Portugal Supports Impunity in Angola

An unholy alliance of three political parties in the Portuguese parliament resulted on March 31 in their voting down the Left Block’s motion to repudiate the verdicts and sentences handed down against Domingos da Cruz, Luaty Beirão, Nito Alves and a further 14 young Angolans, condemned for peacefully manifesting their disagreement with the looting of their homeland by the dictatorial oligarchy led by José Eduardo dos Santos.

The PSD (Social Democratic Party) led by Passos Coelho, the CDS (Social Democratic Centre Peoples Party) led by Paulo Portas and the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) led by Jerónimo de Sousa, have shown themselves to be accomplices of the public servants bought and paid for by the Dos Santos regime for their work in perpetuating the disgusting banality of evil which has become the daily experience of millions of Angolans.

Portas, Passos and the Communists are today partners in this repellent neo-colonial expedition on which part of the Portuguese Economy has embarked. Some would say, re-embarked, giving continuity to five centuries of colonial exploitation. The same spirit as shown by Dom Henrique in 1500 when he opened Portugal’s first slave market in the town of Lagos in the Algarve to sell those human beings who had been captured in Africa. The same cold-hearted opportunism shown by Salazar in the Second World War, when he took payment for services rendered to Nazi Germany in gold bars looted from murdered Jews, bars which arrived in Lisbon stamped with the Swastika.

This vote by the PSD, CDS and PCP was a vote against the Angolan people. They have chosen to ignore, just as in colonial times, that the theft of Angola’s natural resources condemns millions of people to one of the lowest life expectancy in Africa and the highest rate of infant mortality in the world.

In days gone by, the Salazar dictatorship used the heroic narrative of the Discoveries to justify five centuries of colonial pillage. In their attempt to keep that narrative alive, they sacrificed the lives of an entire generation of young people in the 1960s and 70s, in an inglorious and infamous war in the defence of the indefensible and which to this day has compromised the future of a swathe of countries.

How absurd to think that at a time when the Beatles were singing “All you need is love” around the world, Salazar was operating a concentration camp for political dissidents in Tarrafal, Cape Verde, where they tried to silence those voices denouncing evil. José Eduardo dos Santos is doing that today to Domingos da Cruz, Luaty Beirão, Nito Alves and their cohort. Then, as now, trying to trivialise and cover up wrongdoing by buying off any guilty consciences with money looted at the cost of innocent lives.

It is not my place to tell the Angolan people what they should, or should not, do. As a Portuguese citizen, I can legitimately condemn those in Portugal who shamelessly take advantage of neocolonial loot. This is what is behind that shameless vote in the Portuguese parliament on March 31.

Those who voted in Portugal against the 17 Angolan political prisoners have forgotten a time in the not too distant past in which the Portuguese secret police, the PIDE, silenced all dissent against the Salazar regime and brutalised any opponents. Just as the political police is doing today in Angola under cover of a false justice. History does not stop. Angola will change.

This period of monstrous complicity by Portuguese economic entities in the pillage of Angola will come to an end. One day, we will free ourselves from this humiliating neo-colonialism which between the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon and its Angolan equivalent in Luanda, insults the entire nations of Portugal and Angola. One day we will put an end to this dictatorship of opportunists. And then, in the words of the American negro spiritual which Martin Luther King invoked in his “I have a dream”
speech in Washington, D.C., then all of us in Angola as in Portugal will be able to say: “Free at last!

Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”