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U.S. says Nelson Mandela is not a terrorist

U.S. says Nelson Mandela is not a terrorist

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Howard Berman of California has proposed legislation to clear the name of the South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) in the United States government record books. Nelson Mandela, and other former members, need approval to enter the United States as the ANC was once labelled a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and South Africa during apartheid.  The ANC has evolved quite a bit over the years, but did carry out numerous attacks on institutions of South Africa’s apartheid regime from the 1960s through the 1980s. The New York Times explains the U.S. stance:

Until recently, State Department officials preferred to grant ANC members waivers for travel to the United States on a case-by-case basis. They feared a more permanent exemption would open the floodgates to similar requests by other former terrorist groups. But that objection apparently now has been wisely dropped.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found it an “embarrassing matter” to waive travel restrictions on her South African counterparts, let alone the “great leader” himself.  The bill would update entries on the ruling party’s members in U.S. government databases. Just in case you missed the neon sign, Hamas and al Qaeda need not apply.