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The MP Daily Voice: Tidbits on Cubas Dictatorship

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba expanded its military presence abroad, spending millions of dollars in exporting revolutions; deployments reached 50,000 troops in Angola, 24,000 in Ethiopia, 1,500 in Nicaragua, and hundreds more elsewhere. In Angola, Cuban troops, supported logistically by the U.S.S.R., backed the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in its effort to take power after Portugal granted Angola its independence. Cuban forces played a key role in Ethiopia’s war against Somalia and remained there in substantial numbers as a garrison force for a decade. Cubans served in a noncombat advisory role in Mozambique and the Congo. Cuba also used the Congo as a logistical support center for Cuba’s Angola mission.

In the late 1980s, Cuba began to pull back militarily. Cuba unilaterally removed its forces from Ethiopia, met the timetable of the 1988 Angola-Namibia accords by completing the withdrawal of its forces from Angola before July 1991, and ended military assistance to Nicaragua following the Sandinistas’ 1990 electoral defeat. In January 1992, following the peace agreement in El Salvador, Castro stated that Cuban support for insurgents was a thing of the past. p>The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores [Foreign Ministry – MINREX] replaced the remains of Cuba’s activist foreign policy with a deliberate effort to avoid challenging the United States on issues the US considers vital to its interests. In defence policy, cuts in strength and capabilities led the armed forces to restrict their role to deterring potential invasion, and providing internal controls in areas such as illegal emigration, drug trafficking, and aircraft surveillance. The armed forces also became heavily involved in the tourist trade and agricultural activities in order to obtain dollars and reduce their dependence on austere government budgets.

Cuban military power has been sharply reduced by the loss of Soviet subsidies. Today, the Revolutionary Armed Forces number about 60,000 regular troops. The country’s two paramilitary organizations, the Territorial Militia Troops and the Youth Labor Army, have a reduced training capability. Cuba also adopted a “war of the people” strategy that highlights the defensive nature of its capabilities.

Cuba’s once-ambitious foreign policy has been scaled back and redirected as a result of economic hardship and the end of the Cold War. Cuba aims to find new sources of trade, aid, and foreign investment, and to promote opposition to U.S. policy, especially the trade embargo and the 1996 Libertad Act. Cuba has relations with over 160 countries and has civilian assistance workers–principally medical–in more than 20 nations.

Since the end of Soviet backing, Cuba appears to have largely abandoned monetary support for guerrilla movements that typified its involvement in regional politics in Latin America and Africa, though it maintains relations with several guerrilla and terrorist groups and provides refuge for some of their members in Cuba . Cuba’s support for Latin guerrilla movements, its Marxist-Leninist government, and its alignment with the U.S.S.R., led to its isolation in the hemisphere. In January 1962, the Organization of American States (OAS) suspended Cuba’s membership. Cuba now has diplomatic or commercial relations with most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 1989, the government instituted a purge of the armed forces and the Ministry of Interior, convicting Army Major General Arnaldo Ochoa, Ministry of Interior Colonel Antonio de la Guardia, and Ministry of Interior Brigadier General Patricio de la Guardia on charges of corruption and drug trafficking. The high-profile action against these popular officers inspired rumors that the three had been moved aside because Cuban leader Castro feared their popularity. Ochoa and Antonio de la Guardia were executed. Following the executions, the Army was hugely downsized and the Ministry of Interior was moved under the informal control of Revolutionary Armed Forces chief General Raul Castro, and large numbers of army officers were moved into the Ministry of Interior.

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  1. […] The MP Daily Voice: Tidbits on Cubas Dictatorship Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba expanded its military presence abroad, spending millions of dollars in exporting revolutions; deployments reached 50,000 troops in Angola, 24,000 in Ethiopia, 1,500 in Nicaragua, and hundreds more elsewhere. In… […]

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