President Obama shook the hand of Raul Castro at the funeral for Nelson Mandela, and really, in the sprit of Mandela himself, and yet, many on Twitter, who are either ignorant of the meaning of the now-late South African President’s life, or just looking for something to blast Obama about just because, issued some rather stupid tweets.
But before we get to the reasons for that (this blogger has no interest in showing them) according to Josh Gerstein of Politico, President Obama was circulating to shake hands with dignitaries in the VIP area, and “He shook hands at one point with Raul Castro. Pool didn’t see it but there are photos,” wrote Gerstein.
Raul Castro is the 82-year-old dictator and described as “Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008.”
For some particular reason that can only be attributed to media bias communicated to the American public, Raul Castro himself is considered to be a sworn enemy of America. In point of fact, that’s not true. While President Castro does have strong ties to, and a major history in, the emergence of Communism in Cuba, and a historically close relationship with the Soviet Union, Raul Castro himself has said “The American people are among our closest neighbors. We should respect each other. We have never held anything against the American people. Good relations would be mutually advantageous. Perhaps we cannot solve all of our problems, but we can solve a good many of them.”
(It should be noted that in the same interview published in The Nation, Raul Castro revealed they have had 157 secret meeting with the U.S. Military since 1994. So the idea that the U.S. doesn’t talk to Cuba is the stuff of a Conservatives wet dream.)
It’s hard to tell if the hand shake means anything other than Obama invoking the sprit of Nelson Mandela, but it’s well know that Raul Castro would love to normalize trade relations between his Cuba and America. It’s also something the United Nations would like to see as a thing of the past, as well. The Obama Administration has relaxed travel restrictions, but the embargos remain, in place, in part, because Cuba was placed on the “State Sponsored Terrorism” list – an action it protests.
Maybe the handshake means a lot more. Frankly, the sanctions are the product of hostilities borne of another time, and only kept alive via tradition, but not logic.