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Since achieving independence in 1975 from the Portuguese, Angola has been racked by infighting among its various political groups, which include the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). A ceasefire between the government and the rebel factions has been in effect since 2002, when fighting largely stopped. Citizens have had to endure restriction of their movements, censorship, forced conscription into the armed forces, and rampant poverty and disease.
45% of Angolans practice native religious rites. The rest of the population consists of Catholics (40%) and Protestants (15%). Angolans remain optimistic about their future, and feel that much progress has been made in the recent past towards rehabilitation of the country. In the meantime, the country's vast oil productions help bolster the economy and provide support to the country's teetering infrastructure. The UN also provides support to the country, and aids the government in figuring out how to best implement health, education, and economic reform. Problems persist with the government, however, and many suspect officials of embezzling much of the money that is earmarked for domestic aid.