Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
12 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. The1calleddoc

    Who thought it was a good idea to send Cruz when you had so many other options. Maybe dc needed a break from him.

    December 11, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  2. walker

    Such a transparent mercenary. Pompous and undignified in bearing, self righteous fool who only sees through a myopic filter
    with no vision beyond an even duller and uncompassionate status quo. What an insult to Mandela's world view. One wonders if he got salmonella from his 'green eggs' maybe he would think twice about Obamacare..

    December 11, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  3. Laura

    Ted Cruz..........Crown Prince of Rude Jerks.

    December 11, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  4. bryanbeus

    Interesting. CNN, that is so wrong.

    The tagline on the homepage reads, "Cruz walked out on Mandela Memorial."

    And then here it reveals that he walked out on CASTRO'S SPEECH.

    Totally different. Completely incendiary in a deceitful (and liberally biased) way.

    Another loss of trust from the American people.

    December 11, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  5. Valentijn

    I realize some people can't avoid being petty gits on a regular basis. To do so during a memorial service is extremely immature and disrespectful toward the deceased.

    December 11, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  6. Tom

    Stupid is what stupid does..........

    December 11, 2013 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  7. Giggity

    Brilliant, pretending not to hear what others have to say

    December 11, 2013 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  8. Louise

    These US lawmakers don't understand what Mandela was about. They always show their ignorance and arrogance everywhere they go. Nelson Mandela's memorial service is not a political meeting or the UN. Pathetic little men who don’t understand that they insulted Mandela, the people of SA, and all the people present at Nelson Mandela's memorial service. Stay home…

    December 11, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  9. RayJacksonMs

    Attention seeking twit.

    December 11, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  10. tallulah13

    This is exactly why Ted Cruz is not qualified to be President. You cannot create productive conversation by walking out while another speaks. You cannot preside over a powerful nation when you can't even behave as an adult.

    One hopes that Mr. Cruz will someday learn the lessons of Nelson Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  11. Thom Burke

    Send this clown back to Canada.

    December 11, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  12. Karl Denton

    Ted Cruz and his family are the worst kind of bigots!

    December 11, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  13. Bootsie Randolph

    Behave yourself Cruz!!

    December 11, 2013 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  14. epj717

    Did Ted Cruz just go to a memorial service just to make a political statement? What a terrible human being.

    December 11, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  15. Suz

    Ted Cruz said he was honored to attend the funeral, but not so honored as to stay seated during a speech.

    December 11, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  16. Bacon

    How convenient that this happens not long after the Gonzalez thing. What does the government want to distract us from?
    Why is everything about Cuba all of a sudden?

    December 11, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  17. Evelyn Connaway

    Why was a HATER like Ted Cruz even allowed to go to Mandela's memorial? He knew all heads of most countries would be there. As for Mr. Castro of Cuba, I like him a lot better than I do Ted Cruz and his father. His father must have lived there during the Batista regime, they liked Batista, so did the Americans, especially the big shots and the mafia – party time and money making for them. Did they run Cruz's father out of Cuba, when they ousted Batista?

    December 11, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  18. RDA

    I wonder if Cruz would have walked out if the Chinese or Russian leaders were speaking. Of course not, despite those countries having horrendous human rights records. This was political grandstanding at its worst, and of all times doing it during services to honor Nelson Mandela. A tea party moron making the US look ridiculous. Well done.

    December 11, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  19. Scott

    glad to hear it.

    December 11, 2013 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  20. ndnchik

    i feel that walking out during a memorial for a MAN OF GREATNESS in his ideals & aspirations, his work in triumphing over the adversaries & tragidies of his life, shows very lil respect on your behalf. shame on you!

    December 11, 2013 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  21. heroicslugtest

    Good. Castro is a dictator. Those are bad, you know. I wouldn't sit down and listen to one blather on.

    December 11, 2013 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  22. SomeRandomDude

    can't have a proper funeral without some funeral drama

    December 11, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  23. ermentrude

    Personal reasons, I am sure, and understandable. President Obama could also have been heard as chastising Castro himself, after he shook his hand, in his own speech.

    December 11, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  24. CSM

    Always has to showboat, regardless of the venue.

    December 11, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  25. tednugent'sdiapers

    Typical Repuke......no class whatsoever.

    December 11, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
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