News / USA

Obama, Halfway Around the World, Has Message for Washington

President Barack Obama speaks at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Reuters
President Barack Obama traveled halfway around the world on Tuesday to deliver a message he hoped would be heard by his political opponents back home, and some U.S. rivals abroad.
 
Obama's speech at a rain-soaked soccer stadium in Johannesburg was perhaps the most electrifying moment of a day of remembrances about the life of Nelson Mandela, who died last Thursday at age 95.
 
Throughout his speech, Obama sprinkled references to his determination to work to reduce income inequality in the United States.
 
His appeal to people who embrace Mandela's life mission to actually live by it may have been directed toward his Republican opponents, who have sought to stymie his agenda on many fronts.
 
“There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality,” Obama said, using Mandela's clan name.
 
Obama's brief trip to South Africa offered a respite from partisan battles in Washington over spending and, more recently, the botched rollout of his signature healthcare plan.
 
The troubles have weighed heavily on his presidency and contributed to a decline in his popularity among Americans, who now give him a 38 percent job approval rating, among the lowest of his five years in office.
 
While the U.S. economy is showing some signs of strength, the improvements are not trickling through to the middle class.
 
Obama wants the U.S. Congress to improve the plight of middle-class Americans by approving a higher minimum wage, more spending on education for children and an overhaul of immigration laws as ways to boost the American economy.
 
His appeals, however, are not gaining much traction among Republicans, who see his proposals as another way to increase the tax burden on Americans.
 
Obama also preached a broader message at the Mandela memorial.
 
Delivered before both Cuban President Raul Castro and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, his remarks could easily be construed as being directed at their governments and others with whom the United States has differences over human rights.
 
“Around the world today, men and women are still in prison for their political beliefs and are still persecuted for what they look like and how they worship and who they love. That is happening today,” he said.
 
“There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”
 
Promoting freedom and human rights and ending wars are difficult, he argued, but “South Africa shows us we can choose.”
 
“We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity,” Obama said.

Watch the entire speech:

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 10, 2013 9:37 PM
Despite I can understand less than half of his address due to my listenning capacity, it sounds like for me encouraging himself to determine again and to be able to carry out his policies as VOA implys. Equal opportunity, freedom, generousity, helping each other, no unilateral domination, seaking ideals. Good luck Obama !


by: Whistleblower from: District of Criminals
December 10, 2013 5:27 PM
Obama and his predecessor have flown on your dime to South Africa to attend the funeral of the former communist Nelson Mandela.

“President Barack Obama brought former President George W. Bush with him to Africa on Monday to attend a memorial for Nelson Mandela in a high-profile show of American respect for the man who vanquished white-minority rule in South Africa,” Reuters reports.

All part of the globalist club: Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter went along for the ride, but on separate flights.

“Obama kept his usual quarters in the front of the plane, while the medical unit cabin was transformed into the Bushes’ quarters for the flight. Clinton stayed in the senior staff cabin.”

Henri Le Riche estimates “Obama’s expected 10-minute speech at Nelson Mandela’s memorial will cost taxpayers at least $500,000 per minute.”

That’s not counting any cakes and coffee he and his inner circle consume aboard Air Force One during the 18,000-mile round trip to Johannesburg, via Dakar, in Senegal.

The 28-hour two-way flight will cost $5 million because the four-engined Boeing 747 costs roughly $180,000 an hour to operate, according to a May 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service.

The cost includes jet fuel and subsequent maintenance of the aircraft’s engines, electronics and hotel-class facilities.

Obama has been accompanied by the First Lady, Attorney General Eric Holder, national security advisor Susan Rice and confidante Valerie Jarrett.

In addition to Obama and his entourage aboard Air Force One, the government sent along the presidential security detail – armed guards, bullet-proof limos, and other equipment – on a far less luxurious C-17 cargo lifters based out of Andrews Air Force base. Cost: $23,811 per hour.

Obama’s trip is not merely ceremonial. The high profile event serves as a spectacular propaganda piece to highlight multiculturalism, the latest political control tool exploited by the establishment.

Incidentally, the ideological heirs to Mandela’s communism do not support Obama’s presence in South Africa.

A statement issued by the National Unions of Metalworkers of South Africa, the South African Communist Party, the Young Communist League of South Africa, the South African Students’ Congress, the Muslim Students’ Association, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Friends of Cuba Society, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa, and the World Federation of Trade Unions condemn the U.S. Public relations stunt.

“Our rejection is based the US’s arrogant, selfish and oppressive foreign policies, treatment of workers and international trade relations that are rooted in war-mongering, neo-liberal super-exploitation, colonial racism and the disregard and destruction of the environment, thus making the realization of a just and peaceful world impossible,” the statement declares.

The rejection is interesting considering the United States was instrumental in the effort to dismantle apartheid. The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, enacted by Congress, imposed sanctions that ultimately led to the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the end of apartheid.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid