Last modified: 2002-08-30 by jarig bakker
Keywords: cabinda | flec |
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The original FLEC (Frente de Libertação do Enclave de
Cabinda, Liberation front of the enclave of Cabinda) was created in 1963
as a coalition of 3 movements - MLEC (Liberation movement of the enclave
of C.), CAUNC (Action Commitee of National Cabindese Union) and ALLIAMA
(National Alliance of the Mayombe - Mayombe is a mountain between the Cabinda
and the republic of the Congo). That movement adopted a horizontal tricolour
Joan-Frances Blanc, 4 May 1998
I found in the Political Handbook of the World 1997 the following:
Since the early 1960s a number of groups have been active in the oil-rich Cabindan enclave under the banner of Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (Frente deLibertação do Enclave de Cabinda - FLEC). The original FLEC was founded in August 1963 by Luis Ranque Franque who, encouraged by Portuguese authorities to continue separatist activities, refused to join other Angolan independence movements. In 1974 the Front's attempts to gain military control of the enclave were
rebuffed by the MPLA and, in 1975, the movement broke into three factions:
Anxious to create ties to the economically important region, both the government and UNITA have named Cabindans to leadership positions in their parties. Nevertheless, in July 1991 a joint MPLA-PT/UNITA offensive was launched in Cabinda to eradicate the terrorists. Meanwhile, although past attempts to unify the numerous FLEC factions had proven short-lived, it was reported that four of the identifiable groups (FLEC-Lubota, the UNLC, CCC, and FLEC-Renovada) were attempting to form a united front, FLEC-N'Zita reportedly refusing to participate.
In mid-1992 increased incidents of FLEC initiated violence were reported
in the province, with the situation further deteriorating during the runup
tot the September elections. In August FLEC officials called for a boycott
of the balloting. Subsequently, only 19 % of the eligible voters registered,
with one observer describing the low turnout as a "referndum on independence".
In December FLEC activists, citing the likelihood of further unrest, urged
São Tomé and Principe expatriates to depart and in
January 1993 Angolan officials charged "Congolese politicians" with supplying arms to the separatists.
In mid-May 1993 FLEC responded to the US recognition of Luanda by declaring
that it didnot extend to Cabinda and warning that "all those people with
companies in Cabinda must choose between supporting the extermination of
the Cabindan people or leaving the territory." Following UNITA's capture
of Soyo in northwestern Angola in late May, the government, fearing a pact
between the separatists and rebels, was reported to be attempting to form
an alliance with a FLEC-Renovada opponent, the FLEC-Armed Forces of Cabinda
(Forças Armadas do Cabinda - FLEC-FAC). However, after a new guerilla
offebsive was launched in Cabinda from mid-1995, government and FLEC-R
representatives meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, in April 1996 concluded a
ceasefire agreement that was thought likely to be observed by other FLEC-factions.
The last statement seemed to be a bit premature. However, from the above it appears that by 1996 FLEC-Renovada and FLEC-FAC were most prominent. The FLEC-R flag is the WVYNW with red circle (with gap) flag; The FLEC-FAC flag is RYB, but it is more difficult to assign the other posted flags to Cabindan groups. For the time being it seems to me that there is not one flag which represents the whole of Cabinda... But I may be completely wrong here. I admit honestly to not to differentiate between FLEC and FLEC, where every Cabindan knows that the E in the first stands for "Enclave", and in the second for "Estado"...
Jarig Bakker, 5 Apr 2001
Why would Portugal encourage a liberation movement in one of it's colonies? The fact is that it's true. Portugal actively helped, through the political police, the PIDE, and the services of military intelligence, not only cabindan independentists, but also the UNITA and the FNLA. Our dictator's policy (first Salazar and later Marcelo Caetano) was tried to divide and rule, and therefore assisted all movements that opposed the then already largely majoritary and soviet-supported MPLA movement. Also the US and South Africa got actively involved in this anti-MPLA support, with weapons, mercenaries and military training. Later, after 1974, when Portugal went through a democratic revolution, decolonized and ceased it's involvement in Africa (that was practically zero until the arrival of the nineties, when our diplomacy tried to achieve some goals in the continent, including peace in Angola together with the US and Russia), the anti-MPLA side, whetever it's name was, kept under US and SA support (SA army even made several incursions in Angola during the 70s and 80s), whereas the other side was supported mostly by the USSR and Cuba.
Nowadays FLEC-Renovada and FLEC-FAC seem to be the only groups in action
there. However, it has been said several times to portuguese media by ordinary
people in the enclave that "the FLEC isn't the men in the bush - the FLEC
is all of us". So there's a major support not only for the idea of independence
but also for a "FLEC" as a more or less idealized corporization (if this
word exists in english) of this idea. This is to say that I wouldn't be
surprised if in the case of sudden dissolution of the
current FLECs, new FLECs would arise apparently from the vacuum. Be it relative to an enclave, be it relative to a state.
Jorge Candeias, 5 Apr 2001