A Cuban and an Angolan Meet Again in Havana

Jorge Milanes

Neptuno Street, Havana
Neptuno St. in Central Havana. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — I was waiting at the busy intersection of Prado and Neptuno streets for a cab headed for Vedado, in the direction of the theatre. An old American car that was practically falling apart came to a stop beside me. “I’m going down Linea Street,” the driver said to me. I got in.

There were two empty seats in the car, meaning the driver was sure to make two more stops on the way to fill the cab. A woman standing at a street corner waved the car to a stop.

“Are you going down Linea?” she asked, opening the car door.

On her instructions, a man who had been standing next to her got in the front seat. She stayed behind.

Immediately, I sensed something different in the air. An energy I’ve seldom felt among Cubans.

The man seemed restless, anxious. He would look to both sides, following the swift maneuvers the driver would execute to skirt traffic and potholes.

“We have heavy traffic in Angola,” he finally said. “Most streets are two-way, like here, but, if there are no cars in sight, people use both lanes, indiscriminately, no matter what direction they’re going in.” This is what I was able to piece together from what he mumbled in a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish.

The driver asked:

“You’re from Angola?”

“Yes,” the man replied.

“Well, I was in Angola in 1987. I fought in the Cuito Cuanavale battle, against the FAPLA.”

“You don’t say! What was your rank?”

“First Captain,” answered the cab driver.

There was a moment of calm as the veteran’s emotions began to stir up.

“I also fought in that battle,” said the Angolan, overcome with emotion.

“What was your rank, sir?”

“First Captain.”

“And your name?”

For a moment, there was silence. As the cab came to a halt at my stop, next to the curb, the men looked at each other.

“Comrade! I can’t believe you’re Captain Antonio, the man who saved my life!”

I got out of the cab as the two men embraced one another, almost in tears.

Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.

11 thoughts on “A Cuban and an Angolan Meet Again in Havana

  • Wrong again. I lived in Cuba nearly three years. I am an African-American man. We have had our share of persecution dontcha’ think?

  • Thank u I am headed for Jamaica for a few days with my Hus When i get back we will be flying to Angola and discussing reparations! AGAIN

  • Ave Maria Conjo

    This message is for all of the people ie Griffin Patterson et/al who have not seen terror from the eyes of a 6 yr old.. Who has not watched thier parent and tribe butchered, raped and murdered And for those who have never met me or know that because of the Cuban nation that i have finally addressed the truth and my demons.

    This will be my last response to either of you And please note that there is nothing either of you can say to make me stop supporting Fidel or the Adm NADA! If you choose to discuss my errors here or my spelling have fun;)

    Moving along

    It is so easy for outsiders to judge other cultures and people.. shame on you
    And you Afrikans who have had no experiences other than watching the Scotus undo 50 yrs of voting rights for Afrikan desc replacing them with RIGHTS for others hmmmmm i am not shocked

    Suffice that, perhaps your biz shoul be in ameerikkka not Kuba

    The French British Spanish Portuguese Boers Italians et/al raped my mother Those euro took everything they could including the blood from my mother(Afrika)
    Moreover the colonizers tried to pretend that they saved the orig Afrikan peoples. I ask how can a barbarian save a people whose roots are older than dirt?

    The so called savvy people blamed Russia. when all along it was amerikkka and her allies who set the tone to try to starve rape butcher and terrorize my people into submission. Thereby using house negro Jonas Savimbi, terrorizer rapist butcher and common terrorist to help exterminate my tribe

    My birth country quickly became cold war front line Brezhnev sent weapons Fidel sent troops and East Germ even sent spec forces the help my peoples

    I was there! Wikipedia did not educate me I was there i am a survivor!!!

    I also KNOW.. not read about KNOW the the USA Britain and France backed Savimbi and his rapist rebels and Maoist Unita

    And the USA asked South Afrika and Bothas to send troops to fight against freedom and terror in Angola? Who does that what fee and conscious people seek to keep other free peoples from freedom?

    Answer > Europeans who hate Afrikans and want our resources Quite simple amerikka wants the resources

    i still today travel to both Angola, and Cuba and Cuba mthy. In doing so i am able to listen and communicate with elders and some young people who overstand how and why mi Kuba is waiting in the wings for a northern takeover. We know the plan and need only look at Puerto Rico Egypt Libya et/al for the outcome

    See people whether you agree or disagree it is a fact that whenever amerikkka has become involved with any country’s freedoms and rights to sovereignty one can guarantee the outcome.. Case in point Egypt and Libya.. The issue was ISLAM not human rights If human rights were the issue why doesn’t the USA go into Korea or China? FEAR! China owns the US along with Walmart Amerikkka has a lot of things it should be undoing Why do yoiu believe Ed Snowden came along?

    And may i add whom i am very pleased with):)

    Here in Cuba its not about the Cuban Adm as much as it is about CONTROL of the masses. Here in Cuba we have a huge Afrikan presense which will not simply say OK US, its okay to come here and colonize us for food, better cell phone use etc Amerikka wants out respources its as simple as that

    The euro PWB only seek the beaches bodies and booze there is no other agenda other than control and peonage( share croppers)

    We have the best med system in the world doctors and we help other nations when they need it without strings..i have been a part of it both as a MPH and an Atty and mi Kuba is the envy of the Caribbean and as such has done more for Afrikan nations than any country ever i am a SURVIVOR

    The united snakes of amerikkka has lied scandalized and tried for 60 yrs to own Cuba while blaming the people for wanting to be left alone When Batista was alive and ruling Cuba no one said a word why was that? When previous Pres in Cuba continued quasi slavery pre El Lindo Mulatto where were the scoffers?
    The us of amerikkka only reared its head when they knew that Kuba was not going to go along to get along

    I am a Barrister who has striven for human rights and justice in Afrika (my spelling) and amerikkka
    A lot of my work has concerned the manifold injustices which are caused by the evil of racism. Recently , I have stood in solidarity with my Afrikan people OAU in Angola and in Cuba in our bitter and continuing struggle for equal rights, and especially with the liberation of, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, in the still unfinished cause of complete African liberation.

    i believe that the cause of Reparations to Africa and Africans in the Diaspora is rooted in fundamental justice a justice which over-arches every struggle and campaign which African people have waged to assert their human dignity. For the iniquities perpetrated against African people today – whether in South Africa by the apartheid regime, in Mozambique and Angola by terrorist forms of de stabilisation, in Britain and the USA by racist attacks and by systems of discrimination – are the continuing consequences, the damages as lawyers would say, flowing from the 400-years-long atrocity of the slave system.

    Ps Rather that dis Cuba what about reparations for Afrikans at home and abroad?
    pps m small letter i means there are no big U’s PEACE!

  • As a native of Angolan who knows more than you about how amerikkkn supported Jonas Savimbi, the Portuguese terrorists rapists, and child pedophiles in Angola, And how my TRIBE: was nearly wiped out by amerikkan and euro sponsored terror. I(f you only knew what it was like to see my own parent raped and cut to pieces perhaos would overstand why i and my ilk love Fidel

    .So griffin boy please do not try to act as if you know about anything you have not lived Noone here is impressed with your rhetoric or attempts to appear intelligent because yo me your simply a Fidel hater

    Thanks to my i am able to come to Cuba every month and i see no terror

    Ps I was born in the mtns of Angola to two people who were also born there as well SO i am part of a TRIBE NOT IF” what tribe are you from Not one of ours i can prove that

  • Moses of course you don’t You think your free, you have never lived in Cuba are not Cuban and have never seen your people butchered You are forgiven

  • Then you were from the side that supported the MPLA. Hundreds of thousands of other Angolans were slaughtered by the MPLA with the help of the Cuba army. If your family were from one of the other Angolan tribes, then you might feel differently about the Cuban intervention.

  • The Cuban-Soviet intervention in Angola was in support of one faction, the MPLA, in a bloody civil war against the FLNA and UNITA militias. These militias represented various ethnic and tribal communities in Angola. Cuba & the USSR backed the MPLA as the most doctrinaire Marxists among them, and the faction more likely to expand Soviet influence in Africa.

    The USA & South Africa backed UNITA as a counter to the Cuban-Soviet intervention.

    The Cuban propaganda story that Fidel sent the heroic Cuban army to stop an invasion from South Africa is bogus and does not conform to the known time-lines and events of the long conflict.

    I utterly fail to see how any of these outside countries which intervened in Angola, whether the USSR, Cuba, the USA, or South Africa, should take pride in what happened. They armed and funded a bloody civil war which cost the lives of millions of Angolans. Well documented atrocities were committed by all sides.

  • I do not understand the cult of personality that surrounds Fidel. The French who remember are grateful to their ‘American’ liberators at the end of WWII. They don’t say they were saved by President Eisenhower. They say American troops. At the least, why don’t you thank the USSR for footing the bill for the Cuban intervention in Angola? Or even the majority Black Cubans who actually fought? Why Fidel? He made the decision to send troops only after he got the green light from his Soviet patrons. He hardly deserves the credit you have been taught to give him.

  • Gracias a Dios I am also born in Angola saved by Fidel!

  • This could only happen in Cuba linda.

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