Harwich celebrates ties to Cape Verde

  • 30/08/2019 05:35

The ties run long and deep between Massachusetts, and especially Harwich, and the island archipelago of Cape Verde. Immigrants from those islands, especially those of Brava and Fogo, fleeing drought and starvation helped rebuild the Cape’s economy after a withering post-Civil War depression.

Harwich is a better place because of their legacy of hard work and community, Selectman Don Howell said in welcoming Francisco Walter Tavares, president of the Cape Verde island of Brava, at a celebration Wednesday night.

“Such a very small island, but it has had such a profound impact here in Massachusetts,” said state Sen. Viriato “Vinny” deMacedo, R-Plymouth, who was born on Brava. “We are strong and united together as a people. We love the Cape Verde people here in America, and they love us as well.”

Tavares, a 44-year-old high school math teacher, initially won a seat on the city council on Brava. He was elected president, a mayoral position, in 2018. He is an advocate of the arts and is working to reform and rebuild educational infrastructure, as well as sports and cultural activity.

“The island of Brava and the United States are bound by indestructible historical ties,” Tavares told the crowd at the Harwich Community Center. “I dream one day Brava can be something like (Harwich).”

Americans and Cape Verdeans are people who love freedom, he said, and initiative.