Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
5 years 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. Ms.Slew

    He should have stayed & taken a " selfie."

    December 11, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. TheThinker

    I was taught, by my conservative parents, to listen politely and with an open mind when someone stated an opinion with which I disagreed. Furthermore, a funeral is about paying respect to someone for doing the best they could in their life. To walk out on one man's funeral because of a speaker, that's plain childish... it's like a five year old whining "I'm not going to your birthday party if you invite Timmy".
    Walking out on Nelson Mandela's funeral. Wow. That's like punching Mother Theresa in the face.

    December 11, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Does Rafael Cruz know that Mandela was friends with Fidel Castro?

    December 11, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Miller

    Pretty funny, considering his father helped Castro take power. Oooops! A Commie in the Cruz family closet???? Say it isn't so!

    December 11, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Dave

    Hey Republican voters, pay attention. This guy makes you look really, REALLY bad. You will never win a national election with Ted Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. boom

    Florida imprissons more people per capita than Iran and Cuba. Cruz should protest Florida and Rick Scott.

    December 11, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. fletcher

    My goodness, what a loser! The service was not about Cuba or was about honoring Mandela. Mandela's legacy is building colations, not revenge or anger. Cruz dishonored Mandela's memory, and he should NOT have been a member of the Congressional delegation. He deserves to be censured by the Senate.

    December 11, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Cruz is a Nutjob

    I think Cruz was more worried about getting deported back to Cuba. I am for boating not busing. Send him back to Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. srcactus

    CNN headline disingenuous at the very least. Walking out on a dictators speech out of disrespect for thet dictator is legions different than walking out on a memorial to respected leader.

    December 11, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. MP in VA

    Cruz, what did the Sermon on the Mount say about one's enemies? Oh, that's right, Christian teachings don't count when it comes to how the US Government should act. Wait....

    December 11, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. stevetall

    Putz. Who elected this idiot and why? A truly horrible American.

    December 11, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. iReason

    First we supported the criminals that owned Cuba. Then we attacked the people who tossed the Mob out. Then for 50 plus years we have done everything from blockading them, to shipping them bad tractor parts, cutting off supplies of things like soap and toothpaste and other ridiculous act – really has worked hasn't it.

    Open the door. Get people talking to each other and things in Cuba will change fast.

    Cruz you are an excellent example of why we have no real leadership in this country, just bought and paid for fops like you working for the new Corprocracy. Climb back into your hole before we put you there.

    December 11, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Just another photo op for the GOP teaparty CLOWN from the hick state of Texas who will probably be hung from a lamp post by the American people when the Canadian Cuban gets back for his loss of 24 billion dallars by the fiscal GOP conservatives !!!!!!

    December 11, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. mole man

    Him & his daddy should take Cuba back and make it their country. HAHA his daddy cared so much for his country he left. What a joke

    December 11, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Klatu

    Obama went to promote himself and his agendas at a funeral. Like Cruz or not, he does seem to do what he feels is right. Whether you agree or not is up to you.

    Guess people have chosen to forget that, in a very public forum, Michelle took to rolling her eyes because of a speaker. Very, very childish. Something you would expect a 15 year old to do – not the First Lady of the United States.

    December 11, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. theala

    I'm sure Cruz thinks he made some big political statement, and appeased the Cuban Americans in Florida whose votes he wants when he runs for President in 2016.

    But he broke protocol, and that will not sit well with many people. What an a.s.s.; he embarrassed the entire United States by being disrespectful at a funeral, just to pander to voters at home.


    December 11, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    The memorial service was about honoring Nelson Mandela. Sen Ted Cruz made it about himself. He didn't learn anything from Mandela's example of forgiveness, peace, and compassion.

    December 11, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. rapierpoint

    Lot of Cruz bashers here. Interesting because I can't find a citation of what Castro was saying, so there may be reasons for walking out of the speech. Also, the fact that Castro seems to stand for quite a lot of what Mandela was against, it would seem to me to be at odds with a memorial to Mandela.

    So until the bashers actually walk a mile in his shoes and actually know what was going on, I suggest they take a chill pill. I mean, I'm sure there was a good reason for Obama to be shaking hands with Castro (other than it being a Commie plot 🙂 )

    December 11, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. C Bann

    "... 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."

    VERY WELL SAID Walter Adams !

    December 11, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Seattle Sue

    I think Cruz was just green with envy because he was not the center of attraction.

    December 11, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Malory Archer


    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.


    He used Mandela's funeral to make a childish political statement. Not what real Americans expect from their Statesmen, and they should use it as a cudgel to repeatedlyremind him of that!

    December 11, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Malory Archer


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


    Yeah, except President Obama wasn't the one holding the camera and taking the picture. Nice try, but we gotcha!

    December 11, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Refuse2giveup

    I see CNN has changed to a more inflammatory headline on their front page: "Cruz Walks at Mandala Memorial." Apparently there wasn't enough Ted Cruz bashing going on when they ran it with the original headline, "Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro Speech..."

    December 11, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. Slip


    I'd love to know who the genius is that invited Obama 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 sitting respectfully for a few minutes Obama has to show yet more of his inappropriate behavior by taking a selfie while his wife fumes beside him just to make yet another one of his well thought out 'it's all about me' statements. People around the world who watched Obama being jerk most likely felt shock as I for what he demonstrated – blatant disrespect for the deceased! Obama 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 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. greybeard

    Just shows you the class (or lack thereof) this idiot has. It doesn't matter if they move their primary to the year before the general election, if the GOP keeps morons like Prophet Cruz around then they can't complain when they don't win the highest office.

    December 11, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 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