- Agostinho Neto
Infobox President|name=António Agostinho Neto
President of Angola
term_start=11 November 1975
term_end=10 September 1979
José Eduardo dos Santos
death_date=death date and age|1979|9|10|1922|9|17|mf=y
Moscow, Soviet Union
spouse=Maria Eugénia da Silvacite book|last=James|first=W. Martin|year=2004|title=Historical Dictionary of Angola|pages=110]
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
António Agostinho Neto (September 17, 1922 – September 10, 1979) served as the first
President of Angola(1975–1979), leading the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola(MPLA) in the war for independence and the civil war. His birthday is celebrated as National Heroes Day, a public holiday in Angola.
Catete, Bengo in Angolain 1922, Neto attended high school in Luandawhile his father Agostinho Pedro Neto worked as a Methodistpastor. Neto left Angola for Portugal, studying medicine at the universities of Coimbra and Lisbon. PIDEarrested him for his separatist activism in 1951. In 1958 the government released Neto and he finished his studies, marrying Maria Eugénia da Silva the same day he graduated. He returned to Angola in 1959.cite book|last=Tvedten|first=Inge|year=1997|title=Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction|pages=29-30]
In December 1956 the
Angolan Communist Party(PCA) merged with the Party of the United Struggle for Africans in Angola(PLUA) to form the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola with Viriato da Cruz, the President of the PCA, as Secretary General and Neto as President.cite book|last=|first=|year=1977|title=Africa Year Book and Who's who|pages=238-239]
The Portuguese colonial establishment arrested Neto on June 8, 1960. His patients and supporters marched for his release from Bengo to Catete, but were stopped when Portuguese soldiers shot at them, killing 30 and wounding 200 in the
Massacre of Icolo e Bengo. The Portuguese government exiled Neto to Cape Verdeand then imprisoned him in Lisbon. The government, facing international pressure, released him from prison and put him under house arrest. He escaped to Moroccoand then moved to Zaire.
In 1962 Neto visited
Washington D.C., United Statesand asked the Kennedy administration for aid in his war with Portugal. The U.S. government turned him down, choosing to instead support Holden Roberto's anti-Communist FNLA.cite book|last=Walker|first=John Frederick|year=2004|title=A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola|pages=146-148]
Che Guevarain 1965 and began receiving support from Cuba.cite book|last=Abbott|first=Peter|coauthors=Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues|year=1988|title=Modern African Wars: Angola and Mocambique, 1961-74|pages=10] He visited Havana many times, and he and Fidel Castroshared similar ideological views. [cite book |title=Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa |last=Chazan |first=Naomi |authorlink= |coauthors=Robert Mortimer, John Ravenhill, Donald Rothchild |year=1992 |publisher=Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc. |location=Boulder, Colorado |isbn=1-55587-283-2 |pages=392 |url= ]
He was one of the first members of the MPLA, one of three factions that vied for power after the Portuguese withdrawal from Angola (following the
Carnation Revolution), and later led the country after independence on November 11, 1975. His government developed close links with the Soviet Unionand other nations in the Eastern blocand other Communist states, particularly Cuba, which aided the MPLA considerably in its war with the FNLAand UNITA. He was succeeded in his capacity as president of the state by Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Neto died in a hospital in
Moscow, in the Soviet Union, while undergoing surgery for cancer, and while the Angolan Civil Warcontinued.
The main university in Angola, the
Agostinho Neto University, is named after him.
Soviet Unionawarded Neto the Lenin Peace Prize(1975-76).
A poem by
Chinua Achebeentitled "Agostinho Neto" was written in his honor. cite web
last = Achebe
first = Chinua
title = Agostinho Neto
accessdate = 2008-05-14 ]
* [http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/N/Neto-A1go.asp Encyclopedia]
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