Cuba has well over 20,000 Troops stationed in Africa, mainly in Angola and Ethiopia but spread across the continent in 15 countries from the island of Madagascar in the east to Guinea in the west, according to U.S. estimates.
In addition, there are thousands of Cuban civilians stationed in the 15 nations.
Cuba's armed forces total 189,000 with 160,000 in the army, according to the authoritative International Institute for Strategic Studies. There have been reports this month that the buildup of Cuban forces in Ethiopia has forced Havana to call up 5,000 to 10,000 of its 60,000 standby reservists.
The latest U.S. figures on over-all Cuban involvement in Africa, in a National Security Council study put out in November said there were 23,000 Cubans in Angola, 19,000 of them military personnel.
The figure for Cuban military personnel in Ethiopia at that time was 400, but United States now says there are more than 3,000 Cubans in the country, many of whom have been sent in from Angola, and more are on the way.
The first report of Cuban soldiers in Ethiopia came last May, shortly after Cuban President Fidel Castro's visit to Addis Ababa. The State Department said then that there were 50 Cubans in the country and the estimates have gone up steadily since then, accompanied by frequent Ethiopian and Cuban denials.
The NSC report in November gave this breakdown of estimated Cuban strengths in other African countries: Mozambique, 650 to 750, mostly military; Uganda, an unconfirmed figure of 25 military; Sierra Leone, about 125 military; Tanzania, 350 to 500, mostly technicians, Guinea, 300 to 500 and Congo 400 to 500, in both cases mostly military.
Libya, 100 to 125 military; Madagascar, 30 military; Guinea-Bissau, 100 to 200, mostly military; Equatorial Guinea, 300 to 400 about equally divided between military and civilian; Algeria, 35 medical personnel; Benin 10 to 20 security advisers, and Cape Verde, 10 to 15 medical.