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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  July 11, 2009 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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this doctor knew she had to help. >> you're doing the kind of work that generates -- >> i certainly hope. >> again, "black america 2" will be airing july 22nd and 23rd. you do not want to miss it. stay with us right here on the next hour of the "cnn newsroom" continuing right here from the cnn center in atlanta, georgia, saturday, july 11. i'm t.j. hom ms. >> i'm betty nguyen. begin with the president's visit to the west african nation of ghana. president obama is touring cape coast castle in ghana at this hour. it's the 17th century fortress, the departure point for african slaves bound for the americas. the president is expected to speak a little later in the hour, and we hope to bring that to you live. let's give you a look at earlier today. the president and mrs. obama visited a hospital in accra and
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spoke to the parliament highlighting ghana as one the few stable democracies in africa. >> here in ghana, you show us a face of africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or a need for charity. the people of ghana have worked hard to put dog crazy on a firmer foot with repeated peaceful transfers of power even in the wake of closely contested elections. and, by the way, can i say that for that the minority deserves as much credit as the majority. and with improved government and emerging civil society, ghana's economy has shown impressive
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growth. the progress may lack the drama of 20th century liberation struggle, but make no mistake, you will be ultimately be more -- as it is important to emerge from the control of other nations. it is even more important to biuild a one-goal nation? >> suzanne malveaux is traveling with the president in ghana. she joins us now live. we heard about the president speaking on the issue of democracy. what are some of the other messages he brought to lawmakers there? >> reporter: sure, betty. as you know, there is a long relationship with the united states and ghana because of its peaceful democracy. i was on the clinton trip when he brought free trade and promoted trade in this country and also president bush an unprecedented amount of aid to
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combat malaria, aids and other deadly diseases. there's actually a street named after the former president bush, but this go-round, when you talk to the people of ghana, the president brings inspiration to the people here. they've embraced him as weren't of their own. calling him their son. many napes saying welcome home, welcome back. we saw the first lady at the hospital attending to and looking to the young children, the babies and the mothers who are taking care of them as well as president obama sitting down with the president's ghana talking about the similarities and the partnership of these two nations and one of the things that the president has done today that is quite different than the other leaders is that he does bring a certain credibility when he talks about kind of the tough love message of africans taking responsibility for themselves. how does he do this? well, he relates his own personal story about his father from kenya.
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about the try umps as well as the tragedies in his own family's history to make the point that he understands, he gets the situation, that many people in the continent of africa are dealing with. i want you to take a listen to what he said before the parliament. >> it's easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others. yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict. the west is often approached africa as a patron or a source of resources rather than a partner. but the west is not responsible for the destruction of the zimbabwe economy over the last decades. or wars in which children are listed as combatants. in my father's life it was partly tribalism and patronage
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and nepotism in an independent kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career. and we know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many. >> reporter: betty, it's one of those reasons why you don't see the president in kenya. the home country of his father, because in part, because there are so many problems in that country when it comes to corruption. when it comes to tribalism and these kinds of things, and he talks about this in a very personal way, saying that his father started off as a goat herder. he went on to get a good education in the united states, but came back, really, very frustrated with the system in kenya, and ultimately died a lonely and broken man. this is a very personal story for this president, but he brings up the case of his father and even his grandfather and that scenario because he really does want to connect personally with the people here in ghana and to make the point that he
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understands that this is really responsibility on the part of some of those people that he criticized, the strongmen of some of these african nations, and that there is some room for improvement and he has a certain credibility in bringing and making that point, betty. >> something else, suzanne, that will probably have a personal impact on the president, the tour today of the slave port in cape coast, ghana. what's in store and what's on the agenda? >> reporter: this going to be, frankly a very emotional trip for the president and for the first lady, michelle, being the great-granddaughter of slaves herself and the heritage, lineage, president obama has to africa, directsly to kenya. both of them going to the castle and they will see literally the dungeons. the rooms where they kept thousands of african slaves before they went to the door of no return, it is called, to be shipped off to america, to live in a life of servitude.
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this is the kind of thing we've seen before. actually, as president clinton went to senegal had a chance to see that up close. it is a very emotional experience for everybody who goes there, who actually takes a look at the door of no return and imagines perhaps their own ancestors going through that kind of tragic journey. that is something we'll see later in the afternoon and obviously the president will be making some remarks about that, because we imagine that he's going to have a lot to say and a lot of emotion will be behind it. >> definitely going to be emotional, yet possibly even a chilling tour. suzanne malveaux, thank you. we to have live pictures of that tour and the remarks afterward. when we get those we'll bring them to you. after decades of political strife, really, a durable democracy in the 1990s. accra, the capital of ghana.
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>> reporter: from welcome poster, painting, t-shirts, trinkets, clocks and flags, ghana is spellbound by president barack obama's visit. his pictures are posted almost everywhere you turn in the capitol accra. while people here celebrate, others on the continent are asking, why ghana? mr. obama first presidential trip to sub-saharan africa. the president believes it's a sitting privilege. >> want to look at africa, pointing at good government. i presume economic development. >> reporter: when it comes to africa, mr. obama may have a tough act to follow. the predecessor, george w. bush who visited ghana in february of last year, poured billions of dollars into the conflict and
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his aids relief fund has won praise. and the clinton clinton forced to boost trade with some african countries choosing ghana as the country from which he's expected to outline his african policy, it's believed mr. obama is trying to send a message under his leadership investment and aid will be linked to good governance. beside its history of peaceful transfers of power, ghana also has strong and vibrant pillars of democracy, like the importance of institutions in ensuring accountability on the continent that president obama is likely to highlight during his visit. >> a quality statement with opportunities. then what? >> i think it's a great opportunity for tourism. >> reporter: the debate in ghana at the moment is not about what mr. obama can do for them. it's how they can use his visit to do for themselves. this man is already cashing in on the euphoria.
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for cnn, across ghana. and cnn's anderson cooper is with president obama on this historic trip to africa. we mentioned, the president is due to tour one of the fortresses off ghana's coast, which is a former slave trading post, and anderson, in fact, went into one last night and talked about it. >> reporter: the emotional high poircht trip is when he's going to come here to the cape coast where there is a series of fortresses, several hundred years old, eep of them, that were used basically as holding cells and shipment points for millions of slaves then sent to the new world, sent to europe and all around the world here for hundreds of years. the president's going to tour one of those fortresses with his family, with his kids. there are dungeons in these fortresses where hundreds of slaves were crammed in before they were loaded out into ships and the sent to the americas, sent to elsewhere in the new world, and in europe. i can tell you, i was at the port today, in the dungeons, and
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had-it-is a haunting place to be. an emotional trip for anyone who goes there and the president will be there with his family and with him as well talking with him about his feelings on the trip. >> so don't miss a special "ac 360" monday night, 10:00 eastern when anderson shares his exclusive access to president obama on his trip to africa. hundreds of graves dug up in illinois now officially a crime scene. four people charged with felony. reporter sheryl jackson live at scene for us. where do we go from here, sheryl? >> reporter: i don't know, t.j. the tragedy here grows by the moment. people here are grief stricken. many of them are angry, and today they have hundreds of people trying to get in here and not going to be able to get into the cemetery. because you said, it's an expanded crime scene. on thursday there were hundreds of people here, allow to go around and try 20 find the tombstones of their family member. today they won't be able to do
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that because some of those family members actually ran across human bones. police say that even the broader part of the cemetery contains human bones. now, we at cnn had an exclusive look in the back of the cemetery where there were piles and. is of debris and police told us those also contained human bones. a place called baby land is here. toddlers and babies were buried. today there is no sign it ever even existed. right now police are, fbi people are on the scene. there's going to be an exhumation today. a family member was buried a few days ago, and one of the family members noticed that the grave didn't go down far enough and assumed there might be someone underneath. that's one of the issues here tod today. police are worried there are double people in the gravesend they're putting people on top of them. fbi people are on the scene today. mr. till, the famous civil rights movement, he was buried here. his grave undisturbed.
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the casket he was originally buried in was supposed to be saved as part of a museum. they found it trashed in the back of an old shed. we have one woman, whose entire family is buried here. >> i know they're in there, but are they a pile of bones? they was living people and we grieve for them and we love them, and we wanted them to have a peaceful, restful life after they died. and i think that's the service that the cemetery should provide for the families, and when you dig them up again, it's like you reliving them. the spirits are coming back and it's just such a grieving process all over again. >> reporter: now, the people here today will not get real answers. what they're going to do, leave their names and phone numbers and any information they have about the grave sites and the sheriff's department is supposed to get in contact with them within five days. t.j.? >> all right. cheryl jackson on the scene for
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us in alsip outside chicago. thank you so much. the obama administration is shifting its language on two americans held by north korea. journalists euna lee and laura ling arrested back in march, as you recall, and sentenced to 12 years hard labor just last month for entering the country illegally. secretary of state hillary clinton appears to be softening the u.s. position on their release. >> journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident. and i think everyone is very sorry that it happened. what we hope for now is that the two young women would be granted amnesty through the north korean system and be allowed to return home to their families. >> secretary clinton's use of the word amnesty is widely seen as a concession that the two did
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something wrong. previously the secretary insisted on a humanitarian release. new pictures coming into cnn. >> there it is. you recognize the first couple of the united states. you see michelle obama there, president obama as well, standing where they just arrived. cape coast there in ghana where they'll be taking a look at the cape coast castle. where a lot of africans were taken and held until they were shipped off to be slaves in other parts of the world. there's the president. drawing huge crowds everywhere he's gone in ghana. this is after he's made a speech earlier today, to the parliament there in ghana. in the capitol of accra. look at that crowd. >> look at the crowd. >> take that in for a second. i think we have the sound. take a listen to these folks as they erupt for the american president. [ drum beat ]
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>> again, there the president is, we'll get a shot of the first lady. the president's family is along for this trip with him there in ghana. and tough, love, really in this speech today for many countries, but really saying the future of that continent, the future of africans is in the hands of africans. again, as the president makes his way in shades, looking good. probably a hot day in ghana today. coming down where everybody is excited, even though he has kenyan blood running through his veins, all of africa -- there's a look at the little girls. someone's doing the hair of one -- there's the first mother-in-law. is that what we call her? along for the trip as well. >> it's going to be quite an emotional and perhaps even chilling tour, the cape coast capitol there. there are dungeons where hundreds if not thousands were stowed away in there as they were waiting to be boarded on to ships for places around the
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world, including the united states, and a lot of people talk about these dungeons as being very dark, very little air was allowed in and many stayed there for days if not weeks, perhaps even months at a time. we're seeing very little food as well. it's going to be an emotional and educational tour as well for the young children of the obamas, as they take this tour with their parents and learn the history of what occurred there in's cape quote, gacoast, and a, in ghana, you can hear the drums in the background. we were watching as people were lining the streets, people were walking out of their homes and on to the streets hearing drums, hearing all types of things. just wanting to be a part of today's tour. wanting to be a part of what the president was going to experience. and more importantly for them, just to catch a glimpse of president obama. as you see him there, standing with his family.
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you've got saudi arabia tha, malia, mrs. obama and her mother on hand as well. >> and something to see you know, a free world, the first lady, saw her walking through there and trying to fix the daughter's hair. very much a family and the simple things that affect every family across the country, they have to deal with as well. again, a full camera feed we're watching. it's jumping around, we have no control over it. the president going in with his family. only expected to be a half hour or so tour but we're expecting the president to make some comments when pe gets done as well and beyond that, our anderson cooper is there in ghana, going to be talking to the president about his trip. you can see that later on, coming up on monday, but for now, we're expecting the president to come out and give -- i believe that was t the -- the president of ghana there who's making his way as well. making his way. the president, yes, that is him, i believe. he spoke earlier today right before the president.
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again, as we said, the president chose ghana. a lot of folks in kenya hoping the president would make his first trip to africa to the place where he has family, and roots, first place at president. kenya's not the place you want to highlight necessarily when talking about a beacon of democracy. it's not the place to highlight. they've had a lot of political violence essentially and getting thersz together. like many other countries around africa, but ghana was one the president thought was a good example to highlight and showing they'll be rewarded for it and are doing the right thing. >> summed it up in two words when asked why ghana. he said, democratic commitment. and we've seen ghana over the years progress with democracy, and as t.j.'s been talking about, there are many countries in africa still struggling with their own governments and systems. that's something the president spoke about earlier. suzanne malveaux, our correspondent on the ground, has been talking about that speech, and labeling it tough love, because in many ways it was. he was highlighting the problems
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and saying, africans are responsible for africa. we as the united states will be there to help and lend a hand, but ultimately, you are responsible for your own problems. he also highlighted the issue of krups and took it head-on saying that young people, you have a responsibility to speak out and hold your leaders accountable and he was speaking directly to young people. for many reason, and one of them being that over half of the population is made up of young people. so they hold the power. to hold their leaders accountable. and he also talked a little about the genocide in darfur, the terrorists in somalia, saying we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and logistical support and stand behind efforts to hold more criminals accountable. he was being very specific when it comes to the problems that many countries in africa face, but he was also very optimistic saying that, you hold the key to your future, and this can be done. i think he even used words, yes,
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you can. >> oh, yes, they got a good line. weren't of several he got there, again, a place that calls him a son of ghana. a son of africa, but the phrase he used, playing off what you just talked about, betty, good governance, is what he called it. your development depends upon good governance. there are a lot of places now where there is not. historically, not good governance. a lot of places are still wrapped up in military conflicts, but, again, he wanted to highlight ghana. and ghana being rewarded in a lot of ways with a visit from the president for what they have been able to do, given their -- i mean, they have two political system, excuse me, two different political parties there as well. so there is some political fighting, but not fighting that involves a gun, or a sword or a bullet. this is what politics, the president says, should be. again, if you're just joining us here what you are watching, the president of the united states making his first trip to
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subsahar subsaharan, africa, there in cape coast. a close-up picture. can't tell what that says there. as we watch the scene, there is the president of ghana. but the president of the united states taking a tour with his family. again, cape coast, ghana, maybe the spot for the slave trade where africans taken and held at this port where the president is before they were shipped off again by the hundreds of thousands and millions over the years where many say that continent once precious natural resource were essentially taken from them. >> and in those dungeons spkly, we talked to several people today who have experienced this tour, and many will tell you they're dark and down below, there's almost this sense of, you can feel the footsteps of those who had come before them. the people who had stayed down in those dungeons, who had suffered in there, and then when
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they were finally set free from that darkness, they walked through a place called the door of no return, and simply put on to a ship and sent out across the world and including the americas to serve as slaves. it's a very chilling moment. it's an emotional tour that the president will be taking. in fact, is taking at this moment. but as we look at the live pictures, you can see how many have come out by the luns and thousands to just catch a glimpse of this historic moment where the first african-american president, not only speaking in sub-saharan africa and specifically in ghana, rewarding it for democracy and touring the slave port of cape coast and all the history that is there. >> and a young lady we talked to a little earlier, krista sanders, going to get her back on the line with us now. she's not there in cape coast. wasn't able. tried. she tried to go in and see the speech there but is in ghana and now, krista, we understand
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you've made your way over and are trying to get to the airport in accra and be a part of the farewell ceremony. do i have that right? >> that's absolutely right. i wanted to make sure we give president obama and the first lady and the family a great sendoff, and we hope they've had a wonderful stay here in our country. >> krista, you're not able to see these pictures. we continue to show them to our viewers here in the u.s. but you can at least give us an idea of the flavor on the ground. we're seeing some of the pictures here from cape coast, the large crowd gathered, but give our viewers an idea just what it's been like there as that country receives the first african-american president of the united states? >> well, i think that people are absolutely ecstatic. there's so much enthusiasm all over the place, on the streets of accra, cape coast and the rest of the country. i think that we feel honored to have him come here and the fact that he is the president who happens to be of african
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dissent, that exciting, that's inspiring for so many people. he's a role model that i think africans and people throughout the world can aspire to, and if you try, you can do it, and i also think this morning when he was giving, or this afternoon when giving his speech, he really inspired africans that their future is in their own hands and it's about self-reliance, and while the u.s. will continue to provide some aid that he really encourages african leaders and especially ghana being such a model democracy in the government, to take care of their own affairs and deal with the challenges. i think it's really, really wonderful that he had the opportunity with his family to enter the world heritage site and capitol. i think firstly, as an african-american, it's a journey that every african-american,
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every person of african dissent, should take and experience, and i'm sure that he and his family will go through many, many emotions as they go through the castle. i know that for myself, as well as many people of african dissent it is a painful experience, also a necessary journey that makes you understand your identity, your past and how fitting to have an african-american president who's going to be -- the highest position in the world, to be able to experience this period of history hands-on. >> krista, were you able to, i don't know how. i think you weren't able to hear the whole speech, but have you been able to get, and we should let our viewers know, new video we're showing you. the president made a speech a little earlier today. there in ghana. were you able, krista to get any kind of instant reaction there on the ground? you kind of mentioned it there in your last statement. just the reaction on the ground and on the streets for those
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able to hear his speech? >> well, you know, i should say this, he did not play out necessarily policies for africa. but at the same time, he celebrated the fact that ghana is a role model for the entire african continent and that we've had people, had elections and have demonstrated good government, and i think that that is the main aspect that people will really be excited about and run with. beyond that, you know, he spoke often of his father, on his father's path, and i think that was very relevant as his father is a man of kenyan dissent, and you know, again, the issue that partnering in the future but back to the issue of africa's future being up to itself, and countries like ghana, looked to as a leader in this way. when you look, of course, across
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the continent, you see so many challenges, and he mentioned darfur and mentioned other issues affecting the continent and that ghana, you know, can be a role model. i think that's what most people are going to take away, the focus on ghana and that ghana should maximize the benefit of this visit by showing africa and showing the world that it is possible to have successful elections. >> the president also spoke specifically to young people. you well know serving as associate director for nyu in ghana, over hoeffel the pop lagts is made up of young people and you have the power to hold your leaders accountable. is that a message you believe is truly resonating not only in ghana but in other places throughout africa? >> i think that it is. i think that it is, but i still think that we're up against a lot of challenges. not every country, for example, in the continent really has free
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press. or freedom of speech. or true democracy, and only when you have that can, you know, young people, for example, sort of stand up, have an opinion, and sort of get things moving, but, yes. i think it did resinate. >> one last thing to ask you, as we're looking at live pictures in cape coast, where the president is touring at this hour, the dungeons there, that door of no return. all of the different aspects of this historic slave port. you have been there yourself. you have experienced the tour. >> yes. >> tell us what it is like. >> well, you know, it's a very heavy, emotional experience. i think it's one thing to read about this period of history in books and another to actually witness it hands-on, and i've taken a number of groups there. especially university students, and i think just being in the dungeon, understanding the
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conditions that people were subjected to, that people were, in a sense had to survive -- survival. i'm sorry. they had to be survivor s in order to get across the middle passage. i had mentioned earlier it was basic darwinism, that only the strongest, the most fit survived. you get that feeling when you're in the dungeon, and it's very relevant and i'm sure president obama and the first lady, michelle obama, will experience the stench that still exists over hundreds and hundreds of years in those castles of people having, you know -- sweat, blood and tears, and it's -- it's a very emotional experience. everyone that is take tln seems to shed a tear or if not shed a tear, think about it, you know, quite a lot after leaving the
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castle, and also to think and sort of come to the resolution that this period of history can never be rebated. although, of course, we have cases like darfur and kosovo that have happened, but to sort of come together and agree never again. this never happens again. and with every group i've gone through, we sort of have come together and echoed that statement, and i'm sure that president obama and mrs. obama will also feel the same way upon leaving the cape coast castle today. >> krista sanders, we appreciate you giving us that insight. on the ground as well, been there and been through that. what exactly the president is going through right now. again, live pictures we're showing you from different spots all around ghana right now, but specifically, these pictures shown to you from cape coast, where the president is touring right now. talking to you about, in there with his family right now going through that experience.
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when he comes out we are expecting him to make some comments. when he makes those comments you will see them here live on cnn. stay with us pap quick break, but you won't miss anything. could someone toss me an eleven sixteenths wrench over here? here you go. eleven sixteenths... (announcer) from designing some of the world's cleanest and most fuel-efficient jet engines... to building more wind turbines than anyone in the country... the people of ge are working together... creating innovation today for america's tomorrow. thanks! no problem!
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what you're seeing and what you are hearing. first what you're seeing. the president of the united states along with his family, his wife and two daughters and his mother-in-law there in africa and at the cape coast in ghana, where africans were taken and then shipped off. this is where they were held and then shipped off to be slaves at various points around the world. what you're hearing are the drums that are playing. seemingly at every point during the president's stop in ghana he got there last night. spent the day today making a speech to -- to political
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leaders there in ghana, but then made his way over to the cape coast where he is taking a tour. again, the pictures he's taking for us. we'll take you for a little listen here. >r p agai ah g p to see the president of united states. r a ma man op a man of blood running through this veins on his first visit to sub-saharan africa to ghana. suzanne malveaux joins us on the line from the capitol of ghana, a little ways from where the president is now. suzanne, an interesting and pretty poignant speech he made a little earlier, and you've been calling it all morning, maybe rightly so, tough love he had
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for the entire continent? >> reporter: certainly. and i think the president is very much aware that the personal connection that he has, his father being kenyan, the connection that he has to africa. it gives him the credibility to say some things that the previous presidents we saw who visited ghana did not say, and you know that just talking to people here, they embrace him as one of their own, as their son, and we're seeing, really, this very strong and powerful connection, at least within the obama family by visiting cape coast, 75 miles west of accra, the two-hour drive, but he took a helicopter, which he is with the first family, at this cape coast castle. a place where they, at first, the family was shown the old dungeons, where they kept about 1,000 slaves, the male slave quarters of the male slaves
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shackled and female slaves in another room and you see the tour guide who pointed that out to the first couple and to their daughters, and this is one of these places that basically the atlantic ocean, where it path is laid, for the trip to america. >> excuse me one second. new live pictures. want to listen in as well. don't go far. sorry about that. we just lost what we were trying to listen in to. we're looking at the president here once again. suzanne, i don't think you're searing the pictures we're seeing. the president speaking outside to some of the folks there a little on the outside. i don't know if he'll make his way back in, but we're expecting the president to make some comments after he gets done with this tour in a second. making comments, expected to take may five minutes or so, but certainly waiting to hear from the president, suzanne. if you remember the point you were making, finish what you were saying. >> reporter: sure. there were many americans,
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african-americans who come here to this very point where the first family is to try to feel and make the connection with ancestry with this particular place in ghana, and to a larger extent to africa, because for many of us, we don't know exactly where our origins are in africa. so they make this journey. they either make it here to this cape coast, the castle here in ghana. i had, my parents have been to the very plates where the obamas are now. and fortunate enough to cover president clinton when he was at the goree island senegal, did very much the same thing. take a look at what are many doors of no return, facing the ocean and seeing that last moment, that last step before they were shipped to america. certainly there's a personal connection and link that many
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americans have when they come here to africa specifically to places like this, and i think that it's particularly important for michelle obama, whose great-great-granddaughter of a slave and for her daughters and for the president as well. >> absolutely an emotional tour we're watching play out. we're going to ask to you stand by for a second as we let viewers take in vis video. let it breathe as we watch and listen to the tour that president obama is taking right now in cape coast ghana. [ drum beat ]
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>> all right. there's obviously no audio of this particular tour. at least not at that point. we heard the drumsened the cheering out there. people have come by the hundreds if not thousands to catch a glimpse of president obama as he takes this historic tour, as the first african-american president there on subsaharan africa and touring a place where many african-americans have their blood lines. we're watching as people have come out to look at this. and we heard suzanne malveaux speak earlier about the message that president obama was sending
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today. it's one not only of democracy and the importance of that throughout the many different countries and nations that make up africa, but he also said it's within the will of the people. that africa's future is up to africans saying that the u.s. is there to provide support, but at the same time, you are in control of your destiny. something he said earlier i found quite interesting. he went on, as suzanne called it, this tough love speech, in which he specifically talked about paying greater attention to the corruption in africa. and saying specifically that he has directed his administration to pay closer attention to the human rights reports, and noting that people everywhere should have the right to start a business, to get an education without paying a bribe. and as we talked to many of these experts, many of the people who live in africa, many will tell you that it is very difficult, because of the political systems that are in place. now, ghana, in fact, is being highlighted because of its
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commitment to democracy, but president obama definitely not mincing words when he's saying that he is going to be paying greater attention to corruption and definitely within those human rights reports, and looking at them with a closer eye so that the people are africa will be able to get that leg up without having to deal with the corruption that many of the governments there are indeed facing. >> and one of -- one of those is kenya. where barack obama's father is from. many hoped certainly he would go there, but he didn't, because you look at the situation right now, there has been violence surrounding. as these pictures jump around let's listen in to this one. maybe some sound for you to listen to.
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let me explain to you again, t.j. and betty here in the "cnn newsroom" on this saturday morning. explain what you are seeing and hearing. what you're seeing there is the president of the united states and the first family visiting
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the castle there of cape coast. there there are dungeons underneath that used to hold africans before they were then sent off to various places aaron the world for slavery. now, the sound you are hearing, this is coming to us from several different live camera feeds. the music you hear playing has essentially been a celebration there in ghana. since the president arrived, even before he arrived, the excitement about the first african-american president coming back to visit africa. this is not his first trip to africa as the president but the first he has made to a subsaharan country. and the president there, you're hearing and seeing maybe two different things all a part of the same thing, that the president of the united states is there in africa. a celebration of a huge crowd. you'll see that in the video coming up. the president expected here in the next few minutes to make a few comments about what he and his family just saw at these slave holding areas. >> we've been told time and time
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again by people who have taken this exact tour that it is very emotional. he was taken down into the dungeon the dungeons where slaves were kept crammed into these dungeons for weeks, if not months, at a time. and they would, in fact, have to make their way through a series of dungeons before they even made it to those boats. before they even passed through that door of no return and were put on boats and sent to various places around the world. and there's even talk as of this day, you can still smell the stench in the air down in those dungeons -- dungens. there was hundreds of people that were kept down there, not only for long periods of time, but there were people that there -- there is human waste down there. there were people that had all kinds of different cuts and injuries, because many times, some of these africans were taken from different tribes, and they had to fight. and they were brought to those dungeons, and there was a lot that was going on.
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in fact, there is some reports saying that there was so much waste on the floor there inside those dungeons that the flooring was, in fact, raised some two inches high. so, that just kind of gives you a little idea of what it was like many, many years ago. but those are the stories that the president and the first family is hearing today as they're taking that tour. it's a very emotional one. and one that really speaks to the history of not only what happened there on the african continent, but also about, you know, the ancestry and what occurred and the bloodlines of many african-americans here in the u.s. >> and emotional for anyone to go through. but here you have a black american president who, of course, has kenyan blood running through his veins. his wife has slaves in her background, her family as well. her grandfather, great grandfather, i believe it was a grandfather, but a slave in her
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family. and now taking their daughters to be a part of. emotional for anyone to go through, but certainly for a family who has deep ties and backgrounds for. this is a place many african-americans go, there are ports in senegal, ghana, tanzan tanzania, and zanzibar, where i have visited, but an emotional time to realize what has happened at this place. to think that maybe some of their ancestors could have gone through here and headed to a place in america and for him to come back as the first black president of the united states, just the symbolism here is unmistakable. and who knows what this emotional experience might have been like for him. but we're expecting to hear from the president and maybe tell us exactly what the experience was like. the tour itself was only supposed to take half an hour or so, 45 minutes. and expecting comments from the president. when those happen, we'll surely bring those to you. but we continue to follow him along this journey. he's going to be heading back to the u.s.
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and wrap up what has been a long week of travel for the president. it seems so long ago, but he was in moscow not too long ago? right. >> then made his way over to italy. had a g-8 summit he had to deal with. he met with the pope. he's dealt with a lot. >> he's been a very busy man. and, in fact, coming to ghana, there was a lot of talk, a lot of people criticized the fact, those from kenya who said, why not come here, you have kenyan roots? why not come to kenya and speak here, but president obama said he chose ghana because of its commitment to democracy. as we heard him speak earlier today to the parliament, he really drove home the point of that democracy and the importance of it on the continent of africa. and urged many of the leaders there to essentially get on board. suzanne malveaux, our court on the ground, called it a speech of tough love, where he -- he talked about the fact that africa's future is up to africans. yes, the united states will be there to lend a hand, but at the end of the day, it is up to africa to shape its own future.
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but specifically, he also spoke about young people. and i understand cnn's suzanne malveaux joins us now on the line. i want to ask you about that, that message to young people. we heard president obama speak to young people during his own campaign here in the u.s., but there in africa, it's really resonating because i understand that over half of the population, in fact, is made up of young people? >> you're absolutely right. and that really is the future generation of -- of the leadership in ghana as well as much of the -- much of the rest of the continent, many other countries as well. it's also a place, as you know, where because of poor health conditions and poverty, the life expectancy of young people, of an cannes in general, is very, very low compared to the united states and other industrial countries. i remember in my travels with the president clinton on his african trip as well as president bush, a lot of the countries they visited, the average life expectancy was
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really only 35 years old. that's not the case in ghana. it's much higher, in the 50s. but these are folks who are clearly at the prime of their lives, who are listening, who are paying very close attention, and one of the messages that the president said earlier today, he said africa doesn't need strong men. it needs strong institutions. so, he was very critical of some of the dictators, the leaders, the strong men, if you will, who have prevented a whole generation of young african men and women of changing their lives. the government. the way that they deal with the rest of the world. he was addressing the young eem. he also said no person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. he talked about the corruption and that so many africans lived in a world of violence, grow up in violence, grew up in war and
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have known nothing else but that. so, it was a very powerful message to them. and i also just wanted to bring up, too, some of the pictures you were talking about. the crowds of ghanaians that are outside, waiting to get a glimpse of president obama and the first family. they don't have any formal, public greetings or anything like that. what we've seen in the past, out of concern because of the weather and also some security issues, so you do see all of these people who are just following the motorcade and just to get a glimpse of where he might be next. and that's why you're seeing just masses of people who have gathered outside of the capital. very different than what we saw before. i was on the clinton trip when he visited ghana. he was in independence square. and there were thousands and thousands and thow thousands of people who gathered and it was a real security problem because
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what ended up happening, was when he arrived, they were waiting for hours, but many people passed out. they had become dehydrated. he finally emerged and you had a stampede. you had people stampeding just to get to him so out of -- >> suzanne, i'm going to have to interrupt you, because it appears the president is stepping up to some microphones and going to make a comment right now. let's listen. >> my family just got an extraordinary tour of this castle. it is reminiscent of the trip i took to buchenwald, because it reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil. one of the most striking things that i heard was that right above the dungeons in which male
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captives were kept was a church. and that reminds us that sometime we can tolerate and stand by great evil, even as we think that we're doing good. you know, i think it was particularly important for malia and sasha, who are growing up in such a blessed way, to be reminded that history can take very cruel turns. and hopefully one of the things that was imparted to them during this trip is their sense of obligation to fight oppression and cruelty wherever it appears and that any group of people who are degrading another group of people have to be fought against
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with -- with whatever tools we have available to us. so, you know, obviously it's a -- it's a moving experience, a moving moment. we want to thank those who arranged for the tour and the people of ghana for preserving this history, as painful as it is. i think that it helps to teach all of us that we have to do watt we can to fight against the kinds of evils that, sadly, still exist in our world, not just on this continent but in every corner of the globe. and i think as americans, and as african-americans, obviously, there's a -- there's a special sense that on the one hand this place was a place of profound sadness


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