The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

December 11, 2013

Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing 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.

Obama adviser Ben Rhodes said the handshakes with Castro and other world leaders weren’t planned in advance and didn’t involve any substantive discussion, but were simply an exchange of greetings as the U.S. leader made his way to the podium to speak. “The president didn’t see this as a venue to do business,” Rhodes told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One back to Washington.

Still, 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.

In fact, when former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who led the nation for nearly half a century, shook hands with former President Bill Clinton at a U.N. Millennium Summit luncheon in 2000, he said Clinton had been the first U.S. president to do so.

Despite Tuesday’s handshake, Obama still offered an implicit criticism of governments like Cuba’s when moments later, he said too many people embrace Mandela’s legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist economic and other reforms.

“There are too many who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people,” Obama said, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

Text Only
National News
  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

    Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.

    April 19, 2014

  • State Unemployment [Duplicate] Unemployment fell in March WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery. The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment r

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Improved outlook for health law WASHINGTON (AP) -- A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. Nonetheless, Obama's announceme

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. puts off decision on Keystone XL pipeline WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely. In a surprise announcement Friday as Was

    April 19, 2014

  • Chelsea Clinton [Duplicate] Title of new book:'Hard Choices' WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's upcoming book will be called "Hard Choices," a title that reflects how the potential 2016 presidential candidate may try to define her record as President Barack Obama's secretary of state while she consid

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

    The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is only right about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 18, 2014

AP Video
Facebook