In the 1970s and 80s, Fidel Castro sent 350,000 Cuban soldiers, civilians and doctors to support the African liberation struggle, especially in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau , Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principal .

The Cuban effort eventually hastened the demise of apartheid in South Africa.  More than 3,000  Cubans died fighting for Africa.

After the Cuban and their Angolan, Namibian and ANC allies decisively defeated the then feared South African defence forces in Angola, it brought independence not only to Angola and Namibia, but also accelerated the death of apartheid itself in South Africa.

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About 600 Cuban soldiers, including 70 doctors, went to Guinea Bissau to help the African guerrillas for 10 years before “independence” from the Portuguese came in 1974. Cuba fought in Ethiopia on the side of Colonel Mengistu Haile Miriam’s troops in the Ogaden campaign in 1978 against an invasion by Somalia. In 1965, Cuba sent the legendary Che Guevara and fighters to Kibamba, near Fizi, in DRCongo’s province of South Kivu, to help the supporters of Patrice Lumumba.

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Then came Mozambique and Angola where the biggest Cuban action in Africa was staged against apartheid South African troops backed by America and its Western allies. Castro takes up the story in his memoirs: 

“ While Cuba was in Angola, and Angola was being invaded by South Africa, the USA made arrangements to transfer to South Africa–racist, fascist South Africa–several atomic bombs, similar to those it exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”


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