Cuba’s Raul Castro and Obama to Attend Mandela Funeral

General/President Raul Castro. File photo from Cubadebate.cu
General/President Raul Castro. File photo from Cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama are two of the 90 plus leaders expected at the funeral of Nelson Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

Castro is traveling with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla. Former US presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will also be attending.

The 90,000 seat soccer stadium will be the venue for the funeral ceremony and it is expected to be overflowing.

The Cuban government of Fidel Castro was an early supporter of Mandela during his struggle from prison against the Apartheid system in South Africa.  It also played an important role in military defeats that helped bring an official end to the racist policy in that country in 1990.

After leaving prison Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994-1999.


4 thoughts on “Cuba’s Raul Castro and Obama to Attend Mandela Funeral

  • The Canadian delegation to Mandela’s funeral includes Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. I’m glad to see Mulroney attending because he played an important role in the struggle against Apartheid. Mulroney supported the anti-apartheid movement and tried to convince US President Ronald Reagan and British PM Margaret Thatcher to finally join the boycott movement against South Africa. As Mulroney put it to his two conservative colleagues, “We are not trying to bring South Africa to her knees, we are only trying to bring her to her senses.” He was unsuccessful in persuading them, but his outspoken support for the anti-apartheid movement earned him the gratitude of Nelson Mandela.

    After apartheid ended and Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa, Mandela came to Canada to express his thank to our country and PM Mulroney for his support in the struggle. I was in the huge crowd of people who turned out at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square to hear Mandela speak and I was deeply moved by his grace and wisdom.

    In my opinion, it was the international diplomatic movement, including the boycott, which did the most to end apartheid, and not the armed struggle. At no time did the armed resistance present any real threat of defeating the South African police and army. The armed struggle contributed to the fight by focusing international attention on the evil of apartheid, but it was the boycott that wrecked the South African economy and put political pressure onto the government to change.

  • The article states: “It also played an important role in military defeats that helped bring an official end to the racist policy in that country in 1990.”

    That is false. The Cuban army had no effect on ending apartheid. The treaty ending the war in Angola between South Africa and UNITA against Cuba and the MPLA did not address the issue of apartheid.

    From Wikipedia, on the history of Apartheid:

    “Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; he was prevailed upon to resign in February 1989.[155] He was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a conservative, de Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, de Klerk announced that he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the United Democratic Front. The Land Act was brought to an end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release Nelson Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty. Media restrictions were lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common-law crimes were released.

    On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years of confinement. Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections in 1994, the first in South Africa withuniversal suffrage.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid_in_South_Africa

  • It was just released that both Obama and Castro will speak at the memorial. First up, Obama and last to speak Castro. More than anything, the fact that Mandela’s memorial could bring these two together in the same place at the same time is further tribute to the man and his legacy.

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