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Cape Verde radical intellectual and revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral (L) with Fidel Castro.

Interchange – Cuba In Africa, or Castro’s Worldview


Our show is Cuba in Africa, or what my guest today has called “Castro’s Worldview: Foreign Policy in a Hostile World.”

Our music throughout also reflects the influence of Cuba in Africa and the struggle for independence by African nations. Our opening song, “Valodia” by Santocas, released shortly after Angolan independence is in praise of a guerilla fighter. Some of the lyrics in tranlated paraphrase:

Far away I heard that name
Unforgettable Angolan children …
Volódia, in defense of the Angolan people!

Angolan people be vigilant
That in neo-colonialism the repression is worse!
Misery is a martyrdom,
Poverty also
And neo-colonialism has no color.

Down Capitalism!
Down with imperialism!
Down neocolonialism!
Advance socialism!

In the words of Nelson Mandela, the Cuban victory in Angola “destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor … [and] inspired the fighting masses of South Africa … Cuito Cuanavale was the turning point for the liberation of our continent—and of my people—from the scourge of apartheid.”

Or in the words of Paulo Flores in his song “Semba pra Luanda”:
“It was in the Cuando Cubango, Cuito Cuanavale, that we wrote the history of the world, after all.”

Our guest, Piero Gleijeses first traveled to Cuba in 1980 as part of an academic exchange between SAIS [the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University] and the University of Havana. In 1994, he began conducting research in the closed Cuban archives—the only foreigner who has been allowed to do so in the past 55 years—and over the next two decades visited Cuba about three times a year, on average, with each visit lasting three to five weeks.*

Piero Gleijeses is professor of American foreign policy at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is author of Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991, both from UNC Press, and The Cuban Drumbeat from Seagull Books, among other books.

*SAIS scholar of Cuban foreign policy offers perspective on historic shift in U.S.-Cuba relations (12/14)
Hip Deep Angola 4: The Cuban Intervention in Angola
Funk Before War In Angola
The Consecration of Bishop Caetano in the Journal of Angola

“Valodia” by Santocas
“Rumba Zatukine” by David Zé
“Volta Camarada” by Matadidi
“Sou Angolano” by Dom Caetano

A special 90-minute program in two parts. Part One features an interview with Thomas Frank, author of the bestselling What’s the Matter with Kansas, and most recently, Listen, Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?; and Part Two is a second installment of our series with Rasul Mowatt on The Sounds of Resistance–this time on songs that critique the action of politics as often promoting a status quo inaction.

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Assistant Producer: Rob Schoon
Board Engineer: Jennifer Brooks
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

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