The High Council of Cabinda, which brings together various movements and groups, asks Portugal to promote and mediate negotiations with the Government of Angola for a peace agreement in that independent territory. They forget that Portuguese politicians (some, at least) know but do not want to know what Cabinda is, just doing what the MPLA has to do.
“The Cabinda High Council calls on the Angolan, Portuguese, African Union and United Nations authorities to begin negotiations between the Angolan authorities and the representatives of the people of Cabinda, without further delay in order to restore freedom and human dignity to this people,” he said in a statement.
The organization also asks “the government Portuguese, based on its historical responsibilities, to organize and mediate the negotiations between the Government of Angola and the people of Cabinda in o[…]rder to ensure the credibility of the process and respect for the peace agreement that comes out of it”.
The Cabinda High Council was established in October 2019 in Accra, Ghana, and resulted from the convergence of political movements, civil society groups and cabinda cadres. It aims to seek “peaceful solutions” to the conflict affecting the region through dialogue with Angola.
The Council says it has already held meetings with various political organizations of the French resistance and Angolan political parties, as well as with youth organizations, the Catholic Church and refugees in the Democratic Republic of congo and cabindenses abroad.
In the same statement, the structure denounces the conditions of “abandonment” and “vulnerability” of the populations of the villages in the interior of the territory, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This pandemic is an ‘iceberg’ on the precarious living conditions of populations,” the statement said, adding that these were not contemplated by “any mitigation plan from the local government or the various support of the World Health Organization.”
“This situation has made the daily livelihood of the family a worse enemy than the pandemic itself,” the text stresses.
The armed conflict in Cabinda, a territory occupied by Angola in 1975, claims angola’s independence, is an oil-rich enclave separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of congo (DRC), which has lasted for more than 40 years.
Naively the cabindas continue to think that Portugal wants to do something to restore the truth and, above all, the dignity of this People. Ledo mistake. Lisbon only does what the MPLA wants.
We are told that cabindas had some (albeit little) hope in what the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, could do in relation to the claims of the People of Cabinda. The best thing was, I really didn’t have the slightest hope. The same applies to António Guterres. The same applies to António Costa, Rui Rio, Jerónimo de Sousa and Catarina Martins.
Let’s go for parts. Only for manifest lack of intellectual seriousness and cowardice, typical of successive Portuguese governments can say (even if it thinks otherwise) that Cabinda is an integral part of Angola.
Cabinda – repeat – was bought by the MPLA in the balances launched by the then owners of power in Portugal, of which are examples, among others, Melo Antunes, Rosa Coutinho, Costa Gomes, Mário Soares, Almeida Santos.
Of course, as in Timor-Leste, until the final victory, indifference will continue (largely bought with the oil of… cabinda), whether from Portugal, the CPLP, the UN, the AU or anything else that is priced. We don’t know there’s anything that’s priceless.
And it is a pity, especially for Portugal, that in the light of international law is still the managing power of Cabinda. Lisbon will have a day to realize that Cabinda is not, never was, will never be a province of Angola. As, contrary to Salazar’s complaint, Angola was only a Portuguese province (Portugal, at the time, from Minho to Timor) for the use of force.
By manifest historical and political ignorance, as well as by subordination to the economic interests of the MPLA regime, the Portuguese rulers pretend, contrary to what they said they thought of Kosovo, that Cabinda has always been an integral part of Angola. But if you study anything on the subject, you will see that it has never been so, unwillingly the whitening given to the situation by the Portuguese signatories of the Alvor Agreement.
Let’s see what on the subject wrote Adriano Moreira, impoluto citizen Portuguese, inescapable reference of intellectual credibility :
“In this issue of globalization, in which expressions such as mainland states circulate to designate those of greater territorial extension and whale state to refer to those of the unmeasured populations, adding the phenomenon of large spaces that aggregate various cooperative sovereignties, attention is easily diverted from the small political identities, whose autonomy of government has not been consecrated by history, and look with displication to what seem to them an archeology of waste.
Cases such as those in Monaco, San Marino, Andorra, seem supported by a surviving respect of westerners for history, but the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the disaggregation of the USSR, the complexity of the Middle East, destinations such as Tibet, find it difficult to support on scales of participatory values.
On this date, Cabinda is a territory whose situation has to be evaluated in view of this set of variables: a small territory with a population of corresponding size; multiplication of sovereignties interested in their effective status, in an uncertain international framework, with all the seats of legitimacy in crisis, just remembering the effects that the second Iraq war had on the consistency of solidarity in the Security Council, NATO, and the European Union itself.
Firstly, it happens that respect for identity and willingness to occupy an equal place in the international community does not depend either on the territorial dimension or on the numerical expression of the population: it is a right of the peoples, which was not limited by the UN’s indicative rule, in the sense that the borders of independence were those which had been drawn by colonization sovereignty.
In the case of Cabinda, the constitutional order Portuguese, which lasted until 1976, never prevented the repeated affirmation of Cabinda’s specific identity, nor the specificity of the title that united Cabinda to the crown of Portugal, the annually and solemnly celebrated Treaty of Simulambuco, in relation also, with unique expression, with the fact that the busts of the Portuguese kings in office sometimes mark the graves of local politicians who spoke.
The decision of each people, with a sense of identity, to converge on wider political spaces, opting for limitations of sovereignty, groups of cooperative sovereignties or regionalized autonomies, is part of the freedom with which it organizes the preservation of its identity, cannot be an exogenous imposition, contrary to the principles and values to which the UN Charter linked the defense of peace and dignity of peoples and men.
It is finally certain that oil, like the ancient spices, tends to make forget the limitations that were implicit in the response of the anonymous sailor vasco da Gama, and that Cabinda faces the risk of being absorbed by the current perception of useful Africa.
The firm response must adopt the UNDP’s (2004) warning: “Multicultural policies are needed that recognise differences, defend diversity and promote cultural freedoms, so that everyone can choose to speak their language, practice their religion and participate in the formation of their culture, so that everyone can choose to be who they are.
Cabins no longer require, and you can’t ask them to demand less: “Choose to be who you are.”
The absolute “truths” of the regime
The People of Cabinda, although accustomed to biased communiqués from the Angolan Government about Cabinda, continue to have difficulties in understanding and digesting what the regime sees as absolute truths.
Absolute truths reminiscent of those of the Roman Empire which, incidentally, had serious men in its direction. The Latin proverb says that those who are silent (it seems that) consent, and that is why cabinda civil society thinks it is pertinent to go and say of their justice, in the face of so many quiproquós generated and disseminated by the regime.
Listening to the absolute truth of the regime, one gets the impression that cabinda nationalism, with its low aspirations for self-determination, arises in the late nineties. This is the official strategy that, by subverting reality, tries to pass on the idea that cabins are terrorists and subversive, justifying arrests, abductions and murders.
The “peace” that the regime imposes in Cabinda is to have the villages surrounded by military, is to prevent the cabins from going freely to the tills and hunting, is to live, without the right to indignation, with discrimination and permanently at the sight of a police with carte blanche for everything, a Criminal Investigation Police that first arrests and subsequently investigates.
The MPLA regime, the only one angolans have known since 1975, even wants to impose in Cabinda a god, a church and a pastor by force of the bayonet.
Reconciliation for the Cabindas is, according to the Regime of the MPLA, disappearing as a People and kneeling before a power always predisposed to humiliate and mischaracterize it. Development for Cabinda is to have the hand extended to the two Congos for chicken, beans, cement and for toothache.
In Cabinda there is a war, being all those in Luanda who say otherwise. As if that were not enough, the regime deliberately confuses dialogue with monologue. It has always been this permanent overhang of the Angolan Government, when it dialogues, monologando with the People of Cabinda, by imposing its unilateral solutions, muddling civil society, reducing its space and silence its voice. In a word; cabinda is not entitled to citizenship.
The generations follow, but the deep feeling of a People remains indelible, that a political action aimed simply at curtailing everything that smells like cabinda: History (dates and milestones) and Culture (names, language and living space) has failed to annihilate. The policy of palmatory has so far not developed in the cabin the Stockholm Syndrome, on the contrary, stiffened its determination to safeguard its specificity.
No solution will be found for Cabinda if the Government and the MPLA (are one and the same), because not all angolan people think so, continue to suffer from the psychosis of the bridge over the Zaire River. It will be joined by the DRC and not with Cabinda if the cabin is not in cabinda.
It is a countersense that someone who has fought against colonialism now stubborns that another people does not live their full freedom (master of their collectively consented destiny and riches) and who every day reminds him that he is not free.
As far as Cabinda is concerned, Portugal does not remember the commitments it signed yesterday, so much less remember those signed more than a century ago. And, as it seems, even those signed yesterday will already be out of date today.
Portugal not only violated the Treaty of Simulambuco of 1 February 1885, but, by the Alvor Agreements, outraged the people of Cabinda, being therefore responsible, at least moral (if it has any meaning), for everything that goes on in the territory, its protectorate, occupied by Angola.