Cuba and the Struggle to Liberate Africa: Algeria, The Congo, and Guinea-Bissau
It is not only the crimes of empire that are suppressed from our history. Equally suppressed is the history of global resistance to imperialism. Perhaps the best example is provided by the work of Eduardo Galeano who in his memory of fire Trilogy creates a very different image of the history of the Americas a history of centuries of resistance by Indians, Slaves, Peasants, women Artists, workers. A history that had been largely forgotten or demonized. Even fairly recent history can remain largely forgotten. No surprise when even important current events like the ongoing the ongoing genocide in the Congo which began in the 90's and has reached a death toll of over ten million people are almost completely ignored except by a few voices in the wilderness like Cynthia Mckinney, Keith Harmon Snow or Andre Vltchek. Piero Gleijeses in his two books "Conflicting Missions" and "Visions of Freedom" has written the definitive account of a story that was little known at the time and largely forgotten today. The story of how the tiny Island of Cuba helped liberate Africa from Colonialism and Apartheid. This article will discuss the early stages of this cooperation between Cuba and African resistance movements including Che Guevara's little understood mission to the Congo. It will remind the world of the wonderful Cuban spirit of internationalism. A spirit which is alive to this day in the role Cuba continues to play in both sending doctors abroad to provide free health care all over the third world as well as the role they play in training students from all over the world to become doctors or other needed skills. It will also remind the world of a time when Africa was alive with struggle against Imperialism when heroic figures like Patrice Lumumba and Amilcar Cabral struggled to create independent African Nations.
The first example of Cuba's relationship with an African Independence movement occurred in Algeria. During the Cuban revolution it was too dangerous for the opposition press to discuss the Guerilla war to liberate Cuba from it's brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista. Instead they decided to cover the struggle of the FLN to liberate Algeria from the French. The Cuban revolutionaries and their sympathizers began to strongly identify with the people of Algeria as they followed the newspaper accounts of the Algerian Revolution. Batista fled on new years day January first 1959 and Castro came to power the next week. The FLN struggle however continued and in December 1961 Fidel Castro decided to send a boat carrying arms to the FLN. On it's return it brought back 76 wounded fighters and 20 war orphans to be educated in Cuba. Cuba provided this aid even though it risked offending the French who had cordial relations with Cuba at a time when Cuba was under economic siege from the US and it's clients and was the target of a CIA covert warfare campaign using cuban exiles. Ben Bella an FLN leader who would lead Algeria after independence was greatly touched by the aid provided by tiny besieged Cuba. After Algeria achieved independence on July, 3rd 1962 Ben Bella became Prime minister in September and in October went to New York to attend a ceremony marking Algeria's entry into the United Nations, after which he met with President Kennedy in Washington. His next stop despite knowing that it would outrage the Americans was Cuba. There Ben Bella and Castro quickly became friends and Ben Bella revealed that from his prison cell he had followed the Cuban revolution with the same interest as Cubans had followed the Algerian revolution. Both leaders had risked offending important potential allies to express their solidarity. Castro in gratitude decided to send a group of medical doctors and nurses as volunteers to Algeria where most of the doctors had been french and many had fled. Cuba itself had a shortage of doctors at the time as it's efforts to vastly expand the number of doctors being trained had not yet had time to yield significant results. Still Cuba sent a a group of volunteer doctors who provided free medical treatment to the locals. Since the Cubans had never done anything like this before they sent them without even making the proper arrangements to decide who would pay their small stipends required for food and other necessities. The early volunteers thus suffered great hardships often going hungry but still continuing to provide free medical care to the Algerians who had never heard of doctors who didn't charge their patients. Eventually the Cuban's managed to straighten things out and the Algerian medical mission became a prototype for cuban medical missions around the world. Later Cuba provided troops and tanks to the Algerians when they were menaced by their much better armed neighbor Morocco in a border dispute. This was despite the fact that the Cuban's believed that they themselves could be invaded by the US at any moment. It was also despite the fact that Morocco was about to buy a huge quantity of Cuban sugar despite pressure from the US. However the dispute was settled peacefully and instead of fighting in a war the Cubans made a gift of the tanks and provided training to the Algerians. The Algerians also agreed to help the Cubans by providing a base where they could train revolutionaries from Argentina and Venezuela in Guerrilla warfare. Friendship between the countries remained strong until Ben Bella was deposed by Houari Boumedienne in a coup on June 19, 1965. I'll close with a quote from Ben Bella on Cuba "If necessary, I am ready to sacrifice myself for Cuba. If the Cuban revolution were crushed or stifled, it would be cause for despair, because it would mean that there is no place for justice, for dignity in this world."
Now to turn to Congo. Actually there are two Congos one formerly ruled by the French with it's capital in Brazzaville. The other was colonized by the Belgians and was eventually renamed Zaire by Mobutu before being renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 90's after Mobutu's fall. Glejeijeses refers to the belgian congo as Zaire to avoid confusion so I'll do the same. Cuba sent aid to both but I'll deal with Zaire first. Zaire has the misfortune to be one of the most mineral rich areas on the planet instead of prosperity it's resources have brought the nation nothing but war and tragedy. In the late 19th century it was colonized by famous "explorer" Henry Morten Stanley remembered today if at all for finding doctor David Livingstone. Instead he should be remembered as a mass murdering psychopath who was hired by King Leopold of Belgium to conquer a vast area of Africa to be exploited through a brutal terror campaign. The people of Zaire were forced to neglect their crops to spend their time gathering rubber to meet each villages quota. Failure to meet the quota would be result in the village being punished with an attack that invariably included rape mutilation and murder. Meeting the quota often meant starvation. Between 8 and 10 million were killed just in the early years. It became an international scandal at the time because just like today the conquest of the Zaire had been presented as a humanitarian venture. The war for the Zaire never really ended and a counterinsurgency campaign continued there well into the 1940's. The country achieved independence in 1960 and it's first prime minister was Patrice Lumumba. The king of Belgium arrived to give a speech on independence day and he spoke of Belgium's noble civilizing mission in Africa and the pride they took in it. Similar to the sort of nonsense American Presidents spout about Iraq and Vietnam not one word about the millions of victims instead some feel good nonsense about freedom and democracy. Patrice Lumumba made the enormous mistake of speaking the truth about how Africans had felt about Belgiums "Civilizing" mission. Since it is a great speech I'll include the whole thing
SPEECH AT THE CEREMONY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF THE CONGO'S INDEPENDENCE
June 30, 1960
Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 44-47.
Written: by Patrice Lumumba;
Transcribed: by Thomas Schmidt.
Men and women of the Congo,
Victorious independence fighters,
I salute you in the name of the Congolese Government.
I ask all of you, my friends, who tirelessly fought in our ranks, to mark this June 30, 1960, as an illustrious date that will be ever engraved in your hearts, a date whose meaning you will proudly explain to your children, so that they in turn might relate to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren the glorious history of our struggle for freedom.
Although this independence of the Congo is being proclaimed today by agreement with Belgium, an amicable country, with which we are on equal terms, no Congolese will ever forget that independence was won in struggle, a persevering and inspired struggle carried on from day to day, a struggle, in which we were undaunted by privation or suffering and stinted neither strength nor blood.
It was filled with tears, fire and blood. We are deeply proud of our struggle, because it was just and noble and indispensable in putting an end to the humiliating bondage forced upon us.
That was our lot for the eighty years of colonial rule and our wounds are too fresh and much too painful to be forgotten.
We have experienced forced labour in exchange for pay that did not allow us to satisfy our hunger, to clothe ourselves, to have decent lodgings or to bring up our children as dearly loved ones.
Morning, noon and night we were subjected to jeers, insults and blows because we were "Negroes". Who will ever forget that the black was addressed as "tu", not because he was a friend, but because the polite "vous" was reserved for the white man?
We have seen our lands seized in the name of ostensibly just laws, which gave recognition only to the right of might.
We have not forgotten that the law was never the same for the white and the black, that it was lenient to the ones, and cruel and inhuman to the others.
We have experienced the atrocious sufferings, being persecuted for political convictions and religious beliefs, and exiled from our native land: our lot was worse than death itself.
We have not forgotten that in the cities the mansions were for the whites and the tumbledown huts for the blacks; that a black was not admitted to the cinemas, restaurants and shops set aside for "Europeans"; that a black travelled in the holds, under the feet of the whites in their luxury cabins.
Who will ever forget the shootings which killed so many of our brothers, or the cells into which were mercilessly thrown those who no longer wished to submit to the regime of injustice, oppression and exploitation used by the colonialists as a tool of their domination?
All that, my brothers, brought us untold suffering.
But we, who were elected by the votes of your representatives, representatives of the people, to guide our native land, we, who have suffered in body and soul from the colonial oppression, we tell you that henceforth all that is finished with.
The Republic of the Congo has been proclaimed and our beloved country's future is now in the hands of its own people.
Brothers, let us commence together a new struggle, a sublime struggle that will lead our country to peace, prosperity and greatness.
Together we shall establish social justice and ensure for every man a fair remuneration for his labour.
We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.
We shall see to it that the lands of our native country truly benefit its children.
We shall revise all the old laws and make them into new ones that will be just and noble.
We shall stop the persecution of free thought. We shall see to it that all citizens enjoy to the fullest extent the basic freedoms provided for by the Declaration of Human Rights.
We shall eradicate all discrimination, whatever its origin, and we shall ensure for everyone a station in life befitting his human dignity and worthy of his labour and his loyalty to the country.
We shall institute in the country a peace resting not on guns and bayonets but on concord and goodwill.
And in all this, my dear compatriots, we can rely not only on our own enormous forces and immense wealth, but also on the assistance of the numerous foreign states, whose co-operation we shall accept when it is not aimed at imposing upon us an alien policy, but is given in a spirit of friendship.
Even Belgium, which has finally learned the lesson of history and need no longer try to oppose our independence, is prepared to give us its aid and friendship; for that end an agreement has just been signed between our two equal and independent countries. I am sure that this co-operation will benefit both countries. For our part, we shall, while remaining vigilant, try to observe the engagements we have freely made.
Thus, both in the internal and the external spheres, the new Congo being created by my government will be rich, free and prosperous. But to attain our goal without delay, I ask all of you, legislators and citizens of the Congo, to give us all the help you can.
I ask you all to sink your tribal quarrels: they weaken us and may cause us to be despised abroad.
I ask you all not to shrink from any sacrifice for the sake of ensuring the success of our grand undertaking.
Finally, I ask you unconditionally to respect the life and property of fellow-citizens and foreigners who have settled in our country; if the conduct of these foreigners leaves much to be desired, our Justice will promptly expel them from the territory of the republic; if, on the contrary, their conduct is good, they must be left in peace, for they, too, are working for our country's prosperity.
The Congo's independence is a decisive step towards the liberation of the whole African continent.
Our government, a government of national and popular unity, will serve its country.
I call on all Congolese citizens, men, women and children, to set themselves resolutely to the task of creating a national economy and ensuring our economic independence.
Eternal glory to the fighters for national liberation!
Long live independence and African unity!
Long live the independent and sovereign Congo!
Marxism and Anti-Imperialism in Africa |Patrice Lumumba Archive
The response of the Belgians and the US to this speech was to vow the destruction of Patrice Lumumba. The Belgians in revenge began to strip the country of it's infrastructure and ship much of it back home. They encouraged Zaire's richest province Katanga to Secede within less then two weeks and Moshe Tshombe ruled there backed by a force of white mercenaries. . Lumumba made the mistake of calling on the UN for help. He became a prisoner in his own house and the US backed Joseph Kasavubu to take power. Lumumba escaped and went underground in an attempt to continue the struggle but was captured by forces loyal to Army Chief of Staff and CIA asset Joseph Mobutu beaten, mocked and flown to Katanga where he was murdered by Moshe Tshombe. Iconic footage still survives of the defiant Lumumba after his capture and shortly before his death. He became a Martyr like figure and in far away Cuba outrage over his fate would eventually lead to another Cuban intervention in Africa. However to continue sketching out a bit more of Zaire's history, the Americans bribed parliament to elect Cyril Adoula because one of Lumumba's supporters was about to win. With Lumumba dead Kennedy finally allowed the UN forces to put down the secession in Katanga. The country seemed stable with an American puppet in office the Katanga secession over and power maintained by the UN troops and Mobutu's brutal ANC the congolese army. However the poorly trained corrupt and brutal Congolese army behaved so badly that the people in the western Kwilu province rebelled. Ironically the CIA used it's Cuban exile pilots to put down the revolt. It was dying down when another revolt broke out in the Kivu province (the site of many atrocities in the recent Congo genocide as the Rwandan's have attempted to use their proxy armies to seize it) The revolt was lead by the Simba's (the lions) inspired by Lumumba but also believers in sorcery. The revolt spread according to new American President Lyndon Johnson like wildfire (Kennedy ironically had also become a martyr for attempting to chart an independent foreign policy among other things) although armed with only bows and arrows, bicycle chains and whatever else they could lay their hands on the rebels managed to drive the ANC troops away in a panic and they abandoned their modern weapons and fled. This was due partly to fear of sorcery but mostly they were disgusted by the poverty and corruption of "Independent" Congo.
With the army collapsing the US was desperate to destroy this spontaneous uprising. First it attempted to get it's european allies to intervene. However they were unsuccessful. The Belgians only cared about their business Interests and the Belgians still living there and so were willing to come to an arrangement with rebel held territories. The. British and French laughed at the American suggestion that the whole thing was part of some global communist conspiracy. The US decided that instead they would fund the recruitment of an army of mercenaries. If that Hadn't worked they would have invaded to restore order but since Johnson was busy escalating the Vietnam war that was a last resort. In Zaire meanwhile Moshe Tshombe Lumumba's killer had returned from exile and quickly been appointed Prime Minister which proved convenient since he was experienced at working with Mercenaries. All independent minded African leaders were disgusted by this development however. A massive force of Mercenaries were recruited all white and mostly from the Apartheid States of South Africa and Rhodesia. The US also supplied military aircraft once again flown by Cuban exiles. They began to brutally reconquer the country first the Simbas would be bombed from the Air then the well armed and trained mercenaries would move in launching a reign of terror reminiscent of the Leopold era and unfortunately similar to what goes on in the DRC today. Here's a description of their entry into the town of Boende that an italian journalist wrote after interviewing a group of mercenaries
"Occupying the town meant blowing out the doors with rounds of Bazooka fire, going into shops and taking anything they wanted that was moveable...After the looting came the killing. The shootings lasted for three days. Three days of executions, of lynchings, of tortures, of screams, and of terror"
Even their leader Mike Hoare called them "appalling thugs" they were of course portrayed in the US press as noble heroes and It was Malcolm X (also soon to be martyred for speaking Defiantly and Fearlessly) who was one of the few who knew and dared to speak about what was really going on in Zaire calling them "hordes of Nazi type mercenaries" By these Brutal means the US regained control of most of the rebel held areas. Towards the end of the campaign the Belgians sent in their Paratroopers (from US planes) to retake Stanleyville where the rebels in desperation were holding 300 white hostages as a bargaining chip. Order was restored meaning a reign of terror was conducted in the city. Sixty hostages died in the rescue attempt no one knows how many Zaireans died. This return of colonialism only 4 years after independence this naked show of imperialism using the Racist troops of Southern Africa to brutalize the country into submission outraged the more independent african Leaders and they vowed to send help to the rebels who remained in control of a couple of areas. However it was Cuba alone who actually sent troops in the form of a Secret Mission undertaken by the famous Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
In december 1964 Che went on a trip to Africa first arriving in Algeria then visiting the four then most radical countries in sub-saharan Africa Mali, Guinea, french congo, and Ghana. While on this trip he also met with liberation movements from other african states still struggling for independence and asked them what sorts of aid they might want. Because of the fate of Lumumba and the brutal suppression of the Simba's Che was obsessed with Zaire. He believed that from there revolution could sweep throughout the continent. He agreed to send advisers to the Simbas he also agreed to send advisers to french congo who would train various resistance movements. Che had wanted to train the resistance as they battled the mercenaries and ANC in Zaire but they refused. He did however make arrangements to offer weapons and training to a number of African movements fighting to liberate their countries. Che then returned to Cuba. Che was actually planning on leading an attempt to liberate his native Argentina but the preliminary expedition lead by one of his close friends was intercepted and killed so Che decided to delay going to Argentina and decided instead to personally lead the group of advisers heading to Zaire.
Back in Cuba black cuban soldiers were asked if they were wiling to go to an unknown country and fight against Imperialism. They agreed without even knowing the details. The African countries had requested black advisers so that they would be unnoticed. They went off for a couple of months of special training then told their families they were heading to the Soviet Union for training But instead flew to Europe then Algeria before taking a boat to Tanzania which had agreed to be a supply conduit for Russian and Cuban aid. Among them was Che who was so well disguised that back in Cuba before leaving even those he had fought beside like Victor Dreke couldn't recognize him at first. Che went under cover as a doctor as the only white cubans allowed on the expedition were doctors and Che had been a doctor before becoming a revolutionary. Unfortunately by the time he arrived it was far to late to salvage matters. The Simbas just wanted to be left alone in the territory they still controlled a tiny strip of land on the coast of Lake Tanganyika called the Fizi-Baraka. Che had been told that they had thousands of motivated and armed troops instead he found a completely disorganized force with no real central command. Laurent Kabila their supposed leader wasn't even in the country. Ironically Kabila would be used as a figurehead during the overthrow of Mobutu in the 90's then was murdered for betraying one of his corporate backers one day before the anniversary of Lumumba's death. Che spent most of his time waiting for Kabila to arrive. His requests to begin a large scale training plan were denied. His requests to lead troops into battle were denied. His request to begin exploring the country so he could get a sense of the situation were denied. Instead he occupied his time practicing medicine and Organizing classes for his men on swahili and other topics. Finally they got Permission to begin the training. The Simbas were largely unenthusiastic about training initially the cubans had sent 32 trainers but only 25 men initially showed up for training. Eventually however some units were trained that had some tactical successes. Actually the whole affair had a certain comedic element that you have to read the book to discover. On the one hand you have the Cubans filled with an almost religous fervor especially Che. He told his men that they must suffer every hardship with the Simbas if they went hungry so would the Cubans if they went without boots so to would the cubans. Che refused to admit that the mission was hopeless as he viewed such thinking as defeatist. In Che's view one is always struggling against the odds and one must be willing to give your life anywhere and at anytime if necessary. His men serving with a living legend were often afraid of expressing any criticism. The Simbas on the other hand were much more pragmatic and were more concerned with surviving. After the fate of their fellow rebels they knew the war was lost and they had no intention of dying for a lost cause. In other words fervent idealism came head to head with pragmatic realism with the inevitable comedic misunderstandings ensuing.
Eventually Kabila arrived and the Cubans were deployed to train and to fight along side the Simbas. Briefly they managed to increase the effectiveness of the rebels and the US noticed an increase in attacks coming from Fizi-baraka. They finally realized that the Cubans were operating there when one of them was killed. The US decided to send it's massive mercenary army to crush the pocket of resistance at Fizi-Baraka. At first the Simba's new training paid off and they offered stiff resistance but within two weeks they began to flee and Che was forced to decide whether to stay and fight with just the Cubans and to die or to retreat. Che was extremely tempted to stay but knew then his men would also feel compelled to stay and would die as well. Eventually he was all but forced to leave as the boat that arrived to pick up his men had orders to bring him back as well no matter what, even if it meant using force. Regretfully Che took the boat back with his men. In Zaire Mobuto eventually seized power where he reigned until the 90's when Clinton toppled him with a Ugandan and Rwandan army and briefly installed Kabila as a figurehead. This marked the beginning of a brutal invasion that has already lead to 10 million deaths and continues to this day. Bringing Zaire full circle to it's brutal colonization by the Belgians more then a Century ago when 10 million people also died. The only change is that instead of dying for rubber or Ivory they now die for coltan, copper, uranium, gold, diamonds, and tin. As for Che like Lumumba he would soon be captured and killed by the CIA in Bolivia.
In French Congo the Cuban's also sent a force of trainers and doctors. The entire country had only 7 doctors all of them foreign interestingly 2 had been sent by North Vietnam. However this mission also was the result of a misunderstanding as the government used radical rhetoric while still being completely reliant on France. The Cuban's main military contribution was to prevent a coup attempt. They did have a lasting impact by training a number of students in Cuba from the Congo who returned and became doctors. They also tried to train a people's militia to counterbalance it's pro-french army but the government changed their mind afraid of offending the army. they were able to train small bands of Guerrillas from Cameroon, Zaire and Angola. Most of the Zairean rebels were killed by Mobutu's forces upon their return. The Small Cameroonian force they trained was also intercepted and killed when it tried to return to Cameroon. Their one major Success was in training a band of MPLA fighters who managed to sneak through Zaire and made it to Angola. This relationship would in the mid 70's lead to Cuba's biggest intervention in Africa that in Angola which would eventually lead to the collapse of Apartheid in South Africa and the liberation of a number of countries in southern Africa. Eventually unimpressed by the Congolese government the Cubans decided to withdraw most of their trainers and after a coup took place they withdrew the rest.
In Guinea-Bissau the Cubans would finally find a resistance movement after their own heart. Unlike the disorganized Simbas or the hopelessly moderate government in French Congo the resistance in Guinea-Bissau was lead by Amilcar Cabral a figure not nearly as well known today as he deserves to be. He was a brilliant intellectual, a charismatic Politician, as well as a masterful military strategist. Che had met with him during his trip around Africa and had agreed to supply him aid and the Cubans sent him a sixty cases of arms and also began 30 cape verdeans from islands off the coast in guerrilla war in Cuba. Later in 1966 Amilcar Cabral arrived in Havana for the Tricontinental congress being held there. He gave an electrifying speech and Fidel Castro was so impressed that the two became inseparable for the next few days as Fidel took him on a tour of the cuban countryside and explained to him that Cuba is also Africa. A reference to the fact that Cuba was once basically just one giant slave plantation. Together they planned what aid should be sent and trainers and advisers were sent to Aid Amilcar Cabral in his nations fight for independence from Portugal which was still ruled by the fascist dictator Salazar. Since Portugal was a close ally of the US the US was indirectly supplying Portugal with arms for it's war to keep it's colonies intact and it's African subjects as second class citizens. So yet again the US was backing some of the most repressive forces in Africa this time the Fascist Portuguese.
Cuba only sent around 60 men at a time all under the command Victor Dreke who had been Che's right hand man in Zaire. Amilcar Cabral wanted to keep the number low because he believed it was important that Guinea-Bissau win it's independence on it's own and he saw the struggle itself as the means to cement Guinea-Bissau's different tribes into a single nation. The cubans also sent doctors and this greatly improved the morale of the PAIGC already the most effective resistance movement in Africa. The advisers played an important role. The PAIGC were declared the legitimate government by the UN general assembly in 1973 opposed only by the US the UK and Apartheid South Africa and and couple of US backed dictatorships Brazil, Spain, Greece and of course Portugal . The Soviets had decided to supply advanced weapons and the Cubans helped train the PAIGC to operate them. In addition the advisers were indispensable for calculating artillery strikes because except for the Cape Verdeans who had trained and studied in Cuba few possessed the necessary knowledge of Calculus since the Portuguese had intentionally provided inferior education to keep the Africans as second class citizens. Many of the African countries problems after Independence stemmed from policies like this which prevented African's from gaining the necessary skills and experience to solve their countries problems after independence.
Portugal waged a brutal counterinsurgency campaign which as always included torture, brutal massacres and the destruction of whole villages. The PAIGC despite the long portuguese counterinsurgency campaign managed to retain control of half the territory in the country throughout the war. Eventually in 1974 the Salazar regime finally collapsed and the new government finally granted Guinea-Bissau it's independence. Unfortunately Amilcar Cabral was murdered the year before but even after his death the PAIGC continued to be an extremely disciplined and effective fighting force. After his death the PAIGC had launched operation Amilcar Cabral and inflicted a decisive defeat capturing the vital fort at Guileje. The Cubans had played a major role being in charge of the artillery and Grad rocket trucks.
Cuba's role in the Liberation of Africa was only beginning but Guinea-Bissau proved to be the First major success of Cuba's policy. From 1966 until 1974 Cuba sent doctors and advisers to aid in the Struggle and the PAIGC were eventually victorious. A future article will continue the story. Today we may be seeing a rebirth of the spirit of internationalism volunteers from all over the world are traveling to Ukraine to fight Fascism. Venezuela inspired by the Cuban example is also beginning to send doctors around the world including Palestine. Cuba still under siege continues to send out doctors and to accept students from around the world. On a darker note Zaire now known as the Democratic Republic of The Congo is still being pillaged with a death toll of over ten million. Decades after independence much of Africa is more in need then ever of liberation. Hopefully one day soon the struggle against Neo-Colonialism will also give rise to figures like Patrice Lumumba and Amilcar Cabral.
I relied on Piero Gleijes "Conflicting Missions" for this article I highly recommend it. I also used Adam Hochsild's "King Leopolds Ghost" which mostly concentrates on the international outrage over King Leopolds Congo rather then being an actual history of the Congo making it rather flawed in my view. I cannot recommend Highly enough Eduardo Galeano's memory of Fire trilogy 1. Genesis 2. Faces and Masks 3. Century of the Wind. Not only do they unearth the true history of the Americas a history of resistance to Genocide Slavery and Exploitation they are also an artistic Masterpiece full of poetic beauty, humor, and humanity.
You can hear a great Interview with Piero Gleijes on the Cuban Role in Africa here
And here is a massive archive of articles on and Revolutionary writings from People like Che Guevara Patrice Lumumba and Amilcar Cabral
A Multimedia essay on the Congo by Adam Curtis
An article I wrote on the Congo genocide
And an article I wrote with some great suggestions on sites to go to if you are interested in the current situation in Africa
Listen to this great interview on the What really happened in Rwanda and the current genocide in the Congo with Keith Harmon Snow