South Africa, with US support, after the fall of the Portuguese empire, invaded Angola and Mozambique to establish their own puppet regime there. They were trying to protect Namibia, to protect apartheid, and nobody did much about it; but the Cubans sent forces, and furthermore they sent black soldiers and they defeated a white mercenary army, which not only rescued Angola but it sent a shock throughout the continent-it was a psychic shock-white mercenaries were purported to be invincible, and a black army defeated them and sent them back fleeing into South Africa.
The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.
Over the years, the diamond industry has had a devastating impact in countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola and the Congo, where profits from the sale of diamonds have been used to fund brutal wars, with disastrous effects on local communities.
The trip I made to Angola to study the prehistoric contents of the gravel beds as a means of deciding the age of the deposits and their economic potential was the first time prehistory had ever been used for such a purpose.
Cuba forces in Angola gave a real shot in the arm to the liberation movements, and it also was a lesson to the white South Africans that the end is coming. They can't just hope to subdue the continent on racist grounds.
I think it's just been a core part of the Cuban revolution to have a very high level of internationalism. I mean, these cases you've mentioned are cases in point, but the most extreme case was the liberation of Africa. Take the case of Angola for example, and there are real connections between Cuba and Angola-much of the Cuban population comes from Angola.