Second Party Congress
The Second Party Congress of the MPLA-PT, held in
1985, focused on two main themes: greater economic
improved defense capabilities. The party had little to
view of the deplorable conditions that then prevailed.
the party lacked sufficiently educated cadres, and
the government was forced to import 80 percent of its food
become dependent on Western oil companies to keep the
afloat. The large number of party members attending the
who were also military officers (about a quarter of all
delegates) exemplified the MPLA-PT's emphasis on the
sector. The Central Committee report to the congress
more than one-third of the government budget would go to
and security over the next five years.
During the congress, party officials expressed their
dissatisfaction with economic policies patterned on Soviet
that had failed to revive Angola's agricultural sector. In
the most significant results of the congress were a purge
hardliners and an influx of well-trained nationalists with
pragmatic viewpoints. Within the party's senior ranks,
ideologues were demoted, as were a number of
were replaced with younger black technocrats and the
An unexpected change involved one of the most prominent
of the pro-Soviet group, Lúcio Lára, who had been
second most powerful figure in the MPLA-PT. Lára lost his
in the Political Bureau and ended up with the largely
position of first secretary of the People's Assembly.
most notable outcomes of the congress were the enhanced
and authority of dos Santos and a more professional and
party leadership, in which the armed forces were heavily
By the late 1980s, Angola had far to go in its quest to
a viable, sovereign state. More than 50,000 Cuban troops
in the country to provide security; UNITA and the SADF
attacks with impunity; the oil sector--and hence the
suffered grievously from the worldwide slump in petroleum
and hundreds of thousands of Angolans, in the countryside
as in the increasingly crowded cities, were malnourished.
late 1988 there were a few reasons for optimism. United
Statessponsored negotiations were finally successful, opening
for a settlement of the Namibia dispute, the withdrawal of
forces from Angola, and an accord betyween the MPLA-PT and
in short, the conditions necessary for Angola to resume
of nationbuilding and to prepare a better future for its
(see Regional Politics
, ch. 4).
* * *
Sources emphasizing the early history of the Africans
are Jan Vansina's Kingdoms of the Savanna, Douglas
Wheeler and René Pélissier's Angola, and Joseph C.
Kings and Kinsmen. The best accounts of Portuguese
in Angola are Gerald J. Bender's Angola under the
and Lawrence W. Henderson's Angola: Five Centuries of
Conflict, both of which deal extensively with the
Portuguese colonial policies and institutions. Other
are Malyn Newitt's Portugal in Africa, C.R. Boxer's
Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire,
John Sykes's Portugal and Africa.
By far the most complete and valuable account of the
nationalist struggle is John A. Marcum's The Angolan
Revolution. This work is divided into two volumes:
Anatomy of an Explosion, 1950-1962 and Exile
Guerrilla Warfare, 1962-1976. Keith Somerville's
Politics, Economics, and Society is an exhaustive and
wellwritten account of the MPLA's institutions and policies.
A wealth of material exists on Angola's security
the escalation of Soviet and Cuban military support. Some
best sources are Tony Hodges's Angola to the 1990s,
special report published by the Economist Intelligence
A. Marcum's paper prepared for the United States
titled "Radical Vision Frustrated: Angola and Cuba";
Bender's article in Current History titled "The
Crisis in Angola"; two chapters by John A. Marcum titled
The Politics of Survival" and "A Quarter Century of War"
Angola, Mozambique, and the West, edited by Helen
two articles by Gillian Gunn titled "The Angolan Economy"
and Angola," also in Helen Kitchen's edited volume; and
Klinghoffer's The Angolan War.
Documentation of Angola's recent history can be found
annual Africa Contemporary Record and various
Africa Confidential, as well as many periodicals
with Africa. (For further information and complete
Data as of February 1989