Rafael Cruz, father of Republican presidential candidate Ted, is the subject of a New York Times investigation which alleges that maybe he wasn’t quite the Molotov cocktail-tossing Cuban revolutionary he’s made himself out to be. Woe is the man whose dad’s tall tales become a matter of public concern.
The Times piece, published today, focuses specifically on Rafael Cruz’s claim to have personally met with Frank País just 12 hours before the revolutionary hero’s death, and on his imprisonment and beating by Batista soldiers. The second claim is verifiably true, but the reasons for his arrest are unclear. Cruz claims to have been caught recruiting a friend who happened to be a Batista informant into Castro’s forces, but two of his friends told the Times he was taken in for possession of a pistol. The first is spottier: País died seven months after and in a different location from the incident that Cruz describes.
Reporters also tracked down several of Cruz’s old comrades, who painted him as an idealistic teenager “who wrote on walls and marched in the streets,” not a guerrilla warrior, as he comes off in his campaign speeches for his son and in the younger Cruz’s book A Time for Truth. If Ted weren’t humping the stories for political gain, you’d almost feel bad for him. You can imagine how a similar Times story about your own father: “In interviews, Mr. Smith’s childhood friends expressed doubt that he did in fact catch the biggest fish anyone in the town had ever seen that day on the Severn River in 1975.”
But don’t feel too bad for him: for the media-hating Republican base, an attack on the credibility of a candidate’s father by the liberal New York Times is a selling point for his campaign, not a detractor.