Skip to main content

tv   US- Cuba A New Era  Al Jazeera  September 8, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EDT

12:00 am
i'm ray suarez. and that's "inside story". ♪ >> cold war adversaries, bringing ahalf century of standoff to a close. >> diplomatic relations with cuba. >> raising flags and lifting hopes on both shores. the signs of change on the streets of cuba.
12:01 am
as a communist holdout seemingly frozen in time looks to the future but with a crippling trade embargo still in place and a chorus of opposition over human rights violations, can two countries separated by just 90 miles and decades of mistrust, finally bridge the divide? an al jazeera special report, u.s.-cuba a new era. >> i'm antonio mora coming to you from havana, cuba. designated a world heritage site. as we walked there havana's streets and spoke to its people you can hear how things have changed. the cold war chill began to thaw late last year. >> today the united states of america is changing its relationship with the people of cuba. and the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years. >> in december president obama
12:02 am
made the stunning announcement that in more than 50 years the u.s. would move towards normalizing relations with cuba. the same day, cuba freed jailed american contractor, allen gross. >> what a blessing this is to be a citizen of this country and thank you president obama for everything you have done. >> and the u.s. released three cuban spies. one of the biggest hurdles to normalization occurred in may, u.s. removed cuba from the lits of states sponsors of terrorism. the cuba an flag was raised in july. >> my friends, our leaders president obama and president castro made a courageous decision and decided to focus on the decisions of today and tomorrow. >> john kerry became the highest ranking u.s. official to visit cuba in 70 years when he
12:03 am
presided over the playing raising in havana. >> the maracon, a lot of this has to do with the united states and the future. david ariosto went there to find out what people are saying. >> bending around havana's northern rim is the famed malacon. long served as a meeting spot for cuba's lovers poets fishermen and musicians. nestled up against the atlantic ocean, its promenade extends past the u.s. embassy, offering cubans and americans a place to rest. >> back before fidel castro was a thought in this country, 90 miles that way the key west, and on a good day you can pick up
12:04 am
radio stations from florida. sometimes, they're even talking about politics. and so i sat down with a few cubans to get their take on what this new u.s. embassy actually means. >> what do you think about these changes that are happening between cuba and the united states? >> translator: there are changes finally and hopefully they'll help the country but you know changes they don't always benefit everyone. it really just depends on your point of view. >> what is your point of view sitting out on the malacon? >> in my opinion there is still a lot missing. >> after fidel castro rolled to power in 1959 he nationalized property. forcing u.s. to slap an economic
12:05 am
embargo on the island. still adding to the hardships cubans come here to forget. now, starting to pump cash into the cash strapped economy but towards the malaconand money isn't always the prime concern. just off the malaconthis con, this park is known as a park of death and life. now that we have improved relations between cuba and the united states, this process will get faster, some of these people will get processed to visit their family. >> he wants to see his father in miami. >> translator: from today it's been three years. i don't know what it's going to be like under the new law. >> reporter: and for many here and all long the malacon, those will be the big questions.
12:06 am
will the new u.s. embassy speed up the process and will that mean improvements in the day-to-day lives of everyday cubans? david ariosto, al jazeera, cuba. (f) here to see the flag raised for the first time since then. in the late '70s he served as head of the american intersection in havana and a long time critic of the u.s. trade embargo. i met him where he reflected on the importance of normalizing relations. >> it was owonderful morning for me. i've waited all these years . i mean to return. i mean i've been back to cuba many times but to return with normal conditions between the two countries. i had begun to believe it was never going to be in my lifetime.
12:07 am
now, wonderfully it's happened. >> when you came here as the head of the intersection, did you think back then that relations would be normalized quickly? >> i was delighted to come back and to become the chief of the intersection under carter. and hoping that i could then help bring about dialogue, discussions, negotiations, and is leading to a great improvement in relations perhaps in time to normalization. unfortunately, there were those in the carter administration who didn't want normalization. then came ronald reagan. he was elected. he made it clear he didn't want any normalization. it was clear to me this policy of hostility, refusing to discuss the differences, was not going to lead anywhere. 2014, after obama had come in, i
12:08 am
thought, look, i may die before we ever have normalized relations with cuba. but it was at that point that things changed. >> relations have been normalized but the embargo continues to be in place. can the u.s. and cuba really have full relations until the trade embargo is lifted? >> no. we have normal -- we have diplomatic relations, i shouldn't say normal. because as you say we still have the embargo in place. we haven't given the guantanamo he naval base back, and we have all these claims that have to be settled. >> you have been an advocate, an advocate of open relations with cuba when it wasn't popular to be an advocate of that. in fact you have probably been more popular on the island of cuba with cuban americans than you have with america. >> absolutely, that's true. >> why did you think it was so
12:09 am
important? because still today many will argue that normalizing relations is just legitimizing a repressive regime and that things really won't change on the island if more isn't done to push the communist regime to change. >> we have normal relations with china. china is a much more repressive regime than cuba. we established normal relations with the soviet union years ago. and again, that, i would say, and i've served there, is a more repressive regime than this one. and we engaged, because we believed that engagement will gain us more than isolation. >> how can history not continue to matter, as the people who have repressed the cuban people for past five and a half decades continue to be in power? >> have we accomplished anything in the past five decades by
12:10 am
refusing to talk to them? have we made any changes in cuba? not a one, nothing. we haven't accomplished a thing. >> does the cuban government need to do more in order for the embargo to be lifted for there to be a full normalization? >> let me ask you by saying we have been saying that for 50 years. hasn't had any affect at all. now moving to engage. we will talk to you. even though you haven't perhaps improved human rights to the extent we would have wished, perhaps you haven't improved human rights at all. our policy has not brought that about. maybe we better try something new. >> the flag raising ceremony in havana was just one step, albeit a ceremony yu ial one. a lot of hard work is still
12:11 am
ahead and a lot of obstacles are in the way. cuban civil rights groups and dissidents were secluded from the embassy ceremonies and they say their voices need to be heard. >> here it is very important to give everyone their place when and where is necessary. and we are not being given place we require as civil society in cuba. >> we really believe that things are not being done the right way, regarding the promotion of human rights which is crucial in promoting democracy during this political process. >> cuba is slowly embracing gay rights although gay right marriage is still illegal, leading the way for gay rights is raul castro's daughter ,
12:12 am
gabriella. >> hundreds of cubans dance to a conga beat, wave the flag and declare their same sex love in havana. leading the rights for gay rights is raul castro's daughter, mariella castro. >> a ideologic enrichment of the cuban society. >> reporter: for decades after the 1959 revolution homosexuality in cuba was criminalized. some were forced into work camps. but beginning in the late 1990s the state began so muching its stance. cuba altered its criminal code, which allowed police to arrest people for being gay.
12:13 am
times changing in the country for games, lesbians and transsexuals. >> thanks to movies and documentaries people have seen, things have developed in the world and people are seeing us in a different view of life. >> reporter: lesterham let, a gay cuban. >> translator: i have been very surprised lately as how organized everything is. >> reporter: his provocative retelling of a cuban play, tells of a gay man who finally reveals his sexuality. >> translator: because i am gay. because i have friends that are gay. and i felt a lot of pain. and i have seen a lot of situations, we have been seen as repulsive and this is not acceptable. so it's better to put it in a movie. >> reporter: activists admit there is still a long way to go,
12:14 am
while discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, there are no protections in other sectors of society such as housing and education. and same sex unions remain illegal. >> there will have to be a lot of knowledge, cultural, social and visual to be able to accept something. we are still very behind in that aspect. >> ash-har quraishi, al jazeera, havana. >> migration, ines ferre reports that fears the so-called wet foot dry foot policy might go away are behind the recent spike in immigration. >> this is the moment that she and nine other cubans set foot on u.s. soil in may. what should have become 20 hours
12:15 am
became a five day journey in this home made boat, using a bucket to tbail ou bait owl water along the way. they ran out of food and along the way had lost hope. >> we thought we would never see land. we were about to put a mast and let the wind drift us away. >> a sliver of land in the distance. florida. >> translator: his second attempt at coming here, worried u.s. would change its preferential treatment. those who stay apply for residency, it's called the wet foot dry foot policy. the coast guard said they have seen spike of people coming here, from december to april 37%
12:16 am
more cubans took to the sea compared to the same time last year. delarma and his fellow migrants are staying in a hotel, their room paid for a nonprofit partly paid by the u.s. deposit. they can pay for refugee benefits, up to $180 monthly for the first four months, medicaid , food stamp assistance and job hunting assistance, in 1994, garcia and more than 30,000 cubans fled the islands. sent to guantanamo and then later brought to the u.s. today garcia helps fellow cubans come here. >> is it fair to have special treatment in the u.s. when other immigrants don't have that same right? >> it is fair and it's not fair. the cuban is the same of
12:17 am
colombians of mexican people it's the same with only one difference. that country is a democratic country. we have the big difference, we live under the communism framework. >> he tells me doesn't think the policy is fair but he's happy to be here. calling the u.s. paradise, he says risking his life is worth it. have mifeines ferre, al jazeera. >> i'll be right back. with month
12:18 am
12:19 am
12:20 am
>> animosity between the u.s. and cuba dates back more than half a century to a popular armed revolt that removed a pro-american dictator and installed a communist revolutionary. fidel castro entered havana, shortly after a dictator, ful fulgencio bautista, left. then looked to united states for help. he laid a wreath at the tomb of
12:21 am
the unknown soldiers and met with senators and u.s. president nixon but castro always full rhetoric was already on display. praising dictator nikita it might not have made a difference, in light of cast castro's words, when asked if he was a communist. >> well wait for history. history will show what we are. >> the u.s. retaliated by slashing trades with cuba, soon leading to a full embargo. the u.s. broke off relations with cuba in january 1961. in april the u.s. supported the bay of pigs, invasion, pushing castro even closer to the soviet
12:22 am
union. then an american spy plane spotted soviet missiles. then in october of 1962, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. >> it shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from cuba against any nation in the western hemisphere as an attack by the soviet union on the united states. >> the crisis ended with a deal. the missile sites would be dismantled in exchange for a u.s. pledge not to invade cuba. relations between u.s. and cuba would remain poisonous, and only began to improve after raul castro became president and shook hands with president obama at nelson mandela's funeral. prisoner exchange and on the same day last december, the two neighbors announced they would set aside more than five decades of hostility. >> today the united states of america is changing its
12:23 am
relationship with the people of cuba. in the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years. >> that officially happened at midnight on july 20th. [♪ singing ] >> hours later the cuban anthem played and the cuban flag was raised over what was once again cuba's embassy in washington. >> translator: we refirm cuba's willingness to move towards normalized relations with the united states in a constructive spirit. >> president obama has said that while normalization is an important step in u.s. cuba relations, serious issues remain with the cuban government. the average salary in cuba is little more than $20 a month about 500 cuban pesos, and that makes it impossible for most cubans to repair or repair their homes.
12:24 am
>> to our surprise, we found people living on its top floor. >> we have been living like this for 39 years, every day it gets worse and worse. the building is in shambles and when it rains it floods the apartment. >> danis lives here with her extended family. the sealing and what's left of the shutters can't keep out the water. the side of a crib is now the balcony's railing needed to protect children and their dog. her father-in-law gilo lives here too. >> translator: we are humble and poor people. to fix the balcony costs 2,000 pesoless and where am i going to get that kind of money. we think despite the blows that all the world has given us, we advance fairly well. we get free health care and whoever wants to study can. >> his daughter-in-law disagrees. >> translator: life is hard because your salary isn't enough. if you don't have help from abroad where do you get the
12:25 am
money? everything here is expensive. everybody who lives on a salary lives like this. in cn conditions that aren't evn living. >> most people who have taken advantage of the freedoms are cubans who have relatives in the u.s. who send them money and they are overwhelmingly white. melissa chan went to a neighborhood and what did the people tell you melissa? >> antonio, any time you ask, the opinions will be complicated. the neighborhood we visited, we got people who wore worried about their future. >> he tells us that before the revolution, this area known as el sangito or little swamp was a docking point, for boats belonging to
12:26 am
fulgencio bautista. in el sanguisto it never succeeded. >> the revolution came but we have nothing. >> this is havana that most people don't see. we are told that for years they were promised to improve, but no one ever came. something you notice in el sanguito, how predominantly african it is. one of the things the cuban resolution of revolution has sought to do is establish social equality. el sanguito is evidence of the past. there are others getting rich and others poor. it is a socialist society and all cubans are equal but some appear more equal than others.
12:27 am
the economy is split into two parts, one for private enterprise and such as restaurants. and those who receive remit answers, the main beneficiaries of this society. >> our society is multicultural and multiethnic under white hegemony. >> translator: in the united states racism is obvious, it's out there white and black. but here it's not. here it's not white and black. it's hidden do you know what i mean? it's people's attitudes and prejudices, it's hidden. that's how it is. >> reporter: in cuba, one of the places where after row- row-hispanics see is in music.
12:28 am
>> the source of the distinct rhythms. >> juan believes not only there is equality, after row-cuban culture reigns. >> if you don't hail from the congo, you hail from the caribbean. >> some such as lazaro, just doesn't see a problem. >> translator: for example, i'm a mechanic. >> the benefits of economic liberalization currently concentrated in the tourism industry will leave those without connections behind. doesn't see how his job as a fisherman could possibly benefit in this brave new world. supposedly classless society, already producing winners and losers. >> only the state can judge who
12:29 am
should have more who should have less, there are social differences. >> it's heady days for cuba but away from the city hustle are neighborhoods disconnected from the dream. skim the surface and you'll find discontent. questions about whether change will really finally come. antonio, one thing to keep in mind with this story it's a little sensitive and about race and this is not the society like the united states. there is still no freedom of the press. we have to keep in mind some people may have qualified their true feelings about the racial divide. >> thanks melissa. up next, the entrepreneurs of cuba, we'll have look at the business owners operating in the island's completely economy. and also u.s. businesses, ready to invest in cuba, i'll talk to one person who is ready to make that happen. >> the show's called "third rail". we'll be talking about topics
12:30 am
that you wouldn't ordinarily touch. people are gonna be challenged, we're not gonna take sides... an approach that treats every single player in a particular story equally. it's something fresh and something new.
12:31 am
happen. ♪ ♪ cold war adversaries, bringing a half century standoff to a close. >> the united states has agreed to formally reestablish diplomatic relations with the republic of cuba. >> embassies open in washington and havana. >> cuba's future is for cubans to shape. >> countries separated by 90 miles and decades of mistrust, finally bridge the divide. an al jazeera special report, u.s.-cuba a new era. many things remain to be hashed out, u.s. and cuba are demanding reparations from each
12:32 am
other. lucia newman has that story. >> most of cuba looks like it's frozen in time from the time most of this was owned by american companies, like the sears store and the hotel run by the american mafia. demanding up to $7 billion in compensation. but not to be outdone the cuban government is claiming damages too, to the tune of $100 billion. that's what it says 54 years of u.s. economic sanctions has cost the country. >> translator: for example if you a refinery with u.s. machinery that was paralyzed because we could not buy spare parts, cuba calculates the losses based on the embar go. jackson up prices of everything all of this adds up. >> reporter: cuba is also
12:33 am
claiming assets frozen in u.s. banks after the revolution plus interest. and it blames the u.s. embargo for its dilapidated infrastructure. but while cuban insiders concede $100 billion is an inflated figure, it is a starting point for a negotiated settlement which begins with the lifting of the embargo. >> if the sanctions are not lifted there is a way we can sit down and negotiate this. we are one, going to give you a bill of what you owe us. >> the standoff on who owes what to whom and how much it's worth is not only complicated. it's essential to normalizing bi bilateral relations. the helms burton act, states that all claims must be resolved
12:34 am
before the embargo can be lifted. but cuba has another card up its sleeve, to negotiate a deal in which both sides call it even. >> they have to accept. otherwise there is not going to befully deal. the prize is investment in cuba. >> with diplomatic ties renewed many american companies that were expropriated, were eager to return to the caribbean's largest island. but first drop their acclimation or stay out. lucia newman, al jazeera, havana. >> pedro moved to the united states when he was a 11-year-old when his family left cuba after the revolution. now he heads the international practice of ackerman. and he tells me business is booming. >> everything is lined up on the seashore. i have to tell you it is no exaggeration.
12:35 am
not a day has gone by since may, where somebody wants to understand the limitations under the embargo, speaking engagements, it's absolutely crazy. >> how big are the barriers now? >> they are still substantial. the core of the embargo is law, legislation. the heart is the helms burton but the embargo is also full of holes. some said i.t. has more holes than cheese. you have to know where the holes are so you don't fall into it. >> canadian companies have gone in, can american countries catch up? >> the european companies will be overwhelmed. we will overwhelm them. we are a tsunami of investment and interest and we are 90 miles away. and there are 2 million cuban americans here that can be the ambassadors for both sides. we can be the you know the people that facilitate the business.
12:36 am
>> what will go first? what companies do you think will get into cuba first? >> travel and tourism. that's the low-hanging fruit. that's the easy one. that's easy because i always call travel and tourism is the thing that pulse the cuban train. they have done a little bit in infrastructure. they have hotels. the island is stunningly beautiful. they love americans and they love tourists. >> there are still serious infrastructure problems in cube. >> very serious infrastructure. you name it, they have it. cuba needs to rebuild its power grid, some of the road network needs to be redone. >> without that, how can americans go in that way? >> that's why i say that's the engine that pulls the train. my sense is the impetus from the
12:37 am
u.s. is so tremendous, first to deploy the capital in a market that will be very substantial 90 miles away is so fantastic, that the moment that tourism engine starts priming the pump you're going to see that and of course the conditions are there. the legal conditions and political conditions are there. you're going to see the capital being deployed. >> some cubans are already making business outside the cuban government. melissa chan reports. >> so close and yet so far away. a nation that took a different road from that of the united states and for a time cuba was the romantic vivid poster child for communism. but it became a place frozen in time by an underperforming socialist economy until now. because after decades of decline, cuba it seems is on the
12:38 am
move once again . i first came to cuba 14 years ago. there are more cars on the road, people are better dressed and there are new businesses. a parallel economy has developed. analysts , say that the economy relies in large part on, those who are independents. even the store fronts represent change. until recently, commercial rental space simply didn't exist. >> translator: i would love to see my business grow into a transnational company like at&t. that would be great.
12:39 am
>> before the revolution, julio alvarez torrez's family worked for general motors. more than half a century later, alvarez finds himself working on the same models his father would have worked on. >> imagine how it would be without the embargo. >> he's restored 22 cars and he hopes normalization between the two countries will soon mean he can import spare parts more easily. alvarez fixes cars and his wife drives them. together with other quintapropistas they formed a loose cooperative. >> i love driving, i've always loved driving, he enjoys restoring cars.
12:40 am
that gives us economic benefits and we're happy because of that. >> when asked if he is a capitalist or socialist, al var alvarez says more than anything else, he is tired. >> i have no time to pay attention to anything else but my business. >> from socialism to the drive of capitalism. some might say cuba has had little choice but to do something different but the changes will make, making way in a supposed classless so it. and antonio, one of the reasons i think we wanted to do this story, the changes that will take place because of the united states and cuba having a new relationship, it was important that change has already been taking place on the island. >> it is, an important and now. thank you melissa.
12:41 am
cuba has access to medical care for its citizens but as david ariosto reports, there is little access to treatment for patients. are. >> she refers to her doctors here as saints. >> translator: i'm thankful for cuba's medical care, without it i would have lost my doctor. >> an aggressive form of ocular cancer. they removed the tumor and pronounced her cancer free. she is transported to this eye clink at no charge to her family. jennifer's story is common. >> translator: cuban medicine
12:42 am
is both national and internet. it is a spirit written into our constitution. >> he calls it a model for the world, a system that treats all cubans free. and regularly sends doctors around the globe to help in disasters. >> cuba was already doing well in the '50s relative to the rest of the hemisphere but now, it has brags you know rightfully that it has first world standards in terms of outcomes, educational and health care wise. >> reporter: so how successful is cuba's health program at home? well, the world health organization says life expectancy is close to the u.s. the rate of infant mortality is just under 5 per 1,000 births, better than the u.s. and other bragging rights as well. in june the world health organization declared cuba the world's first country to
12:43 am
eliminate the transmission of syphilis and hiv from mother to child. to have an age free generation. the cutting edge of biotech, recently inventing a therapeutic regimen for lung cancer. hospital in which people often do their residency programs but the criticisms about cuba and its health care, is that physicians who get trained here often don't have the medicines they needed. they often used acupuncture to treat their patients for pain. >> today, shortages persist, for things like aspirin and cough medicine. residents here say they cannot afford even the most basic of
12:44 am
medicines. cubans hope that changes if the embargo ends, allowing much needed medicines to come in. million professionals here make the equivalent of about $30 a month. which means unless things dramatically change the lure of higher salaries from other nations will continue to incent doctors to practice somewhere else. david ariosto, al jazeera, havana, cuba. the subject of one of the world's most ambitious urban renewal plans. >> from going pro, >> i never know that was really a possibility. >> to becoming president of the us tennis association. >> we're about getting rackets in children's hands... >> building the game... >> ...sky's the limit for growing tennis in america. >> and expanding access to play...
12:45 am
>> at the end of the day, it's about the kids... >> every tuesday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping. inspiring. entertaining. "talk to al jazeera". only on al jazeera america.
12:46 am
>> "america tonight" brought you the story that shocked the
12:47 am
♪ ♪ >> how do you save a city, known as the city of columns and the rome of the caribbean, the old city center of havana is a unesco world heritage site. but five decades have taken an incredible toll on the city. one stone at a time havana is being rebuilt but with hundreds of millions of dollars needed,
12:48 am
the future may depend on people from cuba's past. left cuba as a teenager for venezuela. >> i hope the cue an community would want to come back and help recover this country and this city. >> as the head of the cisneros fontanales foundation, based in spain, she has returned to havana as an active patron of the arts and restored a ruined mansion to its former glory. >> i remember ten years ago you would come here and it was a disaster. >> almost five centuries later, havana is still a stunning living museum of architecture, home to spectacular colonial buildings, a city frozen in time. a professor at the university of havana's architecture school. >> translator: havana looks the same as it did 50 years ago.
12:49 am
grand plans to modernize were abandoned and not saving the city from becoming another impersonal cosmopolitan city of glass. >> the flip side is with even limited funds for basic maintenance much of havana's city is crumbling including the fabulous homes and capital and the havana yacht club. in the '80s the city was designated as a world heritage site. but the challenge is massive. something that is evident almost everywhere you look, beautifully restored structures next to condemned ones. >> this city is falling to pieces, every day buildings are collapsing. to see the irreparable loss of history because it's now financially impossible to save it's heartbreaking. >> in many cases painstakingly difficult work is stunning, but in many others, beautification
12:50 am
is only skin deep. facade beautification hides flaws within. concerns are havana may go from not having enough money to too much, too fast. >> translator: on one hand, money from abroad is extremely valuable to save this city but there's also the risk of huge uncontrolled investments and we could lose havana. it's a great risk. >> i've heard they gave the chinese and some other people to build, you know, to come and build 500 room hotels. how is that going to look or how is that going to feel? i'm afraid, yeah, i'm afraid that that might not be the best for cuba. >> remit answers from cubans abroad, and some americans are moving in. airbnb is make it attractive for cubans who can to renovate and
12:51 am
rent to tourists. >> they are improving, we have entrepreneurial spirit. >> a spirit that will be needed to save historic havana. >> so i do think yes that many of the buildings can be recuperated, of course there are others that are going to cost a lot of money to recuperate. but maybe it's worthwhile spending the money and not losing the city. >> so you're hopeful? >> yes, i am, i'm hopeful. >> coming up next, my journey back to the home where my family lived until we left cuba a year and a half after the revolution. >> at one time i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> as the amount of drugs grew, guns came in. >> the murder rate was sky high. >> this guy was the biggest in l.a. >> i was goin' through a million dollars worth of drugs every day - i liked it. it's hard to believe that a friend would set you up. people don't get federal life sentences...
12:52 am
and beat them. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> the cia admitted it.
12:53 am
>> the end of aging. >> eternal youth? >> yeah, not eternal "life"... eternal "youth". >> curing death. >> we're heading from "have and have nots" to a world of "haves" and "super-haves". >> can you afford to live forever? >> what's wrong if rich people got to live longer than poor people? >> that it's no fair. >> "faultlines". >> what do we want? >> al jazeera america's hard-hitting... >> today the will be arrested. >> ground-breaking... >> they're firing canisters of gas at us. >> emmy award-winning, investigative series. >> we have to get out of here. >> cuban ar tiforts have long fought hard for freedom of expression,
12:54 am
back in havana producing works that explore the complicated relationship between united states and cuba. his art challenges the concept of revolution in favor of evolution. >> my name is renee francisco rodriguez, i'm an artist and a professor of fine art. in the late 1980s my work was censored. when artistic expression is censored,s they force it into something new, my work is a reflection of reality, transformation, a time of ambiguity, to measure change. cubans are asking themselves many questions about the meaning of our revolution. the question of where are we going, is at the forefront of our collective thoughts.
12:55 am
we all want change but to where, to what? when we talk about access to money and foreign capital, my generation recalls how tourism was first established here. how foreigners had the able ability to access things that weren't available to ordinary citizens. we saw the difference between one class and another. those who have deepening access, the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer, like we hear in capitalist societies. it is a moment in history when cubans are seeking direction and coming to terms with this new reality. in a society that always taught us to look away from material wealthy, there is a fear that many of us are not prepared to confront the ferocity of full fledged capitalism.
12:56 am
i'm not an economic expert but having traveled to the united states i felt that pressure. a pressure we have never felt before. but then again it's that kind of grow. instead of waiting for the government to provide everything and expect everything to be free. values that are counterproductive to the growth and to the building of a strong nation. i believe now is the time for a new revolution not of guns and war. one to build our nation from the lessons of the past. >> thousands of families in cuba and the united states were touched and even divided by the tensions including mine. so what happens to u.s. cuba relations is deeply personal, as returning to the island where we were born. it was for me. so we're here in the old section
12:57 am
of havana right along the bay here and the malacon and we are headed to the home where i lived as a baby with several generations of my family. and i haven't been there for almost 20 years. >> a lot has changed since my family left cuba in 1960, just after u.s. broke off relations, and the embassy reopening gave me a rare chance to return home. i still know one person who lives in the house. carridad, she worked with my family and never left. she's telling me she's been here all these years. she's been taking care of this house for us, she said. the house was turned into a small school and then the government decided to subdivide it into apartments and there are 11 apartments here now. she's telling me that these days they really maintain the house, the government is involved, they want to keep it up because it's a historic house and they want to make sure that it's in the tourist area that it really
12:58 am
shows off havana in a positive light. caridad's daughter marisa offered to give me a tour. for decades the house decayed, the salt from the sea air taking its toll. >> it's breaking down, falling apart and this was -- this was a stained glass window and i guess some of the molding is still left around the window but as you can see most of the rest is falling apart. ironically even though this is stained this is still a beautiful marble. maybe this could be cleaned some day. on the second floor we ran into another tenant. he lives, turns out that he lives in my room when i was a child. and he's going to show us. >> a room i hadn't seen since i was 2.
12:59 am
so i guess this is where i slept as a child. only then did he learn who i was. what followed was a revealing moment about how cubans see those who left. i pray a lot for your family, he said, whispering, come back and buy this. before leaving we shared family photos. caridad was most excited to see a picture of my mom in miami. 55 years apart despite living little more than 200 miles away. that's it for this special report, u.s.-cuba, a new era. i'm antonio mora, thanks for watching. good-bye from havana.
1:00 am
>> hungary's border, as europe warns the refugee crisis could go on for years. also on the program, two british isil fighters are killed in the first air strike. and are you younger than you think? how to tell your biological age through a single blood test.

17 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on