Portugal far-right deputy calls for black MP to be “sent back”

Portugal’s only far-right deputy sparked outrage Wednesday after saying a black member of parliament should be “sent back to her country of origin”.

Daily newspaper Publico denounced Andre Ventura’s comments as “abject” in its editorial, after his attack on Joacine Katar Moreira, of the left-wing Livre (Free) party. Left-wing deputies have condemned his comments.

Katar Moreira, who was born in Guinea Bissau, west Africa, had introduced a bill Tuesday calling for Lisbon to return works of art from Portugal’s former colonies to their countries of origin.

She suggested the authorities draw up a list of works of art that Portugal should hand back.

Ventura, leader of the far-right party Chega (Enough), hit back on Facebook, writing: “I propose that the deputy Joacine is herself sent back to her country of origin. It would be a lot better for everyone.”

Moreira is the Livre party’s only deputy, and on Tuesday they denounced “constant personal attacks of a racist nature” against her.

Other parties, including deputies of the ruling Socialist Party and the far-left Left Bloc also attacked Ventura’s comments as racist.

Ventura was elected to parliament last October, the first far-right deputy since the fall of the military regime in 1974 and the return of democracy. Since then, he has launched regular attacks on the black and Roma communities. 

Katar Moreira’s proposal is similar to an initiative by the French government, which has begun returning works of art pillaged from its former colonies.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on other European countries to consider their position on the issue, including Belgium, Britain and Germany, as have a number of their former colonies.