Mandela: We Are Indebted to Cuba

From the point of view of size and population Cuba is a small country. But it is exercising an impact on world affairs which is similar to that of a super power. And Cuba has shown that it is just not a question of the size of a country but its policies and the calibre of its leaders that is important.

Mandela starts speaking at 1:30 in the video

It is an honour and a pleasure … I and my colleagues have been in prison for almost 30 years and that period appeared to us to have been remarkably short because we knew that we had strong friends almost everywhere in the world. And one of those friends who has been very consistent and whose voice has been very clear has been that of comrade Fidel Castro.

We have never doubted that in him and in Cuba we have a dependable friend. From the point of view of size and population Cuba is a small country. But it is exercising an impact on world affairs which is similar to that of a super power. And Cuba has shown that it is just not a question of the size of a country but its policies and the calibre of its leaders that is important.

We have benefited tremendously from the lessons of the Cuban revolution and from what Cuba is doing, especially in Africa, and we, in this part of the continent, were tremendously impressed by the role which Cuba played in the liberation of Angola. The Angolans themselves have done a great deal to win …but it is difficult to accept that they would have obtained their freedom at the time they obtained it if Cuba had not committed its forces and resources …towards the liberation of that country.

Cuba’s courageous and decisive actions in Angola

South Africa, which occupied a part of Angola, would still have been in Angola if Cuba had not taken the bold decision of challenging South Africa. The entire world and particularly South Africa will never forget the lessons of Cuito Cuanavale because that was the turning point in the military situation in the region.

We also feel that Namibia’s independence would have been very difficult to achieve if Cuba had not acted so courageously and decisively in Angola. The South African army would still have been there and it would have been difficult to get to the liberation of this country.

We are therefore indebted to Cuba. We would like to thank Comrade Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba for the support they have given us. We also appreciate the sacrifices they have made in Angola in order that this day should come. And, as I have already said, I don’t think this day would have come were it not for the assistance that have been given by the people of Cuba to the struggles of the Namibian people…

I have looked forward to coming to visit Cuba and I am very happy that that day has come. I sincerely hope that it will be possible for me to address the people of Cuba one of these days and I will express my sympathies …in the meantime I say that you should remember that I love you all…

They kept quiet for 42 years and now there are advising us about Cuba

Who are they to call for the observance of human rights about Cuba? They kept quiet for 42 years when human rights were being attacked in South Africa. Who are they now to be so concerned about human rights? They are not concerned with the violence in which ten thousand of our people have been killed in South Africa. Who are they to teach us about human rights? If you answer that question then I will address your question …

The people of Miami are entitled to their own views. They are entitled to their own friends and allies. That is their affair; we will not interfere with that. The people of South Africa generally and the African National Congress in particular, is entitled to have its own friends and allies. That is the affair of the people of South Africa generally and the African National Congress in particular. Nobody should interfere with that and in this particular case Cuba is our friend.

And if by visiting this country I am going to create tensions in Miami, I am very sorry for that because I have come here in a spirit of peace and of visiting a country which has been of tremendous assistance to us when the people of Miami were not so forthcoming. There are many countries which are now coming forward when we are on the eve of illness, the ends of our struggle that did not want to hear about us for the last 40 years.

Not only that, we are now being advised about Cuba by people who have been supporting the apartheid regime for these last 40 years, who have been giving the apartheid regime in South Africa the capacity to continue their brutal policies against the majority of our people. No man or woman of principle could ever behave in that fashion, of accepting advice from people who never cared for us at the most difficult times. advice that we must now repudiate the friendship of people who have stood with us right from the beginning. I might just add for the record, that I have been invited to go there to Miami after I have been boycotted there. That gives you an indication of just what has happened after I have been there.

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