Teach-In Speakers Bombard Gulf
Cite Oppression in Angola
An Angolan freedom fighter told a tech-in yesterday that the Gulf Oil Company "has done everything militarily and financially possible to protect its interests in Angola."
"Gulf supplies uniforms and helps train the Portuguese army in addition to assisting local militia," Abel Guimares, a member of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), told a group of about 110 in Burr B yesterday afternoon.
The two-hour teach-in was sponsored by the Pan-African Liberation Committee (PALC) and other black undergraduates who are demanding that Harvard divest itself of 670,000 shares of Gulf stock.
Guimares said that the MPLA has been fighting, Portuguese colonialism since 1961. He explained that Gulf's $150 million investment in Angola--primarily in the oil-rich Kabinda region--"means even more to the Portuguese because they have such a low standard of living."
He added that the Portuguese alone would not have been able to sustain their anti-liberation efforts for more than two or three years were it not for "assistance from Western powers and the increasing involvement of American corporations in Angola."
Guimares said he feared that "the Americans may even send troops if the Portuguese ad...it defeat" and he urged the audience to "continue to exert pressure--in Congress and in the anti-Gulf action at Harvard--so that the U.S. will not continue to aid Portugal."
The teach-in also featured a slide-show presentation by Robert Van Lierop, a black American who recently returned from travelling with liberation forces in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique.
Van Lierop compared the Portuguese a colonial efforts in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea to the American tactics in Southeast Asia. He cited the Portuguese reliance on air war, the used of napalm and anti-personnel bombs, and the use of helicopters in search-and-destroy operations.
"The Portuguese commander in Mozambique is a friend of American General William Westmoreland," who formerly headed the U.S. Vietnam effort, Van Lierop said, "Like Westmoreland, he is always speaking of the light at the end of the tunnel."
Van Lierop charged that the Portuguese in Mozambique attempt to "starve the guerrillas, terrorize the local population and destroy schools and hospitals in liberated areas," and he stressed that Portuguese tactics are the same in Angola.
"In Mozambique, the Portuguese even imprison lepers and people who are not lepers in the same prisons," he said, "so the disease will spread."