dos Santos has been in power since 1979, while his daughter Isabel dos Santos nicknamed “the princess,” has become Africa’s richest woman under his rule.
“It is the sad spectacle of an international artist purchased by a ruthless police state to entertain and whitewash the father-daughter kleptocracy that has amassed billions in ill-gotten wealth,” Thor Halvorssen, president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, said in a statement.
Halvorssen called dos Santos “one of Africa’s chief human rights violators and most corrupt tyrants.”
The nation struggled through an exhaustive civil war that ended in 2002. Rich oil deposits have flooded the country with money. But the majority of citizens live on $2 a day, according to the Foundation, a non-profit human rights watchdog.
The dos Santos government is known for using excessive force to control dissidents and political opponents, including peaceful demonstrators, according to Amnesty International’s annual report on the nation.
In 2013, the government suppressed freedom of assembly throughout the country, restricted free speech and censored the news media. There were also reports of “enforced disappearances” and “force evictions” against regime opponents, the group reported.
Against that backdrop, Carey flew to Luanda, Angola’s capital two weekends ago and headlined the second annual “Baile Vermelho” gala, which raises money for Angola’s Red Cross, headed, of course, by Isabel dos Santos.
She also played a stadium show sponsored by the mobile phone provider Unitel, which is owned, of course, by Isabel dos Santos. Carey sang in a bikini top and a Santa Claus dress and posed with the dictator and his daughter afterward.
Oddly, Carey expressed regret for a 2011 performance for late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for,” she said at the time.
“Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from. We need to be more aware and take more responsibility regardless of who books our shows. Ultimately, we as artists are to be held accountable.”