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

1 Jan 1959 :
Castro's guerrillas seize 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 are surrounded and surrender. 114 invaders are killed, eleven aircraft shot down and 1,197 are taken prisoner (and later ransomed). At least 161 defending Cubans are killed.


Oct 1962 :
Cuban Missile Crisis. Castro and Guevara are both furious at being excluded from the American-Soviet deal which removes 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 embarks on African tour, meeting in January 1965 with Massemba-Débat and Neto in Brazzaville where he agrees to set up a Cuban training operation.


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


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

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1966 :
Group of 90 MPLA recruits goes to Cuba for training

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Jan 1966 :
First Tricontinental Conference held in Havana. Guevara is conspicuously absent. Castro decides to concentrate Cuban internationalist efforts on his new protégé, Amílcar Cabral of the PAIGC. Neto meets with Castro in Cuba, but both the MPLA and Cuba are thinking of curtailing their Brazzaville operations. Castro offers training in Cuba, and by October the first MPLA cadres start training to become instructors themselves on the MPLA's `Eastern Front'.

 
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Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET

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