Cuban 'Tanquistas' pictured on a tank in Angola. During its Civil War, oil-giant Angola became embroiled in a proxy war involving various states, most notably the United States and Russia, who were vying for Cold War supremacy as Angola's civil conflict unfolded.
The Angolan Civil War began in 1975, immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal, and continued on, with some interludes, until 2002. It was essentially a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The war also served as a surrogate battleground for the Cold War, including large-scale direct and indirect international involvement by powers such as the former Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States. Withdrawal of all foreign forces eventually occured in 1989, as well as transition towards a multiparty political system in 1991/92.
Angola, like most African countries, was reconstituted as a nation after long and bloody struggles with colonial intervention. In Angola's case, its colonial power – Portugal – was present and active in the territory for over four centuries. After achieving their shared aim of ending colonial rule, the MPLA and UNITA began to compete for power internally. -
Notable in the war, were its violent internal dynamics and massive foreign intervention. Both the Soviet Union and the United States, along with their respective allies, provided significant military assistance to parties in the conflict, Cuba for instance, had a force of around 35,000 troops operating in Angola in 1982.
By the time the MPLA finally achieved victory in 2002, more than 500,000 people had died and the war had spawned a disastrous humanitarian crisis for Angolans, internally displacing 4.28 million people, one third of Angola's total population. An immense number of civilians considering an estimated total of around 250,000 combatants from all sides.
It's of course impossible to summarise all this in a short caption. Anyone got any books on the subject? - - 📸 Photo by Fred Bridgland