HAVANA -

Fidel Castro says his brother Raul introduced himself to President Barack Obama in English at Nelson Mandela's funeral, telling him, "Mr. President, I'm Castro," as the two leaders shook hands.

The Dec. 10 handshake set off speculation in the U.S. and Cuba about whether it signaled a warming of ties between the two nations after decades of animosity. U.S. and Cuban officials dismissed that, calling the handshake a mere courtesy.

In a lengthy reflection on Mandela in state media Thursday, Fidel Castro congratulated his brother, who took over leadership of Cuba in 2006, for his "steadfastness and dignity, when, with a friendly but firm gesture, he greeted the head of the U.S. government and told him in English, 'Mr. President, I'm Castro.'"