News / Africa

Oil-rich Cabinda Still Waits for Independence from Angola

CABINDA, Angola — When Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos is inaugurated for another term in office, many in the province of Cabinda are not expected to join the celebrations. The oil-rich region continues to demand its independence from Angola, claiming it is marginalized and exploited. 

Until recently, worshippers at Sunday Mass in Cabinda would hear political sermons in favor of independence, but not any more.  The former priest is gone, and the current one refuses interviews, saying he does not talk about politics.

Despite its appearance as a peaceful seaside town, Cabinda is restive. For many years, local separatist groups have been fighting against the Angolan government for independence, to no avail.

Oil is Cabinda's main resource, producing up to 70 percent of Angola's output.  And oil revenues make up half of Angola's GDP, wealth that is not equally shared according Raul Danda, an opposition leader in parliament.

"Angolans say that is a very rich country. But you have one of the poorest people here in this country. So, what good is wealth?" said Danda.

The government has agreed to give ten percent of its oil revenues per year to Cabinda, but Danda says this is not enough.

"You have the production going up, you have oil prices going up, and you have the same amount of six millions dollars, saying it is ten percent of oil revenues, which is a lie," he said.

Cabinda has only been part of Angola since the country became independent from Portugal in 1975.  Before, it was a kingdom under a Portuguese protectorate. 

"Life is difficult because there are so many soldiers here, we can't move around freely. They always stop us, ask to see our documents and question us.  Cabinda is rich. So if we were independent, life would be delicious," said Cabinda resident Alexandro Cuanga Cito, who is among those calling for independence.  

The Angolan government says the heavy military presence is needed to quell the rebellion.  Separatists groups used to kidnap oil workers and take other actions to draw attention to their cause.

In 2010, when Angola was hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, separatist gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Togo's soccer team, killing several people on board.

Yet independence for Cabinda is unlikely to happen any time soon, says researcher Ana Alves at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

"Because it lacks the support of the region, other regional powers, [and] because it is not known internationally, it is not a big issue like the Sudans or the Great Lake region, I don't think Cabinda will get its independence," she said.

The Angolan government has spent money on infrastructure projects in Cabinda, in an effort to calm the population's discontent.  Just before national elections, the government inaugurated the port city's first pier to help spur economic development. But the pier collapsed a few days later, and to date, remains useless.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs