Mandela is an
unsurpassable example for Latin America and the
• Speech given by Army General
Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State
and Ministers, at the funeral honors for the
historic leader of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, in
Johannesburg, December 10, 2013, Year 55 of the
President Jacob Zuma:
Family members of Nelson Mandela:
High ranking dignitaries:
Sister people of South Africa:
Full of emotion, we pay tribute to
Nelson Mandela, who is recognized as the supreme
symbol of dignity and unyielding dedication to the
revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice; as a
prophet of unity, reconciliation and peace.
President Raúl Castro Ruz giving his
speech at the funeral honors for the
leader of the South African people,
Together with his comrades in
struggle, he led his people in the battle against
apartheid, in order to open the way to a new,
non-racial South Africa, united in the search for
happiness, equality and the well-being of all its
sons and daughters, and to overcome the consequences
of colonialism, slavery and racial segregation.
An example of integrity and
perseverance, he then led the effort directed toward
the elimination of poverty, the reduction of
inequality and the creation of opportunities for all.
Mandela is an unsurpassable example
for Latin America and the Caribbean, which are
advancing toward unity and integration to the
benefit of their peoples, respectful of their
diversity, with the conviction that dialogue and
cooperation are the way forward for the solution of
differences and civilized cohabitation among those
who think differently.
Humanity cannot respond to the
colossal challenges which are threatening its very
existence, if it does not do so through a new
coordination of efforts among all nations, such as
the life of Mandela extols.
Cuba, which has African blood in its
veins, rose up in the struggle for independence and
for the abolition of slavery and, subsequently, has
had the privilege of battling and building together
with African nations.
We shall never forget Mandela’s
moving tribute to our common struggle when he
visited us on July 26, 1991, and stated, "The Cuban
people hold a special place in the hearts of the
people of Africa."
A symbol of the sisterhood between
Africans and Cubans, I recall his close friendship
with Fidel Castro, who affirmed, "Nelson Mandela
will not go down in history for the 27 consecutive
years he spent incarcerated without ever renouncing
his ideas; he will go down in history because he was
able to expunge from his soul all the poison that
such an unjust punishment could have created; for
the generosity and wisdom with which, at the hour of
the already uncontainable victory, he was able to so
brilliantly lead his self-sacrificing people,
knowing that the new South Africa could never be
constructed on the foundations of hatred and
Eternal honor and glory to Nelson
Mandela and the heroic people of South Africa!
Thank you very much.