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Cruz Says He Walked Out of Mandela Service When Raul Castro Spoke

US Senate(JOHANNESBURG) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walked out of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday when Cuban President Raul Castro gave a speech, a spokeswoman for Cruz said.

“Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela,” Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz told ABC News. “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, who is of Cuban descent, was part of a congressional delegation that traveled to South Africa for the memorial service of Nelson Mandela.

President Obama courted controversy earlier Tuesday when he shook the hand of the Cuban dictator at the memorial service.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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