In a letter dated April 6 to SN by Dr Cheddi Jagan (Jr) captioned ‘The Portuguese should be proud of their past,’ he gave an expose of the many achievements of Portuguese kings, master sailors, navigators and explorers who through their exploration and navigational skills have given us all a better understanding of the modem world, and Portuguese wherever they are should indeed be proud of their contributions in these and other respects.
However, many of these sailors, navigators, explorers and kings were involved in one way or another as fortune hunters, particularly with respect to the slave trade to the New World and specifically to Brazil. The Portuguese were also colonizers in India (Goa), Mozambique (East Africa) and Angola (West Africa). It will be very enlightening and give balance to readers if Dr Jagan (Jr), an apparent Portuguese historian could share his seemingly vast knowledge with respect to the involvement of the navigators and explorers of Portugal in the slave trade and the treatment of native peoples in the territories they ravaged looking for gold and spices, and which they eventually colonized. At the same time he should highlight some of the contributions these benevolent Portuguese geniuses have made in their quest for treasure – let alone their self aggrandizement – to the social and economic development of the indigenous peoples they subjugated, and which Dr Jagan feels have earned them the eternal respect of the world despite their ostensibly checkered past.