The Obama/Castro handshake: Does it matter?
For whatever reason, media outlets are going nuts over President Obama’s handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro during the funeral of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.
Report from Fox News:
Cuban-American lawmakers voiced disappointment Tuesday over President Obama shaking the hand of Raul Castro during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, calling it a “propaganda coup” for the Cuban government.
“It is nauseating,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who fled Cuba with her family when she was a child, told Fox News.
Speaking later at a hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry, the congresswoman held up photos of the handshake and said political dissidents would be “disheartened” by them.
“Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant,” she said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also released a statement saying: “If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”
Ted Cruz, the only senator in the congressional delegation to Mandela’s memorial, walked out of the service in South Africa when Castro spoke.
So, what to make of this handshake heard ’round the world? Was it simply a cordial meeting between diplomats or a signal that the President is ready to alter relations with Cuba?