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. shelly

    He was annoyed that Cubans all have government provided healthcare.

    December 11, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. tiredtraveller

    Ted, you blew it...again! You're probably setting up some holiday party right now, with incantations to pay homage to Che and Hitler. Walking out of a memorial service for one of the greatest liberators of history because of a tiff with another leader who shook the hand of our leader makes you seem like the self-centered, political moron we've all come to know. And people in this country wonder why the world community dislikes Americans. You just fed their fire. Idiot!

    December 11, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Sigrun Morano

    Looks like Cruz totally missed the point on why Mandela is so admired world wide. What an ignorant boor, once again making Americans look bad to the rest of the world. We are so much better than that !

    December 11, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. steve

    I bet there are more people in prison in the State of Texas than their is in Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Karon

    Cruz is the one who should learn the lessons of Mandela. An embarrassment to this country and to the state of texas.

    December 11, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. J. Sims

    One word! jerk

    December 11, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. jakeinlove

    He was there?

    December 11, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. roger

    You cannot go to an international meeting of people and not meet some you disagree with. If it was going to affect Mr. Cruz that way he shouldn't of even gone. I think he may be looking to grab a few headlines by doing what he did. Hey Cruz, I'm an Independent and these antics won't get my vote.

    December 11, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. grsmc

    He couldn't miss The Grinch who stole Christmas.

    December 11, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. joeintucker

    find it interesting all the leftist on here bash Sen. Cruz, but have nothing to say about Obumbles yucking it up...

    December 11, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |

    What a Statesman he is!

    December 11, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Cecil

    So we have the answer to the puzzling question of why Ted Cruz wanted to go to the Mandela memorial.

    December 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Pucci

    So why did this guy go pay homage to Nelson, who personified forgiveness and peace? What an embarassment to the US on the world stage. Hope he's never president !

    December 11, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. jeffsfla

    Cruz is not only a bad politician for a democracy but his is also an oaf. I understand he is a politician but this is a man's memorial service. How inappropriate.

    December 11, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Chukch

    I guess Sen. Cruz found a way to get on the world stage.

    December 11, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Cruzin'

    I revile Ted Cruz but I support his gesture. For whatever good he did for Cuba, Castro IS a dictator, does imprison his country and he tried to install Cuba-clones with military support for forty years. But he is elderly, out of the loop so, like with a crazy neighbor next door, we should at least be thinly polite so Obama's handshake was okay too. Nixon shook hands with Mao, right? When Fidel's brother Raoul leaves the stage they will probably lighten up, going the way of China and Russia, so we should at least be on speaking terms with them.
    As for Cruz, I am fairly certain this publicity stunt was the only reason he went, he probably did not even know who Mandela was until he heard that Castro was going to show up.

    December 11, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. rrin2012

    As a lifelong Republican I can say that I agree with most of the negative commentary about this idiot. He's the Howard Dean of the party: fringe, out of touch, embarrassing. Like the drunk uncle at Thanksgiving you wish you could just send out to the cold. I'm pleased he continues to define himself, further marginalizing himself and losing support. As regards comrade Fidel: I've been to Cuba twice and the sanctions have served their purpose. Visit with any Cuban, any day, and they'll tell you that when Fidel dies, two thing will happen. First, they'll hunt down and kill Raul and second, they'll renounce the failed system which has impoverished a beautiful country. If Obama wants to diminish income disparity and promote fairness, he needs look no further than Cuba, where everything is absolutely fair-everyone is destitute.

    December 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. scarf

    Some people in Washington need to learn the difference between pollitics and common courtesy. Cruz shouldn't have been surprised that Castro was going to speak. If he didn't want to sit there while Castro spoke, he shouldn't have gone to the memorial service. By walking out, he showed disrepect not to Castro, but to Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Roxy

    well the obama selfie is just as bad as Cruz walking out –

    December 11, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Obozo

    Better to have walked out on Castro than been Obama giving a speech that was 'All about Obama'.

    December 11, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Matt

    The Castro regime in Cuba has a large number of political prisoners. They are jailed without due process and denied basic human rights. JUST AS MANDELA WAS!!

    Walking out on a speech by a hypocrite is hardly showing disrespect to Mandela.

    Seriously folks, why are so many of you missing here. President Obama shook Castro's hand!!

    December 11, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. John C

    Dictators and despots, Obama's best friends

    December 11, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Chuk

    No one should be surprised by this. All Cruz went to do in South Africa was to burnish his "foreign credentials". Has nothing to do with "paying respect". It's all about politics with that goofball.
    He can come home now and run to tell his right wing nuts that he embarrassed Castro. When all he did was embarrass himself – just showing his true colors.

    December 11, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. cruzcontrol

    How ironic....He walks out, but in the same country, Cuba, the US detains foreigners without a reason.
    He should say that he walked out because he is a hypocrite.

    December 11, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. WV Gleeman

    Cruz successfully got another round of free press for his idiotic followers. The man is a nightmare of a political figure but as a publicity hound he is a genius. Make no mistake people that this man is highly intelligent. You just wouldn't know it from his political views and speakings.

    December 11, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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