Commentary (25-June-1998) by Dr. Mustafah Dhada on Havana's Policy in Africa, 1959-76: New Evidence from Cuban Archives by Piero Gleijeses.

 

Many thanks for the reference. I saw the earlier draft of the forthcoming article by Piero and read with it due care and attention. Needless to add I was very excited and did truly believe then and I do now that the materials unveiled from the Cuban archives as well as the materials that he is about to collect for a greater coverage of Cuba's Africa policy will make a valuable contribution to the field.

Does that alter my Warriors At Work Conclusion? Not a Bit. In fact it further strengthens the tentative thesis I put forward that the war in GB was fought as an act of _liberation in dependency_ That is to suggest that had Cuban and foreign aid not come to the rescue I very much doubt that the war would have been carried out as it was and so successfully. I note though that Operation Amilcar Cabral was Cuban instigated and led. If the evidence is compelling and substantial then I think we can safely assume that the dependency factor in liberation is even more stark than I suspected.

Incidentally, had foreign aid not come to the rescue as it did, it is highly unlikely that Spinola would have been on the defensive as he came to be in the latter parts of 1972.

To show you how important foreign aid and more importantly Cabral's diplomacy was to the war, it is worth pointing out that time series analysis and regression analysis would seem to suggest a strong relationship between foreign aid and Cabral diplomacy; foreign aid in terms of non-military.

In short, Spinola had truly pinned Cabral down in the latter part of 1969 and 1970-71 by counter-insurgent economic measures: flooding the market with goods, improving health services and providing a more de-centralized system of governance. Cabral was beginning to loose the battle on that front. It was then that he intensified his diplomatic visits that aided him in his counter-measures to curb Spinola's advances. And yet the more away he was the less he was able to man the military and political shop at home and the more absent the more Spinola had the chance to attack the PAIGC on this front with the help of the DGS and agents forming the FUL_Spinola party as a sort of counter-party to PAIGC. The rest as you know is history.

So all in all, I am truly grateful for the article(s) by Piero. It also answers some questions left intact by Warriors At Work which as you know was seen by most reviewers including those involved in GB Affairs as a dramatic departure in Luso-African Liberation Historiography. I sometimes wonder what we now have to say about the more linear works that have appeared to date on the issue? On the other hand it speaks highly of one reviewer in Portuguese Studies Review who assessed Warriors At Work and you did and came to conclusions that you and he came to. Do please note however that Warriors At Work was principally written to raise questions and attempt to asnwer some of them - as the Introduction implies.

- Dr. Mustafah Dhada
dhada@mindspring.com