President Agostinho Neto, the first leader of independent Angola, died in Moscow on Tuesday, (September 10).
President Agostinho Neto, the first leader of independent Angola, died in Moscow on Tuesday, (September 10). He was 56 and was reported to have been ill since last year.
SYNOPSIS: November the 11th, 1975 ... and the swearing in of the then Dr. Neto as Angolan president. He had campaigned for independence from Portugal since the mid 50's.
Since 1962 he'd been leader of the MPLA party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola; one of three groups that opposed Portuguese rule. In early 1975 the three parties united and Portugal soon agreed to Angola's independence ..... with the government to be formed from representatives of all three parties. But the pact soon collapsed and civil war broke out. President Neto's MPLA, backed by Cuban troops who were armed by the Soviet Union, emerged victorious against the other, pro-western groupings. Under President Neto Angola's leadership was moulded on Marxist lines ... and it had to face vast problems caused by the flight of Portuguese settlers and extensive war damage.
President Neto maintained close links with the Soviet Union. He himself insisted that he was not the servant of any foreign ideology; but Angola received aid in agriculture, fishing, health and defence from Moscow, Cuba and other Communist allies. His opponents saw him as a Soviet puppet who relied on Cuban military support to maintain his position. Since early last year there had been reports that President Neto was seeing specialist doctors in Moscow.. where he died after undergoing surgery for cancer.
In Africa, President Neto brought Angola into the alliance of countries opposed to white rule in Zimbabwe- Rhodesia. The five so-called 'Front Line' states, including Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique, virtually encircled Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Angola provided the Nationalist Rhodesian guerilla forces with major training camps.
In November last year Angolans in the capital, Luanda, celebrated three years of independence .. with President Neto firmly in command. He had survived an attempted coup by a group of civilians and army commanders within his own movement in May 1977... a challenge that apparently enabled him to strengthen his position. Now, with a successor yet to be found, Angola enters an official period of 45 days mourning for President Neto, a doctor, left-wing revolutionary and poet, who led his country to independence, setting Angola on its present Marxist course.