HENRIQUE GALVÃO, 1895-197O: ASPECTS OF A EURO-AFRICAN CRUSADE

-- excerpt from "HENRIQUE GALVÃO, 1895-197O: ASPECTS OF A EURO-AFRICAN CRUSADE" by Luis Miguel Solla de Andrade Peres, Thesis for Master of Arts, University of South Africa (2009):

"Operation Dulcinea was structured in two phases. The first entailed the seizure and occupation of the Santa Maria. Galvão and his men were to board the liner – as paying passengers – at La Guaira and Curaçao, and seize her the moment she entered the international waters of the Caribbean. Once in control of the ship the insurrectionists would cease communications with the outside world and secretly sail towards the Spanish-held island of Fernando Pó – off the West African coast – initiating the next phase of the operation. This second half of the enterprise was by far the most ambitious and, despite the insistence of Galvão on its feasibility, hard to view as more than a theoretical exercise. It consisted in the capture of Fernando Pó from where the rebels would – with the support of local populations – take over Spanish Guinea and from there gain a foothold in Angola. Once occupying a portion of Portuguese territory the rebels were to form a government and unleash a general uprising in Angola, Mozambique, and Portugal itself (with the cooperation of opposition forces sympathetic to DRIL).

The weakness of the second half of the operation is striking. It relied heavily on a generalised support of the majority of the local populations as well as on abstract factors such as “surprise” and “audacity”. Galvão was aware of how pivotal this reliance on outside elements was but claims the viability of the project was borne out by thorough study and organisation. Yet scant attention was given to the possibility of resolute military resistance on the part of Lisbon or Madrid. Subsequent events during the nationalist uprising in Angola, in March 1961 – discussed in chapter ten - revealed widespread military and civilian loyalty to Salazar’s New State. Had it reached Africa, Operation Dulcinea would have little, if any, chance of success."