Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dos Santos visits Castro

President Dos Santos visit Fidel in Havana. Photo from

Well, I'm still stuck in the US, so I'm out of the Angolan news loop. I just saw this article, dated Sept. 23:
HAVANA, Sep 23 (AP): Cuba published a photo Sunday of a standing, smiling Fidel
Castro looking heavier but still gaunt as he met Angola's president, the first
head of state to see the ailing 81-year-old since June.

I was browsing in a Barnes & Noble, waiting for a friend and came across The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire, by Tom Zoellner. My friend was late, so I got through most of the chapter on Angola. I can't vouch for the whole book, but the chapter on Angola was pretty interesting. Zoellner talks about the role of the Cuban military in aiding the MPLA fight off UNITA. I admit I'm hazy on the specifics, so look for the book for the actual details, but protecting foreign-held oil sites was a big priority for the government, since oil revenue funded (and still funds) most government expenditures.

So how best to put to use the communist, Cuban military? Why, protecting capitalist yanqui oil companies! Yes, while in Angola the Cuban miltary was sent to protect the likes of Chevron and Texaco. Oh, the irony...

There are still lots of Cubans in Angola. Apparently, it's fairly easy for Cubans to get a visa to Angola, so many have immigrated to Angola. I know of at least 15 Cubans in Lobito who have done this, 3 of which are doctors. COnversely, Cuba is a popular destination for Angolans to attend university. A nice young female doctor whom I saw for my stomach trouble had done her medical degree there. She asked me about my last name and if by any chance I was related to Haydee Santamaria, hero of the Cuban revolution.

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