The Cultural Dimensions of Cuba’s Angolan Adventure

Sunday, January 4, 2015: 11:50 AM
Bryant Suite (New York Hilton)
Linda M. Heywood, Boston University
Between 1975 and 1991, nearly 300,000 Cubans served in Angola, and although the largest group were members of the Cuban armed services, as many as 7,000 of these Cubans were doctors and other healthcare experts, teachers, construction workers, petroleum engineers, and agricultural laborers. Although the Cuban presence in Angola has largely been studies for the political and military impact it had on both Cuba and Angola, little is known about the cultural impact of the intervention on Cuban society. Focusing largely on official government publications, printed resources used in Cuban schools, the many memoires written and published in Cuban by Cubans who served in Angola, popular magazines, texts used in Cuban elementary schools, as well as wide-ranging interviews with Cubans who served in Angola as well as other Cubans, the paper argues that the Cuban intervention in Angola was not only successful militarily but also a cultural success since it renewed Cuban interest in the cultural ties between Cuba and Angola that went back to the period of slavery.