Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial
December 11th, 2013
01:04 AM ET
12 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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    tom l
    In the spirit of Nelson Mandela I am going to let you off the hook.
    My post was quite clear. I could've only meant one thing. Perhaps you can have somebody re-read it to you.
    In the future may I suggest that you do not include the word "IF" in an apology.
    It will prove to be more credible.
    Peace be onto you.

    December 11, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Marie

    you people are so indignant, wa wa wa!!! This was about Mandela, not Castro, Obama or Cruz. Suck it up Cruz and be an adult. This was not your party and you can't cry if you want to. Show that you are BIGGER than the rest by behaving in a respectful manner.

    December 11, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. ChrisCarl

    texasnotea, why do you think Cruz alone caused the shutdown. It takes to parties to negotiate, right?

    December 11, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. larry

    I can't believe some are upset over what happened at Mandela's funeral. THAT is not the place or time to make a statement. Everyone was there to pay their respects for what that giant of a man stood for. Grievances and hatreds should be put aside to show that peace IS possible when honoring "A man of peace". If Mandela had chosen revenge and violence, that form of protest just might have come here. He showed peace and forgiveness was the way. Thank G-d for Nelson Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. timothy

    Weird that the other Republicans didn't follow Cruz out like they followed him down a blind alley to shut down the government.

    December 11, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. JayDavid

    Cruz is every the fascist that Castro is; there is no difference between the two. If given the choice to live in Cuba or Texas, I'd probably have to shot myself since both are fascist states.

    December 11, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. pierce

    Ted Cruz, R-Canada, is a carpetbagger in Texas

    December 11, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    You might be right in regards to Turd Cruz deciding to attend of his own accord.
    That still does not take away from the fact that as a U.S. Senator wherever he goes and whenever he opens his mouth he is representing the people of the United States.
    He should've stayed home and written Raul a letter.
    What a nimrod! Lol!

    @ Rudy NYC
    I concur on your assessment of tom l.
    I must also take my hat off to you and so many others on this site for so diligently not letting him and the usual suspects get away with employing the same tactics of character assassination, dissembling and projecting that members of the Republican Party employ in real-life politics.
    It is a fultime and dirty job to keep their willful misrepresentation in check Rudy and I for one am glad that you're here to do it.
    Thank you.

    December 11, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. SAtom

    Ted Cruz stood up and left because HIS FAMILY IS FROM CUBA ! If you didn't live there or are not from there, you don't know crap about the situation !
    Senator Cruz went to the Mandela Memorial, not the Castro memorial. If you Liberals don't like it , tough. Cruz's principals are what got him elected ! You should get some too !

    December 11, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. barney

    Does anyone in the world care if Ted walks out on anybody?

    December 11, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. @JimInWaco

    Seemed strange that Cruz was going to Mandela's funeral. Now we know why. Cruz continues to grandstand. Guy's an embarrassment.

    December 11, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Mike In Colorado

    The behavior Ted Cruz displayed is a perfect example of why he should not EVER live in the White House. Nelson Mandella had representatives of the government that had jailed him at his inauguration. That was the level of his ability to hold diverse people together. Cruz was a very small man at the memorial for a very big man. He proved himself unworthy of even being there.

    December 11, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Jim

    Hey Ted,

    Have you done anything constructive while in Washington? Making a fool of yourself does'nt count.

    December 11, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    If we don't want you to the next day delivery of this message is strictly forbidden the Friday before you buy the full amount to your friends list on your computer to do so by and

    December 11, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. judith

    Ted's an idiot. Why did he go to the Mandela service in the first place? He's hardly important enough to show up and then walking out shows he lacks the emotional maturity and intellectual depth to honor Mandela. Just because you don't agree with the politics of another nation, you don't act like a twit, Teddy Boy!

    December 11, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Liberal Lion

    Another staged act to gain publicity....Who cares what he does or says....Ted Cruz is a bumbling idiot.

    December 11, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Ras-Disputin

    Grandstanding....a clown

    December 11, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Wow! More craziness in the world!

    Another reason why mental illness should continue to be at the forefront of the news. Ted Cruz needs help.

    December 11, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Mark

    Personally I would have to read the speech to know if it was more or less respectful to Mandela and his family to either stay or leave. How does one make a determination on such little information? Maybe he had to go to the bathroom, take a selfie...need more info here.

    December 11, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. bob

    It's a pity people like Cruz didn't learn anything from Mandela's life and work. It's an even greater pity that they never will.

    December 11, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Brent

    Cruz is embarrassing and makes us all look weak and silly. Who else is he going to "walk out on"? Russia, China? All the other countless dictators in the world. He thinks this makes him look strong but it just makes us look weak. This is a real problem that conservatives have in general. They think that by going in the corner with your arms folded and not talking to anyone makes the rest of the world respect us. In reality they just look at us as sort of whiney and pathetic, and they get on with life. But then, I guess that "whiney and pathetic" fits Mr. Cruz to a tee.

    December 11, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Hoop

    Seems like the only way Cruz can media attention is to make an ass of himself.

    December 11, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Cruz needs a pacifier

    Ted Cruz needs an extra large pacifier for his mouth, because he is acting like a 5 year old... How about swallowing your pride and showing respect to the deceased. I've shaken hands with people I disagree with and dislike, to show respect as a human being....Obviously, he want wants all the attention.

    December 11, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Eric Goodwin

    Why is he still getting media attention?

    December 11, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. betterdays

    Nice teaser headline: "Cruz walked out at Mandela memorial." I now have a 99% chance of correctly guessing which presidential candidate the preson who wrote the teaser headline voted for last year.

    December 11, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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