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

    He always has that constipated look on his face...Hopefully his "fame" will be short-lived, and he will fade off into obscurity in the not-too-distant future...total idiot this guy....

    December 11, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  2. EdwardTr

    The only reason Cruz went to the memorial was to snub Castro and get publicity. What a disgrace this joker is.

    December 11, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  3. Billy Gunadie

    Mr. Cruz should see also his own prison at home and abroad, also look at the history of Pulau Buru

    December 11, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  4. MightyMoo

    "For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents"

    That's funny.. what about the innocents we have locked up in Gitmo along with actual criminals? How long are they going to stay there without a trial? Look at the Kettle Mr. Cruz and realize that America is a Pot now.

    December 11, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  5. Sergio D. Monterroso

    I'm sure that poor Raul Castro was not able to eat or sleep that night because of that, NOT. I imagine Raul Castor did not even noticed and if he did, do you really think he cared? What a ridiculous cry baby. Grow up Senator Cruz!

    December 11, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  6. kathleenvs

    Cruz doesn't even have good manners. How can such a person be elected to Congress? He is childish and immature. The service was to honor Nelson Mandela and Cruz wants to make it about himself? He should never be allowed to represent the United States anywhere. He is a disgrace,

    December 11, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  7. Dee

    Ted Cruz should ask himself "What Would Mandela Do?" Mandela fought for human rights in the most gracious way possible. Someone else's funeral is not the time to make a spectacle of yourself by walking out. The event was about Mandela not Ted Cruz.

    December 11, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  8. Mara Tam

    He should not have gone at all. Rude, ignorant, offensive.

    December 11, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  9. Richard

    Rightfully so!

    December 11, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  10. Rinsewind

    Senator Cruz: Grow up.

    December 11, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  11. jnpa

    Wrong place, wrong time Cruz. Politics should play no part in a memorial service for a world dignitary. I don't care if you are from Cuba or wherever, that was RUDE and totally IGNORANT. You got what you wanted by going there...world recognition, but not for the right reasons.

    December 11, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  12. Swimmer

    Obama represents the USA very well. He's diplomatic and intelligent. Senator Cruz embarrasses the state of Texas, both here in the USA and abroad. Obama takes the high road, Cruz is a low-life (including at funerals).

    December 11, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  13. berniecat@outlook.com

    lack of true leadership and only self promotion can best describe this neocon fascist !

    December 11, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  14. Dave

    I'm not a Ted Cruz fan, but this was a good move. The first one he's made that I actually agree with.

    December 11, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  15. Bill Clay

    Using a memorial service to try and score political points, just another classless act by a Tea Party loon.

    December 11, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  16. Say What?

    As part of the Congressional delegation, Cruz was WRONG. He represents us, not himself and this is just another reason why he shouldnt be in office nor any public office.

    December 11, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  17. Mara Tam

    He should not have gone at all. Rude, ignorant, doesn't belong in politics or diplomacy. An embarrassment.

    December 11, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  18. mainepotter

    He is just starved for attention. Sad.

    December 11, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  19. JomoDaMusicMan

    CRUZ, has no class and should not have been allowed to accompany the Black Caucus to S Africa. It was a Memorial Service for Mandela and this FOOL walks out on Castro while he was speaking. Cruz, tried to make a Political Jesture which, at that time was completely inappropriate

    December 11, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  20. John Van Dyke

    Just another publicity stunt by this wanna be.

    December 11, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  21. Martin

    I am sure Nelson Mandela was honored by Cruz' attendance as well as his ill-mannered walk out. Yet another example of 'redneck' diplomacy, more likely calculated to impact Cuban ex-pats living in south Florida (largely the reason the failed embargo remains in effect) than to affect world politics.

    Check the history – the USA (as too often) suffered 'Situational Ethics' problems (recall the coup in Iran then Shah of Iran?) and we backed the likes of Batista in Cuba, a cruel dictator, then we snubbed Castro while the Soviets made him a better offer. The rest of that is history – and since then much of the rest of the world (where I have visited) looks at the USA as simply a bully who will not drop the embargo out of spite – our CIA failed in their 'Keystone Cops' attempts to kill Castro after all and that did not make us look good either. Such hypocracy of disengagement when presented any opportunity to open a door is just what has kept the US impact on Cuba marginalized, while the rest of the world flocks there to do business yes spanning from our allies, Yes countries all the way to China – with whom we do business and by whom have become owned.

    Unless of course you are some famous American politician or celebrity who visits Cuba for 'cultural exchange' reasons – the embargo has basically served only to isolate the average American and also our businesses from Cuba – a rare contrast for our country that does business with China, Iran (sponsor terrorists anyone?), Vietnam, Saudi Arabia (beheadings, like how they treat women anyone?), and others just as bad or worse in several ways. If Cuba (that is Chinese companies working there) finds oil then I suspect even the Republicans will come around on Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  22. Chris Harrison

    Like he actually cares about Cuba.

    December 11, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  23. thomas kissell

    Its time 2 look for an deal with cuba. its been almost 50 yrs. people like sen. ted cruz r just 2 bull headed 2 compermize. vote him out

    December 11, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  24. patrick

    That's why he went!! Planned to walk out on Castro all along – to steal some Miami are Cuban votes from archrival Rubio in '16 primary. What he did reinforces the Worlds opinion that Americans are rude, crude ( * ) caring only for themselves. Wonderful. * insert your own expletive.

    December 11, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  25. RabiaDiluvio

    I am not in general a supporter of Ted Cruz, but I am glad someone had the courage to do this. It was the height of hypocrisy to have Castro speak at the funeral of a man like Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
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