jeudi 1 septembre 2016

CUBA/ANGOLA: Carlota Lukumi, African heroine of the Cuban independence.

"Cuba has a special place in the heart of the African people."
         In July 1991, Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) that is freshly released on February 1990, did his first trip outside Africa in Havana, Cuba. In his fisrt  speech, he asked Fidel Castro to specify, when he will visit South Africa, that he helped liberate. "The Cuban people has a special place in the hearts of the peoples of Africa", had explained Nelson Mandela alongside his "friend Fidel" and before hundreds of thousands of people.
         "We received the pile of people visit. And you, who have helped us bring our fighters, who have supported our struggle for her to continue, which have trained our doctors, etc., you never came home."  
In fact Cuba was deeply involved in the liberation of Africa by supporting the independence movements (R.D.C., Guinea-Bissau & Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, etc ...).
The Carnation Revolution (1974) precipitates things anyway. The new regime that imposes Portugal grants independence to all its colonies. A long civil war, fueled by the great powers has started in Angola.

The military intervention of Cuba in Angola

In fact, on November 3, 1934, Dr. Agostihno Neto (1922-1979), seeing his troops trained guerrillas were unable to cope with a large-scale war in open country, had appealed to the Cuban aid and requested reinforcements. The answer was not long: 48 hours later, the office of the Cuban Communist Party gave its approval to a decisive intervention. The operation was decided. By calling it Carlota, Fidel Castro is convinced that Africans and their Balcks Cuban counterparts bear a duty to liberate Africa from the white colonization and imperialism.
With the Carlota operation, consisting of 35,000 Cuban soldiers (their number will reach 350,000 in 1988), driven by Fidel Castro himself, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (M.P.L.A.) of Dr. Agostinho Neto wins the battle of Luanda on the National Front for the liberation of Angola (F.N.L.A.) led by Robert Holden (1923-2007) and the national Union for the Total independence of Angola (U.N.I.T.A.) led by Jonas Malheiro Savimbi (1934-2002). Neto became president and  proclaimed the independence of Angola on November 11, 1975. The long civil war in Angola had begun.

Carlota Lukumi and her bloody and suicidal revolt

         Her war name was Lukumi simply means "trusted friend" in Yoruba. Carlota Lukumi was from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Captured and brought to Cuba to work in the plantation of sugar cane in Triumvirato. On November 5, 1843, in a plantation at Matanzas, she grabs her machete (the instrument of labor) and became head of a rebellion leading to free the slaves from the island and lead to later Cuba's independence.
The slaves of the Spaniards in Cuba had no right to talk to each other or, of course, to protest. Their only reason for living was their absolute duty of servitude to their masters.
They had to find a way to communicate without leaving the message reflected: music. It's the sound of talking drums, that slaves of Matanzas begined to develop their lift plans. The Spanish slavers see in the sound of these drums that ancestral rite to honor the deceased. To get an accurate picture of the situation of slavery in Cuba in 1843 in Matanzas, there were 53,331 slaves. Any attempt to slave revolt created a psychosis among the settlers.
Yoruba slaves Evaristo and Fermina, from Labor camps of  Arcana, are responsible for the preparations of the revolt. Unfortunately, their plot is discovered, Fermina is thrown into prison, but her comrades helped to escape. The rebellion broke out in the camps of Triumvirato and Aracana, directed by Carlota Lukumi and her lieutenants.

The forced march towards the independence of Cuba.

         The news of the success of the Yoruba leaders is spreading like wildfire, causing cascading uprisings throughout the region. Carlota and his supporters are conducting guerrilla attacks to free the slaves, which involves the destruction of crops and ravaging plantations. From Havana, the colonial governor sends regiments in Matanzas to fight the hordes of slaves. In this unequal war, slaves were encircled for days at San Rafael. The fights are very violent. Hundreds of slaves were mowed down in battle and those imprisoned in barracks were shot.
In March 1844, Carlota is torn by two horses, while Fermina was shot. Matanzas was the scene of the first action of the Spanish American War on April 25, 1898, at the beginning of the war.
This slave revolt is the prelude to the Spanish-American War and the independence of Cuba on 10 0ctober 1898. A giant statue of this strong woman army of machete in Matanzas recalls her revolt.
Like many brave women who stood up to face the slave domination as Hariett Tubman (1820-1913) in the United States, or the Queen Nanny (1685-1755) in Jamaica, our two heroines Yoruba have their names engraved in History led the fight against the black holocaust in the Americas.
-Araujo Ana Lucia, Shadows of the Slave Past, Memory, Heriatge, and Slavery, Routledge, NW & London, 2014.
-Barcia Manuel, Seeds of Insurrection and Resistance on Western Cuban Plantations 1808-1848, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 2008.
-Edward George, The Cuban intervention in Angola, 1965, Franck Cass, New York, 2005.
-Mandela Nelson, and Fidel Castro, How far We Slaves Come! Africa and Cuba in Today’s World, Pathinder, New York, 1991.