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Angola´S Fight For A Democratic Government

2076 words - 9 pages

Within the African continent, the presence of vast natural resources in countries absent stable governments portends a chief barrier to democracy that has rendered countries paralyzed in their attempts to form democratic nations. In Angola, this so-called “resource curse” is illustrated very clearly: a country with abundant oil and diamonds, seemingly the making of a prosperous nation, yet unable to create a stable and democratic government. The revenue from oil and diamonds in Angola has been used to fund and defend an authoritarian regime that has been targeted by opposition that seeks to collapse it. Additionally, Angola’s infrastructure has been decimated by war, its economy crippled by its reliance on oil revenue. Angola is symptomatic of the resource curse in its lack of economic diversity, corruption within the government, and its excessive borrowing in order to fund basic operations, such as infrastructure. In order to end this corrupt authoritarianism, Angola has worked to counter this unjust regime by moving to make its oil profits more transparent. However, in order for Angola to begin the process of achieving a peaceful and more democratic state, it must take more steps towards transparency, commit to diversifying its economy and helping its most vulnerable citizens. In order for this to occur, oil companies must cooperate.
Between 1975-1976, Angola won its independence from Portugal. Rather than a decisive move towards a stable and democratic government, however, this simply shifted Angola into a new stage of war, from a war for independence into a civil war. During its struggle for independence, Angola’s main nationalist movement, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a Marxist group, fought for control with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which represented the largest ethnic base in Angola, the Ovimbundu people. During the Cold War, these were proxy groups, with the Soviet Union and Cuba funding the MPLA and the United States and South Africa funding UNITA. When the Cold War ended, and with growing pressure on South Africa at the time, however, all of the outside nations withdrew their support. IN 1991, the MPLA and UNITA signed a peace agreement, the Bicesse Peace Accords, which called for a democratic election. A free and fair election resulted in a victory for MPLA and President José Eduardo de Santos, who won 49 percent of the vote, with the MPLA also winning 53 percent of the legislature. UNITA believed that the votes were rigged by the MPLA, pushing the conflict into its bloodiest stage. Yet this time, things were different. As Philippe Le Billion states in Oil Wars, “With the end of the Cold War the political superpowers withdrew from Angola, only to be replaced by ‘business superpowers.’ Oil companies on the side of the MPLA and diamond companies on the side of UNITA competed fiercely for the rights to exploit Angola’s mineral wealth,” (Le Billion 104). “On both...

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