"The defeat of the apartheid army was an inspiration to the struggling people in South Africa! Without the defeat of Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been unbanned! The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today! Cuito Cuanavale was a milestone in the history of the struggle for southern African liberation!"
—Nelson Mandela, July 1991
Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba presented the award to Army General Leopoldo Cintra Frías, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, who stated that with this medal the leader of the Cuban Revolution has received the gratitude of Namibia and it is also a tribute to all Cuban combatants, to those who died on African soil and to the people of Cuba in general.
Expressing thanks for the distinction during the ceremony, which was broadcast by Namibian radio and television, Cintra Frías also highlighted the importance of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale.
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