Obama and Castro exchange handshake
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 10, 2013
As President Obama crossed the stage at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa Tuesday, he stopped to shake hands with a number of world leaders, including Cuban President Raul Castro.
An American and Cuban president have not shaken hands since 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton exchanged a handshake with Fidel Castro. The handshake in South Africa has spurred speculation about thawing diplomatic relations between the two countries, which have been adversaries since the Cold War.
Carol Lee of The Wall Street Journal [wrote that the Obama administration has softened some policies](http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304014504579249904073347112) towards the island nation, including the ban on trade with Cuba. However, Julie Pace of the Associated Press reported that [the handshake might not be so significant](http://bigstory.ap.org/article/obama-shakes-hands-cubas-raul-castro
). “Skeptics caution the two countries have shown subtle signs of thaw in the past,” Pace wrote, “only to fall back into old recriminations.”
Lee also reported that the handshake is likely to draw criticism from Cuban-Americans, “particularly those who fled the island nation once the Castro brothers assumed power.”
Watch Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday.