December 10th, 2013
10:20 PM ET

President Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro... What now?

The world's eyes were on President Obama today at Nelson Mandela's memorial. While he was on stage he shook the hand of Cuba's President Raul Castro. The White House says the moment was unplanned and uncomplicated. Some are calling this a sign of hope, while others call it a sign of surrender. John Berman discussed it with CNNPolitical Commentator Ana Navarro and Senior Political Analayst David Gergen.

Filed under: Ana Navarro • Barack Obama • David Gergen • Raul Castro
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. dianne alvarado

    A real unscripted honest moment between two gentleman who were there in mutual respect of a greater man- touching to see 🙂

    December 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • John

      Well said, Dianne. That's what Mr. Mandela would have done and wanted.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  2. Kevin Campbell

    Folks, Mandella stood for reconciliation and accord. Really?!! so your president shook hands with the brother of a man who told America they could no longer exploit them. Grow up!

    December 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  3. Steeler c RSD

    If he had skipped Raul Castro, but shook every other persons hand, that would have cause an uproar. He was at a service for Nelson Mandela, who practiced peace and respect. It would have been disrespect to Mandela and his lifes work if he didn't shake Castro's hand. People are blowing it out of proportion.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  4. Robert Stiefel

    This is a silly bit of non-news being hyped as if it had profound meaning. President Obama extended a common courtesy to the other heads of state present. Yes, he shook President Raul Castro's hand (and being much taller he had to bend down to do so), and he went on to kiss and shake hands with the President of Brazil – and goodness knows similarly to greet how many others. President George W. Bush (who flew to the event with President Obama) when in office kissed and held hands with the King of Saudi Arabia. President Reagan entertained the Taliban in the White House. Saddam Husein had his handshake, but I forget with which of our Presidents. FDR shook hands and sat in conference with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill at the close of WWII. And so on back throughout our history. Common courtesy is diplomatic behavior but is not in itself a sign of profound political intention.

    December 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Kimlyn

    How on earth can that be considered a sign of surrender? President Obama is a gentleman and a man of peace. He was being polite. I have enough respect for him for doing that. Good on you Mr. President

    December 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  6. Maddalena

    Bravo Obama !!

    December 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Daniel

    Whats the big deal? They're both leaders of a country. Shaking hands is a sign of mutual respect–why does everything have to mean something else?

    December 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  8. shenita

    The manner in which Mandela dealt with the government that oppressed his people revealed forgiveness and no bitterness. He acted accordingly to his position and role. I'm sure there were those in his party and those full of anger and bitterness that opposed his openness. President Obama did the same, respectfully. If he walked passed that President, it would have been opposed by those who oppose the views of those who are currently upset. He acted just as he did during the debates, as he should.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:42 am |

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