When Cuban leader Raul Castro, brother to Fidel Castro, began speaking at the service memorializing Nelson Mandela, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas walked out.
“Senator Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela,” said Sean Rushton, Cruz’s communications director, according to National Review Online. “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.”
President Obama had earlier shook Castro’s hand, which stirred anger in two other U.S. lawmakers, Sen, Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both South Florida Republicans and, like Cruz, of Cuban descent.
Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, who suffered under the Castro regime before coming to the United States, found similarities between Fidel Castro and President Obama.
“I think the most ominous words I’ve ever heard was in the last two State of the Union addresses, when our president said, ‘If Congress does not act, I will act unilaterally,’” he said. “Not much different than that old bearded friend I left behind in Cuba.”
I can’t get too upset over the president shaking hands with Castro. For him not to have done so would have appeared petty on the world stage.
As for the Cruz walkout, I say “bravo!” And I’m not alone in this assessment. Here are a few tweets of approval:
— Reagan Atkinson (@rratkinson) December 11, 2013
BOOM! Ted Cruz walks out on Castro http://t.co/IKXWe36PUT
— Dan Rivard (@danr2960) December 11, 2013
— John Guardiano (@ResCon1) December 11, 2013
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