I realize that it can be frightening to travel through the dark, dangerous corridors of Ted Cruz’s mind, making stomach-turning hard right turns that suddenly appear without warning. Yet, we must, for this guy intends to be your president. But buckle-up, for this trip not only takes us into Ted’s mind, but also into the twisting mental curves of his hero, role model, mentor, top advisor, and surrogate campaigner – Rafael Cruz, also know as Daddy.
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Ted is campaigning as a truth-teller and an honest fighter for freedom, regularly using his father’s life story as a guidepost to his own integrity. The candidate tells and retells the story that his father first told him as a boy – about how Daddy Cruz had been a courageous rebel leader in Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution in the 1950s. Rafael says he ran guns, threw Molotov cocktails, and even survived arrest and torture in the struggle to bring down the right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
It’s a riveting bit of history that thrills Sen. Cruz’s audiences and gives emotional power to his political ambition. Indeed Rafael’s Cuban heroics are so inspiring that son Ted features them in his recent campaign book, pointedly titled: “A Time for Truth.”
But – Look out! – here’s where the high moral road of Rafael’s story suddenly washes out, sending his and Ted’s integrity spinning off into a deep political ravine. It turns out that practically none of the tales about the father’s machismo actions in Cuba actually happened!
Only a handful of real freedom fighters of that time remember Rafael at all, and none of them recall him doing anything more than strutting around and talking big. In fact, he was known as an ojalatero – one who wished the dictator would fall, but was too squeamish to act on it.
“Cruz’s father no rebel, say Cuban peers,” Austin American Statesman, November 15, 2015.