Adelino Amaro da Costa

Adelino Amaro da Costa
Adelino Amaro da Costa in October 1978
Minister of National Defence
In office
3 January 1980  4 December 1980
President António Ramalho Eanes
Prime Minister Francisco de Sá Carneiro
Preceded by José Alberto Loureiro dos Santos
Succeeded by Luís de Azevedo Coutinho
Personal details
Born (1943-04-18)18 April 1943
Algés, Portugal
Died 4 December 1980(1980-12-04) (aged 37)
Camarate, Portugal
Nationality Portuguese
Political party CDS – People's Party (CDS-PP)

Adelino Manuel Lopes Amaro da Costa, GCIH (18 April 1943 – 4 December 1980) was a Portuguese Politician.


Costa was a son of Civil Engineer from the Instituto Superior Técnico of the Technical University of Lisbon (Universidade Técnica de Lisboa) Manuel Rafael Amaro da Costa (b. Odemira, São Martinho das Amoreiras, January 10, 1910 -), of some rural Nobility descent, and wife (m. Lisbon, 1937) Joaquina da Conceição Duarte Lopes Nunes (Odemira, Relíquias, January 22, 1914 - Lisbon, Alvalade, June 19, 1991).


Like his father he was also a civil engineer by training from the Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon.

After the Carnation Revolution, he founded, together with Diogo Freitas do Amaral, the Democratic and Social Centre (CDS), in which he became Deputy to the Assembly of the Republic and Minister.

After the victory of the Democratic Alliance, a coalition between the Social Democrats, the Popular Monarchists and his own party, in the Portuguese legislative election, 1980, he became the first civilian Defence Minister since the Carnation Revolution on 3 January 1980.

He died in the 1980 Camarate air crash, together with his wife Maria Manuel Simões Vaz da Silva Pires, the Prime Minister Francisco de Sá Carneiro and Sá Carneiro's partner, Snu Abecassis, while heading to Porto to take part in a rally for the Portuguese presidential election, 1981.

Conspiracy theorists claim he was the true target for assassination, for he had documents concerning the October surprise conspiracy theory and was planning on taking them to the United Nations's General Assembly. According to this conspiracy theory, Reagan promised to sell American weapons to Iran, to replace the old Portuguese ones; the Portuguese military were acting as middlemen (two of the Portuguese Presidential candidates, in 1980, were Generals, and one of them was promptly accused as responsible for the assassination by many Sá Carneiro supporters); a boat with the weapons was almost seized at Lisbon's harbor. This theory is reinforced with the fact that Amaro da Costa was the one renting the plane, and Sá Carneiro a last minute passenger (possibly as a decoy).


He was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry (Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique).


He married Maria Manuel Simões Vaz da Silva Pires (August 26, 1946 Loures, Camarate, December 4, 1980), daughter of Gustavo Correia Barata da Silva Pires and wife Maria Manuela da Silva Casaleiro Simões Vaz, without issue.

He was the brother of Manuel Rafael Lopes Amaro da Costa and the brother in law of politician Roberto Carneiro.



  1. Ribera, José António Moya, Costados, Nr. 10
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