#CubAngola40: Rethinking the 1975 Afro-Cuban War

Poster of President Agostinho Neto and Fidel Castro after Angolan independence celebration.

Poster of President Agostinho Neto and Fidel Castro after Angolan independence celebration.

In November of 1975 the Cuban government made a major military intervention in Angola’s independence process. Forty years later we gather to commemorate this historical moment and its consequences with #CubAngola40  – a daylong symposium at New York University.

This event will be held at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center on Friday, November 6th, and will elapse from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The conference will have the participation of  Piero Gleijeses, Linda Heywood, Christabelle Peters, Adriano Mixinge, Tony Pinelli and Ned Subletteto to remember and reconsider the event, to illuminate its political and cultural consequences and rethink the relevance of this important chapter of Global South history.

What happened in November of 1975?

Forty years ago, the Cuban government launched Operation Carlota, a large-scale military intervention in Angola while this African country was on the eve of its independence from Portugal. The Cuban military victory over the forces supported by the United States and South Africa represented an explosive chapter  of the Cold War and of the African decolonization. The consequences were immediate and long-lasting, since the resulting defeat of South African troops contributed  to the end of the white-supremacist regime of Apartheid. In that context, the intervention of a small Latin American country into the two main geopolitical struggles of the time was not only unique, it represented an audacious South-to-South cooperation.

Nonetheless, this important historical fact still underrepresented.  A great deal of historical and cultural material remains open to exploration, discussion, and scholarship.  Hence, #CubAngola40  begins to redress the scant attention this event has received and will strive to answer many pertinent and suspended questions:

What did the internationalism behind this event mean,or what could it have meant to today’s racial politics of the African diaspora and to transnational solidarity?

What political role did the Bantu-based cultures shared by both countries since early slave trade bring to bear in the Angola-Cuba context?

In light of recent changes in US-Cuba relations, can we expect new narratives, revelations, or perspectives regarding the intervention?

Stay tuned for more information, programs and biographies that are coming. Also follow this link to RSVP.

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