Cardoso was born in Luanda. He was arrested in 1961 by the Portuguese Secret Police and exiled to Cape Verde. He died of prostate cancer in Portugal. He worked as the editor of Progresso newspaper of the MPLA after independence. He is the author of many books and poetry, including Poemas de Circunstancia (1961), Panfleto (1979), Poemas da Cadeia (1979), and Economia Politica (1979).