Visa policy of São Tomé and Príncipe
Visitors to São Tomé and Príncipe must obtain a visa online or from one of the diplomatic missions of São Tomé and Príncipe prior to arrival unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries. Citizens of the following 55 countries can visit São Tomé and Príncipe without a visa for up to 15 days: Holders of diplomatic or service passports and passports for public affairs of China do not require a visa for 30 days. Holders of normal passports issued by China, Hong Kong, Macau may obtain a visa upon arrival valid for 15 days. Nationals of countries that require a visa may obtain online through an eVisaST system. An eVisa is processed within 7 working days. Holders of a visa or resident permit issued by the United States or a Schengen area member state do not require a visa for stays up to 15 days. Passengers with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country on the same calendar day; the passengers must stay in the international transit area of the airport and have documents required for the next destination.
Visa requirements for Santomean citizens
Fradique de Menezes
Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes was the President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 2003 to 2011. Menezes was born on the Portuguese colony of São Tomé in 1942, the son of a Portuguese man and a local woman, he attended high school in Portugal. He studied at the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada in Lisbon and Free University of Brussels. Menezes is a successful businessman, he was Foreign Minister of São Tome and Príncipe from 1986 until 1987. He was elected President in July 2001 with about 55.2% of the vote, defeating Manuel Pinto da Costa, who received about 40%. Menezes took office on September 3, 2001, his eligibility as a candidate was questioned, since he held Portuguese citizenship, but he renounced this and his candidacy was approved. On July 16, 2003, while he was away in Nigeria, there was a military coup d'etat led by Fernando Pereira, but Menezes was restored to power on July 23, 2003, following an agreement. Menezes was re-elected on July 30, 2006, winning 60.58% of the vote and defeating Patrice Trovoada, son of former president Miguel Trovoada.
The discovery of a coup plot involving Christian Democratic Front leader Arlecio Costa was announced on February 12, 2009. Costa and more than 30 others were arrested. At a press conference on February 24, Menezes said that he was "touched" by the support of the security forces. President Menezes' address to the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 26, 2008
Carlos Alberto Monteiro Dias da Graça was a prime minister of São Tomé and Príncipe. He was one of the co-founders of the Movement for the Liberation of São Príncipe. After 25 April 1974 revolution in Portugal he was a member of the transition government preparing the independence of São Tomé and Príncipe. After the independence in 1975 he became Minister of Social Affairs, he was the first founder of the MLSTP raising his opposition to the move of the regime towards a dictatorial Marxist–Leninist regime. For this reason he was sentenced 24 years jail and had to exile again in 1977, becoming one of the main opponents to Manuel Pinto da Costa regime, he was asked by Pinto da Costa to come back to Sao Tome in 1987, in order to prepare the transition to a multi-party democracy. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1988 to 1990, while being one of the main politicians preparing the new democratic constitution and the first free elections. After the first free elections he became leader of the MLSTP which he turned into MLSTP/PSD Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Partido Social Democrata.
He became Prime Minister. He held the post from 25 October 1994 to 15 August 1995. A short lived military coup d'état temporarily deposed the elected government from 15 August 1995 to 21 August 1995. Civilian rule was restored on 21 August 1995 and Graça remained Prime Minister until 31 December 1995, he is considered as one of the main architects of the democracy in his country He was elected Chairman of the Committee on Social Affairs and in the end of term in 2006 moved away from the political party active life. He died in 17 April 2013 in Lisbon at the age of 81, he published some works such as: Essay on the Human condition in 2004, Edited by IDD - Institute for Democracy and Development John Paul II Politico, his role in the fall of communism in 2006, Edited by UNEAS-National Union of Writers and Artists STP.
2011 São Toméan presidential election
A presidential election was held in São Tomé and Príncipe in 2011, the first round beginning on 17 July 2011 with a run-off held on 7 August 2011. Incumbent President Fradique de Menezes has served the maximum two terms and could not constitutionally seek a third term; the final result saw former president Manuel Pinto da Costa, aged 74, elected in a narrow victory against Speaker of Parliament Evaristo Carvalho. The first round was contested by 120 candidates; the candidate from President de Menezes' party, Force for Change Democratic Movement–Liberal Party, was Delfim Neves, who jointly represented the MDFM–PL and his own Democratic Convergence Party. Pinto da Costa, who ran independently, won the most votes but failed to receive the majority required to claim an outright victory. Carvalho, of the ruling party Independent Democratic Action, a former prime minister and the incumbent Speaker of the National Assembly, placed second. A run-off to be contested between Pinto da Costa and Carvalho was announced on the same day.
Pinto da Costa received the backing of the majority of eliminated candidates, he was expected to win comfortably. Pinto da Costa won the runoff, held 7 August, by five percentage points, he is scheduled to remain as president for a term of five years. Manuel Pinto da Costa served as São Tomé and Príncipe's first president from independence in 1975, he governed the islands as a one-party socialist state under the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe. In 1991, the legalisation of opposition political parties led to the country's first election under a democratic system. Pinto da Costa was not a candidate in that election and instead announced he would retire from politics; the MLSTP did not present an alternative candidate and Miguel Trovoada was elected unopposed. Despite his previous declaration, Pinto da Costa returned to participate in the presidential elections of 1996, but was narrowly defeated by Trovoada. In 2001, he ran against incumbent president Fradique de Menezes, was again unsuccessful.
Pinto da Costa resigned from the MLSTP in 2005. The party is led by Aurélio Martins, who placed sixth in the first round vote count. Other major candidates included former prime minister Maria das Neves and former defence minister Elsa Pinto, both independents. Pinto da Costa's main rival, represented the ADI, which won the parliamentary elections in August 2010 and is the ruling party of incumbent Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada. A total of 92,639 citizens were registered to vote. In the first round, the national electoral commission, headed by Victor Correia, recorded a turnout of 68%. Of the 120 candidates, Da Costa and Carvalho won the most votes, but neither candidate received enough support to claim a majority. Delfim Neves and Maria das Neves both won substantial vote counts, but only the first two placeholders went through to the run-off. After the results were confirmed, most of the eliminated candidates, including Delfim Neves, Maria das Neves and Aurélio Martins, endorsed da Costa's bid for the run-off.
Missions from the African Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Economic Community of Central African States sent observers to monitor the election, declared free and fair. The only major controversy observed was a boycott by around 30,000 from five small villages on São Tomé's northern shore, in protest over grievances with living conditions that had not been addressed; the polls were re-opened in these villages on 20 July. Several analysts have raised concerns that Pinto da Costa's victory may trigger a return to the authoritarian rule seen during his previous period in power. Pinto da Costa's campaign website
Districts of São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe is divided into seven administrative districts since 1980. Six are located on the main island of São Tomé. Since 1995, the Pagué District has been replaced by the Autonomous Region of Príncipe. List of cities and towns in São Tomé and Príncipe
Maria do Carmo Silveira
Maria do Carmo Trovoada Pires de Carvalho Silveira is a former Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe who served from 8 Jun 2005 to 21 Apr 2006. She was educated as an economist at the University of Ukraine and was the third governor of São Tomé and Príncipe's Central Bank from 1999 to 2005, she succeeded Carlos Quaresma Batista de Sousa and was succeeded by Arlindo Afonso Carvalho and again from 2011 as the sixth governor succeeding Luís Fernando Moreira de Sousa, she served as Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Finance São Tomé and Príncipe from 8 June 2005 to 21 April 2006. Silveira, the country's second female Prime Minister, is a member of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe-Social Democratic Party and was a member of the party executive board. Silveira declared that macroeconomic stability was her priority and made her mark by among others resolving the wage dispute with the unions in the public sector, securing assistance from the IMF and obtaining an agreement with Angola on cooperation in the oil sector.
Her term as Prime Minister ended after the 2006 parliamentary elections, when the opposition defeated the MLSTP-PSD, she was succeeded as Prime Minister by Tomé Vera Cruz in 2006. Politics of São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, about 140 kilometres apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively; the islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade; the rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa's most democratic countries. With a population of 199,910, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country.
Its people are predominantly with most practising Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese rule is visible in the country's culture and music, which fuse European and African influences. São Tomé and Príncipe is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries; the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived sometime around 1470. The islands were discovered by João de Pêro Escobar. Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided that they would be good locations for bases to trade with the mainland; the dates of discovery are sometimes given as 21 December 1471, for São Tomé. Príncipe was named Santo Antão, changing its name in 1502 to Ilha do Príncipe, in reference to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid; the first successful settlement of São Tomé was established in 1493 by Álvaro Caminha, who received the land as a grant from the crown. Príncipe was settled in 1500 under a similar arrangement.
Attracting settlers proved difficult and most of the earliest inhabitants were "undesirables" sent from Portugal Jews. In time these settlers found the volcanic soil of the region suitable for agriculture the growing of sugar. By 1515, São Tomé and Príncipe had become slave depots for the coastal slave trade centered at Elmina; the cultivation of sugar was a labour-intensive process and the Portuguese began to enslave large numbers of Africans from the mainland. By the mid-16th century the Portuguese settlers had turned the islands into Africa's foremost exporter of sugar. São Tomé and Príncipe were taken over and administered by the Portuguese crown in 1522 and 1573, respectively. However, competition from sugar-producing colonies in the Western Hemisphere began to hurt the islands; the large enslaved population proved difficult to control, with Portugal unable to invest many resources in the effort. Sugar cultivation thus declined over the next 100 years, by the mid-17th century, the economy of São Tomé had changed.
It was now a transit point for ships engaged in the slave trade between the West and continental Africa. In the early 19th century, two new cash crops and cocoa, were introduced; the rich volcanic soils proved well suited to the new cash crop industry, soon extensive plantations, owned by Portuguese companies or absentee landlords, occupied all of the good farmland. By 1908, São Tomé had become the world's largest producer of cocoa, which remains the country's most important crop; the roças system, which gave the plantation managers a high degree of authority, led to abuses against the African farm workers. Although Portugal abolished slavery in 1876, the practice of forced paid labour continued. Scientific American magazine documented in words and pictures the continued use of slaves in São Tomé in its 13 March 1897 issue. In the early 20th century, an internationally publicized controversy arose over charges that Angolan contract workers were being subjected to forced labour and unsatisfactory working conditions.
Sporadic labor unrest and dissatisfaction continued well into the 20th century, culminating in an outbreak of riots in 1953 in which several hundred African laborers were killed in a clash with their Portuguese rulers. This "Batepá Massacre" remains a major event in the colonial history of the islands, its anniversary is observed by the government. By the late 1950s, when other emerging nations across the African Continent demanded their independence, a small group of São Toméans had formed the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe, which established its base in nearby Gabon. Picking up momentum in the 1960s, events moved after the overthrow of the Caetano dictatorship in Portugal in April 1974; the new Portuguese regime was committed to the dissolution of its overseas colonies. In November 1974, their representatives met with the MLSTP in Algiers and worked out an agreement for the transfer of sovereignty. After a period of transitional government, São Tomé and Príncipe achieved independence on 12 July 1975, choosing as the first president the MLSTP Secretary General