No high-five

December 11, 2013

“ON BACKGROUND, I can confirm there was a handshake.” In such deliciously cloistered terms did aides in 2000 confirm that President Bill Clinton had shaken hands with Fidel Castro–the first time a sitting American president had ever done so with the Cuban leader. Compared with that, President Barack Obama’s quick but highly public handshake with Raúl Castro, the Cuban president (and Fidel’s brother), at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on December 10th looked like a sign of rapprochement between America and Cuba meant to be shouted from the rooftops.


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