Back to PLO Bulletin 15-31 January 1982



1982 marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the African National Congress (ANC) and its struggle to eliminate the apartheid regime in South Africa.

On January 11 the Anti-Apartheid Committee of the United Nations Organisation gave a reception to mark the foundation of this liberation organisation. Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC, made a speech in the reception describing 1982 as a decisive year in the organisation's struggle to eliminate the South African racist regime. He said that the unity of action and worldwide mobilisation for sanctions were a prerequisite for forcing the occupiers of Namibia and their backers to give way. Confrontation between the racist rulers and the ANC-led masses has intensified more and more during recent years. The people's determination, despite reprisals by the government in Pretoria or rather because of them, to struggle for a free, democratic Azania (South Africa) cannot be checked by anything, Oliver Tambo declared.

The ANC is now accepted as the leader of the liberation struggle by the majority of people, he said adding that, despite the organisation's ban, democratically-minded men, women, more young people, and school students sensed the brutal regime. The organisation would pay even more attention in the next weeks and months to broadening its mass base. All progressive people in South Africa, irrespective of their racial and ethnic group, should be united in the ANC's ranks, he said. Therefore "Unity in Action" is the motto of the struggle in 1982. Unity against the oppressor is the very foundation of the ANC.

At the present time political actions had to retain priority over military ones, Oliver Tambo said. The ANC's political actions were borne by the trade unions, which was why the working class was at the centre of the ANC's ideological work. Every strike, every boycott of sham elections and other political ballyhoo increased the organisation's fighting power.

The ANC president said that the military actions of the ANC's military wing (Umkhonto we Sizwe), spear of the nation, were also becoming increasingly effective. Perhaps for the first time in its 70-year history the organisation had the possibility of effectively responding to the physical violence of the fascists and racists, thanks to its revolutionary bases among the people.

He went on to say that enemies would have to accept that those South Africans who identified themselves with a democratic future in South Africa were increasingly identifying themselves with the aims and actions of the ANC.

Celebrations held all over the world to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the ANC became a demonstration of support and solidarity of all the progressive forces of the world with the struggle of the people of Southern Africa.

In a press conference held in Moscow on January 16, Alfred Nzo, General Secretary of the ANC, stressed that imperialism, above all U.S. imperialism, and the apartheid regime were coming closer together. The policy of the Washington-backed ruling circles of South Africa assumed an increasingly reactionary character. Persecution of freedom fighters, forceful resettlement of Africans to Bantustans, incessant aggression against the front-line states - all this served to perpetuate the rule of the white minority South Africa, Nzo said.

He declared that Pretoria's attempts to destroy the ANC, which was in the vanguard of the struggle against apartheid, had been all in vain. The ANC was fighting and achieving victories on all fronts: political, economic, military. The ANC General Secretary said that all the national forces of the country had armed themselves with the ANC programme, the Freedom Charter. The ANC was working to consolidate the alliance of workers, peasants, the youth and clergymen so as to eliminate the apartheid regime and establish a state where there would be no oppression or racial discrimination.


South Africa's racist regime has created another Bantustan - Ciskei. This "free" state has about a million black people living on an area of some 253 square kilometres. It is the fourth "independent state" created by the Pretoria regime after Transkei in 1976, Bophuthatswana in 1977 and Venda in 1978.

Thanks to colonial-racist land tenure legislation, the four million white minority have snatched the resource-rich 87 percent of the nearly 1.2 million square kilometres of South Africa and forced the 22 million Africans to settle on the rest. It is only there that the Africans shall be "free". However their main freedom there is to starve, since the Bantustans, demagogically labelled "homelands", are the meagrest areas of the country. There the Africans are deprived of their rights and are downgraded to "foreign labour" in their own native country.

The racist plan foresees the creation of six Bantustans in the territory of South Africa which are to be an inexhaustible source of cheap labour for the Pretoria regime. Those whom the authorities have forced into these Bantustans are in a desparate situation. According to data from the South African Institute of Race Relations, the mortality rate among newly-born African babies is 240 per thousand. More than 30,000 children die of malnutrition every year. Hunger and disease are rife in the Bantustans. In 1981 there were more than 100,000 officially registered cases of scurvy (vitamin deficiency disease).


South African interventionists who invaded the southern regions of Angola are scaling up their aggression. Following fierce fighting against superior enemy forces, the units of the Popular Army for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) had to leave the city of Onjivo, the settlement of Mongua and some other populated cities. During combat operations the racists used toxic gases along with conventional weapons.

Expressing concern over the explosive situation in and around Angola, the African public drew attention to the fact that as the intervention in southern Angola escalates, the agents of the U.S. and Pretoria are preparing to start combat operations in the north of the country. For that purpose, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), special services of South Africa and some Western countries have knocked together the so-called "Military Council of Resistance" on the basis of the totally bankrupt anti-Angolan puppet grouping FNLA.


The new year will not be an easy one for Nicaragua which has become a target of aggressive machinations.

Seven border guards were killed and 27 members of the Sandinista army captured in the attack launched by ex-President Somoza's bandits from the territory of Honduras. In spite of many protests from the Managua government, Honduras accords hospitality to about 4,000 former national guard troops, accommodated in camps along the frontier with Nicaragua. At the same time, Nicaraguan exile groups are preparing for counter-revolutionary actions in Central America in a number of training camps in the U.S. State of Florida. These camps are tolerated by the American authorities, according to a report in Die Welt of January 7. The paper quotes Salvador Arguello, a colonel in Somoza's former National Guard, who said: "Starting from Nicaragua, Panama and finally Cuba are planned to be taken."

In Florida alone, there are at present six "well-organised and financed" training camps. In the largest of the camps - called "Cuba/Nicaragua" - more than 1,500 men have been trained in the past 12 months in different categories of warfare, for acts of sabotage and with modern automatic weapons.

Hector Fabian, commander of one of the camps, announced large-scale sabotage actions against Nicaragua during the coming period. Already in the past year, more than one hundred of his men had been channelled into the country via Honduras, he said. The counter-revolutionary Cuban exile organisation "Alpha 66" which maintains two training camps in the U.S. said that it had infiltrated agents into Cuba by sea or hidden in tourist groups from Miami, to become active there.

Argentine Colonel Mario Davinco gave $50,000 to Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, confessed William Baltodano Herrera, head of the commando group that planned to stage sabotage actions and kill guerrilla commander Leticia Herrera. The money was paid "for things to get moving," he admitted.


More than fifty Guatemalan farmers' families were killed in cold blood by members of paramilitary gangs of the Lucas regime in Huehuetenango province at the beginning of January this year. The farmers and their families, who were on their way to the provincial capital, were machine-gunned near San Autonio Dehuista. On January 8, the bodies of 38 Guatemalan peasants were found. The peasants were tortured and their houses burned down. About 70,000 people have fallen victim to terror in Guatemala since the U.S. United Fruit Concern (now United Brand) had overthrown the bourgeois democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman some 27 years ago.

The popular liberation forces in Guatemala further intensified their military operations against the reactionary Lucas regime in January. Latest reports from Guatemala City are speaking of an offensive of the liberation fighters in nine of the 22 provinces. Among the most successful actions have been attacks on garrisons and transport of the regime's armed forces, acts of sabotage against government facilities, occupation of smaller villages and temporary cutting of road links.

Thousands of workers, peasants, students and intellectuals joined the liberation movement last year, a leader of the Labour Party (PGT) which is working underground has said. Heavy losses had been inflicted on the armed forces of the Lucas regime. It was now necessary to unite as quickly as possible all revolutionary forces of the country and to set up an anti-imperialist front aimed against domestic oligarchy.

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