WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose father is from Cuba, made a point of walking out on Cuban President Raul Castro when the leader spoke during the memorial ceremony for former South African President Nelson Mandela.
"Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela.," said Catherine Frazier, Cruz's spokesperson, in an email to McClatchy. "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."
Cruz was part of a congressional delegation that attended the ceremony in Soweto, which included President Obama and three former living U.S. presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Obama drew criticism from Cuban Americans for shaking Castro's hand.