after its swearing-in, the XXIV Government, in its first edict, reverted its brand image to an old logo - breaking all hell loose on social networks. Find out here what the fuss is all about.


Why did the logo change in the first place?

In 2023, António Costa’s Executive changed the Government’s visual identity, with the aim of making it more digital-friendly, citing the "visual density" of the original design, which compromised its digital animation and printouts.


Sounds reasonable. So, just technicalities?

Not exactly. The previous logo resembled the national flag, displaying heraldic symbols harking back to the Age of Exploration. These symbols include the armillary sphere, which is an early astronomical device used by seafarers, five shields symbolizing the Muslim kings defeated by King Afonso I in the 12th century, and seven castles taken back from the Moors during the Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Christians.


How different is the new logo?

The new image, developed by award-winning Studio Eduardo Aires, introduced a more simplified version of the logo consisting of three plain geometric shapes: a green vertical rectangle, an oversized yellow circle and a red square. The Government said the residesign made the logo more inclusive.


What’s so strange about it?

Critics of the new logo claimed that it is a product of left-wing “wokism” – that it looks more like the flag of Mali; that it is disrespectful to the Constitution; and that it was implemented without democratic input and approval. Plus, it later emerged that the Government allegedly paid 74 thousand euros to create the new institutional symbol, which triggered public outcry, especially in the context of an inflation crisis.


What did Luís Montenegro say about it then?

In a move that was intended to appeal to far-right voters, he promised to bring back the old logo if he became Prime Minister. As late as December 2023, Montenegro told a party meeting: “In our (political) project, our historical and identity references do not succumb to the idea of being sophisticated. There's no such thing with us. No more plastic politics.”


So, by bringing back the old logo, he kept his promise. Why are people complaining?

While some Portuguese applauded the return of the old symbols on social media, others lamented that the government's priorities were misplaced amid a cost-of-living crisis. Others saw in the move a sign of more things to come from the centre-right coalition in Government: "Their priorities are the reeking past. Progressivism and modernism have been abandoned. You know what awaits us, return to the past," another user posted on X.


TIPS OF THE WEEK

Lisbon

The Revolution is out in the Street

This walk, organized by the Aljube Museum, will take you to discover some of the places and key moments of April 25 and the revolutionary process of 1974 and 1975. The dictatorship, censorship, resistance, political prisons and the Revolution in the streets of Lisbon are some of the topics covered. The walk, which will take place on Wednesday, April 10, at 10.30 am, starts at Largo da Boa Hora, continues to Largo do Carmo, Largo da Misericórdia and ends at Rua António Maria Cardoso. Bookings at: inscricoes@museudoaljube.pt.


Ricardo Ribeiro

Ricardo Ribeiro is one of the unmissable names in contemporary Fado. For him, Fado was genealogy and a vocation: genealogy that comes from his multicultural roots and an absolute talent that is affirmed daily to demonstrate that Fado can open itself to the world without losing its authenticity. In this concert on Thursday, April 11, at 9pm, he presents the album Terra Que Vale o Céu, where he returns to his origins and the music he knows like no one else: traditional Fado. Tickets between 12,5€ - 30€ can be purchased here.


Porto

Fado Alexandrino

Artistic Director Nuno Cardoso brings to the stage Fado Alexandrino, by Nobel-Prize contender António Lobo Antunes, at the National São João Theatre. In it, on the tenth anniversary of the return of their battalion from Mozambique, five men attempt to rekindle the fraternal bond that helped them survive the colonial war that was Portugal’s Vietnam. In turn, they tell the stories of their lives before, during, and after the revolution that overthrew the long-lived Salazar dictatorship. Tickets between €7,50 - €16,00 are available here.


Vinhos a Descobrir - Spring Wine Festival

Festival Vinhos a Descobrir (“Wines to Discover”) is back for another "Spring Edition", to be held at Alfândega do Porto on April 6-7. In all, there will be around 50 producers and more than 400 wines to taste, with award-winning national wines, including Vinho Verde, Port wine, wines from Alentejo, Trás-os-Montes, among other regions. Plus, this year’s edition there will be an "Out of the Nest" initiative, which brings together small wine producers from countries, such as: Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, South Africa, France and Italy. More information here.


Elsewhere

World Physical Activity Day

On April 6, more than 15 km of Avenida Marginal between Cascais, Oeiras and Lisbon will be only for pedestrians, cyclists and users of scooters, skates, skateboards and the like. As part of the World Physical Activity Day activities, on April 6 there will also be a dedicated Health and Wellness Space, located next to the Paço de Arcos Nautical Centre, with the presence of more than a dozen health partners who, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., will carry out screenings, awareness actions, product offers and entertainment for the whole family.


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