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January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016
"But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here."
"I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality."
The Venezuelan government published an official statement Monday, paying tribute to boxing icon Muhammad Ali, who died June 3, aged 74, after being admitted to hospital for respiratory issues.
In the statement, the socialist government outlines Ali's role in the sport of boxing as well as his important work as an advocate for social change and social justice.
Read the full statement below:
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses their condolences to the U.S. Afro-American people, the global sporting community and the family of Mohammed Ali for the sad passing of this sporting glory and symbol of the struggle for civil rights, peace and religious diversity in the world.
History will remember Muhammad Ali not only as the most important and most elegant boxer of all time but also as a man who from a young age rebelled against the ruling system of racial discrimination in his country and utilizes his sporting success to condemn before the world inequality and violations of the rights of the Afro-American people.
The world will remember his famous speech before a jury which sought to force him to take part in the genocide of the Vietnamese people: “I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”
Mohammed Ali lives on in the heart of all those who love sport and support the peaceful coexistence of people, cultures and religions."
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