Ros-Lehtinen: Obama handshake 'propaganda coup' for Castro

The leading Cuba hawk in Congress slammed President Obama for shaking the hand of the communist island's leader during Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa on Tuesday.

“Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). “But when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raúl Castro it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Raúl Castro uses that hand to sign orders to oppress and jail democracy activists.”

Ros-Lehtinen made the remarks during a House Foreign Affairs panel hearing where Secretary of State John Kerry was discussing the nuclear deal with Iran. She asked Kerry to reassure her that the handshake doesn't indicate a weakening of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Cuba.

Kerry said nothing has changed.

“Today is about honoring Nelson Mandela,” he said. Obama “didn't choose who's there — they're there to honor Nelson Mandela.”

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