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For God and the CIA - Cuban Exile Forces in the Congo and Beyond Helion & Company via Casemate UK


Julien
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For God and the CIA (9781913336240)

Cuban Exile Forces in the Congo and Beyond

Helion & Company via Casemate UK

 

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The Congo was at the tome one of those former colonies which once they gained their independence the country has lunched from one corrupt regime to another. as far back as 1877 the country was explored and administered by Belgium. King Leopold II formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Conference of Berlin in 1885 and made the land his private property. The territory was run quite brutally and it is estimated millions died under his rule. In 1908 The Belgian Government bowed to international pressure and reluctantly took over the state. During WWII territory provided a much needed income for the Belgian Government in exile. Post WWII despite it being illegal the local population began to form political alliances. The ultimate aim was to gain independence for the country. Pressure was put on the Belgians to allow the colony to have its own elections and leaders were invited to Brussels in 1956.  Elections were held in 1957 with independence being granted in 1960 with the forming of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Like many former colonies in Africa the granting of independence however was only the start of the crisis for the country. Political infighting and civil war would then dog the country for many years. Despite the intervention of United Nations Troops from countries as diverse as India, Sweden and Ethiopia the situation only degenerated. Through insurgency in Stanlyville,  Katanga and Kwilu and the Kivu rebellion the 1960s were very hard on the country. with the UN struggling near the end of 1962 the US military decided to provide the Congolese military with a small Air Force. At first unarmed it would grow in size to provide air cover for the ground forces and provide striking power. 

 

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While regular US forces could not be deployed the CIA would enlist the help of Cuban Exiles to fight in Congo. The use of these Cubans who had fought in the less than successful Bay of Pigs invasion led to the CIA getting the first of a number of B-26K invaders destined for the US Air Force as they were familiar with the type and suited to COIN warfare. These exiled Cubans would in some cases be facing other Cubans in the region. As well as the air war Cubans were recruited for Naval operations. In order to stem the flow of weapons and supplies being brought across Lake Tanganyika the CIA put in place a force to patrol Congolese water. 

 

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The book is 88 pages long with 8 pages of colour profiles, photos, and maps. while a lot of the book concentrates on operations in the Congo it also looks at the development by the US of its covert war apparatus through the CIA, operations in Guatemala, Cuba, and operations before the Congo. Interestingly there are instructions for the pilots operating in the region, and extracts from their contracts with the CIA front company "Caribbean Marine Aero Corporation" (Caramar). 

 

 

 

Conclusion

This is an excellent detailed book looking at the CIA's involvement in the disaster in the Congo in the 1960s, and the wider use of the CIA in other conflicts which lead upto the Congo. Highly recommended. 

 

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