Cape Verdean leaders visit city Saturday
PAWTUCKET – Officials on Saturday will play host to the president and prime minister of Cape Verde as they celebrate the dedication of a section of Main Street as “Cabo Verde Way,” in the city with the second-largest Cape Verdean population in the nation.
President Jorge Carlos Fonseca and Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva will be on hand Saturday morning for the dedication of “Cabo Verde Way” at 9:30 am at Ten Rocks Tapas Bar and Restaurant, 1091 Main St. in Pawtucket.
Jorge Carlos Fonseca has been president of Cape Verde since being elected in 2011. A member of the liberal “Movement for Democracy” party, Fonseca is Cape Verde’s fourth president since
the nation became independent in 1975. Prior to being elected, Fonseca was Cape Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993 and he also unsuccessfully ran for president in 2001.
José Ulisses Correia e Silva has been Cape Verde’s Prime Minister since April 2016, when the Movement for Democracy party won the previous month’s parliamentary election. Prior to becoming prime minister, Silva was Secretary of State for Finance from 1995 to 1998 and Minister of Finance from 1999 to 2000. He was additionally his party’s Vice President for two years and party president in 2013.
Birthed on July 5, 1975, the 42nd birthday of Cape Verde was commemorated at City Hall in Pawtucket earlier this summer, with a flag raising ceremony wherein the blue, red, and white flag with yellow stars of Cape Verde flew high above Roosevelt Avenue.
The origins of Cape Verde dates back to the 15th century, when Portuguese settlers landed and soon transformed the island into a slave trade outpost as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Following the decline of the slave trade in the 1800s, Cape Verde fell into economic crisis. The nation gained independence following a 1970s revolution in Portugal.
The first Cape Verdeans settled in the United States just across the state line in New Bedford, Mass., but over time they branched out to the Providence and Boston areas. Now, 42 years after the nation gained independence, Pawtucket is home to the second-largest Cape Verdean population in the country, with 13.3 percent of its residents being of Cape Verdean descent. That trails behind only Brockton, Mass., with 15.1 percent.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien said: “I am pleased to welcome the President and Prime Minister to the great city of Pawtucket this weekend. This is an unprecedented opportunity to have them both visiting with our community. At the same time, we will also be dedicating Main Street as Cabo Verde Way.”