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Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (New Cold War History) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 4. November 2013

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Gleijeses's eminently readable work is a major contribution to the historiography of the Cold War on one of its lesser-known fronts; it is diplomatic history at its finest and at its most compelling.--"International Affairs"

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Piero Gleijeses is professor of American foreign policy at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, USA. He is author of Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, among other books. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.


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45 von 46 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Which Side Are You On? 6. Dezember 2013
Von Marc Lichtman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Yesterday Nelson Mandela died, and you would think from all the gushing praises that the US government had supported him from the beginning. Nothing could be further from the truth. During Mandela's first visit to the US, it was leaked that the CIA had played a role in his capture. The US considered the ANC a "Communist" and "terrorist" organization. Of course everyone they didn't like got called at least one of these things.

In this book, as in its prequel Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, Piero Gleijeses, a professor of American foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins, discusses the opposing roles played by the US and Cuba in the battle to free Southern Africa.

This is a work of careful research, the author using archives of the US, Cuba, South Africa, and Russia, as well as interviews with and quotes from memoires of key players in these countries and others. It will be impossible to refute, although we can be sure some will try.

The US supported Portuguese colonialism until revolution in Portugal forced an end to it. Then they supported the most pro-imperialist forces in the former colonies; those willing to collaborate with the apartheid regime to see that no radical change took place. UNITA in Angola was one such movement; their atrocities were glossed over, and their South African ties downplayed. While publically taking their distance from apartheid South Africa, the US government collaborated with them against the MPLA in Angola and SWAPO in Namibia (no country in the world publically opposed independence and free elections in the South African colony). South Africa was experiencing internal rebellion, and was desperately playing for time, not being willing to accept majority rule. The battles all over Southern Africa helped to determine its fate.

Cuba was on the other side, and contrary to what many believed, this book carefully documents that far from being Soviet puppets, it was Cuba who acted, forcing the conservative Soviet leaders to play a supporting role at best.

This book documents all the battles, diplomacy, and major media reporting surrounding these events. To make a long story short, the bad advice given to the Angolan army by the Soviet advisors led to a very dangerous situation in Angola. While UNITA did not pose a huge threat, South Africa did, and their air force dominated the skies. They also had a large presence of ground troops in Angola, both to do what UNITA couldn't, and to prevent a SWAPO victory in Namibia.

Cuba let down its own defenses to send thousands of ground troops, pilots, planes, and anti-aircraft weapons to Angola. In the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988, South African forces were decisively defeated by the combined forces of Angola, Cuba, and SWAPO. Negotiations followed, which resulted in South Africa leaving Angola and Namibia. The handwriting was on the wall, and in 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. After street battles, massive international support, and negotiations, he was the first democratically elected president in South Africa in 1994.

Gleijeses appropriately gives Mandela the final word, given during his 1991 trip to Cuba: "We come here with a sense of the great debt that is owed the people of Cuba. What other country can point to a greater selflessness than Cuba has displayed in its relations to Africa?"

Other suggested books: How Far We Slaves Have Come! South Africa and Cuba in Today's World; Cuba and Angola: Fighting for Africa's Freedom and Our Own; The Coming Revolution in South Africa (New International no. 5); From the Escambray to the Congo: In the Whirlwind of the Cuban Revolution; The Struggle Is My Life; Nelson Mandela Speaks: Forging a Democratic, Nonracial South Africa; Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-87.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An impressive work 26. Dezember 2013
Von Lena - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book describes one of the most beautiful episodes of international assistance that a country has given to other countries in the history of mankind. Each fact and interpretation are scrupulously backed by documents and interviews with protagonists in the United States, Cuba, South Africa and other countries. It reads like a novel, fast pacing and moving, although it is more than 600 pages. It is a work that inspires hope. Lena
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A great read! 11. Januar 2014
Von Jane Risker - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Visions of Freedom is a fascinating, important, and well-researched explanation of how the governments of Cuba, South Africa and the United States struggled to determine the course of history in southern Africa. Marc J. Lichtman's review describes its strengths well. What I can add is that Visions of Freedom is fun to read: it is lively, narrative history with colorful characters and a lot of suspense. Its research is scholarly, but it is also a real page turner.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The author of this book as accomplished an important milestone ... 29. Juli 2014
Von Tony Rutherford - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
The author of this book as accomplished an important milestone not generally done by political or historical writers by providing us the ( reader ) with an extraordinary well researched account of Cuba's role in blocking apartheid South Africa in its criminal thrust to colonize and dominate the people of Southern African countries - particularly in its supremely outstanding efforts in the liberation Angola and Namibia .Concomitantly, Fidel Castro's leadership in changing the course of history towards shaping independence of Southern African countries ,and defeating apartheid in South Africa - against the powerful political forces of the United States of America and the Soviet Union..
The reporting of these interchanges, diplomatic and ,political intercourse between the respective key leaders of Havana ,Moscow, Washington and Pretoria is very well documented largely from original sources - with rigorous scholarship by the author. Clearly, a book that should be a must read by policy makers and students of International affairs.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Marvelous History of a Heroic Tale 27. Februar 2014
Von H. Campbell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Prof. Gleijeses' tome is a masterwork of history, documenting Cuba's heroic defense of socialist Angola's quest for independence from imperialism, primarily by apartheid South Africa but also apartheid's greatest ally, the corrupt Reagan regime of the US. By providing the nuance and detail necessary to paint this picture of selfless devotion to national liberation, Gleijeses' work showed why Castro will be remembered as one of the greatest men in history. Flawed, yes, certainly, as are all great men (or do all you wide eyed JFK devotees think HE was a saint?) But Castro's determination to not only free Angola but also Namibia and ultimately South Africa from the grip of the racist South Afrikaaners surely must rank as one of the greatest feats by a Third World nation. And make no mistake about this episode; it was a categoric defeat for the Reaganauts, whose determination to defeat the Marxist MPLA, protect South African apartheid and avoid a truly independent Namibia were all frustrated.
And thank you, professor, for showing once and for all that the propaganda by the American and Afrikaaner apologists about the battle of Cuito Cuinavale is just so much moonshine and hooh hah. The Cubans kicked white man tail and paved the way for South Africa's humiliating climbdown. The fact that a monument in Pretoria erected by the ANC to acknowledge the dead of the revolutionary struggle has only one foreign nation represented, i.e., Cuba, says all you need to know about the nobility and sacrifice of the Cuban people. This book is a must have for anyone interested in the Cold War, Cuba, Africa and geopolitics.
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