In the battle for the Republican nomination for President in 2016, a compelling story is just a part of the package a candidate presents, with fascinating anecdotes eliciting more recognition for whatever policy positions the candidate might have. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas has attempted to establish himself with Conservative audiences as a strong believer in democracy through some of his personal stories.
The basis for many of his arguments have stemmed from speaking about the challenges his own father, Rafael Cruz, faced during the 1950’s as a resident of Cuba during that country’s revolution under then-President Fulgencio Batista. Cruz portrays his father as a freedom fighter who worked with future Cuban dictator Fidel Castro during that era until realizing that Castro’s real goals were repressive policies that aided only a select group of people. The argument that Cruz is attempted to make, is that the policies of President Barack Obama have been just as oppressive as the communist cuba regiems, saying that many of the actions are simply overreach by the government…
However, investigations into Cruz’s assertions about his father have led to claims that Rafael Cruz was infamous for both misleading statements and outright lies – I suppose the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Those investigations note that friends of the elder Cruz and those who were a part of the burgeoning revolution dispute the claim of Cruz fighting next to Castro. Instead, those interviewed say that Rafael Cruz, who was only a teenager at the time, was primarily engaging in protest marches and writing graffiti on walls to show his support of the overthrow of Batista.
Ted Cruz’s book that was released in conjunction with his presidential campaign noted a supposed anecdote in which all of the protesting students were killed. After research was done on the claim, it was discovered that documented eyewitness accounts indicated that only a few of the students had been killed. Another conflict appears to show how Rafael Cruz’s stories from that era have evolved. One example claimed he had recruited someone to help the revolutionary cause, but found out that he was an informant for Batista, a story that had changed from when he told it in 1959, where no informant was indicated. Rafael Cruz also claimed to have worked with a revolutionary group, but those in that group indicated that they had virtually no memory of him or severely downplayed any role he claims to have had in the cause.
He was described by one student leader as an “ojalatero,” a Spanish term that translates to “wishful thinker.” The term referenced individuals who wanted a change in the country’s government, but did little to actually make it happen. Ted Cruz has courted Tea Party supporters with such stories, while his father has given speeches before such groups by continuing to express doubts about whether President Obama was born in the United States. Rafael Cruz has also been a vocal opponent of gay marriage, a stand his son echoes on the campaign trail. The argument about President Obama’s birthplace is ironic to many critics of Ted Cruz, since he was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on December 22, 1970.
By itself, that would make Cruz ineligible to run for President, but since his mother was born in Delaware, most legal scholars note that her American citizenship makes him eligible. Cruz ranks in the middle among the Republican Presidential candidates, with some noting that his unwillingness to attack frontrunner Donald Trump is an attempt to curry favor with Trump’s political base, should the businessman drop out of the race.