The president of the United States Barack Obama has shaken the hand of the Cuban President Raul Castro at a memorial service to Nelson Mandela today in what is an unprecendented gesture between the two nations. Raul Castro was officially elected as President of Cuba on the 24th of February 2008, after his brother Fidel Castro, declined to stand for President again on 19 February 2008.
The United States and Cuba have had cold relations for over 50 years. Ironically this is the second event in recent times that have brought the historically divided relationship between the two nations to public attention. The first being the anniversary of the assassination of former President of the United States John F. Kennedy.
Castro smiled as he was warmly approached by Obama on his way to make a speech commemorating the man credited with leading the movement that ended Apartheid in South Africa. It seems that like in life Mandela continues bring people together even in death.
Could it be that this gesture is seen as a long over due return to the promise that once was Barack Obama.