America and Africa's Brightest Hope:

US Imperialism and the Defeat of

Angolan Socialism

- by Chad Faldt

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War many of the conflicts around the world have been explained in terms of ethnicity, and situations of "ethnic conflict." Sometimes the violent conflicts that erupt in nations that have been ongoing for long periods of time are described as being the result of age-old ethnic hatreds. The mainstream literature on this topic often takes a sociological approach which focuses on identity groups, and the actions of ethnic-community members in situations where ethnic identification is being promoted by the politically active forces of the day, or (and I'm not sure which method is worse) it delves into a complicated, esoteric discourse that attempts to describe a contemporary political conflict/issue/event with the use of rarely-used, "scholarly" jargon to describe interstate relations, and political conflicts over the distribution of power and economic resources.[1]

The violence in Rwanda, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, the post-Soviet Republics, Latin America, and elsewhere have all been attributed in some measure or another to ethnic conflicts. The current violence in Iraq is almost exclusively attributed to the resistance of Iraqi Sunni's. To be sure, much of the violence in the contemporary world has an ethnic dimension; the power of cultural identity, and the objective conditions that often push and pull individuals to align themselves with groups often makes the ethnic dimension of political conflicts quite important. In conditions of economic scarcity, pressures to identify with a group to make oneself stronger should be expected. Without forgetting this, I would argue that many contemporary political conflicts center on issues concerning class. I am using class here to refer to political struggles over the power to determine the distribution of wealth in society, and all the ramifications that come along with it.

The modern history of the Southwest African state of Angola is burdened with the legacy of racist colonial exploitation and the foreign manipulation of an internal conflict along ethnic lines, which has left a devastated country. It was once a newly independent nation with a leadership committed to the building of a successful socialist system. Acquiring a knowledge of historical events, and particularly a strong familiarity with world history allows someone with a Marxist perspective to find a grounding in reality for their theories, it provides them with the moral confidence that what they believe is correct, and not only can they argue with force of self-conviction, but with the intellectual defense of empirical knowledge. I originally became interested in the history of Angola, and particularly the period of the government of the "People's Republic of Angola," when I gained passing familiarity with their struggle through the writings of Michael Parenti. Parenti, in several of his books discusses how Angola, after freeing itself from Portuguese colonialism had to face the wrath of the United States in its world crusade against communist movements. For nearly 25 years the Angolan people felt the consequences of arousing the ire of the mighty imperial state.

Mainstream writers have typically portrayed the violence in Angola as being the result of ethnic conflicts and elite-dominated resource wars over the control of diamond mining and oil production. The population of Angola is split into three main ethnic groups, and due to the Portuguese-imposed political and social isolation the revolutionary movements that formed to fight for national independence were largely dependent on one ethnic group or another. It is in this sense that violence which followed the end of colonialism was an example of ethnic conflict.

Most people who take a critical look at the history of U.S. foreign policy will learn about our murderous and horrible devastation of Indochina and Korea, our longstanding, fervent support for cruel Latin American dictatorships, and most recently our history of backing some of the worst regimes in the Middle East. Those of us who wish to develop a radical conception of the world, a conception which must be strenuously cultivated, must acquire a thorough knowledge of history. It is difficult if not impossible, to understand the development of capitalism in a single country without reference to its historical relations with other nations. I am often frustrated by the opinions I hear expressed by my fellow students in the African history courses I have taken, and when African current affairs brought up in my other social science classes. Even though it is the 21st Century most people still seem to believe that African historiography is where it was in the 19th Century. The history of great kingdoms in Africa are largely unknown to most Americans. Most American college students have never heard of the African kingdom of Dahomey, the Sokoto Empire, the anti-imperialist efforts of Queen Nzinga in what is today Angola, or the various other state formations of sub-Saharan Africa. The opinions usually expressed are that Africa seems to be irretrievably lost, stuck in the past unwilling to fully accept modernity. The non-existence of examples of a strong "civil society," and the lack of nationalist commitment by the citizens of many countries are taken as characteristics of Africa's backwardness. In his book "The Sword and the Dollar" Michael Parenti destroys the imperialist myth that the nations of Africa and the rest of the third world were historically underdeveloped, that their civilizations were somehow inherently inferior to the Western civilizations that came to dominate them. This countries Parenti states, much more emphatically so in his audio talk by the same title, that these countries are not "underdeveloped," they are not "developing," they are "over-exploited and maldeveloped."

There are not many people defending imperialism whole-heartedly anymore. However, many scholars often take a balance-sheet approach. They argue that colonialism was not entirely bad, it brought some of the benefits of modernization and Western society to Africa. If colonialism exploited Africans on one hand, on the other they brought them schools, hospitals, and other benefits. Walter Rodney has the best answer for this approach by stating that colonialism only had one hand, it was a one-armed bandit. I believe that is important to understand the history of Africa, so that we may better oppose the arguments of those defending capitalism. Africa is often contrasted with the nations of Southeast and East Asia and shown to be an example of ineffective development models, almost always attributed to them not allowing the market sufficient room to operate. To the oft-given example of Japan, the Kingdom of Dahomey provides a demonstration and counter-example that all of Africa was stuck in a pre-modern way of doing things, with no chance for advancement without some sort of imposition of the Western development model. Understanding the place of Africa in the capitalist world-system of exploitation allows one to form a better understanding of the debate on 'development.' Hopefully this essay will provide its reader with a knowledge of Angolan history that allows them to explain the country in a dialectical, that is to say, radical, manner.

Portuguese Colonialism and the Modern History of Angola

Portugal was the first European country to acquire colonial territory on the African continent, and the last to give up their colonies and leave. Several centuries of Portugese colonization has left indelible impressions upon the political system of a nation barely a quarter of a century old.[2] The most crucial area of ethnic relations during the colonial era in Angola, was that of the settler and African population. Portugese colonialism was accompanied by the myth, expounded by various "laureates of imperialism", of "Luso-tropicalism."[3] Portugese colonialism, it was argued, was not characterized by the racist attitudes of other European imperial powers, the Portugese being immune to the human frailties, of say the British, or French.[4]

These scholars argued that Brazil, with its supposedly exemplary race relations, provided an excellent example of how the benign non-racist Portugese colonialism was put into practice. Putting aside the slave trade, miscegenation rates were supposed to be the proof of the non-racist attitudes of Portugese settlers.[5] Angola and Brazil however have a much different history of colonial dispossession, nearly unrelated racial dynamics, and a geographic context that renders a comparison of the two nearly useless.[6] The myth of Luso-tropicalism mocks the reality of imperialist violence, exploitation, and the backwards policies that Portugal kept till the last several years of colonialism. Perhaps the worst indignity visited upon the Angolan people, was official caste legislation put forth by the Portugese colonizers. The "Indigenato" system in Angola set up a race-based hierarchy that condemned blacks to an inferior status in all areas of society. This system classified the large majority of Angolans as indigena, or un-assimilated, uncivilized, etc., and to acquire "asimilado" status meant the adoption of Portugese customs and language. The second half of the 20th century, which saw independence achieved by the African colonies, put Portugese colonialism increasingly under fire, and lead to the eventual repeal of the "Indigenato" system in 1961.7 Nonetheless, Portugal chose to maintain its African colonies till the bitter end, and left a legacy of economic and social maldevelopment.

Angola's Main Ethnic Groups

There is a large and diverse collection of ethnic groups in Angola, but three of them are most important to understanding contemporary political realities, and many of them are so closely related that it is useful to put them under a single ethnic classification.

The Ovimbundu

The Ovimbundu/Umbundu are the largest ethnic group in Angola, comprising approximately 35 percent of the population. They are concentrated in the southern provinces of Bie and Huambo. This tribally based group of Angolans has a long, and proud history of economic self-sufficiency, innovation, and competition. Being the largest group in Angola, the Ovimbundu kingdom was able to provide better protection to its members from the brutalities of the slave trade, and was actually heavily involved in that trade till the late 19th century when it ended. The late period of Portugese colonialism, from about the Berlin conference in 1885 on, saw the state began to restrict the agricultural activities, and autonomy of local Ovimbundu leaders. The Berlin Conference in which European powers decided that effective occupation of a country was what signified it as a territorial possession of another state required the Portugese to begin encouraging increased settlement, especially into the interior, which necessitated the repression of the native population.[8] The Ovimbundu lent the colonial administration assistance in their campaign to extend their control, by providing a military force. This cooperation with the colonial authorities would set a precedent for Angolan politics, and the post-independence conflict. The relation of the Ovimbundu to the rest of Angolan society, and the government is mixed with contradictions; Linda Heywood has argued that they exhibit an "alienation from the state."[9]

The local sobas and the tribal leadership of the Ovimbundu, although not on an equal footing, largely cooperated with the colonial administrations goals. Set beneath the settlers as "indigenatos" and uncivilized, the Portugese attempted to marginalize them as economic competitors, especially in the lucrative field trade. This was largely irrelevant though, until the last quarter-century of colonization, as the settler population was so insignificant that there was no real need to subordinate the large majority of indigenous producers. However the final period of colonialism saw the creation of the "corvee" system, which was a forced labor system, or imposed-contract labor system. From the 1950's onwards the Portugese were able to increase the settler population dramatically, which previously had consisted primarily of "degredados," or forced convict setters.[9b] The new settlers were promised land and various subsidies and assistance from the government, while the African population was to become "contract laborers" working on settler plantations, public works, or various private industries.

The forced internal migration also served to enhance the security policies of the Portugese colonial administration, as Angolan peasants were being crowded into 'strategic villages,' which were setup in the hopes that the isolation of the population would prevent the nationalist guerrilla movements from acquiring any popular support. The Ovimbundu, as throughout its history, adapted rather well to the changes and hardships presented them, or resigned themselves to their fate, depending on how one may like to see it. The Ovimbundu comprised the majority of those Africans placed in the contract labor system, and largely cooperated with this conscription, even when it took them far away from their homes to northern Angola, to perform agricultural work on settler-owned coffee plantations. They typically would search for work, instead of work for the resistance.[11 ] However, when the Portuguese began taking the farmland of the Ovimbundu they felt particularly betrayed due to their previously accommodating relationship. The land occupied by the Ovimbundu is some of the most fertile land in Angola. The colonial army also had a large number of soldiers that were Ovimbundu who fought against the nationalist groups. The PIDE, the Portugese colonial intelligence organization, was able to recruit many collaborators among the Ovimbundu population, and this contributed to mistrust of them by the other nationalist groupings.[12] In all of these instances of imperialist and racist policies by the Portugese, the political ends that were sought were more important than an abstract commitment to elevating the "civilized" Portugese settlers, or to raise up the aggregate of Angolan society to Portugese civilization.

However, the Ovimbundu did not simply accept the domination that the Portugese attempted to impose on them. Although many of them converted to Protestantism they maintained many of their older beliefs, customs, and practices. They also formed the backbone of one of the liberation movements that was founded in 1966, by Jonas Malheiro Savimbi, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (U.N.I..T.A.).[13] The Ovimbundu peoples did not always respond favorably to the imposition of European and Christian culture, and the retention of cultural peculiarities can be taken as a symbol of their ideological opposition and resistance to the Portuguese attempts at acquiring hegemonic control. Speaking in 1914 native chief Sekulu Chamuanga reflected with distaste upon the situation, bemoaning that "the country is in bad shape...Witches and sorcerers abound. Formerly we burnt alive such people on the top of Chimabango Mountain."[14]

The Kimbundu

The Kimbundu/Mbundu are the second largest ethnic group in Angola, comprising approximately 24 percent of the population. They are concentrated in the coastal regions and in the provinces of Bengo, Malange, Kwanza Norte, and Kwanza Sul.[15] Until the end of the 19th century Portugese colonialism was largely confined to coast of Angola; Luanda and a few other coastal towns holding nearly all of the settler population. Concentrated in eastern Angola the Mbundu had the unfortunate situation of being the group of Angolans most accessible, geographically, to the Portugese slave traders. This made for the unfortunate fact that the Mbundu was the only ethnic group to have been conquered by the European power, till the scramble for empire after the Berlin conference.[16] The Mbundu ethnic group has the most urbanized population in Angola, and comprise a large percentage of the population of the capital, Luanda. The leaders of the first independence movement in Angola were Kimbundu and mesticos, and their fighting force consisted entirely of Kimbundu.. The Mbundu helped in the formation of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (M.P.L.A.), by serving as the manpower for the Popular Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (F.A.P.L.A.).[17] However, largely because of the leadership's ethnic diversity, the MPLA never put forth an explicitly ethnic ideology that identified them with any particular group in Angolan society.

The Kikongo/Bakongo and minority groups in Angola

The third largest ethnic group in Angola is the Kikongo/Bakongo, which comprises around 10 percent of the population. They are concentrated in the northern region of Angola, such as the Zaire province.[18] The Kikongo have more ethnic ties with their neighbors, then their countrymen. Their ethnic relation to the Congolese people has often influenced their relation to the state, and the political decisions their leadership has made. Like the Ovimbundu, this group has often intertwined the ethnic and the political, unlike the MPLA, which had a leadership and ideology that was not very concerned with ethnicity. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), was formed out of a merger between the UPNA/UPA and the GRAE . The N in UPNA, stood for north, which explicitly marked it as an organization for the northern ethnic groups, which made the organization less amicable to broad involvement, leading to the name change in an effort to try and recruit different ethnic groups.[19] The FNLA provided a rallying point for Bakongo speakers, and because of its ethnic ties was able to use the neighboring Congo states, Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville as bases for military operations against the Portugese, and later against the MPLA government.

Two other important ethnic groups in Angola are the Lunda-Chokwe and the Cabindan minority. The Lunda peoples are important to the government as they occupy the two Lunda provinces in Angola, which composes the main area of diamond mining in Angola, and the diversion of the profits from diamond sales, to external groups has heightened tensions between this group and the state and UNITA, as they desire the benefits from the wealth generated by diamond mining that is located in their traditional homeland.[20] The Cabindan people are also extremely important to the government of Angola, as they have formed a secessionist political organization, the FLEC, the Front for the Liberation of Cabinda. The Cabinda enclave near northern Angola is extremely vital to the government, as much of the oil wealth, which the government depends on for the majority of its revenue, originates in that province.[21] If as Susama Mohanty says "politics is the highest stage in the struggle for scarce, valued resources in a society" then the position of these two groups presents ethnopolitical situations ripe for future violence, if their aspirations for economic security and justice are not met.[22] Their situations exhibit how ethnicity is often subsumed by the political and economic issues that are contested in its name.

The Portugese colonial administration attempted to crush all these groups, but its main concern was with the Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. The MPLA was the liberation organization with the most explicitly radical message, and had put forth the most effective military resistance to the colonial government, although in absolute terms each organizations' pre-independence military effectiveness was rather insignificant.[23] This is because the three groups were never able to cooperate and form a single nationalist organization or to even coordinate their military activities. Most importantly, for future developments the colonial government was able to cultivate limited relationships with the MPLA's rivals UNITA and the FNLA, to fight collectively against the MPLA, and thus was able to encourage, and benefited from, previously existing divisions between the organizations.[24] The three groups were never able to reach a political settlement, and when Portugal was finally forced to grant Angola independence it was a result of domestic politics and pressures, more so than the waging of an effective "war of national liberation" by the nationalist groups. This irreconcilable division between the various ethnic-based nationalist groups in Angola prevented them from uniting to overthrow the colonial government, and precipitated the violent civil war that was to occur post-independence.[25]

I must remind the reader that this situation of political polarization along ethnic lines did not simply arise of itself, it was not the result of centuries old competitions between the Angola ethnic groups, or the expression of irredentist desires by the various groups. However it was created the ethnic split in Angola, and in any other country, can end being a self-generating force that is not singly determined by some other factor. Nevertheless it is important to understand the history of Angola, so that one may see that the colonial power did its utmost to encourage these ethnic divisions. To say that foreign exploitation is the cause of Africa's problems is not to deny that there are multiple causes to the problems and that some of them are internally related, it is to point out that there is a hierarchy in the causes, or to use more orthodox terms, there is a determining factor.

Jonas Savimbi and UNITA

Jonas Malheiro Savimbi the founder of UNITA and an Umbundu, (Ovimbundu) is crucial to understanding the ethnic dimension in Angolan politics. Jonas Savimbi is a quintessential ethnic activist and political entrepreneur; he was also the United States favorite anti-communist terrorist in Angola. The Ovimbundu's problematic relations with the state and governing authority continued under the People's Republic of Angola. The goals of the Marxist MPLA government subordinated the needs and aims of the large rural population and independent agricultural producers, of which the Ovimbundu were probably a majority, to the efforts at rapid industrialization and change, which favored the urban proletariat over the small-scale and subsistence farmer.[26] From 1975 till 1977, UNITA was readily able to recruit new members, and gained a large support base among the Ovimbundu. This early period of UNITA recruitment was highly successful, as the population supported all three of the nationalist movements, and often joined the "first one they saw," in the immediate post-independence period.[27]

Jonas Savimbi had long desired to be a leader of one of the nationalist movements, before UNITA was founded he attempted to gain a leadership position in the FNLA, but was rebuffed.[28] So in 1966 he founded UNITA with an explicit message and appeal to Ovimbundu unity.[29] The man himself was a remarkably ambitious, effective, and popular political leader. His proficiency in the various Umbundu languages impressed villagers, and gained him popularity, and his ability to speak four European languages certainly did not hurt his appeals for international support.[30] After being defeated in 1977, along with the FNLA, and South Africa, by the MPLA Government with Cuban support, he was able to rebuild UNITA, and create a large military force, with significant assistance coming from Apartheid South Africa and the United States.[31] Savimbi's alliance with the apartheid regime in South Africa, I believe, is a demonstration his behavior as a political entrepreneur, such a risky alliance, if it failed would leave him in a very precarious position with little to no support. Such an alliance risked the alienation of his own popular support, and that of the OAU, and other African institutions.

UNITA had to rely almost entirely on Ovimbundu support, and the direction the organization moved highlighted its ethnic characteristics. Its leader, Savimbi, spoke of Ovimbundu unity, and often made inflammatory speeches about Northerners, mesticos, and whites.[32] Since he relied on such a narrow support base this is not surprising, but held disastrous consequences for peace in Angola. Ovimbundu relations with, and perceptions of the state were largely determined by UNITA. Thus the MPLA president, who was unrelated to them, had no legitimacy in governing them.[33] Savimbi promoted this perspective, bemoaning how difficult, or impossible it was to live under mesticos and whites.[34]

The UNITA organization attempted to frighten the population into opposing the government, and sometimes used traditional beliefs and practices in attempts reinforce Ovimbundu identity. In the 1980's the organization was suspected of having used widespread forced recruiting to build up its forces. This has involved kidnaping and population displacement, forced conscription to fight on the threat of death, initiation, and other tactics.[35] During the civil war UNITA moved large numbers of people into Namibia to try and maintain a support base among the population.[36] Internally the organization often used fear to maintain conformity, by the public execution of opponents of Savimbi, who were sometimes accused of witchcraft and burned to death.[37] The civil war disrupted so much of the traditional village life though that Savimbi harmed his own efforts to maintain large support. UNITA's loss in the 1992 elections surprised him and his American supporters, who believed that he had the largest constituency.[38]

The MPLA and ethnic politics

Ethnicity did not play an important part in the organization of the MPLA as it did in UNITA. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola did primarily depend on Kimbundu support, but did not have an ideology that stressed Mbundu ethnic identity. Agoshtino Neto, and the other early leaders of the organization were mesticos, and assimilados, and had a western outlook.[39] Neto was educated in Portugal, and had made contacts there with the Portugese Communist Party; the MPLA was also allied with the Communist Party of Angola.[40] The policies of the colonial government in the period before independence limited the ability of all three nationalist groups to get peasant support, and an internal base for action against the government. The Portugese implemented an ambitious program of 'strategic resettlement' and forced African peasants to move into guarded communities, that they hoped would isolate them from the nationalists.[41] However after the 1961 uprising the MPLA was able to operate in the Dembos Forest, and in eastern Angola.

In northern Angola the colonial army, and its African conscripts fought against the liberation movements. Jonas Savimbi used ethnic rallying, proclaiming that the northern groups were killing their Bailundo brothers.[42] He did this in attempt to mobilize Ovimbundu peasants into UNITA, and because he already opposed the MPLA. Ethnic rallying, as an effort to use symbolism, to build support in a ethnic community, for political objectives, was an integral part of UNITA's war effort. Savimbi explicitly appealed to ethnic sentiments to rouse opposition and resentment towards the government.[43] Given that the MPLA had leadership often composed of whites and Afro-Portuguese the organization could not readily use ethnic rallying as a technique to mobilize support. The MPLA government relied on a strong vision of what they intended to build in Angolan society, and on the efforts of all Angolan citizens to build the new society.[44] Had the organization attempted to rely exclusively, or even relatively exclusively, on ethnic appeals it would have probably collapsed, as its leadership might have come under internal opposition, and its efforts to gain a diverse support base would have failed. In the mid-1980's ethnicity did come to the fore in the MPLA, as the new party elites wanted a more African leadership. They went so far as to expel Lucio Lara, one of the original founders of the MPLA, from his leadership position in the party.[45] Instead of focusing on tribal or ethnic differences, and isolating itself from other segments in Angolan society, the MPLA was able to mobilize Kimbundu and Lunda-Chokwe support in its earlier stages, and when the FNLA was disbanded in the late 1970's after an agreement was reached with the Zairean government, the organization acquired the support of many Kikongo people as well.

The National Front for the Liberation of Angola was able to effectively use its ethnic base, similarly to how UNITA did. Both of the groups had to operate from external bases, the FNLA in Zaire, and UNITA in Namibia. The FNLA's Zairean operations had more to do with the Kikongo people's historic relations to the people, whereas UNITA relied on South African assistance to base themselves in northern Namibia.[46] The Kongo people displayed an intense ethnic pride in the past. At times when their kingdoms were being subordinated by imperial European powers, there leaders would fight for and request that a Congolese individual be made their king, even though they understood that he would simply be a figurehead. Even as a figurehead though the Congo king could cause problems for the Portugese and other conquerors, because the royal institution inspired the people to fight a for a resurgence of their kingdoms.[47] The FNLA however, never became a serious contender for state power. After the FNLC (the National Front for the Liberation of Congo) invaded the Shaba province (formerly Katanga, an area that was very relevant to the drama surrounding the overthrow of Patrice Lumumba) from Angola for a second time, in 1979, in an attempt to overthrow the Mobutu regime, and the Zairean military was defeated, an agreement was reached between the two countries, that lead to the disbanding of the FNLA.[48] The United States was not about to allow the government of Zaire to become communist or nationalist government, and so the FNLC had to give up their struggle for the time being. Attempts at a pan-Congo movement have been insignificant, and there has been no organization that has attempted to mobilize Kongo support and ethnic identity in Angola.

In the Cabinda enclave of Northern Angola, a minor ethnic-secessionist movement has emerged, but whose goals have serious implications for the Angolan government, as noted above. The FLEC (Front for the Liberation of Cabinda) has fought the government for the formation an independent state. It is unlikely that their goal of secession will be achieved as the Cabinda enclave is a source of great oil wealth for the government. Their existence however does add an another ethnic dimension to the political dynamics of Angola. It can obviously be seen that the Cabindan political struggle is not simply about ethnic nationalism, and that the economic issues will most likely outweigh 'ethnic' considerations.

In the political systems of any diverse society ethnicity becomes an area of struggle in political competition. How it is expressed, and the arena of struggle varies widely. I would argue that ethnic competition and differentiation in Angola have largely been expressed through political means, instead of, perhaps social behaviors and disturbances, such as communal violence, and widespread ethnic animosities. This is not to deny that revenge killings were meted out to Ovimbundu citizens in Luanda after war broke out again in 1992, or the violence committed against non-Ovimbundu tribes people, whites, and MPLA members in UNITA areas. Attempting to understand Angola's political situation by ignoring domestic factors such as tribal differences, and ethnic rallying by various competing groups, and instead focusing on external intervention, and the competition for resources limits the understanding one can develop of the situation. However, the contours of ethnic relations in Angola must be understood in a political context. UNITA representing one side in the civil war, was composed almost entirely of Ovimbundu, and the internal workings of the organization emphasized Umbundu identity and unity, but the ideological competition of the cold-war took precedence over the desires of individual peasant producers and small village communities. In other words the civil war in Angola was not an "ethnic conflict," although ethnicity had a role in it.

Angolan Elite Politics and the Civil Conflict

Elites in Angolan politics have been crucial in deciding the course the civil war has taken, and the influence of ethnicity in politics. The legacy of centralization and undemocratic structures of the colonial period has cast a long shadow over Angola. From the beginnings of independence, and the founding of the MPLA government Angola has had state power concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, and oftentimes a single man has been crucial to understanding what direction the country will take. Agoshtino Neto, the first president of Angola, and head of the MPLA set the stage for continued executive dominance in decision-making. From Neto's death in 1979 Eduardo dos Santos has probably been the second most important figure in the country, behind only Jonas Savimbi. Critics of the Angolan government have cited presidential dominance of the political system as impeding further opening of the political process, and the introduction of further transparency into the administrative operations of the government.[49] Neither Neto or Dos Santos encouraged a strong ethnic identification on the part of their constituents, and the government under Dos Santos has encouraged citizens not to participate in revenge killings, and offered amnesty programs for UNITA soldiers.[50] Neto was characterized as being a strong leader, with a great sense of vision and huge popular support, whereas his successor is described as being withdrawn, quiet, and ineffective.[51]

Jonas Savimbi is the epitome of the ethnic activist and opportunistic political entrepreneur. A man who has been described as being driven for absolute power, highly ambitious, and dictatorial was the most significant actor in Angolan politics, unfortunately playing a negative and destabilizing role.[52] Throughout the 1980's and 1990's UNITA waged a destructive war on its own country. Savimbi attempted to portray himself as fighting for the political representation of the majority ethnic group in the population, and attempted to take control of the government by force, or at least to gain a more favorable position at the bargaining table. Savimbi filled his promise, made after his initial defeat by the Cuban and MPLA forces, "that Angola would have no peace, no economic development..." and set the stage for a quarter century of misery in Angola.[53]

The civil war has taken a devastating toll upon the population, and Angolan society in general. During the 1980's the war was largely fought between armies, as Cuban troops and the MPLA fought against UNITA and the South African Defense Force. Ethnicity during this period of the conflict blurred. Jonas Savimbi could not easily portray himself to his domestic supporters as fighting against white, or more generally non-African control of the government while being supported by the apartheid regime of South Africa. Some of the Cuban soldiers had a historical and ethnic connection to Angola, because of the slave trade, and there was a stronger feeling of solidarity on the Angolan Government's side.[54] Savimbi defended his alliance by saying, "when you are drowning in an alligator infested river, if someone is pulling you onto the bank, you don't question who, until you're safely on."[55] This alliance would harm Savimbi's reputation though, especially among African countries, and the OAU (Organization for African Unity). The alliance also demonstrated what Savimbi's true goals were, as a tool of the West and South Africa he wished to ride to ride to power on the backs of the Umbundu people and the wealthy support he was receiving from his allies.

The Civil War

The civil war brought horrible devastation and a string of negative changes upon Angolan society. Massive displacement of the population was caused by the laying of over 10 million anti-personnel land mines, and widespread violence throughout the nation.[56] UNITA's tactics have, unfortunately for them, incidentally increased support for the government, although perhaps only marginally. The mining of fields to disrupt agriculture, and the violence committed against villages supporting the government, which in some cases was simply indiscriminate violence has caused huge numbers of the population to migrate into the larger cities, which are largely controlled by the government. Angola is now the most urbanized country in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately over fifty percent of the population now living in urban areas, whereas in 1970 only 14 percent of the population lived in urban areas.[57] This "modernizing" change has been the result of terrible tragedies for the Angolan rural population Most of these people live in shantytowns, set up outside the main area of cities, in conditions of desperate poverty. Luanda, the capital has a population of over 3 million, with most of this population living outside the "concrete city," without many of the social supports the more wealthy internal city-dwellers have.[58] A diverse range of ethnic groups has migrated to the city because of the war. This urbanization can affect ethnic relations in Angola in conflicting ways. The mixing of different groups and the concentration of them in a modern environment can create social homogeneity, and induce better relations between them. This is exhibited by the fact that around a quarter of the population now speaks Portugese as its main language, an increasing statistic.[59] However, the urban areas are mired in horrible poverty, and the cramming together of different peoples into an urban slum can cause mobilization and violence along ethnic lines, as individuals join in groups to compete for the scarce resources available.

Post-Cold War Political Struggles

During the Cold War period of the struggle for state power several hundred thousand people died, but the more significant area of destruction in this period was that inflicted upon the social infrastructure. The MPLA government had pursued a widespread literacy and education program for adults and children, and made an effort to extend healthcare throughout the country. This involved the establishment of thousands of schools and rural health clinics and medical facilities. UNITA laid waste to much of these new institutions built by the government, destroying over 10,000 schools, and half of the health clinics, along with hydroelectric grids, over 200 bridges, also laying extensive mines throughout the nation's roads.[60] UNITA did make a limited effort at setting up schools and other social services in the areas under its control but this was not a priority for the organization.[61]

UNITA's extensive use of anti-personnel land mines wreaked havoc upon the country. Having control of the state lent greater legitimacy to the MPLA government, so that UNITA had to use a "total war" strategy.[62] The MPLA had more legitimacy with the population as it had organized the masses in support of it rather well in the early years of independence and had a comprehensive plan for future development in Angola; the victory of the party in the 1992 elections underscores their popular support. Since civil wars are often conflicts over the nature of the political system in a society and all the ramifications that come with those systems, it is often necessary to crush the civilian population supporting one's enemy. The use of land mines have so disrupted agricultural production in Angola that a country that once exported food and had a thriving rural economy with subsistence and cash crop production has been forced to make desperate appeals for international humanitarian and food aid.[63] UNITA would lay land mines in the peasant fields around the cities, causing thousands of people to be killed or maimed when attempting to perform agricultural labor. Land mines have been so heavily used that Angola came to have the highest amputee rate per capita in the world. By 1988 over 40,000 people were amputees, most of these people being women and children.[64] The transportation infrastructure has suffered serious damage from the laying of mines, so much that traffic became too dangerous on many of the roads, for the delivery of various materials, from military and medical supplies to food and trading caravans.

A country with only about 12 million people had massive death and destruction brought upon its cities in sieges by UNITA, which in some cases lasted over a year, with the control of the city switching between the two militaries. The siege of Kuito has been compared with the Battle of Stalingrad, and not without some grounds for the comparison. The battle involved thousands of deaths and reduced the city to rubble.[65] At the height of the violence in the renewed civil war, after the Bicesse elections, it is estimated that 1000 people were dying a day in Angola due to the fighting.66 Continuous fighting was waged for the control of the important oil town of Soyo. UNITA occupations of Huambo, Caxito, and other provincial capitols, involved pitched battles and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens.[67] The siege warfare waged on the cities of Angola was integral to the political goals of UNITA. The strategy reflected the political goal of breaking the will of the population by forcing them to abandon their support for the MPLA government, and acquiesce to UNITA's military struggle for political power. For ordinary Angolans this has meant nothing other than a brutal war of attrition, which has torn many of them from their homes.[68] "Total war" means that civilians are not an incidental target in battle, but are the prime target, or at least a crucial one, instead of the military forces of the enemy having top priority for destruction.

The war that occurred after a peace was tenuously reached, elections held, and then the peace broken, from about 1992-1994 has been argued by many authors to have been worse than any of the previous military conflicts in Angola.[69] Jonas Savimbi's return to war did not come as a surprise to all observers, and in fact several UNITA leaders defected from the organization and accurately foretold what Savimbi's real intentions were and how his actions were circumventing the peace process, and the provisions of the Bicesse accords concerning the demobilization of UNITA soldiers. Tony da Costa Fernandes and Miguel Nzau Puna said that Savimbi was hiding large military forces, and was infiltrating the cities and preparing for a post-election takeover.[70] In the demobilization camps for the army of UNITA, they quartered individuals who were variously incapacitated to serve effectively in the military or who had been kidnapping victims, and handed over insignificant weapons materiel, none of which was the organizations advanced or heavy equipment, nor were the de-mobilized "troops" their well-trained forces.[71] The Bicesse accords provided that UNITA was to demobilize thousands of its soldiers and begin integrating its armed forces into a new national army, the FAA (Angolan Armed Forces). The MPLA's military forces FAPLA had already been changed into the FAA. UNITA was also required to begin ceding areas under its control to the state, to put the entire country under government supervision. Conditions in UNITA-controlled territories were difficult to determine, as the organization restricted entry and typically gave access only to those journalists who already supported the organization.[72]

The government forces, which were also to demobilize under the agreement, largely did so. This occurred because the government was unable to provide food or pay for many of them, and many were convinced that the war was over.[73] Despite UNITA violations of the agreement, most significant of which was that areas of the country were still under the organization's strict control preventing the state from overseeing a uniform implementation of the policies concerning demobilization, voter registration, etc, the international community, with the U.S. and the U.N. leading the way, pushed for the elections to be held anyway. Over 800 international observers came to Angola to oversee the elections, and there was also an election-monitoring group with MPLA and UNITA elements in it, and the conclusion reached was that the elections were "generally free and fair."[74] Savimbi left the capital, Luanda, and soon after the war erupted again throughout the country. This time UNITA had infiltrated the capital during the quasi-peace period attained before the elections, and fighting spread throughout the city.

The MPLA government decided to arm its supporting citizens, so that the police forces were not the only ones fighting against UNITA. Citizens in Luanda who rose up and fought off the UNITA forces were frightened by Savimbi and the organization's bellicosity.[75] Because of the preparations Savimbi had made UNITA was able to quickly take control of 2/3 of the national territory. He had control of most of the provinces and provincial capitals, but could not capture the national capital. In Luanda the citizens carried out violent retaliation against Ovimbundu citizens, some of whom were not UNITA supporters. To the credit of the government it did attempt to stem the tide of ethnic resentment and violence. In the rest of the country where UNITA was quickly occupying and taking over there was systematic violence against any MPLA supporters and many non-Ovimbundu citizens.

The United States government had believed that UNITA would win the elections, largely because the Ovimbundu were the largest ethnic group in the country. The strategic measures mentioned above, that UNITA adopted, including the siege warfare waged on the cities, and the extensive laying of mines, it was hoped, would subdue the population into believing that voting for UNITA was the only way to achieve peace. Angolans were expected to bow to immense pressure of the imperial master, the way Nicaraguans had been forced to do shortly before them. The messages Savimbi was issuing over VORGAN (UNITA's official radio station) were bellicose calls to war, and divisive demagoguery, using ethnic rallying to try and mobilize UNITA supporters.[76] Indeed the organizations symbol, the black cockerel, was meant to symbolize its ethnic base. However the urbanization that UNITA war-making caused had the effect of putting much of that internally displaced population in a position to receive appeals from the government, and relative safety from the violence in the countryside. Savimbi could have capitalized on resentment against government policies, but instead chose to try and achieve his aims for power with the military option. His plans backfired in his face, as much of the population chose to not support UNITA, even though many were also disillusioned with the MPLA government. Spray paint on the walls in Luanda expressed it well, "MPLA Rouba, UNITA Mata." The MPLA steals, UNITA kills.[77]

The Beginning of the End

The competition for state power and the control of lucrative resources in Angola only receives a thin veneer of ethnic conflict. Competition between the UNITA military elite (Savimbi) and the tiny new capitalist elite of the MPLA, in the context of the changes that have occurred in the 1990's, to be put forth as a competition by one side, or the other's, effort to bring democracy and recovery to the country is a tragic farce. The one side, UNITA, fought a brutal war, largely against the civilian population of the country, and has financed its war by the exploitation of diamond resources in the Lunda provinces.[78] The organization never put forth much of an ideology, certainly not one any more democratic than the MPLA's, not even at the height of the MPLA's "Afro-Stalinist" period.[79] The MPLA government on the other hand has nearly dropped even the pretense of working for egalitarian principles, and putting the peoples' welfare as the top priority for the government.[80] The privatization and economic restructuring that has occurred since the MPLA abandoned Marxism-Leninism as its official party line and guiding principles, and adopted "democratic socialism" as its governing philosophy has only benefitted a marginal sector of the population. Wealth generated by oil revenues has largely been spent on maintaining a large military force so that the government can stay in power, and several years of the oil profits were given to business institutions to acquire military supplies to fight the war against UNITA. So wide is the gulf between the original MPLA foreign policy and the current one, that the governing party has hired a South African mercenary firm, (Executive Outcomes) which probably employed mercenaries who once were paid to fight and overthrow the Angola government, and in 1995 the government chose to abstain from voting in the annual U.N. resolution on the American blockade of Cuba.[81] This symbolic gesture to Washington, showed how the U.S. achieved its goal of moving Angola firmly back in to the international capitalist orbit. It was also a quite dramatic turn-of-face, as Cuba had played a huge role in helping to defeat the Apartheid forces and UNITA.

What do these events and changes say about ethnic relations in Angola? If the political is prime, where does ethnicity fit into the above elaboration of Angola's political history? The ethnic, or tribal if one prefers, dimension to politics in this country is played out in the wider context of social resistance to the tactics of total war waged by Angola. The women in Kuito, who foraged for food at night, and attempted to survive on a meager existence, give a proud reply to the crushing blows of an artillery siege.[82] The urban relations in a congested, disease-ridden city with no plumbing, or the generous subsidies from the government for water and other essentials that is given to the wealthier residents of the "concrete city" in Luanda, showcase a population that has been crushed by warfare, and thrown together with a large mix of ethnically unrelated individuals, also "internally displaced" by the war.[83] The systemic change to multi-party politics in Angola, has seen the emergence of a relatively large number of small parties, and many other groups in civil society.

All of these events come as a double-edged sword to Angola. The change to a more democratic system has been accompanied by a significant decline in the economic well-being of the population, and a cynical political system that makes a mockery of the "transition paradigm," as the population has seen little benefits from democratization, and the government has successfully limited much of its accountability. It is a shame that this process is called "democratization," the moving of a government committed to equality and development to a government committed to the "rule of law," (which is really about the stated government's commitment to the system of private property) and the market.

The change to an urban society creates a large sector of the population which is homogenized by the conditions of their environment, but escalates the potential for conflict. Ovimbundu relations with the state have been most affected by the long civil war and Jonas Savimbi's quest for power. Savimbi's continued reliance on military means to attain his ends has inadvertently caused him to lose some of his support, as several of his top leaders have left the organization, and founded, or joined UNITA-Renovada. This splinter group of the organization renounced Savimbi's use of the military option to pursue political gain. UNITA-renovada is a positive introduction to the multi-party system in Angola, as it presents the Ovimbundu population with a political entity that is, at least ostensibly, dedicated to their interests as a constituency.

The tragedy of Angola's civil war foretold the dramatic decline in several key social indicators of the citizens' standard of living. "Africa's brightest hope," as Angola was called at independence, turned into one of its bleakest tragedies.[84] UN special-representative to Angola Margaret Anstee, named her book on the country, Orphan of the Cold War. The title is only partially accurate; the world may not "care" about Angola, but it is certainly interested in it. The country is one the top exporters of oil in Africa, and its estimated reserves has increased, and is expected to continue to do so, as further exploration is done. The world, and particularly the U.S., and various multinational companies, such as Chevron, are very interested in the direction Angola takes.

The early period of the revolution in Angola, involved significant efforts, with a good measure of success, towards increasing the literacy rate- for both children and adults, and generally improving the welfare of their citizens in the MPLA's quest to build a socialist society.85 The new government in Angola has little concerned itself with policies aimed at reinitiating these efforts. Individual government ministers have been occupied with accumulating oil wealth through a "Bermuda Triangle" scheme, which has seen government revenue from oil simply disappear into foreign accounts as though it was never created or existed. The UNITA elite has accumulated the diamond wealth, but this has changed recently with the decline of the organization, and its ability to control areas rich in diamond ore, after Jonas Savimbi's death. A cynical view is probably most prescient, with the integration of UNITA elites perhaps the organized and large-scale violence of the civil war will end, but it will simply broaden the few "elites," and well-placed individuals in the society who are enriched by the control of Angola's oil and diamond wealth. The declining 'social indicators' mentioned above are

  • a child mortality rate that is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, the under-5 mortality rate is estimated by UNICEF to be 292 per 1000
  • an adult literacy rate of 50 percent for males, 30 percent for females
  • education levels lower than the average for sub-Saharan Africa, 30 percent of pupils who start in class 1 reach class 5

There is some ground for cautious optimism. In February of 2002 Jonas Savimbi was killed by government forces, and although the military option still exists for UNITA he has been regarded by many observes as the foremost obstacle to peace. Fred Bridgland, Savimbi's biographer has predicted that the organization will collapse within a short time. The government now controls the entire country, although there are still small rebel units of UNITA who are still fighting, mainly to retain control of diamond-mining areas. Many of the depressing statistics about Angola can be attributed to the civil war, and now the development of the country can be contested peacefully in the political arena. Before Savimbi's death the geo-political situation in Southwest Africa had turned in the Angolan government's favor. The South African apartheid regime is gone, and Namibia has achieved independence from that country, ending the ability of UNITA to use northern Namibia as a rear attack base and to retreat there, and Savimbi could no longer account on the SADF for military and material support. In 1997, Sese Seko Mobutu's regime was overthrown by forces lead by Laurent Kabila, and the Democratic Republic of Congo was created, which also disallowed Savimbi from launching attacks from its territory. Regime change in Congo-Brazzaville has also taken its toll on another Savimbi ally. The MPLA secretary-general expressed the government's belief that UNITA is "acting in good faith," in the current efforts towards peace-building.

Even a relatively cursory look, like this one, at the post-independence politics of Angola reveals that to focus exclusively on ethnic politics would be a mistake. The historical picture shown in the English-language literature shows that the three main ethnic groups in Angola did, to some measure at least, find political representation through groups that relied primarily on ethnic constituencies. The attachments of ethnic identity also played a huge part in the ability of Jonas Savimbi to gain popularity. However, to focus on ethnicity would be to ignore the crucial role played by United States imperialist ambitions, and the efforts of South Africa to crush national liberation movements, and the goal of Cuba to further them and gain positive relationships with other countries through revolutionary solidarity.

Chad Falt is a senior and History major at the University of Texas of Austin who interned with the International Action Center in NYC. He can be reached here:


1. For example of this see The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict edited by David Lake and Donald Rothchild and Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, Michael Brown, et al.

2. Nation Correspondent, "The Colonial Legacy That Keeps Angola War Alive," This writer argues that the "indigenato" system the colonial government had, has set up discriminatory beliefs and attitudes in Angola.

3. Bender, Gerald J., Angola Under the Portuguese the Myth and the Reality (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1978) Chapter 1 covers the main concepts of Luso-tropicalism, and discusses its most famous proponent, Gilberto Freyre. The phrase "laureate of imperialism," just as "laureates of empire," goes back to the opposition to imperialism in the 19th century, and the perception that writers such as Rudyard Kipling defended such a brutal institution.

4. Bender, Angola Chapter 2, and pages 3-4

5. Bender, Angola In chapter 2 Bender examines the argument about miscegenation in general, and as phenomena used to assert egalitarian race relations. He contrasts Africa and Brazil in terms of settlement and other important factors. See especially pages, 45-54.

6. Bender, Angola See pages 26-30 and 33-54.

7. Bender, Angola pgs. 108 and 155. The repeal of this archaic legislation only came after the 1961 nationalist uprising. Heywood, Linda, Contested Power in Angola 1840s to the Present (Rochester, New York: Rochester University Press, 2000). p. 134. Heywood observes that this change was actually a move backwards to the status reserved for Angolans in the 19th century.

8. Heywood, Contested pgs. X, 2 Hodges, Tony,Angola From Afro-Stalinism to Petro-diamond Capitalism (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001). pgs. 23-24

9. Heywood, Contested The introduction on page XIII, begins with the authors intent to place this book within the context of continuing "the search for the proper balance between centralizing institutions and local autonomy....," and the epilogue of the book expresses hope at the signs of reconciliation between the Ovimbundu and the state, pg 234.

9(b) Bender, Angola Chap. 3 is on the deportation of Portugal's convicts to Angola. The country actually maintained this policy over 5 centuries, beginning in 1415, and officially ending it by decree in 1932. See pages 60, 92.

10. Bender, Angola See pages 179-182.

11. Heywood, Contested, Ovimbundu cooperation with the Portuguese was on many levels, and also involved colonial propaganda to promote a loyal consciousness among the Ovimbundu. See pages 135-137.

12. Heywood, Contested, p. 142

13. Heywood, Contested, p. 140

Mohanty, Susama Politcal Development and Ethnic Identity in Africa (New Delhi, India: D.K. Fine Art Press, 1992). pg 124

14. Heywood, Contested, see page 60

15. Hodges, Angola, pgs. 24-25

16. Bender, Angola, pgs. 75-76 17. Heywood, Contested, p. 202 Wright,George, The Destruction of a Nation (Chicago, Illinois: Pluto Press, 1997) pgs. 7,8

18. Hodges, Tony Angola From Afro-Stalinism to Petro-diamond Capitalism (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2001) p. 25

19. Hodges, Angola, p. 8

20. Hodges, Angola, pgs. 28, 75, 147

21. Hodges, Angola, pg. 28

22. Mohanty, Susama Political Development and Ethnic Identity in Africa (New Delhi, India: D.K. Fine Art Press, 1992) p. 211

23. Bender, Angola, pgs. 234, 235 Bender writes that the Portuguese coup leaders chose to end the system.

24. Heywood, Contested, pgs. 134-136 Heywood discusses Ovimbundu cooperation and collaboration, but also emphasizes Ovimbundu resistance.

25. Heywood, Contested, pg. 184

26. Heywood, Contested, pg. 185-186

27. Minter, William Apartheid's Contra's (Johannesburg, South Africa: Witwatersrand University Press, 1994) The chapter on the military organization of RENAMO, and UNITA discusses this.

28. Heywood, Contested, pgs.140, 163-165

29. Heywood, Contested, pgs. 163, 164 Mohanty, Political, pg. 104

30. Mohanty, Political, p. 99 Heywood, Contested, pgs. 193-194

31. Brittain, Victoria Death of Dignity (London, England: Pluto Press,1998) Ch. 2, page 11 notes that South Africa made Jonas Savimbi's headquarters. Birmingham, David Frontline Nationalism in Angola and Mozambique (London, England: Africa World Press, 1992) p. 84

32. Wolfers, Michael and Jane Bergerol Angola in the Frontline (London, England: Zed Press, 1983) p. 205 Heywood, Contested, p. 216-218

33. Heywood, Contested, p. 234

34. Brittain, Death, p. 64

35. Brittain, Death, p. 77

36. Wolfers, Angola, p. 212 Wolfers tells how troops were brought into Namibia. William Minter's book Apartheid's Contras also discusses how UNITA forcibly removed people to Namibia, and areas under its control.

37. Heywood, Contested, p. 214 Linda Heywood notes that accusations of "witch-burning" may have enhanced Savimbi's prestige and popularity with the rural population. Although William Minter argues the opposite, asserting that the burnings actually caused no small amount of horror and terror among the population, and that it appears Savimbi may have actually exerted pressure on local branches of UNITA to end the practice.

38. Wright, Destruction, p. 66 Brittain, Death, p. 44

39. Mohanty, Political, p. 58

40. Bender, Angola, Bender mentions this when discussing the origins of the MPLA.

41. Bender, Angola, pgs. 158-196

42. Heywood, Contested, pgs. 136, 216

43. Heywood, Contested, pgs. 216-221

44. Wolfers, Angola, pgs. 109-110, 205 Davidson, Basil The Black Man's Burden (New York City, New York: Random House, 1992) p. 241

45. Hodges, Angola, p. 47 Brittain, Death, p. 26

46. Brittain, Death, ch. 2 and passim.

47. Mohanty, Political, p. 80-87

48. Wright, Destruction, p. 89

49. Hodges, Angola, ch.6 This entire chapter "Oil and the Bermuda Triangle," is about the lack of transparency in government institutions, and how this has lead to immense corruption.

50. Brittain, Death, pgs. 65, 93

51. Hodges, Angola, p. 48 Wolfers, Angola, pgs. 183-184

52. Wolfers, Angola, chs. 10 and ll and passim.

53. Brittain, Death, p.7

54. Wright, Destruction, pgs. 127-128 Wolfers, Angola, pgs. 28-31

55. Heywood, Contested, p. 199 Interview on with Fred Bridgland "Don't Simplify History, Says Savimbi's Biographer"

56. Campbell, Horace G. "Militarism, Warfare, and the Search for Peace in Angola" in Bradshaw, York and Stephen N. Ndegwa, eds., The Uncertain Promise of Southern Africa (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2000) p. 168 Wright, Destruction, preface page VIII, puts the number of mines at over 15 million. 57. Hodges, Angola, p. 23

58. Hodges, Angola, p. 54

59. Hodges, Angola, pgs. 25-26

60. Wright, Destruction, p. 129

61. William Minter discusses this in Apartheid's Contras.

62. Campbell, "Militarism...," p. 151 He uses the concept to describe the military tactics, especially siege warfare, adopted by UNITA, and I draw my own conclusions from the observation.

63. Campbell, op. cit., pgs. 180-185 Campbell details the size of the international food program, and actually makes a radical critique of it.

64. Wright, Destruction, p. 129 Writing in the preface, apparently after the main body of the book was finished, he puts the number of amputees at 100,000. p. VIII

65. Campbell, op. cit., pgs. 151-153 Brittain, Death, pgs. 83-84

66. Brittain, Death, pgs. 73, 74

67. Brittain, Death, Chapter 6 details the horror of Angola's "war of the cities." On page 68, Brittain says, in total, there was 3 million "in flight from UNITA". Page 76 mentions 200,000 refugees returning to Cubal once the fighting stopped. Wright, Destruction, p. 173 He puts Huambo's refugees at 100,000.

68. Wright, Destruction, p. 166

69. Wright, Destruction, p. 141

70. Brittain, Death, pgs. 49, 67 Wright, Destruction, p. 164

71. Wright, Destruction, pgs. 165-166

72. Brittain, Death, p. 48

She mentions violence in UNITA areas, that provided an environment of fear. The fact that the organization still controlled areas of the country limited freedom of movement, and the ability to monitor voter registration.

73. Brittain, Death, p. 59 Wright, Destruction, pgs. 165-166

74. Wright, Destruction, p. 169 Brittain, Death, p. 67 Heywood, Contested, p. 222 Linda Heywood notes that even UNITA sent a letter to the U.N. accepting the election results.

75. Wright, Destruction, pgs. 169-170 Brittain, Death, p. 63

76. Heywood, Contested, pgs. 216-217, 220

77. Heywood, Contested, p. 218

78. Hodges, Angola, Chapter 7 is about this subject.

79. The title of Tony Hodges book uses the term, which I believe gives an inaccurate rendering of the "People's Republic of Angola's" political and economic dynamics. The only "Stalinists" in Angola were probably in Savimbi's organization. UNITA operated through violence and terror, and when it was founded it was originally supposed to be a Maoist-inspired organization.

80. Brittain, Death, p. 95

81. Brittain, Death, p. 94

82. Campbell, op. cit., pgs. 151-153

83. Hodges, Angola, pgs. 27-29

84. Basil Davidson refers to Angola as Africa's brightest hope, however several countries on the continent have had the phrase applied to them.

85. Wolfers, Angola, Chapter 7 Wolfers discusses the efforts to build a "new society."

86. Hodges, Angola, pgs. 32-34

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