Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Let's shake on it

  • Print

It was hardly the most significant handshake in history, but when U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro shook hands at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, it was observed around the world as a gesture of conciliation between the two estranged nations.

It may have been nothing more than the customary embrace that occurs between world leaders. The fact it occurred in front of the news cameras during a service dedicated to a man who exemplified the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation, however, meant the symbolism could not be ignored.

America and Cuba have been waging their own cold war, with occasional hot spots, since 1959, when Fidel Castro overthrew the American-backed government.

The United States used all its powers to undermine the Cuban dictatorship, which merely forced Castro into the arms of the Soviet Union.

When the ailing Fidel was replaced by his brother Raul, however, there were modest signals the country might begin to open up and modernize its political system.

That still hasn't happened, but it might if the Americans offered a few modest incentives to encourage change in Cuba.

The American embargo, has not achieved its aims. Reconciliation, however, might encourage the Cubans to promote democracy and respect human rights, if only on a small scale to start.

America should not give up on human rights, but it should recognize it's harder to effect change without engagement, which has been Canada's policy.

Mr. Mandela supported Fidel Castro because he opposed apartheid, which put the Cuban leader on the right side of history on that issue at least. The Americans, however, branded Mandela a terrorist, a designation that was not formally rescinded until 2008.

The handshake may not have been intended as a symbol, but it's as good a place as any to renew an old relationship. Mr. Mandela would agree.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2013 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: Another Kick At A Paywall

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you planning to go visit the new polar bear, Humphrey, at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google