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Fidelist Cuba’s Counterinsurgency Campaigns

Why do I love Small Wars Journal so much? Because they’re willing to consider counterinsurgency lessons from wherever they come.

On December 2, 2005, Cuba’s aging Fidel Castro addressed his nation’s armed forces in his last personally delivered Revolutionary Armed Forces Day speech in Havana. The speech commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Cuban army’s Angolan intervention. The speech was the archetypal “Castronic” socialist diatribe long-time Fidel watchers have come to expect. However, during this speech Fidel, for the first time, shed some light on the history of the secret deployment of 36,000 Cuban troops, sent in 1975, to defend the newly declared independent Marxist government of Angola. “Never before,” declared Fidel, “had a Third World country acted to support another people in armed conflict beyond its geographical neighborhood.” The Cuban leader declared that contemporary historical assessments of the region consistently omit the contributions of the Cuban expeditionary forces. Castro called the contributions of the Cuban army “decisive in consolidating Angola’s independence and achieving the independence of Namibia.”

What was Operation Carlotta and, more importantly, what will be its legacy to a people soon to have their history re-examined in the post-Castro era? What are the assessments of those who fought this bloody war some 30 years later?

Man, these counterinsurgents sure hate America!

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