Cuito Cuanavale (thanks to an article in Granma by Oscar Gomez Serra)
During a trip to Cuba in 2004, I engaged in conversation with a Cuban (Dionisio?) who worked as an engineer in the mining sector. He had been a combatant in the Cuban expeditionary forces in Angola 1987-88. While I followed the news about the role of Cuba in Africa, to hear from a witness-participant the stories he shared were moving. Not all stories of heroism but given the Cuban humor stories about actions that were not heroic but sometimes funny and sad. Now, as I watch the World Cup, Gomez Serra’s article reminds us that there would be no cup if the Cubans had not supported African anti colonial struggle. In Cuito Cuanavale, Angola, after the South African army came to the aid of the CIA supported UNITA, the Cubans came to the aid of the Angolan forces against the South Africans. They defeated the South African forces and in many ways undermined the Apartheid regime. An African and Diaspora Army defeated the powerful army of Apartheid. Cubans shed their blood together for Angola asking nothing in return except solidarity.
The African leader of Guinea-Bissau Amílcar Cabral: The Cuban combatants are willing to sacrifice their lives for the liberation of our countries, in exchange, the only thing that they will take with them are the bodies of their fallen comrades who fell fighting for liberty.”'
There might not be a Cuban team playing, but the stadiums are full with the spirits of the fallen combatants . . .