José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola dies at 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 Africas 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.

More than half a million people were killed in a civil war that displaced more than 3 million and left much of the country in ruins or pocked with land mines, even as Angola became Africas second-largest oil producer and third-largest producer of diamonds.

A fiercely private, even reclusive figure, Mr. dos Santos largely eschewed any cult of personality. Even his image on the countrys 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 cra....

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