Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Surprising Republican Civil War That Erupted Over Nelson Mandela and Apartheid

Ronald Reagan was angry. It was October 1986, and his veto against the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act had just been overridden — and by a Republican-controlled Senate, at that. He had appeared on TV a month earlier to warn Americans against the Anti-Apartheid Act, decrying it as "immoral" and "utterly repugnant." Congress disagreed, and one month later, it produced the two-thirds majority needed to override Reagan and pass tough new measures against South Africa's apartheid government. 

These measures included a ban on bank loans and new investments in South Africa, a sharp reduction of imports, and prevented most South African officials from traveling to the United States. The Act also called for the repeal of apartheid laws and the release of political prisoners like African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela, who had spent the last 23 years in prison.