Ted Cruz has faced a lot of attacks to his Latinidad. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said in May he didn't think Cruz "should be defined as a Hispanic." In the lead up to last year's election, Gilbert Hinojosa said Ted Cruz was as Hispanic "as Tom Cruise.”
Since Cruz helped start a debate in Congress over whether to voluntarily default on the U.S. debt for the first time in history, in order to undermine Obamacare, it’s a great time to have a look back at the U.S. Senator’s roots.
Many might think Cruz’s purist brand of conservatism has strong Texas roots. But listening to his Cuban-born father speak, it’s becomes clear that his philosophy owes at least as much to the reaction against the Castro dictatorship as it does to Texas Republicans.
In this YouTube video uploaded in July by Freedom Works, a conservative group, Rafael Cruz compares President Barack Obama to none other than former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. It’s not a mistake. He does it twice.
I grew up in Cuba under a strong, military, oppressive dictatorship. So as a teenager, I found myself involved in a revolution. I remember during that time, a young, charismatic leader rose up, talking about “hope” and “change.” His name was Fidel Castro.
Then, a few minutes later:
I think the most ominous words I’ve ever heard was in the last two state of the union addresses, when our president said: “If Congress does not act, I will act unilaterally.” Not much different than that old, bearded friend that I left behind in Cuba -- governing by decree, by executive order, just like a dictator, like Fidel Castro.
For Rafael Cruz, the United States’ drift toward socialism didn’t begin with Obama. “In 1976, 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,” he said, referring to the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter.
This worldview revolving around the fear of repeating the experience of the Cuban Revolution was part of the future Senator’s upbringing. “When my son was 8, 9 years old, our conversation around the dinner table centered on politics every day,” Cruz said. “I remember over and over I would ask him, 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?"