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The Cuban president, Raúl Castro, and his American counterpart, Barack Obama, were pictured shaking hands at the memorial event for Nelson Mandela. The image immediately went viral.
According to BBC Mundo, “this is the first time that such a gesture has happened in public between the leaders of these two countries that have been bitter enemies for over 50 years.” Another piece by BBC English is available here.
BBC Mundo described how, during the ceremony at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in commemoration of the anti-apartheid leader, “Obama shook a smiling Castro’s hand as he walked towards the podium to give his speech in honour of Madiba.”
Reactions to the handshake did not take long to appear on social media. On Facebook, the journalist and blogger, Jorge Legañoa, shared a picture of the handshake while saying:
En Twitter revienta esta foto. Nuestro presidente Raúl Castro y Barack Obama se saludan en el #MandelaMemorial. La pregunta del millón: ¿qué se habrán dicho? ¿solo un saludo, o algo más?
This photo has gone viral on Twitter. Barack Obama and our president Raúl Castro greeting each other at the #MandelaMemorial. The million dollar question is this: What could they have been saying? Just a greeting…or something more?
On the Facebook page of the Caracas based, pan-Latin American television network Telesur, users also made their opinions known:
Un saludo no me sorprende, lo que realmente me sorprendería es que Obama decidiera suprimir el bloqueo a Cuba, consideró Maai Ortiz.
“Such a gesture doesn’t surprise me, what would really surprise me is if Obama decided to end the embargo against Cuba”, was the opinion of Maai Ortiz.
Aún después de muerto Mandela sigue marcando caminos de entendimiento y paz…, dijo Laura Isabel Alemán.
“Even in death Mandela continues to show the way to peace and understanding…”, said Laura Isabel Alemán.
Sin duda es histórico! Y para honrar a Mandela, Obama debería levantar el bloqueo, cree Alejandra Dixon.
“Without doubt this is historic! And to honour Mandela, Obama should lift the embargo”, added Alejandra Dixon.
The event was reported by the Huffington Post (EN), AP, Telesur and the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, including numerous other international news media.
In November, the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that common interests existed between his country and Cuba which could lead to future collaboration between the two nations.