Cuba and Apartheid

On which grounds did Cuba get engaged against apartheid – ideologically, diplomatically and militarily? Far from trying to assess the role of Cuba in the fall of the apartheid regime after its military intervention in Angola that lasted fifteen years (1975-1991) and mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers, this paper seeks to unravel the discourses which accompanied this internationalist engagement. How did apartheid immediately become an enemy for Cuban officials after the revolution of 1959? Why did the “racial issue” that was initially a thorny domestic issue project Cuba into Africa? In the end, the Cuban involvement in Africa can draw the contours of a different history of non-racialism: a history that no longer appears so much as the opposition of two antagonistic models (mestisaje vs. apartheid) but rather, through plenty of reciprocal cultural references, as a common history.

About the Author

Adrien Delmas, PhD (2010) in History from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, is currently Scientific Director of the French Institute of South Africa (UMIFRE 25 CNRS, USR 3336 ‘Afrique au Sud du Sahara’). He has published on travel writing in the early modern world including Les voyages de l’écrit. Culture écrite et expansion européenne à l’époque moderne (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2013) et Written Culture in a Colonial Context (Leiden, Brill, 2012). He is associate researcher at the EHESS and at the University of Cape Town.


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