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. Dave thewave

    Can you imagine this guy wants to be President of the US . . . . what a frickin nightmare!

    December 11, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. wasted taxpayer money

    Wonder how much it cost the taxpayer to send Cruz and his entourage to South Africa, only to embarass himself? What an overall waste of a human.

    December 11, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Rockney

    Classic bad behavior from a disgraceful and disgusting individual with ZERO honor – or humanity for that matter. It does not matter who was speaking. It was simply rude and utterly uncalled for at any funeral – much less that of a world leader.

    December 11, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. cynthia

    Cruz: insensitive and disrespectful little man. Obama: understood the international AND timing, respect for Mandela's family and legacy by NOT being an insensitive (cruz) jerk. Wonder if cruz would walk out of his parents sevices if his liberal cousin spoke????

    December 11, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. W

    Cruz is a first class nut case.

    December 11, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. JJ

    Still a useless Cuban-Canadian moron.

    December 11, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. shorething

    funny how comments are on because he is a republican but when it is about Obama they close comments because Obama gets bashed like crazy. Talk about a double standard CNN!

    December 11, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. markus

    "For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents."

    Is he talking about Fidel or Raul?

    December 11, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. tom l

    "@ tom l

    In what is fast becoming a habit for you tom l, you took one of my posts yesterday and completely and erroneously misquoted what I said. You misquoted me, to my detriment of course, not once but several times to any and all that would engage you in "conversation".
    Below please see my original post (in response to someone else's comment):
    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. Nelson Mandela showed the world what poise, humanity and integrity meant to the healing of a Nation. If only we were as fortunate to have a leader such as he
    Uh-huh, because setting out to obstruct, derail, demean, and disrespect one good leader just wasn't enough for you.
    Yeah...I don't think so.
    Below is your "interpretation" of my post:

    "I love how DMFO was responding to someone who wished that Obama was more like Mandela. Her response was that Obama had a greater challenge in dealing with the repubs than Mandela did in dealing with the opposition in South Africa where there was Apartheid! So she thinks that repubs are more difficult to deal with then the white people of South Africa back when Mandela became president!!! Priceless"

    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.


    Knowing how frustrating it is when I am taken out of context, which happens from your "gang" all the time, I want to sincerely apologize if I misinterpreted what you said. I clearly did not misquote you as all I did was copy your comment. But if I misunderstood then please tell me the point you were trying to make. Please explain what you were trying to say as from what I gathered, someone commented that they wished that Obama was more like Mandela and you lamented that the opposition essentially has made that impossible for Obama to accomplish. I'm not malicious like your cohorts and if I misinterpret something it isn't out of anger, it's simply out of a misunderstanding. So just what were you trying to say?

    December 11, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. John Smith

    ignorance is bliss and Cruz leads the way

    December 11, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. MoodyFoodie

    Well I guess that tells you something about what we could expect from his foreign policy.

    December 11, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. art4u2

    Funny, China's human rights are worse than Cuba"s and Cruz does nothing. Guess The CONSEVATIVES haven't been told bu Fox to think about that one.

    December 11, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. leapingknome

    my question...... why was he there in the first place?

    December 11, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. democraze

    It fitting that Cruz represent Texas, a state thay wants to secede and I wish they would.

    December 11, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. tom l


    @ Rudy NYC: "Of course, Cruz knew exactly what he planned to do ... "

    If Cruz waxed eloquent and sung the praises of Nelson Mandela simply to attend his memorial because Cruz wanted to pander to his base by walking out on Raul Castro, I can only say it backfired on Cruz big time.
    If Cruz had that big of a problem with Castro, then he should never have attended.
    If Cruz did not know that Castro would be in attendance and possibly speaking, then he should have checked his ego at the door.
    If Cruz knew that Castro would be speaking, then his will ignorance was on display.
    If Cruz thinks that all of this was a good diea, then his poor strategizing skills have bitten him once again.


    I love how the lefties know exactly what is in Cruz's mind when they can't comprehend why he has the political positions that he holds. It's pretty awesome. As far as Cruz quietly walking out because he didn't want to listen to the person that has destroyed the country where he has deep ties to, then I think you are all just being very partisan. And, once again, being extremely disrespectful to Mandela by making everything political. Cruz didn't announce he was leaving nor make any mention of it. He simply walked out. It is perfectly appropriate what he did. He was there to honor Mandela and be there for all of the other speakers that were there. You guys are pathetic and sad to twist something that was an honorable action into something so political just because the guy is on the other side of the aisle.

    Those who complain about Obama's selfie and Cruz's actions are nothing more than opportunists trying to leverage this great man's life into making their political point.

    December 11, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. ImJust Sayin

    What at idiot !! Well, he did find a way to get another mention in the news !! lol

    December 11, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. larry the conquerer

    this was a celebration of the life of a unique man who stood for peace, for equality and for inclusion, the fact even communist leaders can see that must give one hope. Sadly Cruz saw it as an opportunity to show how unique he is- that somehow he is better than the rest of the leaders there, that somehow his crap dont stink.

    December 11, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. simplefaith

    Ted Cruz shamed himself for doing such a disrespectful act. He is definitely NOT President material. Paul Ryan is making an effort to work with Democrats. This is a lesson Cruz should follow. Trying to get attention at a funeral of a world leader is NOT a place to want to stand out. Shame on you, Ted Cruz. You are killing your chances, in fact you have killed you chance to run for President. You may as well save your money and don't waste your time.

    December 11, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Joan

    Cruz s much scarier than Castro!! Cruz will do more harm to the U S than any Castro!!!

    December 11, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. JustAnotherBigotFullaChristianHate

    I'm sure Cruz went to the memorial, specifically for the Optics of Walking out on People ... that's just the kind of slime he is made of ..

    December 11, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. DustyOnes

    Good for Cruz. Standing up for his principles.

    Of course Obama has no principles....he is in it for the money.

    December 11, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Mary

    Why do politicians view every event as an opportunity to draw attention to themselves? Is it really that unreasonable to expect representatives from our country to the memorial for Nelson Mandela to exhibit decent manners? News bulletin Ted Cruz: it's not about you.

    December 11, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Name

    How can this guy think cuba's holding polical prisoners is wrong! Texas execute innocent people and he say nothing. Mandela was a threat to the rule that was in place has texas let all the people it hold that are innocent free. Come with truth or don't say anything. Mandela work with the injustice he had faced will you do the same with Castro and Cuba?

    December 11, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Sweetday

    Classless! He lacks basic dignity....if it isn't about HIM he isn't interested.

    December 11, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Jay Nair

    Nelson Mandela was always close to Fidel Castro and praised him for his fore-sight. Did Cruz go without reading history? Circus clowns are more serious and intelligent.

    December 11, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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