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Obama, Castro Shake Hands

It was brief, informal, historic
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2015 9:34 PM CDT
Obama, Castro Shake Hands
This image from the host broadcaster pool video shows President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shaking hands.   (AP Photo/Host Broadcaster Pool Video via AP Video)

(Newser) – A simple handshake is making big headlines tonight—because the handshakers were President Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro. Reuters quotes a White House official as saying the men shook hands and exchanged some brief chit-chat in Panama during the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas. "This was an informal interaction and there was not a substantive conversation between the two leaders," says the official. The two men are expected to meet again tomorrow to discuss the nations' warming ties.

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In a sign of the symbolic importance of the handshake, a spokesperson for the National Security Council even marked the moment with a statement, notes CNN: "At the Summit of the Americas this evening, President Obama and President Castro greeted each other and shook hands." The big question now is whether Obama will remove Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, and the New York Times reports that a decision is near. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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