Journal of Latin American Studies

Research Article

The First Ambassadors: Cuba's Contribution to Guinea-Bissau's War of Independence fn1

PIERO GLEIJESES Professor of US Foreign Policy a1
a1 Johns Hopkins School of International Studies


As the rebels of Guinea-Bissau fought for independence from Portugal, Cuban military instructors stood by their side and Cuban doctors treated their wounds. Joining the rebellion in 1966, and remaining through the war's end in 1974, this was the longest Cuban intervention in Africa before the despatch of troops to Angola in November 1975. It was also the most successful. As the Guinean paper Nõ Pintcha declared, ‘The Cubans' solidarity was decisive for our struggle’. Cuba's contribution to Guinea-Bissau's war of independence is an important and revealing example of Cuban policy in Africa.

fn1 I would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for helping to support this research.