A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon
Apartheid South Africa responded to Angola's 1974 independence from the Portuguese with a US-backed military invasion. Declaring that "the blood of Africa" flowed through Cuban veins, Fidel Castro dispatched the Cuban armed forces to confront the armies of racist South Africa in Angola. Between 1974 and 1988 more than 1100 Cubans laid down their lives in Africa to hasten the end of apartheid. This week is the anniversary of the historic battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in which Cuban, Angolan and Namibian forces routed the supposedly invincible land and air forces of white-ruled South Africa, eventually making possible the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and the end of apartheid in South Africa itself, and earning for Cuba the lasting enmity of the United States. If we in the U.S. were serious about racial reconciliation, we too would celebrate the March 23 anniversary of Cuito Cuanavale.