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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

December 10, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Confronted by a member of Congress today about President Obama’s handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Secretary of State John Kerry brushed it off as just doing what was expected of world leaders in the moment.

Kerry was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the Iran nuclear deal when the onetime chairman of the panel and native Cuban Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) asked him about this morning’s heavily circulated image of Obama smiling and pressing flesh with Castro in a reception line.

“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,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

“Raul Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates. In fact, right now as we speak, Cuban opposition leaders are being detained and they’re being beaten while trying to commemorate today, which is International Human Rights Day. They will feel disheartened when they see these photos,” she continued. “Could you please tell the Cuban people living under that repressive regime that a handshake notwithstanding the U.S. policy toward the cruel and sadistic Cuban dictatorship has not weakened?”

Kerry replied that “on the issue of Cuba, ladies and gentlemen, today is about honoring Nelson Mandela.”

“And the president’s at an international funeral with leaders from all over the world. He didn’t choose who’s there. They’re there to honor Mandela. And we appreciate that people from all over the world and from all different beliefs and walks of life who appreciated Nelson Mandela and/or were friends of his came to honor him,” Kerry said.

“And I think as the president said, I urge you to go read his speech. Or if you didn’t see it or haven’t read it, the president said in his speech today honoring Nelson Mandela, he said, ‘We urge leaders to honor Mandela’s struggle for freedom by upholding the basic human rights of their people.’”

“And would you say Raul Castro is upholding basic human rights?” Ros-Lehtinen asked.

“No, absolutely not,” Kerry responded. “And you know my position on that.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Kerry replied that “on the issue of Cuba, ladies and gentlemen, today is about honoring Nelson Mandela.”"

And taking "selfies."
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll bet that spontaneous, chance encounter had as much planning as the Normandy invasion.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"He didn’t choose who’s there."

So typically fatuous of that shallow git Kerry. Unbelievable.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was a complete surprise to the Liar that his fellow thug would be at that spot.

Nobody tells Barry anything.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
So he acknowledges Raul Castro is a barbarian and agrees that he doesn't uphold human rights, but defends Obama for shaking his hand? I wonder if this guy knows just how little sense his commentary makes.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, he doesn't. If he had had any real personality, if he'd really stood for something, he would not have perched like a vulture in Ted Kennedy's shadow for 30+ years. He's a time-server in every sense of the word. The only benefit of his appointment to State is that it got him out of the Senate, even though that was the perfect place for him - a little gasbag in a pond of some serious gasbags.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Kerry replied that “on the issue of Cuba, ladies and gentlemen, today is about honoring Nelson Mandela.”"

And taking "selfies."
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
And just plain ol' foto ops.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"He didn’t choose who’s there." No, but he did choose whose hand to shake.

The country's in the very best of hands.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama appeared to shake his hand AND bow. A mini-bow but a bow nevertheless. Someone should tell him his commie roots are showing.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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