Briefing from ROAPE Volume 8 Number 21
1980 Coup in Guinea Bissau
At a meeting held in January 1981 on a tiny island 400 miles from the mainland, a unique experiment on the African continent finally came to an end. Since winning independence from Portugal in 1974 after 11 years of guerrilla struggle, a single party, the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) had ruled over two separate and sovereign republics, mainland Guinea and the Cape Verdian islands. The Secretary-General of the party, Aristides Pereira, convened the meeting to discuss the implications of the coup d'etat of 14 November 1980 in Guinea-bissau which had led to the imprisonment of that country's head of state, Luis Cabral, and the overthrow of all existing state institutions, to be replaced by a Revolutionary Council composed predominantly of military personnel. After several days debate the Cape Verdian conference took the decision to form a new party, the PAICV (African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde) and so the brief experiment of separate states with a single party came abruptly to an end. This was a serious set-back both for Pan-Africanism and for socialism on the continent.