Just five hours in May

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann?

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António Santana Carlos

António Santana Carlos. picture source joana-morais.blogspot.com António Santana Carlos was the Portuguise Ambassador in London in 2007.

See →BBC 08 May 2007, Extract:

Portugal defends Madeleine police - The police investigation into missing Madeleine McCann has been defended by the Portuguese ambassador in London. Antonio Santana Carlos said the case was of “great concern” to Portugal and asked people to trust the police. Little information has been made public, prompting concerns the police are not doing enough. Three-year-old Madeleine, who is from Leicestershire, disappeared from a holiday resort in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on Thursday. The police are expected to give an update on their investigation at about 1830 BST on Tuesday.

…..Earlier, Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate made a private visit to the local church of Nossa Senhora Da Luz (Our Lady of Light) to pray for her safe return. Clutching Madeleine's favourite soft toy and a picture of her, Mrs McCann walked with her head bowed. The couple were accompanied by a member of staff from the Mark Warner resort where Madeleine went missing. The McCanns have said their Catholic faith has offered them hope and strength. In an a interview with the BBC, Mr Carlos said that under Portuguese law there was very little information the police could disclose. He said: “We are cooperating with Europol and Interpol and also with the British police. So for the police of course it is a completely open matter, but investigation is quite secretive and it has to carry on that way, due to our legal obligations that exist in Portugal.” He added: “I ask you to trust the authorities. They are doing their best. If they cannot give you more information, it's because they can't.” Police said they had widened their search to nine miles (15km) from Praia da Luz and are working with UK and other forces, taking witness statements and making inquiries into whether paedophile rings operate in the area.

See →Interview in DN Portuguese Communities, 30.05.2010

Excerpt of the interview with the Portuguese demissionary Ambassador António Santana Carlos in London

Journalist - The 'Madeleine McCann' case turned the relations between both countries difficult, mainly because of the media mutually attacking each other. You, Mr. Ambassador were strongly criticized by statements given in an interview to 'The Times' newspaper by the well known columnist Tony Parsons. Was this the most difficult case of your commission?

Ambassador António Santana Carlos - No. The story had a great media attention. What I said is that there are many more kidnappings in the UK than in Portugal, and no one mentioned that. There are speculations and books written [on the case], but we do not know what has happened. As far as I know the parents called first the media before the police. There were some problems with the lack of information and misunderstanding, since the British do not have the concept of secrecy of Justice. Besides 'The Times', I gave four other interviews on the British television stressing the importance for both countries police authorities to work together. There was even data that was investigated in British laboratories. Portugal was not trying to hide anything. The case was archived because there weren't evidence [material proves], but it might be reopened. I will not make value judgments, the parents lived difficult moments. I understand their pain because I have a son.

Journalist - Did the relations between both countries return to what they were?

Ambassador - Yes. I did not feel any kind of antagonism from anyone. In the statements given to 'The Times', I have said a few things which seem evident to me. For example, that we as Latins privilege the nuclear family, all together, and that we do not leave children alone. That was perceived as criticism. I also said that there was too much media attention, and that that has hindered the investigation.

Journalist - And now that you are going to retire, what do you intend to do?

Ambassador - I hope I have more time to dedicate myself to activities that give me pleasure, like playing golf. Here I could only practice it every two months. Besides that, I do not plan to be inactive but as of now I still haven't made any plans.

Some of the worst British press reaction “OH, UP YOURS, SENOR” resulted on the ambassador by Journalist Tony Parsons.