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Angola president hails Cuba's help in war

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos thanked Cuba for sending troops during his country's civil war as he visited the communist island to sign cooperation agreements.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro sent troops to Angola in 1975 when it gained independence from Portugal to support the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) of Dos Santos. Angola's civil war ended in 2003.

Cuba sent 300,000 soldiers between 1975 and 1991 plus 50,000 civilian advisers on the economy, health, education and sports.

Dos Santos, who rarely leaves his country, was invited to Cuba by interim president Raul Castro, who took over for his brother last year while Fidel Castro recovers from gastrointestinal surgery.

"First, I want to salute the Cuban people and thank Cuba because it has always been by Angola's side ... in the fight for independence and sovereignty," he said at Havana's airport, where he was greeted by Vice President Jose Ramon Machado.

"Secondly, there were changes in the world and Cuba and Angola alike are adapting, and we will see how we can better collaborate ... to improve the lives of our respective peoples," said Dos Santos, who has been president since 1979.

Dos Santos, who leaves Sunday, will hold talks with Raul Castro and will sign a new cooperation agreement during his visit.

"The Cuban brothers and friends sacrificed their lives, so our friendship has been forged with blood and sacrifice," he said.

Source: Caribbean Net News

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