Mayor of Maio Island in Cabo Verde visits New Bedford

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NEW BEDFORD — Dozens of people gathered at the Cape Verdean American Veterans Hall on Purchase Street on Thursday to welcome a delegation from the Cape Verdean island of Maio.

Miguel Rosa, the mayor of Maio, visited as part of a tour of local Cabo Verdean communities.

“You have just received us with what we call in Portuguese calor humano (human warmth or affection),” he said. “We’re here and we’re learning so much from you guys.”

The ceremonies began around 6:45 a.m. with a ceremony at the memorial stone to the Cape Verdean Americans who fell in the American wars.

Rosa presented a bouquet for the stele before the American and Cape Verdean national anthems were sung by Andrea Charpentier and Candida Rose respectively.

Once inside, councilors Shane Burgo and Derek Baptiste, both of Cape Verdean descent, shared some opening remarks before opening the buffet line.

“We need to have more solidarity with Cape Verdeans in the islands and Cape Verdeans in America,” Baptiste said. “If we don’t, we will lose our community and our culture.”

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Mayor Miguel Rosa de Mayo, Cabo Verde, welcomes Cabo Verdean American veteran Bernardino "Mannish" Silva during a visit to Cape Verdean American Veterans Hall in New Bedford on Thursday, July 28.

Cape Verdeans have been present in New Bedford since the 19th century, when whalers often stopped in the archipelago – then under Portuguese rule – to take on new crew members.

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A lively trade between the islands and New Bedford then ensued. After the independence of the archipelago from Portugal in 1975, connections continued.

Mayor of Maio Island in Cape Verde Miguel Rosa, center, holds his hand to his chest during the singing of the national anthems of the United States and Cape Verde alongside Gary Correia, president of the United States Veterans of the Cape Verde, on the right, Bernardino

Rosa said maintaining those ties was one of the main reasons for her visit.

“We need to keep in touch with our diaspora,” he said. “We know that there are a lot of people who are third generation now and it is so important to talk to the diaspora not only for money but also to visit [Cabo Verde].

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“People from different backgrounds in the Diaspora have enormous knowledge in nursing, teaching, engineering, architecture… We need those experts and those guys who can help us in our island.

On Wednesday, Rosa visited the Cape Verdean community in East Providence, Rhode Island, and met with that city’s mayor, Robert DaSilva.

Rosa also visited Brockton before coming to New Bedford.

Contact Kevin G. Andrade at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @KevinGAndrade. Support local journalism and subscribe to the Standard-Times today!

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