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. Robert

    Sometimes I think CRUZ is on the Dems payroll.............

    December 11, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. pjaswla

    Cruz is an truly evil, despicable creature. Nasty, mean-spirited, anti-most-American values. What is it about Texas that breed people like Cruz and Rick Perry and, lest we forget, George Bush.

    December 11, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Larry in Houston

    If the voters that voted for this guy in the first place, end up voting for him again when his term is up, ( if he runs again ) blame the idiot people that actually voted for him.....Not all of us in Texas voted for him

    December 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. dinkydow

    I'm sure Obama would have walked out to but, he wasn't paying attention to who was talking as he was tied up in a selfie.

    Thanks Ted, for once again knowing the right thing to do.

    December 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    Does Cruz not know that in the USA over 700,000 are arrested each year for marijuana? Is this not political persecution? And just being in a prison unjustly is a form of torture. And further, the laws, and sentencing, are not applied evenly.

    Eliminate injustice in in our country before you make a fool of yourself elsewhere, Cruz. Remove federal laws against marijuana.

    December 11, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. DR Zumba

    Senator Cruz of all people should not be pointing fingers at anyone.

    December 11, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. I AM

    What a joke...he was there to honor Mandela and he used it as a political statement against Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. rc roeder

    Senator Cruz should be ashamed of himself. As a Senator and acting as representative and statesman for the US Government, he showed his action that could be considered childish and lacks proper breeding and poor manors. The boorish American. P.s. I am an American and this was nothing more than a publicity stunt to keep his name in the news.

    December 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. History Bear

    the Texas Senator is , as ever, an embarassment. The cuban embargo is a joke and pointless. It's there because certain Senators and Rep's are catering to a small minority of Cubans who hope to get their property and power back in Cuba. It does nothing for the US, hurts the average Cuban and in point of fact is counter productive. History shows that trade with the west generally leads to political freedoms and improved economic conditions for the country. If we can trade with China and vietnam, we can trade with anyone.

    December 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. GR Downtown

    That's right Mandela's funeral is yes ALL ABOUT TED CRUZ! I get it now. EVERYTHING is about this self-serving right-wing nut job. Hope the 32 hours of flying was worth it to make this us think of you.

    December 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. fookinGod

    ted cruz need to learn proper decorum as a politician. he is worst than castrro himself. maybe he had this kind of canadian politics in him. try watching the canadian parliament in session and you will be disgusted how rude they are interrupting who ever has the floor.

    December 11, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Andy M

    Amazing that Cruz seems to think Fidel and Raul are the same person. I'm hearing that a lot from conservatives.

    December 11, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Enigmatic1

    Oh Teddy, Just when I thought there was a glimmer of hope that you might be re-joining the human race and becoming a rational adult, you pull this stunt. I can't believe I thought even for a second that you were attending the memorial simply as a gesture of diplomacy both domestically and internationally. Based on the comments your father made, I guess it's a no brainer where you get your thought process from. I can only pray that the people of the Great State of Texas do the right thing and recall you in the quickest possible fashion before you do any further damage to international relations. You don't speak for America and never will.

    December 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Jerry

    Yet very few members in congress bring up or are vocal about communism or the human rights abuses in China.

    December 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Greenspam

    Did Castro make a political speech, or did he eulogize Mandela? If it's the former, I can understand why Cruz walked out, but if it's the latter, then it's just class-less.

    December 11, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Sam Adams

    No-class CRUZ. No diplomat such as needed by all presidents. He emerges as a non-contender. Diplomats at such a gathering would remain in place to honor the deceased whose life and works were being celebrated instead of taking the limelight and making much of his own so-called stature. He misrepresents what we hope to have in our governmental leaders, throwing the stature of the United States into the garbage along with himself.

    December 11, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. nintex

    Maybe he just had to go to the bathroom.

    December 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Corky

    I'm sure President Castro doesn't give a flip about Ted Cruz, nor do the people of South Africa. Cuba helped to free South African Blacks by literally sending troops to fight South African forces in Namibia and Angola and supporting the ANC. Meanwhile, the United States and Britain–supposedly purveyors of democracy and freedom– were propping up the racist, tyrannical Aparthied regime. Mandela knew who his friends were and forgave his enemies. Too bad he had to forgive the United States.

    December 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. cheryl

    Yes think was in bad taste. I do know am sick of politics for sure. May Nelson rest in peace. Heaven does exist though some don't believe it. As a walking miracle child I know why it is so strong in me and grateful Guardian Angels were there by my side. Nelson maybe wanted to be one too

    December 11, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Lynda wrote:

    DM40 had quoted 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.
    [ co-sign ]

    Of course, Cruz knew exactly what he planned to do. I'll be that if a Democrat wins the White House in 2016, that the Nobel Committee will give the American People another Nobel Prize by asking the 45th POTUS to come and pick it up. 🙂

    December 11, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. oreo

    If Cruz or Rand Paul were more libertarian on social issues they would have my endorsement for Prez.

    December 11, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. chet

    I can not judge Cruz for this because I am not of Cuban decent – but I can judge Obama for his Selfie picture – disgraceful!

    December 11, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. steve

    The Cold War is over. Time to lift the embargo and normalize relations. If I can travel to China and Vietnam, both Communist countries, why can I not travel to Cuba. The embargo did not work. It's not 1959. Time to put the Cold War to bed. Like it or not, the Castros won the war. It's time to move on.

    December 11, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Thomas

    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.


    The good news is over 60% of Cuban Americans want a policy change regarding American Cuban relations .

    Similar to that of Vietnam .


    December 11, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. LouAZ

    Actually he hopped out, as he had one foot in his mouth.
    Yes, yes, I know CNN, you will have to moderate what I have written. Is moderating different than pre-screening which you say below that you do NOT do ?

    December 11, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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