Carlos Cardoso (1951 – 2000)

Born from Portuguese parents in 1951, in Beira, Mozambique, Carlos Cardoso was a Mozambican journalist, a  human rights activist and a defender of the freedom of press. After studying in South Africa, he spent some time in Portugal before going back to Mozambique after its independence in 1975. For ten years, he worked as a ferving activist of the Frelimo, (the Mozambique Liberation Front), the party that fought to transform Mozambique in a Socialist State. Yet, as Cardoso’s criticisms of his own party started bothering its leaders, attempts to alienate him became more and more frequent. In 1987, with the imminent fall of the USSR, the Frelimo lost all support from its Soviet economic ally and the country’s economic liberalization started. For Cardoso, this represented a profound disappointment. In 1992, he co-founded Mediafax, which was oriented towards investigative journalism and became a fervent denunciator of Frelimo’s corruption and abuses of power. By the end of the 1990s, Carlos Cardoso’s voice was getting louder and louder, specially as he started investigating a money laundering scheme related to the privatization of the Banco Comercial de Moçambique. On November 2000, after leaving his office, Cardoso was shot death in the centre of Maputo. His assassination was a clear warning to Mozambican journalists to think twice before talking. He was an example of courage and as Mozambican writer Mia Couto said in his funeral, “Cardoso was a defender of the border that separates us from crime, the dirty business of selling the homeland and consciousness”.

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