December 10, 2013

Let me interrupt the misplaced hysteria over President Obama shaking the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro at the funeral of Nelson Mandela to highlight something that happened immediately afterwards.


President Obama kisses President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil at the funeral of Nelson Mandela. (Associated Press)

Truth be told, I didn’t recognize Castro. But I did recognize the woman next to him. She startled me by greeting Obama with a warm handshake and then a friendly kiss. The woman in question is President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil.

You may recall that, thanks to classified documents stolen by Edward Snowden, Brazilians were outraged to learn in September that the United States spied on Rousseff. The foreign minister declared it “an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty.” Rousseff blasted the United States at the United Nations. And she canceled a planned trip to the United States that was supposed to culminate in a coveted state dinner at the White House on Oct. 23.

Considering Brazil admitted last month to spying on rooms rented out by the U.S. embassy in Brasilia 10 years ago, all must be forgiven.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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