Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reportedly briefly walked out of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday when Cuban dictator Raul Castro started speaking.

Ted Cruz Walks Out During Raul Castros Speech at Mandelas Memorial Service

(AP Photo/Odessa American, Ryan Evon)

Cruz’s communications director, Sean Rushton, told National Review that the GOP senator “very much hopes Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela.”

“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,” he added.

Ted Cruz Walks Out During Raul Castros Speech at Mandelas Memorial Service

Cuba’s President Raul Castro Ruz speaks during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama made some waves earlier in the day when he was photographed smiling and shaking hands with Castro before the memorial service. The White House said the interaction was not planned and no substantive discussion occurred.

Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, fled Cuba and the ruthless Fidel Castro regime when he was just a teenager. He came to the United States and fell in love with country.

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