Fidel Castro and the Father of US Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz

Rafael Cruz (center) holding a pro-Castro sign during a rally in Texas in January of 1959.
Rafael Cruz (center) holding a pro-Castro sign during a rally in Texas in January of 1959.

Miguel Fernandez Diaz  (Cafe Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — Not long before putting his hat in the electoral race, Republican senator from Texas Ted Cruz took up the entire hour of Sean Hannity’s Fox News program to tell the story of his father’s struggle against dictator Fulgencio Batista – but neither the presidential candidate nor Hannity made any allusion to a certain, subsequent story of struggle in favor of Fidel Castro.

This past March 23, Cruz told Hannity that, in 1957, police officers from the Batista regime captured and tortured his father. They released him on threat of death and, to escape from persecution, Rafael Cruz applied to universities in Louisiana, Miami and Texas. The latter accepted Cruz and he was finally able to leave on a ferry headed for Cayo Hueso, after a friend of the family bribed an immigration authority so they would let the 17-year-old from Matanzas with a criminal record for subversive activities leave with a US visa.

From Cayo Hueso to Austin

The young anti-Batista activist left from Cayo Hueso on a Greyhound bus headed to the university in Austin, without speaking a word of English and with only a hundred dollars to his name. Hannity immediately jumped over that part of the story leading to Austin, asking Cruz Jr. if he had indeed been born in Calgary, Canada. The constitutional clause which requires candidates to be US citizens by birth prompted a rather insipid controversy, fueled by claims that Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, is not a legitimate candidate. His father is Cuban and became a naturalized American in 2005, but his mother was born in Delaware and, even though she gave birth to him outside the United States, passed on her citizenship to Ted, who did not require a naturalization process and can aspire to the presidency, as George Wilcken Romney, who was born in Mexico, or John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, were able to do.

His father had worked as a cook to get free meals and to pay for his studies in chemical engineering. Two Internet journalists from Buzz Feed News, Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir, followed another trail that, around 2013, the current evangelical pastor Rafael Cruz had offered at a forum of the conservative group Freedom Works: “I started to speak in favor of Castro at different rotary clubs around Austin, Texas. I thought he was the country’s salvation.”

Ben-Meir and Kaczynski revealed that, the day after Castro entered Havana, January 8, 1959, Cruz Sr. told the student newspaper Daily Texan that: “Castro is an educated man, with no ambitions of power.” On that occasion, he took the opportunity to speak against supporters of Batista and those who called Castro a communist.

There were 15 Cuban-born students enrolled at the University of Texas and six took to the streets with two banners and Cuban and 26th of July Movement flags, to protest against the United States’ decision to harbor “Batista government criminals.” Rafael Cruz was carrying a banner that read: “Batista’s gang have paved their way into the U.S. with Cuban bodies. Let the innocent fear not. Let the guilty face their victims, signed by the 26th of July Movement,” as can be seen in the photo that accompanies this article.

Winds of Change

Cruz Sr. told the Daily Texan that he would travel to Cuba in May of 1959 and would return to continue his studies in September, but, on arriving at the island, he became disillusioned with Castroism and, upon his return, or so Cruz Jr. told The New Yorker in 2012, he made a list of places where he had spoken in favor of Castro, to go there again and beg people’s forgiveness for having led others to error and even collected money for such a foul cause.

Rafael Cruz’ life in the United States continued. He had married Julia Ann Garza in 1959, had had two daughters and become divorced. He had then moved to New Orleans, married again to Eleanor Darragh and then relocated to Calgary, where Ted was born. Around 1974, he had sold his company, returned to Texas and, by 1975, was already a secular pastor.

Cruz claims to have had “two heroes in my life: my father and Ronald Reagan.” Cruz Sr. tells that his after-meal conversations with his eight or nine-year old son always revolved around politics: “You know, Ted, when I faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here, where are we going to go?”

Cruz’ political makeup not only stems from Texan conservatism but also his father’s anti-Batista activism and the latter’s disillusionment with Castro. In his sermons, Rafael Cruz insists that, in his tendency to act unilaterally when Congress does not, Obama is not too different from that “old, bearded friend he left behind in Cuba.”

On another occasion, Cruz Sr. compared Obama’s message of hope and change to Castro’s first harangues. Conservative radio star Rush Limbaugh absolutely loved this, saying Rafael Cruz had hit a homerun.

With yet another Cuban-born candidate, Republican senator for Florida Marco Rubio (who is apparently about to announce his candidacy to the US presidency), and Obama’s new policy now in vogue and being spoken about by businesspeople, academics and travelers in the country, the race for the 2016 presidency promises to have a good dose of Cuba-related campaigns, debates and old grievances.

29 thoughts on “Fidel Castro and the Father of US Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz

  • um, he never divorced Julia Garza until 1996!!! Teddy’s parents never married, so hence he CANNOT be an American citizen!!!! Besides, looks like teddy’s mommy renounced her American citizenship while living in Canada anyway…

  • I will email you soon. I was a close friend of Rafael and Eleanor from 1975 through 1988 when I lost contact with them after I left Houston in 1978.

  • He admitted he bribed official so using fake document would not be unusual. He is probably illegal immigrant if he used ID theft to secure his legal status.

  • Lying about their Christianity helped George W. to win – so goes the Cruzs’.

  • I think Rafael B Cruz is full of crap!

  • Rafael Ted Cruz is an illegal alien.

  • Seems very suspect and fictitious.

  • I fully agree with you Mary…Cruz carries a Bible in one hand for all to see, and behind his back is a knife, so he can lie and cheat…sickening.

  • I was born and raised orthodox Roman Catholic, went to catholic but no longer practice. These people are not acting like Christians or Catholics. I think they pretend to be conservative Christians just to get votes to get elected.

  • It won’t let me post a link. Here’s my comment without the link. If you search my name and Ted Cruz you’ll find the blog post in question. I’ve been able to put together some information. Based on the actual facts I collected Rafael B Cruz is not telling the truth about his real history and neither is his son Ted. I hope I can post a link here. Can anyone in Cuba help verify his Cuban records? I believe he assumed another Rafael Cruz’s name to get to the US. You can’t have a criminal record and get a visa to the US. Cruz Sr’s sister admitted she forged a passport to get to the US.

  • I’ve been able to put together some information. Based on the actual facts I collected Rafael B Cruz is not telling the truth about his real history and neither is his son Ted. I hope I can post a link here. Can anyone in Cuba help verify his Cuban records? I believe he assumed another Rafael Cruz’s name to get to the US. You can’t have a criminal record and get a visa to the US. Cruz Sr’s sister admitted she forged a passport to get to the US.

  • He also claims to have been a preacher at a church in Carrollton, TX which interestingly enough doesn’t exist. My girlfriend grew up in that town and we were gonna look for it but there is no church or congregation. Cruz Sr is listed as living in Carrollton but that is doubtful. He never fought with Castro and his story of being a foreign student has a bunch of lies in it. The man is a fraud. I’d be interested in knowing more about his time in Canada. Rumor has it his clients went bankrupt.

  • Because his father is a liar.

  • You are right, and Raphael Sr. is a Dominionist, and I believe Teddy is as well. Heidi Cruz is a Seventh Day Adventist…neither are considered orthodox Christianity. It’s really ugly

  • I’m with you Mary, I don’t trust any of his story, it’s fabrication to make himself look better for his son’s run for the president.

  • The politician’s father lies to make the son look good. I don’t want Cruz anywhere near our White House!

  • While researching Rafael Cruz Sr ancestry I uncovered a few things. He legally stated his name is “Rafael Bienvenido Cruz” born in Matanzas, Cuba March 22, 1939. He has used this name and birth date since he got here. The only problem is the real “Bienvenido Gregorio Cruz” was born in Havana, Cuba March 22, 1939. He also went to Florida and became a citizen then died in August 2012. Cruz Sr sister admitted she used a forged passport to get to the US. I think Cruz Sr may have also used a forged passport with someone else’s name on it. Cruz Sr has different parents Cruz y Diaz than the real Cruz. Cruz Sr had a criminal history of possible possession of a gun in Cuba. He wouldn’t be allowed to go to the US in his own name. Cruz Sr lied also about his English. While in Cuba he got good grades in “English.” I see no other way he would be accepted to a Texas University. Anyone in Cuba that can check out these records?

  • A great deal of Rafael’s claims about his history are bullshit. He claims he “blew up buildings,” and “threw Molotov cocktails.”

    Where and when would that have been?

    He claims he joined Castro to fight when he was 14, though there’s no record of his doing so. How would he have joined Castro in Oriente Province, 512 miles from Matanzas, and keep his grades up, so that he could be admitted four years later to the University of Texas at Austin.

    He claims he worked his way through school washing dishes for $.50 US/hour. To do that, he must have been working 30-40 hours per day.

    While he was doing so, he claims he was raising funds for Castro from right wing organizations in Austin.

    He claims he didn’t speak any English (or little, on other occasions) when he arrived. How did he manage to learn enough quickly enough to continue in school which would have required at “C” average?

    His older wife supported him, no doubt, as a teenager husband, and they had kids when Rafael was 21 and 22 years old (barely a year apart).

  • The reality is the Mafia discovered Batista had been skimming off a good portion of their casino profits.

  • The Cuban successes in so many ways , even presidential candidates of their demonocracy are trying to align with Cuban values. Dont be fooled by this , as their nieghbors in the Americas become more Cubanistic and are enriched by the largest man hour economy, China! Those dollars do not tell the real story which is man hours of economic activity and more.
    Russia , has also defeated the sodomistic religion of the Knights of the Templer,
    who killed Christ and blamed the Hebrews along with killing Popes over and over.
    The Russian Victory is also resulting in the freedom of a different kind for all the Americas even the U.S. of A can pivot and save itself from the true evil doers of the pentagram pentagon.
    Thank God for Vladimir Putin ! Victory!
    Thank You

  • Poor Ted Cruz! Like most people without history of their own, they have to rely an anecdotal references to others, in their silly attempt to rise to undeserved heights.
    This individual -Ted Cruz- has gotten to where he is and will fall sooner rather than later fall like his pal Bob Menendez, Robert Torricelli and other crooks who ha benefitted personally on the suffering of the Cuban people, by hating, threatening and resorting to the human lowest denominator.
    Like Marco Rubio’s father who fled communism in 1956, Ted Cruz Sr. a born again, radical, extremist, is willing to harm anyone in the name of his God, as long as that help him to keep his dirty past of booze, abusive husband and for abandoning his wife and child, is now a pharisaical preacher professing family values, love and fear of God.
    If Fidel Castro is such an evil, destructive, malignant species, why is he used by all as a point of reference and not forgotten by history as George W. Bush?
    Cuba may be worse off now than under Batista in some minds in need of professional help.
    The fact is one, like it or not, Fidel Castro and the Cuban government policies prevailed, they defeated on the battle ground every evil that was thrown at them for fifty years and in the coming days, President Barack Obama who had the courage, vision and fortitude to do what all 10 Presidents before him could not bring themselves to do: remove the heinous, wicked embargo on Cuba, will have to unfairly, face the rage, anger and vilification of continent.

  • “Fidel …would take control of their leadership.”

    Is that the euphemism you use to refer to the jailing and execution of some members of the old Partido Socialista Popular leadership by Castro’s revolution?

  • Simple query #2, how did he buy a bus ticket?
    I went to Cuba in 2005. I don’t speak a word of Spanish. Somehow I was able to order chicken at a Cuban KFC. Maybe telepathy.

  • The term sycophants is, of course, derogatory. but I’ll let that slide.
    The main point is that all anarchists and most socialists or communists know now and knew at the time of the Cuban revolution that the Communist Party in Cuba, like all the other Communist Parties, was Stalinist and as such and in pursuit of “communism in one country: the USSR , would always urge voters to not rock the boat too much and go for the lesser of the two or more political party candidates as did the CPUSA when they urged voters to vote for Lyndon Johnson .
    The Communist Parties in wishing to survive almost always played ball with the more liberal of the pro-capitalist candidates rather than push the candidacy of a communist .
    It’s why Fidel took over the PCC and it became Fidelista rather than a sell-out to capitalist parties .
    Yes, when victory for the rebels was in sight and sure, the PCC went with survival tactics as usual and signed up with Fidel without knowing he would take control of their leadership.

  • How sad for the Cuban people that José Antonio Echeverría (FEU leader) failed in his attempt to kill Batista in 1957. Instead we’ve been saddled with the Castro dictatorship for almost 60 years! During that time Castros have managed to destroy Cuban society and culture leaving God knows what in its place.

  • The reality is that Batista was a cruel dictator and his government did not serve the Cuban people well. However, Fidel Castro has been even worse. Sadly, Cuba has been badly ruled by dictators since 1952.

  • Nobody in the US has ever denied the fact that the US government supported Batista. Pick up any newspaper article about Cub in the 1950’s and you will inevitably read the phrase, “… the US backed dictator Fulgencio Batista”. If this is the first time you ever heard of such, then you are not very well informed. It is also true that some Americans, including journalists, diplomats, State Department employees and even some CIA agents supported or endorsed Fidel Castro before 1959, assuring the world that the rebel was no Communist.

    What you won’t find are very many pro-Castro sycophants like youself who will admit that the Communists had been strong supporters of Batista! Only during the last months of 1958, when they saw the M26 rebels were going to succeed did the communists come out against the dictator Batista.

  • simple query.. if his father coukdn’t speak a word of English? how the hell could he go to college when the curriculum was in English & understand it?!

  • How very refreshing to read that at least someone in the US is not afraid to speak the truth about the ‘cosy’ relationship between Batista and US Governmental ‘patriots’ and speak so objectively and openly about Fidel Castro.
    Sadly , so many U citizens have been brain washed for decades about Castro et al. Perhaps when those who spew forth their inaccurate nonsense and propaganda regarding Fidel Castro should balance the books and spend some time writing and talking about Batista and his regime.
    Well done Ted Cruz.

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