The big news from Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service today was Barack Obama's and Raúl Castro's handshake. It is being viewed as hints of a possible thaw between Washington and Havana, but what does the body language of the two leaders say?
In this instant we see three distinct signals:
1. A Jaw Jut
2. A Bulge just below his Lower Lip (signaling his jaw is clenched)
3. Thinned and horizontally oriented lips
All of these are body language signals of anger - particularly when clustered.
At the 0:06 mark as they shake hands they bow towards each other.
In this wider angle handshake view (still at 0:06), take a few tenths of a second later, we can see that President Obama's hand is slightly more dominant oriented with approximately a 10 to 15 degree rotation.
In this image (0:09), Raúl Castro gestures with pats on his stomach. This MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) has a low sincerity quotient as it is a pat (vs. prolonged contact), it's his non-dominant hand and it is over his abdomen (vs. over his heart).
Note Obama maintains a partial bow.
The Cuban President's lips are thinned in a brief anger (near-microexpression) display (above).
At 0:11 Castro's mouth takes on a brief "Bitter Smile" configuration.
Obama continues to bend forward - and he may very well be trying to speak candidly to Fidel's younger brother - yet the prolonged bowing (or bending) is negatively received. It painfully reminds shorter men of this weakness/perceived weakness.
Raúl Castro then looks away - as often is done during prolonged eye contact. His asymmetrical (mouth) smile is insincere.
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