Look, I’m not one to over-dramatize a handshake, at all – Raul Castro was standing first in line to greet Obama after he pranced up the stairs. He was kinda hard to avoid. But a mindful US president would have found a way to avoid him.
There’s a reason why the handshake between presidents Obama and Castro at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, today, is getting so much media play. Up until now, every American president has avoided shaking hands with dictators, as NRO’s Otto J. Reich notes, “especially those that have American blood on theirs.”
One example of many: Raul Castro was Minister of Defense in 1996 when Cuban Air Force Mig’s, cold-bloodedly and over international airspace destroyed two civilian U.S. airplanes with four American rescue workers on board. President Clinton rightly condemned the attack as cowardly, while Raul Castro decorated his pilots for bravery. That incident alone illustrates the difference between the two systems that are embodied in the two leaders. President Obama seems unaware of the importance of his office or of the mantle of honor he wears as the leader of the world’s oldest democracy and the liberator of nations. There is no moral equivalence between the leader of the free world and the leader of a morally bankrupt military dictatorship that holds power only by force.
If the Castro brothers have been vying for such a photo op with a U.S. president for over 50 years as Reich says, they finally got their wish.
The friendly hand-shake between Castro and Obama is all the more disturbing in light of the fact that since 2009, there there has been an American wrongly imprisoned in Cuba.
Please, Mr. President, don’t leave me behind.
That’s the gist of former U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross’ plea to President Barack Obama in a letter on the fourth anniversary of Gross’ imprisonment in a small military prison cell in Cuba.
In the letter, Gross, convicted by a Cuban court of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state,” says he spends 23 hours a day in a small cell with two other inmates, is in poor health and is largely cut off from the outside world.
“With the utmost respect, Mr. President, I fear that my government — the very government I was serving when I began this nightmare — has abandoned me,” wrote Gross, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. “Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home.”
His wife, Judy Gross, told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” that she’s fed up with apparently empty promises from government officials who have said they’ll help.
“It’s emotional. … It causes me a lot of anger. I have to say right now I’m angry at the U.S. government. I’m angry at the Cuban government,” she said Tuesday. “I’m totally frustrated for this lack of action, that Alan is still in the same situation that he was four years ago.”
Cuban authorities arrested Gross in 2009, holding him for more than a year before formally accusing him of illegally distributing prohibited satellite communications equipment to Cuban dissidents.
After a brief trial in 2011, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Meanwhile, MSM lefties are gushing about “reconciliation”.
Newsbusters: NBC’s Williams: Obama Shaking Hands With Raul Castro ‘One of the Better Moments’ at Mandela Memorial
Big Journalism: CNN DEFENDS: HANDSHAKE ‘NOT TO BE MISUNDERSTOOD’
Big Journalism: Obama-Castro Handshake: MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Rips Fox News for ‘Pandering’
for more questionable POTUS behavior at Nelson Mandela’s funeral…
Twitchy: Funeral selfies? Obama’s selfie face, FLOTUS’ furious face at #MandelaMemorial [pics]
White House Dossier: Obama Uses Mandela Speech to Jab Republicans:
Clearly, Republicans need to do a better job finding what’s best inside them. If they could only locate their inner Madiba, they might support universal early childhood education, Obamacare, a $20 minimum wage, and gay marriage.
Speaking at such an historic event overseas, Obama should have made damn sure to steer clear of any hint of partisanship and moral judgement against his political opponents. But he can’t help himself.
Because Obama’s central animating principle as president is not leading the nation; it’s his vision of social justice. He doesn’t view himself as Republicans’ president too, but as the man bearing the progressive banner against their immoral, discriminatory ideology of hate.
Weasel Zippers: Obama Shakes Blood-Stained Hand of Mass Murderer Robert Mugabe -Update: NBC Flushes Down The Memory Hole…
In today’s ceremony in South Africa, Mr Obama also shook the hand of Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, and greeted Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, with a kiss on the cheek despite recent tensions between the two over the extent of US spying revealed in the NSA leaks.
Another report disputes that:
The Conversation: Report: Obama Avoided Shaking Mugabe’s Hand:
The UK Telegraph reported that President Obama “was asked to take his seat just before reaching Mugabe.”
It was at that point that he shook the hand of Cuban leader Raúl Castro.
White House Dossier: Bush Booed During Mandela Memorial:
A sterling example of the maxim, no good deed goes unpunished.
Former President George W. Bush was booed when he appeared on the video monitor at today’s memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to the White House pool report, which cited local press outlets.
Meanwhile, when the images President Obama and Michelle popped up, there was a 30-second “deafening roar,” the pooler wrote.
How sad. Bush has done an far greater amount for South Africa than Obama. But Obama is much better at crafting his public image and saying the right things.
Bush personally saved the lives of millions of South Africans with his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, ensuring AIDS drugs are available to South Africa’s impoverished masses.
The Daily Caller: Mandela’s funeral: An incongruous opportunity to preen and pose:
Nelson Mandela’s funeral has been used an opportunity for ambitious politicians to strut and pose, to advance their careers and claims, says Mark Leibovich, author and chief correspondent for The New York Times Magazine.
“A big-ticket funeral can become a great theater for preening and networking and peacocking, the kinds of things that people in media and politics are known for,” Leibovich told The Daily Caller.
President Barack Obama flew down there on his huge blue-and-white Air Force One, to give a 19-minute speech about the lessons that Nelson Mandela could teach Americans and their politicians. He made sure to be seen with Mandela’s wife and with numerous other people who were also eager to be seen with him.