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We welcome you because it is for the best

Paulo RegoPaulo Rego*

It is more than obvious that the Lusophone platform, globally considered, has an extraordinary relevance. Because of the complementarity of its markets; because of its cultural diversity, its economic dimension, and its strategic positioning in the four corners of the world – physical and virtual. But it is also natural that Macau privileges its relationship with Portugal. In fact, this is the historical bond that is always greater than any adverse circumstance, as in the case of the last three years of pandemic crisis.

In fact, as obvious as the issue may seem, it is very important that political semiotics projects it, in each circumstance, revealing the awareness of the current political power in this strategic design. Ho Iat Seng fulfills this mission by choosing Lisbon as the first western door he opens.

And, at this time, this is especially important to calm the anxieties that hang in the air about the commitment to the mission of being a platform, since some of the icons of the positive discrimination that was traditional and justified in the relationship with the Portuguese community living here have recently been put in check. As we read in the news we published in this issue (last page), the importance of the Portuguese language and presence as a factor of differentiation and competitive advantage for Macau is at the heart of the message Ho Iat Seng is taking to Portugal.

Read also: Ho Iat Seng challenges Macau Trade Association to continue uniting and leading the sector

And it is very important that all sectors in Macau; be they more or less nationalistic, more traditional or more liberal, more public or private… realize this signal. The thesis is from China and it is for Macau. It is not for the good of foreign countries, much less for the good of this or that IRB. It is for the good of all of us, but also because Beijing wanted and defined it this way more than three decades ago.

At PLATFORMA we have never had any doubts about this. We didn’t have them ten years ago, when we took our first steps; nor did we have them during the transition to the more nationalistic government of Ho Iat Seng; nor did we have them when, as a bilingual beacon on this path, we had to be especially resilient and take all the necessary risks – together with the Portuguese, English, and Chinese language press – during the difficult years of the pandemic crisis. The biggest problem in recent times has been the absence of clear – and some even contradictory – signals from the current political elite in Macau.

Truth be told, even incomprehensibly so, when compared to all the guarantees always given by the representatives of the Central Power in the Region. What seems obvious today is that Ho Iat Seng recognizes this design. Whether he adopts it out of personal conviction, strategic awareness, or continental pressure, is a debate that is of less interest to the people, the companies, and the agents of the platform. Because, at bottom, whatever its origin, by most accounts it brings all the data of the matter together.

Read also: Travellers travelling from Macau to Portugal are exempted from covid-19 examination

Why it is true that Ho Iat Seng could never do it against China’s strategy, but neither could it fail to do so, that being the wind blowing from the north. There is a complementary fact that may seem minor – but is not. The Portuguese Consulate in Macau has a new tenant, who has just had his credentials confirmed by the representative of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Region.

And Alexandre Leitão, who is currently defining the strategic axes of his consulate, has in this diplomatic mission to Lisbon a unique instrument to gain balance and ambition, not only to put the Lusophone axis back in its rightful place, but perhaps even to find new energy that, truth be told, has been hovering for more than a decade, sometimes more in the universe of the senses than in the concrete field of action.

Without any reservations, because this is also PLATAFORMA’s purpose, I wish Ho Iat Seng the best of luck in Lisbon; Alexandre Leitão the best of luck in Macau (luck is not enough for him), and Portuguese political power a strengthened awareness of the role it should play in the context of the Lusophone platform, which has been poorly perceived over the last few years – to be diplomatic.

*General Director of PLATAFORMA

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

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