Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican U.S. Representative from Florida) gets it horribly wrong.

President Barack Obama, in South African for the funeral of President Nelson Mandela, encountered the President of Cuba -  Raul Castro. The two men shook hands.

The Cuban-American Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had this to say "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". (Sarasota Herald-Tribune 11th Dec 2013).

For goodness sake shove it Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. Nelson Mandela's funeral was not staged to allow President Obama to snub Raul Castro.  Nor was it arranged so that Pres. Castro could score a propaganda coup.

The funeral was to honour the life and legacy of a man who shook the hands of many enemies, some of whom would have gladly murdered him or had him killed.

Amongst many other things his memorial service was an appropriate venue for simple and common courtesy. 

The American President and the Cuban President demonstrated such courtesy at the memorial for a very great man. Good for them.

And remember:

(1) That President Obama (in common with very many American Presidents) does not have un-bloodied hands.

(2) Many whiney Cuban-American exiles in South East Florida were supporters of that "exemplar of human rights and a gracious servant of the poor"  Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. (Look him up -- you will not find his name in a list of Sunday School teachers)

(3) Because many of my Cuban-American, or ( mostly white) Conservative American friends are so defensive and thin skinned I add the customary note that neither has Fidel Castro been an "exemplar of human rights and a gracious servant of the poor".

But I still have to say "for goodness sake shove it Rep. Ros-Lehtinen", and stop whining.

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