Posted by: cubaa | August 29, 2007

We never let our friends down…


Pressure to condemn Cuba

Many people, many countries, including many powerful countries, have called upon us to condemn the suppression of human rights in Cuba.

We have reminded them they have a short memory. [Laughter]

For when we battled against apartheid, against racial oppression, the same countries were supporting the apartheid regime. [Applause] A regime that represented only 14 percent of the population, while the overwhelming majority of the people of the country had no rights whatsoever. They supported the apartheid regime. And we fought successfully against that regime with the support of Cuba and other progressive countries.


They now want to be our only friends, and dare to ask us to renounce those people who made our victory possible. That is the greatest contempt for the morality and the principles which are the basis of our relations, not only with the various population groups in this country, but with the entire world.

And I wanted to make a commitment that we will never let our friends down, friends during the most difficult period of our struggle, especially Cuba. [Applause]

Friends and comrades,

Let me assure you that the African National Congress, and the great majority of South Africans, will never forget those who stood by us in the darkest years of our struggle against apartheid. Along with the majority of humanity, we are determined to be active participants in the noble effort for a just world order.

Thank you.

(Speech by South African president Nelson Mandela to the opening of the Southeren Africa-Cuba Solidarity Conference which took place in Johannesburg. October 6-8, 1995 published in Militant, Vol.59, no 39, 23 Oct 95)


  1. Could someone provide a date and location for this statement?

    Recently I saw a PBS TV documentary about Cuba (“American Experience”) which argued that Cuba had been offered a chance for normalization in the Reagan administration but instead chose to send troops to Angola. There was even tape of a speech by Henry Kissinger seeming to offer an olive branch.

    My memory is that Cuba’s support for Anglola was a critical factor in the collapse of the apartheid regime, now universally welcomed.

  2. The post is dated, but when and where did Mandela make these wonderful remarks? Thanks.

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