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. 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.


    Yeah, except 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 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. 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 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. bearitstrong

    Ted Cruz is the GOP's favorite "loose cannon".

    December 11, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Malory Archer


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


    LOL! Another ignorant rethug/teabag toddler unaware that the United States has NO diplomatic relations with NK, and all communications are handled through a third nation.

    December 11, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. 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. How is it their fault the United States has been hiding political prisoners there for more than a decade?

    December 11, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. 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! Honestly, didn't the teabag toddlers' parents teach them ANYTHING about manners?

    December 11, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. SK

    I can't believe that this guy travelled all the way to South Africa to try and grab the spotlight away from Mandela's memorial to make a political statement. Pathetic is the word that comes to mind.

    December 11, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thanks for posting CNN!! 😉

    December 11, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Minnie Mouse

    People attend funerals out of love and respect to the family and family members. Cruz, learn what the word "Respectful" means.

    December 11, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Big Ben

    The Cruz family helped the Castro's oust Baptista and take over Cuba. Ted Cruz's father was a Castro revolutionary fighter. They can't run away from their own history. They were "for Castro" as long as it benefited the Cruz family.

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


    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.


    Yeah, except there's a time and a place for everything, and a funeral is neither the time nor the place to to express himself".

    December 11, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Daddy

    Mandela was a communist loving terrorist...Cruz is an idiot. You can't pump up Mandela and shame Castro and not see it as hypocritical.

    December 11, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. B.O.B.

    The reson Ted Cruz is in South Africa is to show his support for the man Nelson Mandela was, a true leader of the region, even while people of his own party bashed him for supporting a terrorist (idiots). Ted Cruz walking out on Castro is a statement to the Cuban leader and nothing more. As one of Cuban heritage, why would he sit and listen to Castro, ever? This would be akin to Mandela walking out on Botha back in the day. Get over it and applaud him for his willingness to take a stand. I'm guessing if President Obama was of Cuban decent he would not have been shaking Castro's hand.

    December 11, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. xyguy

    Why does this guy remind me of an attention-grabbing Sarah Palin? Since his election, Cruz has not missed ANY opportunity to hog the spotlight, a news camera or a photo op, and the ideas he spouts reminds me once again that somewhere, the GOP village is missing an idiot. Cruz believes he's WAY more important than he really is ... can you say "irrelevant," Ted? See, I knew you could ...

    December 11, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Westicles

    If Cruz is opposed to communist dictators, he should walk out anytime Obama steps up to a podium.

    December 11, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. TomGI

    "Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech "

    Of course he did, he wants maximum publicity from the trip. That's why he went in the first place.

    December 11, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Dorothy

    This was not a political even, it was a funeral. Cruz has no class.

    December 11, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Dean

    This is just one example of why Ted Cruz is a better representative of our country than Obama. Selfies at a memorial service? Really? Grow up. Better yet, start packing.

    December 11, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Dorian3333

    I don't have one problem with Cruz walking out of the assembly when a dictator supporting thug gets up to speak. I would hope that the free world would recognize this for what it was...a message to a repressive regime. The ironic thing here is that Mandela even had this regime as a friend. The only reason that Cuba supported Mandela was because the USA supported SA during the Cold War. Mandela preached freedom from his cell and as the President of SA but at the same time called Castro a friend.....a friend. Wrap your head around that one for a minute. The world came to the aid of this man in his time of need and in return he supports a Cuban regime that is one of the most repressive in the world. A true humanitarian, as Mandela was portrayed to be, would have used that power to exert change on regimes like Cuba but instead he empowered them. So, when Cruz walked out of that assembly I had no problem with that at all. We should not tolerate those regimes in this world. Say what you want about the USA and all of its' warts but we are still the country that others want to be....people die daily trying to get here and the door is open to all that want to leave. Stand up for freedom wherever you are....period. The ones on here that are jabbing at Cruz on this should be ashamed to call yourselves humans....pathetic weasels everyone of you.

    December 11, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. MiNiMaTiC

    This just in: 99.9% of the rest of the world do not know or care who Ted Cruz is.

    December 11, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Gene2

    Ted Cruz, Houston called and they're missing their idiot. Please return to your village ASAP.

    December 11, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. cheapser 505

    any one notice the similarities between Cruz and Joseph McCarthy of the 50s era

    December 11, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. Igor

    If he is so against Communist scum then why did he attend the funeral of another Communist pig? He's is most certainly in the wrong. Only, he is in the wrong for going to that joke of a memorial in the first place. I however am not at all surprised by the representation of America by the Obamas. Our country is run by a bunch of cheap half wits and common criminals.

    December 11, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Cruz was true to himself, that is all he has to be true to.
    I would tend to agree with you Carol were he a private individual, not someone sent out on the world stage as a representative of an entire nation.

    December 11, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Mancee Grayce

    What a childish, petty punk. Ted Cruz has now taken his "Embarrass the USA tour" overseas for the rest of the world to despise. Stay classy GOP.

    December 11, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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