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Mandela memorial service creates moment between Obama and Raul Castro

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The International Business Times reported on Dec. 10, 2013 on a brief moment when President Obama shook hands with Raul Castro as Obama started to speak at Mandela’s memorial service.

President Obama said that Mandela’s example made him want to be a better man. This gesture of shaking hands with Raul Castro may lead to a thawing of relationships between the US and Cuba that is a long time coming.

There are those that want to keep the wounds festering because they cannot forgive or forget their disagreements with Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro is an old man that is dying and he has passed the baton to Raul Castro. This is an opportunity to support progress in helping the people of Cuba throw off one of the last countries embracing Communism, and the oppression that is a hallmark of the Communists.

When President Clinton shook Fidel Castro’s hand in a meeting at the UN in 2000. There was hope then that relationships would improve between the US and Cuba. There have been small steps in doing this, but major differences remain.

When President Obama was campaigning, he promised to close Guantanamo where many “war on terror” suspects are held. Guantanamo exists as a major affront to Cuba and to the world. Guantanamo is a symbol of a promise broken by the president that shows that he has eroded into the mindset created by those that support war over peace, and continued dissension over global harmony.

President Obama took the initiative to literally reach out to Raul Castro on this occasion, and his speech discussing the influence of Mandela, whose tribal name is Madiba, did not reconcile differences that the president identifies with Cuban and Chinese policies.

"There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. "There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”

The President lectured the world regarding chronic poverty and growing inequality, and the non-tolerance of dissent as the Tea Party and the GOP attempt to reduce food for women and children and the National Security Agency, FBI and Homeland Security encourage people to report any “suspicious activities” to the appropriate authorities.

Mandela’s major legacy is an absolute commitment to live up to his words and his ideals. We have a moment in time to reconcile with Cuba and show the world that we understand the love that Nelson Mandela showed to his friends and his enemies. Now is the time to seize the moment to move peace forward with Cuba and show that we have progressed due to Mandela’s example.

The president's eulogy is a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela's contributions to world peace and Mandela's commitment to freedom and justice for all.

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