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

    Hey Ted Cruz, maybe you should of said "The US has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. for the past 12 years"

    December 11, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. Ed

    Cruz only went to this event to do just this, get some press coverage. It worked as planned.

    December 11, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. Greg H.

    Amazing that Cruz could not learn anything from Mandela while at Mandela's funeral. "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." – Nelson Mandela. Ok, maybe not so amazing that Cruz has a learning disability.

    December 11, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. BM

    I thought this was a memorial for a Great Leader, a man that changed history for millions. I am sure no one knows who Senator Cruz is and what he is and i am sure he could not spend 27 days in jail and come out with an oz of love as Nelson did. Nelson was about love not hate perhaps Cruz should have remembered that when he was walking our and learned from a man life that demonstrated love to the ones he hated most! When will this Cruz ever learn ? Fight unselfishly for others that cant fight for themselves and maybe you will be remembered as Nelson was!

    December 11, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Steve

    ... unfortunately there is a segment of our population that sees this type of behavior as a show of strength.

    December 11, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    What an obnoxious act. Mr. Cruz has put his personal belief system ahead of a one-time, say it again, a one-time memorial service for someone who set personal gain aside and made self-sacrifice the driving force in his life. If he knew that he would have to listen to someone he didn't like, why did he go?

    Being the holiday season and all, hearing about Mr. Cruz making a scene at someone's memorial, I am reminded of the historic song, "We Are The World". I remember the interview with producer Quincy Jones when he described the potential problems with working with so many superstars with egos and rivalries. Quincy Jones had a simple answer for the problem. He warned everyone who came to "check your ego at the door", or don't come through it all. It's good advice for Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. Robert

    Typical juveniole behavior by that Republican Teaparty showboat. Will he also walk out on any future speeches by the leaders of Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and others who represent governments with despicable human rights records? And let's face it, the US itself is hardly saintly when it comes to human rights.

    December 11, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. Bob Ramos

    Unless Curz had to take a potty break, that would be a very disgusting thing to do. Cruz is ineligible for the Presidency for the very same reasons that Trump had for Obama but if for some reason, he did become President, Cruz would be accorded the very same treatment by other leaders.

    December 11, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Tim

    "Cruz walked out at Mandela memorial"? Can CNN be any more misleading in titling their articles? Cruz walked out on a speech by Castro. Applying such a politically motivated title to this article is inexcusable.

    December 11, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. EDDIE

    So he used Mandela's memorial for a political statement. What a petty person. He should show respect for the leader of his homeland. His Cuban father must be disappointed .

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

    Very slanted headline on the main page for this. Makes it sound like he was disrespecting Mandela when the issue seems to have been Castro.

    December 11, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. Grady

    Demonstrating righteous indignation when it suits his political ambitions...

    December 11, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. Wil

    Anyone else confused about Raul Castro having ruled Cuba for decades?

    December 11, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. Chris

    This article fails to mention Cruz's family ties to Cuba and how his dad fled from Cuba. Maybe that is why he walked out.

    December 11, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. BW80209

    so Cruz wishes Castro was more like Mandela?? Maybe Cruz needed to me more like Mandela & STAYED during the speech. do as i say, not as i do??? nice.......

    December 11, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. Ray

    Ted Cruz is really irritating in EVERYTHING HE SAYS AND DOES!. I think this latest melodramatic action of walking out on Raúl Castro's speech is the only reason he went. He could care less about Mandela. He leads a fringe political minority in this country so his future political aspirations at a national level are toast. I'm a Texan and did not vote for him. I would never vote for him in any future elections. I would like to see him return to Houston to join his father in fighting Castro and Communism. What an embarassment for Texans.

    December 11, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Anonymous

    So now we know why Cruz went to South Africa. He takes every opportunity to grandstand.
    Apparently he was not getting any "press", so he showed his total lack of judgement, once again.
    This is a lot worse than any "selfie" some were so upset about.
    Let's see how they react to Cruz' lack of class, decorum and respect.

    December 11, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Rosslaw

    From now on Canadian Cruz should just go to funerals where only nice people show up. Oh wait a second, Mandela used to be a member of the Communist party but so what, he moved beyond that. I guess Canadian Cruz figures its ok to mix with former communists like Mandela, but only if they're dead.

    December 11, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. Dennis Freeman

    To learn the lessons of Mandela, the Senator should first look in the mirror.

    December 11, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. DJ in TX

    I understand what Sen Cruz is saying, but his gesture DID NOT live up to what he says Mandela stood for. What if Mandela had left the room when his adversaries were talking.....................In any other setting, no problem, but this was a memorial for Mr. Mandela. Out of respect for him, he should have stayed. Doesn't mean he liked Castro or agreed with him. But again, would Mandela have left in the same circumstance. If Sen Cruz is going to speak the words and actions of Mandela, he should also ACT like that...............................

    December 11, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    Reconciliation was also part of Mandela's legacy: Cruz should remember that as well.

    December 11, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Jerome Horowitz

    Hmmm...8 hours since this story was posted and there are no comments, as far as I can tell.
    I guess no one is interested in what Senator Cruz has to say either.

    December 11, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  23. K

    Well, now we know why Sen. Cruz wanted to attend.

    December 11, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. Rob

    Why doesn't this left wing extremist show his true colours and blockade China then?? Coward!!

    December 11, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. DanInJapan

    Cruz typifies the ignorant American as he ran away from Castro's speech, fingers in ears, yelling, "La La La La La – I can't hear anything!!!" "I don't want to hear anything that might make me think!"

    December 11, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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