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. Louis Merriken

    It was a memorial not a funeral. Ted Cruz is an ass and I would expect no less from him. What should have been a celebration of Nelson Mandela's life and what he taught us was lost on Cruz when he tried to turn this into a political stunt!

    December 11, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    ***************
    the embargo on SA did work: Newt Gingrich was one of the sponsors of the bill. I suggest you take it up with him, and actually take the time to READ history.

    December 11, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Hugh Jass

    Why in the world was an embarrassment like Cruz even invited? Looks to me as if someone figured he'd make the GOP look like racist fools and made sure to give him enough rope.

    December 11, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. RCM

    Teddy will make a great candidate for the GOP, he should try to get the quitter Palin to join him as VP.

    December 11, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. American

    Senator Cruz feelings for Castro should not cloud his judgement to the point where he is an embarassement for the American diplomacy, and during an international event of such magnitude.

    Mr. Cruz 's circus display gives a good idea of what he and most of his his party understand through personal freedom.

    Didn't Mr. Cruz know of Mr. Mandela friendship with the Castros? WHY did he choose to go to Mandela's memorial then? Just to condemn Mandela in public? What a shame!

    December 11, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. bob baden

    Cruz would practice what Castro has if he thought he could get away with it. Tick tock, it won't belong before we learn the truth about Cruz. All of these people have a skeleton they're hiding.

    December 11, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. independant jim

    President Obama didn't take the picture that is clear so the story headline is a lie What is tasteless is someone attending a funeral for the sole purpose of stirring up controversy as Ted {{ the Canadian }} Cruz di Cruz {{the Canadian }} did not attend to pay respects to Mandela ..He attended to get some exposure

    December 11, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    tom l.

    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? ....
    ---------------------
    Nope. I wouldn't have been crude and ignorant enough to attend. The list of who was making speeches was not a closely guarded state secret. Cruz acted like a snobbish prude. Cruz was a total embarassment for the U.S. delegation. How come none of the other conservatives walked? Because they have more class than Ted Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Hondo123

    Obviously, as an American, Cruz is too proud to allow others their freedom of speech. Perhaps he should remember the words of great man who lived during our lifetime:

    “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

    “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

    N. Mandella

    Ted, looks like you completely missed the point – – again.

    December 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. American

    Mr. Cruz feelings for Castro should not cloud his judgement to the point where he is an embarassement for the American diplomacy, and during an international event of such magnitude.

    Mr. Cruz 's circus display gives a good idea of what he and most of his his party understand through personal freedom.

    Didn't Mr. Cruz know of Mr. Mandela friendship with the Castros? WHY did he choose to go to Mandela's memorial then? Just to condemn Mandela in public?

    December 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Mike, Albany

    Ted Cruz is an embarrassment. Maybe we can convince Canada to take him back as he is completely useless as an American.

    December 11, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. sly

    This Cruz is a joke, an embarassment to all Americans. Why is a racist white boy attending a great liberals funeral, just to make headlines?

    December 11, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Name

    If he didn't want to listen to the speech, he doesn't want to listen. I walked out on my own family at my mother's funeral because they were being hypocritical and l did not want to listen to it. The only one he disrespected us Castro and that was the point. Why the man was asked to speak at the funeral in the first place is beyond me.

    December 11, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Malory Archer

    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.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except photos of the "selfie" being taken show that President Obama wasn't the one holding the camera or snapping the photo. LOL – rightous indignation fail! BTW, why should he start packing now? He stilll has 3 years, 41 days to continue making your head pop! You REALLY should take your own advice and grow up!

    December 11, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    DM4O wrote:

    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.
    -----------------------------–
    He's worse than a kid just a few years out of high school. In fact, he walks and talks just like one. Could've fooled me.

    December 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. S

    You are worried about a US Senator????? The Pres certainly embarrassed ME! Even Michelle was embarrassed at his childlike behavior! Shame on him....another reason he is not pres material!

    December 11, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    AHA. I've got it. Cruz must have thought that he was walking out the U.N. General Assembly. I'm going to call this Ted Cruz' "no mas" moment.

    December 11, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. rs

    You know, the TEA Party types can do whatever they want IMHO as individuals- after all the GOP as a whole (given their Birthers and the TEA Party) have set civility at a pretty low bar.
    When they represent the United States of America however at a state-level events- like funerals, conferences, diplomatic events especially in other nations, I think we all expect that they should be on their best behavior because they ARE all of us at that event. No one should deal in bad manners – especially for cheap political show in public. Save that sort of activity for your party events, or your own social events. It's just manners people, plain and simple.

    December 11, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. northerstar

    Perhaps Cruz would like to explain why the US has not normalized relationships with Cuba ? We have normalized relationship with Viet Nam, etc. Why not Cuba ?

    December 11, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    Carol

    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.
    -----------------

    Was he sent, mama? It was my impression that he chose to go to the memorial of his own volition. Which leads me to believe that this was his goal to begin with: to walk out when Raul Castro got up to speak.

    December 11, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. dave

    I hope that everyone start walking out on Cruz, I am a foreigner and Cruz should not attend the funeral to make his political statement, keep this in his the US where you all play children games, we foreigners have no respect for guys like cruz, you are nothing in the world. Don't show up to more world event you are a embarrassment and need to stay in the US and act like a kid.

    December 11, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. SLJ

    Cruz is nothing more than a publicity junkie. "Look at me" is all he's interested in. A very dangerous thing to have in office.

    December 11, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Ram

    Show the same bravado against China the other communist state. Displaying your stupid bravado against a weak nation is a joke. It shows you are weak.

    December 11, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. beancounterz

    Lets try a re-write:
    "For decades,the USA has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, the US should finally release his political prisoners in Cuba.."

    December 11, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. peter

    Hey Mike, Albany,
    Sorry, but we have a no return policy for slightly used products in Canada. Please don't hold it against us :)

    December 11, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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