Skip to main content

tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  December 17, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

7:00 pm
the movie or not showing it at all. >> not exactly the profile of courage. i'm david shuster. "real money with ali velshi" starts right now. >> cuba could be opening for business for america. i'm breaking down the policy change between the two nations in a half century. i'll tell what you it does and does not do for american businesses and what it means for generations to come. i'm ali velshi. this is a special edition of "real money."
7:01 pm
>> today america turns a knew page with its neighbor, president obama announced moves to normalize relations with cuba's communist government that were broken off in 1961. back then president eisenhower broke with fidel castro's government over its blooming alliance with the soviet union. the changes will include an exchange of ambassadors for the first time in more than half a century. they'll also ease some of the restrictions on u.s. companies that do business in cuba. the white house said that it will open--business also now be able to open accounts at cuban banks, and travelers will be permitted to use u.s. credit and debit cards inside cuba. until now they have not been able to. in an address to the nation this is how president obama defended his decision to reset relations with cuba. >> where we disagree we won't raise those differences directly. as we will continue to do on
7:02 pm
issues related to issues of democracy and human rights in cuba. i believe that we can do more to support the cuban people and promote our values through engagements. after all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. it's time for a new approach. >> now to put icing on the cake today's cuban announcement was announced in conjunction with the prisoner swap. american alan gross was an u.s. contractor who smuggled communications equipment in to cuba as part of a state department program. and he spent the last five years in a cuban prison when getting caught. he was released today and flew home on an cuban plane with an unname american citizen who was imprisoned who was also released today. in exchange the u.s. released three cubans convicted of spying
7:03 pm
in south florida. what it does not do is lift the u.s. embargo of trade in cuba. that would take an act of congress. and both houses pledged to keep the restrictions in place. still, americans will be able to send more money back to family members in cuba. it will raise the amount of money that can be sent from $500 to $2,000. the u.s. companies will now be able to export communications commitment to help boost cuba's telecom infrastructure. president fidel castro urged both sides to adopt more measures to normalize the mutual
7:04 pm
links between the countries. that's a quote. for more, we need to travel back in time all the way back to the late 1950s. our story begins with an image of what used to be the cuban capita capitol building in can havana. >> to understand why the u.s. and cuba has had such a strained relationship, you need to go back to 1958. there was an imposed arms embargo against bautista, a brutal and corrupt dictate who are rose to power the year before. then on new year's day in 1959 castro's guerrilla army successfully entered havana, swiftly overthrowing the bautista government. >> castro promised to hold free elections and not confiscate property held by foreigners.
7:05 pm
the u.s. immediately recognized the castro regime. castro even visited the united states three months later, touring the country and meeting with then vice president richard nixon. it was a rare and fleeting moment of friendship between the two countries. but it wasn't long before the relationship soured. the u.s. quickly grew concerned when castro ordered the execution of more than 500 pro bautista supporters. he began to voice communist rhetoric and speeches. the final straw in 1960 when castro seized private land and nationalized businesses owned by u.s. corporations. eisenhower responded by imposing trade restrictions on cuba, prohibiting everything but food and medical supplies from reaching cuba from the united states. in response castro reached out to nikita kruschev.
7:06 pm
eisenhower in turn promptly cut all diplomatic ties with cuba, and official policy which has remained unchanged since 1961. the early 1960's mark clandestine operations to over throw the castro regime, including the bay of pigs. but the dangerous confrontation between castro and the u.s. came in october 1961. that's when an american youtube spy plane photographed evidence that the soviet union was attempting to build an internet continental ballistic missile base in cuba. if completed that would allowed the soviets to control nuclear weapons capable of reaching targets deep within the american mainland. for 12 days in october president kennedy and premiere kruschev faced off in confrontation which
7:07 pm
brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. >> the purpose of these is non-other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western helm sphere. >> eventually kruschev backed down, but the cuban missile crisis caused a deep wound between castro and the u.s. a wound that would take decades to heal. >> dramatic developments that almost no one saw coming, mike viqueira, we've been talking about this all day. you know, you have to be under a rock not to have heard the news by now. what stands out for you after this long day of telling this story? >> well, what strikes me as a perfect political storm, number one, you have his good offices were used to negotiate this deal, the vatican put out a statement earlier today that said there were emissaries sent by the united states and cuba to the vatican in october, mind you, just before the midterm
7:08 pm
elections where the deal was finalized, it also strikes me the unprecedented phone call held by president obama and his cuban counterpart raul castro for 45 minutes yesterday that sealed the deal and cleared the way for alan gross' release, the dramatic release landing at andrews base, and to be reunited with his friends and family and met by dig i dignitaryies at the airport. this is a risk, a political risk that the white house would not have taken if the president were up for re-election. yes, attitudes have chained throughout the country on whether this embargo should go forward, and whether democratic relationdiplomatic relations should be restored. you have a pope with an affinity towards latin america, and a president in second term and an economic situation in cuba
7:09 pm
lighting a fire under its leaders to try to get something done. >> critics waste nod time coming out and criticizing president obama, the matters that the white house could deal with lifting they did, but republicans said you're not getting this embargo lifted. >> and again, this is something that is both a sign of the power that the president has even a lame duck president, ali. he can go forward and say we're going to restore diplomatic relac relations, but his powers are really limited. you cannot revoke helms burton, the law that codified the embargo. it requires congress to do that. that's not going to happen, at least not in the foreseeable future. we have john boehner out with a statement. marco rubio has his own agenda, a cuban-american in florida running for president in 2016 in all likelihood. john boehner saying no how, no
7:10 pm
way. the president has this idea that he can normalize relations, but the power of the purse is with the congress. even if a diplomat wanted to write embassy with a sharpie, if he's paid by the united states and congress wants to stop him from doing that, they can stop him. >> i never heard anything coming out of a leader's mouth like i heard from mitch mcconnell today when asked what he thought. he deferred to marco rubio. he said marco rubio is the expert. i'm surprised that marco rubio is making policy for the republican party. was that an dodge? >> that's an indication of a couple of things. first, he deferred to marco rubio. not to another cuban-american in the senate, one ted cruz, who he's already butting heads with.
7:11 pm
and second of all, mitch mcconnell is the kind of guy who is not going to come out and take a stand on what he doesn't absolutely have to. there is a different skill set when you're serving as a leader. in mitch mcconnell's case over 54 individuals, he'll always take the careful path, and mitch mcconnell is a subtle individual any way. >> mike viqueira at the white house. as mike said today's policy change does not put an end to the cuban embargo. coming up we'll look at the effect that has had on every day life for the people of cuba. plus we'll talk live for a former political prisoner. tell me what is on your mind. tweet me or e-mail me, be back here in two minutes.
7:12 pm
7:13 pm
7:14 pm
>> blame the embargo for their country ace economic woes. half a further of poor management under a communist government has left cubans with crumbling homes, power outages, and antique cars and infrastructure. the trade embargo has done its share to degrade the cuban economy. in the 1990's cubans faced even more hardship. during this time the average cuban lost an estimated 20 pounds after soviet subsidies dried up. in 1996 things got worse when the u.s. strengthened it's embargo. it has contributed to a thriving black market in cuba despite
7:15 pm
reforms made by president raul castro. now with the release of alan gross, president obama is easing restrictions on travel and banking. what it does not mean is the end of the embargo against cuba. that's something that only congress has the power to remove. yet the moves that worked to put less space against these two foe who is are straighte separated by 90 miles of water. >> david, you've got a wealth of knowledge about this. what is your reaction been to everything that has happened today? >> this is huge. no question about it. like mike viqueira was saying, the embargo is not going to be lifted until congress makes a decision, but we have not seen this political shift since helms burton in 1996.
7:16 pm
the normalization of trade between u.s. and cuba was alan gross. an in 2008 we saw a ground swell of support amongst cuban people thinking there were movements of change afoot here. that all ended in december 2009 when gross was imprisoned. there was this question of tit for tat, whether there would be an exchange of political prisoners and exchange of spice, now what we're see something getting back to a place we were in 2008, what motivated that on the part of the cubans? did life get worse for them? are they tired for it? does the internet allow them to see another world? if you lived without this for 50 years, what changed? >> it's probably not the internet. but you look at this cuban committee, the 80's, subsidized by the sovietdown. that collapsed. then it was the venezuelans.
7:17 pm
you have that chief subsidized oil. and then the oil its effecting economies that traditionally helped cuba. now they may be facing pressure here. >> they're losing some of their patrons. they want to make friends with the ones next to you. how tough is it to live in cuba? i assume for those who have always lived there under the age of 50 that's all they know. but is it measurebly difficult than other places you've lived? >> cuba is one of the few places i've lived that it doesn't matter if you have money or not. if there are shortages, there are shor shortages. when there is no toilet paper, there is always food, and when there is the brand of cereal you like, you hoard up on it, and cubans have grown up with this. this is something that they've had to deal with on a day-to-day
7:18 pm
basis. doing your job, you do stuff to get to the editorial stuff when i was a correspondent down there. some of it is the u.s. trade i aembargo. >> alan gross, some say he was an u.s. spy, as far as they're concerned he was a spy. >> we don't know. that's the bottom line. alan gross did humanitarian work all around the world. but he worked for developmentalter natives, and his mandate was to foster democratization in cuba. the only other countries the u.s. have tried to do that is in iran and myanmar. gross, having been there foretimes beforefour times
7:19 pm
before, he knew what he was getting in to. he was distributing a satellite technology, and it was reported by different sources on the ground that this communication technology had the scrambling effect that they could not trace the lab tops communication gear. most humanitarian efforts don't carry that high grade of internet. >> you're going to cuba very soon. don't leave yet i want you to stick around for the show. i know you're heading off to cuba, but we're going to see you later in the show. this thaw in relations between u.s. and cuba, comes after event in russia. the common thread oil. we'll talk more coming up.
7:20 pm
7:21 pm
>> it's a chilling and draconian sentence... it simply cannot stand. >> this trial was a sham... >> they are truth seekers... >> all they really wanna do is find out what's happening, so they can tell people... >> governments around the world all united to condemn this... >> as you can see, it's still a very much volatile situation... >> the government is prepared to carry out mass array... >> if you want free press in the new democracy, let the journalists live. >> al jazeera america morning news >> good morning and welcome! to al jazeera america >> real stories... real reporting... real news... a deeper look... >> a much better forecast for today >> with an international edge >> why is this so important and how close is this deal? >> from our award winning news teams across america and beyond >> we begin with breaking news coming out of the west bank... >> news that matters... al jazeera america
7:22 pm
morning news every morning 7 eastern only on al jazeera america >> as we discussed before the break, the u.s. embargo against cubs could be the relic of the cold war. but peel back the curtain of this historic thaw, you see the new cold war between the west and resurgent russia very much at play. if you recall in july of this year, russian president vladimir putin visited cuba. now during that trip moscow reached a framework agreement with havana to reopen a soviet-era spy base on the cuban island. call it a coincidence, but right after that trip the kremlin announced that putin had forgiven 90% of cuba's unpaid soviet-era debt. russia is in poor position to
7:23 pm
leave trouble on th money on the table with the ruble in free fall and it's main export, oil, has fallen 47% since june. the dramatic drop in the price of oil has done a serious number on the economy. today venezuela praised problem forpresident obama, for his, gesture. given the fading fortunes of historic friends, havana has plenty of incentives to start making new ones. we have just the man to walk us through the chest board. that's the international implications of the story. carl is the director the center for strategic international studies. he's jumping on with us via skype from his phone in between
7:24 pm
flights at miami airport because he's headed to south america, we appreciate him finding the quitest and appears the darkest corner of the airport that i could to jump on with us. no one with a command of this region like carl. carl, thank you for joining us. let's start with oil prices. to what extent--david and i alluded to this a few minutes ago--to what extent does venezuela's waning resource. >> it's a huge factor. cuba has found itself in this situation, to cry uncle with the united states and figure out a way out with the united states. i think it can be attributed to the fact that it's sugar daddy right now for lack of a better word, venezuela, is on the outs. the venezuela economy is shrinking. it's reserves are dwindling. the price of oil is just--i
7:25 pm
think its decreased by close to 40%, and it's a country that is heavily dependent on oil income. so i think the cubans actually saw that, you know, the days are numbered for the venezuelans. they don't want to be subject to another special period. i don't think its sustainable economically or politically for the cuban government, they say look, this is an opportunity we have with the united states, and we'll take it. the biggest loser is venezuela. >> and cuba had to see some writing on the wall, because even before--i mean, it's only been the last six months that we've seen oil prices dropped, and i don't think any of us would have guessed that this drop was going to occur. but cuba had other worries. venezuela was not serving as the patron that it used to. russia was becoming unavailable as a patron, to some extent
7:26 pm
cuba's hand was forced. >> indeed, indeed, and i think that the deal it got from the united states, i think was a pretty good one, a sober deal, i think. the exchange of the prisoners, this acknowledgment that the cubans have been looking fo from the united states, and president obama working towards opening up a formal embassy in cuba. that's acknowledgment that the cubans have wanted for a while. so the prisoner exchange, the acknowledgment, a gradual opening on a series of issues, one of the factors, i think one of the key issues here of all of the reforms that the president is talking about is the review of cuba's status as a sponsor on the terror list. once that's reviewed, and once it comes back, if the review
7:27 pm
comes back as being one where the government feels that it should be revoked, you know, that is going to open up all kind of channels for business and commerce that don't exist right now. >> we're going to talk more about that later in the show. the u.s. had something to deal with, too. followed by the forgiving of soviet-era debt by russia, and at some point losing venezuela as a sponsor did put cuba in the position that it could fall in russia's clutches, and i don't think the u.s. wanted that to happen either. >> that's true, the relationship between cuba and russia is a historical one, but again, the cubans saw themselves with an opportunity to actually improve things for their folks, and take a different path. this is symbolically a very big
7:28 pm
development. of course, the unpackaging of all the contents that has to do with this issue. what are you going to do with the embargo? how is it going to work through congress are issues coming up. but as a building block on something big as far as the region is concerned, and the legacy for the president of the united states, it's clearly going to be cuba. >> carl, good to see pup thank you so much. i really appreciate this. i don'i know if somebody asked me to do this between flights i probably would have said no. >> for you, thing p brother. >> burying the hatchett seems to be the theme for america this evening, not just in the thaw in cuban-american relations, in colombia farc has issued an indefinite unilateral cease-fire with the colombian government. they have ceased talks to end their 50-year war.
7:29 pm
if the cease-fire forms into an agreement it will end the longest-running conflict in the americas. the stock market had it's best day in a year. the dow jones industrials rows 1.7%. the s&p 500 and nasdaq jumping better, 2%. it was the s&p's best day since october of 2013. that's good news for millions of americans. whose 401 k retirement account. now this wasn't about cuba. the big driver of today's market search was news from the federal reserve. after policymakers finished a two-day meeting, it's a regular-scheduled meeting, the federal reserve said it will remain, quote, patient about raising interest rates. stocks don't look as good in comparison. one reason the fed can be patient is this plunge in oil
7:30 pm
prices? s helped to keep a lid on inflation, raising interest rates is the way that central bankers fight inflation. very little inflation. you don't need to raise interest rates. most investors expect the fed to raise interest rates next spring. well, if you think american companies are shut out from doing business in cuba, you're only half right. we'll tell you the full story after the break. we'll be right back in two minutes.
7:31 pm
7:32 pm
>> president obama's decision to normalize relations with cuba will not lift the embargo that has kept many american companies from doing business in cuba. but as the president said it should fuel a more serious debate about the issue. in that debate the u.s. clai
7:33 pm
chapelbechamber of commerce has talked about opening up business in cuba. >> for many americans this is the picture of cuba. a rhythm-infused culture known for its classic cars and cigars, mixed with the communistic style government reminisce isn' reminiscent of a bygone area. the message is clear, cuba is forbidden. >> there is a lot of interaction between the u.s. and cuba. since 2000, for 15 years nearly, the u.s. has been free to sell to cuba, and has. it sells three-quarters of a billion dollars a year.
7:34 pm
>> the export totaled $50 million last year. that means the beans and chicken eaten in places like havana often come from farmers and ranchers in places like nebraska and ohio. >> cargill is probably the biggest single exporter, and that is bulk commodity, soybeans, corn primarily. another big exporter is tyson's chicken. cuba buys a lot of chicken pieces. >> last year the u.s. sold $144 million in frozen chicken, and in agribusiness states like iowa, illinois, and nebraska sold corner and beef to the islands. head of the u.s. chamber of commerce likely had that in mind when he head the delegation in cuba in may. >> it's time for a new chapter in cuban-u.s. relations.
7:35 pm
>> many congressmen and senators have been trying for years to further liberalize because the market could be larger than it is. >> but that trade for now is an one-way street. cuba is not permitted to export back to the u.s. under the embargo, which discourages other countries from doing business there. u.s. law prohibits foreign flagships from docking in the united states for six months after steaming it in to cuban ports. that means if the country decides to export to cuba the ship has to find a an alternate route that avoids the u.s. for at least half a year. that makes trade with cuba far more expensive. >> all of these restrictions add costs, and they add uncertainty, and they create risks. >> but cuba does not make foreign investment all that easy either. >> i think there are some investment opportunities, but remember the cuban economy at
7:36 pm
this point is very chaotic. very little internal production going on. >> still with the market of 12 million people located roughly 90 miles off the coast of florida, american investors see opportunities. >> cuba is very close by. shipping costs are low. this would be a steady market. >> steady and lucrative. the u.s. foregoes an estimated $1.1 billion due to trade restrictions with cuba, a situation that many business owners hope is about to change. al jazeera, new york. >> president obama's moves on cuba increase business for farmers. that's what cargill says. one of the largest privatery owned corporations in the united states and one of the biggest u.s. agriculture exporters to
7:37 pm
cuba. the company has been doing business with cuba since 2002. thank you so much for being with us. cargill is one of the single biggest exporters of grain, soy, corn to cuba. it shipped a million tons there in the last 12 years. cuba just isn't that big of a market, why the effort? >> well, you're right. it's a modest market. off the coast oit's 11 million people off the coast of our country, it's 11 million people who have not had an opportunity to integrate in the global marketplace. if we can bring those people in to the market place, that will create opportunity. they will see that opportunity and ultimately will begin to move up the rungs of the poverty ladder. then it becomes a greater market opportunity for u.s. companies. >> we heard from mike viqueira
7:38 pm
about the role that the pope and the vatican played in getting this deal done. in trying to make sense of how important the market cuba is for food, you sort of measured what happened when the pope visited cuba in 2012 to project what could happen. tell me about this. >> we've been at this for a long time. we have consistently supported, maintaining humanitarian channels, and since 2000 we've been able, as an u.s. agriculture community to e port. we have been watching it. we made several go around. you mentioned the pope's visit, the recent visit. we've been watching and we've been trying to capitalize on the momentum, and actually what we see now is that the negative narrative ending the embargo is quite the minority. we're seeing overwhelming support from the u.s. population base and we are convinced that
7:39 pm
there will be support when we go up to the hill in january as a coalition to ask for the end of the embargo. >> you're a lobbyist, so you may know than i do, but listen to republicans are saying today, i don't know about that. among the measures of president obama's announcement, this is an interesting thing. your business, and by the way i'm going to talk to a small business person right after you, but you have to conduct business through using cash. when do you as much business as you do, it's third party, it's limited financing. this is a huge advantage--disadvantage for you. how do you work this out with cuba? i'm assuming this is one of the first things you want to see disappear. >> absolutely. you hit it right on the mark. it's been a huge disadvantage. u.s. agriculture has had hands tied behind backs. while we had access on the market we've seen our sales go down since 2000. we've seen countries like other competitors such as brazil and
7:40 pm
the european union come in and take that market, and so today's announcement is the an improvement on the financing side where we've had to deal with cash up front. now we have an opportunity for cash upon delivery and seeking greater enhancements on our ability to use financing through letters of credit, etc. it's not done we want to stop and talk about how important the leadership, the president's leadership has been on this today. but we know it's going to take ending the embargo for us to actually have meaningful commercial trade with cuba. >> thank you so much for being with us. vice president of corporate affairs in cargill. i want to bring in paul johnson, he owns chicago foods international. he is the executive director of a working group, a not-for-profit who works with
7:41 pm
food producers who has relations with cuba, you heard when people see the brand of cereal they like show up at a grocery store in cuba, they hoard it because they don't know when that's going to happen again. but you just heard debra talking about something that we spoke about, it's hard to get paid for business you do in cuba. >> it is, it's onerous, i have to get letters of credit through banks and i would rather develop that banking relationship with someone here in chicago. this is a step forward. this is a victory for the u.s. business community, this is also a victory for the 11 million cubans on the island. the opportunity to increase trade and travel with keen the united states and cuba is going to improve the cuban miracles and boost the lives of the 11 million cubsens.
7:42 pm
you talked about the business community itself. it's onerous with cash transsanctions. we can't compete with canada and brazil and argentina and the european union because they can offer credit, so this is an opportunity, a step forward to really level the playing field and allow u.s. companies, u.s. agriculture community to be more competitive. >> what will it do? this is 2013, u.s. exports to cuba have dropped. i'm assuming the food needs in cuba have not dropped, so they're making up wit for that with imports from brazils. will cubans by more u.s. products because they can? >> i think so. i've been doing this for 20 years. cubans, they like american products. there is a nostalgia for things
7:43 pm
made in america, and i think we should build on that. this is a step in the right direction to make that happen, for sure. we've seen sales decline since 2008. sales have been declining, they hit a peek at $750 million. you mentioned previously that last year in 2013 they were around 350. the numbers i'm reading today from 2014 sees 18% drop betwee between 2014 and 2013. we think that this is going to be an opportunity for us, and cubans will want to buy our products. >> paul johnson is owner of chicago foods international. no doubt that many businesses are excited, but there is another side. it's anger. we'll speak live with a man who spent 16 years in cuba's prisons because of his opposition to cuba's communist-led government. we'll let you explain his side.
7:44 pm
7:45 pm
>> today's decision by the obama administration to normalize relations with cuba, but some think it is not enough. he remembers escaping with his
7:46 pm
mother to spain to get into the u.s. great to see you, jesus. thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> your lineage would suggest that you do not want to deal with fidel castro because people who experienced the other side of the revolution are still mad at fidel castro 50 years later. >> it's hard to get over the anger is the way i would approach it, and it's 50 years ago. what are we waiting for? this should have been done 50 years ago when we had the opportunity to let the angl anger or disdain we've had for each other, it's been sustained for 50 years. what have we accomplished? >> do you do any business with cuba? you're in the moving relocating business. >> i move businesses. i move medium-sized companies. i started in an attic in brooklyn 30 years ago. now i count all my businesses.
7:47 pm
>> which means that you've seen both sides of this. you've grown up as an american. you understand some degree of american sentiment on this, and do you understand the cuban sentiment? >> i understand that they don't want to do business because they feel anger towards castro, but time flies, and death is the ultimate equalizer, if you will, and pretty soon he'll be gone. you can see it all changing. listen, i'm not a democrat, i'm a republican, and i'm hearing the republican side of what they have to say, and i totally disagree with it. as a cuban, as a republican, it is--it has to change. >> there is anger tonight in little havana, they're chanting anti-obama slogans, there are many who are doing the election math on this. who would you like to see happen. the normalization means
7:48 pm
normalization. it's not just political. >> i see the opportunity to build cuba again. i see a huge influx of cigars. i love cuban cigars. i understand that there are some within the cuban community that are not for this, they're against this because they feel that disdain for what happened in the past, but we have to move on. not only for the trade, but for people of cuba who need to see jobs and the supermarkets filled. and another thing, i would love to have one of their cars and bring it here. >> this there would be a good market for that. jesus, thank you. chairman of the national hispanic group and president of business relocation services. >> now we're joined by a lawyer based in miami. he was born in cuba, and spent 16 years in cuban prisons because of his opposition to
7:49 pm
communist-led government. in 1977 he received amnesty. here is a picture of him. he was allowed to leave cuba. two years later he immigrated to the united states. he has lived here every since, but his experience living in cuba is not unique. a human rights watch here based in new york said, quote: >> in it's latest group, they target activists with various tactics. the report says that cuban officials by instilling fear in the public including beatings, public acts of shaming, termination of employment and threats of long-term imprisonment. we don't have a true count because the government prevents national or international human rights groups from accessing its
7:50 pm
prisons. with more on the announcement of normalizing relations between the united states and cuba, let's go to pedro in miami. you heard my last guest, get over it. >> yes, i did. i'm asking all these people who were talking about cuban cigar and cuba--i mean, nobody else has talked about human rights in cuba. nobody has mentioned that. >> do you think this deal changes human rights? does this allow the u.s. to influence the cuban regime to change all the stuff i just outlined? >> well, let me tell you i heard today obama's speech, and then i heard raul castro's speech. raul castro is in the same page that he has always been. he has not changed. so i don't think that the mere fact that we lift the embargo or do him any favors, now that he's the economic situation in cuba
7:51 pm
is in a real crisis, when the subsidies from venezuela have probably stopped all together, and we're talking here about $23 million to $24 million. >> you're saying that is not altruistic. this is not about making a good deal. the money has stopped flowing and cuba needs a better option. >> not at all. let me tell you something, ali, the american taxpayer will end up paying for whatever the cuban government does not pay. we export food there, and we export this, and we export that, but it has to be on a cash basis. if it isn't, then they don't pay, and who ultimately is going to pay for this? the american taxpayers because they're going to be insured by federal agencies, and then it will end up, you know, paying these people if the cuban government does not pay, which has happened, to myriads of
7:52 pm
companies. they owe money to everybody. >> you hear these companies who say, i can't wait to do business with cuba. i can't wait to sell goods to 11 million people. what makes this deal worth pursuing. >> let me tell you this, deal is not worth pursuing. they'll see. like some of the businessmen from canada have experience experienced--and some of them, they're in cuban jails right now, and they're asking them for millions of dollars in order to let him go back to canada. so you know, it's really ridiculous to think that we can just by a presidential decree say okay, let's go back to where we were and raul castro is going to respect human rights in
7:53 pm
cuba--no. >> we can't stay in the status quo forever. what would have to change? do you think it will ever change for cuba. >> of course, human rights have to be respected. they have to respect like people to have freedom of the press, freedom of speech, which nobody in cuba has right now. just the 10th of this month, on the 66th anniversary of the human rights charter, like 44 ladies in white, peaceful marchers with flowers on their hands were arrested just because they were celebrating human rights day the 10th of december, which would celebrate it all over the world. and they were in prison. they were beat up. that's going to continue.
7:54 pm
now we're going to be accomplices to what happens in cuba. >> i know you took time out of your busy day, thank you for your perspective. >> thank you for having me here, and i hope that these people will get sense in their heads. >> al jazeera anchor antonio mora, my good friend, left cuba when he was three years old. he joins me in one minute for personal thoughts on the shift on u.s.-cuban relations.
7:55 pm
7:56 pm
>> al jazeera anchor antonio mora is host of "consider this." he has followed cuban relation -u.s. relations closely. he splits his time between new york and miami, you're very close to this story. you've been living to the show. you heard my last guest, which is largely very different narrative from the business community and a lot of cuba cubans--americans who think this is a very good development. this guy said that we're getting in to bed with the devil by doing this deal. your thoughts? >> well, you're going to have a very broad reaction from the cuban american community. i listened to him, and he's on the conservative side. he believes this is getting in bed with the enemy. he views this as one of the
7:57 pm
worst violators of human rights in the last five decades and there is no way in principle to deal with a government like that. then you have some who say, who might be willing to deal with cuba, but they're saying this is a terrible deal, and the obama administration has given a lot but not gotten anything back specifically when it comes to human rights, which has always been the centerpiece in relations with cuba. to free political prisoners and make sure that people are free, to have the freedoms that the rest of us around the world, at least here in the united states are used to. then you have a growing part of the cuban community who thinks that the embargo should be lifted. a recent poll found that 68% of cuban americans want diplomatic relations established. 90% of younger cuban americans want diplomatic relations. on the other hand, ali, 51% of
7:58 pm
registered voters still want the embargo in place. you can see there is a a crazy division within my community in miami. >> how do you square the idea that i don't think 51% of americans feel we should be dealing with china, and we went ahead without insisting all that much on human rights changes, freedom of the press and things like that. it does feel like a double standard. we're very concerned about all this stuff in cuba, but we're doing deals with the rest of the world who are doing things we don't like. >> if you go back the last 40 years, nixon did arguebly the same thing that president obama is doing here, and china has seen a change for the better. i think the argument marco rubio makes that this is going to support the repressive regime and bring more money. the remit tenses in cash and kind are arguebly the largest
7:59 pm
sector of cuba's economy, so it really helps the cuban government. the question though, and this is something that marco rubio did not address is the long term. what will happen in the long term? we saw what happened in eastern europe when gorbachev opened up. >> there are people out there particularly in little havana getting a little steamed about this tonight. >> right, you're going to have a lot of people who are very steamed, and yes, i've been using my phone all day long since the minute i woke up to this news. >> neither you nor i thought this would happen. we don't have much time to spend on television together. great to see you, my friend, and i'll see you later on tonight. >> thank you. >> that is our show for today. but our coverage on al jazeera america about this remarkable development will continue.
8:00 pm
i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. >> hi everyone, this is al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. connecting with cuba. the u.s. moves to restore relations. moving forward, what it could mean for both countries in our special report. plus sony fallout, putting the brakes on a controversial movie. and body cameras, police adapt the new technology, the opportunities and the challenges.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on