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

    Obama was so childish and insensitive, Leave it to Cruz to step up and make Obama look good.

    December 11, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    I understand his feelings about Castro, but the ceremony was in Mandela's honor, not Castro's.

    December 11, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ cnn
    You baffle me.
    I was under the mistaken impression that you fostered exchanges between those of us that come here to post.
    What I am discovering is that unless one posts and says the things that you think we should say our responses never see the light of day, and we come across as rude and boorish as Turd Cruz.

    Lynda, Rudy NYC and tom l.....I've tried....several times.

    December 11, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    He-he.
    Let me take back that last post directed at you cnn.
    I just got through moderation customs!

    December 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Bwana Salama

    Unless you're Cuban, you can't understand what Castro has done to the people there. Cruz is of Cuban descent. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Cruz did that, I would do that too if a tyrant was lecturing me about equality and freedom.

    December 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Regina

    If we are to follow Mandela's example, we would end militarism too.

    December 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. carlos

    I guess Teodoro forgot why he was there. He missed an opportunity to show that he understood what Mandela's life was all about.

    December 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. DarqueSide

    Cruz proves (once again) he's not ready for the big league. Instead of acting like an adult, he proved his immaturity and acted the child. One wonders if this was his real purpose in attending in the first place. It obviously was not to pay his respects to Mandela, because he was totally DISRESPECTFUL when he walked out – not to Castro, but to Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama: "He should've stayed home and written Raul a letter."

    Oh, no doubt. Messaged in with one of his new coloring books as an added gift. So yes my friend. He should have stayed home.

    December 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. mbw

    Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin are cut from the same cloth. They both do not mind showing their ignorance in public. As long as the Republican Party panders to the likes of these two simple minded dolts, I do not want to be associated with the Republican Party. A good politician knows when and where to speak. Intelligence would also help.

    December 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. wolftongue

    Hey dudes,
    How do the Conservatives say CNN is liberal? How stupid can you get?
    Cnn is the biggest supporter of neo-kon policies and tee-baggers and ted Cruz.
    Show a little respect for the standing President. He really did beat Romney with a ball peen sledge hammer.
    Republicans should get ready for another hole reeming. By the Victorious Progressive Movement.

    December 11, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Lester

    I don't like anything about Ted Cruz but he happens to be right on this one. Raul's new styles does not wash away the oppressive and murderous history of the regime he has helped lead for almost 6 decades.

    December 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Name

    Go back to canada cruz

    December 11, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Kenneth

    "Obama was so childish and insensitive, Leave it to Cruz to step up and make Obama look good."
    And how exactly, was President Obama childish or insensitive? He shook a lot of hands.
    And for all of you whiners complaining about how horrible Cuba treats its citizens, look and the label the next time you shop at Walmart.

    Since some of you won't get that, I will spell it out. China has a much worse civil rights record than Cuba, and we buy a lot of crap from them.

    December 11, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    @ cnn
    You baffle me.
    -----------

    LOL. Happened to me earlier. I thought a post I'd written hadn't gotten through so I redirected it to you. The first one was accepted, and mine to you not accepted. Caulking it up to "per usual" when CNN chooses to draw in TeaPers: we ALL become heavily moderated.

    December 11, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Tony B.

    This real man and real American political leader went to pay his last respects to Mandela not hear a Pro-Castro propaganda speech. Mr. Cruz did the right thing what else did you expect him to do act like a immature, direspectful, dishonarable brat taking selfies of himself.

    December 11, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama

    Goodness. It is still very, very cold up here. I'm going to have to add mittens to that list I gave you of what to wear indoors.

    I should have typed "Chalk it up" ... not caulking.

    December 11, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. ephemeroptera1

    At least the US does not hold people against their will and without trial or access to a legal system. Oh wait, never mind . . .

    December 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Steve, New York City

    Cruz is unbelievable. The guy goes all the way to Mandela's funeral in South Africa to showboat petty, older-generation Miami politics? Cruz is a pathetic joke! That being said, the President's photo op with that very pretty Danish Prime Minister did not seem entirely appropriate either.

    December 11, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. mankind

    You don't cherry-pick at a funeral ceremony, especially at that of one of the greatest liberators and leaders that ever lived. Someone needs to drum it to the thick skull of Ted Cruz that going to Mandela's funeral ceremony was not akin to attending United Nations' summit – the perfect stage for the display of the kind of foolery Ted is in to.

    December 11, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. elvinmerij

    Why is it that when you look into those droopy eyes, you feel like you are looking at someone who was waaaaaay too familiar with hard drugs, in his mis-spent youth?

    December 11, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. elvinmerij

    Set the Cuban people free? How about setting the American people free from the clutches of capitalism, Mr. Cruz?

    Did you not pay attention to the Wal-Mart workers march 3 weeks ago, and the fast-food workers strike last week? Do you not think about the 40 million Americans who toil at less than $10/hour full-time, trying to feed and house a family? Who live in poverty, even though they work full-time, all thanks to capitalism?

    You disgust me. You and every other so-called "entrepreneur" and free enterprise "guru" and all the rest of your filthy ilk, who rip off customers, rip off suppliers and - worst of all - rip off employees.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Cruz.

    Deeply ashamed.

    December 11, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Kenneth

    @Tony B.
    I'm sorry, I was laughing so hard after "real man" that I couldn't finish the rest of your post.

    December 11, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  24. Chuck

    I wonder how Cruz would have felt if one of his friend walked out of an event in his honor when another friend (who his first friend has an enimity with) started his speech.
    Mandela was all about putting the differences and anger behind, and working together to resolve differences, no matter how intransigent the other side is. The event was a celebration of the man and his life, and not a funeral per se. The POTUS went there to pay his respects and reflect upon Mandela's life and his influence on others. The worst thing you can do at someone's funeral (or life celebration) is air (or display) your grievances at another person. It is not about your own righteousness or your differences, but about your respect for the person who is no more with us.
    I have no respect for the Cuban leadership, but the event is not about Castro. Mandela showed no issue with Castro before and considered him a friend. Cruz's behavior just shows his immaturity.

    December 11, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Bill

    More than anything else, that day was about Nelson Mandela. Not inner politics, not rivalries and not making statements. It's a day for mourning and recognizing the struggle of someone who endured some of the worst humanity had to offer. This isn't just bad form on Cruz' part, this is disrespectful to the memory of the man and the concept of his existence. If you want to make a statement, do so afterwards. This is, in my opinion, an the same level as spitting on the grave. To ignore the event everyone is gathered to and bring in your own agenda and make yourself the centerpiece. It's doesn't matter the political party, anyone would have done it and it would have been the same level of bad. Cruz, learn respect for the other human beings in this world who have suffered in way you will never know about or understand.

    December 11, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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