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25 MARCH 2022
ANC STATEMENT ON THE 34th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF CUITO CUANAVALE OF 1988
On Wednesday the 23rd of March 2022, ANC joined millions of Africans in the SADC region and people of Cuba in commemorating the 34th Anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale.
The 38th summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held in Namibia by all the regional heads of states declared the date as the Southern Africa Liberation Day, marking the victory of the Angolan Army, Namibia’s SWAPO forces and the Cuban Armed forces against the racist army of the then Apartheid South Africa.
Despite Cuba being a small Island nation with a population of some 11 million citizens, it contributed immensely to the liberation of oppressed people in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. Tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers died in defense of people’s right to self-determination in these countries.
Nowhere else in the world is the Cuban solidarity well expressed and more pronounced than during the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale changed the course of history and is credited with ushering in the first round of trilateral negotiations, which secured the withdrawal of Cuban and South African troops from Angola and Namibia.
The Cuban attack on apartheid South Africa took the white minority government by surprise. It turned the tide of the Angolan war in favour of Angola’s liberation movement. The military success against the apartheid South Africa led to the negotiations in London on 4 June 1988 between Angola, Cuba, South Africa and the US.
Reading the balance of forces, the Apartheid Government gave up, and in December 1988 accepted Cuban demands to abandon Angola, and facilitate Namibian independence.
What motivated Cuba was not only its commitment to the liberation of Africans from colonial occupation, but the need to fight imperialism and its dominance throughout the world. By sharing their doctors with us, giving us resources, and training many of our soldiers, Cuba made our liberation movement stronger than the enemy forces.
For Cuba to sacrifice so much with so few is the greatest gift for humankind. For Cuba to share its limited financial and human resources to fight a war in defense of the colonised people in another continent is by no means a small feat in history.
As we salute Cuban fallen heroes whose names are now inscribed in the monument of Freedom Park in Tshwane we must remember that, early in the pandemic in April 2020, Cuba sent over 200 doctors to South Africa including community health and infectious disease specialists.
We as Africans, and South Africans, shall forever be indebted to Comrade Fidel Castro and the Cuban people. We owe a huge debt for the decisive role he and his comrades played in liberating us from colonial oppression.
The ANC therefore calls on the USA to lift unconditionally the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years. The blockade is the main obstacle to development of the Cuban nation.
We call upon all progressIve organisations and the people of South Africa in particular and Africa in general to rally behind Cuba in ending this criminal blockade.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
Chairperson: International Relations Sub-Committee
National Spokesperson 071 623 4975