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Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia, 1975-1980 : the question of Soviet influence on Cuba Rochlin, James Francis

Abstract

Cuba's role in Africa in the 1970s has been the subject of numerous and diverse interpretations. Students of Cuban politics sometimes tend to take a general view of Cuban policy toward Angola, and so important differences between each issue or situation are overlooked. This study offers separate accounts of the role of Cuba in Africa and in Ethiopia since 1975, with the purpose of exploring the possibility of an influence relationship between Moscow and Havana. Influence analysis is an extremely subjective task. That is, it appears to be virtually impossible to document Soviet influence on Cuba. Nevertheless, it remains possible to examine available evidence with respect to each situation, and then to construct what appears to be the most coherent argument regarding the possibility of Soviet influence on Cuba. I shall conclude that the body of evidence suggests that Cuba did not intervene in Angola chiefly to conform to Soviet preferences or interests. In this sense then, Cuba probably was not influenced by the Soviets to any great degree with respect to the Angolan episode. In contrast, Cuba's role in each of the two Ethiopian incidents seems to exemplify the rather strong possibility of Soviet influence on Cuba. Further, it appears probable that the Soviets influenced Cuba through diplomatic persuasion with regard to the two Ethiopian incidents.

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