Jacinto Veloso was born in Lourenço Marques (today Maputo). In the 1950s he studied at the Military Academy in Lisbon, where he qualified as an aviation pilot. In 1963, together with João Ferreira, Veloso abandoned Mozambique, piloting a Portuguese Air Force plane to Dar es Salaam and becoming a member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO). He participated actively in the national liberation struggle and accomplished risky missions abroad. After independence he became National Director of Intelligence Services and Minister of State Security. He has also served as Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister of Information. In 2005 he was elected by Parliament as a member of the National Defence and Security Council.