Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Slam Obama For Castro Handshake
Fox News predicted that President Obama's handshake with Raul Castro "could rile Cuban-American lawmakers," and Marco Rubio and Ilean Ros-Lehtinen have sure enough delivered.
According to the Hill, Rubio isn't so much angry that the handshake took place, but rather that Obama didn't take the opportunity to lecture Castro.
"If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba," Rubio said. "It remains clear that Cuba is the same totalitarian state today that it has been for decades. This totalitarian state continues to have close ties to terrorist organizations."
The White House says that the handshake was a brief, unplanned encounter, and was in the peaceful spirit of Nelson Mandala's memorial service.
Obama may not have taken the opportunity to speak to Castro directly, but that may be because he was on his way to give a speech in which he sent a direct message to Castro and his ilk.
"There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality," he said in his speech. "There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people."
Rep. Ilean Ros-Lehtinen was less measured in her response. She called it "nauseating."
"Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant," she told Fox News.
Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has noted that the handshake was not shown on Cuban television. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also seems to forget that a big part of Cuban propaganda is getting Cubans to think that its the imperialist hand of any U.S. President that is actually bloodied. We doubt the Castro regime wants to make more of the handshake then what it was.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.