- Student Work
In 1959 Fidel Castro’s rebel army ‘assumed power’, replacing Batista’s defeated government. Due to shared communist ideologies Castro immediately received support and money from the Soviet Union and swiftly began armed intervention overseas. Over the following three years invasion attempts began in neighboring Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Panama but were largely unsuccessful. In the 1960s, Cuba also began sending money and arms to resurgent groups with communist sympathies in Venezuela, Guatemala, and Colombia. This is a trend that would continue over the next 25 years and also expand to sending troops to ‘assist and coordinate’ support of Soviet aims abroad.
From the mid-1960s, the focus shifted away from Latin America toward Africa and the Middle East. Throughout the 1970s and 80s Cuban military presence and fighting reached their peak, most notably in the Ogaden War of 1977/78 and the Angolan Civil War. Spending was increased and millions of dollars were sent to support revolutions, causing the military budget to rise to 13% in 1985. The size of the military also increased to become the ‘largest force in the Caribbean Basin’ and include 20% of its population in various branches. This enabled Cuba to send 17,000 troops to Ethiopia by 1978 and 50,000 to Angola by 1987. In both instances the Cuban-supported rebels were successful but this was only made possible due to the assistance of Soviet forces and finance.
The dependence on support from the Soviet Union can be seen by the change in military tactics after the fall of the USSR. In the late 1980s, Cuba began to withdraw its military from its occupied countries and ‘abandoned’ its support of revolutionary movements. Since the last forces were removed from Angola in 1991 there has been no active fighting abroad by the Cuban military and they have instead adopted a ‘war of the people to shift the emphasis to defensive capabilities. Currently, the greatest fear is an attack from the USA, possibly through Guantanamo Bay.
Publishers comment: The author of this article did not work with quote notes. The last pages provide the reader with a list of sources on which this article refers.
the article was written by Asghari Kosar, Rigby Miranda