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Now dig in to watch the video on Cuito-Cuanavale, the single most important battle in modern anti-colonial warfare after Dien Bien Phu! Its rank in importance has to be placed in perspective, inasmuch that it was the victory over Imperialism in Zimbabwe which helped define political circumstances leading up to that historic fight.
For those who kno little to nothing about the apartheid era, racist South African society practiced a form of Jim Crow which relegated 80% of that country’s population to 13% of the land. The South African Defense Forces were the best equipped and best trained military in Africa. However, like the Selous Scouts and other colonial reactionaries, they lacked heart and soul. Their ruthlessness, bloodthirstiness and killing capacity could not out-match the people’s resolve to be liberated.
A debate rages about the impact the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army had prior to Angola’s epic battle. While the Selous Scouts immediately defected to the SADF following the apartheid-era Ian Smith regime implosion in Rhodesia, due directly to ZANLA fighters, theirs was a military which had been beaten. So a critical component of the SADF effort in Cuito-Cuanavale was as an army experienced in getting its ass kicked.
On one side were the forces of reaction: US-backed Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA, South West Africa, US special forces disguised as mercenaries, Israeli commandos and the SADF. Don’t underestimate the link between zionist Israel and the racist Boer government, a neonazi regime that maintained links with the fascist regime in Portugal until Salazar’s overthrow. President-elect Obama today wants a strong Israel lobby, but he is supposed to have been an ardent anti-apartheid activist back in the day. So much for Imperialist principles.
On the skirmish’s other side, the Angolan army joined the battlefield with allies SWAPO, ANC, PAC-A, AZAPO and the Cuban army, supplied with Soviet materiel and advisors. This conflict was impressive for any number of reasons.
One side had a massive supply of regular recruits, trained in the best imperialist armies of modern times, fighting to preserve white reaction and political domination in Africa. They were supplied by the best weapons, replenished by the best trained fighters, enjoyed air support and a large multinational coalition paid by Imperialism. This coalition was paid in blood diamonds, gold hijacked from Azanian mines, US dollars, and massive oil revenues controlled by the zionist fiefdom in occupied Palestine.
The other side was poor, raggedy, barely able to feed itself, starved out and blockaded by Imperialism, undereducated, semiliterate, black, brown and broke. They would have driven the UNITA-SADF coalition into the sea had the invaders not withdrawn.
It was because of the humiliating defeat of Imperialism’s UDI in apartheid-Rhodesia that South Africa had first waged a proxy war inside Mozambique and Angola. While Mozambique had fought for its independence, Angola gained its because of the collapse of the fascist NATO-member Salazar regime. The Angolan leadership considered itself assimilado. The neocon proxy war against Angola convinced them otherwise.
Just as Cuito-Cuanavale could not have been an Angolan victory without the coalition forces of Cuba, it was not just a victory for Angola. The defeated SADF tucked its tail between its legs, ran home, and in less than five years the apartheid-era political system was vanquished. Sad to say, apartheid-style monopoly capitalism continues to dominate economic life in South Africa today.
The Cubans have always been comrades of all progressive forces on the continent. Cuban doctors and other technocrats work in the rural areas of South Africa. Today, they are helping make life better for the underserved masses instead of being self-serving stooges of Imperialism. A Luta Continua!