'Mr President, I am Castro': Raul to Obama

Fidel Castro reveals brother Raul spoke to US President Barack Obama in English at Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Last updated: 19 Dec 2013 17:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Leaders handshake set off speculation of warming ties between the US and Cuba [Reuters]

Fidel Castro has said his brother, Raul, introduced himself to US President Barack Obama in English at the funeral for former South African President Nelson Mandela, telling him, "Mr President, I am Castro".

In an interview about Mandela in Cuban state media on Thursday, Castro congratulated his brother, who took over as president of Cuba in 2008, for his "steadfastness and dignity, when, with a friendly but firm gesture, he greeted the head of the US government and told him in English, 'Mr President, I am Castro'".

Raul Castro and Obama shook hands at Mandela's funeral on December 10, setting off speculation about whether it signalled a warming of ties between the two nations after decades of animosity.

The US and Cuba downplayed the handshake, saying it was unplanned and went no further than pleasantries.

But the meeting had resonance because relations between the two countries have recently warmed.

Last month in Miami, Obama said that it may be time for the US to revise its policies towards Cuba, against which it has had a trade embargo for more than 50 years.

Obama questioned whether the policy that was put in place in 1961 remains an effective way of dealing with Washington's differences with the communist-ruled island nation.

Fidel Castro, 87, underwent an operation for intestinal bleeding in 2006 and never fully recovered. He handed over presidential powers to his younger brother, Raul, in 2008.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.