Wednesday, September 11, 2013
An economic reform effort was launched in 1998. Angola ranked 160 out of 174 nations in the United Nations Human Development Index of 2000.In April 2000 Angola started an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The program formally lapsed in June 2001, but the IMF remains engaged. In this context the Government of Angola has succeeded in unifying exchange rates and has raised fuel, electricity, and water rates. The Commercial Code, telecommunications law, and Foreign Investment Code are being modernized. A privatization effort, prepared with World Bank assistance, has begun with the BCI bank. Nevertheless, a legacy of fiscal mismanagement and corruption persists. The civil war internally displaced 3.8 million people, 32% of the population, by 2001.The security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has led to the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons, thus resulting in large-scale increases in agriculture production. Angola produced over 3 million carats of diamonds per year in 2003,with its production expected to grow to 10 million carats per year by 2007. In 2004 China's Eximbank approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola to rebuild infrastructure.The economy grew 18% in 2005 and growth was expected to reach 26% in 2006 and stay above 10% for the rest of the decade. The construction industry is another sector taking advantage of the growing economy, with various housing projects stimulated by the government that created various initiatives for this. Examples are the program Angola Investe and the projects Casa Feliz or Meña. However, not all public construction projects are functional; a case in point is Kilamba Kiaxi where a whole new satellite town of Luanda, consisting in the main of housing faclities for several hundreds of thousands of people, remains practically uninhabited, because of prices that are out of reach even for the middle class. ChevronTexaco started pumping 50 kbbl/d (7.9×103 m3/d) from Block 14 in January 2000, but production has decreased to 57 kbbl/d (9.1×103 m3/d) in 2007 due to the poor quality of the oil. Angola joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on January 1, 2007. Cabinda Gulf Oil Company found Malange-1, an oil reservoir in Block 14, on August 9, 2007.
Monday, September 9, 2013
United Nations Angola Verification Mission III and MONUA spent USD1.5 billion overseeing implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, a 1994 peace accord that ultimately failed to end the civil war. The protocol prohibited UNITA from buying foreign arms, a provision the United Nations largely did not enforce, so both sides continued to build up their stockpile. UNITA purchased weapons in 1996 and 1997 from private sources in Albania and Bulgaria, and from Zaire, South Africa, Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Togo, and Burkina Faso. In October 1997 the UN imposed travel sanctions on UNITA leaders, but the UN waited until July 1998 to limit UNITA's exportation of diamonds and freeze UNITA bank accounts. While the U.S. government gave USD250 million to UNITA between 1986 to 1991, UNITA made USD1.72 billion between 1994 and 1999 exporting diamonds, primarily through Zaire to Europe. At the same time the Angolan government received large amounts of weapons from the governments of Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, the China, and South Africa. While no arms shipment to the government violated the protocol, no country informed the U.N. Register on Conventional Weapons as required. Despite the increase in civil warfare in late 1998, the economy grew by an estimated 4% in 1999. The government introduced new currency denominations in 1999, including a 1 and 5 kwanza note.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Portugal's explorers and settlers founded trading posts and forts along the coast of Africa beginning in the 15th century, and reached the Angolan coast in the 16th century. Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", and the region developed as a slave trade market with the help of local Imbangala and Mbundu peoples who were notable slave hunters. Trade was mostly with the Portuguese colony of Brazil; Brazilian ships were the most numerous in the ports of Luanda and Benguela. By this time, Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact like a colony of Brazil, paradoxically another Portuguese colony. A strong Brazilian influence was also exercised by the Jesuits in religion and education. War gradually gave way to the philosophy of trade. The great trade routes and the agreements that made them possible were the driving force for activities between the different areas; warlike states become states ready to produce and to sell. In the Planalto (the high plains), the most important states were those of Bié and Bailundo, the latter being noted for its production of foodstuffs and rubber. The colonial power, Portugal, becoming ever richer and more powerful, would not tolerate the growth of these neighbouring states and subjugated them one by one, so that by the beginning of this century the Portuguese had complete control over the entire area. During the period of the Iberian Union (1580–1640), Portugal lost influence and power and made new enemies. The Dutch, a major enemy of Castile, invaded many Portuguese overseas possessions, including Luanda. The Dutch ruled Luanda from 1640 to 1648 as Fort Aardenburgh. They were seeking black slaves for use in sugarcane plantations of Northeastern Brazil (Pernambuco, Olinda, Recife) which they had also seized from Portugal. John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, conquered the Portuguese possessions of Saint George del Mina, Saint Thomas, and Luanda, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. After the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640, Portugal would reestablish its authority over the lost territories of the Portuguese Empire. The Portuguese started to develop townships, trading posts, logging camps and small processing factories. From 1764 onwards, there was a gradual change from a slave-based society to one based on production for domestic consumption and export. Meanwhile, with the independence of Brazil in 1822, the slave trade was abolished in 1836, and in 1844 Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Mainland Portugal, full of trading companies, exporting (together with Benguela) palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa, among many other products. Maize, tobacco, dried meat and cassava flour also began to be produced locally. The Angolan bourgeoisie was born. From the 1920s to the 1960s, strong economic growth, abundant natural resources and development of infrastruture, led to the arrival of even more Portuguese settlers. The Portuguese discovered petroleum in Angola in 1955. Production began in the Cuanza basin in the 1950s, in the Congo basin in the 1960s, and in the exclave of Cabinda in 1968. The Portuguese government granted operating rights for Block Zero to the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco, in 1955.Oil production surpassed the exportation of coffee as Angola's largest export in 1973.
The Economy of Angola is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,with the Economist asserting that for 2001 to 2010, Angolas' Annual average GDP growth was 11.1 percent. It is still recovering from the Angolan Civil War that plagued Angola from independence in 1975 until 2002. Despite extensive oil and gas resources, diamonds, hydroelectric potential, and rich agricultural land, Angola remains poor, and a third of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Since 2002, when the 27-year civil war ended, the country has worked to repair and improve ravaged infrastructure and weakened political and social institutions. High international oil prices and rising oil production have contributed to the very strong economic growth since 1998, but corruption and public-sector mismanagement remain, particularly in the oil sector, which accounts for over 50 percent of GDP, over 90 percent of export revenue, and over 80 percent of government revenue.
Monday, May 6, 2013
In 1999, a second currency was introduced simply called the kwanza. Unlike the first kwanza, this currency is subdivided into 100 cêntimos. The introduction of this currency saw the reintroduction of coins. Although it suffered early on from high inflation, its value has now stabilized. Coins Coins in 10 and 50 cêntimo denominations are no longer used, as the values are minuscule. Bank Notes The banknotes are quite similar in design, with only different colours separating them. The Banco National de Angola issued a new series of kwanza banknotes on March 22, 2013 in denominations of 50, 100, 200 and 500 kwanzas. The other denominations (1000, 2000 and 5000 kwanzas) are planned to be issued on May 31, 2013.
In 1995, the kwanza reajustado replaced the previous kwanza at a rate of 1,000 to 1. It had the ISO 4217 code AOR. The inflation continued and no coins were issued. Bank Notes Despite the exchange rate, such was the low value of the old kwanza that the smallest denomination of banknote issued was 1000 kwanza reajustado. Other notes were 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000, 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 kwanzas.
In 1990, the novo kwanza was introduced, with the ISO 4217 code AON. Although it replaced the kwanza at par, Angolans could only exchange 5% of all old notes for new ones; they had to exchange the rest for government securities. This kwanza suffered from high inflation. Bank Notes This currency was only issued in note form. The first banknotes issued in 1990 were overprints on earlier notes in denominations of 50 (report not confirmed), 500, 1000 and 5000 novos kwanzas (5000 novos kwanzas overprinted on 100 kwanzas). In 1991, the word novo was dropped from the issue of regular banknotes for 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 500,000 kwanzas.
Kwanza was introduced following Angolan independence. It replaced the escudo at par and was subdivided into 100 lwei. Its ISO 4217 code was AOK. Coins The first coins issued for the kwanza did not bear any date, although all bore the date of independence, 27 December 1975. They were in denominations of 10, 20, 50 lwei, 1, 2, 5 and 10 kwanzas. 20 kwanza coins were added in 1978. The last date to appear on coins was 1979. Banknotes On 8 January 1977, banknotes dated 11 DE NOVEMBRO DE 1976 were introduced by the Banco Nacional de Angola (National Bank of Angola) in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 kwanzas. The 20 kwanza note was replaced by a coin in 1978.
This article is about the currency kwanza. For the river in Angola, see Cuanza River. For the American holiday, see Kwanzaa. The kwanza (sign: Kz; ISO 4217 code: AOA) is the currency of Angola. Four different currencies using the name kwanza have circulated since 1977. Chart of Angola Kwanza From Start & Finish Date With ISO CODE
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Luanda — The new set of Angolan Kwanza (AKz) notes will be placed into circulation in the first semester of the year 2013, informed on Monday in Luanda the governor of the National Reserve Bank (BNA), José de Lima Massano. Speaking at a specialised meeting organised to assess and discuss the Draft State Budget for this financial year, the BNA governor explained that the new notes will contribute to the sustenance of the country's economic activity growth. In view of this, he said, the National Reserve Bank (BNA) will make a formal pronouncement on this issue on January 29. In 2012, the BNA announced that the authorities are to release in 2013 a new set of Kwanza notes, including coins, which would enter the market in a gradual way, particularly the high value bills (5000 and 10.000 Kwanzas). On the occasion, the governor pointed out as immediate advantages for the country's economy the opportunity to utilise more modern and advanced techniques of production, so that the country's currency can gain an international pattern. According to the source, this move is also intended to make the currency more durable and better protected, in addition to that there is also the fact that the coins will be in circulation again, thus facilitating changes and decreasing other constraints observed in the retail market. The National Reserve Bank has already received the authorisation of the National Assembly (Parliament) for the implementation of this measure, as required by law.
Avenida de Mayo (English: May Avenue), is an avenue in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. It connects the Plaza de Mayo with Congressional Plaza, and extends 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in a west-east direction before merging into Avenida Rivadavia. History and overview Built on an initiative by Mayor Torcuato de Alvear, work began in 1885 and was completed in 1894. The avenue is often compared with La Gran Vía in Madrid, although the Spanish avenue was built later (1910). It is also compared to those in Paris or Barcelona due to its sophisticated buildings of art nouveau, neoclassic and eclectic styles. The avenue was named in honor of the May Revolution of 1810 (the event that led to Argentine Independence). The site of the assembly that touched off the revolution (the Buenos Aires Cabildo) was partially demolished in 1888 to make way for the avenue's entry into Plaza de Mayo, ironically. The avenue's layout, built through existing urban blocks instead of via the widening of a parallel street, was designed by the Municipal public Works Director, Juan Antonio Buschiazzo. Buschiazzo was also commissioned to design a number of the buildings along the avenue (among them, City Hall) after Mayor Miguel Cané enacted strict architectural zoning laws for the area facing the new thoroughfare. The recession caused by the Panic of 1890 led to delays and a rollback of many of the more ornate plans for the avenue, which was inaugurated on July 9, 1894 (the 78th anniversary of Independence). Mayor Cané's strict regulations initially governed architecture along the 30 m (99 ft)-wide avenue, which limited the height of real estate facing it to 24 m (79 ft). The Barolo Tower was the first to be granted an exception to this and since then, numerous office buildings have been built in excess of these stipulations (though they remain largely an exception). The Avenida de Mayo was the site of the first Buenos Aires Metro stations; opened in 1913, these were the first outside the United States or Europe. The avenue itself underwent its only significant alteration in 1937, when two blocks were demolished to make way for the perpendicular Avenida 9 de Julio (then the widest in the world). Seeking to halt future demolitions along the avenue, Decree 437/97 of the National Executive Branch declared the Avenue a National Historic Site in 1997 and, as a result, the aesthetics of the buildings, billboards, and marquees could not be changed. Any modifications must be approved by the National Commission of Monuments and Historic Sites (Comisión Nacional de Monumentos y Lugares Históricos).
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Cuban intervention had a substantial impact on Southern Africa, especially in defending the MPLA's control over large parts of Angola as well as helping secure Namibia's independence. As W. Freeman, ambassador, US state department, department for African policies, put it into words: "Castro could regard himself as father of Namibia's independence and as the one who put an end to colonialism in Africa. Indeed, Cuba demonstrated responsibility and maturity.". On July 26, 1991, on occasion of the celebrations of the 38th anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution, Nelson Mandela delivered a speech in Havana to personally thank Cuba for its role in Angola: "The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character - We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defence of one of us - The defeat of the apartheid army was an inspiration to the struggling people in South Africa! Without the defeat of Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been unbanned! The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today! Cuito Cuanavale was a milestone in the history of the struggle for southern African liberation!" After the fall of white-minority rule in 1994, South Africa and Cuba established full diplomatic relations on 11 May 1994. Destroyed lighthouse in Lobito, Angola, 1995 Cuban intervention had also been criticized mainly due to human right abuses with Dr. Peter Hammond, a Christian missionary who lived in Angola at the time, recalling: "There were over 50,000 Cuban troops in the country. The communists had attacked and destroyed many churches. MiG-23s and Mi-24 Hind helicopter gun ships were terrorising villagers in Angola. I documented numerous atrocities, including the strafing of villages, schools and churches." In a national ceremony on 7 December 1988, all Cubans killed in Africa were buried in cemeteries across the island. According to Cuban government figures, during all of the Cuban foreign intervention missions carried out in Africa from the early 1960s to the withdrawal of the last soldier from Angola on May 25, 1991, a total of 2,289 Cubans were killed. Other analysts have noted that of 36,000 Cuban troops committed to fighting in Angola from 1975 to 1979, reported combat deaths figures range from 3,000 to less than 10,000. Free elections in Namibia were held in November 1989 with SWAPO taking 57% of the vote in spite of Pretoria's attempts to swing the elections in favor of other parties. (see Martti Ahtisaari and History of Namibia). Namibia gained independence in March 1990. The situation in Angola was anything but settled and the country continued to be ravaged by civil war for more than a decade. The MPLA won the 1992 election, however eight opposition parties rejected the 1992 election as rigged. UNITA sent peace negotiators to the capital, where the MPLA murdered them, along with thousands of UNITA members. Savimbi was still ready to continue the elections. The MPLA then massacred tens of thousands of UNITA voters nationwide, in an event known as the Halloween Massacre. UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi would not accept the results and refused to join the Angolan parliament as opposition. Again UNITA took up arms, financed with the sale of blood diamonds. The civil war ended in 2002 after Jonas Savimbi was killed in battle.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The negotiations and accords until 1988 had all been bilateral, either between Angola and the US, Angola and South Africa or the US and South Africa. Luanda refused any direct contact with UNITA, instead looking for direct talks with Savimbi's sponsors in Pretoria and Washington. The negotiations usually took place in third countries and were mediated by third countries. The US, although clandestinely supporting the UNITA,often acted as a mediator itself. From 1986, the Soviet Union expressed its interest in a political solution. It was increasingly included in consultations but never directly involved in the negotiations. Endeavours for a settlement had intensified after the fighting in southern Angola broke out in 1987. It was agreed, that this time only governments were to take part in the negotiations, which excluded participation by UNITA.
From the start of the negotiations in 1981, the Cubans had not asked and were not asked to participate and the Americans did not have in mind to include them. Castro signalled interest to the US in July 1987 while preparations for the FAPLA offensive against UNITA were under way. He let the Americans know that negotiations including the Cubans would be much more promising. But it was not until January 1988 that US secretary of state George Schultz authorized the American delegation to hold direct talks with the Cubans with the strict provision that they only discuss matters of Angola and Namibia but not the US-embargo against Cuba. The Cuban government joined negotiations on 28 January 1988. They conceded that their withdrawal had to include all troops in Angola including the 5,000 they had in mind to keep in the north and in Cabinda for protection of the oil fields. Yet, US support for UNITA was going to be continued and was not to be an issue at the discussions.
The US continued its two-track policy, mediating between Luanda and Pretoria as well as providing aid to UNITA through Kamina airbase in Zaire. The Reagan administration's first priority was to get the Cubans out of Angola. In its terminology, by supporting UNITA the US was conducting "low-intensity-warfare". According to a western diplomat in Luanda, the US "first wanted to get the Cubans out and afterwards wanted to ask the South Africans to kindly retreat from Namibia". David Albright reported that South African officials believe that Armscor's preparations for a nuclear test at Vastrap were discovered by Soviet or Western intelligence agencies, and that this discovery led to increased pressure on Cuba and the Soviet Union to withdraw from Angola.
Crocker had initially been unable to convince anyone in Europe of his linkage concept, which tied Namibian independence to Cuban withdrawal. On the contrary, the European Union was ready to help with Angolan reconstruction.
Pretoria had walked out of the negotiations two years before and it was necessary to get South Africa back to the table. On 16 March 1988, the South African Business Day reported that Pretoria was "offering to withdraw into Namibia -- not from Namibia -- in return for the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola. The implication is that South Africa has no real intention of giving up the territory any time soon." After much coaxing the South African government joined negotiations in Cairo on 3 May 1988 expecting Resolution 435 to be modified. Defence Minister Malan and President P.W. Botha asserted that South Africa would withdraw from Angola only "if Russia and its proxies did the same." They did not mention withdrawing from Namibia.
In July 1987, Cuba and Angola had offered to speed up Cuban withdrawal. 20,000 troops stationed south of the 13th parallel could be sent home within two instead of three years on the condition that the SADF retreated from Angola, that US and South African support for UNITA was terminated, that Angola's sovereignty was respected and UN Resolution 435 was implemented. Botha flatly rejected any move before the Cubans withdrew from Angola. In order to "torpedo" the initiatives, Malan "innocently" suggested direct negotiations with Moscow so that the Angola conflict could be solved after the example of Afghanistan. The Kremlin responded mockingly that Angola and Afghanistan hardly had more in common than the initial letters in their name. Thus, the timeframe of withdrawal remained the biggest obstacle for a settlement. Chester Crocker proposed a tighter timeframe of total withdrawal within three years which the Angolans rejected.
It was only after the battle at Cuito Cuanavale that the Botha government showed a real interest in peace negotiations. The Cuban military strategy in southern Angola in 1988 brought urgency to the negotiations. After stopping the SADF counter offensive at Cuito Cuanavale and opening a second front to the west, the Cubans in Angola had raised the stakes and reversed the situation on the ground. In fact, the US wondered whether the Cubans would stop their advance at the Namibian border. The heavy loss of life at Calueque sparked outrage in South Africa and it ordered an immediate retrenchment. The SADF forces remaining in eastern Angola were instructed to avoid further casualties. After the bloody clashes on 27 June, the SADF on 13 July set up 10 Division in defence of northern Namibia, in case the Cubans attempted an invasion. Thus, Jorge Risquet, head of the Cuban delegation, responded to South African demands: "The time for your military adventures, for the acts of aggression that you have pursued with impunity, for your massacres of refugees ... is over… South Africa is acting as though it was a victorious army, rather than what it really is: a defeated aggressor that is withdrawing ... South Africa must face the fact that it will not obtain at the negotiating table what it could not achieve on the battlefield." Crocker cabled Secretary of State George Shultz that the talks had taken place "against the backdrop of increasing military tension surrounding the large build-up of heavily armed Cuban troops in south-west Angola in close proximity to the Namibian border ... The Cuban build-up in southwest Angola has created an unpredictable military dynamic."
The Cubans were the driving force behind the negotiations in the final phase beginning in July 1988. The Angolan allies, first wanting to maintain the status quo after the successes in the south, had to be persuaded to continue. Worried that the fighting in Cunene escalated into an all-out war, Crocker achieved a first breakthrough in New York on 13 July. The Cubans replaced Jorge Risquet by more conciliate Carlos Aldana Escalante and agreed in general to withdraw from Angola in turn for Namibian independence. Cuba's calculations were simple: Once the South Africans were out of Namibia and Resolution 435 was implemented, Pretoria would be without a safe base to operate from and to destabilize Angola. The Luanda government could hold off UNITA without Cuban help. Cuba also figured that SWAPO, their regional ally, would pipe the tune in Namibia.
In the "New York Principles" the parties agreed to settle their differences through negotiations. The following round of talks in Cape Verde, 22–23 July 1988, only produced a commitment to set up a Joint Monitoring Commission which was to oversee the withdrawals. On 5 August, the three parties signed the "Geneva Protocol" laying out South African withdrawal from Angola starting 10 August and to be completed 1 September. By then Cubans and Angolans were to agree on Cuban troop withdrawal. On 10 September a tripartite peace settlement was to be signed and Resolution 435 was to be implemented on 1 November. A ceasefire came into effect on 8 August 1988. Pretoria pulled its remaining forces out of Angola by 30 August 1988. Cuban and SWAPO forces moved away from the southern border. By then, a formula for the Cuban withdrawal from Angola had not been found as there was still a gap of 41 months between the Cuban and South African proposal and it took another five rounds of talks between August and October 1988 to find a settlement. The negotiations were interrupted to await the outcome of the US elections in which George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan on 8 November 1988. In the meantime, a FAPLA offensive was under way and UNITA was close to collapse threatening another South African intervention and putting Cuban forces in Angola on alert. Yet, Pretoria did not have in mind to endanger the talks and refrained from interference.
It was only after the US elections that the parties agreed on a timetable for the Cubans. On 22 December 1988, one month before Reagan's second term ended, Angola, Cuba and South Africa signed the Three Powers Accord in New York, arranging for the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and Namibia, the independence of Namibia and the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. Cuba agreed to an overall time frame of 30 months and to withdraw within 27 months after implementation of Resolution 435. The timetable agreed upon provided for the following steps:
· until 1 April 1989: withdrawal of 3,000 Cuban troops (3 months)
· 1 April 1989: Implementation of Resolution 435 and start of 27-month time frame for total withdrawal
· 1 August 1989: all Cuban troops moved north of 15th parallel (7 months)
· 31 October 1989: all Cuban troops moved north of 13th parallel (10 months)
· 1 November 1989: free elections in Namibia and 50% of all Cuban troops withdrawn from Angola
· 1 April 1990: 66% of all Cuban troops withdrawn (15 months)
· 1 October 1990: 76% of all Cuban troops withdrawn (21 months)
· 1 July 1991: Cuban withdrawal completed (30 months)
The accord ended 13 years of Cuban military presence in Angola which was finalized one month early on 25 May 1991. At the same time the Cubans removed their troops from Pointe Noire (Republic of the Congo) and Ethiopia.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
In the meantime, on 10 March 1988, when the defence of Cuito Cuanavale after three failed SADF-attacks was secure, Cuban, FAPLA and SWAPO units advanced from Lubango to the southwest. The first South African resistance was encountered near Calueque on 15 March followed by three months of bloody clashes as the Cubans progressed towards the Namibian border. By the end of May Cuba had two divisions in southwestern Angola. By June they constructed two forward airbases atCahama and Xangongo with which Cuban air power could be projected into Namibia. All of southern Angola was covered by a radar network and SA-8 air defence ending South African air superiority.
On 26 May 1988, the chief of the SADF announced, "heavily armed Cuban and SWAPO forces, integrated for the first time, have moved south within 60km of the Namibian border". The remaining SADF forces at Cuito Cuanavale were now in danger of being closed in. On 8 June 1988 the SADF called up 140,000 men of the reserves (Citizen Force), giving an indication of how serious the situation had become. The South African administrator general in Namibia acknowledged on 26 June that Cuban MIG-23s were flying over Namibia, a dramatic reversal from earlier times when the skies had belonged to the SAAF. He added, "the presence of the Cubans had caused a flutter of anxiety" in South Africa.
In June 1988 the Cubans prepared to advance on Calueque starting from Xangongo and Tchipa. In case of serious South African counterattacks, Castro gave orders to be ready to destroy the Ruacana reservoirs and transformers and attack South African bases in Namibia. The offensive started from Xangongo on June 24 immediately clashing with the SADF en route to Cuamato. Although the SADF was driven off the FAPLA-Cubans retreated to their base. On 26 July 1989 the SADF shelled Tchipa (Techipa) with long-range artillery and Castro gave orders for the immediate advance on Calueque and an air strike against the SADF camps and military installations around Calueque. After a clash with a FAPLA-Cuban advance group on 27 June the SADF retreated towards Calueque under bombardment from Cuban planes and crossed the border into Namibia that same afternoon. By then, Cuban MiG-23s had carried out the attacks on the SADF positions around the Calueque dam, 11 km north of the Namibian border, also damaging the bridge and hydroelectric installations. The major force of the Cubans, still on the way, never saw action and returned to Tchipa and with the retreat of the SADF into Namibia an 27 June the hostilities ceased.
The CIA reported that "Cuba's successful use of air power and the apparent weakness of Pretoria's air defences" highlighted the fact that Havana had achieved air superiority in southern Angola and northern Namibia. Only a few hours after the Cuban's air strike, the SADF destroyed the nearby bridge over the Cunene River. They did so, the CIA surmised, "to deny Cuban and Angolan ground forces easy passage to the Namibia border and to reduce the number of positions they must defend." The South Africans, impressed by the suddenness and scale of the Cuban advance and believing that a major battle "involved serious risks" withdrew. Five days later Pretoria ordered a combat group still operational in southeastern Angola to scale back to avoid any more casualties, effectively withdrawing from all fighting, and a SADF division was deployed in defence of Namibia's northern border.
Preparations went on their way for the next offensive in 1987, Operacao Saludando Octubre and once more the Soviets upgraded the FAPLA's equipment including 150 T-55 and T-54B tanks and Mi-24 and Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters. Again they dismissed warnings of a South African intervention. Pretoria, taking notice of the massive military build-up around Cuito Cuanavale, warned UNITA and on 15 June authorized covert support. In spite of these preparations, on 27 July Castro proposed Cuba's participation in the negotiations, indicating that he was interested in curtailing its involvement in Angola. The Reagan administration declined.
From the very start of the FAPLA-offensive it was clear to Pretoria that UNITA could not withstand the onslaught and on 4 August 1987 launched clandestine Operation Modular, which engaged in the first fights 9 days later. The FAPLA reached the northern banks of the Lomba River near Mavinga on 28 August and were expected by the SADF. In a series of bitter fights between 9 September and 7 October they prevented the FAPLA from crossing the river and stopped the offensive for a third time. The FAPLA suffered heavy losses and the Soviets withdrew their advisors from the scene leaving FAPLA without senior leadership. On 29 September the SADF launched an offensive aiming to destroy all FAPLA forces east of the Cuito River. On 3 October it attacked and annihilated a FAPLA-battalion on the southern banks of the Lomba River and two days later FAPLA started its retreat to Cuito Cuanavale.The SADF and UNITA pursued the retreating FAPLA units and started the siege of Cuito Cuanavale on 14 October with long-range shelling by 155 mm artilleryfrom a distance of 30 to 40 km.
Cuito Cuanavale, only a village, was important to FAPLA as a forward air base to patrol and defend southern Angola and considered an important gateway to UNITA's headquarters in the south-east. With the South Africans on the counter-attack, the town and base and possibly all of Cuando Cubango were now under threat, as was FAPLA's planned advance southwards against UNITA; on 15 November Luanda requested urgent military assistance from Cuba. Castro approved the Cuban intervention, Operation Maniobra XXXI Anniversario on the same day, retaking the initiative from the Soviets. As in 1975, Cuba again did not inform the USSR in advance of its decision to intervene. For the second time Cuba dispatched a large contingent of troops and arms across the ocean: 15,000 troops and equipment, including tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons and aircraft. Although not responsible for the dismal situation of the FAPLA Cuba felt impelled to intervene in order to prevent a total disaster for the Angolans. In Castro's view, a South African victory would have meant not only the capture of Cuito and the destruction of the best Angolan military formations, but, quite probably, the end of Angola's existence as an independent country. Around mid-January Castro let the Angolans know that he was taking charge and the first Cuban enforcements were deployed at Cuito Cuanavale.
The Cuban's initial priority was saving Cuito Cuanavale, but while enforcements were arriving at the besieged garrison they made preparations for a second front in Lubango where the SADF had been operating unhindered for 8 years.
By early November, the SADF had cornered FAPLA units in Cuito Cuanavale and was poised to destroy them. On 25 November the UN Security Council demanded the SADF's unconditional withdrawal from Angola by 10 December, but the US ensured that there were no repercussions for South Africa. US Assistant Secretary for Africa Chester Crocker reassured Pretoria's ambassador: "The resolution did not contain a call for comprehensive sanctions, and did not provide for any assistance to Angola. That was no accident, but a consequence of our own efforts to keep the resolution within bounds." Through December the situation for the besieged Angolans became critical as the SADF tightened the noose around Cuito Cuanavale. Observers expected it to fall into South African hands any time soon and UNITA prematurely announced the town had been taken.
Starting 21 December the South Africans planned the final operation to "pick off" the five FAPLA brigades which were still to the east of the Cuito river "before moving in to occupy the town if the conditions were favourable". From mid-January to the end of February the SADF launched six major assaults on FAPLA positions east of the Cuito river, none of which delivered tangible results. Although the first attack on 13 January 1988 was successful, spelling near disaster for a FAPLA brigade, the SADF was unable to continue and retreated to its starting positions. After a month the SADF was ready for the second assault on 14 February. Again it withdrew after successfully driving FAPLA-Cuban units off the Chambinga high ground. Narrowly escaping catastrophe the FAPLA units east of the Cuito River withdrew to the Tumpo (river) triangle, a smaller area, ideally suited to defence. On 19 February the SADF suffered a first major setback when a third assault against a FAPLA battalion north of the Dala river was repelled; the SADF was unable to reach FAPLA's forward positions and had to withdraw. In the following days the Cubans stepped up their air attacks against South African positions. On 25 February the FAPLA-Cubans repelled a fourth assault and the SADF had to retreat to their positions east of the Tumpo River. The failure of this attack "proved a turning point of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, boosting FAPLA's flagging morale and bringing the South African advance to a standstill." A fifth attempt was beaten back on 29 February delivering the SADF a third consecutive defeat. After some more preparation the South Africans launched their last and fourth unsuccessful attack on 23 March. As SADF-Colonel Jan Breytenbach wrote, the South African assault "was brought to a grinding and definite halt" by the combined Cuban and Angolan forces.
Eventually Cuban troop strength in Angola increased to about 55,000, with 40,000 deployed in the south. Due to the international arms embargo since 1977, South Africa's aging air force was outclassed by the sophisticated Soviet-supplied air defence system and air-strike capabilities fielded by the Angolans and it was unable to uphold the air supremacy it had enjoyed for years; its loss in turn proved to be critical to the outcome of the battle on the ground.
Cuito Cuanavale was the major battle site between Cuban, Angolan, Namibian and South African forces. It was the biggest battle on African soil since World War II and in its course just under 10,000 soldiers were killed. Cuban planes and 1,500 Cuban soldiers had reinforced the Angolans at Cuito. After the failed assault on 23 March 1988, the SADF withdrew leaving a 1,500-man "holding force" behind and securing their retreat with one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. Cuito Cuanavale continued to be bombarded from a distance of 30 to 40 km.
Escalation of the conflict
As a result of the South African Operation Askari in December 1983, which targeted PLAN bases inside Angola, the USSR not only increased its aid to Angola but also took over the tactical and strategic leadership of FAPLA deploying advisors right down to the battalion level and begun planning a large-scale offensive against the UNITA-stronghold in southeastern Angola.
Soviet command did not include the Cuban forces in Angola. Cuba's strategic opinions differed considerably from those of the Soviets and Angolans and Cuba strongly advised against an offensive in the southeast because it would create the opportunity for a significant South African invasion, which is what transpired.A FAPLA-offensive in 1984 had already brought dismal results. Under Soviet leadership the FAPLA launched two more offensives in 1985 and 1986. The Cubans deny involvement in the 1985 operation but supported the offensive in 1986 despite of many reservations, not providing ground forces but technical and air support. Apart from taking Cazombo in 1985, coming close to Mavinga and bringing UNITA close to defeat, both offensives ended up in a complete failure and became a major embarrassment for the Soviets. Unlike the Cubans with ten years of experience in the African theatre, the Soviet leadership was inexperienced and relations between the two became strained. In addition, in March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev had become the new General Secretary with whom Castro had considerable disagreements. In both FAPLA-offensives South Africa, still controlling the lower reaches of southwestern Angola, intervened as soon as UNITA came into distress. In September 1985, the South African Air Force prevented the fall of Mavinga and the FAPLA-offensive ended at the Lomba River.
After this debacle in 1985, the Soviets sent more equipment and advisors to Angola and immediately went about to prepare another FAPLA-offensive in the following year. In the meantime UNITA received its first military aid from the US, which included surface-to-airStinger missiles and BGM-71 TOW anti-tank-missiles. The US sent supplies to UNITA and SADF through the reactivated KaminaAirbase in Zaire. The offensive starting in May 1986 already got off to a poor start and again with the help of the SADF UNITA managed to stop the advance by late August.
In the following years, Cuba kept itself engaged in a number of other African countries. In 1978, Cuba sent 16,000 troops to EthiopiaOgaden War, but this time in close coordination with the Soviets. Smaller military missions were active in the People's Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Benin. Cuban technical, educational and medical staff in the tens of thousands were working in even more countries: Algeria (Tindouf), Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Ethiopia, São Tomé and Príncipe,Tanzania, the Congo and Benin. Up to 18,000 students from these countries studied on full Cuban scholarships per year on the island.
Towards the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s, Angola slipped away from wider international public attention but despite Cuba's victory on the ground, the war in Angola was far from over. UNITA was able to take up its insurgency operations in the south with the help of military and logistical support from South Africa and the Angolan government still had not gained control over the whole country. While the vast majority of the Cuban troops remaining in Angola stayed in the bases, some of them helped in 'mopping-up' operations, clearing remaining pockets of resistance in Cabinda and in the north. The operations in the south were less successful because of "Savimbi's tenacity and determination to fight on". "Most of the Cubans were organized and deployed in motorized infantry, air defense, and artilleriy units. Their main missions were to deter and defend against attacks beyond the southern combat zone, protecting strategic and economically critical sites and facilities, and provide combat support, such as rear-area security for major military installations and Luanda itself. At least 2000 Cuban troops were stationed in oil-producing Cabinda Province". After the South African retreat South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) again established bases in southern Angola, now supported by the Angolan government, and stepped up its operations in Namibia. In turn, as of early 1977, South African incursions into Angola were on the increase.
Cuban forces soon again were increased due to tensions between Angola and Zaire in March 1977 (see Shaba I). Mobutu accused Angola of instigating and supporting an attack of the FNLC (Front National pour la Libération du Congo) on the Zairian province of Shaba and Neto charged Mobutu with harbouring and supporting the FNLA and FLEC. Only 2 months later the Cubans played a role in stabilizing the Neto government and foiling the Nitista Plot when Nito Alves and José van Dunem split from the government and led an uprising. While Cuban soldiers actively helped Neto put down the coup, Alves and Neto both believed the Soviet Union supported Neto's ouster, which is another indication of the mutual distrust between the Soviets and Neto as well as the differing interests between the Soviets and the Cubans. Raúl Castro sent an additional four thousand troops to prevent further dissension within the MPLA's ranks and met with Neto in August in a display of solidarity. In contrast, Neto's distrust in the Soviet leadership increased and relations with the USSR worsened. Thousands of people were estimated to have been killed by Cuban and MPLA troops in the aftermath of Nito's attempted coup over a period that lasted up to two years, with some estimates claiming as high as 70,000 murdered.
Angola's Cuando Cubango province
In 1977 Britain, Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and the United States formed an informal negotiating team, called the Contact Group, to work with South Africa to implement a UN plan for free elections in Namibia. The South African government, however, was fundamentally opposed to the UN plan, which it claimed was biased in favour of the installation of a SWAPO government in Namibia.
South Africa continued to support UNITA, which not only took up the fight against the Angolan government but also helped the South Africans hunt down SWAPO, denying it a safe zone along Angola's southern border. They SADF established bases in Cuando Cubango Province in south-eastern Angola and the South African Air Force (SAAF) supplied UNITA with air cover from bases in Namibia. South Africa also went to great lengths to brush up Savimbi's image abroad, especially in the US. Apart from being a friend to some African dictators Savimbi became the toast of the Reagan White House and was feted by the rightwing establishment in many countries. Beginning in 1978, periodic South African incursions and UNITA's northward expansion in the east forced the Angolan government to increase expenditures on Soviet military aid and to depend even more on military personnel from the USSR, East Germany and Cuba.
The first large-scale incursions by the SADF occurred in May 1978 (Operation Reindeer), which became South Africa's most controversial operation in Angola. It involved two simultaneous assaults on a heavily populated SWAPO camps at Cassinga(Kassinga) and Chetequera. SADF intelligence believed Cassinga to be a PLAN (People's Liberation Army of Namibia, the armed wing of SWAPO) camp. The operational order was "to inflict maximum losses", but where possible, to "capture leaders". In the air borne raid on 8 May 1978 (SADF-terminology: Battle of Cassinga) over 600 people were killed, including some women and children. In addition, up to 150 Cubans of a unit rushing to the camp's aid lost their lives in an air attack and ambush on the way from their garrison in Tchamutete 15 km to the south. Thus, Cuba suffered its highest single-day casualty of its Angolan intervention. According to the controversial findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the camp most likely served civilian as well as a military purposes and the raid constituted a breach of international law and the "commission of gross human rights violations". SWAPO and the international media branded the incident a massacre turning it into a political disaster for South Africa. The revulsion at the carnage of the "Cassinga raid" and the ensuing international outcry led to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 435 on 29 September 1978, calling for Namibia's independence and, to that end, for the establishment of a "Transition Assistance Group". Pretoria signed the resolution which spelled out the steps for granting independence to Namibia and raised expectations "that peace was around the corner in Southern Africa".
In Resolution 447 of 28 March 1979, the UN Security Council concluded "that the intensity and timing of these acts of armed invasion are intended to frustrate attempts at negotiated settlements in southern Africa" and voiced concern "about the damage and wanton destruction of property caused by the South African armed invasions of Angola launched from Namibia, a territory which South Africa illegally occupies". It strongly condemned "the racist regime of South Africa for its premeditated, persistent and sustained armed invasions ... of Angola", its "utilization of the international territory of Namibia as a springboard for armed invasions and destabilization of ... Angola" and demanded that "South Africa cease immediately its provocative armed invasions against ...Angola". On 2 November 1979 the UN Security Council passed yet another resolution (454), branding South Africa in a similar fashion for its armed incursions, calling upon South Africa "to cease immediately all acts of aggression and provocation against ... Angola" and "forthwith to withdraw all its armed forces from Angola" and demanding that "South Africa scrupulously respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity ... of Angola" and that "South Africa desist forthwith from the utilization of Namibia, a territory which it illegally occupies, to launch acts of aggression against ... Angola or other neighbouring African States". Nevertheless, by the end of 1979, following the bombing of Lubango, an undeclared war was in full swing.
Hardly 2 weeks later, on 17 May 1978, 6,500 Katangese gendarmes invaded the Zairian province of Shaba from bases in eastern Angola (Shaba II invasion) and the US accused Cuba of having a hand in it. Although there is no proof for a Cuban involvement it is likely that the Katangese had the support of the Angolan government. They were driven back across the border by French and Belgian military and Cuba and the US coaxed Neto and Mobutu to sign a non-aggression pact. While Neto agreed to repatriate the Katangese Mobutu cut off aid to FNLA, FLEC and UNITA and their bases along the border were shut down. By late 1978 Angola's security had been steadily deteriorating and UNITA emerging as a formidable guerrilla army, expanding its operations from Cuando Cubango into Moxico and Bié while the SADF intensified its cross-border campaigns from Namibia.
Neto died on 10 September 1979 while seeking medical treatment in Moscow and was succeeded by Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. Barely one month later Ronald Reagan became President of the United States, immediately adopting a harder line with Angola: The Cubans were absolutely to be driven out of Angola.
In elections held in February 1980; the leader of the leftist Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and outspoken opponent of apartheid, Robert Mugabe, was elected president, ending white minority rule in Zimbabwe. Losing its last ally (Rhodesia) in the region, South Africa adopted the policy of "Total Onslaught" vowing "to strike back at any neighbouring states which harboured anti-apartheid forces". On 10 June 1980 Pretoria launched its largest operation since World War II, 180 km into Angolan territory, during which, for the first time, it was attacked by the FAPLA. In the following September, the SADF assisted UNITA in the capture of Mavinga.
In the early 1980s, the United States, in their endeavour to get the USSR and Cuba out of Angola, became directly involved in negotiations with Angola. Angola pointed out it could safely reduce the number of Cuban troops and Soviet advisors if it wasn't for the continuing South African incursions and threat at its southern border. The most obvious solution was an independent Namibia which South Africa had to give up. After having to accept a leftist regime in Angola, Pretoria was reluctant to relinquish control of Namibia because of the possibility that the first elections would bring its "traditional nemesis", SWAPO, to power. It continued to attend negotiating sessions of the Contact Group throughout the early 1980s, always prepared to bargain but never ready to settle. Cuba, not involved in the negotiations, basically agreed to such a solution paving the way to Namibia's freedom. Yet, towards the end of Reagan's second term in office, the negotiations had not born any fruit.
After the UN-sponsored talks on the future of Namibia failed in January 1981, (South Africa walked out of the Pre-Implementation Conference in Geneva on 13 January in April 1981 the new American Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker, took up negotiations combining 'constructive engagement with South Africa' with the 'linkage' proposal (independence for Namibia in change for Cuba's withdrawal). Both Angola and South Africa deeply distrusted the US for various reasons and the idea was rejected. It continued to be the basis of further negotiations; yet, the Contact Group members as well as the 'frontline states' (states bordering South Africa) were opposed to linking Namibian independence with Cuban withdrawal. Despite its overwhelming presence in Angola, the Cubans remained uninvited to the negotiations.
The same year, South African military activity increased against Angolan targets and SWAPO guerrillas. On 23 August 1981, the SADF launched an invasion Operation Protea with eleven thousand troops penetrating 120 kilometres into southwestern Angola and occupying about 40,000 km² in southern Cunene (holding the territory until 1988). Bases were established in Xangongo and N'Giva. The South Africans not only fought SWAPO but also wanted FAPLA out of the border area and openly intensified assaults on Angolan economic targets. The US vetoed a UN Resolution condemning the invasion, instead insisting on Cuba's withdrawal from Angola. Within five months of the South African invasion the Soviets started a new two-year military programme for the FAPLA to which Cuba committed another 7,000 troops. FAPLA-Cuban forces refrained from larger actions against South African operations, which were routinely undertaken deep into Angolan territory following Operation Protea. Through 1982 and 1983 the SAAF also participated in operations by UNITA, which gained more and more control of south-eastern Angola. The attacks by far exceeded the previous hit and -run operations and were aimed primarily at the Benguela Railway. Increasingly Cubans got involved in the fighting, either because they had garrisons in the embattled area or because they came to the rescue of FAPLA units under attack. The civil war had a crippling effect on the Angolan economy, especially agriculture and infrastructure, created hundreds of thousands of refugees. UNITA guerrillas took foreign technicians as hostages.
On 6 December 1983 Pretoria launched its twelfth incursion, Operation Askari, in pursuit of SWAPO which was also to inflict as much damage as possible on FAPLA's increasing military presence in southern Angola. In protest, France and shortly after Canada, left the UN Contact Group. On 20 December the UN Security Council passed yet another resolution (546) demanding withdrawal and reparations by South Africa. Unlike during Operation Protea this operation was met with strong resistance by the FAPLA-Cuban forces leading to the fiercest fighting since independence. A battle ensued after a SADF attack on a SWAPO camp near Cuvelei (northern Cunene) on 3 – 7 January 1984. Although SWAPO suffered a severe defeat in this campaign the South Africans were unable to unseat the FAPLA from bases at Cahama, Mulondo and Caiundo as it had planned. Under growing international pressure Pretoria stopped the operation and retreated south of the border on 15 January but kept the garrisons in Calueque, N'Giva and Xangongo. A cease fire between Angola and South Africa was signed on 31 January, the first treaty between Luanda and Pretoria. Peace negotiations were taken up again and in February 1984 Crocker met with Angolans and South Africans in Lusaka, Zambia. The resulting first 'Lusaka Accord' of 16 February 1984 detailed the disengagement of Angolan and South African forces in southern Angola. Already during this process the accord was doomed to fail because SWAPO was not involved in the talks and continued its operations. UNITA also stepped up its raids including mine-laying, truck bombs, hostage taking and attacking foreign civilians as far north as Sumbe.
In a joint statement on 19 March 1984 Cuba and Angola announced the principles on which a Cuban withdrawal would be negotiated: unilateral withdrawal of the SADF, implementation of Resolution 435 and cessation of support for UNITA and armed actions against Angola. Cuban withdrawal would be a matter between Cuba and Angola. In a similar joint announcement in 1982 these principles had been formulated as demands. The proposal was rejected by Botha. In September 1984 Angola presented a plan calling for the retreat of all Cubans to positions north of the 13th parallel and then to the 16th parallel, again on the condition that South Africa pulled out of Namibia and respected Resolution 435. 10.000 Cuban troops around the capital and in Cabinda were to remain. A major obstacle in the negotiations was the timeline for the withdrawal of Cuban troops. While Pretoria demanded a maximum of 7 months the Cubans wanted four years. Crocker managed to reduce the Cuban's timeline to two years upon which the South Africans suggested only 12 weeks. Crocker then proposed a timeline of 2 years and a withdrawal in stages and a maximum of 6,000 troops remaining up to another year in the north. But both parties and UNITA rejected this proposal and the negotiations stalled. On 17 April Pretoria installed an 'Interim Government' in Namibia which was in direct contravention of Resolution 435. The Lusaka Accord completely fell apart when South Africa broke the cease-fire. On 20 May 1985 it sent a commando team to blow up an American-run Gulf Oil facility in northern Angola. The raid failed, but it showed that Pretoria was "not interested in a cease-fire agreement or the Namibian settlement to which a cease-fire was supposed to lead."
On 10 July 1985 the US Congress rescinded the 10-year-old Clark Amendment. Within a year at least seven bills and resolutions followed urging aid to UNITA, including overt military support and some 15 million US dollars. As of 1986 the US openly supported UNITA.By 1986 the war reached a stalemate: FAPLA was unable to uproot UNITA in its tribal stronghold and UNITA was no serious threat to the government in Luanda. Within a week Pretoria, suffering from internal unrest and international sanctions, declared a State of Emergency.
Cuban troops were alleged to have used nerve gas against UNITA troops during the civil war. Belgian criminal toxologist Dr. Aubin Heyndrickx, studied alleged evidence, including samples of war-gas "identification kits" found after the battle at Cuito Cuanavale, claimed that "there is no doubt anymore that the Cubans were using nerve gases against the troops of Mr. Jonas Savimbi."