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Soviet weapons because in 1965 Mos- CIA). “Well armed, the army of the vention.” It held key areas in eastern cow and Havana had signed an agree- FNLA has but one obsession: Luanda,” Angola (including virtually all the diament that Cuba would seek the Sovi- reported Le Monde in late August. One mond-rich Lunda district). From its ets' permission before sending weapons of Roberto's lieutenants boasted, “We positions along the southern coast it was it had received from them to a third have tanks. There is no force that can extending its control "well into the inparty.) They also brought the trucks to
stop us from entering Luanda ... We will terior," threatening UNITA's core areas. transport the men and materiel to the take Luanda and it will be a blood- Finally, the report pointed out, “Of maCIRs. (The Cubans had correctly sur- bath.":57 In mid-September, the head jor political significance is the fact that mised that the MPLA would be unable of the CIA Task Force on Angola wrote, the MPLA controls 9 of Angola's 16 to provide sufficient transportation.) “Mobutu committed his elite Seventh district capitals and is contesting a 10th There were problems, however, with the and Fourth Commando Battalions at Luso in eastern Angola."63 trucks that came aboard the Vietnam and the tide swung back in favor of the By mid-October, with the MPLA Heroico and the Coral Island, which FNLA north of Luanda."58 The MPLA continuing to gain ground, a conserva“arrived in poor condition,” Díaz stopped their advance on September 26, tive British newspaper observed, Argüelles told Colomé,
just north of the village of “FNLA and UNITA know that they
Quifangondo-at Morro do Cal, 26 ki- must improve their positions by Noand we had to repair a great many of lometers north of Luanda. As indepen- vember 11 or risk being left out in the them. ... When I told you how impor
dence day (November 11) approached, cold," while the Rand Daily Mail retant it was that the equipment arrive in
Roberto's impatience grew. “The ported that the MPLA was “making a good condition I was thinking about this kind of problem, because I knew that
troops of the FNLA ... will be in the vigorous fourpronged drive on Nova we would have to transport most of the
capital on Tuesday," he declared on Fri- Lisboa," Savimbi's capital in the cenmen and material in our own trucks. The
day, October 17. Over the next few tral highlands, and the South African distances here are very great ... and
days, he kept repeating that his troops military instructors attached to UNITA there are neither mechanics nor spare
would enter Luanda “within 24 mused disconsolately “that the UNITA parts ... Comandante, this is the largest
forces ... are not in a position to offer operation we have ever undertaken and
On October 23, Roberto's forces- the necessary resistance to the FAPLA we are doing it in the worst conditions
about 3,500 men, including some 1,200 [the MPLA armed forces] without and circumstances. With little time for
Zairian troops60—attacked Morro do help.”64 Meanwhile the Portuguese planning and with almost no knowledge of and experience in the country ... we
Cal. But the 1,100 defenders, which military was pulling its units back tohave had to improvise as we go along
included about 40 Cubans, held firm. ward Luanda in preparation for with... It is a task of enormous magnitude
This was the first time that Cubans par- drawal by November 11. ... I have taken the steps necessary to
ticipated in the fighting. Five days later, It has been said that the MPLA was start the training on October 15 ... so a group of Cuban instructors fought winning because of the Cuban troops. that the troops will be ready on Novem- again, with the MPLA, east of But there were no Cuban troops, only
Quifangondo to recover the village of instructors, and none had participated
in any fighting until the handful fought By October 18-20, almost on The MPLA had been gaining at Morro do Cal on October 23. The schedule, the instructors, recruits and
ground on the other fronts. "The present real explanation for the MPLA's sucequipment were in place and the four military situation favors the MPLA,” cess is perhaps provided by the Zambia CIRs were ready to start operations. On wrote Díaz Argüelles on October 1.62 Daily Mail, which was unsympathetic paper, the MMCA had 480 men, 390 of U.S. intelligence agreed. In a lengthy to the movement. After noting that the whom were instructors in the four CIRs September 22 report, the Bureau of In
MPLA was “almost certain to emerge and seventeen of whom were a medical telligence and Research of the State as the dominant force” once the Portubrigade. (There were 284 officers.) AC
Department warned: “Since the out- guese departed, it stated: “There is a tually, there were almost 500, because
break of fighting in Angola in March, sense of purpose and a spirit of belonga few civilian pilots had been sent at the MPLA has achieved an almost un- ing among MPLA members and symDíaz Argüelles' request to fly the small broken series of military successes ... It pathizers which the two other movecivilian planes that the MPLA had ac
is in complete control of Luanda and ments cannot match."65 quired and some specialists in air traf
the surrounding areas ... In the past two The imminent victory of the MPLA fic control and handling cargo at ports months it has won virtually complete forced South Africa, which had been were also attached to the MMCA.56
control of the coast from Luanda south providing weapons and military instrucMeanwhile, the civil war contin
to the Namibian border and thereby has tors to the FNLA and UNITA since late ued. The FNLA controlled Angola’s gained unimpeded access to five major August, to make a decision. “The choice two northern provinces bordering on
ports." It was also in control of lay between active South African miliZaire, where it had its supply line in men Cabinda, from which it could not be tary participation on the one hand and and material (which included, begin- dislodged "without strong outside back- in effect-acceptance of an MPLA vicning in August, equipment sent by the ing—i.e., direct Zairian military inter- tory on the other," writes a South Afri
can military historian. Prodded by Africa and the whole campaign was rican troops had nothing to do with it) UNITA, the FNLA, Mobutu and the beginning to look more South African greatly admired the courage of what United States, Pretoria decided to es- than Angolan.”71
they said were mercenaries from Cuba calate. "The go-ahead was given on The South Africans, however, ech- fighting with the MPLA.” The official October 14." 66
oed by the entire Western press, abso- South African historian of the war That day, a South African column lutely denied that their troops were writes, “The Cubans rarely surrendered crossed into Angola from northeastern fighting in Angola and attributed the and simply cheerfully fought until Namibia (South-West Africa). For the victories to a revived FNLA and
By late December, the Cufirst few days the column moved west UNITA. The MPLA, on the other hand, bans finally reached rough numerical just north of the border. Then it veered denounced the South African invasion parity with the South Africans and prenorth-west deep into Angola.67 The as early as October 22.72
pared to go on the offensive. [doc. 6] South Africans advanced at full speed, As the South Africans were clos- According to Westad, "After the sixty or seventy kilometers a day, meet- ing in on Benguela, the MPLA's Politi- creation of the MPLA regime [on Noing scant and ineffectual resistance. Sa cal Bureau “met in an emergency ses
vember 11] the [Soviet] Politburo auda Bandeira (Lubango) fell on October sion” and listened to Neto's proposal: thorized the Soviet General Staff to take 24; Moçamedes, the major port of to ask Cuba for troops. “There was direct control of the trans-Atlantic desouthern Angola, on the 28th.
unanimous agreement,” states a well- ployment of additional Cuban troops, At first Díaz Argüelles underesti- informed account. Central Committee as well as the supplying of these troops mated the gravity of the threat. There member Henrique Santos, who had with advanced military hardware."79 were no Cubans in the area, and he had studied and trained in Cuba in the The Cuban evidence, however, tells a no clear idea of the strength of the en- 1960s, immediately flew to Havana different story. Until January 1976, the emy. “The MPLA still has the advan- bearing the MPLA's request.
bearing the MPLA's request. 73 The Cu- it indicates, all Cuban troops and weaptage, only ten days before indepen- bans' response “was, I can say, imme- ons were transported to Angola on Cudence,” he concluded at the end of Oc- diate," writes an MPLA leader. 74 On ban ships and Cuban planes (Britannias tober. “The enemy, ill-prepared and November 4, Cuba decided to send and IL-18s) without any Soviet involvedispirited, including the Zairian army troops to Angola. “That same day the ment. It was the Cubans' inability to units ... is giving us the breathing space head of the MMCA was instructed to find friendly places in which to refuel to train the [MPLA) battalions.":68
make arrangements with the MPLA for their planes that led them to seek SoOn November 2 and 3, Cubans par- our planes to land in Luanda."75
viet help in late December. The ticipated in the fighting for the first time The first Cuban troops-158 men Britannias and the IL-18s needed to resince the battles for Morro do Cal and from the elite Special Forces of the fuel twice en route to Luanda. The secQuiangombe on October 23 and 28. Ministry of Interior-left aboard two ond stop presented no problem: GuineaThis time, the military instructors joined Cuban planes on November 7, arriving Bissau was steadfast in its support. The in the fight to defend Benguela from the in Luanda two days later.76 Through the problem was with the first stop. Iniadvancing South Africans. "We were rest of November and December the tially, Barbados agreed, but under U.S. facing the best organised and heaviest Cubans succeeded in holding a line less pressure it withdrew its permission on FAPLA opposition to date,” wrote a than two hundred miles south of Luanda December 17; thereafter the Cubans South African, Cdr. Jan Breytenbach, even though the South Africans enjoyed used, in quick succession, Guyana and who led one of the invading units.69 superiority in numbers and material. the Azores.80 In early January, the
Outgunned and outnumbered, the (North of Luanda, the Cubans swiftly Soviet Union agreed to provide its ILdefenders of Benguela withdrew. defeated Roberto's motley horde.) 62s, which could fly directly from Cuba Savimbi crowed: "Some time ago I There were numerous skirmishes and to Bissau. The first IL-62 left Havana promised you that there would be mili- two small battles as the South Africans on January 9 with Cuban troops and tary surprises in Angola," he told the attempted to break through: at Ebo, on Soviet pilots. (The Cubans had not yet press in Kinshasa. “We are now wit- November 23—“Black Sunday,” ac- been trained to fly the plane.)81 nessing the disintegration of Neto's cording to a South African historian- Risquet states that on 16 January troops on Angolan territory. Today I the Cubans scored a significant vic- 1976, Cuba and the USSR signed a milipromise you even greater surprises be- tory;77 and on December 12, at Bridge tary protocol in which the Soviets fore November 11, because we know 14, fourteen miles south of the strate- agreed to transport weapons for the that there are only nine days left.”70 On gic village of Catofe, the South Afri- Cuban troops in Angola. 82 I have not November 6, Benguela was in South cans took their revenge, but the Cubans seen the protocol. I have, however, two African hands. The next day Lobito, quickly regrouped and stopped them documents that support Risquet's statetwenty miles north of Benguela and before they could reach Catofe. The ment: a January 29 letter from Risquet Angola's major commercial port, fell. South Africans were impressed: the to Castro [doc. 7) and a January 30 note "We were, evidently, on our way to Cape Times reported on November 21 stating that two Soviet ships had left for Luanda," writes Breytenbach. “Fresh that “FNLA and UNITA commanders Angola with the first shipment of weaptroops were being deployed from South [maintaining the fiction that South Af- ons for the Cuban troops there.83
It is important to put Westad's com- Africa. In Algeria, for example, the Cuba's policy in Africa was guided ments in context. He writes that “... Soviets had no objection to Cuba's very by Cuban national interest and ideolthe Soviet General Staff ordered about close relations with Ahmed Ben Bella's ogy—a fact which U.S. analysts well sixty of their own officers to join the regime and seem to have welcomed understood. When Che went to Africa Cuban forces from Congo. These men Cuba's decision, in October 1963, to in December 1964, U.S. intelligence started arriving in Luanda on the send a military force to help Algeria followed his trip closely. “Che evening of November 12." In the Cu- rebuff Morocco's attack. Similarly, in Guevara's three-month African trip was ban documents in my possession there Congo Leopoldville the Soviets must part of an important new Cuban stratare only six references to Soviet offic- have welcomed Guevara's column,
have welcomed Guevara's column, egy," wrote Thomas Hughes, the direcers in Angola, and all of them are re- since they were themselves helping the tor of Intelligence and Research at the lated to the dispatch of Soviet weapons rebels. These parallel and often mutu- State Department. This strategy, he arto Angola [for one, see doc. 7); none ally supporting tracks are even more gued, was based on Cuba's belief that a mentions any Soviet input into military evident in the case of Guinea-Bissau. new revolutionary situation existed in strategy. Furthermore, I have seen an The Soviets began giving aid to the Africa and that Cuba's own interest lay additional file of documents that would PAIGC in 1962, well before Cuba did. in the spreading of revolution there beprove conclusively how little Soviet From June 1966, the Cuban military cause in so doing it would gain new officials had to do with Cuban military presence complemented and enhanced friends who would lessen her isolation strategy and tactics. These are cables the Soviet role, since the Cubans were and, at the same time, weaken U.S. infrom Fidel Castro to the Cuban com- in charge of the increasingly sophisti- fluence. There was only one reference manders in Angola. They demonstrate cated weapons provided by the USSR. to the Soviet Union: “Cuba's African the extraordinary degree of control that It follows, some may say, that the strategy," concluded Hughes, “is deCastro exerted over the conduct of the Cubans were mere cannon fodder for signed to provide new political leverwar. In February 1996 I was allowed Moscow. But the fact that their poli- age against the United States and the to read these cables, but, unfortunately, cies ran along parallel tracks during this socialist bloc. ...The Cubans doubtthey may never be released—not be- period did not make Cuba a Soviet agent less hope that their African ties will incause they contain controversial mate- or proxy. In fact, Cuba was following crease Cuba's stature in the nonaligned rial (even the most ornery Cuban cen- its own policy, a policy that happened world and help to force the major sosor would be hard put to find much to to dovetail with that of the USSR. The cialist powers to tolerate a considerable sanitize in them), but because only Fi- case of Algeria is illustrative. The Cu- measure of Cuban independence and del Castro can declassify them and he bans, at their own initiative, began sup- criticism."86 This was a fair analysis is busy with other matters.
porting the Algerian rebels in 1961. of the pragmatic aspect of the policy, My failure to obtain copies of these Havana's decision to send troops in but it omitted the strong idealistic mocables is all the more frustrating since 1963 was taken less than two hours af- tive that also marked Cuban policy in many, particularly Americans, may read ter a direct appeal by Ben Bella, mak- Africa. Havana firmly believed that it this story of the early relationship be- ing it unlikely that Castro would have had a duty to help those who were strugtween Cuba and Africa and reflexively had time to consult the Soviets even if gling for their freedom; it was this beask, what about the Soviet Union? he had wanted to.84 In the Congo, like- lief-not pragmatism—that led Cuba to Wasn't Cuba acting as a Soviet proxy? wise, Cuban policy was evidently not help the Algerian rebels and risk the
It is a frustrating question, for it coordinated with Soviet policy. The wrath of de Gaulle. As a PAIGC leader requires one to prove a negative on the conclusion is suggested by the fact that
conclusion is suggested by the fact that said, “The Cubans understood better basis of incomplete information. Since Che, his men, and their weapons trav- than anyone that they had the duty to no available documents bear directly on elled to Tanzania via the cumbersome help their brothers to become free."87 the question, I can only offer an in- method of taking commercial flights This policy would not have been formed opinion. There are two ways to even though they could presumably possible without the volunteers-men address it. One is to look broadly at have arrived on the Soviet ships that at who freely chose to risk their lives and Cuba's Africa policy and its overall re- about the same moment were docking endure sacrifices in order to serve Cuba lationship to Soviet policy. The second at Dar-es-Salaam. 85 A firmer indica
and help others. Just as Havana was is to analyze Cuban motivations in Af- tion of this lack of coordination appears not bowing to Soviet pressure by interrica.
in “Pasajes de la guerra revolucionaria vening in Africa, so too did individual During the period under consider- (Congo),” the secret manuscript that Cubans volunteer of their own free will. ation, Cuban and Soviet policies ran Guevara wrote upon leaving the Congo. In Angola as well, Havana was not actalong parallel tracks in Africa. This was And certainly the Soviets played no role ing on behalf of the Soviet Union, even not a given: they could have been at log- in the Cuban decision to withdraw. though President Ford and Secretary gerheads, as they were in Latin America Castro left the decision to Guevara, his Kissinger liked to speak of “the Soviet through the mid-1960s because of friend and commander-in-the field. (See Union and their Cuban mercenaries."88 Cuba's support for armed struggle there. doc. 3] The Soviet Union was not in Rather, as former Soviet ambassador to No such clash, however, occurred in the picture.
the United States Anatoly Dobrynin writes, the Cubans sent their troops to weapons. And so we are going to face the money and time that it took—and the unAngola “on their own initiative and bizarre situation of having to go to war certainty that the resulting combatants without consulting us.” His testimony against Soviet weapons! Some of the Alge- would indeed prove useful to the movement. is supported by other Soviet officials.89 rian officers are not only worried ... but in- I explained our experience in the Sierra
dignant. They ask, and rightly so, how can Maestra, where, for every five recruits we To try to impose a Soviet dimen
the Soviet comrades help feudal kings like trained, we ended up, on average, with only sion on the relationship between Cuba
Hassan and not understand that a real revo- one good soldier and for every five of these and Africa regarding the period and
lution, like Cuba's, is taking place here ... soldiers, only one was really good. I argued events examined in this article seems As for the socialist countries of east- as vehemently as I could in front of the exto me to warp reality to satisfy an ideo- ern Europe, the less said the better. Accord- asperated "Freedom Fighters" that the logical bias. Robert Pastor, the National ing to compañeros here, “They have be- money invested in training would be largely Security staff member who oversaw haved like greedy shopkeepers who want to wasted; one cannot make a soldier in an Latin America during the Carter Admin
be paid in dollars (and at higher prices than academy and much less a revolutionary solistration, wrote much the same to his
the Yankees) for the help the Algerian people dier. This is done on the battlefield.
need." ... boss, National Security Advisor
I proposed to them, therefore, that the
If you consider it useful, I think you training not take place in faraway Cuba, but Zbigniew Brzezinski, in September
should share these impressions of mine with in nearby Congo (Che is therefore propos1979:
our good friend Alejandro (Aleksandr ing that the recruits of non-Congolese guer
Alekseyev, the Soviet ambassador to Cuba). rilla movements fight in the Congo) ... I As we embark on another anti-Castro I know that this is not the first time that the explained to them why we considered the period, let me suggest that we try to use Algerian problem has been raised. I believe war for the liberation of the Congo to be of a different term to refer to the Cubans that Fidel discussed it there (during his visit fundamental importance: victory there than that of “Soviet puppet.” My prin- to the Soviet Union in spring 1963), but would have repercussions throughout the cipal concern with that phrase is that it there is no harm in raising it again. Our continent, as would defeat. Their reaction strains our credibility and gets people Algerian friends have their own customs and was more than cold; even though most reinto debating the wrong issue. ... The their pride. They don't like asking for help, frained from making any comment, some word “puppet” suggests that the Cubans and they say that they would rather fight bitterly reproached me. They stated that their are engaging in revolutionary activities with knives than ask again. They say that people, ill-treated and abused by the impebecause the Soviets have instructed they have already explained the problem, rialists, would object if they were to suffer them to do it. That, of course, is not the which in any case is not difficult to under- losses to free not their own, but another case ... I fear that if you or the Presi- stand. ...
country. I tried to make them understand that dent use the term “Soviet puppet” in the Aldo (Santamaria, the head of the Cu- the real issue was not the liberation of any future, you might just open yourselves ban navy), who has left for Oran, and Papito given state, but a common war against the to unnecessary charges that our infor- (Serguera) send you greetings. I think that common master, who was one and the same mation or analysis is faulty.
our “ebullient” ambassador [Sergio in Mozambique and in Malawi, in Rhode
Serguera) has scored a great victory and has sia and in South Africa, in the Congo and in As former U.S. Undersecretary of saved not our prestige—which was very Angola, but not one of them agreed. Their State George Ball has written, “Myths high—but that of the entire socialist camp. goodbyes were polite and frosty. are made to solace those who find real
We will continue to keep you informed.
Flavio ity distasteful and, if some find such
(Source: Guevara, “Pasajes,” 13-14.] fantasy comforting, so be it."-91
(Source: Centro de Información de la DOCUMENT 3: On 4 November 1965,
Defensa de las Fuerza Armadas Che Guevara, who was in the Congo, re-
Padilla, head of the Cuban intelligence DOCUMENT 1: Flavio Bravo, deputy DOCUMENT 2: Excerpt from Che station in Dar-es-Salaam. The cable said: commander of the Cuban forces in Alge- Guevara's “Pasajes de la guerra ria, to Raúl Castro, Algiers, 21 October revolucionaria (Congo)" on his meeting I am sending you, via courier, a letter 1963, pp. 2-3.
with African liberation movement lead- from Fidel. Its key points are:
ers in Dar-es-Salaam in February 1965. “1. We must do everything except that My dear Raúl:
which is foolhardy. Yesterday, we found out that Efigenio I decided to try to get a sense of the “2. If Tatu (Guevara) believes that our (Ameijeiras) and 170 compañeros are go- “Freedom Fighters'” state of mind; I had in- presence has become either unjustifiable or ing to arrive tomorrow at 3:00 in two planes tended to do it in separate meetings, in pointless, we have to consider withdrawing. and that today, finally!, the ship is going to friendly conversations, but because of a “3. If he thinks we should remain we
mistake at the embassy, there was instead a will try to send as many men and as much The situation demands that the entire “monster” meeting with at least fifty people material as he considers necessary. socialist camp send aid. Unfortunately, representing movements of at least ten coun- “4. We are worried that you may however, our friends here are not receiving tries, each divided into two or three factions. wrongly fear that your decision might be this aid: promises and more promises, but I addressed them, discussing the requests for considered defeatist or pessimistic. the weapons never arrive. Meanwhile,
financial aid or training that almost all of “5. If Tatu decides to leave the Congo), [King] Hassan (of Morocco) has a battalion them had made to us; I explained the cost he can return here or go somewhere else of Soviet tanks, MIGs and other Soviet of training a man in Cuba—the amount of [while waiting for a new internationalist
arrive. 92 93
Angola to Prime Minister Fidel Castro. the $100,000. “6. We will support whatever decision
In the course of this conversation, the [Tatu makes).
(Source: Neto, “Necesidades urgentes. Angolans complained about the paucity of “7. Avoid annihilation.”
Lista dirigida al: Comité Central del aid from the socialist camp, and they pointed
Partido Comunista de Cuba, ” 26 January out that if the socialist camp does not help (Source: Rafael (Fernández Padilla) to 1975, Anexo no. 3, pp. 22-23, in “Informe them, no one will, since they are the most Tatu, 4 November 1965, Archives of the sobre la visita realizada por el mayor progressive forces (in the country), whereas Cuban Communist Party CC, Havana. See Rodobaldo Díaz Padraga a Angola en los the imperialists, Mobutu and ... (one word also Guevara, “Pasajes," 118-19.) días del 16.11.75 (Frente sur),” n.d., Centro SANITIZED) are helping the FNLA in ev
de Información de la Defensa de las Fuerzas ery way possible. They also complained that DOCUMENT 4: Letter from Neto to Armadas Revolucionarias, Havana.] the Soviet Union stopped aiding them in Cuban leadership, Dar-es-Salaam, 26
1972 and that although it is now sending January 1975
DOCUMENT 5: Raúl Díaz Argüelles to them weapons, the amount of assistance is
the Armed Forces minister [Raúl Castro), paltry, given the enormity of the need. In Dear Comrades, 11 August 1975
general, he [Neto) wants to portray the situGiven the situation on the ground of
ation in Angola as a crucial struggle between our movement and our country, and taking Report on the visit to Angola and on the the two systems—Imperialism and Socialinto account the results of the exploratory conversations held with Agostinho Neto, ism—in order to receive the assistance of trip of the official Cuban delegation (Cadelo president of the MPLA, and the Political the entire socialist camp. We believe that and Pina), we are sending you a list of the Bureau of the MPLA, as well as with chiefs he is right in this, because at this time the urgent needs of our organization. We are of the army staff of the FAPLA (the MPLA's two camps in Angola are well defined, the confident that you will give it immediate armed forces):
FNLA and UNITA represent reaction and consideration.
world imperialism and the Portuguese re1. The establishment, organization, and 1. We arrived at Luanda, Angola, on Sun- actionaries, and the MPLA represents the maintenance of a military school for cad- day, August 3 and established contact with progressive and nationalist forces. res. We urgently need to create a company the MPLA. They immediately took us to a We agreed that we would meet again of security personnel, and we need to pre- hotel. When President Neto heard about four the next day, because we needed to finalize pare the members of our military staff. arrival], he sent for us and put some of us the exact timetables, quantities and details
2. We need to rent a ship to transport up in his house and the rest of the delega- etc. of the requests they had made. the war material that we have in Dar-es-Sa- tion in another compañero's house. (Half a page SANITIZED—trans.) laam to Angola. The delivery in Angola, if In our first conversation with Neto we We believe that (the MPLA) enjoys the this were a Cuban ship, could take place greeted him on behalf of the Commander- general support of the population; the popuoutside of the territorial waters.
in-Chief (Fidel Castro] and the Minister of lation is organized and ready to fight, but 3. Weapons and means of transporta- the Armed Forces [Raúl Castro), we gave lacks weapons, as well as food, clothing and tion for the Brigada de Intervención that we him the present and the note from the Com- basic gear. We believe that we must help are planning to organize, as well as light mander-in-Chief and then we explained the them directly or indirectly to remedy this weapons for some infantry battalions. purpose of our visit.
situation which is in essence the resistance 4. Transmitters and receivers to solve We based our explanation on the fol- of an entire people against the forces of rethe problem of communication among lowing points:
action and imperialism. widely dispersed military units.
a) The request made by the MPLA Revolucionariamente, 5. Uniforms and military equipment for
when it was visited by a delegation from 10,000 men.
our party and our government in January (Source: CID-FAR.] 6. Two pilots and one flight mechanic.
(Cadelo and Pina) and the request made later 7. Assistance in training trade union in Mozambique by Cheito, the chief of staff DOCUMENT 6: Risquet to Fidel Castro, leaders. of the FAPLA.
Luanda, 30 December 1975 8. Cooperation in the organization of
b) These requests were somewhat conschools for the teaching of Marxism (to
tradictory: during the January visit they Commander-in-Chief, solve the problems of the party).
asked for aid and the training of cadres in I have just returned from a tour of 9. Publications dealing with political
Cuba and in Angola, and later in Quibala, Catofe, Conde, Ebo, Gabela, Point and military subjects, especially instruction Mozambique they asked only for the train- Amboim. The morale of the (Cuban milimanuals. ing of cadres in Cuba.
tary) commanders with whom I spoke (Polo 10. Financial assistance in this phase
c) We were coming to clarify the aid [Leopoldo Cintra Frías), [Manuel) of establishing and organizing ourselves.
we should offer, given the FNLA's and Cervantes, (Armando] Saucedo etc. at the We also urge that the Communist Party
Mobutu's aggression against the MPLA and southern front headquarters; (Romérico) of Cuba use its influence with other coun
the possible course of events before inde- Sotomayor, Calixto Rodríguez Proenza and tries that are its friends and allies, especially pendence in November. We knew that the René (Hernández Gatorno); (Jesús] Oviedo from the Socialist camp, so that they grant
forces of reaction and imperialism would try in Point Amboim) is very high: they are useful and timely aid to our movement,
with all their might to prevent the MPLA optimistic and full of ideas about how to which is the only guarantee of a democratic from taking power, because it would mean strike the enemy. The morale of the soland progressive Angola in the future. a progressive government in Angola. There- diers and officers with whom we spoke was Comrades, accept our revolutionary
fore we were bringing Neto the militant soli- equally high. [Fernando] Vecino [Alegret), greetings and convey the good wishes of the darity of our Commander-in-Chief, our
[Luis Alfonso] Zayas and, for the first part, combatants of the MPLA and of the new party and our government, and we gave him Furry (Abelardo Colomé Ibarra), accompa