Obama Shakes Hands With Brutal Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in South Africa (Video)

Obama Shakes Hands With Brutal Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in South Africa (Video)

President Barack Obama spent $5 million taxpayer dollars to go to South Africa to honor Nelson Mandela and what will be remembered?



President Barack Obama on Tuesday shook hands with Raul Castro, leader of America’s Cold War foe Cuba, in a rare gesture at the memorial service in South Africa for Nelson Mandela.

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The handshake between Obama and the brother who took over the duties of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was seen by millions around the world on live television. A White House official said it was not “pre-planned”.

The Cuban government hailed it as a hopeful sign, writing on its website: “May this… be the beginning of the end of the US aggressions.”

Others were not impressed. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican said,

“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,” Rubio said.

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has been a vocal critic of the Castro regime. Earlier this year, he told The Cable he believed “the Castro regime sponsors terrorism abroad and against their own people.”

“It remains clear that Cuba is the same totalitarian state today that it has been for decades,” Rubio said. “This totalitarian state continues to have close ties to terrorist organizations.”

The criticism was bi-partisan, with New Jersey Rep. Albio Sires, an immigrant from Cuba, saying:

“I was disappointed to view the handshake between President Obama and the Cuban dictator Raul Castro at what was a moving service to memorialize Nelson Mandela.

“Instead of making grand gestures that only validate tyrannical regimes, the United States should be working tirelessly to bring Cuban prisoners, like Alan Gross home safely, as well as support those striving for democracy in the face of oppression.,” Sires said, referring to a U.S. contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba. “Such action to bring innocent victims to freedom would truly serve Mandela’s legacy.”

Here’s video of the handshake.

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