South African Olifant tank captured by Cuban forces in 1988 at Cuito. Photo taken from the blog HavanaLuanda.
This tank became the trophy of war in Cuba after the Battle of Cuito. He was the only South Africans captured in the fighting and with difficulty, but the picture is repeated in almost every Cuban official compendia of the battle as a symbol of victory.
The image was taken by a group of Cuban journalists who flew to Cuito as part of a propaganda maneuver a week after the latest attack on Cuito, which occurred on 23 March 1988.
Fidel Castro had created the "Medal for the Defense of Cuito, and immediately gave 82, a symbolic allusion to the expedition of the yacht Granma.
The constant propaganda Cuito representation as a resounding and unquestionable victory of Cuba has given mythological character to the role of Cuban troops in the protracted battle. Contrary to what he believes most Cubans, not our troops were victorious in all rounds and the outcome of the Battle of Cuito is seen today by many historians as more of a checkmate tables.
The historian Edward George does notice a curious detail in his book The Cuban intervention in Angola, 1965-1991. Cuba suffered a setback during the second South African assault Cuito, Feb. 14, which then will detail here, but this was concealed in one of the first books published on the island on the subject.
In the chapter on Cuito "The war in Angola" by Marina Rey Cabrera in 1989, this second attack is dated Jan. 14, then immediately placed as the first, the day on 13 January. The "chronological adjustment" should be, according to George, the Cuban government refused to admit the failure of the command of the MMCA, led by Arnaldo Ochoa, in reorganizing the defense during the month that elapsed between the two attacks. The official history also ignores the many casualties suffered by Cubans on 14 February.
Marina Rey had to rewrite history in a hurry: the correct date of the attack, 14-2, is marked eight times in one of the maps.
Gen. Harry Villegas "Pombo" who was never in Cuito, helped write the chapter on the battle.
Blog by Laultimaguerra 21st Jan 2010 at 12:48 PM.