1,000 Words: The handshake

We know that President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shook hands inside the Palace of the Revolution during their meeting today because we’ve got the picture to prove it.

That was before the two spoke.

At the conclusion of their joint appearance today, however, awkwardness ensued; the kind where someone is trying to avoid the optics that critics back home might jump on. But that explanation doesn’t make much sense because of picture No. 1.

The video of it is even more awkward.

  • Gary F

    Look how happy he is, President Obama is meeting one of his idols.

    • Jeff

      Looking forward to getting some of that Cuban health care.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        You can fly there direct today.

        • Rob

          See you in Havana next winter!

    • Jim in RF

      Exactly what they said when Nixon met Mao in 1972.

    • Rob

      Was Gloria Estefan there? I didn’t see her…

      Also – SNORE

  • ChrisF

    You know what’s weird? Casto’s thumb. If he glued googly eyes on it, it would look like something out of Thumb Wars.

    • Rob

      Senor Wences lives!

  • Fred, Just Fred

    The only thing I can think of is “how many people has that hand strangled?” Speaking of Castro of course.

    • Rob

      The Castros have strangling, the U.S. has Gitmo. Or, as the world refers to it, “Terrorist Recruiting Poster.”

  • Fred, Just Fred
    • Rob

      A politician made a promise he didn’t keep? Horrors!!

    • Jay T. Berken

      “We are the laughing stock of the planet.”

      Ok Fred, you tell us the year that we, as a nation, can transport back to which you thought was our strongest, and we will use that as our target to guide our principles to. And hopefully the nation will heed to your call to elect our representation to get us to that goal.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Question to answer yours. If Reagan had decided to approach Cuban reconciliation, and had made the first gestures of good will, but withheld prizes like a US Presidential visit until movement was seen on their side, do you think he would have said “What the heck, it will be fun” and headed off after they told him to pound sand?

        http://m.heraldscotland.com/news/13194486.CUBA_COMMUNIST_PATH__WON_T_CHANGE_/

        • Jay T. Berken

          Reagan, I’m assuming, didn’t give two **** about Cuba. Cuba didn’t have the bomb, it was USSR bombs that Kennedy was worried about in Cuba. You can give hyperpaly, but it did not happen. Now if you want to not talk to states with bad human rights activities, then why to we keep good relations with Saudi Arabia.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Isn’t that where Obama made the worlds first Presidential bow?

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Reagan didn’t give the USSR a financial bonanza to prop them up, like Obama did for Cuba.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            From your link: “The sale provides for the first major purchase of American wheat by the Russians in two years and would fulfill the Russians’ commitment to buy certain quantities of American wheat under a five-year agreement signed in 1983. Last year, the Russians purchased just 153,000 tons of wheat. ‘A Breakthrough'”

            That is “buying stuff to fulfill a commitment” Bob.

            Obama moved the $500 cap on remittances to Cuban citizens from US relatives to $2000; that is “giving US dollars to the Cuban economy”. Billions of dollars, Bob.
            http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/17/news/economy/cuba-remittances/

            He also removed the requirement to get a license for “humanitarian” donations.

            I expected your responses to be a bit tougher than that.

      • Fred, Just Fred
        • Jerry

          Because someone close to Reagan would never deal with a dictator.

          • Jay T. Berken

            The interesting thing is that we tried and killed Saddam, but only tried to assassinate Castro in the ’60s. If Castro is such a dictator with bad human rights record, why didn’t we really take him out. Now the Conservative fraction cares about human rights in Cuba…

        • Jay T. Berken

          So you want to go back to 1987.

          You know in 1988 Reagan went to the Moscow Summit in the USSR. then in 1989 the wall was opened and then 1990 the wall started going down. Now you will say, but Reagan started the downfall and Bush, a Rupublican president, oversaw the fall and transfer, and you are right. Two things though, Reagan went before the rights of millions changed and second, what is the difference that Obama s doing.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand the answer.

          • Jay T. Berken

            Three to five years before Reagan met with Gorbachev, he was coming the USSR the “Evil Empire”. He did not have any treaties with the USSR when he met. You got to start somewhere.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            You don’t start by propping up their dictatorship by giving the the financial bonanza Obama gave Cuba.

            Venezuela’s Chavistas, Castro’s last benefactor, have just about finished destroying their own economy, they couldn’t afford to prop Fidel up any longer; Obama came to the rescue in the nick of time.

          • Vaclav Haval and the pope had a lot to do with it. So did Bush. This story of how the wall came down is a little more complex than Reagan gave a speech.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            If Reagan’s appearance in Berlin had been the disgraceful spectacle obama’s meeting with Castro turned into, even the Pope couldn’t have helped get that wall torn down.

          • Jay T. Berken

            I’m listening to Bush’s biography, and the instant that Gorbachev was asked about seeing an unified Germany in 1989 in one of their talks, and Gorbachev said “Yes”. It even stunned his aid that the aid ask if Gorbachev miss spoke. He didn’t. And the unification, with other forces, started between East and West Germany. It was almost a side question, but the ramifications were huge. Gorbachev reminds me of Pope Francis being that through his values were of the old guard; his actions and worlds were of the new. They were/are visionaries.

            One of my favorite cities I the world is Prague. I personally have not done much study of the city and Czech Republic, so it is interesting to hear that they were part of the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe. It is unfortunate that the Nationalist are starting to take hold in their government like Hungry.

          • Jay T. Berken

            Great interview Bob.

          • It was one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever done. You’ll note that there were no phone calls, which was fine with me but I wondered why people weren’t interested in asking questions.

            It was only a day later that I realized I had the wrong screen up (it was on the last hour) on the computer so there were probably a bunch of people stacked up to ask questions and I never knew they were there.

            I feel bad about that I felt like Charlie Rose.

    • Tim

      It was our longstanding policy towards Cuba that was the laughingstock of the planet for decades. Most of the rest of the world realized that engagement was a better policy a long time ago.

      • Fred, Just Fred
        • Tim

          It’s a silly photo. Who cares?

          • Fred, Just Fred

            It’s a picture of the President of the United States acting like a clown with a Communist dictator, that has been seen in every country on Earth.

            I care, for one.

          • kevins

            Fred…so judgmental, and on the basis of a snapshot. Perhaps you could publish your high school yearbook pic…bet it gave the full measure of your personhood.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            The weakness of your response is in inverse measure to the offensiveness of Obama’s buffoonery, his feckless disregard of the dignity of his office, and the lives of Americans that have died to fight everything the Castros stand for.

          • Rob

            Your hatred of Obama has been well documented.

          • kevins

            You are judgmental.

        • Rob

          “opps,” not ops

          • Fred, Just Fred

            No.

    • chris

      We certainly will be if Trump is elected.

      • Tim

        Based on what he’s said about dealing with protesters, I imagine he sees eye-to-eye with the Cuban government about it anyway, so they’d probably get on just fine.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Trump is the creation of today’s Obamanation. Ye shall reap what ye have sown.

        • chris

          But then isn’t Obama the creation of the W/Cheney reign by your logic, if I may call it logic?

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Obama is the creation of the “Hopey/Changey, let’s give him a Nobel just ’cause we can, rock-the-vote, gimme my Obamaphone” electorate that bought an empty suit and a smug countenance.

            I have no idea what Trump will do. For all we know, this whole show is a big rope-a-dope. But what I do know is, we’ve completely lost sight of what a real leader is.

          • chris

            Well, Trump is very smug, so I guess you’re right after all.

        • Rob

          the sewing’s been done by fox news and other Obama haters.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            “Sowing”

  • kevins

    It is about time. Animosity toward Cuba was justified for many decades. That is no longer the case unless you are interested in returning to the 50’s. Progress is dependent on time and measured by relationships, more so than ideology. Obama did the right thing..it is time.

    • Rob

      Amen!