Remind ourselves that Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit and was not so stubborn to keep himself high in the picture. He was humble and wise to go not for his best but for the best of the people he loved. The South African word Ubuntu describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
Many Americans and deserted Cubans may feel affronted by the act of president Obama giving a peaceful hand to the new president of Cuba, who still has to prove which way he wants to go with Cuba after his brother.
Let us remember the gestures, large and small – introducing his jailors as honored guests at his inauguration; taking the pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV and Aids – that revealed the depth of his empathy and understanding. He not only embodied Ubuntu; he taught millions to find that truth within themselves. It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.
- Ted Cruz Walks Out During Raul Castro Speech at Mandela Funeral (breitbart.com)
“Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners; he should hold free elections, and once and for all set the Cuban people free,” the spokesperson said.
Cruz’s father, Rafael, is from Cuba, and he came to the United States before Raul’s brother–Fidel Castro–came to power in 1959.
- Obama Shakes Raúl Castro’s Hand (givemeliberty01.com)
Mandela managed as his last action got all of his fellow Communists together. Obama fit in with all of the Communist despots and was eager to shake their hands. It looks like Obama bowed slightly to Castro.
- Raul Castro’s Speech at Mandela’s Memorial (youthandeldersja.wordpress.com)
remember at this moment his bond of affection with Fidel Castro, a symbol of the fraternal relations between Africans and Cubans. Fidel has said, and I quote, “Nelson Mandela will not go down in history for the 27 consecutive years he spent incarcerated without ever renouncing his ideas. He will go down in history because he was capable of cleaning out his soul from the poison that such an unfair punishment could have planted there and for his generosity and wisdom which at the time of victory allowed him to lead with great talent his selfless and heroic people, knowing that the new South Africa could not be built on hatred and vengeance”.
- Sen. Ted Cruz walked out of Mandela memorial service when Cuba’s murderous dictator Raul Castro began his speech (babalublog.com)
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) walked out of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela when Cuban “president” Raúl Castro began speaking.
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro (sacbee.com)
It would hardly have been noteworthy, except the men locking hands in Johannesburg were Barack Obama and Raul Castro, whose nations have been mired in Cold War antagonism for more than five decades.
A single, cordial gesture is unlikely to wash away bad blood dating back to the Eisenhower administration. But in a year that has seen both sides take small steps at improving the relationship, the handshake stoked talk of further rapprochement.
“On the one hand you shouldn’t make too much of this. Relations between Cuba and the United States are not changing tomorrow because they shook hands,” said Geoff Thale, a Cuba analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a U.S.-based think tank.
He contrasted the moment to a 2002 development summit where then-Mexican President Vicente Fox asked Fidel Castro to leave to avoid having him in the same room as U.S. President George W. Bush.
“What’s really striking here is the contrast,” Thale said. “It’s a modestly hopeful sign, and it builds on the small steps that they’re taking.”
- Obama-Castro redux: Image of a handshake, but a speech with a backhanded slap (kstreet607.com)
A few have noted the president “bowed” to Castro. It’s a function of the president being so much taller than the little dictator, and being decorous at an event on the world stage. The encounter just didn’t look like an act of obeisance by Obama.
What’s the president of the United States supposed to do — snub another world leader at the funeral of a great world figure who was friends with that other world leader? That wouldn’t be very Mandela of Obama.Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on ABC steered clear of overtly criticizing, but said “If he was going to shake his hand …he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”Later Tuesday, Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen was more outraged. During a House hearing on a possible nuclear deal with Iran, Ros-Lehtinen criticized the deal and then transitioned to Cuba, telling Secretary of State John Kerry that, when Obama shook the “bloody hand” of Raul Castro it was a “propaganda coup” for the dictator”Today is about honoring Nelson Mandela,” Kerry said. “We didn’t choose who was there.”Ros-Lehtinen: Is Castro upholding human rights?
Kerry: “No. Absolutely not.”
- Obama, Raul Castro shake hands at Mandela funeral (cbsnews.com)
Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, said, “If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”
Is President Obama a lame duck already?
While he doesn’t quite qualify as a lame-duck president – a term reserved for the 10-week period after a successor has been elected – Mr. Obama has seen his ability to set and carry out an agenda significantly curtailed just a year into his second term. Political scientists and scholars tend to point to two reasons for this: an obstinate, Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and the botched roll out of the Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature legislative achievement.
“It has almost nothing to do with his length of service, his public opinion standings, or the focus shifting to Democrats and Republicans who might replace him,” said Tom Mann, a governance studies expert at the Brookings Institution. “It’s almost entirely a consequence of a Republican House of Representatives and the sort of relentless opposition from the out party.”
- Obama greets leaders, including Raul Castro, at Mandela memorial (washingtonpost.com)
The U.S. president also greeted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who has filed a formal protest with the United States and rebuked the National Security Agency for its eavesdropping on world leaders.
Obama has criticized the Cuban government’s restrictions on civil rights but also said the United States must “find new mechanisms and tools” to deal with the nation. His administration has eased restrictions on American travel to Cuba and negotiated over issues including immigration, postal services and possible oil spills.
In September 2000, then-President Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro shook hands at the United Nations in what Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called a “chance encounter.” It was believed to be the first time Castro had shaken hands with a sitting U.S. president.
President Jacob Zuma, relatives of Nelson Mandela, distinguished dignitaries, fraternal people of South Africa, let us pay an emotional tribute to Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice; a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation.
Alongside his comrades in the struggle, Mandela has led his people in the battle against apartheid to open the way to a new South Africa, a non-racial and a united South Africa, in its quest for happiness, equality and the well-being of all of its children; a nation bent on overcoming the consequences of colonialism, slavery and racial segregation.
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