tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 20, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
. hello again. hanks so much for joining us. president barack obama expected to land in cuba at this hour marking an historic day for the two countries. it's been nearly 90 years since a u.s. president has touched down on cuban soil. our own chris cuomo is in havana. chris, from your vantage point, what are the people feeling and thinking as the president is about to arrive? >> well, i'll tell you what, fred, as correct as what you
just said is, 90 years, even bigger than that for the cuban people. they see this as never. there has never been a u.s. president here since the revolution. and remember, to talk prerevolution, that was a different time and expectation. so today is huge for them. it feels like when the pope was coming, you know, interestingly over my shoulder is the famous symbol here of the entry way to the havana bay. the lighthouse. and it is seen as the metaphor for the welcoming into cuba and havana. when the pope came, it was big. this you could argue is even bigger. many generations thought it would never happen. >> and that lighthouse is huge. it is symbolic of the hope that many people have been holding on to it for a long time. but at the same time feeling that this day would never come, meaning this day being the eve of real change so how much promise are people hoping for, feeling this president will be
bringing? >> it's big. as you suggest, metaphor cal and pragmatic. what else will happen in you see these cubans, older cubans, those heavily indoctrinated by the revolution, wearing the indoctrine pins, great enemy, imperialist, now coming here and being celebrated for doing so. that said, the old expression the juthe journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. so today is big and a lot of levels but there is still a lot to come. >> you talk about the suggestion and you may see the president coming with 39 members of congress, and 11 entrepreneurs and ceos.
let's talk about that when we come back and join us again in havana, chris, thanks so much. now let's take a pause from havana, cuba and talk about the overyou'll race for the white house. another night for violence at a trump rally. this time in tucson, arizona. trump's campaign manager, man in the gray blazer caught on camera in an altercation with a protester. at the same event the protester was brutally attacked as he was led out of the venue by police. sucker punched, stomped on. this morning on abc trump was asked about the incidents and this is how he responded. >> security at the arena, the police were a little bit lax and he had signs, they had signs up in that area that were horrendous. that i cannot say what they said on the sign. and frankly the television cameras can't take it and they
can't do anything about it. and i will give him credit, now he doesn't touch -- he doesn't -- >> video there showed that he touched -- >> that was somebody else -- i give him credit for having spirit. he wanted them to take down the horrible profanity-laced signs. these are disruptive -- >> let's bring in republican strategist brian morgan stern and coauthor of the party's over. so chris, you first, you heard, you know, donald trump, you know, trying to say there that l low lowendowski didn't touch but gives him credit for the spirit. is the trump campaign saying any more or feel compelled to better explain itself if not donald trump himself? >> what is so interesting about that, fred, is listening to
donald trump say that he wasn't touched but the video showing la lowendowski clearly touched him. this is the second time he has come under fire with charges he manhandled someone at a trump event. we saw that video of him yanking protester by the collar at rally in tucson yesterday. but earlier this month, a reporter accused him of grabbing her by the arm and dragging her backwards as she tried to ask a question at a press conference. she pressed charges. he denied touching her. this bubbled up so much so that today we heard from the national chairman saying he weighed in thinking law enforcement professionals, not campaign officials, should be dealing with the protesters. it does raise questions, fred, about why was lowendowski in the crowd to begin with and is that the appropriate role for the campaign or should that be left for the private security that
the trump campaign hired? they started to put private teams of private security throughout the crowd? that way they can help get protesters out quickly with local police and secret service so there are a lot of questions here. but the thing that struck me so much is hearing donald trump essentially say he didn't touch anybody and the video clearly shows that he did. >> and so chris, was it the young man whose collar was pulled, is he the one that was released from medical treatment and said he is a first-time voter and trying to describe his injuries and what happened? >> that was not the video we saw. the young man released from the hospital was a young protester who at the same event was sucker punched by man at that rally -- >> oh and wearing the american flag? >> that was the american flag gentleman. he was sucker punched. his name is brian sanders. he is 33 years old. he talked to cnn and he said he was there, and i can tell you,
quote, the reason i went to protest the rally is because of the racism and view of women and his lies. he felt like that was statement he needed to make. as he was led away by law enforcement he was sucker punch bid another man at that rally. who, you know, who was later arrested for misdemeanor assault. if you watch that video, can you see behind brian sanders, man in the american flag shirt, there was also someone looking like they were being led away with a kkk cape on. brian sanders saying i don't know who that was. i have taken a lot of flak as if we were together. i don't know who that person is. that person and their intention is still an open question, fred. >> we know a lot will have to
be, i guess, addressed as pertaining to the donald trump campaign. so let's talk about someone else on the gop, john kasich. he is ignoring the suggestion that is made that he should focus on the east while ted cruz should focus on the west. he says, no way. he told this to dana bash earlier today, ellis, that he will focus on trying to get better footing on the race overall. >> one scenario that i have heard is that split the map scenario. you focus from now on on the east where you do quite well. ted cruz focuses on the west where he does better. try to keep donald trump's delegate count low through the convention. is that a strategy you or anybody on your team would pursue? >> not at this point. we're not thinking that way. i'm thinking that we're getting momentum and i can go east and i can go west. you know, the thing about california and me, okay, you know, i've got positions that
will elevate people. >> john kasich in the race keeps it interesting. >> it is a strategy on paper but turns out politicians have ego, fred and this no politician who has any other attitude than why not the best? why not me? so while it makes total logical sense, it ain't gonna happen. >> your thoughts? >> he is saying he is campaigning everywhere. nontrump candidates are making sure he doesn't get to 1237. in order to do that cruz has to win states, kasich has to win states. themes the facts. and kasich can't deny it but he does have to say he is campaigning hard everywhere. doing what he has to do. >> and still a clael fchallenge for someone to get the 1237. appreciate it. a quick turn here. to peoria, arizona, outside of phoenix. ted cruz is campaigning there. let's go there.
>> that's the kind of deception. the abuse that people are frustrated with. and you know, arizona has seen firsthand the consequences of illegal immigration. just a couple of days ago i was found in douglas, arizona on the border. on the southern border. i was visiting with ranchers there who were sharing stories. one rancher, a woman, shared how drug smugglers would routinely come into her home, break into her home, make themselves food in her kitchen, shower in they're bathroom, sleep in her bed. people need to think about what is going on in our country when people are by trans national cartels, smuggling in drug answers human beings who are often physically and sexually abused. these are not good people, the coyotes and drug smugglers.
yesterday, an arizona man named steve ronaback. his son january of last year was murdered by an illegal alien. grant was 19 years old. working in a convenience store. grant was someone who everyone says is full of life, full of joy. people came into the convenience store, they didn't have the money to buy what they needed, he would sometimes take money out of his own pocket to help them pay for the groceries they needed. one night an illegal alien came in. someone charged with rape and burglary and yet released. a violent criminal let out on the street. and this illegal alien dumped a jar of change on the counter and asked for cigarettes. and grant at age 19 began counting out the change. and apparently he didn't count it out fast enough and this illegal alien pulled out a gun and pointed it at his face -- >> immigration front and center
in arizona. ted cruz there perhaps taking a page out of the donald trump play book with the latest example that he is talking about. let's bring back brian ellis and chris. i wonder, brian, will this message resonate differently coming from a ted cruz? >> i think it might be a little too little too late. he already has sheriff joe and jan brewer on his side. i know senator cruz wants it compete in arizona. he is say wling what a candidat should do to say that. i think trump galvanized enough support in this state that this is not going to be enough. senator cruz is doing well in utah. that primary is coming up so they may split the next two that are upcoming. >> utah, idaho and arizona. ellis, how do you see ted cruz trying to secure support there in arizona and the other two states? >> brian is right.
a little tough to outtrump trump in arizona. but he has other places to win, and utah is one. ear and especially moving east and adding kasich into the equation as well. i think we don't know. in the end, will trump get the majority that he needs or is he not? anyone who says they know now i think is patting themselves on the back prematurely. >> all right. ellis, brian, chris, thank you, gentlemen. appreciate it. >> thanks, fred. >> well, do we have a night for you tomorrow night. democratic and republican candidates all five making their cases to the voters on the same night, same network. final five candidates tomorrow 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. meantime, also on stand by for president barack obama who is expected to touchdown at any moment now there in havana. beautiful view of havana cuba there. this is a symbolic day as it is the first visit by u.s. president in nearly nine decades. we're live from the ground right after this. verizon is the number one network in america.
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hillary is taking a respite and is not seen on the campaign trail but her husband is, what's the plan? >> hillary clinton is hoping that some of her husband's popularity here in arizona will translate to support for her campaign. you will recall bill clinton very popular in arizona. only democrat it take the state in a general election since harry truman, many, many decades ago. he is not alone here on the
stage in tucson. he will be with former congresswoman gabby giffords and former astronaut mark kelly. they are expected to take the stage in a couple of hours. there is a huge crowd outside and a band is setting up here. both of those, gabby giffords and her husband are very, very popular figures in arizona and around the country where they've campaigned for the clintons and also appeared in several commercials for them as well. the clinton campaign is expecting to do well in arizona. sanders, though, is still fighting to stay alive in a race and in this state in particular he was here over the weekend, meeting with immigrant families. also visited the border between the u.s. and mexico. he had some choice words for donald trump there as well and spent $1.5 million in commercials, hoping to get momentum, as you mentioned, hillary clinton taking super tuesday 3, taking states up for
grabs a few days ago. real debate is between democrats who argue the party should coalesce behind hillary or bernie should stay in the race. there are two reasons why some democrats want bernie to stay in the race. >> all right, sorry, i have to interrupt you. right now, air force 1 coming in for a landing at havana. historic trip by a u.s. president. first u.s. president to touch soil at this moment right there in havana, cuba in 90 years. along with the president, a contingent, of some 39 members of congress. 11 business ceos and entrepreneurs. all bringing with them hope for a new, a changed cuba ahead. leading coverage there from havana, cuba, chris cuomo on the rooftop getting a bird's-eye view of the feelings in havana.
cuba, the hope and perspective. chris? >> reporter: kim saw the president's plane coming back our location here. now it is touchdown and to many of you at home it looks like there's air force 1 touching down again. not for cuba. again, forget about 90 years. yes, that's the last time but this was a never before, since the revolution, this has not happened. and that's what cuba is today. it is its revolution history. and many here generations of people here never thought this would happen. so just this moment, of this plane being on the ground, and president barack obama being inside, is something that people here never imagined. this is the great imperial overlord. this was the fuel for the need for the revolution. now the people wearing pins that say barack obama here. 50, 60, 70-year-old cubans wearing these. this is huge. this is something that people here never thought would happen.
the question is, what does this mean moving forward? >> as you interact with people, while people are expressing hope in lots of different ways, have you come across people also expressing fear, worry about the kind of change potentially that cuba could be exposed to, you know, on the horizon? >> that's the right question, fred. and the answer is yes. there's a lot of fear to go around here, both real and imagined. you have concern about, well is this a take over? is this what we've been told and threatened with all of our lives. but there is also the expectation here that people here need more, deserve more. 90 miles from the richest country in the world. then fear about what change can mean. many things for tourism. but will it trickle down to people who need it most? is there another exploitive environment? president barack obama, the united states of america, has come to cuba.
and when something happens that you thought would never happen before, then change is all possible. now you know who knows this a lot better than i do, fred, the two men i'm bringing in now. great to have you both here as always great to share another moment in history. that's what we are seeing patrick. sometimes people think oh, you're hyping it. this can't be exaggerated. you know generations of people here who never thought this day would come. >> when i came here, i never expected i would have the opportunity to cover this. the cold war ended for all of us when the soviet union collapsed. cold war never ended in cuba. still hear the same rhetoric, same acrimony. united states is still to blame for all of cuba's problems. that starts to end now. embargo is phase et out. congress has to lift it. president obama is doing everything he can. he is coming here, not to scold the cuban people, but to start a
new chapter. >> and this on the heels of the pope. and the pope negotiating this. and the cardinal here, and el papa, telling castro and obama it is time for something new, providing cover to both. now this. >> that's right. and president obama will visit the cathedral in havana to tip his happen to pope francis for beginning this process. he helped broker this agreement between the united states and cuba in secret. along with ben rhodes, deputy national security adviceor from the president. i can tell you chris and patrick, what the white house hopes on this trip is to make this policy irreversible. yes, they haven't taken down the em barribargo like you said, th requires congress. but bringing first lady, daughter, first grandma. they are hoping that americans will see this at home an say we need to come to cuba too and
that starts the change. they know that 50, 60 years of isolation, that can't change overnight. that's what the white house wants to accomplish. >> you have many forms of push back here and in the u.s. in your own family you will feel that as cuban-american yourself, your generation removed from this. when this rain started to come, this old man came up to me in the square downstairs when i came back from lunch. he said, look up. i looked up. he sa he said, fidel cry -- he said, this is fidel castro, these are the tears of the revolution. >> the tears exist but are starting it dry up. and the cuban-americans in miami would shake their fist at their former homeland because they were so outraged by fidel castro. now cubans come back and forth, they want ittis i have the their
mother, their father. now out at the baseball stadium, president obama will take in a baseball game later this week. there was a wifi hot spot outside of the stadium where the cubans were connecting with relatives in the united states. there is almost a revolution taking place that no one anticipated, and that's digital and bringing people together finally after many, many years. >> and a generational shift as well. people who thought to throw americans out are wondering how this works. can capitalism and communism coexist? fidel castro didn't think so. happy the americans weren't sent backing. castro has, by necessity, because the economy is in such terrible shape here, says he will leave presidency within two years, he will be 86 then, and has to find a solution. because isolating cuba doesn't do much more cuba as well. they need the tourism dollars with the venezuelan oil drying up p. there is fear from the older
generation. but the younger generation is leaving in droves. we hear about doctors making $20, engineers making $20 a month. no one can survive on that salary. majority of the people are surviving on money coming from miami. who thought miami would fund the revolution. $4 billion a year comes in, that's the life blood of this economy. so it is very, very complicated. younger generation though, you know, if you're getting on a raft, you don't have much ending any more and much would change their lives. >> and members of congress are coming with the president. longest longest list i've seen. ceo of mariott. paypal. all of these companies that want to come in and establish. and there's a flip side to this as well. the wlo white house is making it clear, and the president will talk about human rights here in cuba. a sitting u.s. president will talk to fidel castro and talk
about human rights and talk with the dissident community here. people who he helped release from prison as part of the deal that reestablished diplomatic relations. and address the people on tuesday and talk about human rights again. and the cubans sound somewhat receptive it that, patrick. isn't that interesting? >> absolutely. >> that is something that just would be unheard of in previous administrations. >> today there's a famous group here that protests like what on a weekly basis? >> yes. >> they lay down on the street and immediately get arrested and taken off on the street. >> unwilling to change and respectful and with our guard up. and the idea is that u.s. cannot tell us what to do. now lead negotiator on the cuban side with u.s. and she said, we know he will talk about things we don't like and we will listen and consider it and we will be respectful. >> baby steps. >> yes. >> let's bring in some more perspective on this. i will let you find a way to get
dried off. >> metaphor cal. >> let's bring in douglas brinkley and perez. he is from john j. college and founder of the research institute at florida international university, fiu. douglas, you heard me say earlier on, yes, 90 years since a president has been on the ground. but as patrick educated me to earlier, this is a never. since the revolution there has never been an american president here. many thought there never would be. what's your take? >> absolutely. let's forget about calvin cooliage for a minute. that was a different time. the very fact we are having on the air force 1 landing in havana, you will have president obama talking directly to dissident to cuba. talking it entrepreneurs in cuba. going to a baseball game, tampa
devil rays with castro. a lower grade of importance than that and when bill clinton normalized relations with vietnam during his presidency. but officially when we see the president walk off the tarmac here, you know, on to the tarmac, and i think that's the moment we can say that it is not just the fall but the cold war's ended in cuba. >> let's be optimistic enough to assume the president will get off this plane. right now looking at live picture in havana, cuba. you see the time there. remember it. especially with any connection to cuba. 4:29 p.m. eastern time. that the united states of america air force 1, president barack obama, inside of it touching down on cuban soil. something that generations of cubans never thought would happen. the question is, what will it mean? lasandro perez, this is a third
world country in many ways. the needs are great for change on many levels. what are the realities to what this can mean going forward? >> let me say, first of all, that witnessing this right on the monitor here in the studio has been emotional for me. i'm cuban-american. i have spent my life writing about cuba. to witness air force 1 landing at the international airport, i never thought i would live to see this day. so i wanted to confirm what you've been saying all along about how historic this is. i think this is an important visit. i think the president is going to cuba because he wants to move forward. the plan that he has and the agenda that he has for really bringing change to cuba and to also primarily stress the friendship of the american people, i think that's going to be mainly his message. and i think part of the reason
he's there is because progress has been slow since he made his announcement on december 17, 2014. it's been so on the u.s. so. slow on the cuban side. and i think he want to, this is both for consumption in cuba and for consumption in the u.s. i think he want both sides to be moving on this. >> lisandro, important point, thank you. i want to direct people to what we are seeing now. patrick, let me bring you in. this is the welcoming committee. one of the big x factors is would the president, raul castro be part of this. i don't see any signal of him being there yet. they are opening the door now. obviously the agent of security, checking the way as they bring the jet way over for the president to be able to get out. there it moves. obviously he has to come down the stairs. very wet out here right now. they have to be careful about getting him down. who do we believe to be in this welcoming committee? >> united states top ambassador, top diplomat of cuba -- >> meaningful distinction. >> not the ambassador.
>> not the nominant, because there will be people in the senate and he has the ambassador from previous postings and for all intents and purposes, obama's administration's, very much involved. and seeing air force 1 in cuba one other time. he was there with allen gross picked up ease president obama sent a smaller version of airport 1. that was a secret flight we didn't know about until after this left. >> jim acosta, if your phone is still working. >> yes. >> it is driving rain. >> president obama tweeting as he was landing here in cuba. >> what's going on, cuba? and he is hearing from the foreign people. >> see the foreign minister of cuba. we see number two at foreigns y
ministry for foreign affairs. i haven't seen cuban president raul castro. you think, how did president tweet that? there is no 3g. obviously the u.s. government has capabilities. >> they have some bells and whistles on air 1. >> that impresses me. landing and sending a tweet. >> let's make effect of this rain you might be not looking in right now. this is not an easy transition. every journey begins with a single step. that's hopefully what he are seeing today is a big step. the question is, in what direction and at what pace? >> i think that you know, we have to look at this as being the large moment in the fall. and in 2018 raul castro will be stepped down and barack obama won't be there. so for the trade embargo to be lifted, it won't happen during president obama's white house tenure or with raul castro. but suddenly american airlines will have flights to the united
states. we will have educational groups going down to take tours of the bay of pigs or where tr, theodore roosevelt fought in san juan hill. movies and music. i think that this is more than just an opening salvo. i think this is main moment in american history. >> all right, professor. let's pause there. there is president obama and first lady. we know they have their kids and michelle obama's mother as well. there is malia. i think that we just saw. they are getting ready to come out in the rain. little bit unexpected. certainly it is a step up from what we are dealing with in d.c. which is the snow. here comes the president of the united states and his family. about 30 steps from touching done on soil that many felt the american president would never step on. >> i think the president is moved and a lot of people in the united states, there will be a before and after to this trip and this moment. >> president obama is really
opening up the flood gates here. this is a momentous thing we are watching right now. who would have thought that president of the united states would be shaking hand with cuban officials. patrick, when you took this job in havana, you probably thought, will this ever change on my watch? cuban correspondents say when they are stationed in havana, will this ever happen on my watch. >> and here we are. >> and here we are. >> and the first lady, shaking their hands, and they probably never thought this would happen. and to see this red carpet treatment for a hated enemy. >> flowers we see. any cultural thing here or just a nice gesture? >> just a nice gesture. again and again cuban officials, and she was kicked out of the united states for the spying scandal and shake hand with the president.
and he was kicked out of the united states for a spying scandal as well. >> who is not there, jim and patrick, is raul castro. is there anything we read into that? is that significant? >> i think baby steps. baby steps. this is something -- this is a diplomatic dance. they like their music in cuba. the president doesn't want to go too fast, too far, and neither dot cubans. they are also on the same page in that regard. they both know there is a lot of at stake. but they both need each other right now. the president has opened up pandora's box. now we have to see how this will all play out. and you know, this is a gamble for president obama. what if he gets here and this just doesn't work out. >> look, that's a real -- lisandro perez, let's bring you in here. this moment on the tarmac is very real for you but also something that is not completely real and that is the change in the embargo status. an executive order is only as
good as the executive in office. nothing legislative follows. staying the way it is. but still, the significance to you of this wait from the president on cuban soil. >> i think it is true, in other words, he can't really change the embargo. but in fact i think this trip goes a long way towards moving the agenda. let me say, i'm very surprised that raul castro is not there. i think most cubans watching on television are also surprised. castro did meet the pope when he arrived in cuba. maybe a political gamble. but i'm surprised not to see raul castro here. >> i think as jim was saying, baby steps. they said we would meet him with respectful hospitality. but not signs all over havana welcoming the president like there were with the pope. this is more controversial for cubans as well. what if the united states opens up and because of the terrible economic mismanagement, things don't get better for the cubans?
who do they blame? >> the cubans, while receiving president obama, they still have billboards, propaganda billboards as you make your way from the airport to city that say blocerdo. they feel like this should be part of the negotiations with the united states. cubans want guantanamo back. as patrick is saying, there might be domestic political considerations as to where raul is not here. >> it is great reporting context as a journalist that you have lived this situation in your family. many cuban people of american descent do not like where obama is right now. they say human rights, dissidents, that people aren't just held down economically. it is about freedom here. and that complicates the situation because you can't have change just on one side. >> that's right. that's why the president said and the white house is making no
bones about it. president obama is going to talk about basic human rights here. right to free speech. right to freedom of the press. right to assembly. and those rights are not universal in cuba. we have bloggers like sanchez who is popular on twitter. she does have run-ins from time to time. but so things are starting to happen slowly but surely. the question i have though throughout the course of this trip is the words that president obama uses. and i think that will go to what you are saying with the cuban americans back in the united states. will they feel president obama was tough enough on cubans? that's why he has this diplomatic dance to pull off. >> this isn't just random. i'm not just talking scheduling but he has thought a lot about what to say and that is one of the hall marks about president obama. he is a very thoughtful speaker
in terms of delivering messages. when he says what he says and what he does not is relevant. tell us patrick, what's the agenda? >> absolutely. from here, he will drive into havana. meet with the u.s. embassy staff and family. they couldn't do it at the u.s. embassy. too small for this delegation going along with president obama. over 1200 people. i know you covered so many presidential visits. i have seen a lot of presidents, pope coming here. i've never seen a visit that required so much of the cuban government. both sides have been spinning for weeks about how do we get this done in a country with limited resources. in ways, i think this is the white house showing off the power and enormity of the united states. we come with a delegation no one has seen. a plane bigger than anyone else has gone. a car bigger than anyone else has got. the president will meet with fidel castro. a state dinner tomorrow night. but the things that are probably steps too far red lines for the president as well, they'll said categorically won't be with
former leader fidel castro. that is too much. many people say he took away my home, executed my relatives and that's a meeting that the president can have. you can meet with the president, that's real castro but that would be insulting. >> they don't want to stir up a hornet's nest. they t may be raining but they don't want a hurricane. president will good to the cathedral it pay respect to the pope's involvement in all of this and good together baseball game on tuesday. i think cigars -- the president has been known to smoke a cigarette or use the nicorette gum more often. maybe he will use a cigar. >> it is legal. >> it is legal now. he won't be breaking any rules. >> he doesn't have to inhale. >> he does not have to inhale. >> they are better if you do though. >> that's right. but that the message they want to get across to people back in the united states. the white house saying come to cuba.
they are almost doing a travel log. president obama goes to cuba. anthony bourdain, president obama as anthony bourdain in cuba a little bit. >> dangling things in front of him. all of these people, big businesses, potential for investment. potential to change lives of people. literally paraded before their eyes. american baseball. obviously the passion of this country and of america. rolling stones here on friday. really the best of cultural kind of cooperation is going to be laid at their feet. >> the message from president obama is okay cuba, you are rolling out the red carpet, we are pulling out all the stops. if you seize the opportunity, business will come. they don't have the soviet union, venezuela, petrol dollars are gone. this is the way it move into the 21st century. they are still prose frozen in
time. they need the cash to come in. >> they used to say about the cubans, they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. this is the last chance. this transition is not locked down. fidel castro is 84. anything can happen at that age. if there isn't a -- >> this is the window of opportunity. >> it is the window and it is closing everyday. >> come in close on patrick's cuff links. a gift from his wife. cuban, by wait. see the american and courage flag together. this is seen as a promise. a suggestion. yet today we see those two flags on the car carrying the president of the united states on his way into havana, cuba. >> not just on the car, not just on my cuff links, people all over the city wearing american flags. sometimes spandex, sometimes t-shirts. air fresheners in cars. >> i saw it flying over the
ballpark. >> it used to be if you wore an american flag you were tossed in jail. >> now the cents stones are com on friday. >> jim acosta. >> patrick. always the best. a man here in cuba. strong finish by acosta. also to lisandro perez and douglas brinkley, thank you. stay with us. this is just the beginning after moment in history for the united states and cuba will be back live from havana right after the break. >> you don't get what you want but sometimes you get what you need.
his mother-in-law. some say it's been 90 years. no, it's not forever. america was thought of as the evil imperialist. let's discuss what what is to happen an what just happened. we have our best. we also have professor douglas brinky with us and chair of the latino study. and founder of the cuban research institute at fiu. gentlemen, it is great to have all of you. we were talking about the pressure here. douglas for you, again, a lot of people back home politically and culturally said don't do this. castros have to go. don't do this we don't want to embrace a regime like this. don't do this you did it without legislature, you shouldn't take this type of executive action. what's the plus/minus on the
issues? >> ted cruz running for president and his father is from cuba. and he said barack obama is coming here to apologize for policy. donald trump said he is fine with this though would he have done a better deal. i think this is about young cuban-americans willing to let go of their parents' sort of hatred for the castro brothers. this is a great fall. and the entire world community is cheering this as a great diplomatic doing. pope francis is the one who brokered it. china said it is a good thing. all of our european allies say it is a good thing. generations of americans wounded by the cuban revolution of the 1950s and castros. terrible abuse of human rights policies that resistant this friendship meeting. this is a 21st century diplomatic event. long time coming. bob dylan back in world war days of the cuban missile crisis wrote a song. a hard rain's going to fall.
we had the fear of a nuclear annihilation in the 1960s. and here we are in 2016. and it is a friendship visit. long hard road from kennedy to kennedy's fear of annihilation it barack obama coming so this is, i think, a moment to be honored and celebrated. a small step as we've been saying. but a significant small step in u.s./cuban relations. >> lisandro perez, then the other side of the coin of what it means to forget about the past and start it move past the castros. can you remember that very ac e acutely and sharply and the want this moment to happen, not for the castros but for all of the cubans left behind. what does that mean to you? >> you know, chris, i think this is an opportunity and i hope it turns out that way, my biggest hope for this, that this will be the beginning of a healthy relationship. between the united states and cuba. that's a relationship that cuba
and the u.s. have really never had. when i say never, i don't mean just now during the revolution, and since 1959, i mean since way before calvin cooliage went to cuba. it is characterized by u.s. threats to cuban sovereignty. treating cuba as playground. and revolution that's policy of hostility and isolation. i'm hoping this marks the beginning of for the first time ever, a sort of more normal healthy relationship between two neighbors. obviously, the power difference is very great. but i'm hoping that this is the start of that type of relationship. >> patrick, you live here. you know what life is here like right now. you know what the people need. you know what they want. what do you think you will hear when you go home? >> i think people will be processing this. like when the surprise announcement made, cubans immediately thought this would make their lives better. they are so desperate for good
news. it hasn't really. there is hoping with optimism. but we still see cubans fleeing in record numbers. they still have a tough lot. and they are going to hope this improves their lives. i saw the cuban diplomat yesterday, just the changes we've seen, does that make things better? she said no, the embargo has to go first. you go back to the history of this, calvin cooliage came here on a gunship. years before that, the united states had invaded cuba to kick the spanish out and sort of treated this island like it was our property. so this is a very different diplomacy. this is cruise ship diplomacy. americans that want to invest in cuba. i think the president will offer a very different vision than cubans so far have seen. >> in terms of policy, today is palm sunday, no doubt that pope francis had something to do about this.
we heard raul saw something that would have been a crime in the early revolution. more churches were open, more masses, i saw more palms. i made crosses out of the palm. you know how we did that tradition. and offered them to people and they took them. that wouldn't have happened last time we were here in the '90s, but it happened today. >> keep in mind, raul castro is a fan of president obama. i was with president obama when he went to panama in april of last year and had that bilateral meeting with raul castro. and during meeting we were blown away and raul castro said i'm not only a fan of president obama, i read his auto biographies. he read about portions of the books that president obama had written. there does seem to be a relationship between the two leaders that have spoken on the phone. how far do they take this? and we just don't know at this point, i think a lot of it rides on how things go this week and you know, we are talking about
how the cuban-american community feels about this. the cuban-american community is an monolithic community. they don't think the same. what is happening right now something that a lot of cubans are now starting it say this needs to take place. we've tried this for 50 oor or 60 years. if we tried social security for medicare for 50 or 60 years and it doesn't work, we wouldn't have it any more. so when what president obama trying to do as far as don't do stupid stuff, he says, okay, maybe diplomacy might work with a little bit of tough love. he will say, you need to respect the press. respect free speech. >> and a lot around why wasn't raul castro at the plane? >> already weighing in on that as matter of fact -- >> i think it should be put to the side. sources close to the planning said there is no reason for the biggest moment to happen just when president obama touches down. it is him coming here that makes
history. not him meeting raul castro. they've met before at a funeral. let's see what happens going forward on the agenda here of what is an historic moment. for you, jim, douglas, lisadro perez, thank you for being with us, now back it fredricka whitfield, history made before all our eyes, fred. >> yes. an extraordinary moment. we know there will be more extraordinary moments to come. chris, just as you talk about the hope that comes with president obama and his visit, i have do wonder whether cubans are looking for assurances too that they will be exploited in the days to come. whatever opportunities around the corner we talk about those ceos, mariott, starwood, i'm sure they want assurances that they too would get a big piece of the pie of opportunity. the cubans would too be involved in whatever enterprises are on the horizon.
and you know, any capitalism on the horizon, opportunities for them. so chris cuomo, we will continue to watch your coverage later on this evening and over the next two days. thanks for being us and bringing us those historic moments. much more straight ahead right after this. ♪ ♪look out honey... ♪because i'm using technology...♪ ♪ ♪ain't got time to make no apologies...♪ ♪ ♪soul radiation in the dead of night...♪ ♪love in the middle of a fire fight...♪ ♪ ♪honey gotta strike me blind... ♪somebody gotta save my soul... ♪baby penetrates my mind... ♪ ♪ [cheering] ♪and i'm the world's forgotten boy...♪
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