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. Tommy

    For once, I agree with this man's actions. I also agree with Obama shaking Castro's hand. The only way to deal with Castro is to deal with him.

    December 11, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  2. just wondering

    nothing like a uncaring, narrow, hypocritical mind.....

    December 11, 2013 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  3. Kris

    Hold on to those outdated hatreds Republicans. Nothing assures a successful future quite like clinging to the past.

    December 11, 2013 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  4. The Liberal Perspective

    Castro uses his secret police to spy on people and imprison them for what they think and say. Especially for hate speech. Because hate speech, or what Castro deems as hate speech is a crime.

    December 11, 2013 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  5. Jamming With Edward

    What a low class thing to do. Ted Cruz didn't do the political prisoners of Cuba any favors by
    his walkout of the Mandela memorial. Obama showed some real class with a simple handshake.

    December 11, 2013 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  6. basedonfact

    Hard to come to an agreement with people without even talking to them. We've had enough of talk to the hand diplomacy. Everyone who has ever dealt with a child having a temper tantrum knows that force only leads to escalation

    December 11, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  7. maikoch

    Grandstanding, anyone?

    December 11, 2013 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  8. Mike

    Ted Cruz obviously needs more attention, desperately.

    December 11, 2013 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  9. miscreantsall

    What an idiot. Stuck in the past. No surprise since most morons are.

    December 11, 2013 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  10. Spot Check Billy

    he truly looks like he needs more fiber in his diet.

    December 11, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  11. kathi

    That guy could pass for Gomer Pyles brother. What a fruit 🙂

    December 11, 2013 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  12. Ed

    Walking out of the service shows Cruz's lack of respect for Mandela and his family, apparently he was there for other reasons than Mandela. More disrespect by Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  13. SC

    This guy is the worst thing that has ever happened to America. He, Sarah Palin and those right wingers always embarrass us. It's not about Castro. It's about Mendala, for whom you went there.

    December 11, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  14. don in albuquerque

    I'm sure he thinks, and it probably will garner points with the rabid TP. But really, what a disgusting little (and I mean very little) man.

    December 11, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  15. Dave

    Wonderful. Out sorry sack of excrement President won't send a representative to the funeral of our staunch ally and supporter, Margaret Thatcher, but he'll treat a brutal Communist dictator like an old friend.

    December 11, 2013 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  16. ibuk

    How did this disgusting, repulsive guy get to be a Senator let alone be chosen to be a representative at a State funeral.

    It is a shame that is parents and schools did not teach him what a funeral is for.

    A funeral, whoever it is for and whoever gives eulogies, is a time for respect for the person who has passed. While you might not agree with some individuals, at a funeral you put your differences aside, you certainly do not walk out.

    I truly hope that the Republican party and his constituents severely reprimand him for his blatant disrespect for Nelson Mandela, disrespect for a State Funeral, disrespect of the Republican Party, disrespect of the United States of America and disrespect of his constituents.

    December 11, 2013 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  17. Anonymous

    I am no Tea Party admirer but I don't fault Cruz for leaving. He was well said that Castro could learn something from Mandela. I also don't fault President Obama for shaking his hand. Just wonder if it was really a handshake or more of a casual fist bump.

    December 11, 2013 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  18. Glen

    This seems like a political stunt. It is really unfortunate that Senator Cruz felt the need to politicize Madela's memorial with his divisive behavior. There is a time and a place, and this was neither the time or the place to make this statement.

    December 11, 2013 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  19. DrY

    I am no lover of Ted Cruz but don't see anything wrong with walking out on Castro's speech. I appreciated his appropriate comment about hoping Castro might learn from Mandela. I also don't see anything wrong with the greeting between Obama and Castro. Just wondering if the President of the U.S. really shook his hand or did more of fist bump?

    December 11, 2013 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  20. Nunya

    And we very much hope that Cruz learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela. So far he has shown no signs of such...

    December 11, 2013 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  21. Toady

    Guess what Mr. Cruz. We imprison and torture people too!
    Except we do it a lot more!

    December 11, 2013 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  22. BDR

    What an sphincter using the publics coin to trying to gain attention for himself.

    December 11, 2013 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  23. nleegray

    Cruz is such a dork......

    December 11, 2013 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  24. spkliewer

    No Class

    December 11, 2013 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  25. tina

    Cruz should not have went. Just looking for attension. Is his father form Cuba?

    December 11, 2013 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
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