“We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of a vicious, imperialist-orchestrated campaign. We, too, want to control our own destiny.”

–Nelson Mandela

Fidel Castro was Mandela’s best friend

in Latin America

 

In 1991, Nelson Mandela traveled to Cuba to meet with then-President Fidel Castro on one of his first international trips after being freed from prison. Mandela called the Cuban Revolution “a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people” and thanked Cuba for supporting the African National Congress at a time when it was banned in South Africa and condemned by the United States. Showing his gratitude for the relentless support that Fidel, believer in internationalism of revolution, Mandela remarked, “We have come here today recognizing our great debt to the Cuban people. What other country has such a history of selfless behavior as Cuba has shown for the people of Africa?” Despite protest from Cuban Americans and criticism from those who pointed to human rights abuses in Cuba, Castro and Mandela continued their warm relationship, with Mandela saying he wouldn’t turn his back on those who had opposed apartheid.