Neto, Agostinho

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Agostinho Neto (əgōōshtēn´yōō nā´tōō), 1927–79, first president of independent Angola. A Portuguese-educated physician and poet, he founded the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) in 1956, directing the war of liberation against Portugal from exile with East bloc support. In the civil war after Portugal's withdrawal, the MPLA controlled the capital (with Cuban help), enabling Neto to become president of Angola in 1975. Although aided by the USSR and Cuba, he also made overtures to the West. He died in Moscow in the midst of civil war in his own country.