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

    Cruz walked on Castro because he longs for the Mob running Cuba like they used to.

    December 11, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. John Doe

    You walked out on a speech during a memorial service? Are you not human? People like that are the reason that the majority of the population of the country won't vote Republican. Set your political views aside for a few hours and show some respect.
    His spokeswoman said that he "hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela." Well, maybe he should do the same. Mandela wouldn't have walked out on a speech due to political differences. You, Senator, and people like you, are what's wrong with American politics.

    December 11, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. YetAnotherVeteranTiredOfTheTeaPartyHacks

    I'd love to know who the genius is that invited Cruz to tag along as part of the US delegation tasked to HONOR Nelson Mandela. Whether you see Mandela as one of the world's great leaders or disagreed with his politics the fact remains this was a FUNERAL! Instead of biting his tongue for a few minutes and issuing his statement AFTER the memorial Cruz has to show yet more of his inappropriate behavior by walking out and disrupting the gathering just to make yet another one of his well thought out political "statements". People around the world who watched Cruz storm most likely felt shock as I for what he demonstrated – blatant disrespect for the deceased! Cruz needs to get a clue as to what the proper protocols are at events like this if he wants to stay in office. Disgusting!!!

    December 11, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Friends

    While Obama takes a selfies and laughs and jokes being disrespectful.

    December 11, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. mark H.

    Omeany is correct...Cruz knew Castro would be there and planned it all along..like Rand Paul, he is a "poser." The things people do when running for President. America needs to grow up and realize the best way to change Cuba is to engage Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Katrina Wogoman

    Soooo, his thought is that by insulting Nelson Mandela he's teaching Castro a lesson. I don't know how they do it there in Texas but in the southern state that my mom was raised, you aren't disrespectful at a funeral/memorial. There is a time and place for everything and that was not the right time.

    December 11, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. ShawnDH

    Cruz is a national embarrassment.

    December 11, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. somnambulist

    He's not inbred he's canadian and knows nothing of manners social graces and the like.

    December 11, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. YetAnotherVeteranTiredOfTheTeaPartyHacks

    I'd love to know who the genius is that invited Cruz to tag along as part of the US delegation tasked to HONOR Nelson Mandela. Whether you see Mandela as one of the world's great leaders or disagreed with his politics the fact remains this was a FUNERAL! Instead of biting his tongue for a few minutes and issuing his statement AFTER the memorial Cruz has to show yet more of his inappropriate behavior by walking out and disrupting the gathering just to make yet another one of his well thought out political "statements". People around the world who watched Cruz storm out most likely felt shock as I did for what he demonstrated – blatant disrespect for the deceased! Cruz needs to get a clue as to what the proper protocols are at events like this if he wants to stay in office. Disgusting!!!

    December 11, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Tim Morris

    It shows just how the Senator is not fit to be a representative of the United States. He is discusting. He is one of the most closed minded brats with no respect for anyone but himself. Please don't let him out anymore. He is not a nice guy but a small man who would hurt the poor any time he likes. Mr.Cruz, you should just stay in your back yard and shoot cans.

    December 11, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. S.B. Stein

    I can understand Cruz's distate and frustration with Cuba's leaders. The problem is that Cruz should have left quietly before Castro stepped up to the microphone. It is called being civil. Besides, if he knew what was happening, then he could have had a music player with him and quietly put the ear buds so as not to listen.

    December 11, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pettiness from a nobody who thinks he's a somebody means less than nothing.
    Take page from the statesmanship displayed and conveyed by your President, Tom, and stop emulating the lack of civility so commonly dispayed by your brethren here in the states but completely unacceptable in the rest of the world.

    December 11, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Ace

    What a diva.

    December 11, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Jason

    What a d-bag. Politics before respect, as usual.

    December 11, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Friends

    Cruz is more of a man than Obozo will ever be. Obama laughs jokes, shakes hands with communist leaders at a funeral while Cruz stands against Cuba and its human rights violations. You Obama suckers can keep sucking.

    December 11, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Paul

    No one ever accuse Cruz of having class. Ted, civility is not a sign of weakness

    December 11, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Suzie

    While it was not polite to walk out of a memorial, it is appropriate to walk out on a speech by someone as corrupt and evil as Castro. His day is coming.

    December 11, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Dallas

    President Obama showed true class and statesmanship. This loon made himself look more pathetic than he already is. Go away Ted!

    December 11, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Mary

    Ted Cruz walks out during Castro's speech and he is called names by the left....Obama takes selfies during somebody's speech and the left think it's ok.....Cruz had a good reason to walkout, what was Obama's reason for his lack of decorum at Mandela's service?

    December 11, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Malory Archer

    I wonder if he planned this prior to leaving D.C. Low class to say the least.

    December 11, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. T

    ........Tea Party funeral manners on display. Contempt is too small a word I have for these faux political gods.......

    December 11, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. beth k

    Wondering if Mr. Cruz was invited or did he invite himself to the memorial service? How rude and selfish of him to draw attention to himself by walking out – this was no political event. It was a memorial service in honor and memory of a great statesman, Nelson Mandela. Shame on Ted Cruz!

    December 11, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. Government Waste Rules

    That's not very hopey – changey of him. He should have given Castro a really big smile and shook his hand like President Obama did!

    December 11, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. radar8

    Cruz is only interested in promoting himself, even at the expense of others. HIs first act of self-promotion was shutting down the government at the expense of millions of AMericans and billions of dollars. Cruz wasted billions of dollars to protest the millions wasted on Obama Care. FIgure that one out.
    Cruz is worse than worthless. He's dangerous.

    December 11, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. Katrina Wogoman

    I took my distaste for this action to his facebook page. I suggest everyone else do the same.

    December 11, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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