US President Barack Obama shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro at a memorial to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations which have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.
Castro smiled as Obama shook his hand on the way to the podium to make a speech at the commemoration for former South African President Mandela, one of the world’s greatest peacemakers who died on Thursday.
It has been more than 50 years since the United States cut diplomatic ties with the country, following the communist revolution led by Raul Castro’s brother, Fidel.
Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother in 2008 due to ill-health.
The only previous known handshake between US and Cuban presidents since the revolution was in 2000 at the United Nations, when Fidel Castro shook the hand of then-US President Bill Clinton in a chance encounter.