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12/10/13 - ABC News - Obama Shakes Hands With Cuba's Raul Castro 

President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday
at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that stoked talk
of a possible rapprochement between the leaders of two Cold War foes.

The brief encounter between the U.S. and Cuban president came during a
ceremony that celebrated the former South African president's legacy of
reconciliation. Obama was greeting a line of world leaders attending the
memorial in Johannesburg before delivering his own eulogy in which he urged
a new generation to embrace Mandela's life work as their own.

More than half a century after the U.S. cut off diplomatic relations with
Cuba, such exchanges between American and Cuban leaders are exceedingly
rare. U.S. officials often have gone to great lengths to avoid having
presidents meet Cuban leaders, even in passing.

Making his way to the podium for his speech, Obama also greeted Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff with a kiss on the cheek. Rousseff and Obama have
clashed over reports the National Security Agency monitored her
communications, leading the Brazilian leader to shelve a state trip to the
U.S. earlier this year in a show of anger.

The U.S. and Cuba have recently taken small steps toward political
reconciliation, raising hopes that Washington and Havana could be on the
verge of a breakthrough. But skeptics caution the two countries have shown
subtle signs of thaw in the past, only to fall back into old
recriminations.

In 2009, Obama made waves when he shook hands with the late Venezuelan
president Hugo Chavez, a strident critic of the United States, at the
Summit of the Americas.

---

Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Havana contributed to this report.


Original Source / Fuente Original:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/obama-shakes-hands-cubas-raul-castro-21158775


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