Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
11 months 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. Real Nice Ted

    So this fool went as a representative of our country to snub someone else at a funeral? Nice Ted – the only point you made was that you truly are a piece of work.

    December 11, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  2. Gant

    In a year no one will remember what the spokesperson said, they will only remember Senator Cruz taking the opportunity to score political points at a memorial service.

    December 11, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  3. tiscali.it

    this person is blinded by stupidity

    December 11, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. Ramon F Herrera

    Mr. Cruz will never, ever, ever, ever be nominated by the REPUBLICAN Party.

    December 11, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. Eagle1

    Don't worry, Obama will be sending them aid in a short while! Income equality for the world! Kumbaya!!

    December 11, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. laurie

    what a petty disgusting, ill-behaved child

    December 11, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  7. Joe The Plumber

    Another classless act by Mr Nasty. Hummmm, wonder what Mandela would have done.

    December 11, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. Johnny

    What else can you expect from Texas Republicans? Look at the State's track record, Lyndon Johnson, Papa Bush, Dum Dum baby Bush, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and more. If you want to know the meaning of the word hypocrisy, and if you want to know what's wrong with this country, look no further than the State of Texas Republicans!

    December 11, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. K. Brown

    Interesting reasoning. You just have to make a couple of changes and it reads: "For decades, the U.S. has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, the U.S. should finally release its political prisoners. It should hold free elections, inclusive of the Voting Rights Act, and once and for all, set the Black people free." But of course Cruz is a Tea-Party Republican which defines him as white, wealthy and racist. He's was also born in CANADA for those of you who have forgotten that little gem.

    December 11, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  10. Dave

    Just more proof that Cruz has no diplomatic abilities and continues to embarrass this country in the eyes of the world. He should have stayed home in the first place not started grandstanding at a memorial service.

    December 11, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. Antwoine Anderson

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

    It seems to me that the ones that are in most need of a page out of the Nelson Mandela book of forgiveness is the Minority in the GOP tea party. Mr. Cruz has once again shown the world how intolerant our politics have become in this country. A peace deal was brokered with Iran through a gesture, a elderly American prisoner was released from N. Korea through a international pressure and a gesture. And if a gesture can thaw a fifty year old fight that can bring democracy to the communist Castro regime... then a shake of hands between old enemies should be the least we as a nation can do.

    December 11, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    Ted/Joe McCarthy/Cruz should have stood up and started spouting "Green Eggs and Ham" instead.

    December 11, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Pieced Off

    No event is too solemn for ol' Teddy to politicize and grandstand I guess.

    December 11, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  14. John

    I believe that he left to review Guantanamo, while Castro was out of country.

    December 11, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  15. massconn72

    Oh, I see it's ok for him to walk out when it suits him? He is so concerned about civil rights in Cuba, but he looks the other way when it comes to China? What a hypocrite.

    December 11, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  16. Kane

    Dealing with Cruz is like going to school during the holidays....NO CLASS!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  17. Epidi

    He's a rude bafoon no matter what the occasion or circumstance. Enough of this guy already.

    December 11, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. Larry38363

    So who paid for this idiot's trip there? If it was "us," then we need to get our money back plus the other $24 Billion this jerk off has cost us! This guy is nothing but a waste of time and energy and needs to go back to Canada. Oh no, I forgot, they don't want him either.

    December 11, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. kpaumer

    Cruz nevers misses a change to grandstand! Classless for him to do that at a memorial service. But then class eludes that man!

    December 11, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. no clue

    what has refusing to shake hands and walking out of rooms done for the cuban people in the last 50 years? People need to start acting like grown ups.

    December 11, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  21. Kori Brown

    This was not the correct forum for a political statement by Mr. Cruz. Mandela’s memorial was an event that welcomed all nations including those of differing political views. This was not a place to make a political gesture and its disappointing that he used that venue to make a statement.

    December 11, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  22. spfldadm

    Ted Cruz will do anything to bring attention to himself and the radical Tea Party.

    December 11, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  23. spfldadm

    Ted Cruz will do anything to bring attention to himself.

    December 11, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. vic , nashville ,tn

    It was a Memorial service not a political arena, will Ted Cruz get this?

    December 11, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  25. raul c.

    Ted Cruz is one confused hypocrite nut since what he believes outside the USA he doesn't believe it in the USA. He should just go back to Cuba and start all over again so he can get his priorities correct..

    December 11, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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