Rafael Cruz, Ted’s Dad: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ted Cruz father, Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz dad

Rafael Cruz with ex-wife Eleanor Darragh Wilson at a campaign event for his son Ted. (Getty)

Rafael Cruz is a Cuban-born American preacher and the father of Texas Senator and GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Born in Cuba and a former pro-Castro protester, Cruz left Cuba to attend the University of Texas and stayed in America after witnessing the Castro regime’s policies in action. He later worked in Canada, where he married Ted Cruz’s mother Eleanor Darragh and had his son, before returning to Texas and becoming a pastor.

Cruz, who was a Canadian citizen until 2005, has attracted controversy to the Cruz campaign, with Donald Trump threatening to file a lawsuit. The elder Cruz has also generated controversy for his controversial views on religion’s role in the government.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. He Protested for Castro Before Leaving Cuba

Rafael Cruz at Free the PeopleRafael Cruz at FreedomWorks' Free the people.2013-07-06T17:36:20Z

As a teenager under the brutal Batista regime, Rafael Cruz resented the regime and often clashed with its officials. As he describes in the video above, he gravitated toward Fidel Castro’s message and supported the future leader of Cuba, getting arrested and beaten for his troubles. Though some of his claims are disputed by contemporaries, it is known that he was caught and tortured by the Batista regime.

In 1957, a family friend “basically bribed” a government official to get a student visa. As he detailed in the video above, he briefly returned to Cuba but found Castro’s policies oppressive and sought political asylum in the United States. He later compared the rhetoric of the Castro regime to that of President Obama.

2. He Met Ted’s Mother in Canada, Where He Worked in Oil & Gas

Ted Cruz mother, Ted Cruz father, Rafael Cruz

Ted Cruz stands with father Rafael (obscured) and Eleanor Darragh after his Iowa victory. (Getty)

Rafael Cruz arrived in Austin, Texas “with nothing but the clothes on his back and one hundred dollars sewn into his underwear.” He took a $0.50-per-hour job as a dishwasher to help pay for his studies in oil and gas exploration at the University of Texas. After graduation, he left the US in the wake of the 1970s oil boom in Alberta, Canada, where he founded a computer-aided oil exploration company. It was there that he met his second wife, computer programmer Eleanor Darragh. The Senator and Presidential candidate is their only child, and they divorced in 2007. Cruz had two daughters with his first wife, one of whom, Miriam, came up during his son’s campaign following a long and ultimately fatal battle with drug addiction.

While in Canada, Cruz became a citizen, a decision he did not formally renounce until 2005.

3. He Settled in Texas & Became a Preacher

Ted Cruz father, Rafael Cruz, Rafael Cruz pastor

Ted and Rafael Cruz at an event early in Ted’s campaign. (Getty)

Despite later being described as a competent oilman, R.B. Cruz and Associates folded in 1974 and the family returned to Texas. Although raised a Roman Catholic, Cruz began attending a Bible study with a born-again coworker, and later described the meetings in his book as transformative:

What impressed me was they all had problems. There was a woman that talked about living with her son and her son beating her to get money for drugs. Yet, she had a peace, all of them had a peace, that I couldn’t understand. It was that peace that the Bible calls ‘a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Cruz converted to born-again evangelicalism and later became the founder of several different ministries. Journalists questioned his credentials, however, discovering that Cruz campaign claims that the elder Cruz “pastors a church in Dallas” were not true (Cruz later clarified that his ministry focuses on speaking to groups of pastors), that his seminaries were difficult to locate, and that at least one of his organizations appeared to be a one-man operation.

4. He Advocated the End of Separation of Church & State

Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz father, Ted Cruz Rafael

Rafael Cruz at a campaign event for his son. (Getty)

In his book A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim AmericaCruz elaborated on his nonbelief in the separation of church and state and the proper role of believers in government:

Interestingly enough, although many people think otherwise, the concept of separation of church and state is found nowhere in either the Declaration of Independence of the Constitution or the United States of America.

Cruz is committed to a strain of evangelical theology known as Dominionism, which calls on Christians to “restore” the government to its believed Christian roots via an electoral takeover. A doctrinal ally of the elder Cruz, Texas pastor Larry Huch, attributed Ted’s election to Dominionist principles in a 2012 sermon:

It’s not a coincidence that in a few weeks, we go into what’s called in the Bible Rosh Hashanad [sic]… It will be the beginning of the spiritual year 2012. The number 12 means divine government. That God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, God’s people and His kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected, Ted Cruz the next senator.

5. He Believes His Son Ted Has a ‘Special Calling’ (but Didn’t Always)

VideoVideo related to rafael cruz, ted’s dad: 5 fast facts you need to know2016-02-17T15:51:02-05:00

The younger Cruz unsurprisingly takes up a large part of Rafael Cruz’s book, with a description of how he helped train Ted toward a political life:

I coached him on his speech organization and delivery, and soon he excelled in his presentations. Watching him speak was nothing short of exhilarating! This only confirmed what I had long sensed about Ted. Even when he was a young boy, I knew Ted had a special calling on his life. Every day, I immersed him in prayer, asking God to protect him and grant him wisdom. And I told Ted over and over, ‘God has given you remarkable talents, and you must use those gifts to His glory.’ Ted knew in his heart that he would dedicate his life to fighting for the preservation.

However, at the end of the widely circulated video above, Cruz seems to doubt that special calling was politics. When asked whether his then-teenaged son would “rule the world one day,” the elder Cruz responds with a laugh, “I hope not.”

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