Carrollwood, Florida - A former Capitol Hill lobbyist who was born and raised in Ybor City spent years working for the South African government. He says despite all the praise for Nelson Mandela after his death, Mandela was once on the United State's terrorism watch list.
Albert Fox remembers meeting Mandela. He says, "His presence alone, when he's in the room, it means so much to so many people."
Related Story: Obama praises Mandela as 'great liberator'
Fox worked for the South African government as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill from 1984 up until 1991, which was one year after Mandela was released from a 27-year prison stay. He says it's important to know that Mandela could have walked out of a prison anytime he wanted.
Fox says, "But the conditions were he could never run for any office. He could never get together with more than five people at one time. He was banned from a certain part of the country, he couldn't travel there, so Nelson Mandela would turn it down."
Fox says the negotiations with Mandela and the South African government went on for a couple of years. Mandela wouldn't budge.
"They would give Mandela a list of these conditions and he would keep them a month or two and then reject it."
While the world pays tribute to Mandela this week the, United States wasn't always so fond of Mandela, at one time listing him on a U.S. terrorism watch list.
Fox says, "He was put on that list from the time he was arrested. It was our CIA that had gathered information and had given it to the South African government."
The Reagan administration was especially concerned about the African National Congress, or the ANC, which Mandela chaired. The administration was concerned about any possible ties it could have had to the Communist Party.
Fox says, "At that time, if you just mentioned the word 'Communism or communist' it was a boogey man."
Years after Mandela's release from prison, his name remained on the U.S. Terrorism watch list as late as 2008. He even needed special permission at one point just to visit the U.S., which is something Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called back then "embarrassing."
His name was eventually removed from the list.
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here