Dear members of the Board of Trustees,
We are writing to you in regards to the lifting of the suspension of Wikimedia Portugal (WMPT) as a Wikimedia Affiliate.
As you may know, WMPT received a suspension notice in July from AffCom, and was given a roadmap to follow that would lead to our de-suspension. During the past months, we have followed the roadmap carefully and diligently. Despite that, AffCom has now raised the possibility of de-recognition, for unclear reasons, while acknowledging that the roadmap was fulfilled ahead of the deadline.
From the start, AffCom seemed to us to have served as an echo chamber for the unsubstantiated claims of our former president, João Vasconcelos, and has made decisions that seem to be based on a superficial reading of the Portuguese Civil Code. We are certain that if AffCom had NOT intervened, the situation in Wikimedia Portugal would be much more stable by this time and the conflict with João Vasconcelos would probably have long been resolved. From the very beginning we have been in close contact not only with AffCom, but also to Wikimedia Legal and Trust and Safety departments, which have helped us deal with some of João Vasconcelos’ attitudes, and protect the Wikimedia movement.
João Vasconcelos resigned as President of WMPT in March of this year, and in May said he wished to leave the association. We did not prevent him from doing either, and it is unclear why he tried to derail our General Assembly of September 1st, and keeps making threats, legal and otherwise, to members of WMPT. Our consciences are clear, and AffCom is witness that we tried to resolve the situation with João amicably from the start, but his actions are unfortunately no longer compatible with membership in our association, so we intend to take disciplinary action against him as soon as possible.
It is even more unclear to us why AffCom continues to make decisions without listening to all parties, and to make rulings without obtaining and reviewing proper legal advice. We are happy that finally, after we wrote a public appeal to AffCom, they are consulting with a legal expert (even though we have not been asked to provide any clarification to this expert nor participate in the process). But we worry that if there is an intention to de-recognize, other reasons could be raised to back such intentions, without us having a possibility to counter-argue. We would like your assurance that no de-recognition would happen without us being given a chance to hear and respond to any concerns.
Despite all this, Wikimedia Portugal is today on a sustainable path. We have been working with WMF departments in order to develop and improve our capacities, we had months full of activities, many more to come. But planing all this, along with João Vasconcelos’ menacing on top of AffCom’s inability to deal with our situation, left us reaching our physical, psychological, and motivational limit. A number of us have started to question whether continuing to contribute to this movement under these conditions is worthwhile.
We are at the mercy of AffCom and the Board of Trustees to remain an Wikimedia Affiliate. We are tired and broken from the lack of support of AffCom, and we feel that we have not been heard properly throughout the last six months. It is no longer sustainable to continue to have this shadow above us. We would like to ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to allow us to prove, to you, to AffCom and to the Wikimedia Movement, that Portugal can have a vibrant Chapter that you can be proud of. Please help us by lifting this suspension.