As mentioned below and elsewhere in Spolitical, South Africa’s snubbing of the Dalai Lama has opened up the 2010 World Cup hosts to much criticism. Now, mere days after denying an entry visa to the (generally) beloved Tibetan spiritual leader, South Africa has decided to bestow a lofty state honor–one previously given to MLK and Gandhi–upon … Fidel Castro.
SA’s decision to marginalize the Dalai Lama is wrong in the moral sense, but from the standpoint of realpolitic I can understand not wanting to anger a major trading partner like China–particularly at a time when Africa is losing Chinese investments. But to follow that up by paying homage to Castro? Inexplicable.
Given how bumpy the road to the World Cup has already been, one must wonder whether SA’s forthcoming bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics took a serious hit in recent days.