Bad Company in Angola

George Bush's preoccupation with the character of his opponent was a convenient way to draw attention away from the nasty characters he and previous administrations had been supporting in the name of foreign policy. The bloodshed following Angola's elections this fall are a clear example that although the Cold War may be over, the monsters created, funded, and sustained for those frigid battles are still with us--and still reigning terror in their home countries.

Jonas Savimbi, who had been courted by the White House and held up as a man fighting for the ideals of the "free world," showed his true colors after the country held its first elections September 29-30. Although the elections were declared free and fair by all international observers, Savimbi immediately called foul when early election returns indicated a strong lead for the former ruling party and President Eduardo Dos Santos.

In protest, he removed "his" UNITA soldiers from the unified army and retreated back to the region of Huambo in order to regroup for an apparent attack and renewal of the civil war. The worst was realized. As Americans were busy voting for their character of choice, Angolans were mopping up from a weekend of bloodshed in which more than 1,000 Angolans were killed in UNlTA offensives.

The scenario is all too familiar to the Angolans who witnessed Savimbi's turncoat tactics in 1975 when the country gained its independence from Portugal. That time, Savimbi's retreat and regrouping resulted in the death of almost one million Angolans during the 16-year civil war that followed. Savimbi purged UNITA leadership in the mid-1980s when his autocratic rule was beginning to be questioned from within the ranks.

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Sojourners Magazine January 1993
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