SHARE

On November 11, 1975, Agostinho Neto proclaimed independence of Angola, in Luanda, after 13 years of independence war (1961-1974.) At that moment, a civil war began, which lasted until 2002.

By Americo Gomez.

 

South African troops advanced from the south, allied to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), commanded by Jonas Savimbi, sponsored by US imperialism. The Zairian army, commanded by the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, entered from the north, joining the National Liberation Front (FNLA) guerrillas of Holden Roberto, who also had the support of Portuguese, British, and American mercenaries. The Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), led by Agostinho Neto, received military support from the Soviet Union and Cuba.

The first country in the world to recognize Angola’s independence was Brazil, which was under a dictatorship. Undoubtedly, an apparently contradictory decision. But the links between Brazil and Angola were many: not only the slave trade but also many businesses, not always lucrative for our Angolan brothers. The Brazilian generals bet on who they thought was going to win the war, so they supported a movement that had nothing to do with their ideology, aiming for good business in the future. This movement, which proclaimed independence in the name of socialist ideas, ended up implementing a fully capitalist economy, which today is degradingly depressed in corruption and privileges for its leaders.

President José Eduardo dos Santos, in power for nearly forty years, used and abused the state apparatus for his own benefit and that of his family, a true school for the Venezuelan “Boli-Bourgeoisie,” combining fraud, corruption, and repression. His daughter, Isabel dos Santos, also called “Princess Isabel,” is considered the richest woman in Africa, linked to the oil industry, mining, and banks, involved in Odebrecht scandals, and with businesses in Europe, through Portugal.

Angola is the second African country in oil production and the fifth largest producer of diamonds, with 8% of the world production. Even so, almost 36% of the population lives below the poverty line. In 2015 it recorded the highest infant mortality rate in the world and the second worst rate of life expectancy at birth, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report of 2016. Only 30% of the population has electricity, not always functioning regularly.

In 2011, 16 youth that gathered to read and discuss a book on peaceful disobedience were charged with involvement in an attempted coup. The most famous face is that of the musician Luaty Beirão, who, four years earlier, enthusiastic about the Arab Spring, called in a concert to overthrow José Eduardo dos Santos. Luaty was arrested several times, beaten, and tortured.

Practically none of this was known in Brazil, and this has a fundamental reason: the entire Brazilian bourgeoisie profits, and much, from the businesses provided by the Angolan dictatorship. State-owned companies such as Petrobras, banks such as BNDES, corporations such as Odebrecht and Red Globo. This is why from the dictatorship of the generals and developers together with the FHC governments, Lula and Dilma, and up to Temer, no one rises to speak against the dictatorship in Angola. A government comes in, a government goes out, and exploitation and support of repression continue the same in this African country of brothers.

Brazil in Angola

Between 2002 and 2012, trade between the two countries grew 416%. Brazil exported 1.3 billion dollars and Angola 1.2 billion dollars. The main product imported by Brazil was Angolan oil.

Angola is now the country with the most contracts with Brazilian construction companies, and the largest receiver of BNDES resources, with 5,000 million dollars. Companies like Odebrecht and Camargo Corrêa build highways, refineries, and hydroelectric plants. The biggest employer in the country is Odebrecht, which, in addition to the construction company, owns a supermarket chain and finances the Santos Football Club of Angola – which has that name because of Pelé, but in tribute to the president of the country. Brazilian companies donated nearly 50 million dollars to the dos Santos campaign in 2012, which was coordinated by João Santana, PT marquetry sent to Africa.

Odebrecht is the biggest private corporation in Angola

Brazilian Odebrecht is the company that received the largest amount of financing from the BNDES for works abroad. Of the nearly $12 billion distributed to companies, Odebrecht received $ 8.2 billion (70%) in loans to carry out works in eight countries. $2.5 billion was spent in Angola to build hydropower, highways, and refineries.

Lula was Odebrecht’s largest business facilitator abroad, but since he left the Planalto Palace, in 2011, the BNDES has still financed nearly $4 billion for Odebrecht’s works abroad.

The company has been in Angola long before Lula; the first contract to build the Capanda hydroelectric plant dates back to 1984. From there, it built many of the major strategic works after independence, and today it is the largest private employer in the country, with 12,000 employees and 5,000 subcontractors. In 2014, one out of every ten dollars spent by the Angolan government on infrastructure went into the pockets of Odebrecht.

Currently, it is present in Cambambe, the second largest hydroelectric plant in the country, undergoing renovation and expansion; in the Lobito refinery; in Lauca, major construction work in the country, with the aim of doubling the energy supply; in Luanda it built the main roads: Via Expresa, Estrada do Samba, and it built the water sanitation and distribution system. In addition, there is a network of supermarkets, Nosso Super, spread throughout the country. And it owns the largest Angolan diamond operation, the fourth largest kimberlite diamond mine in the world.[1] Not to mention the manufacture of sugar (“Kapanda”) in the Biocom mill, in partnership with Sonangol [National Fuel Company of Angola] and other companies of generals. Recently, Odebrecht signed a ten million dollar agreement with the Brazilian Judiciary to keep more than 400 workers in slavery-like conditions during the construction of Biocom, receiving Brazilian credit.

Street sweepers in the Maianga neighborhood, in central Luanda, wear uniforms with the Odebrecht logo; also billboards throughout the city; in the bay of Luanda, in front of the demolished favelas or musseques, there are Odebrecht signs.

Odebrecht is a member of the General Assembly and Fiscal Council of the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation, Angola’s largest NGO. Its fiscal council also includes Texaco and other multinationals.To win the Capanda contract, the company had the support of the Brazilian dictatorship and the governments of the generals Ernesto Geisel and João Batista Figueiredo, who financed the entire operation in exchange for oil. Delfim Neto directly authorized the credit operation for Capanda: about 1.5 billion dollars. To benefit the Angolan rulers he created a state autarky, the Gamek (Cabinet of Exploitation of the Kwanza Medio). To manage the work, he imposed a military leadership and even helped establish an agreement with Furnas (energy).

As they were in the midst of a civil war, Odebrecht had the security plan of then-colonel António dos Santos França N’Dalu (now general and one of the richest men in the country) under the command of Captain Jorge Silva “Sapo,” who, in 1992, “entered” the Odebrecht cadres.

Four years later, Odebrecht began its diamond mining business, working with Endiama [National Company of Prospecting, Exploitation, Lapidation, and Trading of Diamonds of Angola] in the Luzamba project in the Lunda Norte mines. In 16 months, it doubled the export of Angolan diamonds, becoming the largest unit of production of diamonds in the country. The UNITA took and controlled this area for a while, but when it was expelled, Odebrecht expanded its participation in the field, entering the Catoca mine in Lunda Sul in 1993, which was once again associated with Endiama, in turn, associated with the Russian group Alrosa and the Israeli group Lev Leviev. Catoca is the fourth largest diamond mine in the world: in 2014 it sold 82 million karats, accounting for 84.7% of the volume of production in Angola, and had a net profit of US $126 million.

The Angola Mining Development Society (SDM) is divided 50% for state-owned Endiama and 50% for Odebrecht. This company, as of 2006, was denounced for brutal human rights violations. A report called “Operation Kissonde” reports that, in February 2005, private security companies assumed responsibility for combating illegal garimpo[2] in the Cuango. One of these companies, the Alpha-5, punished in a perverse way the artisanal garimperos, with tortures and violations. Some victims reported that after being tortured they were forced to work naked inside Odebrecht mining headquarters. Odebrecht vehemently denied the allegations. In 2006, the mine ran out. No one was punished for abuse.

In the Muanga Consortium, another diamond site, Odebrecht Mining Services and SDM together with Endiama, associated themselves with two sons of the Angolan president (Welwitschia José dos Santos, Tchizé, and José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos) in the Di Gold Society of Negocios Limitada, a company that was a haute couture company but received an investment of 10 million dollars from Odebrecht to adapt to the mining industry.

In 2010, the consortium received from the president two more years of concession.Odebrecht also founded supermarkets: Rede Nosso Super, with 32 branches in all the provinces of the country and two distribution and logistics centers provided by the Angolan government after the state network, managed by Odebrecht itself, entered in crisis due to bad management, and its branches were closed towards the end of 2011.

This also happened with the frustrated international airport of Catumbela, 20 kilometers from the traditional airport “Sept. 17”. An investment of US $250 million (half guaranteed by the BNDES), which was not completed nor certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Today, it only serves domestic flights. Avenida “Marginal Sudoeste”, in the bay of Luanda, also stopped, and also received financing from the BNDES for 21 million Reais.

Odebrecht had a server in Angola that stored almost two million document pages, e-mails, and banking transactions receipts. Technology systems with restricted access developed for banking transactions: MyWebday B, for payment of fines (bribes,) and Drousys, a communication mechanism for exchanging e-mails and requests. In 2007, the server’s headquarters moved to Switzerland to be away from any investigation.

Lula and Odebrecht

Emilio Odebrecht regretted not being able to transfer to his son, Marcelo, the relationship he had with Antonio Carlos Magalhães; Hugo Chavez; José Eduardo Santos; and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, symbols of the company’s links with power.

In Brazil, Lula is accused of crimes of passive corruption and money laundering to favor the construction company Odebrecht, through contracts with Petrobras. In Angola, Odebrecht saw its business expanded during the Lula government (2003-2011), with strong support from the BNDES.

Marcelo Odebrecht repeatedly asked former President Lula to use his influence to favor the company in Angola. In his statement, he spoke about the relief that the construction company received from the BNDES by order of the then-president, on account of the economic difficulties suffered by Angola in 2009.

According to him, Lula’s action to provide financial relief of one billion dollars to the Odebrecht business in Angola generated a request for a 40 million dollars fine.On another occasion, Lula benefited the nephew of his first wife, Taiguara Rodrigues. In one of the five lawsuits he is facing, Lula is accused of helping Odebrecht obtain a fraudulent loan from the BNDES for the work at the Cambambe mill. According to the Federal Police, in this undertaking Odebrecht subcontracted the [company of] Taiguara Rodrigues dos Santos.

Lula was the one who indicated the marquetinero João Santana to work in the Angolan election. He led the campaign of President José Eduardo dos Santos, who won in 2012 with 70% of the votes.

**

Translation: Corriente Obrera.

Notes:

[1] The kimberlite is a kind of volcanic, potassium igneous rock, which usually contains diamonds, that is, where there is kimberlite, diamonds are very likely to be present. It is considered the mother of the diamond, and bears that name by the city of Kimberley, in South Africa. [T.N.]

[2] Garimpo is the name given to the manual or mechanical exploitation or extraction of mineral substances such as gold, diamonds, and other minerals. [T.N.]