Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight's FreedomWorks Free the People event.
Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro's governance and President Barack Obama's executive actions.
Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn't take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.
Glenn Beck and Rafael Cruz (Photo Credit: TheBlaze)
For his part in the revolution -- one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country -- Cruz was punished while in Cuba.
"I was in prison," he said. "I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth."
Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself -- one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.
His plight in Cuba colored his American experience
"You can't understand a loss of rights unless you've experienced it," Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.
His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.
"Socialist polities are very easily recognized because of my experience in Cuba," he said during the speech, noting that he worked hard to help get Ronald Reagan elected after recognizing that the U.S. government in the 1970s was already taking troubling steps in the direction of socialism.
Cruz's passion and love for America was apparent throughout the address. He called the nation "the bastion of freedom in the world" and told the audience of the importance of fighting for freedom.
Outside of the Bible, he praised the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as "the greatest two documents that have ever been penned."
"We have a responsibility to carry forth these ideals of freedom to our children and grandchildren," he told the audience. "This country is exceptional and unique in the world."
After the speech, TheBlaze also asked if he believes his son will run for president.
"I can't answer that. It is up to God," he responded.
Watch the speech, below: