Havana, Cuba – As part of his official visit to the island, Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço met with Cuban combatants who fought in his country’s independence struggle. As part of his official visit to the island, Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço met with Cuban combatants who fought in his country’s independence struggle, emphasizing his people’s eternal gratitude for this solidarity.
During the meeting, participants recalled those times, when Cuba’s friendship, solidarity, and cooperation was established, “consecrated and eternalized when both shed precious blood to defend the most noble human ideas; freedom, and the right to seek one’s own destiny,” Gonçalves said.
Upon receiving the José Martí Order, the highest distinction awarded by the Cuban state, the Angolan President emphasized that the two peoples “united in an indestructible alliance and defeated on all fronts the powerful forces attempting to prevent, with aggression and war, the independence of Angola, and the liberation of Namibia and South Arica from the grip of apartheid.”
Operation Carlota made up of Cuban internationalists, , was Cuba’s response to a request for help from Agostinho Neto, leader of the Angolan Liberation Movement (MPLA) following the invasion of Angola by apartheid South Africa. Operation Carlota, which functioned from August 1975 through May 1991 fought off the South Africans and their allies who attempted to deny Angola independence, to defeat the MPLA, and occupy the country.
A total of Cuban 385,908 combatants participated in the mission, and 2,398 gave their lives.