Cape Verde’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Carlos Veiga?

Sunday, May 28, 2017
Carlos Veiga

Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga, a former prime minister of his country, took over as Cape Verde’s ambassador to the United States on November 17, 2016, presenting his credentials two months later.


Veiga was born October 21, 1949, in Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cape Verde. He attended secondary school in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde and its largest city. Veiga attended college at Universidade Classica de Lisboa in Portugal, graduating with a degree in law in 1971.


In 1972, Veiga began working in another former Portuguese colony in Africa, Angola, serving as a registrar in Bié. He returned to Cape Verde in 1974 and the following year was made director general for local administration.


Veiga was named attorney general of Cape Verde in 1978. While in that post, he urged liberalization of policies enforced by the government. He left the government in 1980 and in 1982 started his own law firm.


Veiga won a seat in parliament in 1985. When running for re-election five years later, he founded the Movimento para Democracia party, which won the first multi-party election in Cape Verde history and made Veiga prime minister.


As prime minister, Veiga in 1992 oversaw the creation of a new constitution and flag for the country. He also began to bring in private investment to the nation that is heavily dependent on foreign aid and remittances to keep its economy going. Veiga was known for moving his cabinet ministers around and sometimes firing them to keep from developing a power base from which they could challenge him. In 1998, Veiga was injured in a plane crash that killed one of his bodyguards.


Veiga resigned from parliament in 2000 to run for president, but lost to Pedro Pires by 17 votes in 2001. He lost again in 2006 to Pires in another close vote (51%-49%) thanks to the votes of Cape Verdeans living abroad. Veiga returned to parliament in 2011 and was named vice president.


Veiga is married to Maria Epifânia Cruz Almeida. They have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Veiga speaks Portuguese, Caboverdean Creole, Spanish and English.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

African Leaders: Guiding the New Millenium (by Alan Rake)

Dictionary of African Biography (by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Emmanuel K. Akyeampong, and Steven J. Niven)

Official Biography


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