April 11, 2015

As a child of the Cold War, it's gratifying to see this piece of it move toward a peaceful ending.

Al Jazeera:

US President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro have shaken hands at the Summit of the Americas, a new milestone in efforts to shed decades of animosity between the two countries.

The two leaders - who briefly shook hands once before, at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg in 2013 - exchanged a few words on Friday as Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, and regional leaders looked on, before taking their seats at a Panama City convention centre.

The sight of Obama and Castro in the same room instantly became a potent symbol of their bid to renew diplomatic ties that were severed in 1961.

It was the first time that a Cuban leader attended the summit in its 21-year history.
A US official characterised the Obama-Castro greeting as an "informal interaction", adding that "there was not a substantive conversation between the two leaders."

A widely anticipated broader conversation - the first between US and Cuban leaders since ties broke in 1961 - is expected on Saturday.

"The presence here today of President Raul Castro of Cuba embodies a longing expressed by many in the region," Ban said.

A peaceful outcome to a decades-long impasse! What a concept.

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