«The easiest thing is to break and destroy. The heroes are the ones who sign peace and build, “Nelson Mandela.
On July 18th of each year, the day of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the UN invites people from all over the world to celebrate the International Day of this universal man.
For 67 years Madiba, as he was also known, dedicated his life to the service of humanity, as a human rights defender, working for peace and as the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
The General Assembly decided in December 2015 to broaden the scope of this day so that it is also used to promote dignified conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness of the fact that prisoners are an integral part of society and to value the work of prison staff as social service of particular importance.
In July 1991, Nelson Mandela visits Cuba, after spending 27 years in South African prisons.
In so many years of deprivation and sacrifice nothing could break his fighting spirit, which led him to become the oldest political prisoner in the world and an icon of the universal struggle against the hated segregationist regime that existed in his country.
Fidel was able to travel to South Africa in 1994 and was honored with honors by President Mandela, who recognized in the person of the Cuban leader the unconditional support of the island for the independence of his people: «I am a loyal man and I will never forget that in the darkest moments of our country, in the fight against apartheid, Fidel Castro was at our side «.
It was an endearing friendship sealed in the common struggle, which remained unshakeable, because the admiration between the two leaders was mutual. Hence, Fidel in one of his Reflections devoted to Mandela, to Madiba, as he was known in his country, wrote:
«Old and prestigious friend, how pleased I am to see you become and recognized by all the political institutions of the world as a symbol of freedom, justice and human dignity.»
A very moving moment for the people of Matanzas was to see Nelson Mandela and Fidel in the tribune of the event on July 26 in the city of Matanzas, in 1991, when the crowd applauded and shouted to recognize the courage of the South African hero.
Matanzas pays perennial tribute to the memory of Mandela in the Memorial of the Slave Rebel, in Triunvirato, where the struggle against Apartheid and the decisive presence of Cubans in Africa is shown in photographs, maps and objects.
In that memorable act on July 26th, Nelson Mandela said:
«The Cuban people occupy a special place in the hearts of the peoples of Africa. The Cuban internationalists made a contribution to independence, freedom and justice in Africa that is unparalleled by the principles and disinterest that characterize it. »