Rafael Cruz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rafael Cruz
Ted Cruz's Father Pastor Rafael Cruz at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Oklahoma City, OK May 2015 by Michael Vadon 03.jpg
Cruz speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in 2015
Rafael Bienvenido Cruz y Díaz

(1939-03-22) March 22, 1939 (age 83)
NationalityCuban (1939–present)[1]
Canadian (1973–2005)
American (2005–present)
EducationUniversity of Santiago de Cuba
University of Texas, Austin (BS)
Political partyRepublican
Julia Garza
(m. 1959, divorced)

Eleanor Darragh Wilson
(m. 1969; div. 1997)
Children3, including Ted

Rafael Bienvenido Cruz y Díaz (born March 22, 1939)[2] is a Cuban-American evangelical preacher and father of Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. He has served as a surrogate in his son's political campaigns.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Cruz was born in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1939. His father, also named Rafael Cruz, was a salesman for RCA, originally from the Canary Islands, Spain. His mother, Emilia Laudelina Díaz, was a teacher.[5][6]

Cruz attended Arturo Echemendia primary school in Matanzas.[7] He said he joined the Cuban Revolution as a teenager and "suffered beatings and imprisonment for protesting the oppressive regime," of dictator Fulgencio Batista, although an extensive search by the New York Times found no evidence for his claims.[5][7][8][9][10] In September 1956 at age 17, Cruz enrolled at the University of Santiago.[7] According to Cruz, as a teenager, he "didn't know Castro was a Communist".[11] Cruz has stated in interviews that he was jailed by Batista for several days in June or July 1957 and after he was released he applied to and was accepted by the University of Texas (UT) in August 1957. He obtained a student visa[12] after an attorney for the family bribed a Batista official to grant him an exit permit.[1][3][13] Cruz said he left with $100 sewn into his underwear, taking a two-day bus ride from Florida, arriving with little or no English to enroll at the University of Texas.[14][15]

He graduated from UT with a degree in mathematics and chemical engineering in 1961.[9][12] Cruz states he worked his way through college as a dishwasher, making 50 cents an hour and learned English by going to movies.[14][16] Upon returning he revisited the same groups to give lectures opposing Castro and the Revolution.[12] Cruz recounts that his younger sister fought against the new regime in the counter-revolution and was consequently tortured. He remained regretful for his early support of Castro and expressed his remorse to his son on numerous occasions.[5][10]

After Cruz graduated, he was granted political asylum in the United States following the expiration of his student visa.[1] In his late twenties, Cruz moved to New Orleans. In 1969 at age 30, during his employment at his new oil company job, he met Wilmington, Delaware, native and divorcée, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson[17] (born November, 23, 1934 as Eleanor Darragh).[18] Eleanor's first marriage, at age 21, was to Alan Wilson, a mathematician, in 1956. The couple moved to London, England, for career opportunities in 1960. They divorced in 1963. The then 34-year-old computer programmer returned to the United States in 1966.[19][20] Cruz and Wilson were married in 1969,[20] and shortly after were sent to Calgary, Canada, where their only child, Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz, was born on December 22, 1970.[21] While in Calgary, the couple owned a seismic-data processing firm called R.B. Cruz and Associates that provided services for oil drillers. The firm later became Veritas and ultimately part of CGG. Cruz earned Canadian citizenship in 1973.[22] The family of three then moved to Houston, Texas.[5][9] Eleanor and Rafael Cruz divorced in 1997.[1][20][23]

Religious and political beliefs[edit]

Cruz speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City - 2015

Cruz left the Catholic Church in 1975 and became an Evangelical Protestant after attending a Bible study with a colleague and having a born again experience. Explaining his leaving the Catholic church, Cruz stated in an interview with National Review, "The people at the Bible study had a peace that I could not understand, this peace in the midst of trouble. I knew I needed to find that peace by finding Jesus Christ." Following his conversion, his son and wife also became born-again Protestants. In the Cruz home, talk at dinner time was frequently about the Bible.[5] He was ordained as a pastor in 2004.[24]

Cruz works from his home in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas, as a traveling preacher[25][26] and public speaker, campaigning as a surrogate for his son during the 2016 Presidential campaign season.[14][27] In a 2014 Associated Press story, Cruz was quoted as saying, "I have a burden for this country and I feel that we cannot sit silent." He went on to say that he feels "It's time we stop being politically correct and start being biblically correct."[27][28][29]

About his political involvements in the 1980s, Cruz reflected, "I was on the state board of the Religious Roundtable, a Christian and Jewish religious organization that worked to elect Ronald Reagan." At the time, he told his son, "God has destined you for greatness."[14][30]

At the New Beginnings Church in Irving, Texas, in August 2012, Cruz delivered a sermon where he described his son's senatorial campaign as taking place within a context where Christian "kings" were anointed to preside over an "end-time transfer of wealth" from wicked people to the righteous. Cruz urged the congregation to "tithe mightily" to achieve that result.[31] During an interview conducted by The Christian Post in 2014, Cruz stated, "I think we cannot separate politics and religion; they are interrelated. They've always been interrelated."[32] Salon described Cruz as a "Dominionist, devoted to a movement that finds in Genesis a mandate that 'men of faith' seize control of public institutions and govern by biblical principle."[33]

Cruz was involved with his son's 2016 presidential campaign, playing what The Boston Globe described as "a crucial—if sometimes divisive—element of the Texas senator's campaign to win over conservative Christian voters."[34] Also his son's presidential primary opponent, Donald Trump accused Cruz's father of involvement with John F. Kennedy's assassination.[35][36] During the campaign, Cruz underwent emergency eye surgery, but returned to campaigning after several weeks' recovery.[34]

Personal life[edit]

In 1959, at age 20, Cruz married Julia Ann Garza (August 22, 1939–May 18, 2013[37]). Per Cruz, they divorced some time in 1963. Julia later became a professor of linguistics and Latin American literature at California State University, Stanislaus. They had two daughters, Miriam Cruz (1961–2011)[20] and Roxana Cruz (born November 18, 1962), who is a physician.[25][38] He has three grandchildren.[5][38]

In 2005, Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Cruz now retains only Cuban and American citizenships.[5][26][39][40]

From 1993 to 2009, Cruz was a top salesman for Mannatech.[41][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Welna, David (June 20, 2013). "How Ted Cruz's Father Shaped His Views On Immigration". NPR.
  2. ^ Cruz, Ted (June 30, 2015). A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. ISBN 9780062365637.
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Holly (October 27, 2015). "Meet Rafael Cruz: Ted Cruz's secret evangelical weapon". Yahoo! Politics. Yahoo!. Retrieved December 4, 2015. One of his son's closest advisers and confidants, Cruz is a tireless surrogate ...
  4. ^ Hook, Janet (June 21, 2015). "Ted Cruz's Father Fires Up Campaign Rhetoric". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Costa, Robert (August 28, 2013). "The Rise of Rafael Cruz - Senator Ted Cruz's father is a conservative force". National Review. Retrieved April 12, 2016. In the early 1960s, Rafael Cruz was also beginning to start a family. He married and had two daughters, and he started to work in the energy industry. But the marriage ended after only a few years, and Cruz found himself at a difficult crossroads in his late twenties. (One of his daughters is now a physician in Texas; the other is deceased.) Cruz decided to move to New Orleans to take a new job, which is where he met his second wife, Eleanor Darragh, a computer programmer from Delaware, who was also working for an oil company. They married, moved to Calgary, Alberta, and in late 1970 had their first and only child, Rafael Edward Cruz.
  6. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (January 8, 2016). "Ted Cruz and the Question of 'Natural Born' Citizenship". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Horowitz, Jason (November 9, 2015). "Cuban Peers Dispute Ted Cruz's Father's Story of Fighting for Castro". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  8. ^ 4 Rising stars from the Democratic, Republican conventions, The Christian Post, Napp Nazworth, September 10, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Garrett, Robert T. (April 28, 2012). "Senate candidate Ted Cruz aims to pick up mantle of Reagan". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Lizza, Ryan (November 19, 2012). "The Party Next Time". The New Yorker. pp. 50–57. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  11. ^ Liptak, Kevin (August 12, 2013). "Sen. Ted Cruz's dad makes fiery anti-Obama speech". CNN. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "Exile and the Revolution". National Review Online. November 4, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "Ted Cruz for US Senate - Bio". Ted Cruz. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d Riddell, Kelly (April 27, 2016). "Rafael Cruz finds success on speaking circuit as son runs for president". The Washington Times. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  15. ^ How Ted Cruz's dad, Rafael, became a GOP rock star, D Magazine, Michael J. Mooney, January 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  16. ^ Breanna Edwards (June 20, 2013). "Cruz's dad: Bribe helped to exit Cuba". Politico. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  17. ^ Gillman, Todd (August 19, 2013). "Ted Cruz birth certificate. Canadian citizenship questionnaire". The Dallas Morning News. Cruz was kind enough to release a copy of his Canadian birth certificate
  18. ^ Flores, Reena (January 9, 2016). "Ted Cruz releases mother's birth certificate amid citizenship debate". CBS News. The document shows that Eleanor Darragh, Cruz's mother, was born in the state of Delaware on Nov. 23, 1934
  19. ^ Cruz, Ted (2015). A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. In 1956, my mom married her first husband, a mathematician named Alan Wilson," Cruz wrote. The couple moved to London in 1960
  20. ^ a b c d Recio, Maria (April 1, 2015). "Ted Cruz's family story: Poignant but incomplete". McClatchyDC. Retrieved November 25, 2015. Cruz, 44, had two half-sisters from his father's earlier marriage. One, Miriam Cruz, died in 2011 at age 49 .. The other half-sister, Roxana Cruz, 52, is a medical doctor .. Alan Wilson said he and Eleanor Wilson were being treated in the same hospital when she was pregnant when a nurse told his "his wife" was there — startling the Fort Worthian. "I didn't know she was pregnant. We were definitely divorced." Asked what went wrong, he said, "Marriages don't always work. It wasn't because of infidelities or anything like that." He said they were divorced around 1963 .. Although Cruz in his book cites 1965 for Michael Wilson's birth and death, London records obtained by the Star-Telegram show that a Michael Wilson was born and died in 1966 and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in Kensington, a London neighborhood .. Eleanor Wilson left England sometime after the death of Michael and returned to the United States, where she met Rafael Cruz, whom she married in 1969. (updated February 23, 2016)
  21. ^ Ferguson, John Wayne (August 13, 2012). "Texplainer: Could Canadian-Born Ted Cruz Be President?". Texas Tribune. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  22. ^ Abel, Allen; Markusoff, Jason (January 13, 2016). "Ted Cruz: Made in Canada". Maclean's Magazine. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  23. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (August 18, 2013). "Canada-born Ted Cruz became a citizen of that country as well as U.S." The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Ted Cruz’s Father Worked With Supplements Maker Sued by Investors, New York Times, MeganTwohey, April 29, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Kroll, Andy (June 27, 2015). "Ted Cruz's Secret Weapon to Win the Right". National Journal. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  26. ^ a b Olsen, Lise (October 13, 2012). "Cruz's life defies simplification". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 28, 2013. The ex-revolutionary pastor regularly stumps for his son, whom he's compared to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah – a relentless advocate with "fire in his bones." Ted, he says, is "not going to Washington to compromise."
  27. ^ a b Will Weissert (February 9, 2014). "Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's Father, Emerges As Outspoken Surrogate For His Son". Associated Press via The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  28. ^ Jones, Russ (October 6, 2015). "Christians Need to Be Politically Active Says Father of Sen. Ted Cruz". Christian Press. Oxford, Mississippi. Retrieved February 2, 2016. Rafael Cruz, father of US Senator Ted Cruz, pastor of a Dallas church and director of North Texas-based Purifying Fire Ministries, said Christians need to be bold speakers for the truth of God and call upon God's people to be salt and light in the culture.
  29. ^ "Senator Ted Cruz and Pastor Rafael Cruz". The Family Leadership Summit. The Family Leader. July 18, 2015. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016. Today Rafael Cruz is a pastor at a church in Dallas
  30. ^ Brody File Exclusive: Ted Cruz’s Father Tells His Son: 'God Has Destined You for Greatness', The Brody File, David Brody, July 22, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  31. ^ "WATCH: Ted Cruz's Dad Calls US a 'Christian Nation', Says Obama Should Go 'Back to Kenya' Want to understand where the tea party champion's hardcore views come from? Meet his father, Rafael.", Mother Jones, David Corn, October 31, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  32. ^ Michael Gryboski (May 23, 2014). "Pastor Rafael Cruz: Religion and Politics 'Interrelated'; US Comparable to Ancient Israel". The Christian Post - CP Politics. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  33. ^ Lou Dubose; Hannah Harper (October 19, 2015). "Ted Cruz's dad has a very sketchy resume: Rafael Cruz's credentials are exaggerated, at best". Salon. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  34. ^ a b Tracy Jan, Ted Cruz's father gives him edge among conservative Christians, Boston Globe (January 27, 2016).
  35. ^ "Trump accuses Cruz's father of helping JFK's assassin". Politico.
  36. ^ Lerer, Lisa (February 19, 2021). "How Ted Cruz Became the Least Sympathetic Politician in America". The New York Times.
  37. ^ "Dr. Cruz". Herald-Banner. May 20, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2015. Dr. Julia G. Cruz, 73, retired professor of linguistics and Latin American literature, passed from this life on May 18, 2013, in her home
  38. ^ a b Cruz, Ted (June 30, 2015). A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. Broadside Books. pp. 28–44, 101–103. ISBN 978-0062365613.
  39. ^ Swartz, Mimi (March 31, 2015). "Ted Cruz and the New Politics of Texas". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  40. ^ "Google".
  41. ^ Dubose, Lou; Harper, Hannah (October 19, 2015). "Ted Cruz's dad has a very sketchy resume: Rafael Cruz's credentials are exaggerated, at best". Salon. Retrieved April 30, 2016.