Cuba contributed decisively to the liberation of Angola. Photo: Archive

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, earlier this week, the highest distinction awarded by the Cuban state, the Angolan President emphasized that the two people’s “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 in Angola, from August of 1975 through May of 1991, when the last group of Cuban internationalists returned, was the Cuban government’s response to a request for help made by the historic leader of the Angolan Liberation Movement (MPLA), Agostinho Neto, given the aggression perpetuated by the apartheid regime in South Africa, with its internal and external allies, in an attempt to deny Angola independence, defeat the MPLA, and occupy the country.

A total of Cuban 385,908 combatants participated in the mission, and 2,398 gave their lives.

Not one of them was seeking personal glory or riches. They were motivated by the desire to be useful, and their loyalty to the Revolution’s internationalism.