ANGOLA EX-PRESIDENT Jose Eduardo dos Santos, dies in Spain aged 79

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ANGOLAN EX-PRESIDENT Jose Eduardo dos Santos

ANGOLAN EX-PRESIDENT Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second-largest oil producer for nearly four decades, dies in Spain aged 79

José Eduardo dos Santos, who presided over Angola during a brutal civil war and navigated the crosscurrents of the Cold War to last 38 years as president, becoming one of Africa’s longest-serving and most rapacious tyrants, died July 8 at a clinic in Barcelona. He was 79.

The government of Angola announced his death on its Facebook page. News reports said he had been traveling to Spain for several years for cancer treatment.

During his nearly four decades in power, from 1979 to 2017, Mr. dos Santos led his resource-plentiful nation through seemingly endless conflict and an uneasy peace marked by corruption that funneled vast riches to his family and a favored few while leaving most Angolans in dismal poverty.

A fiercely private, even reclusive figure, Mr. dos Santos largely eschewed any cult of personality. Even his image on the country’s currency was partly concealed by another portrait. He gave few speeches or interviews, revealing little of his personal life. He offered a tight-lipped smile in official photos, none of which showed his office or homes.

Mr. dos Santos was eventually forced into exile — to a $7.2 million mansion in Barcelona — after his successor, President João Lourenço, unexpectedly launched an anti-corruption crackdown that closed in on the long-untouchable dos Santos family and its associates.

The chief target of the probe was Isabel dos Santos, the former president’s eldest daughter and reputedly Africa’s richest woman. She was charged in 2020 with money laundering, forgery and other financial crimes stemming from her tenure as head of Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol.

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