Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
11 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. Evelyn Connaway

    At least President Barack Obama had the dignity and decency of a real man and act like a statesman representing his country. Ted Cruz will never in his lifetime approach the same status.

    December 11, 2013 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  2. heroicslugtest

    Good. Castro is a dictator. Those are bad, you know. I certainly wouldn't sit around and listen to one prattle on.

    December 11, 2013 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  3. mk2aw

    That dictatorship in cuba has murdered and imprisoned countless innocent souls and has been a blight on humanity going on half a century . There is no freedom of region or speech or of any type. Thugs under the employ of the government roam the streets beating up dissenters . It's a literal hellish existence . They also starve the population . Enough is enough , the Castro regime has to go .

    December 11, 2013 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  4. Chuck Young

    Ted Cruz, you are NUTS! Your history is different from reality. First it wasn't Raul but Fidel Castro. Second, Raul has been making positive changes in Cuba. Try reading something from this century about Cuba. Your personal agenda for attention at any cost and your "anything but Obama" tactics is just juvenile. Thankfully, you Mr. Cruz do NOT represent the state of MS. or I would lead the march to have you removed from office. But since you and the tea baggers have tunnel vision you will probably make it till the end of your 1 term.

    December 11, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  5. ChitownStever

    Of Course Obama is going to shake hands with Castro.He could care less about America.Next thing he'll do is tell Cuba that we are sorry about everything.

    December 11, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  6. Scott

    Cruz is a showman, not a statesman.

    December 11, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  7. Doug

    Ignorant and rude... I do not pay taxes for our elected officials to act this way at funerals... This was a classless gesture that we should all be ashamed of...

    December 11, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  8. Samuel

    And I am sure Mr. Mandela was enamored of Guantanamo Bay, the NSA, Bank of America, and the invasion of Iraq. Let's not even speak of weapons development and international sales or of embargoes that cause untold suffering to millions of people.

    Ted Cruz is a moron trying to milk his quickly fading notoriety as much as he can. He is an embarrassment to the USA, his state, and his alma mater.

    December 11, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  9. Bph

    Little man. Short sighted. No common sense. Needs to learn principles of diplomacy.

    December 11, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  10. Tom

    You'd think we'd be embarrassed enough after 8 years of Bush and all these Tea Partiers running around, and yet one of them manages to make us look even worse. Go back to Canada, Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  11. Scott

    Because the US doesn't have political prisoners.

    December 11, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  12. Ari Torres

    I side with Cruz on this one.

    December 11, 2013 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  13. Tellingitlikeitis

    Is that the only reason Senator Cruz went to the memorial? To protest again Castro? Apparently, Senator Cruz just does not understand protocols. Another black eye for the GOP and Tea Party by Senator Cruz's action. Now let's wait and see how he and his Tea Party bash Obama and others for shaking Castro's hands. Lastly, Senator Cruz is a poor representative of our country which he and his Tea Party are trying to divide contrary to what Mandela fought and stood his ground for so his people would be free from oppression.

    December 11, 2013 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  14. NateFromIndiana

    Considering our leadership role as the #1 incarceration nation in the world I'm not sure we're in the strongest possible position to lecture Cuba on its incarceration record.

    December 11, 2013 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  15. Gloria in NW

    He just had to draw attention to himself at a memorial for one of the world's great leaders. Nothing like a little narcissism.

    December 11, 2013 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  16. Omar

    Typical reaction of an exiled Cuban.

    Also, he's just trying to attract attention to himself.

    You know, he's running for President in 2016, hahaha!

    December 11, 2013 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  17. Steve

    That Rafael, what a scamp! Anything for a headline hey Rafael??? Looking forward to the voters walking out on you in 2016 and the remaining band of Klu Klan Tea in the House and Senate

    December 11, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  18. David

    Alternate headline: Attention-seeking, conservative, grandstanding Senator makes funeral of far greater and humbler man all about him. Number of people shocked by this egotistical, self-serving show: 0.

    December 11, 2013 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  19. Dwayne

    The Cubans don't want America's top 1% pillaging their country. If the US sincerely desires to set the people free, get rid of the sanctions.

    December 11, 2013 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  20. Jim1973

    way to be even more of a dbag. It wasn't Fidel, its his brother and we can't keep them in the doghouse forever.

    December 11, 2013 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  21. Petruski

    Hm. And it's about time that the U.S. releases its political prisoners as well. And maybe it's time to help the Cuban people by easing trade and travel restrictions that have not done anyone but Florida's corrupt politicians any good.

    December 11, 2013 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  22. Petruski

    Oh, and Texas still is executing prisoners as if they are cattle.

    December 11, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  23. SteveOfTX

    LOL, Raul Castro has not been in power for decades, he took over for Fidel in 2008. Do you think Ted Cruz knows the difference? He must have been confusing him with his brother, not having gotten the word that Fidel Castro was no longer in power. There is some evidence that Raul may not be the radical that his brother is, but only time will tell.

    December 11, 2013 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  24. Dave

    What is with this guy? He's a FRESHMAN Senator and he acts like he's king dog in the yard. I just don't get it.

    December 11, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Extremely unclassy and tasteless. This is a memorial to honor a deceased humanitarian, not a chance for political grandstanding.

    December 11, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
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