tv Inside Story Al Jazeera April 10, 2015 11:30pm-12:01am EDT
or mt. st. st. joseph university. the world has lost an unselfish angel. i'm antonio mora, "inside story" is next, have a great weekend. >> the president is at the summit of the americas, a hemisphere get together in panama. for the first time in a long time being able to participate in a pan american conference like a normal country. it's part of the thaw between u.s. and cuba and takes that issue off the table. it's the "inside story".
>> this is "inside story" from al jazeera america i'm ray suarez in washington. during the height of the cold war, cuba was frozen outs but the world kept changing. the soviet union assess assess ceased to exist. one thing didn't change, cuba still wasn't welcome and it was becoming a sore spot in bilateral relations didn't want to see cuba kept in permanent pariah status. 2014, president obama announces a major change in step.
president raul castro was among heads of state participating in the hemisphereic confab, and cuba well be removed from the list of state sponsoring terrorism. saturday president obama will meet with raul castro, the first u.s. cuba summit in more than 50 years. cuba ton way back but not all the way back this time on the program. we'll begin this "inside story" at the summit with peter corncornblue director of the national security archive in washington. welcome to "inside story", peter. is this kind of the last chapter of the cold war that we're watching here? >> well we're witnessing a day tant coming to thedetente.
that all can discuss the issues that discuss latin america as a region, and between former closest of enemy estates like cuba and the united states. >> are we still a long way from there being a normal relationship between two countries, i don't mean that in the diplomatic form of normal but just the way any two countries on the planet relate to each other? >> well, certainly cuba and the united states have a long and very difficult history to overcome and the shadow of that history has played out here in panama city and the clashes between the civil society groups from cuba, the fact that felix rodriguez the cia operative who helped crack down and catch che
guivara is here, but the truth of the matter is obama wants to move forward and castro wants to move forward. president obama says he wants to write a new chapter in u.s. cuban relations while there's a lot to be written to finish the book if you will certainly this summit is a major step forward in putting the past in the past and moving towards a very different relationship in the future. >> well what are some of the big items still pending between two countries and does personal diplomacy like this twn the two between the two presidents really have a chance to breaking any log jams? >> my understanding is the two presidents will have a bilatter meeting tomorrow and i believe it's on president obama's agenda to remove cuba from the tomorrow list before that meeting takes place. the state department has given a
report to obama recommending that cuba be removed from the state department list of terrorist states, that cuba does not fit the criteria to be on that list. this is a prerequisite, and for normal relations that's the first hurdle to clear and i believe that obstacle is going to be gone before the end of this weekend. then there's the issue of simply opening the embassies perhaps secretary of state john kerry will actually go to havana to naught the new u.s. embassy there, that will be the big step forward in our relations and then there's a series of u.s. laws and programs, that have to be changed. u.s.a.i.d. programs, regime change programs against cuba and you can't have normal relations with a country that you are basically trying overthrow. so those have to change as well. but you know there's momentum
right now ray and the summit is a big part of that and all eyes are on the u.s. cuban relationship this weekend in panama city. >> one of the closest relationships that cuba has had in the region is venezuela. and it's interest being that the united states is figuring out how to draw closer to cuba just as venezuela is severely falling out of favor with the united states. >> yeah, i have to say that i disagree, i think the u.s. policy towards venezuela hasn't really changed. it's been pretty steady and low-key. what happened here is that tried take some low key steps and sanctioned just a handful of venezuelan officials for civil strife and imprisonments of the mayor that took place late last year in caracas. the kind of pro forma language for him to do that through executive order states that
venezuela a national security threat to the united states, which everybody knows it is not. i just came from a rally that president maduro did here in panama city, the monument to those who died at the u.s. invasion of panama, he reminds the world that we invaded bus draws a parallel of u.s. invasion of venezuela which is actually nonexistent. i think that's going to die down, i think the cubans realize that relations with both countries are important and their new found friend united states in the hours days and weeks aand and months to come. >> i don't know peter at first blush it sounds like you're making that navigation a little
less tricky than it turns out to be in a changing cuba trying to figure out how to live in a new way with the united states. >> well, you know, it's going to be a slow process. you can't wipe away 55 years of perpetual hostility in just a few months. but when you look comparatively the scholars in your audience of how this has happened in the past nixon went to china in 1972 but it took quite a few years before we actually normalized relations with china we eventually noinlzed normalized relations with vietnam that took years. i actually think the summit and the meetings between john kerry and the foreign minister of cuba bruno rodriguez and the forthcoming meeting between the president and the president of
cuba and everybody is here in this regional setting is quick momentum in moving the relationship forward. it's not going to be easy, there's a lot to come but i think it's going to be a steady march towards improved relation he from now oon. >> peter cornblue from the national security, good to see you. >> good to see you take care. >> to treat cuba as any other country is not as easy as a handshake or a signature on a memo. serious issues have to be worked out along with normalized relations rather than being postponed for another day. does allowing cuba bass to the helicoptersback to the hemispheric good relations stay
>> welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america many i'm ray suarez. for the first time since the cuban resolution, the united states has not tried block cuba in an all beings summit get together. cuba and the united states still have outstanding business to work outs before a truly bilateral relationship exists between the two. i'm joined by, now a consultant with her new firm lomalife
global partners. ambassador for a country of 8 million people the united states not talking to cuba, ended up taking a lot of the oxygen in the room didn't it at previous meetings? >> absolutely, absolutely, i can certainly vouch for the meeting in cartagena whether i was the u.s. negotiator. we spent hours talking that cuba that if they didn't show up they wouldn't show up so it did -- it took away a lot of attention from the main themes of that particular summit. >> we are talking about a summit a continue nernt where a lot of times, gone or cooled their jets quite a bit replaced by elected leaders and elected chambers and deputies why were they pulling
so hard for cuban inclusion? >> it is a latin thing. it is a family issue you are dissing our family. it was a constant at so many of the multilateral meetings. if cuba wasn't present it wasn't a inclusive meeting. there was this distraction with the president naming seven venezuelans as a threat to u.s. security. and that's caused a lot of unnecessary chatter. >> peter sheckter, is venezuela becoming the new cuba at these interinterhems feerk gatherings? >> ihemispheric gatherings? >> i sure
hope not. it is rampant inflation the highest crime rate in the world total lack of supplies, people can't find anything from diapers to milk to beer, anything in venezuela. as i say melting before our eyes. what the president of venezuela has chosen to do, as many presidents throughout history have done, go pick a fight someplace else. the president did make a faux pas, giving the president maduro from venezuela the opportunity to create a political theater that he has created and will create more of in the coming days. >> one thing that people are looking for is the lifting the removal of cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror. remind us how it got on that
list in the first place and in your view whether this is a big deal? >> i think it's a very big deal. it got on the list in 1982 because cuba was sponsoring a number of terrorist organizations around the world. it was meddling in africa, it had very close links with the basque terrorist group eta colombian groups and particularly the farc, cuba is playing a constructsive role in trying to come to peace terms cuba a decade or so not bean state sponsor of terrorism and i think it's a hugely important thing for two reasons to take them off the list, cuba no longer deserves to be on the list. the list is four countries sudan, syria iran and cuba.
i think cuba is an outlier. the other reason it needs to be taken off this list needs to gain some seriousness. in a world of al shabaab and boko haram and the houthis and russian, i don't quite know what to call them, invading a neighboring country i think state sponsors of tomorrow ought to be expanded acknowledge for meaning as opposed to the list we have today. >> but that had pretty serious consequences international commerce and travel and all sorts of things. >> the financial side, can you not go to cuba and see a whole network of banks for example. any kind of trade with the united states had to be done through a third party and it had to be paid in cash as opposed to you know way other countries worked with the united states. so it did have a real series implication. this should help open the door. >> some will say if this happens
that cuba is being let out of the dog house without doing in in return ordoinganything in return or very little in return. what do you say to that? >> i look at this, how they deal with the dissidents, i was with a few a couple of weeks ago as they were getting ready to go to the summit and this was the same people i was watching on television getting beat up by other cubans. very unfortunate. they are not an open society they have no internet, for example, they have intranet, within cuba, that's about it. they are not free to travel when they want and start their own businesses. they have started a little bit of that but they are a far cry from a free society. >> cuba has a lamentable
history, but when does that equate with having relation he? diplomatic relations, between people who don't get along necessarily. >> but if you are president obama and you know that your opponents in your home country are looking for signals from a form he pariah state that it wants to be back in the fame of nations, don't you have to bring something to legitimize these moves to show they are not unilateral on the part of united states? >> i think cubans did already obama, the president said that cuba had agreed to release 53 political prisoners they did that. they released 53 political prisoners, does that mean they're not going to block people from leaving? of course they will. but this is an issue of incremental steps. look we're negotiating a nuclear
deal with iran. now for god sake everybody knows in iran people have some problems of human rights to put it in a very understated way. negotiations and talking to people sort of does not equate of the world becoming nirvana but you hope you do some good. >> there will be a summit photowith all the heads of state from caribbean and central and south america standing there. raul castro will be there. does that take a roadblock out of america's conversations with these other countries that changes significant things, not just an irritants like the one you had in cartagena? >> i think so, over the five years i was ambassador, i can't tell you how many times i spoke to ambassadors when are you
going to change your policy to cuba, you've got to let it go, we're one of hemtion hemisphere. that kind offish tant was taken offof irritant was takenoff the table. >> the panamanian flag carrier that's the kind of thing that's just waiting to happen now that things are becoming more normal. >> i have my doubts. i don't know that it's an issue of capacity. i, i was briefing this morning with a state department official they are foreclose had a what cubans want are big big deals with a marriott for example or large companies coming in creating a lot of jobs. is the capacity there to manage? they have one person sounded you
assigned orassigned ortwo people assigned. it's going to take a longer time than people thinking. >> pleasure to talk to you both. >> pleasure to be here. the travel ban still exists between united states and cuba. the fate of the american owned property on the island, remains unclear, the commercial ice leag of theisolation, has not been undone by a few hopeful news conferences and articles in the travel section of american newspapers. oh and the republican leadership of the house of representatives is still opposed. we'll ask mrve about it still mike viqueria about it still ahead on "inside story". story".
assistance of be united states. mike viqueria joins me now and mike john kerry met with his cuban counterpart talking about opening an embassy. president obama is meeting with president castro tomorrow and they're talking about removing cuba from the list of terrorist-sponsor nations. is the administration getting close to running outs of running room, the things it can do on its own with cuba before it needs to head to congress? interas a legislative matter i think you're right but will say this ray, it is smoother sailing than people would have anticipated after the president made the dramatic announcement on december 17th. yes, there were a relaxation of travel but in order to lift that embargo that is going to take
congressional action. officials traveling with the president have said they do not expect that to happen in the short:00 for some of the reasons you have alluded to, mainly political opposition in congress and opposition from both sides of the aisle boat republican and democrat. but this is something that they think can be done certainly something three want to be done before the end of president obama's second term. >> shortly after the announcement of the intention to reopen negotiations was made, senator marco rubio who sees a future president when he looks in the mirror in the morning said woe block funds for reopening an american embassy in havana is that the kind of obstacle that may be waiting for administration? >> certainly that is an option for the administration but justing the power of the purse i think that's something that
coe rubio and the mirror image is robert menendez, the hispanic american senator from new jersey who until recently was the ranking member top democrat on the senate foreign relations committee, very steadfast against what president obama wants to do. it appears to be, an idea whose time has come and we see this reflected in public opinion polls and in congress and polls throughout the hemisphere certainly that there is -- the president is gaining support for this initiative as the white house has said time and time again and said again today. 50 years of attempted isolation of cuba has not worked. time for something new that appears to be like that is logical that is logic that is getting traction ray. >> found president obama is more popular than raul castro, the
poll taken in cuba. over period of months, whether some of the anger some of the have ithave itof thevitriol has played itself out. >> with younger americans younger cuban americans, in the polls you allude to, much more than the older generations, for president obama as he makes this opening. >> mike viqueria what's the next on this, are there moments that are sort of moments to watch break points that you'll be looking out for in the next 72 hours or when congress comes back to work? >> well, there have been disappointments, president obama said he wanted to have all the
underbrush and the spade work if you will cleared away for an embassy opening announcement to be made before this summit. they fell short of that notwithstanding three high level talks. taken care of before they are able to open that embassy and the good news over the weekend about the delisting from the state sponsors of terrorism the president making that decision over the weekend. >> accompanied by the first u.s. cuba summit in more than a half century. our mike viqueria joining us thank you mike. that's its for our show, give us feedback what you hear on the program, follow us on twitter follow me @raysuarez news. i'm ray suarez.