Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
1 year 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. iceload9

    Why does a United States senator need a spokeswoman?

    December 11, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. ST

    This is becoming more crazier and crazier. Ted Cruz had no power to control who to come /talk during the ceremony. He just walked out when Raul Castro started speaking. Where did he go? Just standing at the corner of the Stadium? Why didn't he decide to go down to the Ocean and start swimming back home? He really dishonored Mandela's last ceremony. That is not what Mandela wanted when he was still alive.

    December 11, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. Rod in Dallas TX

    What an idiot! Cruz does realize that the "decades" he is referring to was done by Fidel Castro and not Raul Castro.

    December 11, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. djp

    This guy, Senator Ted Cruz, is an embarassment and should notbe allowed to participate in such events. They should have been there to remember and honor a man who made such a big impact. Not there to walk out on a portion of the service just becuase we rightfully disagree with the situations in Cuba

    December 11, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. midwest2

    His walkout was for show, only. He will use it in his presidential campaign. There are always those who cannot see through the obvious.

    December 11, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  6. Grumpster

    What a rube.

    December 11, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. karlhott

    What was he doing there in the first place? Why would the United States send someone to represent us at a funerary gathering of world leaders, when this guy has a known history of pandering to the media by taking the counter-position to the public consensus? One should expect a him to make a "scene". It would be "news" if he didn't.

    December 11, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  8. gladiatorgrl

    these fools would have this nation war until there's nothing left.....

    December 11, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  9. ToldUso

    What a statesman! He fails to realize walking out disrespects Mandela, not Castro. He seems more concerned with his fatherland Cuba than with the American people.

    December 11, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. juluka

    And I very much hope that Cruz learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela, under whose rule abortion and gay marriage was legalised. Who believed that everyone deserved their place under the sun, irrespective of race, color, creed or economic standing. And who showed through his actions and his words what tolerance, respect, negotiation and forgiveness – even for those who deprived him of his freedom and life with his family – mean, instead of spewing forth hateful and hypocritical rhetoric. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Mandela was that he evolved from someone who made a conscious decision to engage in an armed struggle, to one of the greatest peacemakers this world has known. So perhaps there is hope for Cruz and his ilk.

    December 11, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. fr114

    if he is so concerned then he and whoever he can get should invade Cuba on their own dime and risk their own lives to end the madness in Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. RWB1956

    Ah, so he went to make a statement.

    December 11, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. steve martin

    Yes, our foreign policy in Cuba has been so successful that its no wonder this Cruz guy wants to continue it and pick up some votes

    December 11, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  14. cat0325

    My question is why did he even go.....political stunt!

    December 11, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. J. Riley Castine

    Seriously? A man expresses his God given right to free expression, to free speech and he is crucified here on CNN? If Ted Cruz walks out on a oppressive dictator giving a speech at a memorial for a great man, CNN should be praising him, not leading with a headline like "Cruz walked out at Mandela memorial".

    Do we think we could have a random act of journalism here? CNN, you continue to set the bar low and then fail again and again.

    December 11, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Snake-Bio

    Ted Cruz is a shameless self-promoter who couldn't care less about The USA, Communism, Castro, Healthcare or helping others. All he cares about is padding his bank account by scaring the grey hairs who think he's insightful. He's another PTBarnum. I hope he runs for a national office just so he can get soundly beat.

    December 11, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Yesterday, McCain criticized Obama for shaking Raul's hand. Later I got to see the picture of McCain bowing and shaking Ghaddafy's hand. What crap the GOP has become.

    December 11, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  18. Kent

    President Obama shook Castro's hand because, he is a grown up. Yes, he is the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, but be and Castro can set aside their differences for a few hours to honor a great man. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, just reinforced what we all knew; He is a 9 year old in an expensive suit. When one cannot even have the common decency to stay seated at a state memorial for a man that was 1000X the man you could ever hope to be, then you have no business holding office.

    December 11, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Conservativesshameless

    This is what American conservatives do when they are part of a world event to honor a man's life? They make it political. How shallow and banal the American conservatives have become.

    December 11, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. : D

    This had nothing to do with chastising Castro and everything to do with self-publicity. How in the hell does a lightweight like Cruz rate an admission to an event such as this?

    December 11, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. Dan

    Typical, turn a memorial into a political statement. He should have stayed at home. The world will never make any progress with Neanderthals like him around.

    December 11, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  22. Mr Johnson

    What an act of disrespect. You, Senator Cruz act like a child and then they act like children – you, Senator Cruz react and play a childish game and then they join inthe game. GROW UP! As much as I dislike many goverment officials, when I attend functions, I would never disrespect the individual or the group assembled by walking out and making a spectical of myself. GROW UP!

    December 11, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Rick

    Way to go, Ted. Stay classy! *eye roll*

    December 11, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. Roxanne

    If he loathed the guests more than he wanted to honor and respect the deceased than he should not have gone. I think it's rude and disrespectful to walk out on a funeral for political gain when you're well aware ahead of time who will be in attendance.

    December 11, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  25. Joi Gibson

    Well by gosh, that will show 'em!! What a tool this guy is. Everything is about Ted Cruz. Get over yourself because the vast majority of us are so over you.

    December 11, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
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