The happy gentleman to the right is José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president for the past 30 years. During that time, he has allegedly managed to skim $4 billion from the nation’s oil revenues—quite a despicable feat, given that Angola remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with 70 percent of the population living on less than $2 per day. And a quarter of Angolan children fail to reach the age of five.
Dos Santos would be more widely reviled if he hadn’t been so assiduous about squelching any sort of dissent. One of the few journalists brave enough to speak out has been Rafael Marques, who penned an infamous 1999 anti-dos Santos polemic entitled “The Lipstick of Dictatorship”. For his troubles, Marques was arrested, tried, and convicted of “abuse of the press.”
Thanks to the magic of the Tubes, however, Marques’s words have been revived. Check out the column here. If you’re not a close follower of Angolan politics, it’s a bit tough to parse. But as you read, keep in mind that Marques knew he was destined for the slammer as he jotted words on paper. Can’t say I’ve ever been in similar straits.