Twelve men and two cats: with Gerardo Hernández and his platoon in Angola

Cuban-Angolan Reconnaissance Platoon attached to 11th Tactical Group, 10th Tank Brigade, Cabinda, Angola, under command of Lt. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo (middle), 1989-90.

The current issue of The Militant has an outstanding piece by Mary-Alice Waters about the period in 1989-1990 when Gerardo Hernández led a Cuban-Angolan platoon attached to the 11th Tactical Group of the 10th Tank Brigade, stationed in Cabinda province, Angola. She incorporates Gerardo’s notes on two photographs from the period with an English translation of an interview with a member of Gerardo’s platoon: José Luis Palacio Cuní. Zenia Regalado interviewed Palacio for Guerrillero, the newspaper for Pinar del Rio, the westernmost province in Cuba.  See The Militant for the full article.


“I had previously seen on television Angola’s poverty and what the UNITA troops were doing, but none of that could compare with what I saw afterward. Children living in very bad conditions, living in those huts, skinny, emaciated, and I couldn’t help comparing them to ours and thinking that sometimes we weren’t really conscious of what we had.

For me, Angola was a school. I learned to value life and internationalism more, and to give a little of myself.”

— José Luis Palacio Cuní

Cuban-Angolan Reconnaissance Platoon, 1989. José Luis Palacio Cuní, bottom left.

“I have great admiration for all those compañeros who volunteered for such a mission. At that time they were practically youngsters. I had been asked to give them classes in certain subjects, that is, I was supposed to teach them, but I was the one who wound up learning a lot from them. Angola was a great school for everyone.”

— Gerardo Hernández Nordelo

One response to “Twelve men and two cats: with Gerardo Hernández and his platoon in Angola

  1. Thank you very much for “Twelve men and two cats: with Gerardo Hernández and his platoon in Angola”
    We translated it into German and posted it last sunday, see:

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