The leader of the Cabinda faction for independence from Angola, NґZita Tiago, claims that it is impossible for Cabinda to integrate into the same territory as Angola due to the “generalised corruption and lack of democracy in that country”. “Politically, there are various ways to consult the people, everything depends on what they ask for but the word referendum is not welcome in Luanda (capital of Angola). However, if Angola wants to resolve the conflict by arms instead of dialogue, we will not have an alternative to fighting and demanding the referendum”, stated NґZita Tiago. In their quest to gain international attention, the factions for the liberation of Cabinda (FLEC/FAC, Renewed FLEC and Refunded FLEC) have kidnapped eight Portuguese citizens. Certainly in Portugal the reaction is that they have gained attention, but for the wrong reasons. Portuguese public opinion is understandably negative towards these factions. NґZita Tiago believes that “sooner or later, the Angolans will come to understand that the resort to weapons is not the best way to solve the problem. The solution will necessarily be the use of dialogue”. Holding Portugal responsible for the situation, due to the fact that Portugal assigned an independent status to Cabinda at the end of the nineteenth century, the FLEC/FAC leader states: “It was not with Angola that we signed treaties...We have a historical and judicial question to settle with Portugal. The Cabinda/Angola conflict is spoken in Portuguese. Portugal solved the Timor question with a referendum and the situation here is similar” (sic) The Portuguese Minister for Overseas Territories from 1965 to 1973, Professor Silva Cunha, stated that at the time, he was in favour of a separate status for Cabinda and that Dr. Antonio Oliveira Salazar, the President of the Council of Ministers, agreed with him. Professor Silva Cunha states that “Portugal still has a word to say. I doubt that this will be on the side of Angola”. With the Catholic Church in favour of a referendum in Cabinda, with the US and French oil companies firmly entrenched in the field, and with massive reserves of oil, it is understandable that the population of Cabinda wishes to be independent. It also makes sense for Angola to keep the enclave integrated in its national territory, since Cabinda’s oil is Luanda’s main source of income. Yesterday Kuweit, today Cabinda, tomorrow…??
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON