Venezuela Pays Tribute to African Independence Leaders
Ambassador Mairin Moreno of Venezuela pictured with Duma Nkosi, Chair of the OR Tambo Foundation (l) and Dali Tambo, son of Oliver Tambo (r)

29 March 2021

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on 4 March conferred the Francisco de Miranda Order, in its first class, to six fighters for the liberation of southern Africa. Due the restrictions incurred by Covid-19, the event was held virtually and was titled 'Dreams of Freedom'.

The African leaders who were conferred the Order were Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna, better known as Sam Nujoma, founding father and first President of Namibia; Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of International Relations of Namibia; Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Minister of Defense of Zimbabwe; Luzia Inglês Van-Dunem, president of the Angolan Women’s Organization and general of the Armed Forces, and Oliver Tambo (posthumous), one of the leaders of South African independence and a central figure in the African National Congress.

In South Africa Mairin Moreno Merida, Ambassador of Venezuela conferred the award on Dali Tambo who received it on behalf of his father, Oliver Tambo.

President Maduro highlighted the fight of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe against the Apartheid regime in the 1990s. "The consolidation of Angola's independence cannot be understood without the support of Cuba, among many others. But, at the same time, Angola and Cuba were fundamental for the liberation of Namibia, in the first instance, and even for the end of apartheid in South Africa. As the great Nelson Mandela once said, the defeat of the South African racists in Cuito Cuanavale was a true Stalingrad that marked the beginning of the end for the apartheid regime. The same mutual support was crucial in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. That is why the freedom of Southern Africa is the product, in the first place, of the struggle and sacrifice of its peoples, but also of international solidarity in all its forms, even with combatants such as the Cubans who left their blood in all those sacred lands of Africa."

The ceremony took place in the week commemorating the death of Commander Hugo Chávez on March 5 and the bicentennial year of the Battle of Carabobo, which sealed the independence of Venezuela.

The Francisco de Miranda Order was created in 1939 to reward outstanding merit and to honor services made to science and progress.