Namibia : Castro reveals role in Angola, Namibia independence

panafrica

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afrol News, 6 December - For the first time, Cuban President Fidel Castro has revealed details of the large Cuban military participation in the war against South African troops in southern Angola in 1987-88. Some 55,000 Cuban troops aided the Angolan counter-offensive, that drove South Africans back to the Namibian border and to the negotiation table. The result was the independence of Namibia, President Castro recalls.

Cuba's aging Dictator on Friday addressed the Caribbean nation's armed forces in a speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of its Angolan engagement. Going through the well-known history of the sending of Cuban 36,000 troops to Angola to defend the Marxist MPLA government against a South African invasion in 1975, President Castro also for the first time shed light on the scale of the 1987-88 operation.

In 1987, South African troops were again in Angola, aiding the rightist UNITA rebels in an attempt to overthrow the leftist MPLA government. According to Mr Castro, the Angolan army had been ill advised to its large September 1987 offensive against the assumed UNITA headquarters at Lomba River in the far south-east of Angola.

President Castro reveals that Cuba had advised the Angolan army against this large offensive due to the big risks involved. The battle at Lomba River also turned out to be a disaster for the government army, as it fell into a trap set up by UNITA and its allies from the apartheid state. The Angolan army suffered great losses, in particular of its heavy weaponry, and was forced to pull back to the air base in Cuito Cuanavale.

"The enemy, greatly emboldened, advanced strongly, towards Cuito Cuanavale," Mr Castro said. "Here it prepared to deliver a mortal blow against Angola. Desperate calls were received from the Angolan government appealing to the Cuban troops for support in fending off presumed disaster," he went on, adding Cuba "had no responsibility whatever" for the difficult situation the Angolan army found itself in.

The Cuban President goes on detailing the massive response immediately organised by Havana. The goal was not only hindering the enemy's advance on Cuito Cuanavale, but to "deliver a decisive blow against the South African forces," he revealed. "A flood of troops and weaponry rapidly crossed the Atlantic, landing on Angola's south coast in order to attack in the south west, in the direction of Namibia. At the same time, 800 km to the east, special units advanced towards Cuito Cuanavale, where they joined up with retreating Angolan forces to set up a lethal trap for the powerful South African forces heading for that large airbase."

The scale of the operation was enormous, much bigger than contemporary observers believed. "Cuban troops in Angola numbered 55,000," President Castro revealed. Assessments so far on the Cuban force have been closer to 30,000. Only in Cuito Cuanavale, there were 40,000 Cuban and 30,000 Angolan troops.

With this great Cuban force at its side, the Angolan army was able to win the decisive battle of Cuito Cuanavale. The Cubans had also brought some 600 tanks and heavy artillery. President Castro reveals that the Cubans also brought several MIG-23 unit, the South Africans thus losing their aerial supremacy. This probably secured the quick victory.

The Cuban-Angolan troops however did not stop at Cuito Cuanavale. With full control on land and in the air, they advanced towards the Namibian border, "ready to literally sweep up the South African forces deployed along that main route,2 according to Mr Castro. This advance, he added, "spelled the end of foreign aggression."

With the South African army in Angola beaten and Cuban-Angolan troops advancing towards South African-occupied Namibia, the power balance in the region had been turned upside-down over night. Suddenly, apartheid South Africa was no longer invincible. Its control over the Southern African region seemed to be more fragile than believed.

In that spirit, South Africa finally agreed to negotiate. "The enemy had to set aside its usual arrogance and sit down at the negotiating table. The talks culminated in the Peace Accords for Southern Africa, signed by South Africa, Angola and Cuba at the UN headquarters in December 1988," President Castro said. The Washington government "had no choice but to accept our presence" in the negotiations, the Cuban leader recalled.

The 1988 peace had great implications for the history of Southern Africa. While Cuba agreed to pull out of Angola, South Africa was forced to stop its campaigns against the MPLA government, which slowly led the the weakening of the UNITA rebels. Even more important, a plan to implement Namibia's independence was agreed upon by the Pretoria government. The power balance was changed in disfavour of the apartheid regime on a lasting basis.

The contribution of the Cuban army was "decisive in consolidating Angola's independence and achieving that of Namibia. It was also a significant contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and the demise of South Africa's repugnant apartheid regime," President Castro told his troops. "Rarely in history has war ... been accompanied by such humanism and humility on the part of the victors," he added.

The Cuban leader said it was now time, 30 years after Angola's independence, that the "heroic saga" of the Cuban contribution be "told in full." He lamented that when the region's history is told, "Cuba, it seems, never played any part at all in Angolan independence, Namibian independence or the defeat of the until-then invincible army of apartheid." Cuba, after all, he said, was "the only non-African nation that fought and shed its blood for Africa and against the shameful apartheid regime."
http://www.afrol.com/articles/17553
 

Aqil

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A very informative and revealing article, Bro. pan...thanx for posting. We thank the great Fidel Castro; we give honor to the Cuban president, and we wish him much peace and love...
 

MANASIAC

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Sekhemu said:
Much Props for Castro. On the other hand it's a shame that no continental African country came to the aid Angola.

I feel you on that note brother sek.
 

Unknown_Soulja

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Sekhemu said:
Much Props for Castro. On the other hand it's a shame that no continental African country came to the aid Angola.
Utter and absolute BULL**** (excuse my french) !! How do you say that with such conviction? They had their hands tied fighting other battles like Apartheid!! Do you know how much African countries were spending on fighting Apartheid in South Africa alone? Let me put it to you like this:
Nothing done by any American for Apartheid South Africa reaches a tenth of the sacrifice done by the Average African. Tanzanians were admitting south Africans like there was no tommorrow. DId you know how many ANC meetings were done in Zambia, Bothswana and Zimbabwe? Did you hear of South African black males trained in Angola? Did you know that the death of the Mozambiqan president was related to his antiapartheid stance? Nigeria revoked the license of British Barclays bank, withdrew its reserves in the Bank and threatened oil Embargo on America in 1976!! That led to the the then president of Nigeria Murder of Murtala Mohammed, when he refused entry of Henry Kissinger into Nigeria. Lets find facts before we start making condescending, and almost even "oh you hopeless" remarks!!
 

Sekhemu

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Unknown_Soulja said:
Utter and absolute BULL**** (excuse my french) !! How do you say that with such conviction? They had their hands tied fighting other battles like Apartheid!! Do you know how much African countries were spending on fighting Apartheid in South Africa alone? Let me put it to you like this:
Nothing done by any American for Apartheid South Africa reaches a tenth of the sacrifice done by the Average African. Tanzanians were admitting south Africans like there was no tommorrow. DId you know how many ANC meetings were done in Zambia, Bothswana and Zimbabwe? Did you hear of South African black males trained in Angola? Did you know that the death of the Mozambiqan president was related to his antiapartheid stance? Nigeria revoked the license of British Barclays bank, withdrew its reserves in the Bank and threatened oil Embargo on America in 1976!! That led to the the then president of Nigeria Murder of Murtala Mohammed, when he refused entry of Henry Kissinger into Nigeria. Lets find facts before we start making condescending, and almost even "oh you hopeless" remarks!!
Utter bull****. If you want to talk about facts make sure you have yours in order before you jump to conclusions about what I stand for.

I said that its a shame that no African nations came to the Aid of Angola, granted some African nations did stand up to the Apartheid regime in South Africa, but I'm talking about within the context of Cuban Intervention in Angola.

The bottom line is this, Africa is divided along ethnic and religious lines, and it is for this very reason she is NOT united. In short if black folks in Africa put down their petty differences we wouldn't have needed the Cubans to fight out wars for us.

We have slavery in Mauritania and Sudan, but how many African heads of state have raised it as an issue before the United Nations, yet we have an African from Ghana running the UN?
 

Unknown_Soulja

Member
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Sekhemu said:
Utter bull****. If you want to talk about facts make sure you have yours in order before you jump to conclusions about what I stand for.

I said that its a shame that no African nations came to the Aid of Angola, granted some African nations did stand up to the Apartheid regime in South Africa, but I'm talking about within the context of Cuban Intervention in Angola.

The bottom line is this, Africa is divided along ethnic and religious lines, and it is for this very reason she is NOT united. In short if black folks in Africa put down their petty differences we wouldn't have needed the Cubans to fight out wars for us.
Utter BULL**** my brother. I present evidence here:
"During the transition period, foreign powers were becoming increasingly involved as the situation in Angola rapidly expanded into an East-West power struggle. In late January, a high-level United States government policy-making body authorized a grant of US$300,000 to the pro-Western FNLA, which at the time seemed to be the strongest of the three movements. In March the Soviet Union countered by increasing arms deliveries to the MPLA, and by midJuly that group had become appreciably stronger militarily. Alarmed, the United States increased funding to the FNLA and, for the first time, funded UNITA. Cuba, which had been aiding the MPLA since the mid-1960s, sent military instructors in the late spring of 1975. By early October, more Cuban military personnel had arrived, this time primarily combat troops; their total then probably reached between 1,100 and 1,500.

In April the presidents of Zambia, Tanzania, and Botswana decided to support Savimbi as leader of an Angolan government of national unity, believing that UNITA attracted the widest popular support in Angola. Savimbi also had the support of some francophone states and of Nigeria and Ghana. Some of these countries later withdrew that support when the OAU pleaded for reconciliation and adherence to the Alvor Agreement."

http://countrystudies.us/angola/36.htm
We have slavery in Mauritania and Sudan, but how many African heads of state have raised it as an issue before the United Nations, yet we have an African from Ghana running the UN?
To answer your Question, you must remember africans have and continue to suffer from colonialism. Painful as slavery is to those of us on this side of the ocean, it will be tackled once they can sought out European exploitation in Africa.
 

Sekhemu

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MEMBER
Unknown_Soulja said:
Utter BULL**** my brother. I present evidence here:
"During the transition period, foreign powers were becoming increasingly involved as the situation in Angola rapidly expanded into an East-West power struggle. In late January, a high-level United States government policy-making body authorized a grant of US$300,000 to the pro-Western FNLA, which at the time seemed to be the strongest of the three movements. In March the Soviet Union countered by increasing arms deliveries to the MPLA, and by midJuly that group had become appreciably stronger militarily. Alarmed, the United States increased funding to the FNLA and, for the first time, funded UNITA. Cuba, which had been aiding the MPLA since the mid-1960s, sent military instructors in the late spring of 1975. By early October, more Cuban military personnel had arrived, this time primarily combat troops; their total then probably reached between 1,100 and 1,500.

In April the presidents of Zambia, Tanzania, and Botswana decided to support Savimbi as leader of an Angolan government of national unity, believing that UNITA attracted the widest popular support in Angola. Savimbi also had the support of some francophone states and of Nigeria and Ghana. Some of these countries later withdrew that support when the OAU pleaded for reconciliation and adherence to the Alvor Agreement."

http://countrystudies.us/angola/36.htm

To answer your Question, you must remember africans have and continue to suffer from colonialism. Painful as slavery is to those of us on this side of the ocean, it will be tackled once they can sought out European exploitation in Africa.
Excuse me, but you haven't said anything that I don't already know.

Again, if the African were united there would be no reason for any assistance from outside the continent.

You're a new member here, perhaps you aren't familiar with the threads I've dedicated to this problem and others, such as slavery in Africa, in the Pan-African forum.

The European and the Arab have never been a slave to Africa, but I'm tired of us making excuses about why we don't come to each others aid. That my "brotha' is what I call "utter bull****.

We can go on and on, and round and round all day on this issue, but it's not changing the condition in Africa.
 
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