Castro’s legacy in Africa (part 2): Ole Gjerstad on Cuba’s support to anti-imperialist struggles

ole-gjerstad-225x300(photo credit: lesamisdecuba.com)

In this second part of Amandla’s look at the life of Fidel Castro and his role on the African continent, Amandla regular Doug Miller talks to Montreal anthropologist, writer, radio broadcaster and filmmaker Ole Gjerstad who was a witness of the Cuban presence in Angola.

Gjerstad offers a rare first-hand look at the Cuban presence in Africa and how Castro contributed to the liberation struggles on the continent.

Also be sure to check out part 1

Re-examining Cuito Cuanavale: a battle that changed history

The 1988 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Southern Angola led to the stunning defeat of apartheid South Africa’s military supremacy in Southern Africa, paving the way for Namibian independence and accelerating the demise of apartheid. On the 25th anniversary of this key moment in history, Gwen Schulman talks to Ameth Lô of the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa on the decisive role played by Cuban forces in the battle and the ensuing changes.

 
In 1987/88 the battle became an important episode in the Angolan Civil War (1975 to 2002). Between 9 September and 7 October 1987, the Angolan Army (FAPLA), in an attempt to finally subdue the Angolan insurgent movement UNITA in south-eastern Angola, was decisively repelled in a series of battles at the Lomba River by the South African Army (SADF), which had once more intervened on UNITA’s behalf. With FAPLA retreating to their starting point at Cuito Cuanavale, the SADF and UNITA went on the offensive and started the siege by shelling Cuito with long-range artillery on 14 October. A major battle ensued and Angola, fearing a defeat, requested help from Cuba. With Cuban reinforcements, Cuito was held and the South African advance ended after six unsuccessful attempts to overcome the FAPLA-Cuban defences between 13 January and 23 March 1988. The SADF withdrew but continued to shell Cuito from a distance.

Source: wikipedia

Émission Amandla du 14 mars 2007/ Amandla radio show of March 14th 2007

Voici les sujets qui ont été abordés à l’émission Amandla du 14 mars 2007 sur CKUT 90.3FM à Montréal, et que vous pouvez télécharger ici.

– Suivi de la situation au Zimbabwe – en anglais. Comme nous l’avons indiqué dans ce blog, Robert Mugabe a arrêté une manifestation de l’opposition. Les arrestations ont été musclées et Morgan Tsvangirai, figure de proue de l’opposition, a été blessé. Une courte entrevue de Terna Gyse, sur le terrain, est présentée. On y fait aussi, un rappel historique de la dérive autoritaire du régime de Mugabe ainsi que des événements clef de l’an 2000, notamment sa réforme agraire controversée. On aborde aussi le problème de la position de l’Afrique du Sud et de l’ANC qui sont demeurés silencieux et ont été critiqués pour leurs inaction envers Mugabe. 40 minutes de bonne information!

– Où sont passé les millions miliards de dollars de Jonas Savimbi – en français. Présentation d’un article d’Afriqu’Échos Magazine. On y traite de la disparition de la fortune de l’ancien chef de l’UNITA (Angola) cinq ans après qu’il ait été tué par les forces du gouvernement de Luanda. Les noms de Konan Bédié (Côte d’Ivoire), Hassan II (Maroc), Gnassingbe Éyadema (Togo) refont surface comme bénéficiares de ce pactole qui a été érigé, il faut se le rappeler, grâce à l’exploitation de mines de diamants dans l’est angolais à coup d’un milliard de revenu par an!

Une dépêche présentée dans le journal La Presse de Montréal nous indique les “états d’âmes” de Mugabe :

«Lorsqu’ils critiquent le gouvernement qui essaye d’éviter les violences et de punir les auteurs de ces violences, nous estimons qu’ils peuvent aller se faire pendre», a déclaré le chef de l’État zimbabwéen à l’issue d’une rencontre avec son homologue tanzanien Jakaya Kikwete.

Élogieux.

Allez sur le site de la BBC en haut à droite. Un lien vous mène vers une entrevue avec Morgan Tsvangirai appelant à continuer la lutte.

– Revue de Presse internationale sur l’actualité du continent africain – en français.

Here are the subjects that were talked about during the last Amandla show from March 14th on CKUT 90.3FM in Montreal. You can download it here.

– Follow up on the Zimbabwe events – in english. We mentionned it in this blog already: Robert Mugabe stopped a peaceful gathering organized by the opposition. The arrests were violent and Morgan Tsvangirai, the leading figure of the opposition, was badly hurt. A short interview, from the field, done by Terna Gyuse is presented. We also do a historical recap of the dictatorial drift of Mugabe’s regime as well as a description of the 2000’s events which includes the controversial land reforms. We also talk about the South African and ANC silent positions. Their inactions toward Mugabe have been criticized. In short, it’s a 40 minutes of good information!

The BBC show us how Mugabe feels about the attention the world put on his regime:

“When they criticise the government when it tries to prevent violence and punish perpetrators of that violence we take the position that they can go hang,” he said.

“Let’s praise Mugabe! ”

In the same BBC site you can find a klink leading to an interview with Morgan Tsvangirai asking to continue the fight.

– Where are the millions billions of Jonas Savimbi’s dollars – in french. We present an article from Afriqu’Écho Magazine. It describes the diseapperance of the fortune of the former UNITA’s leader (in Angola) five years after he was killed by the government forces from Luanda. The names of Konan Bédié (Ivory Coast), Hassan II (Morocco) and Gnassingbe Éyadema (Togo) reemerge. They are thought to be the main beneficiaries of a fortune that was created thanks to the exploitation of diamond mines in Eastern Angola which produced one billion dollars per year worth of diamonds.

– International Press review of the African continent – in french.