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By Stephen L. Weigert (auth.)

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Extra info for Angola: A Modern Military History, 1961–2002

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Debray’s efforts, however, were focused on demonstrating the relevance of Cuba’s experience to Latin America, not Africa. Beyond their abbreviated advice and observations on guerrilla warfare already available in Mao’s more extensive publications, Guevara and Debray minimized the importance of forming a political party operating alongside, and providing critical guidance to, a guerrilla army. 68 Savimbi would have been aware, by mid-1964, that neither the FNLA nor the MPLA could achieve a rapid victory over Portugal.

63 Guevara, at least in some of his writings, appears to have taken a middle ground in the debate on the political outlook of peasants and their role in revolutionary guerrilla war. ”64 Guevara evidently was not consistent in his articulation of this view. 65 The Cuban model and Guevara’s analyses had other, more obvious limitations in their appeal to African insurgents. The two-year Cuban guerrilla campaign had little to offer Angolans in the way of relevant military lessons. A relatively small group of Cuban guerrillas, initially numbering only in the hundreds, managed to topple a corrupt regime supported by forty thousand troops.

13 In January 1964, after a determined effort to recruit additional members, Mulele’s forces launched widespread attacks against government outposts, missionary stations, palm oil mills, bridges, ferries, and telephone lines. 14 The scale and coordination evident in the attacks staged by Mulele’s combatants reflected the formation of a guerrilla force that drew its inspiration from modern military principles. ”15 While Maoist influences on Mulele’s ideology and organizational preferences were readily apparent, the Kwilu insurgents’ traditional religious worldviews ultimately had an even greater impact on their military tactics and soon overshadowed the Maoist guidelines for the conduct of guerrilla warfare that had been discovered in captured documents.

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