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. sadiw

    This was not about Cruz or Castro....it was about Mandela. I think Mr. Cruz should follow his own advice and learn from Mr. Mandela. Will do anything to get his name in press, such a shame and an embarrassment.

    December 11, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  2. angeson

    Cruz is an undisciplined brat. Maybe he should shut up and hear the other side speak

    December 11, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  3. carol

    Now, there is a rationale foreign policy - offend hundreds of thousands of people honoring a real hero to draw attention to yourself and be wholly insensitive to the moment. It isn't about you,Ted. On the other hand maybe you did the world a favor exposing your petulance and immaturity.

    December 11, 2013 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  4. coyoteliberty

    Good for Senator Cruz and Shame on President Obama for shaking this totalitarians blood soaked hands.

    Walking out on Raul Castro is the same as walking on out Hitler. Shame on Obama, Carter, Clinton and Bush for not joining him.

    December 11, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  5. jakibros

    Ted Cruz just shows his ignorance in such a setting. But on a brighter note, it clearly shows his lack of understanding of international relations if he or any of the GOP/Tea Party considered a presidential bid.

    December 11, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  6. pippedtodeath

    I didn't read the article. I just came here to post this for your guide. Senator Cruz and half of the members of our legislative branch are a stain on this country. We know this. It's not news. How about real news?. Gimme something on what the White house is doing to roll out healthcare or what's going on in Ukraine. Or how about the two wars we're in?

    December 11, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  7. bassman

    Something Pres. Obama should have done.

    December 11, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  8. Jerry

    I am NOT a Republican, but good for you Senator Cruz. However, you should have "walked out of Obamas' "ME" speech, too!

    December 11, 2013 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  9. Marie MD

    On my and the world didn't come to an end and, really, who cares what this terrorist does?
    Considering that rafaelito cruz and his papi's beliefs are very much like Castro's I don't understand why he would be upset about it.
    As far as elections . . . . . "He should hold free elections, and once and for all, set the Cuban people free." How about your party of teaklans working so hard to keep Americans from voting?
    Who invites this fool to anything? Go back to Canada!!!

    December 11, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  10. Piet

    Shameless. Using this occasion to make a political gesture.

    December 11, 2013 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  11. Pocahontas

    Despicable, Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  12. john smith

    anything for a headline.............the U.S. has an 'economic death grip' around Cuba so pressure is applied everyday by the American people, in my opinion. I restored a strained friendship on New Years Eve one year, and I'm so glad I did reach out my hand to this person near the midnight hour.....I highly recommend this experience as the tradition encourages us to do.

    December 11, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  13. loverpoint

    Maybe Cruz should ask the people of Cuba if they are happy with Castro as their leader ?

    December 11, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  14. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    How dramatic!! If he only practiced what he preaches. He spends his time vilifyinging the leader of the free world, elected twice in a democratic election, just because he can. What gives?

    December 11, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Who cares? Rapheal Cruz is a corrupt Guns Over People tea potty wingnut.

    December 11, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  16. Realityblowz

    Did Cruz at least take a selfie of himself with other world dignitaries before he left?

    December 11, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  17. Sean

    Cruz is an embarrassment. not only to the republican party, but to all Americans

    December 11, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  18. Vader

    Nice, Ted.

    Did you not realize that this was a tribute/memorial for Nelson Mandela? And that Mandela's message and impact might extend beyond those countries and political systems with which you agree? No? Then you are clueless. Yes? Then you are a grandstanding, "all about me" politician, not a leader. I suspect the latter.

    Classless...

    December 11, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  19. JRJ

    No Class. No style. No sense. NO.

    December 11, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  20. William Shelton

    Class act there – using a memorial service to Nelson Mandela to politically grandstand.

    * smh *

    December 11, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  21. larry

    The USA used to stand for all that is RIGHT in the world. Ted Cruz is RIGHT.
    Democrats stand for immorality. They support and promote Socialism and Communism.

    December 11, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  22. outstanding

    God Bless you Senator Cruz, as time goes on I see that this man, needs to be our next president. It's been long time since we had, someone in the political spot light make they're politics aligned with the greatness of the USA. Time to get back on track.

    December 11, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  23. James Allmond

    Tuesday was not the day for that. This was about Mandela not Castro or Cruz. Shameful behavior from someone who went to represent the US and end up representing himself. Should not be surprised he would politicize this event, probably just to save face among his supporters. Cuba is undeniably screwed up, but walking out of a state funeral is simply not right.

    December 11, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  24. Paul McGraw

    There are times to protest and not. This is a 'not' time. This was Mandela's and South Africa's moment and not Mr. Cruz'. It is a wasted protest. I'm a little embarassed by Mr. Cruz and the President. The latter yucking it up with the British and Norwegian PMs and taking 'selfies'. Everyone grow up and use those Harvard brains.

    December 11, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Haters. Most people of color do not practice hate. My God a handshske?. People need to stop acting like they are God. Judging everything our President does. I will always be proud of President Barack Obama no matter how the media spends so much time on negativity.

    December 11, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
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