Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires was born 29 April 1934. He received his primary education in Praia, was educated at the Licee Gil Eanes de São Vicente, and in 1956 at the Faculty of Science at Lisbon University. Shortly afterwards, he undertook his obligatory military service by joining the Portuguese air force. In June of 1961 he left the Portuguese armed forces clandestinely and after a brief imprisonment in Spain, he made his way to Paris and then to Ghana. In September 1961 in Conakry, Guinea, he met Cape Verde-Guinea Bissau freedom fighter, Amilcar Cabral for the first time. He is married and has two daughters.