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. Frank McDonald

    Ted's Cruz miseal aimed at the Bay of Pigs

    December 11, 2013 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  2. BB

    So rather than being there to actually pay respect (yeah right), Cruz uses the opportunity to score political points among his base knowing full well the media would make note of it.

    So typical of his type. Stay classy loser.

    December 11, 2013 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  3. Sid Prejean

    Typical self-serving stunt from Tail Gunner Ted.

    December 11, 2013 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  4. Susie

    Good for him!

    December 11, 2013 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  5. Thomas Eisenhut

    The Great appeaser was busy taking selfies. Classless!

    December 11, 2013 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  6. Bart Flaster

    CNN Front Page says he was "walked out" ...
    Please CNN. Please.
    No fan of Cruz and less of a fan of misleading headlines.

    My comment will get stuck in 'moderation.'

    December 11, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  7. Chris Bourne

    Typical childish behavior. Would you expect anything more from this pud?

    December 11, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  8. Name

    He impressed those who are already impressed by his antics.

    December 11, 2013 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  9. Harrison

    oh yea, like it mattered. A juvenile act by a juvenile Senator.Who cares? The speech still went on and with the amount of people walking back and forth, he was just another face in the crowd. It was not like he was President.or anything. Those that mattered stayed to listen.

    December 11, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  10. Jerry Freedman

    Bet he planned it. Like his 21 hour pseudo filibuster, the walkout was intended to further endear himself to the gullible on the right. God help us all if he ever gets his hand on real power

    December 11, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  11. Name

    Did he walk out because Cubans have healthcare?

    December 11, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  12. GaryT

    What a disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself, but after listening to him speak, I know he isn't.

    December 11, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  13. Newportslamer

    What a FAO. Hopefully people will get up and walk out at your memorial service.

    December 11, 2013 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  14. SaintJoseph

    What a hot dog.

    December 11, 2013 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  15. Jim

    How low can this grand standing moron sink to? This is a funeral, not another one of your campaign events, or the Senate floor where you acted out an "almost" filibuster, putting your political ambition ahead of the good of your country. Ted Cruz personifies the problems with the Republican party. It's no wonder that, with all the problems the Democrats have, the Republicans are racing to the bottom. I have been a life-long Republican, and I disagree as much with the Democrats, I am done voting until the Cruzes and Palins are kicked out of the Republican party.

    December 11, 2013 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  16. Jay

    The headline link said "Cruz walked out at Mandela memorial". The story headline is "Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial." Unfair representation by CNN.

    December 11, 2013 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  17. Anonymous

    This is sad that someone would make a publicity stunt at someones memorial.

    December 11, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  18. Merle McClung

    Cruz is the antithesis of Mandela, just doesn't get it at all. Like most Tea Partiers, he is entrenched in the past.

    December 11, 2013 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  19. Goodbye G.O.P!

    Wasn't this supposed to be a [dignified] funeral service for Nelson Mandela??

    December 11, 2013 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  20. jimatmad

    "Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela," his spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said.
    Petty, puny Ted Cruz is the person who needs to learn a lesson here.
    Nelson Mandela didn't lash out at his jailers when he was released after all those years. Mandela didn't urge revenge against the whites who had oppressed South Africa for decades. By embracing his former enemies, Nelson Mandela brought about a transition to majority rule that was much less violent than would otherwise have occurred.
    Ted Cruz, on the other hand decided to use the funeral of Nelson Mandela as a forum for his political grandstanding, like it was some campaign event.
    Ted Cruz will never be worthy of even cleaning the mud out of the soles of the boots of a freedom fighter like Nelson Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  21. Brad

    Who cares what Cruz does.

    December 11, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  22. Mel Love

    OMG we're putting sooooo much on a handshake! It's just common courtesy!
    C'mon people let's get real!

    December 11, 2013 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  23. GonzoinHouston

    Making a political scene out of a great man's funeral. That's Cruz for you; what a class act. (industrial strength sarcasm)

    December 11, 2013 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  24. Dave

    When will Washington stop this insane over half century negative relationship with Cuba, another country that has never attacked the USA, while we attacked it, never killed any of our citizens while we did, never tried to influence our political agenda while we did theirs, and never made promises while we lied about our goals. Batista may have not been the greatest person around but he was just as wrong as Castro is. After half a century we have forgiven Japan, Germany, Viet Nam, China, Russia, true enemies to us yet Cuba remains on the list and our citizens cannot visit there as freely as we can any place else. Has our government been tainted by the whims of the few Cubans refugees that live in southeast Florida? Give me a break, it is only the old ones that came from Cuba in the 1960's and they are wrong and only have vengeance in their hearts to return to the times of oppression within Cuba it self. Wake up Washington, recognize a stimulating country only 90 miles south of Key West which could help stimulate our own country.

    December 11, 2013 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  25. angeson

    Or maybe Cruz is just a spoiled brat. How do you walk out of an event at a world cup soccer stadium???

    December 11, 2013 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
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