Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

José Eduardo dos Santos, the 79-year-old former head of Angola, is in intensive care in Barcelona, Spain. He led his country for 38 years between 1979 and 2017.

Throughout his time as president, José Eduardo dos Santos’s health has been the subject of rumours. But for the past week, the information that has been filtering through about his condition has been alarming. According to the Portuguese daily Expresso, dos Santos is “between life and death” and has been in intensive care for several days at the Teknon medical centre in Barcelona, Spain.

The deterioration of his health, confirmed by official sources to the Portuguese press agency Lusa, explains why Angolan Minister of foreign affairs, Téte Antóni made the trip to Spain on 29 June. A meeting is to be held between members of the dos Santos family and the medical team in charge of the former head of state, according to the Angolan press.

Interviewed on 28 June by the private Portuguese television channel SIC, José Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos, the first son of the former president, who cannot leave Luanda because of legal proceedings for corruption, confirmed the hospitalisation of his father while saying he “continues to hope for an improvement in his health.”

Exile in Barcelona since 2019

José Eduardo dos Santos has been living in Barcelona since April 2019. The Teknon Medical Centre is part of the private hospital group Quirónsalud, which also includes the Quirón Clinic, where the former Gabonese president Omar Bongo Ondimba died in 2009.

Relations between the former Angolan head of state and his successor, João Lourenço  – also from the same party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) – remain tense because of the anti-corruption crusade led by Lourenço, which targets members of the former presidential family and former members of the dos Santos clan.

In September 2021, dos Santos returned to Luanda, his only return to the country since leaving power. During his stay, he met the President Lourenço twice, at the end of December and at the beginning of March, in his residence in the Miramar district of Luanda, before leaving for Barcelona for medical treatment.

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