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Cubans in Angola
A Concise Timeline of Cuban Involvement in the War in Angola

1 Jan 1959 :
Castro's guerrillas seized power in Cuba, spawning Che Guevara's global internationalist mission. Cuba set up contacts with African liberation movements, among them the MPLA (although contacts remain weak at this stage).

Oct 1959 :
The Castro brothers and Cuban Communists took over Cuban government, radicalising the Revolution.

17 Apr 1961 :
Bay of Pigs invasion. 1,400 CIA-trained Cuban exiles invade Cuba at Playa Girón and Playa Larga. After three days they were surrounded and surrender. 114 invaders were killed, eleven aircraft shot down and 1,197 were taken prisoner (and later ransomed). At least 161 defending Cubans were killed.

Oct 1962 :
Cuban Missile Crisis. Castro and Guevara were both furious at being excluded from the American-Soviet deal which removed the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba.

Oct 1963 :
Cuba sends contingent of 686 officers and soldiers, twenty-two T-34 tanks and artillery/mortars to defend Algeria from Moroccan invasion. They remain to train Algerian troops, solidifying Cuban-FLN alliance and setting up Algeria as the principal training ground for Cuba's internationalist guerrillas, among them Masetti's doomed Argentine column.

Dec 1964 :
Che Guevara embarked on his African tour, meeting in January 1965 with Massemba-Débat and Neto in Brazzaville where he agreed to set up a Cuban training operation.

1965 :
Russian and Cuban cargo ships started offloading weaponry for the MPLA at Pointe Noire.


1965 :
Che Guevara met with Agostinho Neto in Brazzaville and arranged that Cuban instructors, who were there to assist President Marien Ngouabi, also train MPLA recruits.

Group of 90 MPLA recruits went to Cuba for training.


Jan 1966 :
First Tricontinental Conference was held in Havana. Guevara was conspicuously absent. Castro decided to concentrate Cuban internationalist efforts on his new protégé, Amílcar Cabral of the PAIGC. Neto met with Castro in Cuba, but both the MPLA and Cuba were thinking of curtailing their Brazzaville operations. Castro offered training in Cuba, and by October the first MPLA cadres had started training to become instructors themselved on the MPLA's `Eastern Front'.

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