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Sharpton: Don’t ‘Sugarcoat’ History by Forgetting Reagan and US Opposed Mandela

sharpton Meet the PressNelson Mandela’s death has prompted an outpouring of effusive praise from the media and politicians across the political spectrum, but Rev. Al Sharpton pointed out yesterday on “Meet the Press” that the U.S. government has not always been a supporter of Mandela and his freedom-fighting African National Congress, particularly during the Reagan administration.

Sharpton said it was a “betrayal of history” to sugarcoat U.S. opposition to Mandela and sanctions against the apartheid regime.

“Let’s remember, the ANC, they were pursuing freedom,” Sharpton said. “Many of the communist nations embraced them, this country did not. It was not like they were born Marxist; they were born people seeking to be free. Some of the Marxist nations, either genuinely or in a self-interested way, tried to embrace that. This country did not and fought that and denounced them and denigrated them. And I think for us now to sugarcoat that is a betrayal of history. We chose sides. We chose the wrong side.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot tried to counter Sharpton, saying, “It wasn’t that the United States was taking the side of the South African government and apartheid. Everyone agreed that apartheid was odious. The disagreement was over how best to pursue the breakdown. After the sanctions debate, President Reagan picked an ambassador, Edward Perkins, to South Africa, who was a Black American, who argued for the release of Mandela, and may in fact have had significant influence in releasing him.”

But Sharpton wasn’t having this. “Let’s be clear, Reagan supported veto on bills; Reagan denounced Mandela, called him names. He evolved after a protest movement here turned the tone and public opinion. But let’s not act like Reagan was a major supporter of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. It’s just not true.”

Not only did Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refuse to impose sanctions on South Africa’s racist government, but they considered the ANC a terrorist organization. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, when he was a congressman joined 179 other House members to vote against a non-binding resolution to recognize the ANC and call on the South African government to release Mandela from prison. In 2000, Cheney still maintained that his vote had been correct.

In fact, Mandela’s name was on the U.S. terrorist watch list until it was removed in 2008, when President Bush signed a bill removing it.

Then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the restrictions “rather embarrassing.”

While calling Mandela a “great man,” last week Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly still participating in silly name-calling.

“He was a communist, this man. He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man! What he did for his people was stunning!… He was a great man! But he was a communist!”

O’Reilly’s guest, former senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, then attempted to compare Obamacare to apartheid, which may get the prize as the most ridiculous statement about the new health care law ever uttered.

Santorum claimed Americans face an injustice similar to apartheid in the form of the “ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is at the front and center of that.”

What people are saying

10 thoughts on “Sharpton: Don’t ‘Sugarcoat’ History by Forgetting Reagan and US Opposed Mandela


  2. John Harris says:

    what A.S. said is all well and good…but WE as black people don't see or hear Sharpton out in our communities evervday or using his television platform to rail against the black on black murders…WE know this government of ours maintains "forked tongue" , "2 faces" of diplomacy…point is MANDELA was in prison 27 yrs for trying to free his people…and WON!!! how many believe mr.sharpton will spend even 27 MINUTES evervday for the next 27 MONTHS!! protesting the madness amoung our people???

  3. thats only half the story sharpton, he was also a black freedom fighter trying to liberate black people, just like with the haitian revolution, the US did not want that to inspire black freedom fighters within the US. Its not all about political economy, it is also race

  4. Linda Jenkins says:

    Keep 'em straight, Al Sharpton~!!!~ Hold their feet to the fire. Telling of the truth is imperative to warding against ignorance, stupidity and other vile ailments that afflict society.

  5. Zephania Zeph Mareva says:

    WON?? What is winning?

  6. Al sharpton is only out for his self. He looks like he has cancer to me….

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is betrayal of history just as it is a betrayal of history to recognize that "It was a black man that sold blacks into slavery and a white man to set them free"

  8. Asafo Asante-Diop says:

    @ hist123456: Can you name that Black man that you say sold us into slavery, or are you just regurgitaing something the enemies of our people and their stoogies had to say?

  9. Asafo Asante-Diop says:

    @ Mary Mcginnis: You are so typical. Since you know nothing valid to say about Al Sarpton, you invaldated yourself by stooping to a slur about how he looks. Obviously you are unfamiluar with your own mirror, or you would not have dared to make such a self defacing, irrelevant and comedic blunder.

  10. John Lindsay says:

    NOT true in the least.
    Sharpton has held a number of rallies in support of ending violence in inner-city areas.

    However, WHAT IN THE HELL does that have to do with his comments about Reagan/U.S. opposing Mandela?!
    NOT a damn thing.

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