Obama, Castro Shake In Rare But Significant Gesture


President Obama joined world leaders and dignitaries for the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier today. While there, Obama displayed some positive diplomacy by shaking hands with leaders on his way to deliver an address honoring the late Mandela.

Among those he shook hands with was Cuban President, Raul Castro.

The U.S. and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations since the Cuban Revolution over 50 years ago and the handshake between Obama and Castro ignited polarized reactions all over Twitter.

According to the Associated Press, President Obama also shook hands with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff and Obama have had existing tensions because of alleged NSA spying.

According to CNN, a senior administration official said it was not a “pre-planned encounter…above all else, today is about honoring Nelson Mandela, and that was the President’s singular focus at the memorial service.”

During Obama’s address, he made remarks about reconciliation and freedoms, which seemed to be directed towards those leaders of dictatorial regimes.

It is unclear whether the interaction between Castro and Obama is a sign of peace and progress to come. However, Cuba’s stance on human rights and political disagreement continue to keep relations distant.

Jaclyn Raulerson
I'm a journalist whose interest lies in hard news. I live, laugh, and love.
Jaclyn Raulerson
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