Concentration camp, Tarrafal

The Cape Verdean Minister of Culture and Creative Industries (Ministério da Cultura e das Indústrias Criativas) has identified sites in the country that could be recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. Cape Verde has already started the process in getting the Concentration Camp at Tarrafal, on the island of Santiago presented to UNESCO for consideration. However, other sites the Minister identified include the Natural Park of Cova, Paúl and Ribeira da Torre on the island of Santo Antão; the islands of Santa Luzia, Branco and Raso; Pedra de Lume on the island of Sal; the old centres of Praia (Santiago), São Felipe (Fogo) and Nova Sintra (Brava); and Chã das Caldeiras Natural Park on Fogo.

Cape Verde and Portugal are co-operating on the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the country, including the Concentration Camp. The camp is situated in Chão Bom (3km south east of Tarrafal) and was built in 1936. The first political prisoners were incarcerated there later the same year, and it eventually closed in 1956. It then opened again in 1962 to house prisoners from Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. It contained more than 500 anti-fascist resistance fighters during that period. Since 2000 it has been a museum and was classified as a National Cultural Heritage site. This is a fascinating history, and it will be interesting to see if it becomes a World Heritage Site. Cidade Velha (originally Ribeira Grande) on the island of Santiago already has this status.