Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
5 years ago

Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial

(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, part of a Congressional delegation at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, walked out of the service Tuesday while Cuban President Raul Castro delivered his speech.

"Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela," his spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said.

"For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners. He should hold free elections, and once and for all, set the Cuban people free."

ABC News first reported this story.

President Barack Obama, along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attended the event in Johannesburg. Before eulogizing the former South African, Obama shook Castro's hand as he walked onto the stage – a rare gesture between the leaders of two nations that have not shared diplomacy in over a half century.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Nelson Mandela • Ted Cruz
soundoff (810 Responses)
  1. ladies first

    he had to do what all people do when their at their wits end DO THE MATH

    December 11, 2013 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  2. Lisa

    WTG Cruz, show your inbred followers you are just as inbred as they are!

    December 11, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  3. Cedar Rapids

    Think Cruz needs to learn his own lessons from Mandela. After 27 years in prison Mandela shook hands and worked side by side with the person that represented the government that was behind his imprisonment.

    December 11, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  4. jerry

    Using Nelson Mandela's funeral to score political points with your constituents...Wow Ted that's real classy of you.

    How much lower can you go than this?

    December 11, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  5. omeany

    Ted Cruz is such a poser. Mr. Cruz, the US also imprisons countless innocents some of which were featured recently on this very website. If not for DNA evidence they would still be in prison for crimes they did not commit.

    We are in NO position to criticize other nations for things we do ourselves so why don't you climb down off of that high horse your on and try to find a way to work with other world leaders...especially the ones you do not agree with and maybe then the world can be a better place for all.

    December 11, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  6. Cascade

    Cruz, the embarrassment of the United States and a proud Texan.

    December 11, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  7. jimmy hernandez

    There are a lot of greedy people for power in the world thinking that they are eternal. Nobody is here forever. Castros, North Korea's president, Syria's Dictador, Maduro, Puttin, and others; should remember that they can die anytime.

    December 11, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  8. Thomas

    Ted cruz is about Ted Cruz .

    Why would he go to Nelson Mandela's memorial , he never met him , didn't know him .

    Raul Castro was a friend of Mandela's

    Cruz is an embarrassment , no class.

    December 11, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  9. dr. Sikes

    Cruz is not a political leader; he certainly does not have the best interests of all the world's citizens in mind. He's merely a demagogue, playing to zealots who navel-gaze and don't care about the rest of the world.

    December 11, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  10. For the Duration

    What a showboating moron! It's a memorial, not a political platform! Cruz is less then human. How long will it take his followers to realize, Cruz is just gunning for the career they provide him with? People who do the extreme things Cruz does, do them to sell books and to inveigle votes from other morons. HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE REAL ISSUES! HE ONLY WANTS TO MAKE A SCENE AND MAKE HIS CAREER!

    December 11, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  11. Janalionberger

    Cruz is an idiot. It was a memorial service, I don't know how anyone would want this guy to represent any one of us as he seems to have a temper that he can not control. I do not think going to college taught him anything. He is nothing but trailer trash and needs to take Palin by the hand and leave the United States

    December 11, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  12. Kings on the back row...

    ..The tea party is truly populated with wooden heads – Mr. Cruz has shown great disrespect for Nelson Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  13. loudmusic

    This self-aggrandizing publicity hound is an embarrassment. And unfortunately, given that his district will probably keep this guy in office until they cart him off on a gurney, he's probably gonna be around long enough to drag out his dog and pony show for decades to come. Lord help us all.

    December 11, 2013 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  14. Jerrick

    It was a funeral. Cruz knew who would be attending. It was a tacky political maneuver at a time of respect for the deceased.

    December 11, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  15. pjam2

    He represents the G.O.P. perfectly.., completely arrogant and out of touch. Get over yourself you pompous junior Tea-Party Republican f-hole. Walking out on Mandela shows all the class of a 6 year old not getting their way and pouting while they take their ball and go home. Why don't you just stay in Texas.., or better yet dig a tunnel and go to Mexico.

    December 11, 2013 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  16. Jamie

    really? playing politics at a memorial for anyone is pretty shameful.

    December 11, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  17. ora pike

    but like iran obama says castro is ok--give him respect like obama bowing down to a muslim prince??? GONE WITH THE WIND

    December 11, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  18. jangz

    Became slightly dumber after reading this post, Guess the life of Madeeba hasn't thought this Cruze guy much.

    December 11, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  19. Zigan Danklou

    Can we have more childish and immature Senators than this man? How can he disrespect the tribute of such a great man by walking out during his memorial service. A funeral is not a place to protest against your enemies.

    December 11, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  20. First Maje Andre Smyth

    Some people, like this chap, are just plain sickening.

    December 11, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  21. audiohouse

    Cruz on brother. You do not understand the art of diplomacy

    December 11, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  22. Whatever

    This was a funeral. Not a personal platform for your political views. Totally in poor taste. Fail!

    December 11, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  23. jeff pillay

    We as South African were angry with some people who showed disrepect on this special day. Cruz as senior high profile US politician should know better that there is a place for everything and the memorial was not a place to act in the manner he acted in. He knew Castro will be there and he chose to attend and acted in a manner not befiteing the american people on a day where people were showing thier respect to a man who stood for reconcillation. He act is far from this.

    December 11, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. robin815

    It is sad the Sen. Cruz chose the memorial service to make a political statement. It was theatrics to draw attention to himself. I don't care what his ideological views are towards Castro, this was a memorial service. I can think of only one word to describe his behavior...disgusting.

    December 11, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  25. John Smith

    Cruz is a small man. He doesn't understand that the event was not about Castro – It was about Mandela. He shouldn't have walked out.

    December 11, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
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