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. jrzydvl

    @ 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!
    Your post makes no sense. Walking out on one dictator means he supports past dead dictators ? Makes my head hurt.
    Cruz was correct about ACA, like it or not. It should have been delayed, if not stopped dead in its tracks

    December 11, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Ryan No. 2 in Texas

    I completely agree with Ryan in Texas. Everything Mandela stood against Cuba embraces. I would not have even attended the event had I known Castro was going to be there and the fact that AMERICA's President shook his hand is shameful. Obama is a total two faced disgrace to this country.Good for Ted Cruz. At least we know one politician has the cajones to stand up for what he believes in.

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

    Another shameful act by Cruz. This was a memorial for Mandela, not a political platform. This guy is a scary zealot.

    December 11, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. johnnyph12

    Why are you going all the way to Africa for Mandela's funeral.?.."so i can walk out on castro"

    December 11, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Kenneth

    @Ryan in Texas –
    Hitler stood by his convictions.
    Stalin stood by his convictions.
    Castro is standing by his brother Fidel's convictions.
    The excuse that you are "standing by your convictions" doesn't excuse bad behavior.
    Your argument and the arguments of anyone standing up for this fool are empty.

    December 11, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. texasnotea

    Rafael Cruz jr has no convictions. For those who think he does you are sooooo misguided and duped. This guy is a fake and a born liar. Being a native Texan, I took the time to write Mr Cruz a letter concerning the government shutdown that HE is/was responsible for just to let him know that the vast majority of Texans did NOT vote for him and most of those same Texans think he is a phony and we know he and he alone caused the shutdown, not Obama. He wrote back and said he didn't cause the shutdown, Obama did. What weasel! The whole world knows he is responsible but he continues to lie and say he didn't. This guy is a Canadian/Cuban phony baloney.

    December 11, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. A Reminder

    Somehow Cruz walking out on the Castro speech while being at the Mandela memorial is so reminiscent of the Westboro people!

    December 11, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. carrotroot

    @the Ryan(s) in Texas – Mandela NEVER walked out on people he opposed, and he shook their hands. That's what a true leader does. If you have a problem with someone you face them - respectfully, you do not walk away in a huff. Cruz learned nothing from Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. PacNWguy73

    Yet he has no issues with his supporters shipping thousands of jobs to communist China. Hypocrite indeed.

    December 11, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. BK

    You Americans are so pathetic and melodramatic. Go back to watching Honey Boo Boo and eating pork rinds while the rest of the world moves on without you.

    December 11, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    This imbecile from Canada family is not the only one , if you believe them, who has suffered at the hands of Castro. The man is an arrogant, self,promoting idiot.
    He didn't win one single point except from, maybe, the bubbleheads of the teaklan party who were not happy he had something nice to say about Mandela.
    Even as the messiah wannabe I bet the real Jesus would have not acted this way. Jesus and Mandela had more in common. Treat everyone, even those who were your enemies, with respect and learn to forgive.
    Anyone know who paid for this clown's foreign policy trip which he failed miserably?

    December 11, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. AuntySocial

    It looks like Ted Cruz never studied the lessons of Nelson Mandela. He didn't even peruse the Cliff Notes version in the bookstore.

    December 11, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. tennboy611

    if Ted Cruz wants to make a political statement his PAC should pay for his trip and not stick the taxpayer for his expenses

    December 11, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Tychi

    Cruz had to walk out because the President was polite to Raul Castro. Whatever the President does the GOP will do the opposite. Can you imagine Cruz as the President? Putz.

    December 11, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. glauber

    It's all political. Everyone has to find an outrage at every moment and make sure everyone sees their theatrical reaction to it.

    December 11, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Sumit DasGupta

    Ted Cruz is only and all about himself. I doubt he understands the meaning of decorum, particularly in an event like Nelson Mandela's funeral. Instead of making this a celebration of the life of one of the great liberators of society, he positions this as a platform for idiotic posturing. Cruz is cruising, hopefully,... out of a job in the next election. Texas voters, please take good notes on this clown! What an embarrassment he is!

    December 11, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. rl

    Ted, you should have stayed home. All you do is make the United States look bad. You are not even a real citizen either. Are you?

    December 11, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. brian

    What does Cruz think about Batista? US support of dictator Batista is what lead to Castro in the first place. By the way, it was a CIA covert operation that put Mandela in jail.

    December 11, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Cruz Control

    Texas isn't so proud of Cruz by any means. Just look at It tells the story!

    December 11, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. RN

    Ted Cruz is a wannabe something, not sure he knows what yet, and the rest of us dont care! go back to Texas and stay there .... please

    December 11, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Leigh

    Senator Cruz is starting to make Palin look good again – and THAT IS VERY SCARY!!
    How the hell do these people get elected??
    Such a idiot to take the memorial service of such a great man like Mandela and turn it in to a political stumble –
    Think of what Mandela stands for you jerk!! Shaking hands is the first step to communicating – which is absolutely the right thing to do.
    These Republicans have got to stop embarrassing us! Yikes!

    December 11, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. Becca Helen

    That's very strange considering Teddy boy's Dad fought in Fidel Castro's army, and was a communist back in the day. How do these hypocrites reconcile their actions/deeds with their BOGUS beliefs in what ever religion the Cruz's practice now? This guy is a mega nutcase, and to be sure, he went just to grandstand his little walkout. He probably doesn't know a GD thing about Nelson Mandala's life.

    December 11, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. pierce

    Ted, are you a U.S. senator or a frontman for the venal Brothers to the Rescue?

    December 11, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. JC

    Who cares what the disrespectful idiot the texans have voted in does.. He is a nobody and this is his only way to get attention. Go home and have some green eggs and ham and leave the big decisions to the people who respect others. Heartless moron!

    December 11, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Edward Clark

    Ted Cruz is a hypocrite by all standards. Your shameless father who is taking everything free at the expense of hard working Americans is Cuban & you're too.You cannot run away from that.

    December 11, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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