Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The New Voice

The Cuban Army: Mercenaries for social imperialism

First Published: The New Voice, Vol. VIII, No. 17, October 15, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Cuban army has earned a worldwide reputation as a band of mercenaries in service to Soviet social-imperialism.

As U.S. monopoly capitalists lose one Third World domain after another to national liberation struggles, the new tsars of the Soviet Union seek to take over as masters of the world. The Cuban army plays an important role in their plans. As a Third World country which has already won independence from U.S. imperialism, Cuba reinforces Russia’s boast that the Soviet Union is “the natural ally of national liberation struggles” and “the friend of the Third World.”

If fighting is necessary to consolidate Soviet influence in a particular country or region, the social-imperialists prefer that Third World fight Third World while they remain comfortably hidden in the background. Events in Africa over the past decade and more prove the Cuban army’s reactionary function on behalf of Soviet social-imperialism.


In 1976, Cuban troops and heavy artillery went to Angola, supposedly to help resist an invasion from South Africa which threatened newly-won independence. But the Cubans ended up providing direct military support to one of three liberation’ groups (the pro-Soviet one) against the other two. Over 150,000 Angolan people died in the resulting civil war.

Farther north, in the Horn of Africa, the social-imperialists played back and forth between Somalia and Ethiopia. First Somalia was the favored Soviet ally. But the Somalis got wind of Soviet intentions to dominate their country and kicked the social-imperialists out. Now, Kremlin policy dictates that Somalia is “reactionary” while Ethiopia is really “progressive.” After a massive arms buildup in Ethiopia, the new tsars provoked a war between the two countries in 1978. The fascist regime in Ethiopia relied heavily on the Cuban army in fighting that war. Today, the Cubans remain to help Ethiopia contain national liberation struggles in Eritrea and Ogaden.

In 1977, Cuban mercenaries assisted and trained Katangese gendarmes in their preparations to attack Zaire from Angola. These Katangese were once used by U.S. imperialism to murder Patrice Lumumba; now, the Soviet Union tries to use them (under Cuban tutelage) to overthrow an anti-Soviet government.


Cuban authorities claim their army is in Africa because the African people ask for assistance in liberation. Some apologists add that anything that helps overthrow U.S. imperialism in the Third World is progressive.

It is quite clear that the Angolan people did not invite assistance from Cuba or anywhere else. The Angolan people’s forces were split into three groups. After liberation from Portugal, progressives all over the world hoped for unity and a peaceful settlement between the three, free from outside interference. Only the pro-Soviet group invited Cuban mercenaries, not to secure liberation but to defeat the other two organizations and insure Soviet hegemony over Angola.

The Ethiopian regime is not progressive by any honest standards. It is a fascist junta which slaughters the Ethiopian people and tries feverishly to suppress two national liberation movements of its own with Soviet arms and Cuban troops. President Fidel Castro of Cuba said, “... Yankee imperialism seeks to question Ethiopia’s right to defend its territorial integrity and unity against the Eritrean secessionists.” (Granma, May 7, 1979) Of course, Cuba can decide who are “secessionists” and who are legitimate liberation forces in Africa!

Whatever the excuse, sending troops from one country to another is the tactic of imperialists, not anti-imperialists or socialists. The presence of Cuban troops lays the foundation in Africa for Soviet domination by force of arms if other methods do not work. Thanks to Cuban work in Angola, that country now groans under social-fascism (socialist in name, fascist in deeds). The Soviets and East Germans control the political, economic and military situation in the country. The Angolan people owe all this to the Cuban mercenaries!


The Cuban people do not want to wear the jackboot of social-imperialism. The use of Cuban troops in Africa has come about because the leadership of the country has sold the land and the people in bondage to the Soviet Union.

Following the Cuban revolution, which threw out U.S. imperialism in 1959, the Cuban people started down the road of self-reliance. The government moved closer to the Soviet Union, fearing attack or subversion from the United States only 90 miles away. The Soviets used that concern and that opportunity to turn Cuba into a neo-colony and a pawn of social-imperialism worldwide.

Soviet domination has destroyed the Cuban economy. Before 1965, the farms were diversified and grew twenty-five to thirty-five different crops. Today, there are only giant enterprises with a single crop—sugar Soviet social-imperialism has made Cuba a single-crop economy, much as U.S. imperialism did in the early 1900’s.

In January 1964, a Cuban-Soviet agreement called for Cuba to abandon industrialization in favor of increased sugar production. The Soviet Union agreed to buy larger amounts of sugar at higher prices, tying the Cuban economy to the social-imperialists hand and foot. Then, in 1972, Cuba was integrated into the Soviet-controlled Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). Today, control of the Cuban economy rests with the Cuban-Soviet Commission of Economic, Scientific and Technical Collaboration, where “socialist co-operation” gives way to maximizing sugar production in Cuba.

The Cubans are dependent on the Soviet Union for fuel, factories, machinery parts and other goods. They are $6 billion in debt to the Kremlin bosses. All hopes of an independent Cuban economy vanish in the face of this blatantly imperialist domination.


Soviet social-imperialism is contending for world domination with U.S. imperialism. Both groups of imperialists seek to smash or subvert anti-imperialist struggles of the African people.

Three things make the Soviet Union the more dangerous threat in their drive for world power. First, the Soviet economy is monopoly state capitalism, and its development is on the rise whereas U.S. monopoly capitalism wanes. Second, it parades as a “socialist country” and the “natural ally of liberation struggles.” Finally, it has its Third World puppets like Cuba (and Vietnam) to cloak its designs on Third World countries.

In Africa, the Cuban authorities and army serve their Soviet masters well. U.S. workers demand that both superpowers get out of Africa. In Azania, Zimbabwe and Namibia, the people, are struggling to throw off U.S. and British imperialism. In Angola and Ethiopia, the people are waging armed struggle to throw off Soviet social-imperialism. Contention between the two superpowers leads toward World War III. But in the struggles against imperialism and social-imperialism, the people of the world will claim their future!