Cuba: Return of fallen internationalists commemorated

Source: Granma

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland

Author: Pedro Ríoseco | internet@granma.cu

december 7, 2021 11:12:53

All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities. Photo: Liborio Noval

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland, in an effort entitled Operation Tribute.
All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities.
General Antonio Maceo’s mausoleum, in El Cacahual, hosted the symbolic national ceremony with the remains of 16 internationalists, one from each provinces and the Isle of Youth special municipality, on the date when the Titan and his faithful assistant Panchito Gomez Toro fell in battle against the Spanish colonialists.
“These men and women, to whom we give an honorable burial today, in the warm land where they were born, died for the most sacred values, they died fighting against colonialism and neocolonialism, racism and apartheid, plundering and exploitation of the peoples of the Third World, for independence and sovereignty, for the right to wellbeing and development of all peoples, for socialism, for internationalism, for the revolutionary and dignified homeland that Cuba is today,” said Fidel at that time, reaffirming the commitment follow their example.
Of these internationalists, 2,085 were participating in military missions in the defense of the nascent independence of the People’s Republic of Angola, and 204 took on civilian tasks, as part of the 377,033 Cuban volunteers who fought in that country during the 15 and a half years of Operation Carlota.
The Cuban government always informed families of the death of each internationalist (in combat, due to accidents or illness), but it was impossible, in the middle of the war, to repatriate their corpses and bury them in their hometowns. But the Revolution did not forget any of its sons and daughters, and to fulfill that humanitarian commitment, Operation Tribute was organized.
As Army General Raul Castro Ruz said on December 12, 1976, “From Angola we will take with us only the intimate friendship that unites us to that heroic nation, the gratitude of its people and the mortal remains of our dear brothers and sisters who fell in the line of duty.” And so it was.

University in central Cuba graduates new professionals from Angola and Haiti

Source: Cuban News Agency

Date July 21 2021

CAMAGUEY, Cuba, Jul 21 (ACN) The University of Camagüey (UC) “Ignacio Agramonte Loynaz” graduated 34 new professionals from Angola and Haiti, nations with which Cuba has friendly relations and education cooperation agreements.

The graduates represent a valuable force for those countries in the fields of Veterinary Medicine, Law, Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering, according to UC’s website.

Dayana Figueredo Stewart, head of the International Students Department, said that it has been a different, non-presential process due to COVID-19, but no less rigorous than usual.

“The students submitted their diploma thesis online and two members of a team made up of their tutors, opponents and jury members evaluated them and gave them the relevant grades,” she added.

In the first university established in Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution, the foreign scholarship holders received a general preparation through scientific, cultural and sports activities.

Angola highlights start of clinical trial for first Cuban Covid-19 vaccine candidate

Source: The Cuban Window
August 26 2020

The main news programs of the Angolan Public Television (TPA) have been reporting since Thursday night about the beginning of the clinical trial of Cuba’s first vaccine candidate against COVID-19, called Soberana-01.

 They indicated that on August 24 the clinical trials will begin, in charge of the Finlay Institute of Vaccines; while they pointed out that their results will be available in January 2021 and will be published on February 15.

In its report, the TPA highlighted the words of the Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, at the recent meeting held with Cuban researchers, while underlining other achievements of Cuban biotechnology, such as the vaccine against Hepatitis B.

 The Cuban biopharmaceutical industry has been created by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz more than 35 years ago and in its growth and development of its own model of science and innovation, it has obtained results widely recognized by the international community, the news channel stressed.

Fidel’s valuable example of brotherhood with Africa

Source: Cuba – Network in Defense of Humanity

August 4 2020

 By María Inés Álvarez Garay

The struggles against racial domination and discrimination in Africa had in Fidel the highest expression of internationalism, as defender of the rights of man. The leader of the Cuban Revolution extended his help to the African people oppressed for decades by the colonialism and segregationist regimes.

With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in January 1959, Algeria was in the midst of the struggle for  independence against French colonialism, Cuba decided to support the African country.

 Algeria marked the beginning of the internationalist collaboration of the largest of the Antilles in Africa.

 In 1961 the Cuban government sent a ship with support to the Algerian military forces, on its return to Havana it brought hundreds of wounded and orphaned children to be cared for.

 “We will never forget how you [Cubans] took care of our orphans and our wounded. Ahmed Ben Bella, Prime Minister of the Republic of Algeria, 16 October 1962. Later, Cuba’s participation in internationalist missions for the liberation from racist and colonialist regimes was present in countries such as Ghana, Congo (Brazzaville), Zaire, Equatorial GuineaZimbabwe, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen, Tanzania, Angola, Namibia and Guinea Bissau.

The decisive battle against apartheid was that of Cuito Cuanavale, in Angola between December ’87 and March ’88. After months of confrontation, Cuban and Angolan soldiers staved off the advance of the South African troops.

“The crushing defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale was a victory for all of Africa! That resounding defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale gave Angola the chance to enjoy peace and consolidate their own sovereignty! The defeat of the racist army allowed the fighting people of Namibia to finally reach their independence!” Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa.

Currently, the bilateral links between Cuba and African countries are based on that feeling of solidarity and internationalism, for which the most oppressed nations for years feel grateful and honest. Thanks to Fidel Castro, the forerunner of those revolutionary ideas.

Africa is an essential part of what we Cubans are today, and Fidel was consistent with this postulate that guided from the very beginning of the Cuban Revolution the special relations with the African continent.

Fidel referred to his country’s presence as a “duty of compensation”, for what the Africans contributed to the formation of Cuba, its roots, its independence and its culture.

 Our eternal Commander-in-Chief foresaw the future. A little more than half a century later, thousands of professionals have passed through Africa in health and education, the education of children, culture, sports, agriculture. and many others.

Cuban Doctors Arrive in Angola to Train 1500 Health Technicians

Source:  TeleSUR
April 11 2020

Cuban doctors arrive in Luanda, Angola, April 10, 2020.Cuban doctors arrive in Luanda, Angola, April 10, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Cuban revolution keeps fighting the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide despite U.S. harassment.

Angola’s Health Minister Silvia Lutucuta informed that 1,500 health technicians will be trained by Cuban doctors in matters of family medicine for community epidemiological surveillance.

RELATED: Cuba: Government Implements New Measures to Prevent COVID-19

“The training will take place at Girassol Hospital… because it has excellent simulators for practical classes, which is an indispensable condition,” local outlet SAPO reported.

With that training, “Angolan doctors will visit the families assigned to them, at a rate of 1,000 inhabitants per professional, cohabiting with the Cubans who arrived in Angola for the purpose,” the Inter-ministerial Commission for Pandemic Response spokesperson explained.

On Friday morning, 256 Cuban health workers arrived in Angola to support the fight against COVID-19, which has already infected 19 people in this African country.

The Cuban team members will be distributed to 164 municipalities in order to contain the epidemic from the rural territories with the greatest needs​​​​​​​.

“Cuban doctors will not only stay in referral hospitals.​​​​​​​ They will put their knowledge to the benefit of Angola and Angolans, even in remote areas, especially with confirmed cases,” the Health Minister said.

The Cuban medical team includes 188 physicians and 24 nurses who are part of the Henry Reeve’s brigade of health workers specialized in disaster and epidemic situations.​​​​​​​

On Friday, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced the increase in Washington’s actions to isolate the country in the current epidemiological context.

“Amid this health situation, attacks are growing to discredit the Revolution. Recently, the U.S. government has launched the slander that Cuba takes part in drug trafficking,” he said.

The Cuban Revolution has sent teams of its respected health workers to at least 15 different countries as part of its strategy of promoting medical diplomacy amid the global crisis.

The wrath of loving men

Source:  Granma
May 14 2018

by: Ortelio González Martínez | internet@granma.cuGermán Veloz Placencia | german@granma.cu

BAJANTE: Lázaro Martínez Pérez, a humble man from Ciego de Ávila, recounts, with confidence and modesty, the story of how 40 years ago he faced enemy planes unloading their fury on residents of a small Angolan enclave, an event the world knows as the Cassinga Massacre

Lázaro Martínez Pérez.jpgLázaro (right), with Pascual Corbea Jiménez, another of the Ciego de Ävila natives who shed blood in Cassinga.Photo: Ortelio González Martínez

As if to present all he has done in the struggle for life and ideas as only a skirmish, Lázaro Martínez Pérez, a humble man from Ciego de Ávila, recounts, with confidence and modesty, the story of how 40 years ago he faced enemy planes unloading their fury on residents of a small Angolan enclave, an event the world knows as the Cassinga Massacre, despite the fact that the corporate media, especially in the United states, ignore it.

“When I was about 13, I met Che, and from then on, I wanted to be like him, and I became a Guevaran with a cause. When I left (for Angola) I was already a Literature teacher and had read a good number of texts.

“I took six books to African lands: Con la adarga al brazo, by Che, and his Diario en Bolivia; and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Also going with me were César Vallejo, José Martí, and a poetry book by Miguel Hernández.

“I had also read a great deal about the Great Patriotic War and WWII; Leon Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Armed with all this, I arrived in Africa, but nonetheless, I can say today that I went afraid of combat, and I am not ashamed; but when fear and dignity are counterpoised, dignity wins.”

With his 68th birthday coming in November, Lázaro tells the story without adding or neglecting anything, exactly as it happened that May 4, 1978, when the sun scorched the earth and they were in Tchamutete, some 16 kilometers from hell.

Attack on Namibian refugees by South Africa

The attack on the camp of Namibian refugees, in southern Angola, was well planned by South Africa. Participating in the operation, given the code name “Operation Reindeer,” were 527 paratroopers from the Bravo combat group, who were sent to destroy the Cassinga camp (codename: Moscow) and then escape aboard helicopters.

“The Cassinga Massacre was one of apartheid’s worst crimes. First, the aviation bombing; then the paratroopers who landed and murdered hundreds of defenseless residents, among them women, children, and elders,” recalled Lázaro, who as a young man had arrived in Angola of his own free will, in January of 1978.

Jesús and Sixto.jpgJesús (left) and Sixto  honor their fallen comrades with everyday loyalty. Photo: Germán Veloz Placencia

“Etched into my memory is the image of a little girl that didn’t weigh 60 pounds. Eusebio González picked her up. Her leg was wounded. Many years later I learned that she was Claudia, who was one of the children who came to study on the Isle of Youth and went on to become her country’s ambassador in Cuba. Who could have imagined!”

Clothed in dignity, a man is invincible, no matter the glory, life, death, or medals.

“With the first explosion, I didn’t wait for the order and I said to Eusebio: Negro, let’s go, they’re attacking us. From the emplacement, we opened fire, though later we were obliged to fire on the march, when the planes were within reach.

“We were heading to the settlement of Cassinga to defend the Namibian refugees. We advanced along the raised roadbed, and those flying devils were always on us, clear shots for bombs and rockets. It’s wasn’t long before the three artillery pieces in my platoon were separated from the group, and we were obliged to unhitch from the vehicles and set up.

“By about 3:00pm, the only “four mouths” (anti-aircraft artillery) that fired was mine, from one barrel. The only artillery-men left in the platoon were Eusebio González and me. Eusebio, the bravest man I have ever known, was mortally wounded and I think the same projectile, or maybe another one, threw me into the air. I tried to get up with a great deal of effort, and realized that both my legs were wounded. Practically without strength, I get back to the artillery and see a plane come straight ahead, I shoot and hit it. I’m almost certain I downed it.

Fallen comrades

“Everyone’s courage came to the fore. When you are far from your homeland, valor and dignity go within each person. It doesn’t matter if your hair stands on end during the battle, although the misfortune of losing a friend, a brother in struggle, may arrive. As I remember, there they killed our Eusebio, Antolín, Francisco Seguí, Ricardo González, Zamora, El Yoni, and Pedro Valdivia Paz, all from Ciego de Ävila. And a young man from the East, last name Barea.

“I would estimate that the South African aviation operated without interruption for about three hours or a bit longer, but I was fighting half the day. I was going to pieces, overwhelmed by inexplicable feelings… Just imagine, seeing your friends, your brothers, dead, seeing them fall before your eyes; seeing the civilian population, the children, women, old people, ripped apart by the machine gun fire, with handfuls of spikes in different parts of their bodies… Inside I felt something very strange: the hate of men who love, I say.”

A good dancer, a bad cook, in the kaleidoscope of his life, he’s been, at some point, a journalist, teacher, reader, principal at a rural secondary school, taxi driver, Party militant – plus the father of four boys, two of them with María Esther Alcorta Chau, the same woman who, after Cassinga, heard the mysterious knock at her door and the whisper that stills the soul: “We’re here to inform you that your husband, Lázaro, has died in Angola.”

Luck would have it that the nightmare was short. The next day, the same men came back, to say, according to María Esther, “That business yesterday was a mistake. Lázaro is alive, and being treated in a hospital, but he’s not doing well… He still has several wounds on his legs, although that hasn’t kept him from walking.”

Tribute to fallen comrades

Death, like the ebb and flow of daily life, creates brotherhood. So say Jesús Acosta Lanchazo and Sixto Salvador Ledea Velázquez. Both pay eternal tribute to their fallen comrades, who did everything humanly possible with their anti-aircraft artillery to aid a group of Namibian refugees sheltered at Cassinga.

“I’m 77 years old and my memory is beginning to fail me, but what happened that day is right here (inside) with almost all the details,” Jesús Acosta says, holding back the emotion. It’s enough to see the slight trembling of his hand as he removes his cap.

“The alarm was given when we heard the morning news. Within a short time we were on the march, because we were always completely ready for battle. Cassinga wasn’t far; we only had to circumvent a reservoir of water.

“The truck that was pulling the artillery piece, a 14.5mm or ‘cuatro-bocas,’ as people know them, went off-road to avoid the mines, and took the bank. A few minutes later, close to nine in the morning, it got stuck, and from that moment, well into the afternoon, we resisted the aviation attacks in a clearing with no protection at all.

“I operated the artillery sight block. Not being able to move made us an easy target for the planes. So we kept up constant fire, calculating the number of projectiles used and the heat of the barrels, although this (overheating) was inevitable and they began to stick.

“At one of those moments, I told Manuel Cruz, one of my companions, to go over to the place, not too far off, where the other artillery unit had stopped firing. When he came back, he said the cannons of that piece were bent; it had fired with more intensity than ours. The worst was hearing that the squad was dead.

“Around five in the afternoon, they sent a truck to pull us out. Back on the road, we met a plane that attacked us with missiles and bursts of projectiles. Along with the other artillery pieces we concentrated our fire on the plane, and saw it retreat trailing black smoke.”

But there was no time to celebrate the damage done. What would be the enemy’s last aerial incursion left another casualty: Alfredo Barea Franco, one of 47 compatriots from the municipality of Urbano Noris in Holguín, who participated in the operation. He was part of the command squadron, which had lost its truck early in the fighting. This didn’t prevent the group from continuing to fire on the AKM planes, supporting all the artillery squads they could reach.

Once the battle was over, Jesús joined the group of Cubans who entered the camp. The pain he felt for the deaths of his comrades turned to wrath and hate for the aggressors who had caused the deaths of more than 700 persons, among them children, women, and elders. Some bodies showed clear signs of shots at close range; others with bayonet wounds delivered by the paratroopers who arrived and were retrieved by air. They found bodies riddled with spikes from the cluster bombs.

Alfredo Barea Franco

The death of Alfredo Barea Franco made a strong impression on Sixto Salvador, a member of artillery squad number four, who said, “He was face down. When we picked him up and took off his helmet, we saw the impact of a missile fragment. We placed the body under a tree that we marked, because we had to move on. After the battle had ended, we returned for the cadaver. We wrapped him in my hammock and left him at the Tactical Group Medical Post, in Tchamutete. That’s the way things are in a war.

“Practically the entire time, my artillery piece was firing in motion, on the rapid, well-armed planes, like the Mirages. I always say that those pilots knew their trade; surely they had studied our combat tactics. The whole time, they tried to interrupt our zigzag movements, trying to estimate the moment we would change directions. It was on one of these turns that they destroyed the command squad truck.”

Sixto is satisfied with his 74 years of life and the retirement he is enjoying, after working a long time in the sugar industry. He had other experiences from the beginning of that hard day, until the end. Entering into action, he was the only loader of the artillery piece. When the alarm was given, his companion had to drive their truck, since the usual driver was in the hospital.

Overcoming fear

He says he doesn’t know exactly how he managed to react. But listening to him, there is no doubt that his knowledge – and the will to live with the honor of overcoming fear – prevailed.

“I am not ashamed to say that I trembled many times amid the explosions that lifted columns of dirt, uprooted trees and everything around us. I even thought I might never see my family again, but I overcame it, as did the other compañeros.

“Juan Pavón Matos, head of the artillery squad, was wounded when he was getting out of the truck. Dionisio Millán, who was the Number 1, that is the shooter, yelled out loud that he assumed command of the squad. So we kept firing on the planes that attacked almost always with their tails to the sun, to hamper our vision. My job was to follow their movement, indicate the direction of the attack and keep the piece supplied with enough projectiles.

“We knew that the cannons had to be changed every so often, after completing a certain number of shots, but the enemy fire was so intense, we couldn’t give them any relief, until we forced a retreat.” And that’s the way it was.

Jesús and Sixto talk about Cassinga only when they are asked. The rest of the time, they are everyday men. But just like many of their comrades in arms in the municipality of Urbano Noris, they are faithful to the tradition of getting together every May 4 in San Germán. In the company of Alfredo Barea Franco’s family, they visit the school and community center for elders that bear his name.

And they march to the Fallen Patriots Cemetery, where his remains rest.

On these occasions, there are no flowery words. Sometimes, they don’t talk at all. Silence reigns, to contain the emotions evoked by memories of their epic internationalist mission on African soil.

The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale: Why we owe our freedom to the Cubans

Source:  Daily Maverick

by Oscar Van Heerden

17 January 2018 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Cyril Ramaphosa south africa.jpgWhen the president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his inaugural address at the celebration of the ANC 106th birthday rally this past weekend said that we owe Cuba a great debt of gratitude for our freedom, and that we should increase our trade relations with the island’s people, he knows why.

The so-called official version of post-apartheid history many in our country and elsewhere would have us believe is that FW de Klerk woke up one day and decided, out of the goodness of his heart, that it was time for change. That the time had come to release political prisoners (including Nelson Mandela), to unban political organisations and to finally enter into negotiations with the liberation movements, to find lasting peace, and hence he received the Nobel Peace Prize for all his wonderful efforts. Well, you and I now know better.

When the president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his inaugural address at the celebration of the ANC 106th birthday rally this past weekend said that we owe Cuba a great debt of gratitude for our freedom, and that we should increase our trade relations with the island’s people, he knows why.

As the pressure mounted on the National Party government during the 1980s, the then leader of the party, PW Botha, had to consider a number of options in order to still give the impression that they were firmly in charge of the country and the government. The 1976 uprisings and the mass involvement of students and youth in the anti-apartheid struggle meant that most if not all townships were becoming ungovernable. It reached a crescendo in 1985 when the government had to again call for a state of emergency, giving the security forces widespread powers to try to suppress the uprisings all over the country.

Botha addressed the nation and had to give his support base (predominantly whites) assurances that they would not succumb to this current wave of protests, hence his “Crossing the Rubicon” speech. “Don’t push us too far” came the warning from Botha. The South African Defence Force (SADF) was put on high alert and the go-ahead was given to invade a number of countries along the northern border of the republic, in order to try to root out the ANC’s Umkhonto weSizwe, which had found refuge in sympathetic neighbouring countries.

The battle at Cuito Cuanavale remains etched in the minds of those liberation forces and SADF personnel who participated in that theatre of war. The SADF and its allies sent close on 30,000 troops to Angola, and unleashed all its fire power to try to quell the progressive forces. On the one hand you had the SADF and its allies – National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), Armed forces for the liberation of Angola (FALA) and the South West Africa Territorial Forces (SWATF), and on the other the National Liberation Movement of Angola (MPLA), People’s Armed Forces of Liberation of Angola (FAPLA), Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), People’s liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN/SWAPO) and the African National Congress Liberation Army (Umkhonto we Sizwe/MK). Both sides received auxiliary support from sympathetic governments all over the world. Approximately 70,000 military combatants engaged in this battle, which would either cement the dominant military power of the apartheid government or spell its demise. The stakes were that high.

The battle spanned from August 1987 till March 1988 and if it were not for the commitment of the Cuban people to send thousands of young men thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean to the front line in Angola, the progressive forces would have been decimated by the SADF. The campaign culminated in the largest battle on African soil since World War II. There remain many accounts of this battle, but of importance for us as South Africans is the fact that had it not been for this battle, we would not have seen the changes we experienced towards the late 1980s.

The superior air power of the Cuban forces coupled with the sophisticated machinery sent from Cuba and Russia ultimately tilted the balance of forces in favour of the liberation movements.

Many died on both sides of the trenches and the psychological after-effects are too ghastly to deliberate on. The SADF forces at some point “abandoned ship” as they were outgunned and outsmarted on the battlefield. Remnants of the battle can still be viewed today, if you visit that part of Angola, with SADF equipment still there – abandoned by their young white occupants. Many young white conscripts in the SADF at the time, now in their early 50s, found themselves there against their will. They did not ask to be part of this apartheid monster called the SADF and yet they were fighting a war, dying in that war. Of course there were others who thought they were doing it to preserve their way of life and to stem the “Rooigevaar” or the march of communism across the African continent.

Meanwhile, back at home the war also continued on the streets of every major city, town and village. Workplaces, universities, schools and churches were burning, following a clarion call from the exiled ANC to make the country ungovernable. “South Africa is pregnant and wants to give birth to democracy,” said the then president of the ANC, Oliver Reginald Tambo. Another state of emergency was instituted by the Nats and it just became all too much for Botha who suffered an enormous stroke and was incapacitated as the State President. In comes De Klerk, immediately after his inauguration and, following such a massive military defeat at the hands of the liberation movements, the winds of change were upon us all.

As the battle was won in Cuito Cuanavale, Fidel Castro famously remarked, “why stop here, why not continue towards Pretoria”.

This famous battle is credited with ushering in the first round of trilateral negotiations mediated by the US, which secured the withdrawal of Cuban troops and South African troops from Angola and laid the path to Freedom in Namibia in 1989/90. Furthermore, it is credited by many progressives as the turning point for South African politics and hence the now famous State of the Nation address by FW de Klerk at the opening of Parliament in February 1990. And so, when people generally talk of the South African Miracle towards the 1994 elections, remember the battle of Cuito Cuanavale but also the suffering, killings and fighting that came post that 1990 speech. Here I’m referring to the “black on black” violence strategy of the apartheid regime, self defence units and the continuous and deliberate strategy to divide us all as black South Africans, but more of this another time perhaps.

It took seven months, one week and two days to seal the fate of the apartheid National Party and its reign of terror not only on the majority of South Africans but also outside on our northern border neighbours.

We indeed owe our freedom to the Cuban people.

fidel y nelson.jpg

Oscar Van Heerden

Angola: Election2017 – CNE Congratulates MPLA

Source:  AllAfrica.com
September 7 2017

angola votes aug 2017 3.jpgThe National Electoral Commission (CNE) congratulated on Wednesday the ruling MPLA party for its victory in the country’s fourth general election.

CNE charperson André da Silva Neto congratulated the MPLA after announcing the final results of the electoral process.

“To the winning political force I express sincere congratulations, convinced that it has earned the confidence of most of the voters and that it will do its best to fulfill the wishes of the Angolans, who proudly celebrate the victory, without defeat for defeated political forces”, he emphasized.

So, the MPLA elects its candidates for President of the Republic, João Lourenço, and Vice President of the Republic, Bornito de Sousa Baltasar Diogo.

Bornito de Sousa  and João Lourenço,.jpgBornito de Sousa and João Lourenço,

The MPLA also obtains a qualified majority, achieving 150 of the 220 MPs to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the CNE president extended his congratulations to the other competing political forces for participating in the party of democracy, appealing them to keep serene and respect the will of citizens expressed at the polls.

It is necessary to know how to lose with “dignity and humility” and to prepare well the next election, to take place in five years, according to the Constitution, he warned.

Angola is a rule of law state and defeated parties have the option of asserting their rights through legally established mechanisms and not through physical, moral or psychological threats, recalled the CNE chairperson.

On the other hand, he lamented the attitude of some competing forces, which imbued with “bad faith” sought to confuse the international community in an attempt to discredit the electoral process and the CNE’s commitment to holding credible elections.

‘Let’s make our victory a party for all’ – Angola’s ruling MPLA wins

Source:  Africanews
August 25 2017

Angola’s ruling MPLA have called on its supporters to exhibit decorum and maturity in the wake of their all but certain poll victory.

angola votes aug 2017 2.jpgA voter casts his vote in elections in Luanda, Angola, Aug. 23, 2017. More than 76 percent of Angola’s 9 million registered voters participated in the August 23 polls 

They also called on opposition parties to admit their loss and duly congratulate the winners of the August 23 election.

A series of tweets from their official handle challenged the opposition to create a culture of result acceptance. “It’s time to change our mindset and create a culture of acceptance of the results (this is called change),” the first tweet said.

It’s time to change our mindset and create a culture of acceptance of the results (this is called change).

Subsequent messages read: “It’s time to respect the will of the people, who went to the polls and chose who deserves to rule Angola.

Victory with dignity and respect

“It’s time for winners to take your victory with dignity and respect for those who didn’t win. Let’s make our victory a party. It’s time losers take the defeat and call the winner to congratulate him.”

The party has polled over 60% of votes cast with 97% of the ballots having been tallied by the electoral body. The main opposition UNITA have said they reject the preliminary results but they were going to use legal means to seek redress.

The main highlight of the election is that it draws the curtain on one of Africa’s longest serving eras. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 74, steps down after 38 years in charge. He will, however, remain leader of the MPLA.

His potential successor and president-elect, Joao Lourenco, will thus become the third president in the country’s history. The first, Agostinho Neto, died four years after independence in 1975, before dos Santos took over.

Joao Lourenco Angola.jpgJoao Lourenco

2017: 256 Angolan students graduate in Cuba

“Cuba not only trains men of science, but also of conscience,”  Angolan student

This year, a total of 256 Angolan students graduated in Cuba…Granma spoke with some of them and found that almost all defined their studies in Cuba as one of the best experiences of their lives

Source:  Granma
August 21 2017

by: Darcy Borrero Batista | informacion@granma.cu

cuban trained angolan graduate 1.jpgEsmeralda de Fátima Damiao graduated with a high academic average of 5.03 points in Educational Psychology from the University of Sancti Spíritus. Photo: Darcy Borrero Batista

“It was all like a flash of lightning. It was a shock for me to come here. At first I didn’t want to. My father, as a former revolutionary soldier who adores the history of Cuba, wanted me to study here. My brothers had already done it; so I tried too, even though the first few days I didn’t feel like eating and was a little depressed.

I met wonderful teachers

“Then I started to interact with people and, in the end, I loved it. I fell in love with the province of Holguín, where I met wonderful teachers, a father, a mother, friends, who have offered me a life experience because we have shared everything. I learned the concept of fraternity, and that inspired me to write my thesis on local development.

“I was the first Angolan to write an applied thesis on local development!” Augusta Lopes Miranda explains, today a graduate of Economics from the University of Holguín.

Born in central Luanda, the capital of Angola, Lopes is mainly interested in politics. She is not the only one among the thousands of international students who graduated in different specialties in Cuba this year to have such an interest. Many leave the island wanting to change the world.

This year, a total of 256 Angolan students graduated in Cuba, among them psychologists, biologists, economists, architects, mathematicians, physicists, doctors, chemists, and engineers.

Granma spoke with some of them and found that almost all defined their studies in Cuba as one of the best experiences of their lives.

I would like to become the first female President of my country

“I arrived at just 20 years of age and here I became a woman, a professional, and I’m leaving ready to contribute to the development of my beautiful homeland. I would like to become the first female President of my country,” Lopes states, noting her desire to expand the social participation of women.

Esmeralda de Fátima Damiao is another Angolan graduate. At the University of Sancti Spíritus, she studied the specialty of Educational Psychology, and graduated with a high academic average of 5.03 points.

“From the time I arrived I was always very clear on the objective that brought me here. I did my degree in four years, even though it was five. I had the opportunity to do fourth and fifth year in a single course, due to my commitment and dedication,” she reveals.

I can consider myself a doctor today

International students on the island can opt for a range of careers in the university system throughout the country.

In the case of Angola, “There is a national cadre training program and an administrative institute for scholarships abroad. Through this body, scholarships are awarded to students who meet the requirements: to be healthy, not to be over 25 years of age, and have a good academic average,” explains Mauro Molose, who just graduated as a doctor.

Aged 30, he is the seventh of eight children in a family from the south of Angola. “I have always been very dedicated to my studies and, thanks to that, I can consider myself a doctor today.

The experience in Cuba was magnificent

“Our educational system is very different from that of Cuba. In fact, many of us have had certain difficulties entering universities here due to the change of evaluation system. Nevertheless, human beings have an adaptive capacity and we have managed to leave here as professionals,” he adds.

Back in his home country, Dr. Molose studied Agrarian Sciences, but “without giving up my dream of becoming a doctor someday. I knew that Cuba is a world power in this field and when it was announced in my country that they would grant scholarships to Angolans, at that very moment, without looking back, I suspended my agricultural studies and I came here.”

He now considers himself to be Cuban, more specifically from Santiago, and expresses with satisfaction that the experience in Cuba was magnificent. “We lived far from our families, but in Santiago de Cuba we were met with a very welcoming people, very similar to ours. As for seismic activity, Angola is a fairly quiet country. However, in Santiago we always had to deal with tremors. The one that marked us most was that of January 17, 2017, we were very scared.

I leave as a doctor, but also as a more humane person

“We experienced very important moments in the history of this country: the arrival of the Five Heroes, the death of our Comandante…

“We experienced many other events that marked our lives significantly, and I leave as a doctor, but also as a more humane person.”

Yuri Dos Santos, 27, graduated in Architecture at the University of Camagüey. Before coming to the island, he was already studying the third year of Architecture in Angola.

“But I left everything behind and started over here in Cuba. Until I came to Cuba, I felt an uneasiness that I could not explain. So, coming here and being exposed to a different environment, made me grow. Cuba has been exactly that, a school in terms of the development of my thought.

Studying here has been a privilege

“Studying here has been a privilege because being a graduate of a Cuban university is, for Angolans, synonymous with pride and respect.”

The most important thing for this young man, of everything he has learned here, is the philosophy with which degree courses are taught, at least in his case.

“We learn not only the technical aspect, but the social philosophy. The architecture I have learned is the product of a socialist system, and that is tangible when drawing. I can not create a 41-story tower; I have to think of buildings for the poor and the rich.”

WHAT DO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FACE ON RETURNING TO THEIR COUNTRIES?

cuban trained Angolan graduate 2Yuri Dos Santos, aged 27, graduated in Architecture from the University of Camagüey. Photo: Darcy Borrero Batista

“In the case of Angola, we must enter the labor market and present our curricula to companies,” notes Yuri from Luanda, who studied alongside students from China, Djibouti, and several countries of the Americas.

“Spanish was the common language for all of us, even though the language was a barrier at first. I’m not going to lie. The early years were not easy, especially as I got sick, but the help of doctors and teachers meant I survived. Not only on the health side of things; also as a human being,” he explains.

The most successful international student

José Antonio Ferrera, the most successful international student in his graduation, is from the province of Kwanza Sul, Angola.

“What motivated me to come in principle were the results of Cuban education. My brother came before me and that also served as my inspiration. Now that I have graduated as a mechanical engineer, I do not regret having trained here. There I studied at a polytechnic, which would amount to a vocational course here, and I felt I had a solid base to study on the island.”

I am what I am now thanks to Cuba

“Angola is emerging from a civil war and we have had just a few years of peace, so our education system cannot be excellent. That’s why we are turning to sister nations to train the intellectuals and scientists who will build the country. We are going to involve them in the country’s social development,” notes José Antonio, who chairs the Assembly of Angolan Students in Cuba.

“I have spent more than half of my youth here and, throughout history, the island has offered its contribution to my country; and today Angola is what it is, thanks to the sisterhood of the Caribbean nation,” José Antonio stresses.

“Cuba not only trains men of science, but also of conscience,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mauro, who graduated with an academic average of 4.92 points, notes: “In my town, we believe that he who is not thankful, is a sorcerer. That’s why I thank Cuba. Because I am what I am now thanks to Cuba.”

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