Cuba and Africa: A History Worthy of Pride

by Dr. Piero Gleijeses,
Professor of US Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins University

[From Tricontinental Number 158, Year 38, 2004. Tricontinental is published by the Organization of Solidarity of the People of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL), an NGO with special consultative status in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

[Dr. Gleijeses is the author of Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-1976, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002]

The role of Cuba in the world since 1959 is unprecedented.[1] For more than four decades, Castro has challenged and humiliated the imperial arrogance of the United States. In the 1960’s, the fear of a second Cuba in Latin America dogged the leaders of the United States and impelled the creation of the Alliance for Progress. Since the end of the 1970’s until the end of the 80’s, Havana maintained a strong presence alongside those who fought for revolutionary change in Central America.

The arrival of 36,000 Cuban soldiers in Angola between November 1975 and March 1976 astonished the world; however, it was only one stage along the road beginning in 1959 that had taken the Cubans to Algeria, the Congo Leopoldville (later called Zaire), the Congo Brazzaville and Guinea-Bissau.[2]

At the beginning of the 60’s, the Cuban leaders saw similarities between the Algerian revolution against French colonial domination and their own struggle against Fulgencio Batista and the United States. In December 1961, a Cuban ship took weapons to Casablanca for the Algerian rebels. It returned to Havana with 78 wounded guerilla fighters and 20 children from refugee camps. The epic struggle of Cubans in Africa had begun. The assistance continued after Algeria achieved its independence in 1962. In May 1963, a 55 member Cuban medical company arrived in Algiers. Just as it would be for all the missions that followed, up until 1978, the help was free. And in October 1963, when Morocco attacked Algeria, the Cubans rapidly deployed a contingent of 686 soldiers with heavy weapons in defense of the Algerians. This occurred despite the fact that Rabat had just signed a contract with Havana for the purchase of a million tons of sugar valued at $184 million dollars – a considerable sum of hard currency in a moment that United States was trying to paralyze Cuban foreign trade.

The concern of Cuba towards sub-Saharan Africa was intensified at the end of 1964. The guerilla fighters fought in the Portuguese colonies of Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. In Congo Brazzaville, the new government proudly proclaimed its revolutionary sympathies. Above all, there was Zaire – where the armed revolt extended surprisingly quickly beginning in the spring of 1964. This was a threat to the survival of the corrupt régime that presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy had been able to impose. To save the Zairian régime, the Johnson administration dispatched an army of a thousand white mercenaries in a broad “covert” operation that everybody knew about – except for the US press. This produced a wave of indignation, even among those African leaders who had good relations with the United States. For the Cubans, the conflict was not only an African problem. “Our view was that the problem of the Congo [Zaire] was a problem of the whole world,” wrote Che Guevara.[3]

In December 1964, Che Guevara went to Africa on a three-month trip that evidenced the increased interest of Havana in the region. In February 1965, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Che came to an agreement with the rebellious Zairians that Cuba would send a group of instructors to help them in their struggle. In April, a Cuban column of about 120 men under Che´s orders entered eastern Zaire through Tanzania. Some weeks later, a second Cuban column under Jorge Risquet’s control arrived in neighboring Congo Brazzaville at the request of the government of that country. The government was living “in fear” of an attack by CIA-backed mercenaries. The column had a more strategic task. As Raúl Castro pointed out “it was Che’s reserve column” that would spring upon the opportunity as soon it presented itself.[4] In the summer of 1965 there were 400 Cuban soldiers in central Africa.

But central Africa was not ready for the revolution. When the Cubans arrived in Zaire, the mercenaries had practically defeated the rebellion. The history of Che’s column is not one of major combat, but of the good sense of 120 men who were in an impossible situation in a world completely alien to them, but who maintained their humanity and behaved with discipline and commitment to the end. In November 1965, after the final collapse of the rebellion, the Cuban column left Zaire. Meanwhile, in the Congo Brazzaville, Risquet’s column stopped a military coup in June 1966 by means of daring and diplomacy, and without spilling a drop of blood. The Cuban doctors who were a part of the column carried out the first vaccination campaign against poliomyelitis in the country and 254 young Congolese went to Cuba to study – with Cuba covering all the expenses. In December 1966, the column returned to Cuba, although the Congolese government asked them to stay. Risquet understood, and made Havana understand, that there was no revolution in Congo Brazzaville. “He took us out at the opportune moment,” observed his second in command. “He knew how to be flexible.” [5]

The end of the 1960’s was a period of growing maturation in the relationship between Cuba and Africa. In those years – until 1974 – Cuba’s focus in the continent was centered on Guinea-Bissau, where PAIGC guerilla fighters were fighting to liberate their country from the yoke of Portuguese colonialism. At the request of the PAIGC, Cuban military instructors came to Guinea-Bissau in 1966 and stayed until the end of the war in 1974. This was the longest Cuban operation in Africa until the dispatching of troops to Angola in 1975; and it was also the most successful. According to the words of the first president of Guinea-Bissau, “we knew that we could fight and triumph because other countries and people supported us… with weapons, with medicines, with supplies… But there is a country that, besides material, political and diplomatic support sent their sons and daughters to fight on our side, to spill their blood in our earth alongside that of the best children of our homeland. This great people, this heroic people, we all know is the heroic people of Cuba, the Cuba of Fidel Castro, the Cuba of the Sierra Maestra, the Cuba of Moncada… Cuba sent its best youth here to help us in the technical aspects of our war, to help us carry out this great struggle… against Portuguese colonialism.” [6]

The only foreigners who fought with the PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau were the Cubans. Likewise, throughout the duration of this long war, the only foreign doctors in the guerilla areas were Cuban (with a single and fleeting exception), and there were no Guinean doctors up until 1968. “The Cuban doctors really made a miracle”, said Francisca Pereira, a health worker of the PAIGC. She observed, “I am eternally grateful to them. Not only did they save lives, but also they risked their own. They were truly selfless.” [7]

The Cubans who went to Africa did so voluntarily. The mystic of the guerrilla war motivated them. “We dreamed about revolution” one meditated. “We wanted to be part of it, to feel that we fought for it. We were young and the children of a revolution.” The volunteers didn’t receive public praise in Cuba. They left “knowing that their history would remain secret.” [8] They didn’t win medals or receive material rewards. Upon their return they could not boast about their feats because what they had done was secret.

The North Americans knew that the Cubans were in Africa – in Algeria, Zaire, the Congo and Guinea-Bissau – but, as the US ambassador in Conakry observed from his position as an observer of the war in neighboring Guinea-Bissau, “the Cuban presence didn’t worry the State Department.” In its arrogance, the US could not imagine that such a small and poor country could play an important role in a distant continent. This helps us to understand why the US was amazed by the arrival of Cuban troops in Angola in 1975. “It was a true surprise,” observed Paul O’ Nelly, the manager of the Southern African Office of the Department of State from 1973 to 1975. “I don’t recall if we knew of the ties between Cuba and the MPLA, but even if we had, they would not have worried us.” [9]

These ties had been drawn tighter in 1965, when Che met with Agostinho Neto, Lúcio Lara, and other leaders of the MPLA in Brazzaville in an “historic encounter”, as Raúl Castro called it. “We spoke, we debated,” Lara remembers. “We only wanted one thing: the Cuban instructors. The war was becoming difficult and we didn’t have experience… Guevara promised that he would speak with his Party and his government so that instructors would be sent to us.” [10] Risquet’s column trained MPLA guerillas fighters in the Congo and some of the Cubans were with the MPLA in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda acting as advisors, instructors, and combatants, forging bonds that would never be forgotten.

In 1966, the MPLA pulled out of Cabinda and centered its efforts on a new front in the east of Angola that would open up starting from the frontier with Zambia. There was no longer reason for the Cubans to stay in the Congo. Nor could instructors be sent to the new front in the east of Angola due to opposition from Zambia.

When the Portuguese dictatorship was overthrown on April 25, 1974, the MPLA faced the ambitions of the FNLA that, according to the CIA chief stationed in Luanda, “was directed by corrupt men, completely lacking principles.” MPLA also would have to face the UNITA of Jonas Savimbi, a commander whose devouring passion was absolute power. Civil war exploded in the spring of 1975. As the November 11th independence day approached, the MPLA was winning and conquering the FNLA-UNITA coalition. They were winning not because of help from Cuban troops (there were no Cubans yet fighting in Angola) or because of superior armaments (the FNLA and UNITA had a slight advantage in weapons thanks to help from the United States and South Africa). The MPLA was winning because, just as the Luanda CIA chief said, the MPLA was by far the most disciplined and dedicated of the three movements. The leaders of the MPLA were more effective, better educated, better trained and more motivated than those of the FNLA and UNITA; “their supporters were also more motivated.”[11]

To prevent the MPLA victory, South African troops – in a column called “Zulu” – invaded Angola on October 14th, transforming the civil war into an international conflict. South Africa was well aware of the unwavering hostility of Neto toward apartheid and his commitment to aid the Southern African liberation movements. Even so, it is possible that Pretoria would not have invaded had there not been the prompting of Washington.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had decided that Angola could provide an easy victory that would lift the prestige of United States – and his own – after having been defeated by the communists in Vietnam the preceding April. He presented the struggle in Angola in classic cold war terms: the FNLA and the UNITA – supported by the West – would crush the MPLA that was backed by the Soviet Union (in fact, Soviet assistance to the MPLA was very limited because Moscow distrusted Neto and did not wish to endanger the SALT II Treaty negotiations).

While the South Africans advanced quickly toward Luanda, the MPLA resistance collapsed in the face of the enormous military superiority of the invading forces. Zulu would have taken the city if Castro had not decided, on November 4, to send troops in response to an urgent request from the MPLA. The Cubans, accompanied by the young armed forces of the newly formed Popular Republic of Angola, checked the South African advance. They later pushed Zulu back until, on March 27, 1976, the last South African troops retreated to Namibia.

Angola expanded Castro’s horizons. In Ethiopia, in 1978, 16,000 Cuban soldiers helped to repel the invading Somali army. Tens of thousands of Cubans remained in Angola during the 1980’s, offering invaluable assistance. Smaller Cuban military companies served in the Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Benin. The Cuban military instructors trained Namibian, Rhodesian and South African guerrillas.

I have presented this outline of Cuban policies in Africa to be able to reflect upon the motivations behind these policies. However, I should explain the limits of my sources.

I have carried out extensive research in Cuban archives, but I only had access to documentation referring to Cuba’s policies in relation to Africa. I have also not been able to interview the key people who directed these policies – Fidel and Raúl Castro. My investigation has been limited to the period 1959-1976, with an important exception, the relations with Angola that I have studied until the end of the 1980’s.[12]

I have examined the policies of Cuba not only through Cuban documents but also through the eyes of non-friendly governments – combing the files of the US, Great Britain, Belgium and Western Germany – and of through the eyes of the government of the German Democratic Republic, a sensitive and difficult friend whose perceptions very closely reflected the perceptions of the USSR (there is no declassified material of value on this theme in Russian archives). I have supplemented my archival research with interviews of more than 160 people – Cuban, American and African; and I have reviewed press reports from 30 countries in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Africa.

It is interesting to point out that during the 1960’s, while the leaders of the United States denounced Cuba as a Soviet puppet, the analysts of the CIA and the State Department’s Office of Intelligence and Investigations (INR) pointed out the resistance of Castro to Soviet counsel and his open critiques of the USSR. An analysis from 1968, which reflected the consensus of the intelligence services, concluded, “Castro does not have the intention of being subordinated to Soviet discipline and direction, and he has increasingly disagreed with Soviet concepts, strategies and theories.” [13] Castro also criticized the Soviet Union for dogmatism and opportunism, being stingy in its assistance to the governments and liberation movements of the Third World, and excessively anxious to accommodate the United States. He did not hide his dislike toward the inadequate assistance from the Soviet Union to North Vietnam, and in Latin America he pursued policies that clashed with the desires of Moscow. The reports of the CIA and of INR unceasingly discussed the motivations of Cuba in Africa and Latin America, and neither of them once indicated that the Cubans were acting at the request of the Soviet Union.

Therefore, if we eliminate the Soviet “ingredient,” what were the Cuban political motivations? What do the enemies say?

The analysts of the CIA and the INR pointed out that the two decisive factors of Cuban foreign policy were self-defense and idealism. In terms of self-defense, US intelligence analysts did not have qualms recognizing that Castro had repeatedly outlined his will to explore a modus vivendi with United States – in 1961, 1963, and 1964. With the fleeting and very delicate exception of October-November 1963, the US always rejected his overtures. The United States answer was paramilitary operations against Cuba, murder attempts against Fidel Castro and the strangulation of the Cuban economy.

Then the Cubans reached a very blunt conclusion: if Washington insisted on aggression, the best defense would be the one of counterattack – not a direct frontal attack against the US, this of course would have been suicidal, but via paths in the Third World. Cuba would assist revolutionaries of the Third World everywhere possible, winning friends this way and weakening the US’s influence. Just as the CIA had said, Castro considered the survival of the revolution as dependant “on the emergence of ‘other Cubas’… [Castro thought] that United States would ultimately be forced to accept Cuba when it had to simultaneously face ‘several’ other revolutionary governments.”[14]

When Che Guevara went to Africa in December 1964, US intelligence analysts emphasized this self-defense aspect. With much more wisdom than the later biographers of Che – particularly that of Jorge Castañeda, the former Mexican Secretary of State. They never said that Guevara was acting independently of Castro. On the contrary, the director of the State Department’s Office of Intelligence and Investigation, Thomas Hughes, observed that “the three month trip of Che Guevara to Africa is an important part of a new Cuban strategy.” This strategy, he explained, was based on the Cuban belief that Africa was ready for the revolution and that it was in Cuba’s interest to extend the revolution there. It would win new friends for Havana and would weaken the influence of United States on the continent.

“It was almost a reflection,” said Victor Dreke, the second in command under Che in Zaire. “Cuba defended itself by attacking its aggressor. That was our philosophy. The Yankees were harassing us, so we went to face them along other roads in the world. We had to divide their forces, so that they could not pounce on us with all their power, or on any other country.” [15]

However, to explain Cuban activism in the 60’s only in terms of self-defense would be to deform reality – an error that US intelligence didn’t make.

There was a second decisive factor, just as the CIA and the INR frankly recognized: idealism, or a “sense of a revolutionary mission.” [16] As the president of the National Council on Accounting ? National Accounting Office told the director of the CIA in September 1963, “[Castro] is above all a revolutionary.” [17] Report after report emphasized the same point: Castro was “a compulsive revolutionary,” a man with a “fanatic devotion toward his cause” who was “inspired by a messianic sense of mission.” He believed that he was “was immersed in a great crusade.” The people who surrounded him shared his sense of mission: “the revolution is their raison d’être.” Just as Hughes said, Castro and his compañeros were “dedicated revolutionaries, entirely convinced that one day they could catalyze radical change throughout Latin America and that they had to do it.” [18]

The Cuban leaders were convinced that their country had a special empathy with the Third World. Cuba was racially mixed, poor, and threatened by a powerful enemy. Culturally, it was Latin American and African. Therefore, it was a special hybrid: a socialist country with a Third World sensibility in a world that as Castro correctly said, was dominated by the conflict between the privileged and the impoverished, a struggle of humanity against “imperialism”,[19] and where the main dividing line was not between socialist and capitalist states, but between the developed and underdeveloped countries.

These were, thus, the two motive forces of Cuban activism in the 60’s: self-defense and idealism. But did this continue being the case in the 70’s? Plus, concretely, how does it allow us to explain the dispatching of Cuban troops to Angola in November 1975?

Documents sweepingly demonstrate that the shipment of Cuban troops was a rich example of two things: the independence of Cuba vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, and the idealism of Cuban foreign policy.

Just as a high Soviet official said it in his memoirs, the Cubans sent their troops “on their own initiative and without consulting us.” In fact, the evidence is already so overwhelming that even Kissinger, who he loved to negate the Cubans saying that they were Soviet peons, reflected saying, “At that moment we thought that [Castro] was operating according to instructions from the Soviets,” he wrote in the last volume of his memoirs. “We could not imagine that he would act in such a provocative manner so far from his country unless Moscow pressured him for repayment of their military and economic support. The proof available today indicates that it was the opposite.” [20]

What was it then that motivated Castro’s daring decision to send troops to Angola? It was not the narrow interests of Cuba, and certainly not realpolitik. With his decision to send troops, Castro did more than to stop informing the Soviets – he challenged Moscow, because he knew very well that Brezhnev was opposed to it. The operation bore a serious military risk for Cuba. Pretoria, at the request of Washington, could expand its intervention and the Cuban soldiers would have to face the full force of the South African army without any guarantee of Soviet help. He had to wait two months before Moscow began to offer basic necessary logistical help to transfer Cuban troops to Angola. Also, dispatching troops endangered Cuban relations with western countries at a moment in which they were notably improving: the United States was discussing a modus vivendi; the OAS had just lifted sanctions imposed on Cuba since 1964, and the countries of Western Europe were offering low interest development assistance loans.

Realpolitik would have demanded that Cuba ignore the peremptory requests of Luanda and not send troops. Though a client of the Soviet Union, Castro was showing his independent mettle.

It was idealism that motivated the decision to send troops. The victory of the Pretoria-Washington axis would have meant more than the defeat of the MPLA, the old friend of Cuba. It would have meant the victory of apartheid and the reinforcement of white domination of the people of Southern Africa. It was a defining moment. Castro sent his soldiers. As Kissinger explains so well in his memoirs, “Castro was perhaps the most genuine revolutionary leader in power in those moments.” [21]

I do not know of any other country, in the modern epoch, for which idealism has been such a key component in its foreign policy. I do not know any other country than Cuba that for such a relatively long duration (17 years, if I limit myself to the period that I have investigated in depth) has demonstrated so much generosity and courage in its foreign policy. As one leader of the PAIGC said, “The Cubans understood better than anyone that they had the duty to fight and help their sisters and brothers to be free.” [22]

There is something more: the Cubans treated movements and governments that depended largely on their help with deference. This was something that I had not imagined when I began my research, because I had never before encountered that in the foreign policy of other countries. I did not believe that this could be possible. In relation to the PAIGC, the MPLA, or the government of Angola, Cuba was a large power and a benefactor; but it acted with a sense of respect that I believe is the only instance in the annals of the conduct of larger powers in relation to those who depend on their help. The Cuban government’s behavior was equaled by the behavior of the Cubans on the ground. In all moments, the Cubans showed a sensibility and empathy that made them different, as much different from their socialist allies as their western enemies.

If we ask what the Cubans achieved with their revolutionary foreign policy, the balance is very positive. They contributed to the containment of Morocco in 1963. They offered a valuable help to the MPLA in the Congo in 1965-66, and in Guinea-Bissau the Cuban contribution was of great importance. Without a doubt, the most stunning success was in Angola, where they conquered Washington and Pretoria, and prevented them from installing a government in Luanda that was dependent on South Africa. And following Angola, a tidal wave was released by the Cuban victory that extended throughout Southern Africa. Its psychological impact and the hope that it awoke is very well reflected in two news articles – from opposing sides, but saying the same thing – that were released in the South African press in February 1976 when the Cuban troops were pushing Pretoria’s army back toward the Namibian border.

In the Rand Daily Mail – one of the most important newspapers in South Africa – a South African military analyst wrote, “In Angola, black soldiers – Cuban and Angolans – defeated white troops in combat. In the context of racial conscience on the battlefield, it didn’t matter if the brunt of the offensive was borne by Cubans or Angolans. The only thing that is certain is that they are winning and that they are not white. The psychological advantage, an advantage that whites have enjoyed and exploited for more than 300 years of colonialism and empire, is disappearing. White supremacy has been delivered an irreversible blow in Angola, and the whites who were there know it.”

The “white giant” had retreated for the first time in recent history – and the Africans celebrated. The World, the main black newspaper of South Africa, observed, “Black Africa is riding on the crest of the wave unleashed by the Cuban victory in Angola, black Africa is tasting the intoxicating wine of the possibility of achieving the dream of total liberation.” [23] There would only have been the pain of more defeat, and not those feelings of intoxication, had the Cuban troops not arrived – defeating the plans of Washington, defeating Pretoria and challenging the Soviet Union.

The impact was more than moral. It had concrete consequences. It forced Kissinger to take a position against the white racist government of Rhodesia and kept Carter on the right track until Rhodesia finally ceased to exist and Zimbabwe emerged in 1980.[24] It also marked the true beginning of Namibia’s war of independence. As a South African general wrote, “Many military observers consider March 27, 1976 the date that [SWAPO’s] war of insurrection really began …for first time they obtained what constituted more or less, the prerequisite for a successful insurrectional campaign, which was a border that offered safe refuge.”[25] For twelve years Pretoria continued to refuse to leave Namibia and used it to launch destructive incursions into Angola. This continued until the spring of 1988 when Cuban troops stopped the South African lunge against Cuito Cuanavale in the southeast of Angola and followed this victory with a successful advance toward the Namibian border.

Reagan’s deputy Secretary of State for African affairs sought out Jorge Risquet, Castro’s point man for Africa. He wanted to ensure that Cuban troops would not enter Namibia. “A question that arises is the following one,” he said. “Does Cuba have the intention of stopping its advance at the border between Namibia and Angola, because its troops are not very far from that border?” Risquet replied, “I cannot give you that answer. I can’t give you or the South African’s tranquilizers…. I have not said that they won’t stop or that they won’t advance. What I have said is that they are not constrained by anything and that they can only be limited by an agreement. Understand me well, I am not threatening. If I told you that they won’t stop, it would be making a threat. If I told you that they will stop, I would be giving you a tranquilizer, or a Tylenol; and I wish to neither threaten nor anaesthetize… What I have said is that only the agreements [about Namibian independence] can give guarantees.”

In his cable to the US Secretary of State, Chester Crocker, the deputy secretary wrote, “To discover what the Cubans think is an art form. They are prepared for war as much as they are for peace… we are witnesses to a great tactical virtuosity and a true creativity at the negotiation table. This has as a backdrop, the unparalleled projection of the military might of the Cuban army on the ground.” [26]

In December of that same year, Pretoria accepted to withdraw from Namibia and to recognize its independence. Although it would be simplistic to affirm that only Cuba deserves the credit, it is undeniable that Cuban troops played an indispensable part. It was a noble and just end to a history worthy of pride.

Like in the 60’s, when hundreds of Cubans went to fight in Africa joined by hundreds of civilian aid workers providing technical assistance (primarily in the health fields), the thousands of Cubans who went to fight in Angola in 1975-76 were soon joined by thousands more civilian aid workers. And in the 80’s, to the tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers who went to Africa were added tens of thousands civil aid workers. At the same time, tens of thousands of scholarship holders from Africa went to study in Cuba. The help was free, or offered at nominal costs. This help continues today with the presence of thousands of Cuban doctors in Africa and Latin America, living and working in the poorest areas. It also continues through the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana that is training 7,000 doctors from these two continents – without being paid a cent. In the words of Dean Juan Carrizo, “the school is a door open to hope.” [27] It is another example of the generosity of the Cuban Revolution.

Nelson Mandela highlighted this generosity when he was in Havana in July 1991. His words triggered a “wave of condemnation” in the United States. “We come here with the feeling of the great debt that we have contracted with the people of Cuba,” he said. “What other country has a history of greater altruism than Cuba has showed in its relation with Africa?” [28]


Notes and References

1 This essay is based on the book Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-1976, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. To avoid notes too long, in this essay, I will indicate only the sources when it applies to direct quotes. I would like to thank to Dr. Gloria León, a scholar in the Cuba-US relations, without who’s valuable assistance, neither this book nor this essay would have been possible.

2 In colonial times there were two Congos: one governed by Paris and the other one by Brussels. When becoming independent in 1960, both maintained the name of Congo, each qualified with the name of their respective capitals, Brazzaville and Leopoldville. In October 1971, the former Belgian Congo became Zaire and in May 1997 the former French Congo became the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To avoid confusion, in this essay I refer to the former French colony as “the Congo” and the former Belgian colony as “Zaire.”.

3 Che Guevara, Passages of the Revolutionary War (Congo),” [Dar es Salaam, December 1965 or early 1966], p. 13, private collection of documents, Havana.

4 Quotes from the CIA, Office of Current Intelligence, Brazzaville’s Move to the Left, October 30, 1964, p. 5, National Security File Country File (from here forward to be referred as NSFCF), box 83, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas (from here to be referred LBJL) and from “Discurso pronunciado por Raúl Castro Ruz en el acto por el XX aniversario de la construcción de las columnas de combatientes internacionalistas cubanos que cumplieron misiones en el Congo Brazzaville y el Congo Leopoldville,” Havana, November 1985, 7 p. 7, Files of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Havana.

5 Interview with Rolando Kindelán, Havana, March 11, 1996.

6 President Luís Cabral, Nô Pintcha, (Bissau), January 22, 1977, pp. 4-6.

7 Interview with Francisca Pereira, Bissau, April 25 1996.

8 Interview with Ulises Estrada, Havana, December 7, 1994 and Victor Dreke, Havana, June 26, 1994.

9 Interview with Robinson McIlvaine, US Ambassador to Conakry from 1966 at 1968, Washington, February 5, 1966, and with Paul O’Neill, Washington, February 20, 1992.

10 “Discurso pronunciado,” p. 2; Lúcio Lara, “A História do MPLA,” no date, private collection of documents, Luanda.

11 Robert Hultslander (CIA chief stationed in Luanda in 1975), faxed to the author, December 22, 1998, pp. 2 – 3.

12 Piero Gleijeses, Truth or Credibility: Castro, Carter, and the Invasions of Shaba, International History Review, February 1996, pp. 70-103, about the period 1977-78. I am finishing an essay on the relations with Angola after 1976.

13 “National Policy Paper – Cuba: United States Policy, draft, July 15, 1968, p. 16, Freedom of Information Act 1996/3108.

14 National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, quoted in Chase, “Meeting with the President,” December 19, 1963, Foreign Relations of the United States 1961-63, 11:907.

15 CIA, Office of Current Intelligence, Cuban Subversion in Latin America, April 23,1965, p.4, NSFCF, box 31/32, LBJL; Hughes to the Secretary of State, Che Guevara’s African Venture, April 19, 1965, p. 1, NSFCF, box 20, LBJL; interview with Victor Dreke, Havana, July 11, 1994. For the assertions of Castañeda, see his Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, New York: Knopf, 1997, particularly chapters 8 and 9.

16 Denney (INR) to the Secretary of State, “Cuban Foreign Policy,” September 15, 1967, p.5, Pol 1 Cuba, Subject – Numeric Files: 1963-73, record Group 59, NA.

17 Sherman Kent to the Director of the CIA, September 4, 1963, NSC 145-10001-10126/205, John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection, Record Group 263, NA.

18 Quotes from: Special National Intelligence Estimate, “Cuba: Castro’s Problems and Prospects over the Next Year or Two, June 27, 1968, p.3, National Security Files, National Intelligence Estimate, box 8/9, LBJL; CIA, Directorate of Intelligence, “Cuban Subversive Policy and the Bolivian Guerrilla Episode,” May 1968, p. 3, NSFCF, box 19, LBJL; Special National Intelligence Estimate, The Situation in the Caribbean through 1959, June 30,1959, p. 3, National Security Files, Washington (from here forward to be referred to as NSA); National Intelligence Estimate, “The Situation in Cuba,” June 14, 1960, p. 9, NSA; State Department, Policy Planning Council, “Caribbean: Cuba,” (draft), February 13, 1964, p. 6, NSFCF, box 26/29, LBJL; Hughes to the Secretary of State, “Cuba in 1964,” April 17, 1964, pp.10-11, Freedom of Information Act 1996/668.

19 “National Policy Paper—”Cuba: United States Policy,” draft, July 15, 1968, p.15 (quoting Castro), Freedom of Information Act 1996/3108.

20 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence, New York: Times Books, 1995, p. 362; Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal, New York: Simón and Schuster, 1999, p.816.

21 Ibid. p.785.

22 Interview with Joseph Turpin, Bissau, April 30, 1996.

23 Roger Sargent, Rand Daily Mail (Johannesburg), February 17, 1976; World (Johannesburg), February 24, 1976, p. 4.

24 What I say of Carter is based on newly declassified documents in the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta. I have also benefited much from reading of the magnificent manuscript of Professor Nancy Mitchell, “Pragmatic Moralist: Jimmy Carter and Rhodesia.”

25 Jannie Geldenhuys, “A General’s Story: From an Era of War and Peace,” Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers, 1995, pp. 58-59.

26 “Interview of Risquet with Chester Crocker. 26/6/88, 18:30 hours. Hotel Hyatt, Cairo,” pp. 22-23, 26-27, files of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Havana; Crocker to Schultz, Brazzaville, August 25, 1988, p. 6, NSA..

27 Interview with Juan Carrizo Estévez, Havana, January 17, 2004.

28 Richard Cohen, “Mandela: A Mistake in Cuba,” Washington Post, July 30, 1991, p.15; Mandela, cited in Washington Post, July 28, 1991, p. 32.