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Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Mandela memorial

Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 | 9:32 am Comments 0
In this image from TV, US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela
In this image from TV, US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela
Cuba’s President Raul Castro (right) watches President Barack Obama following his speech at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg today. - AP
Cuba’s President Raul Castro (right) watches President Barack Obama following his speech at the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg today. - AP
President Barack Obama embraces Nelson Mandela\'s former wife Winnie Madikizela–Mandela after making his speech during the memorial service. - AP
President Barack Obama embraces Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela–Mandela after making his speech during the memorial service. - AP

AP:
In front of hundreds of thousands of people including close to 100 heads of Government, United States President Barack Obama today shook hands with Cuban president Raul Castro at the memorial service for former South African president, Nelson Mandela.


Obama greeted Castro on the way to the podium, underscoring a recent warming of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

In contrast to the wild applause given to Obama, South African President Jacob Zuma was booed.

Many South Africans are unhappy with Zuma because of state corruption scandals, although his ruling African National Congress, once led by Mandela, remains the front-runner ahead of elections next year.

But Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president who succeeded Mandela, got a rousing cheer as he entered the stands.

French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor and rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, arrived together.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waved and bowed to spectators who sang praise for Mandela, seen by many South Africans as the father of the nation.

The weather and public transportation problems kept many people away.

The 95,000-capacity stadium was only two-thirds full.

Some of the dozens of trains reserved to ferry people to the stadium were delayed due to a power failure.

A Metrorail services spokeswoman, Lilian Mofokeng, said more than 30,000 mourners were successfully transported by train.

The mood was celebratory.

WATCH: Nelson Mandela dies, legacy lives on


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