"All cabins in the MPLA that contradicted the Angolans ended up in the cemetery," says Commander José Veras

Lisbon – Veteran of the armed struggle in Cabinda since October 1977, José Luís Veras is one of the former commanders of the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC) who knows the backstage and actors of this conflict best. Discreet and active, José Luís Veras decided to break the silence and react to the statements of the deputy governor of Cabinda, Miguel dos Santos Oliveira, who had claimed that cabinda's problem is fundamentally social.

Source : e-Global

"Regarding the statement of the deputy governor of Cabinda, who said that the social situation in Cabinda must be resolved, in my opinion this is not the case. Cabinda's situation is first and foremost a deeply political and non-social problem, as deputy governor said. Being a political problem, it needs a political solution", said José Luís Veras who believes that "once the political aspect that opposes the cabins between Angolans, the social situation will find a solution. The problem in Cabinda is political, political and deeply political," he insisted.

The "misery of this people dates from November 11, 1975," said the veteran of the armed struggle in Cabinda, "if for more than 45 years nothing has been done in Cabinda for the well-being of the people, it will not be today that something will be done. The deputy governor's statements are just another diversion from Luanda. Angola sees in Cabinda the oil, which enriches the ruling class of the MPLA, and not the People of Cabinda who own this wealth."

For José Luís Veras, the Angolan leaders, "starting with their President who remains in a sepulchral silence, must know that it is necessary to face this problem seriously and not continue to tergiversar. To continue to avoid the problem or to avoid it is not to contribute to its resolution, but to seek the chaos that could lead to the massacre of innocents the moment the cabins become radicalized."

"To distract the cabins even more, they sent a former minister as governor. But what power does Marcos Alexandre Nhunga have as governor? It's a simple puppet over there. Power is in the hands of the Angolans who accompany him. In fact, the Governor of Cabinda is the representative of the Angolan neocolonial power," he said.

"How many cabin governors who passed through Cabinda have solved anything? None!" questioned and retorted José Luís Veras. "First it was Commander Pédalé, then Evaristo Domingos Kimba, all deceased. The Amaro Tati, after a series of Angolans. The first Angolan governor, if I'm not mistaken, was the Battle of Angola.

Today the Nhunga is sent to Cabinda, after Aldina da Lomba Catembo, a Cape Verdean who managed to be the worst of all who occupied the post of governor of Cabinda".

On the Memorandum of Understanding, José Luís Veras considered that "since his signature never worked and it will not be today that will work. There was a deliberate willingness of Angola to keep it in the drawer, accommodating its cabinda signatories. After 14 years, no one can accept this memorandum. The only positive point, if I can consider it, is that Angola has recognized cabinda's specificity," he said.

"From this specificity, we must have the courage to start creating new bases, taking into account all the main political actors in Cabinda and not counting only on a handful of people at the behest of the MPLA, we avoid the repetition of the mistakes of the past", defended José Luís Veras.

"But why is it that since the signing of the Memorandum in 2006 only now does he open his mouth and speak? While he was accommodated he remained silent."

Referring to General Maurício N'Zulo, president of the Cabindês Forum for Dialogue (FCD), José Luís Veras said he recognizes his courage today. "But why has it been since the signing of the Memorandum in 2006 that only now does he open his mouth and speak? While he was accommodated he remained silent," the former commander said.

"In place of General Maurício N'Zulo, as Deputy Head of cemg of the FAA (Angolan Armed Forces), I would have protested and submitted my resignation to express my indignation at the non-application of the said Memorandum, of which General Maurício N'Zulo was one of the actors. I want to warn General Maurício N'Zulo to be very careful, because all the cabins that within the MPLA raised their voices, against the Angolans, ended up in the cemetery", launched José Luís Veras.

As examples, the former flec commander cited the case of Nicolau Gomes Spencer who "was murdered by the MPLA, due to the implementation of the agreement signed between the MPLA and the cabins to fight together in the liberation of the two territories". So did Fati Veneno, from Matembo in Belize, who "met the same destination in northern Cabinda." Paradoxically today, Nicolau Gomes Spencer and Fati Veneno are "revered by the MPLA as heroes".

He also highlighted Roque Tchiendo, a "defender of cabinda's cause within the MPLA, which ended in disgrace". Roque Tchiendo and José Luís Veras had maternal kinship ties and both originated from the village of Chiela, five kilometers from Lândana. "The misfortune of Roque Tchiendo was to have gathered in Lândana the cabindan elders and told them about the agreement signed with Agostinho Neto, to fight together for the liberation of Cabinda and Angola, which was evident in the minimum program of the MPLA presented to the action committees of the MPLA, and one of its first coordinators in Lândana, I was myself," said José Luís Veras.

"Having understood the danger that Roque Tchiendo posed, and being a veteran of the liberation war in the ranks of the MPLA, Agostinho Neto tried to transfer him as Provincial Commissioner in southern Angola, but Roque Tchiendo categorically refused the post and said that de Cabinda would not leave. He sent a letter to Agostinho Neto, after having collected signatures from several elders of the Municipality of Cacongo, where he was the first leader of the MPLA. I am a witness to this situation, because on this occasion I was still in Lândana," said José Luís Veras. "After this letter Roque Tchiendo fell into disgrace, despite being one of the leaders with an intellectual capacity superior to many leaders of the MPLA at that time."

For José Luís Veras the fate that was reserved for General Pedro Maria N'Tonha, better known as Pédalé, is another example. "After having begun to raise the situation, with the Political Bureau of the MPLA and José Eduardo dos Santos, that it was time to put into practice what had been signed between the cabindas and the failed Agostinho Neto, Pédalé ended up dying suddenly". Also Francisco Xavier Lubota, Luís Ranque Franque and others who decided to settle in Cabinda or Luanda "are now in the cemetery". Cabinda problem can have a solution if the MPLA is willing and have the will to solve it.

Despite the pessimism, the former flec commander, José Luís Veras, still believes that the Cabinda Problem can have a solution if the MPLA is willing and has the will to solve it.

"One perspective to consider is for the International Community to assume its role and force Angola to seek a fair solution with cabinda's political actors, many of them gathered within the ACC (High Council of Cabinda) which has already defined a comprehensive program for the future of the territory," said José Luís Veras. "Also taking into account the existence of other actors who have not been part of the ACC but which the High Council calls for them to work together to establish a compact bloc capable of dealing with Angolans."

The Angolan government must "initiate direct exploratory contacts, or via third parties, in order to define all that must be negotiated for cabinda's well-being. A territory with a people plundered and kept in misery since angola's independence in 1975."

"The Angolan President must have the courage to face the problem and seek solutions. Avoiding the problem today will avoid further complications in the future. Policing and repression don't work and will never work. The drag of the impasse, the militarization of the territory, the obstinacy in not negotiating, the silence in the face of the degradation of the political environment, are ingredients that can result in a violent popular explosion in Cabinda, as Africa has seen in recent years", warned the former commander of FLEC, José Luís Veras.