In southern Africa, Fidel Castro is almost universally seen as a hero. After all it is the Cuban leader who sent his forces to Angola to halt apartheid South Africa. What southern Africans would easily forget is that Cuban troops were sent to many other African conflicts with mixed results.
Professor Piero Gleijeses, who chronicled Cuba’s relations with Africa, noted:
The dispatch of 36,000 Cuban soldiers to Angola from November 1975 to April 1976 stunned the world and ushered in a period of large-scale operations, including 16,000 Cuban soldiers in Ethiopia in late 1977; Cuban military missions in Congo Brazzaville, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Benin; and, above all, the continuing presence in Angola that peaked in 1988 with 52,000 soldiers.
In Somalia and Ethiopia Castro’s record gets a distinctly mixed reception. The headline on one popular website said it all:
Ethiopians celebrate Castro, Somalis fume at him over 1977 Ogaden war.
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