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WATCH: HuffPost Honors World Leader... His Wisest Words...
'If I Had My Time Over I Would Do The Same Again'
Hamba Kahle, Nelson Mandela: With Our Deepest Gratitude
We Mourn the Loss of Global Human Rights Icon, Nelson Mandela
Toward a Powerful Living Legacy for Nelson Mandela Now
Honoring Nelson Mandela
George H. W. Bush, Former President of the United States
I was honored to be the first American President to welcome Mr. Mandela to the White House. It remains a genuine highlight from those four years I was privileged to hold that high office.
Mandela: A Human Rights Legend Passes as He Had Lived, In Peace
For Mandela, true freedom could only come from forgiveness and a desire to recast the society not from personal or group revenge, but rather from justice, redemption and reconciliation.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Nelson Mandela
Mandela's South Africa: Reviewing Two Decades of Freedom
Mandela, The United States, And Bahrain
Memories of Mandela from Spain
The Mandela You Don't Know: The Savvy Politician Who Used the World Cup to Unite South Africa
What Mandela Means
Nelson Mandela -- Who Will Carry His Torch?
Obama: Mandela 'No Longer Belongs To Us, He Belongs To The Ages'
CHENEY DIDN'T REGRET HIS VOTE AGAINST FREEING NELSON MANDELA, MAINTAINED HE WAS A 'TERRORIST'
The Huffington Post | By Nick Wing | 12/05/2013
In 1986, Nelson Mandela -- the former president of South Africa who died Thursday at the age of 95 -- was serving the 23rd year of what would ultimately be a 27-year prison sentence. The Western world was finally acknowledging the true horrors of Apartheid, a system of racial segregation that denied basic rights to blacks -- including citizenship and the right to vote -- and brutally oppressed a generation of South Africans fighting for equality.
In the U.S. Congress, lawmakers were ready to show their opposition to the South African regime with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a bill that imposed tough sanctions and travel restrictions on the nation and its leaders, and called for the repeal of apartheid laws and release of political prisoners like Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress (ANC).
The measure passed with bipartisan support, despite strong and largely Republican opposition. President Ronald Reagan was among those most opposed to the bill, and when he finally vetoed the measure over its support of the ANC, which he maintained was a "terrorist organization," it took another vote by Congress to override it. Among the Republicans who repeatedly voted against the measure was future Vice President #$%$ Cheney, then a Republican congressman from Wyoming.
Cheney's staunch resistance to the Anti-Apartheid Act arose as an issue during his future campaigns on the presidential ticket, but the Wyoming Republican has never said he regretted voting the way he did. In fact, in 2000, he maintained that he'd made the right decision.
“The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago.''
Cheney went on to call Mandela a "great man" who had "mellowed" in the decade after his release from prison.
In 2004, Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards tore into his counterpart's congressional voting record, calling out Cheney for his vote against freeing Mandela. Shortly after, Cheney historian John Nichols said that he'd spoken to Mandela about Cheney's record and worldview. Like many, Mandela was concerned:
He’s very blunt about it he says one of the many reasons why he fears #$%$ Cheney’s power in the United States, and Mandela does say, he understands that Cheney is effectively the President of the United States, he says, one of the many reasons that he fears #$%$ Cheney’s power is that in the late 1980’s when even prominent Republicans like Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich were acknowledging the crime of Apartheid, #$%$ Cheney maintained the lie that the ANC was a terrorist organization and a fantasy that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist leader who deserved to be in jail. Frankly it begs very powerful question. If #$%$ Cheney’s judgment was that bad in the late 1980’s, why would we believe that it’s gotten any better in the early 21st century?
A handful of sitting lawmakers also voted against freeing Mandela. GOP Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Howard Coble (N.C.) and Hal Rogers (Ky.) opposed the Anti-Apartheid Act throughout the legislative process. Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, then a Democrat, voted against the bill, but did not vote on the veto override.