Viewing cable 09LISBON222
Title: CONG. HASTINGS MEETS WITH PORTUGUESE ROMA LEADER

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09LISBON2222009-04-20 10:23:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Lisbon
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DE RUEHLI #0222 1101023
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201023Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7580
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS LISBON 000222 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI PO
SUBJECT: CONG. HASTINGS MEETS WITH PORTUGUESE ROMA LEADER 
 
REF: STATE 30437 
 
¶1. (SBU) US Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL), in Portugal 
for OSCE Parliamentary events hosted by the Portuguese 
parliament, met with Portuguese Roma leader Antonio Nunes on 
April 19.  Post arranged this discussion to continue our 
engagement with Roma community, particularly in the period 
around International Roma Day. 
 
¶2. (SBU) Mr. Nunes serves as the Roma liaison to the 
Portuguese government and is in daily contact with Roma 
communities throughout Portugal.  He explained that there are 
an estimated 40 to 50,000 Roma in Portugal both in rural 
areas and in the large cities of Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra. 
The primary challenges they face are those common to all 
citizens: housing, education, and work.  A few years ago the 
Portuguese government approved a National Action Plan for the 
Roma, but Mr. Nunes was dismissive of concrete progress made 
via the Plan.  He is not aware of any Roma police or national 
level politicians, but noted that there are a handful of Roma 
officials at the municipal level.  Nunes observed that 
Portugal's Roma are better integrated than are Roma in 
eastern Europe and elsewhere, dressing like and speaking 
Portuguese, and he concludes that this results in their 
suffering less discrimination than is the case elsewhere.  He 
shared stories of Roma struggles for jobs and education, and 
their sometimes uneasy interactions with Portugal's growing 
African immigrant community. 
 
¶3. (SBU) Cong. Hastings offered readouts of discussions he 
had in Brussels recently as well as observations of visits to 
Roma communities in Romania, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere, 
noting for example the unhappy plight of Roma in Kosovo.  He 
also reviewed the situation of Roma in the United States. 
This discussion was useful for both sides, and Mr. Nunes 
frankly observed that Portugal's Roma are somewhat isolated 
from events elsewhere in Europe, so he appreciated hearing 
Cong. Hastings' perspectives. 
 
 
For more reporting from Embassy Lisbon and information about Portugal, 
please see our Intelink site: 
 
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/portal:port ugal 
 
STEPHENSON