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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 21, 1963


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    Flavio Bravo, deputy commander of the Cuban forces in Algeria, to Raúl Castro, Algiers, pp. 2-3 regarding the situation in Algeria and the behavior of different factions
    "Flavio Bravo, Deputy Commander of the Cuban Forces in Algeria, to Raúl Castro, Algiers," October 21, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Centro de Información de la Defensa de las Fuerza Armadas Revolucionaries (CID-FAR), Havana
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DOCUMENT 1: Flavio Bravo, deputy commander of the Cuban forces in Algeria, to Raúl Castro, Algiers, 21 October 1963, pp. 2-3.

My dear Raúl:
Yesterday, we found out that Efigenio [Ameijeiras] and 170 compañeros are going to arrive tomorrow at 3:00 in two planes and that today, finally!, the ship is going to arrive.[1] ...[2]
The situation demands that the entire socialist camp send aid. Unfortunately, however, our friends here are not receiving this aid: promises and more promises, but the weapons never arrive. Meanwhile, [King] Hassan [of Morocco] has a battalion of Soviet tanks, MIGs and other Soviet weapons. And so we are going to face the bizarre situation of having to go to war against Soviet weapons! Some of the Algerian officers are not only worried ... but indignant. They ask, and rightly so, how can the Soviet comrades help feudal kings like Hassan and not understand that a real revolution, like Cuba's, is taking place here ...
As for the socialist countries of eastern Europe, the less said the better. According to compañeros here, "They have behaved like greedy shopkeepers who want to be paid in dollars (and at higher prices than the Yankees) for the help the Algerian people need." ...
If you consider it useful, I think you should share these impressions of mine with our good friend Alejandro [Aleksandr Alekseyev, the Soviet ambassador to Cuba]. I know that this is not the first time that the Algerian problem has been raised. I believe that Fidel discussed it there [during his visit to the Soviet Union in spring 1963], but there is no harm in raising it again. Our Algerian friends have their own customs and their pride. They don't like asking for help, and they say that they would rather fight with knives than ask again. They say that they have already explained the problem, which in any case is not difficult to understand. ...
Aldo [Santamaria, the head of the Cuban navy], who has left for Oran, and Papito [Serguera] send you greetings. I think that our "ebullient" ambassador [Sergio Serguera] has scored a great victory and has saved not our prestige--which was very high--but that of the entire socialist camp.
We will continue to keep you informed.

[Source: Centro de Información de la Defensa de las Fuerza Armadas Revolucionaries (CID-FAR), Havana.]

[1] The 686 men of the Grupo Especial de Instrucción (GEI) arrived in Algeria aboard two special flights of Cubana de aviación that left Havana on October 21, and on two ships, the Aracelio Iglesias and the Andrés González Lines, which reached Oran on October 22 and 29 respectively. Efigenio Ameijeiras was the commander of the GEI.

[2] In this article the ellipsis is used to indicate author's editing. Any sanitized words or sentences are clearly indicated as such.