Why Fidel Castro’s Greatest Legacy in Africa is in Angola
selflessness than Cuba has displayed in its relations to Africa?" In all Cuba's narrow self-interest, he would not have sent troops to Angola. Fidel Castro speaks during a visit to Luanda, Angola in March As leader of Cuba, Castro advocated a radical departure from the a relationship with Angola's People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Angola: Cuba wants stronger bilateral relations. Luanda - The first vice-president of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.
Probably the biggest downfall in the relation between Angola and Cuba during this period was the systematic plundering of Angolan property by the Cubans. Under the Marxist principle all property belonged to the state. As an example, under the definition of 'all property' domestic cars that one would normally believe to belong to individuals now belong to the state. However, due to the conflict and social upheavals many Portuguese citizens fled Angola, abandoning their cars.
Cuban troops begin withdrawal from Angola - HISTORY
Many high ranking Cuban soldiers came across these abandoned cars and helped themselves to them. Senior Angolan officials were insulted to find many Angolan cars with Angolan license plates driving the streets of Havana.
Many similar incidents such as the Cuban plundering of rare woods in Cabinda began to show strain in the relationship between Angola and Cuba.
The relationship between Angola, Cuba and the Soviet Union was ironically heavily funded by sales of oil to capitalistic countries. Both the Soviet Union and Angola were large scale exporters of oil providing funds for the various Cuban initiatives. During the years to the world price of oil tumbled eventually leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Angola's ability to fund Cuban ventures was severely cut to the point that Angola could no longer afford to pay for any foreign assistance and went into debt.
With no money to go around and internal strains between the Angolans and Cubans, by the mid to late s the bi-lateral relationship changed dramatically. For Cuba there were no longer any revenues from Angola but instead a very expensive operation of funding a military and civilian force in Angola. Cuba was also suffering their own hardships based on a command economy that had systematically become too expensive to run. Although the two sides still had a respectful relationship the soon departure of the Cuban occupiers was a foregone conclusion.
The imminent collapse of the Soviet Union lead to a desperate attempt to severely weaken the military foes in preparation for the MPLA to 'go it alone'. The Cuban military correctly raised concern on the whole attack process as the Cubans had made a similar attempt in when the South African forces intervened and the entire attack turned into a disastrous failure. It was at the battle at the Lomba river that MPLA realized that impending departure of both the Cubans and Soviets would leave them alone and severely weakened.
Fidel Castro realized that his dream of having Angola as a strong Marxist state in Africa and a spring board to spread Marxism in Africa would quickly evaporate if he did not lend assistance to MPLA. However, peace negotiations had progressed and Cuba needed to become a participant in the negotiations to ensure at least a form of honourable departure from Angola.
With Cuban presence at the table, the negotiations became known as the " Tripartite Accord ". Cuba attempted to break the siege of Cuito Cuanvale but found that the South African G5 Howitzer gun had created havoc, severely disrupting the supply route to Cuito the supply route became known as the "Road of Death". Castro turned his troops southward and made a direct advance on the Namibian border in an attempt of a last honourable attack.
Again the South African G5 gun was used to terrifying results halting the advance.
Without consulting the MPLA and the Soviets, Castro launched his MiG fighter jets, initially trying to remove the G5 guns, but on the same flight, they turned and attacked the Caluque hydro scheme. This attack almost undermined the peace negotiations and again strained the relationship between Cuba and Angola and the Soviet Union.
Soon after the negotiations and the accord was reached, Cuba implemented their prescribed program of removing their troops from Angola which was completed by May Although Cuba bargained hard for various concessions, related to the Angola situation there were some instrumental points that Cuba conceded: Cuba also had to concede on certain points pertaining to Namibia and South Africa which are not part of this topic.The Untold Story of Cuba's Support for African Independence Movements Under Fidel Castro
Post-Peace Accord relationship[ edit ] With the Peace Accord complete, the South African forces withdrew from Angola and went about enacting the democratic hand over of Namibia. Cuba withdrew all its troops and now faced the full brunt of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having focused so much of its finite resources to the Second Revolution primarily in Africa with the main focus on Angola, Cuba's own economy was in a state of tatters.
This time the MPLA no longer had a major backer, they faced a military impasse and a world where multi-party democracy with Capitalistic economies were showing success. The MPLA realized that a new political and economic vision was needed to answer both their military woes and their economic aspirations. At the third congress of the People the MPLA decided that the Marxist—Leninist policy had brought more suffering than relief and was dropped.
The MPLA changed their course and opened the door for a multi-party democracy based on a capitalistic economy. UNITA and other opposition parties claimed the elections were rigged. South African Border War Portugal's sudden retreat from Angola and Mozambique in ended a history of South African military and intelligence cooperation with Portugal against the Angolan and Namibian independence movements dating back to the s, later formalized in a secret alliance codenamed Alcora Exercise.
With the loss of the Portuguese as an ally and the establishment of pro-SWAPO communist rule in the two former colonies, the apartheid regime lost highly valued sections of its " cordon sanitaire " buffer zone between itself and hostile black Africa. It was behind a coup attempt in Tanzania inprovided support for rebels in Zimbabwe since independence, carried out raids against African National Congress offices in MaputoHarare and Gaborone and conducted a counterinsurgency war in Namibia against SWAPO.
Unlike the other countries in the region, South Africa had no economic leverage on Angola, thus making military action the only possible means to exert any influence on the course of events. In addition, on 4 SeptemberVorster authorized the provision of limited military training, advice and logistical support.
Southern Angola was in chaos with the three independence movements fighting each other for dominance. Task force Foxbat joined the intervention in mid-October. He underlined that the attacks on the part of the FNLA and of Mobutu to the MPLA and the possible development of future actions until independence in the month of November was taken into account and the awareness that "the reactionaries and the imperialists would try all possible methods to avoid having the forces of the MPLA take power".
These men included 17 in a medical brigade and officers. It was nevertheless clear that …they expected it the mission to be short term and to last around 6 months". Small groups continued to trickle into Luanda on such flights as well as on Cuba's aging Britannia planes and the bulk arrived after a two-week trip aboard three Cuban cargo vessels; the first one, the "Vietnam Heroico" docked at Porto Amboim on 5 October.
Why Fidel Castro’s Greatest Legacy in Africa is in Angola
The CIR in Cabinda accounted for almost half of the total, men, while the others had 66 or 67 each. Some were posted in headquarters in Luanda or in other places throughout the country The reason for the stronger detachment in Cabinda was the perceived threat from Zaire either to Cabinda or to the Congo. Neto asked the Soviet Union for more support which had no intention to send any staff before independence and only reluctantly sent more arms.
The Cubans were busy dealing with the arrival of the contingents for the CIRs and it was only on 19 October that they paid sufficient attention to Luanda's precarious position. Realizing the threat they shut down the CIR at Salazar only 3 days after it started operating and deployed most of the recruits and Cuban instructors in Luanda. This first encounter between Cubans and South Africans also led to the first officially recognized Cuban fatalities.
On 4 November Castro decided to launch an intervention on an unprecedented scale, codenaming the mission Operation Carlotaafter 'Black Carlota', the leader of a slave rebellion in The same day, a first plane with heavy weapon specialists, which the MPLA had requested in September, left for Brazzaville, arriving in Luanda on 7 November.
Cuban intervention in Angola - Wikipedia
On 9 November the first two Cuban planes arrived in Luanda with the first men of a contingent of a strong battalion of elite Special Forces. Fidel Castro explained the Cuban intervention: And when the MPLA asked us for help, we offered the necessary aid to prevent Apartheid from making itself comfortable in Angola".
Unlike its foreign engagements in the sixties this was no secret operation. Castro decided to support Angola in all openness, sending special forces and 35, infantry by the end ofdeploying them at Cuba's own expense and with its own means from November to January As on its previous missions all personnel were volunteers and the call-up was extremely popular.
Air transportation for quick deployments proved to be a major problem. Nevertheless, between 7 November and 9 December the Cubans managed to run 70 reinforcement flights to Luanda.
Initially they were able to make stops in Barbados, the Azores, or Newfoundland, prompting pressure from Washington to deny Cuba landing rights. But moving take-offs to Cuba's easternmost airport, Holguin, taking as little weight as necessary, and adding additional tanks, the planes were used for numerous runs across the ocean until the Soviets pitched in with long-distance jet planes.
They docked in Luanda on 27 and 29 November and 1 December bringing 1, troops and equipment. On the contrary, it also took the USSR by surprise. But they had in mind to keep a lid on the extent of the Cuban engagement and merely sent arms and a few specialists to Brazzaville and Dar-es-Salaam. It was only two months later after the fighting swung in favour of the Cubans and the U.
First heavy weapons had already arrived from Cuba by ship on 7 November, among them cannons, mortars and 6 BM Katyusha multiple rocket launchers. The Cubans received reports that the expected invasion of Cabinda had started on the morning of 8 November.
In the ensuing battle for Cabinda from 8—13 November they managed to repel the invasion without support from Operation Carlota, thus saving the exclave for the MPLA. They were manning the artillery provided by the SADF which had been flown into Ambriz only two days before.
Cuban forces also bombarded their South African and FNLA enemies with BM Grad rocket launchers which had been put into place only the night before, and were well out of range of the antiquated South African guns. On the same day the Portuguese handed over power "to the people of Angola" and shortly after midnight Neto proclaimed independence and the formation of the "People's Republic of Angola". Two months after the start of Operation Carlota the Soviets agreed to ten charter flights on long-range IL jet airliners, starting on 8 January.
The final offensive in the North started on 1 January The news from the southern front was, in their view, still positive. 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.
- Cuban intervention in Angola
- Angola–Cuba relations
- Cuban troops begin withdrawal from Angola
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. 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.