At the memorial service in South Africa for Nelson Mandela, President Obama openly greeted and shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, whose continuing insults against the U.S. include the four-year imprisonment of Alan Gross, 64. He's the American sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for providing a computer and cellphone to the isle's isolated Jewish community. Never mind that the Castro regime “sponsors terrorism abroad and against their own people,” says Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. At least Mr. Obama didn't offer his customary bow.Republican Senator (and one time Presidential candidate) John McCain went a tad further:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized President Obama for shaking the hand of Cuban leader Raul Castro at the memorial ceremony for former South African president Nelson Mandela, comparing the gesture to Neville Chamberlain's handshake with Adolf Hitler at the start of World War II.Do we need to point out McCain's meeting with Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi.
But we're talking presidents shaking hands with dictators here, right?
How about George W Bush shaking hands with Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan? Bush's own State Department said this of Uzbekistan in 2003:
Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights. The Constitution provides for a presidential system with separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; however, in practice President Islam Karimov and the centralized executive branch that serves him dominate political life and exercise nearly complete control over the other branches.Kinda the definition of a dictator, isn't it?
Heck, even the Trib's Eric Heyl has called Karimov "autocratic" and lumped him in with other unsavories as Kim Jong-un, Robert Mugabe and yes Raul Castro.
Huh. Go figure.