Nelson Mandela's memorial service brought a handshake between the leaders of two countries that have been foes for half a century. Barack Obama risked the anger of the American Right by shaking hands with the Cuban president, Raul Castro, as he made his way to deliver his speech - only the second time in 60 years that the leaders of the two countries have done so, and the first encounter to be photographed.
Bill Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro in 2000 after a lunch during a UN summit. The White House initially denied the handshake took place, but later said it was instigated by Castro, who gave way to his brother in 2008. Mr Obama has taken a more pragmatic approach to US-Cuba relations, easing travel and trade sanctions and allowing a delegation to travel to the country in February 2012 to discuss relations.
The Cuban government posted a photograph of the handshake online with the caption: "Obama greets Raul: may this image be the beginning of the end of the US aggressions against Cuba." White House officials said the gesture - 52 years after Cuba became a one-party communist state - was not a "a pre-planned encounter" but was in keeping with the occasion. Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American Republican senator from Florida, said: "If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba."
Senator John McCain said: "It gives Raul some propaganda, to continue to prop up his dictatorial, brutal regime. Why should you shake hands with somebody who is keeping Americans in prison?" Mr Obama also shook the hand of Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, and kissed Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, on the cheek despite recent tensions over US surveillance revealed in the National Security Agency leaks.