Thursday, December 9, 2010

South Africa and Cuba – A Dubious and Evil Bond!

Earlier this week, on 5 December 2010, South African President Jacob Zuma visited his old communist war-buddies in Cuba, in an apparent attempt to strengthen bilateral trade relations with South Africa. According to a statement issued by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, “South Africa is committed to consolidating political, economic and trade relations with Cuba with a focus on common positions on issues of mutual concern.”

During his visit Zuma also received Cuba's highest award: "I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of the people of South Africa whose ties to Cuba remain unbreakable because it was forged in the long and bitter struggle against apartheid," Zuma said in his address. Source

Two days before his visit to Cuba, President Zuma preached about the importance of unity to a group of communists from around the world attending the 12th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (ICWP). The meeting took place here on South African soil, and was attended by delegates representing about 60 countries globally. Source

It has now come to light that Zuma has decided to write off some debt owed by his communist friends in Cuba. The gesture was applauded by the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), for reasons, among others, that the Cuban people under the leadership of Commandate Fidel Castro Ruz were with them in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, and also with them in the military camps in Zambia, Tanzania and other parts of the world, while they were fighting the ‘evil’ apartheid regime. I also noticed that Cuba’s mythical victory at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was also repeated again and broadly published in the media today.

Part of a recent statement issued by NUMSA, reads as follows:

As Numsa, we call on the South African government and President Zuma, given our international standing and strategic position in the United Nations (UN) Security Council to call for the uplifting of the embargo and economic sanctions imposed by the United States against Cuba and her people. The Cuban people and its revolution still remains a beacon of hope to the poor and suffering people of our country and the world. (Click here if you wish to read the rest of this nonsense).


Although I do not wish to go into the whole issue of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, as I personally do not think that there were any real victors in that miserable war, I do however believe that the following words by an independent observer, namely Dr Chester Crocker, who was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the time, briefly sums up the true state of affairs, and clearly highlights the fact that the Russian-supported Cuban/Fapla forces were definitely NOT the victors of this battle:

"In early October the Soviet-Fapla offensive was smashed at the Lomba River near Mavinga. It turned into a headlong retreat over the 120 miles back to the primary launching point at Cuito Cuanavale. In some of the bloodiest battles of the entire civil war, a combined force of some 8,000 Unita fighters and 4,000 SADF troops destroyed one Fapla brigade and mauled several others out of a total Fapla force of some 18,000 engaged in the three-pronged offensive. Estimates of Fapla losses ranged upward of 4,000 killed and wounded. This offensive had been a Soviet conception from start to finish. Senior Soviet officers played a central role in its execution. Over a thousand Soviet advisers were assigned to Angola in 1987 to help with Moscow's largest logistical effort to date in Angola: roughly $1.5 billion in military hardware was delivered that year. Huge quantities of Soviet equipment were destroyed or fell into Unita and SADF hands when Fapla broke into a disorganized retreat... The 1987 military campaign represented a stunning humiliation for the Soviet Union, its arms and its strategy. It would take Fapla a year, or maybe two, to recover and regroup. Moreover the Angolan military disaster threatened to go from bad to worse. As of mid-November, the Unita/SADF force had destroyed the Cuito Cuanavale airfield and pinned down thousands of Fapla's best remaining units clinging onto the town's defensive perimeters."
HIGH NOON IN SOUTHERN AFRICA by Dr. Chester Crocker, pp.360-361.

See also: THE BATTLE OF CUITO CUANAVALE - Cuba's Mythical Victory

It goes beyond all logical reasoning why Zuma’s administration wants to strengthen economic and trade relations with Cuba, a country with a failing economy and nothing to offer, - a country with a pathetic track record of human rights abuses, which includes torture, unfair imprisonment, unfair trials, - a country which limits freedom of expression, association, assembly, and movement. (See the Wikipedia page dealing with Human Rights in Cuba, for more info.)

I’ve also noticed that the Democratic Alliance (DA) foreign affairs spokesperson Kenneth Mubu shared the same sentiments when he said: "One has to wonder what the Zuma administration wishes to achieve by buying better relations with Cuba." Source

Well Mr Kenneth Mubu, maybe this is the real reason why Zuma’s administration is attempting to strength ties with their old comrades in Cuba:

The Cuban government relies on the peculiar Criminal Code offence of "dangerousness," which allows authorities to imprison individuals before they have committed any crime, on the suspicion that they are likely to commit an offence in the future. This "dangerousness" provision is overtly political, defining as "dangerous" any behaviour that contradicts Cuba's socialist norms.

Based on a fact-finding mission to Cuba and more than 60 in-depth interviews, Human Rights Watch documented more than 40 cases in which the government has imprisoned individuals under the "dangerousness" provision for exercising their basic rights.

"Cubans who dare to criticize the government live in perpetual fear, knowing they could wind up in prison for merely expressing their views."
José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

For more info regarding this issue, see the article: Cuba: Raúl Castro Imprisons Critics, Crushes Dissent.

The Black Book of CommunismThe Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book which describes a history of repressions, both political and civilian, by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and artificial famines. The book was originally published in 1997 in France under the title Le Livre noir du communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression by Éditions Robert Laffont. The book was authored by several European academics and edited by Stéphane Courtois.

On page 4 in the introduction of this book, editor Stéphane Courtois states that "...Communist regimes...turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government". He cites a death toll which totals 94 million, not counting the "excess deaths" (decrease of the population due to lower than-expected birth rates). The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows:
  • 65 million in the People's Republic of China
  • 20 million in the Soviet Union
  • 2 million in Cambodia
  • 2 million in North Korea
  • 1.7 million in Africa
  • 1.5 million in Afghanistan
  • 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
  • 1 million in Vietnam
  • 150,000 in Latin America
  • 10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power."



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