Jonas Savimbi, US Sponsored Terrorist

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Feb 27 08:12:18 MST 2002

Jonas Savimbi, US Sponsored Terrorist
Charles E. Simmons

Had there been no significant deposits of oil and diamonds in Angola, the
world would probably never have heard of the Angolan civil war, nor U.S.
interests in that part of Africa, nor the life and death of Jonas Savimbi and
his organization, UNITA. .

Portugal, the oldest of the Western colonial powers, began to occupy the rich
African nation nearly 5 centuries ago, and conducted the profitable slave
trade from Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau toward Brazil.  It was the
economic decline of Portugal in the mid-1970s combined with the peoples'
heroic struggle for independence in the three colonies, that led to the
elimination of Portuguese colonialism.

The transition from colonialism to independence was won by armed liberation
movements in each of the former colonies, but the final change of hands from
Lisbon to Angola was complicated by the fact that there were three
organizations in that nation claiming leadership of the struggle. This
allowed an opportunity for the enemies of Africa to step in and fan the
flames of disunity, and they leapt at the chance.  The split in the African
struggle had its counterpart in a split among the African supporters as well.

The situation was further complicated by the division and opposition of the
international powers during the Cold War--the U.S, the Soviet Union, and The
People's Republic of China,  consistently viewed each contested zone in
Africa, Asia and Latin America as an urgent mission to win new converts to
their ideological camp. Outside supporters, looking for such alignments as an
indication of political direction, often made their decisions based on
whether or not a national struggle was supported by East or West.

Jonas Savimbi led the organization, UNITA, National Union for the Total
Liberation of Angola, based in an area of the Ovumbundu which had about a
third of the population.  Depending upon when and where he was interviewed,
Savimbi appealed to tribalism, nationalism, anti-communism, or revolution,
whichever suited his needs at the time.  When speaking to African American
audiences, he would claim friendship with Malcolm X. And with international
revolutionaries, he would invoke the spirit of the Argentine, Che Guevara,
who became a leader of the Cuban Revolution. In European capitals and in
Washington D.C.,  Savimbi became the darling of the most racist right wing
elements and they handsomely financed his terrorist struggle against the
peoples throughout southern Africa for nearly 30 years.

That was a perfect fit for U.S. foreign policy makers who have for centuries
y opposed justice and independence for peoples of color whether it involved
stealing land from the original Americans or the Mexicans, or trampling the
peoples of the Philippines, Haiti and Cuba or of supporting apartheid
governments throughout Africa in the 20th century.

In 2002, we must be aware that the policy against international and domestic
justice is still the mission of Washington policy makers, regardless of the
fact that articulate and polished African Americans such as Colin Powell and
Condoleesa Rice are now used as their advocates of mass destruction of
peoples rights.
Pay attention as the U.S budget expands to throw more billions of dollars at
the enormous military state at home and abroad and as Warlord George Bush
continues to slash and burn the services and support for the lives of the
little folk everywhere. Watch closely as Bush drops daisycutters on the
health care, education and civil liberties of most Americans. But keep in
mind that those who have won the struggles for justice have to organize at
the grassroots, build coalitions with those who have common interests, be
creative with new ideas for new situations and think independently of the
U.S. corporate establishment.  In spite of Bush and the likes of Jonas
Savimbi, let us pay attention to the ideas and the tall spirit of the 60,000
international conferees representing the peoples struggles for bread and
roses who proclaimed recently in Porto Alegra, Brazil, A Better World is

Former international correspondent Charles E. Simmons teaches law and
journalism at Eastern Michigan University and is Co-Chair of CPR-Detroit.
csim592951 at

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