On November 5, 1975, the Cuban Government decided to send troops to Angola at a request for help from the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which was facing external aggression aimed at thwarting independence.
About 300,000 Cubans took part in the conflict in which more than 2,000 of them gave their lives.
The war also resulted in Namibia’s liberation and the end of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
The military epic, which lasted until 1991, was named Operation Carlota in honor of a slave who led a rebellion at the Triunvirato sugar mill in western Matanzas province. The historic event that also took place on November 5, 1843, is considered one of the most significant actions in the development of the anti-slavery thinking that would set principles in the independence ideals of Cubans during the wars for national liberation.
By assisting Angola, Cuba was fulfilling an elementary internationalist duty, as the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, said at the closing ceremony of the First Congress of the Communist Party on December 22, 1975.
The military victories in Cuito Cuanavale, Quifangondo, Cabinda, and Ebo, along with diplomatic actions, determined that on December 22, 1988, Cuba, Angola, and South Africa signed an agreement that changed the history of the African continent.
South African leader Nelson Mandela, then in prison, pointed out that this was a definitive turning point to complete the continent’s liberation, including the defeat of the Apartheid regime.