Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Dies at 79
The former president of Angola, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos died on July 8th, 2022 at the age of 79. Dos Santos died in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain from an unknown illness.
According to reports, he was admitted to the medical facility after suffering cardiac arrest and then received treatment for an unidentified illness.
The announcement of his death was made by the Angolan government, with the President of the southern African nation, Joao Lourenco, declaring five days of mourning. All public events in the country have been postponed, with flags flying at half-mast.
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos was born in Luanda, the capital city of Angola, on August 28, 1942. He was the son of Avelino Eduardo dos Santos and Jacinta Jose Paulino.
Dos Santos joined the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) at a young age. He went to Azerbaijan to study petroleum engineering and radar communications at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute.
He returned to Angola in 1970, joining the underground forces of the MPLA in the fight against the Portuguese colonialists. Dos Santos was a radio operator for the MPLA in Cabinda during this time.
Angola gained its independence from Portugal on November 11th, 1975. Dos Santos became the second president of Angola, at the age of 37, in 1979 after taking over from Agostinho Neto, who died in office. He would serve in that position for close to four decades, remaining in his role as president for 38 years.
Dos Santos leaves behind a mixed legacy. He played a significant part in the political party that played a major role in achieving Angola’s freedom.
After gaining independence, Angola was embroiled in a 27-year civil war against the opposition party UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi.
The civil war ended in 2002 after Savimbi had been killed by Dos Santos’ troops. Dos Santos oversaw Angola’s assistance of Namibia and South Africa’s freedom fighting movements against imperialists and colonialists.
As times changed, Dos Santos changed with them. He shifted his country’s focus from Marxism to more of a capitalist policy. Angola is the 2nd largest producer of oil in Africa and is rich in diamonds. These lucrative resources allowed him to oversee a rebuild of his country’s infrastructure.
The economic boom in the country was evident but it soon became clear that it only benefitted Dos Santos’ family and political allies.
More insight on Jose Eduardo dos Santos
Dos Santos has been accused of corruption and nepotism. His daughter, Isabel Dos Santos, became a billionaire under his presidency, allegedly holding interests in supermarkets, diamonds, a cement-making operation, telecommunications, and banking.
She was also the head of the state petroleum company Sonangol. Jose Filomena Dos Santos, son of the former president, was the head of the Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund which was worth a reported $5 billion.
Dos Santos was seen by some as a cold leader. A writer recalled how he appeared timid and seemingly shy. He was very private, rarely giving interviews or speaking about himself.
This persona, however, was different from who he was behind closed doors. He has been described, by people within the political sphere, as a wily politician, who ruled Angola with an iron fist.
His tenure as president saw accusations of repression, arrests, and killings of political opponents. According to reports, Dos Santos ran the country as a securocrat, with state intelligence services reportedly feeding him with information to the point where he knew everything going on in the country.
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos’ first marriage was to Tatiana Kukanova in 1966, whom he met in Azerbaijan. After getting divorced in 1979, Dos Santos got married to Ana Paula de Lemos in 1991, who had been an air hostess on the Angolan presidential aircraft.
It is being reported that she had been separated from her husband at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife and ten children, from various marriages.
When Dos Santos stepped down in 2017, he deemed current president Joao Lourenco a worthy successor. To the surprise of both Dos Santos and the political elites, Lourenco went on an anti-corruption campaign as soon as he became president, targeting some of Dos Santos’ children. Isabel faced numerous accusations and charges involving financial crimes.
Jose Dos Santos was found guilty of financial transgressions after he transferred $500 million to a private bank account in England. The Dos Santos children have accused the current regime of carrying out a witch hunt against them. This has created a problem between the Angolan government and Dos Santos’ children at the time of his death.
Still on Jose Eduardo dos Santos death…
Tchize dos Santos, his daughter, had requested that an autopsy be carried out on her father in Barcelona. The request was granted by a court.
This is after Tchize made accusations that her father had been poisoned, possibly by parties within the government. The Angolan government has denied these accusations and wishes to have a state funeral for Dos Santos.
Tchize has said that her father “should only be buried in Angola when João Lourenço is no longer president of the country.” According to reports, Dos Santos did not want a politicized burial that would see his children denied the opportunity to be present for his funeral and visit his grave in the future.
The Dos Santos family lawyers allege that his desire was to be buried privately in Spain. President Lourenco has said that it is the Angolan government’s duty to bury Dos Santos and that all Angolan citizens would be allowed to attend his funeral.
Picture Source: https://www.breitbart.com/news/angola-key-moments-of-the-dos-santos-regime/