December 10th, 2013
08:02 AM ET

A brief but important handshake between Obama, Castro

By Jill Dougherty

Arriving on stage at FNB stadium in Johannesburg to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama shook hands with dozens of other world leaders, pausing briefly to grasp the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro.

It was a moment of high symbolism. More than 50 years after the Cuban Revolution, the United States and Cuba still do not have diplomatic relations.

The President has eased some of the economic embargo and travel restrictions that the administration of President George W. Bush strongly enforced, but relations still are tense. Cuba continues to imprison an American citizen, Alan Gross, who was arrested in 2009 on charges of attempting to destabilize the Cuban government.

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soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. stingerhp

    Birds of a feather always flock together...

    December 11, 2013 at 8:52 am | Reply
  2. Drexel White

    Least we forget President Obama offered his hand, signifying the higher level of respect & diplomacy the moment required. No mention of his shaking The former South African president that supported oppression. As protocol consultant it should said the purpose of this occasion is missed whipping this into something else.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:23 am | Reply
  3. Daniel

    Good job Mr. President.

    December 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Reply
    • General Sherman

      I agree, Daniel. This is one of the few things Barack Obama did right. We sorely need to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and just ignore both the right-wing politicians in Washington and the Mafia who simply don't want this to take place!

      December 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  4. Portland tony

    Handshake or not, our policy toward Cuba, an island 90 miles from the Florida keys is one of the best examples of politics let by a few wealthy Cuban Expats who want their casinos back. How can this great nation help solve issues of great importance in the Middle East when it can't stabilize relations with a small economically deprived island nation who poses no military or economic threat to Florida's Key West let alone the entire US?

    December 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • General Sherman

      Great post, Portland tony. I fully agree with that!

      December 10, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  5. ertqwerqwereukyTERTuiyir432

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee100% ciento garantizado las peores groceries para todos los politicos en Diciembre.

    hasta que reaccione la policia INTERNACIONAL, investigue las pruebas y lleve a lo politicos a juicio por genocidio.

    Estamos siguiendo las leyes INTERNACIONALES.

    El metodo el de costumbre.

    100 % percent grocerias garantized the worst for all politicians in December.

    INTERNATIONAL react to the police , investigate the evidence and do what politicians on trial for genocide.

    INTERNATIONAL We are following the laws.

    The method the usual.
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    December 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  6. ertqwerqwereukyTERTuiyir432

    100% ciento garantizado las peores groceries para todos los politicos en Diciembre.

    hasta que reaccione la policia INTERNACIONAL, investigue las pruebas y lleve a lo politicos a juicio por genocidio.

    Estamos siguiendo las leyes INTERNACIONALES.

    El metodo el de costumbre.

    100 % percent grocerias garantized the worst for all politicians in December.

    INTERNATIONAL react to the police , investigate the evidence and do what politicians on trial for genocide.

    INTERNATIONAL We are following the laws.

    The method the usual.
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    December 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  7. ertqwerqwereukyTERTuiyir432

    100% ciento grantizado las peores grocerias para todos los politicos en Diciembre.

    hasta que reaccione la policia INTERNACIONAL, investigue las pruebas y lleve a lo politicos a juicio por genocidio.

    Estamos siguiendo las leyes INTERNACIONALES.

    El metodo el de costumbre.

    100 % percent grocerias grantizado the worst for all politicians in December.

    INTERNATIONAL react to the police , investigate the evidence and do what politicians on trial for genocide.

    INTERNATIONAL We are following the laws.

    The method the usual.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  8. erhgjgjhter432

    100% ciento grantizado las peores grocerias para todos los politicos en Diciembre.

    hasta que reaccione la policia INTERNACIONAL, investigue las pruebas y lleve a lo politicos a juicio por genocidio.

    Estamos siguiendo las leyes INTERNACIONALES.

    El metodo el de costumbre.
    tttttttttttttttttttttttttt

    December 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  9. erteukyTERTuiyir432

    Denounce POLITICAL AND CHILDREN BY A MASS MURDER GENOCIDE OR LATINO AMERICA VENEZUELA .
    EVENT HANDLING $ EXUAL FABIOLA LEON, HANDLING WITH CLEAR CELL DESCONECXION LOBE CENTERS IN PROCESSING CENTERS hypothalamus .

    PAYMENT FOR HANDLING OF MEN AND WOMEN FOR $ EX IN STATES UNDER VOLTAGE totally unaware intentions .

    MICHELLE OBAMA AND DAUGHTERS :
    ANN DUNHAM , BARACK OBAMA SR . MALIK Abongo OBAMA, MAYA SOETORO -NG , NATASHA OBAMA, MALIA ANN OBAMA
    BUSH AND CHILDREN :
    PRESCOTT BUSH , DOROTHY WALKER BUSH
    GEORGE W. BUSH , JEB BUSH , DOROTHY BUSH KOCH , NEIL BUSH , MARVIN P. BUSH , BUSH ROBIN
    PRINCES OF SPAIN :
    Letizia INFANTA DON FELIPE OF SPAIN AND ELENA CRISTINA INFANTAS
    MINISTER HARPER AND CHILDREN . RINCIPE THEFT OF SPAIN AND CHILDREN INFORMATION IN THE AREA OF APPLICATIONS IN PHYSICS CERN.
    HARPER CANADA:
    LAUREEN RACHEL HARPER HARPER, MARGARET JOHNSTON BENJAMIN HARPER, HARRIS JOSEPH GRANT HARPER HARPER, ROBERT HARPER

    ANGELA MERKEL .

    TEXTS COMPLAINTS EVEN IF NOT ADJUSTED Methodologies and PATHOLOGY INTERNATIONAL LAW ON BREACH OF OFFENSIVE CONTENT IN TERMS OF GROCERIAS .

    FROM 15 DECEMBER TO TEXTS will migrate OFFENSIVE AND WE HAVE ALL THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT ARE AND RESEARCH CENTERS IN delaying ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY .

    EXCUSES IN ADVANCE
    11:27 a.m.
    errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    NEW MEDICAL EXAMS TENDON DAMAGE LIGAMENTS JAW BONES LEG MUSCLES IN FABIOLA LEON AND OTHER CASES.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  10. USAPeasant

    Not a bad gesture and I do believe we should reconcile ourselves with Cuba in order to maintain peace in the Western Hemisphere. However, remember Cuba does in fact have a lot of political repression and "thought crimes" which ought not be crimes at all. I think we can reconcile with Cuba, but first Cuba has to do away with a lot of these unjust laws they have. There is no place in the New World for such Old World tyranny. All Cuba has to do is allow freedom of expression, which will in fact enrich their country, and I think on that basis we could easily re-normalize relations, but it will take the will and change of both nations, not just one or the other.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Given a chance USAPeasant, Cuba will eventually do away with the laws you're talking about. This will come about much quicker if we reconcile with that country and stop listening to these anti-Castro nut jobs as they fight to keep the current policy in place!

      December 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  11. erhgjgjhter432

    WITH OUT CIFI.
    PRESS RELESE SEE COMMENTS IN CNN.
    DENOUNCE POLITICAL AND CHILDREN BY A MASS MURDER GENOCIDE OR LATINO AMERICA VENEZUELA .
    EVENT HANDLING $ EXUAL FABIOLA LEON, HANDLING WITH CLEAR CELL DESCONECXION LOBE CENTERS IN PROCESSING CENTERS HYPOTHALAMUS .

    MICHELLE OBAMA AND DAUGHTERS :
    ANN DUNHAM , BARACK OBAMA SR . MALIK ABONGO OBAMA, MAYA SOETORO -NG , NATASHA OBAMA, MALIA ANN OBAMA
    BUSH AND CHILDREN :
    PRESCOTT BUSH , DOROTHY WALKER BUSH
    GEORGE W. BUSH , JEB BUSH , DOROTHY BUSH KOCH , NEIL BUSH , MARVIN P. BUSH , BUSH ROBIN
    PRINCES OF SPAIN :
    Letizia INFANTA DON FELIPE OF SPAIN AND ELENA CRISTINA INFANTAS
    MINISTER HARPER AND CHILDREN . RINCIPE THEFT OF SPAIN AND CHILDREN INFORMATION IN THE AREA OF APPLICATIONS IN PHYSICS CERN.
    HARPER CANADA:
    LAUREEN RACHEL HARPER HARPER, MARGARET JOHNSTON BENJAMIN HARPER, HARRIS JOSEPH GRANT HARPER HARPER, ROBERT HARPER
    ANGELA MERKEL .

    TEXTS COMPLAINTS EVEN IF NOT ADJUSTED METHODOLOGIES AND PATHOLOGY INTERNATIONAL LAW ON BREACH OF OFFENSIVE CONTENT IN TERMS OF GROCERIAS .

    FROM 15 DECEMBER TO TEXTS WILL MIGRATE OFFENSIVE AND WE HAVE ALL THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT ARE AND RESEARCH CENTERS IN DELAYING ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY .

    EXCUSES IN ADVANCE
    11:27 A.M.
    errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    NEW MEDICAL EXAMS TENDON DAMAGE LIGAMENTS JAW BONES LEG MUSCLES IN FABIOLA LEON AND OTHER CASES.

    December 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  12. Sidney Crain

    President Obama needs to issue an executive order ending the Cuban embargo and restore full diplomatic ties, travel and investment. The fact that Cuba is a remnant of the Communist era is irrelevant in 2013.

    December 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Well put, Sidney. How true that is!

      December 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply
      • MT

        Shaking hands with a dictator? Have you been in Cuba? I didn't think so!

        December 11, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  13. erter432

    Denounce POLITICAL AND CHILDREN BY A MASS MURDER GENOCIDE OR LATINO AMERICA VENEZUELA .
    EVENT HANDLING $ EXUAL FABIOLA LEON, HANDLING WITH CLEAR CELL DESCONECXION LOBE CENTERS IN PROCESSING CENTERS hypothalamus .

    PAYMENT FOR HANDLING OF MEN AND WOMEN FOR $ EX IN STATES UNDER VOLTAGE totally unaware intentions .

    MICHELLE OBAMA AND DAUGHTERS :
    ANN DUNHAM , BARACK OBAMA SR . MALIK Abongo OBAMA, MAYA SOETORO -NG , NATASHA OBAMA, MALIA ANN OBAMA
    BUSH AND CHILDREN :
    PRESCOTT BUSH , DOROTHY WALKER BUSH
    GEORGE W. BUSH , JEB BUSH , DOROTHY BUSH KOCH , NEIL BUSH , MARVIN P. BUSH , BUSH ROBIN
    PRINCES OF SPAIN :
    Letizia INFANTA DON FELIPE OF SPAIN AND ELENA CRISTINA INFANTAS
    MINISTER HARPER AND CHILDREN . RINCIPE THEFT OF SPAIN AND CHILDREN INFORMATION IN THE AREA OF APPLICATIONS IN PHYSICS CERN.
    HARPER CANADA:
    LAUREEN RACHEL HARPER HARPER, MARGARET JOHNSTON BENJAMIN HARPER, HARRIS JOSEPH GRANT HARPER HARPER, ROBERT HARPER

    ANGELA MERKEL .

    TEXTS COMPLAINTS EVEN IF NOT ADJUSTED Methodologies and PATHOLOGY INTERNATIONAL LAW ON BREACH OF OFFENSIVE CONTENT IN TERMS OF GROCERIAS .

    FROM 15 DECEMBER TO TEXTS will migrate OFFENSIVE AND WE HAVE ALL THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT ARE AND RESEARCH CENTERS IN delaying ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY .

    EXCUSES IN ADVANCE
    11:27 a.m.
    errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    NEW MEDICAL EXAMS TENDON DAMAGE LIGAMENTS JAW BONES LEG MUSCLES IN FABIOLA LEON AND OTHER CASES.

    December 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  14. Jhfda Dhhdte

    The great newest latest Prophet (-N-S-A-) wrote: " AS THE WAR PIGS GATHER THEY WILL SHAKE ."

    December 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  15. Casey B.

    It's a handshake. They're at a funeral.

    Don't read more into it than is there. Two men at a funeral shook hands. That's it.

    December 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  16. George patton

    wish Obama had grabbed the opportunity to pin his arms behind his back and put on handcuffs.

    December 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      Thank you again, Phunnie boy. I figured you were going to say something stupid like that as usual. You haven't said anything intelligent yet!!! People like you say the most ignorant things imaginable!

      December 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
      • Peppy

        I disagree you beat him in the ignorant department. Look around your boy Oblunder has lied, cheated and stolen from America. Pull hard the popping noise you hear is your head coming out !!!

        December 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  17. Canukman

    Your President is such a refreshing man and a beacon of hope for a better future. He shock the man's hand. Good for him. Such a simple but potentially important gesture was decades overdue.

    Canada never did buy into the hate program pushed by the US when it isolated Cuba. We have always maintained good relations with Cuba and today, many Canadians travel there for sunny and inexpensive vacations during our winter months. Many prefer it to Mexico.

    December 10, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Good posting, Canukman. Unfortunately, the right-wing thugs in Washington are just too full of hate to see things our way! In Washington D.C., corruption and ignorance reign!!!

      December 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • Peppy

        Perfect blame some one else for obummers short commings, Im convinced your on gov assistance. If not than you are very uneducated. As far as the financial mess Bammy has only made it worse. P.S. thank slick willie for if, ever hear of nafta. ???

        December 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  18. George patton

    Could this be a sign of better things to come? Hopefully, yes but not if the lowlife, right-wing fanatics in Washington have their way. In fact, it's these same fanatics who got our country in the economic mess that it's currently in. When are we as Americans going to stop listening to these lowlifes in Washington?

    December 10, 2013 at 10:12 am | Reply
    • MT

      Patton gets some help, you sound like a loser.

      December 11, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
  19. Fred Garvin

    I suppose to not shake Castro's hand would be rude, but for once would someone convince the President that there's no need to bend over (bow) when shaking a shorter man's hand. Some may think he's trying to be gracious, and other's may think he's trying to show he's not above the others, but it just looks like he's being condescending, bending over as if he's shaking a child's hand.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
    • Larry Tytla

      As for the bowing thing: I'm tall. When I shake a smaller person's hand I tend naturally to bend over, at least if I am speaking with them. Otherwise I do not hear what they say. Symbolism? None.

      December 10, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply

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