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

    why was cruz even there to pay RESPECT yea right...that crumb just wanted to be part of history..........he is NOT worthy of being in the same country as Mr. Mandela...cruz is pathetic

    December 11, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. ed dugan

    I never thought I would witness a person with absolutely no class but Cruz fits the bill. What a world-class jerk. I only hope the Republicans are dumb enough to put him in the running. What a gift that would be!!!

    December 11, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Refuse2giveup

    I see CNN has changed to a more inflammatory headline on their front page: "Cruz Walks Out 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 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Thomas

    Netanyahu skips Mandela memorial.
    The prime minister cited finances and security, but some Israelis say the decision gives fodder to those who say Israel runs an apartheid state.

    December 11, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Sniffit

    This dude up and walks out in a political huff during the ceremony and yet the GOP/Teatroll/CNN symbiote wants instead to push a ridiculous narrative that a photograph taken by the POTUS with a couple other world leaders, amidst the singing, dancing, cheering crowds at the stadium, was somehow what was "inappropriate." IOKIYAR

    December 11, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Malory Archer


    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.


    Cuba has been asking the United States to leave the island for years. It's not their fault the United States has been hiding political prisoners there for more than a decade.

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


    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.


    No, the "poilite" thing to do would have been to STAY HOME!

    December 11, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. M.A.P

    What a pathetic loser. This is about Nelson Mandela – a legend! It's not about Castro or Cuba or his own personal political stunts. I sincerely hope he understands what a ridiculous and meaningless "statement" he made

    December 11, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. peter

    How can Ted Cruz run for President when he was born in Canada? Maybe Donald can pay investigators to dig up his birth certificate.

    December 11, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. keeth

    Mandela's lesson was reconciliation, obviously something that Cruz can't even comprehend. Stay classy, GOP.

    December 11, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Don Diego

    As someone who fled cuba, the ignorance of many of the posters on here is amazing. He was not disrespecting Mandela, he was showing contempt for a brutal regime. One which most of you know nothing about. So please stop with the stupid comments. Feliz Navidad! everyone.

    December 11, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. junior36

    Yea, what a tasteless act. We need acts of a much higher standard... like taking a self-portrait while "yuking" it up at a man's funeral. After all," what difference does it make? He's dead!"

    December 11, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Somewhat to be expected. Had he not, his father would have denounced him in every forum he could find as branding his son as weak on the Castro regime.
    It will be interesting to see if a Senate vote on normalizing relations with Cuba ever comes around. How many other than he and McCain would vote against it.

    December 11, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Name hafid

    Mr. Cruz would meet with the Chineese and Rusian governtment official, but not with Raul, that is total hypocracy. The later two Nations pose a real danger to the American way of life,than Cuba can ever do, what is all about is the inability to subjicate a free Nation.

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

    Dont you justhate drama at funerals?

    December 11, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. nosnobunny

    That's just plain immature and rude.

    December 11, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. tony

    The GOP is revising it's primnary process. . . . .

    December 11, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Bails

    I wonder if Mr Cruz hung around for Xi Jingping's speech, a man who leads a party of dictators also quite fond of imprisoning and torturing it's citizens. Ahh, that's right the US does not need Cuba to buy it's Treasury bills.

    December 11, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Thomas

    What do Ted Cruz and "Joe" McCarthy have in common ?

    They both exceed in arrogance , grandstanding , selling fear and promoting ignorance .

    Cruz and McCarthy both share one other defect of character , lack of humility .

    December 11, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. ed

    When the "White" western nations did not support the South African resistance movements to free ourselves of minority rule the only people who came to our aid were people like Castro, Mugabe and Gaddafi. I dislike everyone of them they are ruthless dictators. But taking it in context South Africa is not going to abandon the people who supported them. Now that I am US citizen I see that we had our fare share of ruthless dictators we supported like Saddam Hussein and Marcos. So everyone nation has skeletons in their closet. No country is without fault. Even Ho Chi Min wanted to have a democratic country like the US. But the US had to support a colonial imperialist power like France because it was bound by a treaty. We would have had more democracy in the world today if the US supported countries to establish democracy rather than whatever was expedient for us.

    December 11, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. tom l

    @The Real TP
    "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."


    Finally! Yay! I couldn't agree with you more. I think it's pretty awful the way people on both sides are using Mandela to get their political points across here. I will say that the selfie was absolutely no big deal. I do think that what Cruz did was fine. Imagine if you were of Chinese descent and Chairman Mao came out to give a speech. Would you stay? Of course not. I actually think that in this case he did a very appropriate thing.

    December 11, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. tony

    So I guess Sen. Cruz will refund the government's trip expenses? After all government waste is what he is all about.

    December 11, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Milwaukee Eastsider

    I don't know why Cruz walked out
    After all, Cruz's daddy fought for Castro

    December 11, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Just sayin....

    This man is the most uncouth, uncultered, uncivilized excuse for a Senator I've ever seen. I'm sure he knew before he attended this funeral that their was at least a possibility that Castro would be there. He has absolutely no shame...

    December 11, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. james Pfeiffer

    This are the kind of misinformed, naive, ignorant elected official we seem too often cultivate in this society. Cruz needs to focus on the inequalities right here in the US, rather than feign holier-then-thou theatrics on the international stage regarding Cuba (which interestingly enough has some of the best national health care anywhere!). This guy is like a serial comedy show with canned laughter to boot. No wonder we, as a nation, are plummeting in world respect. While we stand around and discuss whether the world is 5000 years old, whether our president was born in this country, whether we have the right to own automatic machine guns for "sport", or whether Miley's showed too much crotch on her latest "phoned-in" pseudo music video, etc. etc., the rest of the industrial world is moving progressively into the future leaving us in their collective dust.

    December 11, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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