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. kathy

    What a total tool. This guy should be getting Time's Idiot of the Year Award. He is an embarrassment to the already pathetic congress.

    December 11, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Pam

    Have you checked out the Cruz Coloring Book? Embarrassing to admit this person is in the US Senate.

    December 11, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Wow, what a tough guy .... swoon, swoon .... gag, gag ... he is such an empty suit!

    P.S. Hey, Ted, have you become a naturalized American citizen yet? I'm betting either he hasn't (because then that would prove he's ineligible to be POTUS) or he has and he's keeping it very, veerrrrrrry quiet.

    December 11, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. sbul

    Not only is he out of touch with reality he's rude to boot.

    December 11, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. richard in texas

    HEY BOOM you mean Texas imprisons and kills more people per capita than bad Cruz wont walk out on Texas. It would be a much needed improvement around here.

    December 11, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Gary

    "For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents."
    Hey, Canadian Ted... You do know this Raul...Right?

    December 11, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Mom's Girls

    I agree with everyone of you who stated Cruz is a straight up CLOWN!

    December 11, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Roger Bridges

    A person need only read the remarks on a story on cnn or msnbc and you can find the 40% nut jobs that elected the lunacy we have for a government

    December 11, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Ya know, over the time I have been posting here I've made more than my share of partisan comments, and I've already stated I disagree with how Cruz behaved. However, Cruz's behavior is on him, not any of us. Mandela believed in reconcilation, and I've seen few attempts on here to honor that ideal. People need to holster their partisanship and allow Mr. Cruz to pay the consequences for his action, if there are any, when he returns to the US. He took a lot of heat for saying good things about Mandela, as did Gingrich: lets not forget that he made a decent gesture that caused an uproar among the Conservative faithful.

    December 11, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Patines

    Because of that kind of people (CRUZ) is the reason of the
    Cuban revolution. What a human misery!

    December 11, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Liza Null

    Ted Cruz just couldn't resist the opportunity to draw attention to himself, could he? Ted Cruz knew full well that Castro was going to speak – so he waited until EVERYONE ELSE was seated, he waited until the room was quiet, he waited until Castro began to speak – THEN he drew attention to himself by making a spectacle of himself!

    Ted Cruz could care LESS about the thousands of "tortured and imprisoned" – he's an EGO MANIAC who just couldn't resist the opportunity to bring the focus on HIMSELF.

    Under the SHAM of "protest" Ted Cruz believes that people are TOO STUPID to figure out his true motivations.

    December 11, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Carol

    Cruz is an idiot and behaved inappropriately. His behavior was disrespectful to the occasion.

    December 11, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. TSRVT

    You modern-day GOPTBers are nothing but an embarrassment, locally, nationally, and internationally. You have no one left to offend on the planet. I know you want to offend some space aliens to that you are a galactic embarrassment also.

    December 11, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. JC Mack

    Sen Cruz needs to get a life the memorial service was not about him

    December 11, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. scooter

    Some children should not go to funerals. They can't handle the situation emotionally or the might get fidgety and need to be taken out mid-service.

    December 11, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. obawendon

    Cruz continues to show he has absolutely zero class and is not even fit to hold the office he holds. He is a poor example of American government and we all should be ashamed of his behavior. I hope he gets his due next election period. He may not agree with Castro, but as a high profile delegate from the US he should have shown that he is a big boy and can listen even if he hates the message. Instead he acted like the clown he is and walked out. Definitely NOT Presidential material, nor Congressional Material. He continues to show it is all about HIM, and not his country. Pathetic!

    December 11, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. sisterchef

    Using the Mandela service to make a staged statement is deplorable. It was known who would be speaking and this action was planned. Cruz is a classless dip in the road.

    December 11, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Michael

    joe mccarthy number 2

    December 11, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Cali-Girl

    The man has a right to his feelings/opinions, no matter how asinine it may be, he should be able to express himself and not be forced into a cookie cutter assembly just because his feelings don't agree with yours.

    December 11, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. biglio

    I think with this logic every leader should walk out whenever a US representative speaks given that we still have Guantanamo Bay..........

    December 11, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Carol

    Cruz was true to himself, that is all he has to be true to.

    December 11, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ tom l

    In what is fast becoming a habit for you tom l, you took one of my posts yesterday and completely and erroneously misquoted what I said. You misquoted me, to my detriment of course, not once but several times to any and all that would engage you in "conversation".
    Below please see my original post (in response to someone else's comment):
    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. Nelson Mandela showed the world what poise, humanity and integrity meant to the healing of a Nation. If only we were as fortunate to have a leader such as he
    Uh-huh, because setting out to obstruct, derail, demean, and disrespect one good leader just wasn't enough for you.
    Yeah...I don't think so.
    Below is your "interpretation" of my post:

    "I love how DMFO was responding to someone who wished that Obama was more like Mandela. Her response was that Obama had a greater challenge in dealing with the repubs than Mandela did in dealing with the opposition in South Africa where there was Apartheid! So she thinks that repubs are more difficult to deal with then the white people of South Africa back when Mandela became president!!! Priceless"

    I cannot fathom how you jumped to this conclusion from my post.
    I can only attribute it to either will maliciousness in misquoting someone in order to make a point, or a serious problem with your reading comprhension.
    Neither one of those things however, when engaged in as repeatedly as you engage in them, can be used as an excuse.
    I neither "love" being misquoted in such a detrimental way nor consider it "priceless".
    If you're unable to read plain English, or unable to understand the simple nuances or significance of someone's statements may I strongly urge you to refrain from posting as often and as ERRONEOUSLY as cnn allows you to do.

    December 11, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. yogi

    With a handshake to Castro president Obama showed the dignity of a world leader. Great leaders know how to negotiate, they have the vision of how to create peace through diplomacy, and they have empathy for their fellow human beings. This said, it is clear that Cruz does not have any of these qualities to put him in the position he badly wants, he has zero chance. The damage Cruz has done to this country with his childish tantrums are enough of a warning not to reelect him.

    December 11, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. visitor

    He used Mandela's memorial for a cheap political stunt.

    December 11, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. bill dunn

    Do we forget the word GLASTNOST, as soon as some of the west trickled into the Soviet Union the people rose up and it collapsed. End all embargos, they don't work. If you want countries to westernize and become more modern you have to give them a taste of what they are missing. You would never want a new car if you never saw one. You'd be happy with your :57 Ford and your black and white T.V. Why do we refuse to learn from history.

    December 11, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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