Cuban Five's link to a historic defeat of apartheid
by Cheryl LaBash
Aug. 16, 2007
Reprinted from Workers World
Twenty years ago, in July 1987, the Angolan army (FAPLA) pushed back the U.S./South African-backed army of Jonas Savimbi in the southeastern part of that country newly liberated from Portuguese colonialism.
When the racist South African Defense Forces (SADF) apartheid army moved in, threatening to destroy the strongest Angolan forces at Cuito Cuanavale, Cuba joined with the Angolans to decisively defeat the SADF and to smash the ideology of white supremacy. This joint military effort forced the apartheid army to withdraw on Aug. 30, 1988.
The course of history was changed on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, freeing the South African colony of Southwest Africa, now Namibia, dealing a death blow to the apartheid system.
Two years later, Nelson Mandela was released after 28 years of imprisonment to become president of South Africa. Mandela said Cuito Cuanavale “was the turning point for the liberation of our continent—and of my people—from the scourge of apartheid.”
Gerardo Hernández in front of an African portrait of Che Guevara
Three of the Cuban soldiers who fought shoulder to shoulder with Angolan fighters to defeat South Africa and its racist system are Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández and René González.
They are currently unjustly imprisoned by the U.S. government along with Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino—known internationally as the Cuban Five. These five heroes infiltrated the CIA-backed paramilitaries organizing attacks on Cuba from training bases in Florida.
René González, third from left, with friends in Angola
Luis Posada Carriles, who planned the first mid-air bombing killing 73 people on Cubana Airlines Flight 455 in 1976, walks freely in Miami, to continue planning attacks on sovereign socialist Cuba.
Oral arguments on appeals for the Cuban Five will be heard by a panel of judges from the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta on Aug. 20, but their freedom depends on making their story known in every community.
A July 7 article by Piero Gleijeses, “Cuito Cuanavale Revisited,” published in the South African The Mail and Guardian newspaper and “Cuba, Africa and the Cuban Five,” a chapter by the same author from “Superpower Principles, U.S. Terrorism Against Cuba,” provided information for this article.
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