The meaning of internationalism in Angola: Were the Cubans “exporting” the revolution or becoming “the good colonizers”?

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Abstract

Between 1975 and 1991, Cuba deployed to Angola more than 300 000 military personnel (of which some 2 000 lost their lives), and around 50 000 civilians worked as doctors, nurses, teachers or engineers. The cultural impact of the presence of Cubans in the first half of the civil war in post-independence Angola marked deeply a whole generation of men and women and is still pretty much under-researched. In this article, I discuss the meaning of internationalism in Angola for Cuban society, resorting to sources (literature, poetry, testimony and political speeches) that have been addressing the Angolan conflict and analysing the meaning of Cuba’s internationalist policy stemming from both Cuba and abroad. By showing the mobilizing and activist character of the Cuban experience in Angola, through accounts on internationalism, my argument is that, rather than imposing themselves in a foreign nation, the Cubans were attempting to incorporate Angola in their own national narrative, in the sense of Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘‘invention of tradition’’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalOutre-Mers, Revue d'Histoire
Volume102
Issue number384-385
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Cuba
  • Angola
  • Cuban Cultural Studies
  • Angolan civil war
  • Internationalism

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