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. Larry38363

    Who paid for this idiot to go there in the first place? If we did, we want our money back and the rest of the $24 billion he cost us in the shutdown. This guy needs to go back to Canada. Oh no, that's right, they don't want him either!

    December 11, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  2. Adventure49

    Shameful! He was not there to show disdain for Castro; he was there to show respect for Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. rs

    Manners, Mr. Cruz, Manners. We know TEA Partiers like rudeness, and we should be thankful you didn't scream "liar" (or something), but no one wants a rude idiot as their choice for elective office.
    Remember, you were there in the first place to remember Mandela, and represent us-, not make silly political points with your most base and radical followers.

    December 11, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What an empty and boorish gesture from someone who thinks he truly is worthy of notice.
    NEWSFLASH: Nobody took notice of you because you are of no importance outside of your personal household.

    December 11, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. rufusvondufus

    Cruz knows what he is doing and it is too bad that Wright/Alinsky mentored our commie in chief instead of Mandela. At least Mandela had some morals.

    December 11, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  6. Bert Bacharach

    Nice BIASED headline on front page

    December 11, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  7. ricke1949

    Cruz did the right thing. Was Obama taking a picture of himself when the Cuban leader was speaking?

    December 11, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. Spuds Mackenzie

    What a fake. Here's a man who's father fought on Castro's side during the Cuban revolution and who fled before Castro took power. He was not oppressed by Castro but by the rightest government before that. And now he's a rightest. What a hypocrite. Both of them.

    December 11, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. Wil

    This guy probably had to go take a dump and didn't want to tell reporters that. Good one Senior Cruz!

    December 11, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  10. USAF Vet

    Wow! Maybe Ted Cruz is our next Nelson Mandela here in the USA!

    December 11, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. gypsyalso

    what? his fifteen minutes of fame was up and he needed to get back into the spotlight? This is just oh so important. not.

    December 11, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. somebody

    I'm surprised that this guy from the racist bigot party who hates the such as Mandela even went...

    December 11, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  13. Hugh Jass

    So what? Cruz is not a statesman and won't be in politics much longer anyway. He sent a clear message that the GOP does not represent America; not sure if his party is going to agree. But the world saw him scuttle away into some dark place, away from Mandela's message of tolerance, and it can't be unseen now.

    December 11, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  14. BoneHeadOtto

    "For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. ..."
    You mean kind of like Gitmo, where prisoners have been for a decade with no trial and subhected to waterboarding, and it just happens to be run by US and is FREAKING IN CUBA!!! Oh Teddy the Irony of your criticism is not lost on me! How about we eliminate our prison in Cuba as an example for Castro to follow.

    December 11, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  15. Walter Adams

    Therein lies the difference between a true leader and a pretender: Obama did the ambassadorial right thing while Cruz did the immature wrong thing. It was an international gathering to celebrate the life of an amazing man, not a political platform for displaying fundamental disagreements. I suspected Cruz's true motivations for wanting to go to South Africa, and now I know his real purpose – to disrespect the leader of Cuba in a place and time totally unsuited for such an undiplomatic display. The Tea Party faithful may love such a defiant gesture, but all Cruz really did was solidify the ugly American image our president is trying so hard to soften.

    December 11, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  16. L. Joaquin

    Raf, you are talking out of both sides of your face. You hope Castro learns Madibas lessons while you ignore them.

    December 11, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. Russ

    Cruz did exactly what most politicians do. Mandela would not have done that. He would have hugged Castro. Obama did not go that far, but simply shook his hand. We have dealings with other Communist countries and countries we have adversary relationships with. A handshake is no big deal, and it may thaw relations somewhat.

    December 11, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  18. fastball

    Ted Cruz is an embarrassment – and the post boy for the international image of America.

    December 11, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  19. CLT

    Anything for attention.

    December 11, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. Angie

    Unfortunately this President does not care about the suffering of the Cuban people, oppressed for over 50 years by the Castro brothers. There are more people imprisioned there than there were in South Africa, many blacks, their crime was speaking against the injustices in Cuba. I am glad that Mr. Cruz walked out.

    December 11, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  21. robb

    good for him

    December 11, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  22. Lauren

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Cruz knows nothing.

    December 11, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  23. Dan McCullough

    That takes Cruz out of contention for a Presidential run.

    How do we move forward with those we disagree with if we don't even listen to each other?

    December 11, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  24. Davis

    When will people see Cruz for what he really is? Unstable and an embarrassment to the great people of the United States.

    December 11, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  25. Christopher

    Who cares.

    December 11, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33