Angolans suffered centuries of slavery and exploitation by the colonial power of Portugal. It was not until the 1974 coup in Portugal that independence was ever offered. Unfortunately, the pro-Soviet independence movement controlled the capital and coast, and never lost it, even though its opponents controlled the interior. Angola is just beginning to emerge from the resulting 27 years of civil war and economic mismanagement that ravaged the economy and infrastructure. China is offering Angola foreign aid and increasing involvement in the oil trade, which should help Angola grow. Though political and civil rights exist on paper, their practice lags behind what has been promised. Preparations began in 2006 for promised democratic elections, but skeptics doubt the government will cede power.
Nevertheless, the government acknowledges the value of religious
organizations in rebuilding the country. The social welfare minister met in November 2006 with representatives of various churches in Huambo province and appealed to them to continue their vocational training for youths and rescue efforts aimed at street children.