A handshake that shook the world


In the spirit of Nelson Mandela, President Obama stopped and shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial to Mandela in South Africa.

Instantly and predictably, the U.S. far-right Republicans and their mouthpieces went crazy. Now, nobody in their right mind could argue with following the example Mandela set of talking, negotiating and finally reconciling with one's enemies, especially when history has moved to a new stage. But nobody said the tea party types are in their right mind.

More important, the idea that Cuba is the "enemy" of the United States is a relic of the last century's Cold War and needs to be finally thrown on the ash heap of history. Not just the idea, but also the numerous anti-Cuba policies, starting with the U.S. embargo and travel ban. History has indeed moved to a new stage and it is time for our policy to reflect that. It is heartening to see the Obama administration ease the most extreme Bush-era sanctions against our neighbor. Much more needs to be done.

U.S. anti-Cuba policies have hurt our own economy and  isolated our country from the rest of the world, in particular the countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The United States stands out like a sore thumb, the only country in the hemisphere that does not have normal relations with the socialist island 90 miles from Florida's shores.

It was a handshake that shook the world, fittingly done at Mandela's memorial. Yes, Mr. President, let us all honor Mandela's legacy - a man whom you rightfully described as understanding "the ties that bind the human spirit" - and finally establish neighborly ties to Cuba.

Photo: In this image from TV, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, at the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. The handshake between the leaders of the two Cold War enemies came during a ceremony that's focused on Mandela's legacy of reconciliation. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gathered with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela, who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. AP/SABC Pool

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  • Fifteen years ago, 5 Cubans were accused of espionage but their names remained hidden from public awareness by the US media. It is a shame when politics overrides justice.
    Hopefully, the handshake seen around the world will result in the release and return of Gerardo, Antonio, Ramon and Fernando, together, to reunite with their families and beloved homeland.

    Posted by Richard Grassl, 12/15/2013 5:06pm (2 years ago)

  • A decent step by Obama. Hopefully, the decency will continue.

    As for Tea Baggers going crazy over this, screw them.

    Posted by , 12/14/2013 1:48pm (2 years ago)

  • venceremos con armour...siempre !

    Posted by albie, 12/12/2013 11:59pm (2 years ago)

  • It is past time to remove the trade embargos to Cuba and resume normal trade with them. With our advanced technologies and communications I would think we should as a country be trying to up lift the economies and life styles of our neighbors to the south of us.
    Maybe things will change for the better in the near future.

    Posted by RiverRat, 12/12/2013 6:24pm (2 years ago)

  • wow...as the saying goes "this could be the start of something big"

    historians say JFK was real close to a one on one ...make nice meet-up with Fidel, a few days before his murder in Dallas...

    to think of what it could have been....Viva Cuba

    See the Peace, be the Peace...thanx Raul, thanks Barach.......and a big THANK YOU to Nelson Mandela

    ................observer Jules..........

    Posted by jules, 12/12/2013 5:59pm (2 years ago)

  • Yes, Let's try something that might work for a change

    Posted by Stiofain Gael Mac Geough, 12/12/2013 5:38pm (2 years ago)

  • The Horace quote below should read: mutate nomine de te fabula narrator

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/11/2013 4:57pm (2 years ago)

  • When president Barack Hussein Obama motioned to shake Raul Castro's hand, he willy-nilly seconded the motion of virtually the entire civilized world, its United Nations, that the United States of America-our country-stop the illegal, systemic persecution of the great, heroic people's government of Cuba.
    Also, willy-nilly-when our president scolded or renounced "those governments who praise "Madiba", yet do not let its citizenry dissent, logically if not intentionally, he spoke clearly of the United States of America and its reactionary, counter-revolutionary government.
    Perhaps the biggest, most blatant indication of our rouge government vis a' vis Cuba, is the celebrated cause of the Cuban 5. In that case, the right to dissent counter-revolutionaries, racists, anti-communists and misogynists, supporters of mass murderers and the "sanitized" murderous C I A, analogous to Strom Thurmons, Orin Hatches, Steve Stockmans and Ted Cruzes, organizations like the John Birches, The Heritage Foundation, Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan,
    is exposed in our United State government's high hypocrisy in the Cuban 5.
    The United Nations General Assembly voted recently, almost to a nation, to oppose the U. S. persecution and the U. S. blockade of Cuba, along with its bullying of the world's nations to cower to its imperialist atrocity.
    Outlaws, terrorist criminals and mass murderers like Luis Posada are shielded by the U. S. government, while the Cuban 5 are jailed with a cruel and unusual punishment, shaming the 17th century, both in terms of charges leveled and sentences ordered.
    God help and save our U. S. government from this criminal, mass murdering hypocrisy.
    What president Obama would ascribe to Cuba, as a recent PA article asserts, quoting Horace: mutate de te fabula narrator(change the name and it applies to you)
    A handshake that shook the world.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/11/2013 4:51pm (2 years ago)

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