About 12,000 Cuban troops helped the Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA) achieve victory in the Angolan civil was earlier this year.
About 12,000 Cuban troops helped the Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA) achieve victory in the Angolan civil was earlier this year. Now MPLA leader President Angostinho Neto has asked Prime Minister Fidel Castro for Cuban assistance with peacetime projects.
SYNOPSIS: President Neto visited Cuba at the end of July and the two countries put together a wide ranging programme of cooperation. The supervisor in the hat on this building site in the Angolan capital Luanda is Cuban, and Dr. Castro has sent several thousand Cuban technicians to help Angola progress in farming, public health, education and fishing as well.
During last month's meetings between the two leaders, Mr. Neto thanked Dr. Castro personally for helping his faction win the civil war against western backed groups. Cuban military aid to Angola had been discussed a long time ago and the purpose of the visit was to organise Cuban technical assistance. At the end of the civil war there were only a few hundred Cuban civilian advisers in Angola, but now there are more than 2,000. Dr. Castro said the Cuban troops were pulling out but under an agreement with the MPLA some Cuban forces and instructors would stay in Angola until the MPLA's armed forces were fully training and equipped.
Dr. Castro added that he would leave his troops in Angola until he was sure the MPLA could repel any invasion. During August, Cuban troops and government forces have been tied up trying to guard the Benguela railway, which links Zaire and Zambia with the Atlantic ocean via Angola. The attacks are believed to be part of a fresh campaign by the nationalist movement, UNITA, one of the factions defeated by the MPLA during the civil war. But most of the new government's efforts have been channelled into more peaceful achievements like this building work, which they hope will last long after the disruptions of the civil war have been forgotten.