Cuba, USSR and Africa (was: Re: intro:Vanessa from Venezuela)

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Mon Mar 26 08:29:03 MST 2001

> >  Castro did not support 'peaceful coexistence' in the Soviet manner. Long
> > after the death of Che, he took initiatives in Africa that were key to
> > advancing the colonial revolution.
> I may be wrong, but I do not see much contardictions between Cuban and
> Soviet foreign policy in Africa in the pre-Gorbacev time. They both
> supported the MPLA, the SACP and the Ethopian Dergue.
> Johannes

The difference wasn't in proclamation, but rather the actions. The USSR, in public,
supported the MPLA, but did nothing on the ground, as was in line with Brezhnev's
detente attempts. The Cuban government did little at first as well, but responded to
requests from the MPLA for help when South Africa (through Namibia) attacked them
with American aid. Once the Cubans got involved (using humans, not resources) the
USSR was sufficiently "shamed" into helping the MPLA through the sending of weapons.
In other words, they had to be dragged into the conflict kicking and screaming,
whereas the Cuban contingent had known long before hand which end was up, and what an
internationalist response from a revolutionary state might be.

The battle of Cuito Cuanavale is cited by Nelson Mandela as the decisive military
battle in Africa that defeated the political power of apartheid. While extremely
cynical towards Nelson Mandela and the ANC, this is haughty praise indeed. The speech
he gave in Matanzas, Cuba (when he was a released ANC leader, but not a president of
S Africa) is available (at a typically exhorbitant price, I'm afraid) in the
Pathfinder book: "How Far We Slaves Have Come!", published 1991. The book is simply
Mandela and Castro speaking at the rally.


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