Over Where? Cuban Fighters in Angola’s Civil War | HistoryNet
CUBA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SOVIET UNION by This thesis examines Cuban involvement in Angola and Ethiopia in light ofCuba's Ioreign policy and. Over , Cuban soldiers served in Angola, of whom over 2, died, In the third world, it was yet another public relations victory for Fidel. More than any other issue, Cuba's involvement in the burgeoning Angolan Civil War would play a major part in crippling Cuban-U.S. relations for years to come.
Zairian troops were defeated without difficulty and the FNLC continued to advance.The Untold Story of Cuba's Support for African Independence Movements Under Fidel Castro
Eight days later, the French government responded to Mobutu's plea and airlifted 1, Moroccan troops into Kinshasa. The counter-invasion force pushed the last of the militants, along with a number of refugees, into Angola and Zambia in April. American timidity during the war prompted a shift in Zaire's foreign policy from the U. Factionalism within the MPLA became a major challenge to Neto's power by late and he gave Alves the task of once again clamping down on dissension. Alves shut down the Cabral and Henda Committees while expanding his influence within the MPLA through his control of the nation's newspapers and state-run television.
Alves visited the Soviet Union in October When he returned, Neto began taking steps to neutralize the threat he saw in the Nitistas, followers of Alves.
The brigade took control of the radio station in Luanda at 7 a. The brigade asked citizens to show their support for the coup by demonstrating in front of the presidential palace. The Nitistas captured Bula and Dangereaux, generals loyal to Neto, but Neto had moved his base of operations from the palace to the Ministry of Defence in fear of such an uprising. Any upset to this venture would not be tolerated by the Cubans.
For this reason in a blatant intervention in domestic affairs of Angola, Cuban troops retook the palace at Neto's request and marched to the radio station.
After an hour of fighting, the Cubans succeeded and proceeded to the barracks of the 8th brigade, recaptured by 1: While the Cuban force captured the palace and radio station, the Nitistas kidnapped seven leaders within the government and the military, shooting and killing six. The self-determination rights of the people of Cabinda a geographically separate nation was ignored by the MPLA and Cuban government.
During this time period Cuba implemented some impressive assistance to the MPLA in setting the foundation for a true Marxist state with Communist values. The Cubans brought over doctors, teachers and engineers. Cuban medical assistance was so great that Spanish became known as the language of medicine in Angola.
This key aspect of Angolan-Cuban relations still lasts to this day. Besides providing teachers to Angola, Cuba also provided bursaries for Angolans to study at Cuban universities. A clear positive and good intention was shown by Cuba in the sectors of medicine and health.
Unfortunately Cuban intervention in the other sectors agriculture and civil infrastructure was undermined by the Marxist ideals and Cuban experiments. Cuban sugarcane is bigger and has a higher yield than Angolan sugarcane.
The CIA's Angolan task force at CIA headquarters at Langley had been so confident of success by the Zairian and South African regulars, that on 11 November the members had celebrated Angolan independence with wine and cheese in their offices. Kissinger said "that US efforts at rapprochement with Cuba would end should 'Cuban armed intervention in the affairs of other nations struggling to decide their own fate' continue. They claimed that South Africa had to intervene after Cuba sent troops in support of the MPLA and that the war in Angola was a major new challenge to US power by an expansionist Moscow newly confident following communist victories in Vietnam War.
Only years later it became clear to them, that the Cubans acted on their own behalf. Why had they planned everything to take possession of Angola before 11 November? Angola is a country rich in resources.
Angola: Cuba wants stronger bilateral relations - Politics - Angola Press - ANGOP
In Cabinda there is lots of oil. Some imperialists wonder why we help the Angolans, which interests we have. They are used to thinking that one country helps another one only when it wants its oil, copper, diamonds or other resources. No, we are not after material interests and it is logical that this is not understood by the imperialist.
They only know chauvinistic, nationalistic and selfish criteria. By helping the people of Angola we are fulfilling a fundamental duty of Internationalism. Bush Chief of U. Liaison Office in Peking international issues were discussed, one of them being Angola. China was especially concerned about African sensitivities and pride and considered South African involvement as the primary and relative complex problem.
Kissinger responded, that the U. By then "the evidence of the South African invasion was overwhelming and the stench of US-collusion with Pretoria hung in the air. Worse, the growing numbers of Cuban troops had derailed the CIA's plans and the administration seemed at a loss what to do next.
Senate passed an amendment banning covert assistance to anti-Communist forces and curtailing CIA involvement in Angola. Later that winter, an amendment to the foreign aid bill sponsored by Dick Clark extended the ban. Clark Amendment  The U. Altogether they managed to enlist around men, but by the time meaningful numbers arrived in January the campaign in the north was all but over. There follows an updated situation report based on classified sources.
Diplomatic 1 Two Cuban delegations were present in Addis Ababa. Another Cuban delegation was headed by Cuba's ambassador Ricardo Alarcon. The delegation is still in the region.
Military 1 It is estimated that Cuba may now have as many as 9, troops in Angola, based on the number of Cuban airlifts and sealifts which have presently transited Angola. This figure includes the value of the military equipment that Cuba has sent to Angola, the costs of transporting men and material, and the cost of maintaining troops in the field.
These fighters arrived from an unknown source at the end of December. Eight MiGs, type unknown, are expected to be sent to Angola from Nigeria, numerous Cuban pilots arrived during December. The Cubans will operate the MiGs. They are conducting all security patrols, operating police checkpoints, and will apparently soon assume control of Luanda's airport complex. IL left Havana for Luanda Jan. All Portuguese commercial flights now landing at Luanda carry as cargo as much food as possible.
Food supplies available to the general population have become tight. Indeed, there were so many ships anchored in the bay of Luanda that by February Neto said to a functionary close to him: It had been clear to them right from the start, however, that the action had to be swift, decisive, and at all costs successful. Kissinger worried, "if the Cubans are involved there, Namibia is next and after that South Africa itself.
Yet it took another whole month for the world press to take notice: A day after the South African coastal advance was stopped, two correspondents from Reuters and British Independent Television News published news that South Africans were fighting in Angola.
Although other papers were still slow to follow, e. By the time FAPLA and the Cubans were able to turn more attention to the southern front after the battle of Quifangondo, the South Africans had gained considerable ground. On 6 and 7 NovemberTask Force Zulu took the harbour cities of Benguela and Lobito which had been unexpectedly abandoned. But on 10 November Vorster gave in to UNITA's urgent request to keep up the military pressure with the aim of capturing as much territory as possible before the upcoming meeting of the OAU.
The first Cuban reinforcements arrived in Porto Amboim, only a few km north of Novo Redondo, quickly destroying three bridges crossing the Queve river, effectively stopping the South African advance along the coast on 13 November South Africa withdraws[ edit ] In light of these developments Pretoria had to decide whether it would stay in the game and bring in more troops.
Cuban PT tank in the streets of Luanda About the only goal they could agree on was independence from Portugal, which had dominated Angola since the late 15th century, when the area was ruled by a group of independent kingdoms and tribal confederations.
The Portuguese had come seeking gold but soon realized that the real treasure here lay in the commerce of humans. The slave trade was the single most lucrative commercial enterprise of the time, and the Portuguese were among its most prolific traders. They raided for slaves, traded with the local rulers for captives from rival tribes, and engaged in international slaving on a massive scale. Although the planters and businessmen of North America and the Caribbean purchased large numbers of slaves, the Portuguese colony of Brazil—with its many plantations and steady demand for unskilled labor—was the destination of choice until the mids, when it closed its ports to the slave trade.
But in the years of the trade an estimated million or more natives from Angola were shipped in chains to the slave markets of the New World. Their methods were often brutal, and when the tribes resisted, they were subjugated one by one, until Portugal controlled nearly the entire colony.
By the s labor camps had sprung up at northern coffee and cotton plantations, where forced labor became the new form of slavery. Meanwhile, in a short time Portugal had evolved from a monarchy to a republic and, into a military dictatorship whose control over Angola grew increasingly tighter. By an anticolonial war of resistance, initially driven by oppressed workers in the coffee and cotton fields, had broken out and was spreading quickly.
Five years later a third nationalist group emerged: It got some support from the United States and from apartheid South Africa. This array of movements, each with its own political agenda, made conflicting demands on the loyalty of the native Angolans, and the factions fought not only the Portuguese but each other. After 13 years of bitter fighting that came to be known as the War of Independence, the three groups agreed to a cessation of hostilities.
The Angolan Civil War had begun. Played out on a Cold War stage, the war proved to be one of the longest and bloodiest modern-day conflicts. He staffed them with Cuban instructors and technical advisers, nearly five times the number the MPLA had requested.
At the time Castro possibly envisioned the Cuban mission as strictly instructional. That would soon change. Badly outnumbered and outgunned, they failed.