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. Craig

    Typical "my way or the highway" approach from Cruz. Why to people think this man is the great savior?

    December 11, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Petero

    In the spirit of reconciliation of course.

    December 11, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Reader

    this guy should be leader of a sec. not holding any public office.

    December 11, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Genevieve

    Calling people names and refusing to hear what they are proposing never resolves anything. It is a natural response for people that have to use bullying and whining to achieve what they do. Nelson Mandela was about strength, unity and coming TOGETHER to solve problems. He would not have been released from prison, nor would he have managed to galvanize world support for the end to apartheid (which came about without anyone having to go to war) if he had turned his back on those he did not agree with.

    Americans have been given so many benefits and opportunities. It is really unfortunate that simple mindedness and greed are the motivators of people like Ted Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. columbus

    He was just looking for an excuse to get out of there. He probably felt all creepy and crawly with all of that African energy surrounding him.

    December 11, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Denice

    Shame on Mr. Cruz for walking out like that. it does not matter who was talking he was not the reason you were sent over to pay respects for a great man, Mandel was the one being remembered, who cares about the one making a small speech where many others will be made. You do not deserve to be a senator and should be kicked out of the USA.

    December 11, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. houtex1

    Cruz is an embarrassment to humanity and could care less about Mandella.

    December 11, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Terry

    My way or the highway is classic bho

    December 11, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Guildenstern

    Another Cruz missile gone astray.

    December 11, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Little Drummer Boy

    It was a funeral, NOT a political event. Get a grip Ted... What a jerk...

    December 11, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. jo2

    And why was he there in the first place?

    December 11, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Politics Above The Law - BAD

    cruz is a fool.

    December 11, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    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 willful 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
    If Crux couldn't check his ego and politics at the door, then Cruz never should have attended. Period.

    But, since he did attend, the only question is did Cruz know ahead of time that Castro would attend and would likely speak if he did. The only answer that casts Cruz in a good light is yes, he knew about all of it ahead of time. Waliking into the situation ignorant of the facts on the ground as to who would be there cast Mr. Cruz is that negative light called ignorant.

    December 11, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. george bedula

    Look at that face, that nose, those he Lyndon Johnson's son or what?

    December 11, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. jrzydvl

    @ Rudy NYC
    you don't think Obama shiking hands with castro was a political stunt ? Obama knew he would be there. This was not a surprise, not with POTUS security. It was planned for some reson. Maybe to get the US tlakingaobut Castor instead of ACA ? Hmmm....naaahhhh.....

    December 11, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Eli

    How about Cruz learns from Mandela before he complains about anyone else?

    December 11, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Ryan in Texas

    Why was Castro even speaking in the first place?
    They still have many POLITICAL PRISONERS in Cuba.
    Think Mandela would be OK with political prisoners?
    You might not like Cruz, but at least he stands by his convictions.

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

    Cuba tortures? So did Bush tortured his opponents in Guantenamo, Abu Gharib and elsewhere.. Easy to criticize others!!!

    Plus Cruz is just part of the American Taliban group and shouldn't have been there to begin with...

    December 11, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Brazil 14

    It was Disrespect, He isnt a true American, No Class, Everybody should walk out on him next time he makes a Speech!

    December 11, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. James P. Caudill

    I would have walked out to. I served 15 yrs. Navy and Army as a Em – I and Number one thing that I despised is "Kiss Asses" excuse my French. I for one would have not shaken Castro hand. And when that person shook his hand means he is condoning the acts of Castro. And if this makes anyone mad. Then so be it. It is literally Communism, and the Communists can go back to the hole in which they came from. I may be saying a lot here and I maybe be shot but they will get a bigger fight than what they ask for. I took an oath to, protect this great nation from Foreign and Domestic threats.
    I will die for this great nation but not the President that is commander – in- chief. Period. I served in a time where ones wrongs actions were delt with in a serious matter meaning....If you were a traitor
    to you country or unit or to the men that were beside you in the trenches. Well....say your prayers you would be shot by a firing squad. And that's the probably with this country today all because of one group of individuals who think it's OK to do things that harm the reputation of this Great Country
    of the United States of America. Also, when the smoke clears, this group of individuals, would say
    "I am not responsible for this.......action. I'm calling your bluff and so is the people who believe, as I do. P.S. You and, You know who you the country a favor. Impeach yourself or be impeached. I'm done, peace........

    December 11, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Veritas

    I think Cruz is a nut...but he's right on this one. What happened that Liberals are now kissing up to dictators and right wing nuts are the only one's calling for release of political prisoners and freedom? What's going on with the world?

    December 11, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. carrotroot

    Cruz might not care much for Castro but a funeral is not the forum to flaunt your political views.

    December 11, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. jrzydvl

    @ Carol
    Wake up girl. Neither one was there to negotiate. So what if Cruz didn't want to listen to Castro. Castro didn't exactly espouse what Mandela lived for. He was rather brutal as the number 2 in Cuba. Quietly leaving was no big deal. Now, you want tot caht about negotiating, wjhy don't you try and get your buddies Reid, Pelosi and Obama to negotiate. I distinctly remember Obama saying he won't negotiate on the budget, debt, deficit or ACA.

    December 11, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Julie

    Ted Cruz should not have been there in the first place!

    December 11, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Old soldier

    Cruz was there on the US dime, not his. Whether he chose to go, or someone sent him, he was there in an official capacity. I attended far too many meetings and conferences I hated, but I couldn't walk out like a child since it was official travel. No matter who is speaking, or how much you disagree with them, it is the responsibility of the worker to attend, listen, provid professional input, and do his job. Cruz didn't do his job. Let's hope he is never sent in for a peace talk, or other necessary job. Whoever attends a meeting, you do what you need to do to do your job. A lazy idiot like Cruz wasted his travel and per idem. He should pay it back from his pocketbook. Dumb! Tchuss!

    December 11, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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