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February 4, 1982

Cuba-Angola Declaration

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

In less than 20 days the South African troops advanced more than 700 kms, into Angola territory. At the same time, in the north, regular foreign and mercenary troops were coming dangerously close to the capital. It was at this time that President Antonio Agustinho Neto asked for Cuba’s military assistance. The heroic resistance of the Angolan people, assisted by friendly intenationalist forces, permitted not only stopped the advance of the South African racist troops some 200 kms from Luanda but also expelling them from Angolan territory on March 27, 1976. The occupation of Angola by South Africa constituted a serious threat for the nations of that region, and in fact, for all independent Africa. Cuba’s internationalist help to the Angolan people in the resistance against the South African racist invaders is therefore a valuable contribution to the struggle of the African people against colonialism, racism and apartheid.


Since this action was justified, a directive of the principles and objectives of the Movement of Nonaligned Nations, the Fifth Summit Conference celebrated in Sri Lanka in August of 1976, said ‘’it congratulated the government of the people of Angola for its heroic and victorious struggle against the racist invaders from South Africa and their allies and praised the Republic of Cuba and the other nations that helped the people of Angola to frustrate the expansionist and colonialist strategy of the South Africa regime and its allies.”


In agreement with this, the Cuban and Angolan governments declare:


The presence and the departure of Cuban troops stationed in Angola represent a bilateral matter between two sovereign states, the Popular Republic of Angola and the Republic of Cuba, according to the contents of Article 41 of the UN Charter.


The governments of Angola and Cuba, scarcely one month after the expulsion of the South Africa racist troops, began a program of gradual reduction of Cuban troops, on April 22, 1976. In less than one year, the Cuban military contingents were reduced by more than one third. This process was stopped due to new exterior threats against Angola.


The magnitude and the depth of the South African aggression against Kasinga, in May 1978, and the threatening presence of NATO paratroops stationed near its northeastern border signified great danger to Angola and made even more necessary the presence of the Cuban military troops and material to guarantee the territory’s and integrity.


In mid-1979, the governments of Angola and Cuba agreed, once again, to initiate another program of gradual reduction of Cuban forces, but almost immediately, in September of that year, the South Africans carried out repeated large scale acts of aggression against the provinces of Cunche and Huila.


In August 1981, a large scale act of aggression took place with the invasion of the province of Cunene by large contingents of regular South African troops armed with powerful means of artillery, armored vehicles and dozens of airplanes and included, in fact, the occupation of the provincial capital and other places for several weeks. In spite of the condemnation by the international community of this criminal act, as expressed in the Security Council resolution. Although vetoed by the USA, South African troops persisted in occupying considerable areas of the provinces of Cunene and Cuando-Cubango.


It is thus demonstrated that the carrying out of the gradual reduction program of Cuban troops in the Popular Republic of Angola has been impeded several times because of the constant and criminal attacks against Angola.


Every year the USA and South Africa have increased the use, as a means of aggression against Angola, of counterrevolutionary bands who have their headquarters, training camps, military material warehouse and radio communication centers in Namibia. Meanwhile, the present North American administration is today giving greater economic and military support to South Africa, its policeman against the Southern African people, with complete disdain for U.N., OAS, and the Non-aligned Movement’s resolutions as well as international public opinion. Therefore the danger to Angola on the Frontline is greater than ever before.


Faced with the hypocritical stipulation of conditioning the question of Namibian independence to the withdrawal of Cuban troops, the Angolan and Cuban governments reiterate that the presence of these forces provoked by the external aggression from the racist and fascist South African troops, in close alliance with the USA, constitutes an absolutely sovereign and legitimate act of countries and therefore is in no way related to the problem of Namibia.


If the unselfish struggle of SWAPO, the one and only legitimate representative of the Namibian people, and the requirements by the international community should help reach a true solution to the problem of Nambia, based on strict compliance with Resolution 435/78 of the Security Council of the U.N. and if this would bring about a truly independent government and the complete withdrawal of the South African occupation troops to the other side of the Orange River, which would diminish considerably the danger of aggression against Angola, the Angolan and Cuban governments would analyze reinitiating the gradual reduction of Cuban forces within a period of time agreed to by both governments.


Therefore, when the governments of Angola and Cuba see this become reality, the withdrawal of Cuban forces stationed in Angolan territory will be made by the sovereign decision of the government of the popular Republic of Angola, once that any and all possibility of aggression or armed invasion have ceased in this sense, the government of Cuba reiterates that it will abide, without hesitation, by any decision that the sovereign government of the Popular Republic of Angola makes about the withdrawal of said forces.


Luanda, February 4, 1982


Isidoro Malmerca, Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Cuba


Paulo T Jorge, Minister of Foreign Relations of the Popular Republic of Angola.


UN Quote


SALEG Washington 12.2.82 1220


A defense of Cuban military intervention in Angola, citing the advance of South African troops in Angolan territory as justifiable cause. Accuses the United States and South Africa of inciting bands of Namibian militia to upset the Cuban presence in Angola. Argues that the presence of Cuban troops in Angola is an agreement between two sovereign governments.

Document Information


Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.


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