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

    Cruz went to SA, knowing well that Castro was billed to speak. He should have declined going, but he has GOP primary within his cross-hair. What an opportunist, Mandela did not walk out on his enemies, Cruz need to embrace the spirit of Mandela. That is the mark of any true leader that has strength.

    December 11, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  2. faberm

    How in the world is this news? Is this article trying to say that is a good or bad thing? I think he should have left a the very moment he did considering his family were deprived and tortured at the hands of the Castros. Good show Senator Cruz. It's nice to see someone in congress who does something rational and has some principles.

    December 11, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. Buckhippo

    I wonder when the GOP will stop living in the past and try to create a better future for everyone. Perhaps it is too much to ask for all these politicians to think about others instead of their careers, broken promises, and destructive and divisive beliefs that judge others. Cruz and the extreme elements of the GOP actually have much in common with other nations with failed political ideologies that punish those who don't agree with them. The world is moving ahead and we need to work together, find common ground, and be productive rather than destructive. RIP Mr. Mandela.

    December 11, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. 13Directors

    Really Cruz. Have you checked our prison population lately? The prison industrial complex is destroying generations of people on American soil. Make that matter and we might give this issue another thought.

    December 11, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  5. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    What an open mind he has. Too engorged with self interest to actually participate in a memorial for a man who's Shoes he couldn't fill, if he lived to be a thousand years old. Way to go dim-wit.

    December 11, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  6. wgf

    So was this part of the GOP African American outreach program, or part of the Latino outreach program ? Hard to tell.

    Really dude, you can't even stay in the same stadium with the guy when you're attending someone's funeral, and the person doing the eulogy is no doubt doing so at the request of, or at least with the permission of, the family of the deceased ? Learn some manners - it's not about you, it's not about Castro, it's about Mandela and his family.

    December 11, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  7. Robert N. constant

    Keep in mind. Cruz, running for the Senate, claimed his family escaped "Communist Cuba" . His father is on record admitting that he actually fought for Castro, then deserted and BRIBED his way out of Cuba while Batista was still "President."
    Is Cruz so incompetent that he did not bother to check on who would be speaking? Is he so insensitive to common humanity to politicize Mandala's funeral memorial. This man is not honest. He is not smart. He is lacking in common decency and common sense. A typical party Republican.

    December 11, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. mary

    Ted Cruz is an idot!!! No class

    December 11, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  9. chetak sharma

    What the champion of party of the brain dead imbeclies – TEA party does should not be treated as news. This man is a fanatic and has no role to play in politics. He does not understand the basics of politics like his alter ego Reagan the worst president that the US ever had

    December 11, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  10. FlyOnTheWall

    Great leaders show respect and restraint...........Cruz clearly cant do either.

    December 11, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. Don

    This Cruz Guy needs to go away permanently. He is a poor example of a politician and for sure a not so good representative for the G O P. Send him off whimpering.

    December 11, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  12. Bill

    That is the problem with Cruz he is always to busy talking instead of listening. Negotiationg for compromize will never be one of his stronger attributes. Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush all know that you need to listen more than speaking. They all know what the word respect means and they practice it at home and abroad. They all know they have faults and at times would do things differently. Cruz will never get much further without a contimuing education in communications skills. Nelson Mandella was a great man because he stood by his principles and negotiated for compromise and respect.

    December 11, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  13. esbrent

    This is a memorial service, not a political event. If Sen. Cruz "very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela," I very much hope that Sen. Cruz learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela – especially the lessons of grace and diplomacy. What he did was rude.

    December 11, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. keven

    He can't drop the politics crap for a man's funeral? Cruz is a classless, publicity seeking clown with illusions of grandeur.

    December 11, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. Fulano

    To Castro: give freedom to Rafael's people! Please!

    December 11, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  16. Lars

    A classic case of arrested development...grow up Senator!!!

    December 11, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. a.rivas

    Ted Cruz didn't learn anything from MR. Mandela's life. You are not going to get anything by force. Learn from the President. Keep your enemies closed and try peace and listening.

    December 11, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  18. MazeAndBlue

    So sad...Goes to a funereal to make a political point. Just like the tea party nuts to overshadow history.

    December 11, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  19. Rudy

    What a moron? Does he really think the American people are stupid enough to make him President in 2016? He is the male version of Sarah Palin

    December 11, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    Color me confused, did Cruz think the memorial was to honor Castro or Mandela?

    December 11, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  21. Republican death

    Of course he did, he still wishes slavery was legal.

    December 11, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. jerry walters

    Why must CNN or anyone report what this nobody does or does not do?

    December 11, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. w l jones

    Some people stay and fight for change while other cut and run!

    December 11, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  24. ug

    GOOD for him! someone who knows better...shame on ovomit...

    December 11, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Jim Davitt

    It is apparent that Cruz learned nothing from Mandela's actions and life. Common courtesy would suggest that at such a memorial personal politics and hopes for re-election take a back seat to the memory of the man whose life they were celebrating.

    December 11, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
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