When Mandela arrived to Cuba, Cubans were summoned onto the streets of Havana to welcome the African leader who was awarded the country’s highest honors.
After Mandela's visit to Cuba, he visited Argentina and Brazil. This was the beginning of his relationship with Latin American countries that had recently lived under dictatorships, like Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.
“If you ask any Cuban who Mandela is, they will place him among the greatest men who have ever lived,” said Havana journalist Maria Elena Calderin.
When Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994, Castro was the guest of honor at his inauguration ceremony. "What Fidel [Castro] has done for us is difficult to describe with words," Mandela said. "First in the struggle against Apartheid he did not hesitate to give us all his help and now that we are free we have many Cuban doctors working here."