The late anti-apartheid icon and former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who earned his respect for reconciling the different political factions in South Africa continues to be a symbol of reconciliation even in his death as US President, Barack Obama, shakes hands with Cuban President, Raul Castro, at the memorial service held for Mandela in South Africa.
The United States has imposed a commercial, economic and financial embargo on Cuba since 1960 in response to the revolution that brought a Socialist government headed by Fidel Castro to power in 1958 and successive US administrations have failed to remove the embargo while a socialist government remained in power in Cuba.
As a result of the embargo, there has been no open trade between the US and Cuba since 1960 despite the two countries being only about 90 miles apart.
Needless to say there are no diplomatic relations between both countries.
During the cold war Cuba allied itself with the Soviet Union much to America’s annoyance and relationships between both countries reached a critical point that almost led to a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cuban nuclear crisis in October 1962.
Raul Castro and Obama were part of the thousands of present and past world leaders and other dignitaries gathered at the 80,000 capacity FNB stadium in Johannesburg to celebrate the life of the anti-apartheid icon.
While on his way to the podium where he gave a moving speech in honour of Mandela, President Obama passed in front of Raul Castro of Cuba and both men shook hands warmly and exchanged pleasantries for about a minute. They, however, stopped short of embracing each other.