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Statement from Kerry on the Occasion of South Africa Freedom Day

Location: Washington, DC

April 27, 2004

For Immediate Release
Washington, DC

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry issued the following statement today on the occasion of South Africa Freedom Day:

"Today Teresa and I join South Africans and people around the world in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the first all-race elections in South Africa. Ten years after the end of apartheid, South Africa is a blossoming democracy and a leader in its region. While fully overcoming the legacy of the apartheid era will be a long process, South Africans of all races should be proud of their accomplishments under the leadership of former President Nelson Mandela and President Thabo Mbeki.

"Both Teresa and I were touched by the struggle against apartheid. Teresa protested the unfairness and brutality of the apartheid regime as a college student in South Africa during the 1950's. Years later I strongly supported the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, which punished the apartheid regime by barring U.S. imports of South African steel, coal and agricultural products, imposed restrictions on banking and ended U.S. landing rights for the government-owned South African Airways. When President Reagan vetoed the act, I joined the strong bi-partisan coalition to override his veto. Teresa and I are proud of the small roles we played and remain great admirers those who sacrificed life and liberty to do much more.

"Today's South Africa Freedom Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the heroic and historic struggle of those who fought for freedom, democracy and justice in South Africa and to reaffirm our commitment to pursuing those ideals for all people in South Africa and around the world."

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