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. Our Tiny Earth

    Opportunist. He's nothing more. This is a man who will do whatever it takes to grab all the power he has. This man represents everything wrong with America.

    December 11, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Jo

    Give up Ted, you're unelectable.

    December 11, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Brian

    Cruz, what a low life. Is this the best GOP can offer? Is he Presidential material? It's only an uncivilized person that will try to gain political mileage at a funeral.

    December 11, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. kbh

    we DO NOT want this man representing us as a nation.

    December 11, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. JackieG

    Once again, Cruz found a way to draw attention to himself.

    December 11, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Ja

    Any civilized person would not walk out of anybody's speech, like it or not. Shaking hand with Castro at Mandela's funeral shows that President of the USA is well mannered and civilized person and he is better person then Cruz. At this level higher standards are expected to be followed.

    December 11, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. RealVoiceOfReason

    Don't worry, this will be outshined when Obama bows to the leader of North Korea.

    December 11, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. jp

    Maybe instead of his type of attitude we should try to respect others even if their views are different than ours. You don't tell someone how to run their house and they don't tell you. Friends can influence each other easier than enemies. Big problem in the world today.

    December 11, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. RealVoiceOfReason

    Just FYI, every leader there was there to promote themselves politically.

    December 11, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  10. Mike

    Honestly, why was Cruz even invited? He is a nobody. Doubt he ever met Mandela or cared to learn about his work over the years.

    December 11, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Tea Party

    Yup. Good thing the USA doesn't imprison and torture people without fair trials. OOPS!

    December 11, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Keith Alston

    This was not the time or place to grandstand. The ceremony was to honor the life of a man which changed so many other's lives. Get over yourself, Cruz. Everything's not about you. You displayed a marked lack of decency and respect.

    December 11, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. xafion

    I don't understand how this whackos can represent our country. People who actually vote for him and saying he has done a great job shows how much we have lost our ethics and morality in this country. First of all this is not an UN council assembly where your soul purpose was to listen to the speech. You went to the funeral of a person and it is very disrespectful to do that. I wonder if someone have done the same thing Ted Cruz's fathers funeral how would he have reacted ?

    December 11, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. derek

    He is just another GOP moron.

    December 11, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. John

    He is right look at the political prisoners being held in Cuba it is a mockery that Castro was there to so call honor Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    I really wish that people would stop using the occaision of Mandela's funeral to beat their partisan drums. Yesterday, people were up in arms about the Presidnet's selfie with the Danish and British Prime Ministers. Today, its outrage over Cruz walking out of Castro's speech. I don't think Cruz should have done it, but its not the end of the world any more than Obama's selfie. Mandela was about reconciliation and moving forward, not about using things to score cheap and temporary political points. No one seems to get the message about what made Mandela extraordinary.

    December 11, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Dan

    Hey Ted! Maybe you should work tirelessly for the release of the political prisoners the U.S. is holding at Guantanamo Bay?

    December 11, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. Richard Miller

    It was a funeral. Most decent Americans forget hostilities at these times of grief. Just goes to show you what kind of person you are if you behave like the south end of a north bound mule Mr. Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. pla

    What is a minor political figure doing at an event like this, and sittiing with the real players of international politics.
    Seems to me he should have been outside of the stadium with the rest of the common people-even though they might not reallly want him with them.

    December 11, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Anthony Braun

    I guess history eludes Mr. Cruz. Raul Castro has not been the leader of Cuba for very long. If he wants to be mad, read a history text book and know the difference between Raul and Fidel. The article also states that Castro has been doing this for decades, once again, Fidel was, Raul is new to the leadership role. We still don't know what he is going to do long run.

    December 11, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Derrek Rodriguez

    I find it amusing how people can quickly go off at a tangent when someone stands up for his or hers principles. Most of you criticizing Cruz have no knowledge of what the Cuban people have be subjected to. Meanwhile your narrow-mindedness to a particular political party effects your judgment and your intolerable and oblivious remarks could possibly rub the Cuban community the wrong way. Have you ever thought that having Castro speak at the Mandela memorial could be viewed as a slap in the face to Cubans who are struggling for their self-determination?

    December 11, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Charles Barksdale

    What a jerk! That sets a good example a US senator acting like a 12 year old!

    December 11, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. dvmil

    Leave it to the lunatic from Texas to turn a funeral into a political grandstand.

    December 11, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Joe

    A crackhead is a crackhead is a crackhead.....

    December 11, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. hypocrisy

    Obama takes a selfie and liberals say it's no big deal. Cruz walks out during a speech given by a ruthless dictator who has no respect for human rights, and the same liberals accuse him of not honoring the memorial service. Ridiculous! Castro is the antithesis of Mandela, not Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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