Speaking to an audience recently at the “Free the People” conference put on by the industry-financed tea party group FreedomWorks, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained how his ultra conservative worldview helped shape his son’s outlook on President Barack Obama’s policies, which the elder Cruz said are “just like the dictator Fidel Castro.”
Cruz likes to mention that his father fled Cuba for the United States, but typically doesn’t mention that Rafael Cruz was actually a pro-Castro revolutionary during the rule of the U.S.-supported, right-wing military dictator Fulgencio Batista. However, he did mention it in a 2006 interview with The Austin American-Statesman, when he called his dad “a guerrilla” who busied himself during those days by “throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings.”
Cruz’s father left Cuba before Castro came to power, traveling to Texas on a student visa issued by the Batista regime. He mentioned that in his speech to the FreedomWorks crowd, telling them that he was once energized by a bold new leader who spoke of “hope and change,” but his opinion shifted when that leader turned out to be yet another dictator.
“I was shocked again when I saw a government started in this country instituting socialist policies, which I very easily recognized because of my experience in Cuba,” the elder Cruz said of President Jimmy Carter’s (D) administration, explaining that he join a religious conservative group with the intent of helping President Ronald Reagan get elected.
“When my son was 8-9 years old, our conversations around the dinner table centered around politics every day,” the elder Cruz said. “I remember, over and over, I would ask him, ‘You know Ted, when I face oppression in Cuba, I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here, where are we going to go?’ There is no place to go, this is the bastion of freedom in the world. This is why we have to fight to protect the freedom we have.”
Cruz added that “the most ominous words I have ever heard” were uttered by President Obama during his last two State of the Union speeches, “when our president said if Congress does not act, I will act unilaterally. Not much different than that… friend that I left behind in Cuba. Governing by decree, by executive order, just like a dictator, like Fidel Castro.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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