tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg November 29, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
>> from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> good evening, i am jeffrey goldberg. i'm filling in for charlie. fidel castro died on friday. he first came to power as a passionate guerrilla leader. to many it was his fixation on the united states that defined the spirit of his rebellion. his defiance around the world made him a powerful symbol of revolution. a fierce champion of cuban nationalism.
he remained a controversial future, at once fear and criticized. for hundreds of thousands of americans of cuban descent he , was a symbol of tyranny and oppression. although normalize relations in in 2015, his death leaves an uncertain future for cuba and its relationship with america. we begin with an update from charlie, who is on the ground in cuba. to deceive. you don't look like you are on the ground, you look like you are way up in the air. charlie: resistance of sadness, has passed a huge footprint in cuba but also someone who is the leader of a small caribbean nation. he had a global profile. everybody understands that. he was in a sense the poster person for the revolutionary that influenced so many people in latin america.
who wanted to change their own country whether in his image or somebody else's image. that image that he carefully created survived until the day that he died. even though he was 90. they are set about that. -- they are sad about that. there are many people who believe that he was a tyrant. but he was doing things that my limited human rights. things that showed no respect for political opposition. jeffrey: i want to get your memories of fidel castro in a minute. talk to me for a moment about whether this death has more than symbolic significance. what you can pick up on the street, from the people you are talking to, does this herald a new era of openness or what are you expecting?
charlie: i think that will come after raul leaves power in 2018. then you will have more of a sense of it when both castro's will be dead. he is 85. i think he is therefore economic change. certainly not for political change. we have seen this come up in russia, china, this duality between having to choose if you're going to emphasize economic change, some kind of modified capitalism or mixed economy. or are you going to change the politics of the company they did in russia. that decision has not been made. raul castro made it clear that he is opposed to anything that the party would not be in control. i think after he leaves power, you will see a more great reckoning of where cuba will go.
jeffrey: what is the most interesting thing your member about fidel castro? charlie: he cultivated his reputation as a revolutionary. he and che cabrera where the poster children for revolution. there were 6 million people when he took over and 11 million today. he had a global reputation. he made himself into a global figure. the exported revolution of latin america. he was a hero to hugo chavez. and others. at the same time, he was involved in africa to fight wars of liberation. we can forget the -- can't forget the bay of pigs was a real failure. then inviting the russians to put nuclear weapons in there.
about the closest confrontation with have ever had in the history of nuclear weapons to a possible dramatic confrontation. that took place between russia and the united states in 1962. jeffrey: one what thing, i am wondering if people in cuba and havana know what is happening in miami. there have been demonstrations and even some celebrations of his death. i'm wondering if that is penetrating the consciousness of charlie: my guess is that it is. my guess is that they do know. there is a sense of how miami has been connected to cuba since the revolution took place. all the people who went to miami and all of those who come back to cuba now that they have access to come back. a lot of them send money back. i am sure that they are aware of what is happening there.
i know that some of them have probably seen the front page of the miami herald. there was a picture of fidel castro that said dead. an entire picture covered the entire front page. it has gotten some attention. they know about dancing in the streets. i heard someone say today, they saw someone dancing who they were surprised to see. it was the son of a friend. jeffrey: the biggest question for you is if raul castro will ever give an interview? will he ever open up to the american media? charlie: you can't try any harder than i am trying. [laughter] jeffrey: thanks very much for trying. charlie: thanks very much for sitting in. ♪
jeffrey: joining me now is jorge dominguez. he is a professor of government at harvard university. with me in washington is a senior analyst at the senior security our site -- security archive. joining me also is is a living scholar on cuban-american relations. she is a cbs news analyst. i'm pleased to have them on this program. welcome to you all. jorge, i would like to start
with you if you don't mind. when we first heard the news on late friday, early saturday, it struck me immediately that this might mark the end of the 20th century. it has huge symbolic power. does it have anything more than symbolic power? does it mean anything for cuban-american relations? jorge: yes, it is the end of the 20th century. the end of the 20th century came a little too late. fidel had not had a role in government since he went into the hospital 10 years ago in 2006. one way to think about his significant is really powerful, and how he really did shave many d whoseevents of the worl
inheritors we are is to very quickly think back. supposed he had died in a year, not 2016, but earlier. in 1966, he was preparing to go to start a revolution in bolivia. he was supporting revolutionaries across most of latin america. in 1976, he deployed tens of thousands of troops across the atlantic ocean on cuban ships. non-soviet ships, to defeat a south african invasion. in 1986, he was the commander in chief of cuban armies in angola and ethiopia. he has a deployed to cuban troops to another dozen countries all over the world. he was beginning to break with gorbachev, who he thought was too much of a reformist. in 1996, he ordered the cuban
air force to shoot down two unarmed planes over the streets of florida, and brought president clinton close to that the u.s. air force should bomb an airfield. by 2006, all of that is in the past. cuba is now a much less significant country. by the time he dies in 2016, fidel is mainly a symbol of the 20th century. the one bit of impact he continued to have these as a resistor. someone that did not look well upon president obama's visit to havana in march of 2016. immediately after obama left, he criticized it in public. something he had really not done while his brother raul had been
president. he became not only assembled but -- the simple, but the practical containf the attempt to the possible impact of the obama policy change inside of cuba. it has been a important theme in cuban politics and u.s. cuban relations during the course of 2016. jeffrey: before we go to the issue of cuban relations, i want to come back to the table and ask both of you who knew fidel castro very well. what jorge is elaborating on is a man who was punching way above his weight. my question for both of you is if you could explain the mystery of fidel castro's relevance. when we start with you julia?
julia: i don't think it is so mysterious except that in world history a figure comes along in , history who is much larger than his or her status or country. jeffrey: cuba is a very small country. julia: cuba is a very small country. he has been notoriously ambitious. he took office in 1959 when he was 32. he was in politics since his early 20's. 70 years of putting himself on the political stage in cuba. doing it in a very high-risk way as well. jeffrey: what was it about him that made him want to insert himself into the course of world history? again punching way above his , weight? julia: i don't know it was answerable. it was in his dna. he was born that way. he was fixated as a young channel dish as a young child with the united states. the relationship with the united states was formative, not antagonistic. we have letters from him when he writes to fdr as a 12-year-old. he came here on his honeymoon.
[indiscernible] [laughter] he campaigned in new york city and washington dc to raise money for cuban-americans. jeffrey: was it a love-hate relationship? or a hate-hate relationship? jorge: no, it was an effort to bring cuba out of the thumb of the united states of america. he was insulted how the united states had turned cuba into a playground for the rich and famous. a corporate stronghold, the cubans themselves did not have their own independence for their own self-determination. and he let the revolution to make that happen. that will be his most significant recklessly. test significant legacy. he took a regular sized caribbean island and made it a major player on the world stage far beyond its geographic size and location.
it would also help propel him. if in 59, if he had accepted aid from richard nixon and begun to be ignored by the trappings of u.s. power, he would have started to disappear. the antagonism helped him. jeffrey: talk about the legacy of this man. there are a lot of cuban-americans who believe that his legacy, what he will be remembered for is tyranny. how do you feel that the history will be written of this man? you very rarely see a subject who provokes such strong emotion.
how do you think this is going to be remembered? when the history of this relationship and revolution are written? jorge: i think your introduction put it well. your question now reaffirms it. this was a polarizing figure. for some, he was a hero. or others, he was a demon. that two part assessment should make it a good history book. in 1953, after he was captured, his first major attempt at overthrowing the batista government. i had never seen the original, but the edited transcript of his speech with words that have appeared in a number of obituaries. "you can condemn me, it doesn't matter, history will absolve
me." in my own sense, i would not also have. -- not absolve him. many of the deeds that he committed were needless acts of abuse of power, of human rights violations, of imprisoning the 1960's forin their crimes of opinion and dissociation. forholding them in prison very long times, when none of that was really necessary to consolidate power. jeffrey: do you think history will absolve him of some of the crimes he has committed? julia: no. this is a rorschach. if you are a peasant in the countryside of cuba and you are 85 years old today, and you have a daughter or son that is ahead of the ob/gyn clinic at the most important hospital in havana, this is not a demon, this is a
person who changed you and your family's life. if you are someone that had the property nationalized, their parents put in jail, the dark side of that treatment of the revolution, of course there is a far darker interpretation that does not absolve. it will never be only one thing. jorge: let me breaking for a second. that is why the best thing we can do for anyone who is viewing it is to try to keep these complex and contradictory ideas in mind because they are both true. jeffrey: he will have multiple legacies. no doubt about it. it will depend on the experience that people had with him and in cuba where you stand politically and view the whole issue of socialism and revolution versus
capitalism, and the traditional definition of democracy. one of that is david versus goliath, the guy who stood up to the hegemonic power in the region. he really became a hero to a lot of latin americans in the third world. i want to be clear that even though people think that his up to is that he stood the united states and defined them to the end, the declassified documents we were able to obtain for our book showed that he up to the united states wanted normale relations with the united states going all the way back to august 1961. jeffrey: our general understanding is that he has not been happening with the normalization process that his brother is undertaking with barack obama. how do you explain that? jorge: it is hard to know. he was 89 years old when he wrote that statement. he may have not liked what obama said.
the cuban pressthe cuban press g headline where obama said we should forget the past, where obama actually said we should set aside the past to move forward. fidel wanted to hold on to the glory of the cuban revolution. julia: he also liked americans. when he was in power and after, he played host to hundreds and hundreds of americans. jeffrey: i should point out he played host to the two of us for a week in 2010. [laughter] jeffrey: julie and i went with the kennedy family. are you ordering that he wanted respect and recognition? his talk,, looking at he walked but reciprocity he , wanted to be treated as equal. he wanted to be regarded as much larger than the size of the platform of cuba. jeffrey: i need to point out
that this is a man who in the cuban missile crisis asked to watch the nuclear annihilation of the united states. julia: what did he tell you about that? jeffrey: he told me in 2010 that it was a bit too much, his biggest never mind moment in history. . you can say that he liked the united states. julia: he liked americans. jeffrey: he would kill americans in the course of nuking the united states. julia: complex. jorge: let me be the appearance the story in and say that if cuba is attacked by the united states, that would be a preload to a nuclear attack on the soviets, and that they should fire first. that is what he said. jeffrey: therefore khrushchev did the right thing by not launching a nuclear attack.
at the beginning of their terms, saying they would like to have better relations. we want those relations on the basis of mutual respect and sovereignty. he did that for two important reasons. one, he was a realist and he knew cuba would be better off not living under the threat of u.s. aggression forever. even though he used that politically, he felt that he did not want to have his country treated that way.
jorge: i think he did in fact thrive with u.s. opposition. this is a president of cuba who translated the act that try to consolidate the embargo into spanish and it read over radio had it read over radio and television, it was so scary for ordinary cubans who thought they would be evicted from their homes, it was helpful to fidel to have this kind of u.s. law. even though every president since that time, clinton, bush and obama had authority under the law to cancel it. he did benefit from this incredibly stupid behavior. it helped him politically at home.
one element of his problem-solving could be involved with a trump presidency. no one could be a better ally in policy toward migration is in the cuban government. that is thanks to the agreement that cuba and the united states reached, whereby the cuban surenment tries to make from abody steals a boat cuban harbor. that when the qs coast guard picks them up to florida, the coast guard cutter sails back into a cuban harbor and is well received.
if you are dumb of john, looking for an example of unruly the overarching question is this does the obama presageg to cuba dissolution of single party communist rule on the island or has it acquiesced to single party communist rule? in washington that you hear both arguments, that it has strengthened raul castro, or that this remains impossible for
people to remain a close society. when obama went to cuba in march, raul castro was sitting almost in front of him in the balcony. he looked right at him and said what we have been trying to do in cuba for 55 years was not working. it did not work. he came to the conclusion that all this effort to pressure and twist cuba to implode back to revolution did not help anybody. certainly not the cuban people's interests. certainly not the interests in the region. some people in the cuban government interpreted it that way. we know that the u.s. negotiating team meeting with the cuban team with secret talks, they arrived at this point of improving relations and
said we will move forward with normalizing relationships and changing policies. we think that eventually this will have an impact on your society, culturally and politically. but that is not our goal necessarily. we have a goal to have normal, civil relations. we think it is an cuba's best interest. julia: cuba has changed before the obama initiative. 2010, the to proliferation of cell phones, social media, expansion of wi-fi, each of which seems quite limited, is becoming more and more widespread. jeffrey: it is still very limited. julia: go and find a cuban that does not have a cell phone. it has jumped up massively. in addition to the internet's social media, telephone issue. we have half a million people in cuba off the state payroll who have opened up small businesses, who are accumulating capital,
pursuing market capitalism. we have the demographics of cuba changing quite radically. in a problematic way for raul castro, what he needs to do is keep young people with their education on the island. we have cubans traveling back and forward on the island. we have access that didn't previously exist. americans were visiting there and cubans were coming here. we have a more open society. i have been traveling to cuba for 30 years. it is a more open society in terms of speech and expression in the last 30 years. that inexorably is going to lead to political change and social change already. the idea of a single party, to your initial question, that dates back pre 1959. how does the cuban national narrative relates to what is
coming out of washington? let me frame the question this way -- do you think that in five or 10 years that if the openness continues, do you think that in five or 10 years that if the openness continues, does single party communist rule continue? or will it be inundated? will it undermine the bay of pigs? by fidel castro was a smart man he went the -- who had the pulse of the people of cuba. he understood the obama visit in march very well. the reason he was worried and the reason he criticized the obama visit and the reason he made sure that the cuban press began to convey a very different images that obama did a terrific job.
it was a wonderful speech, very well delivered. the management of the visit in it totality was impressive. all of a sudden, the last prop that might justify authoritarian practices, the permanent and -- toward the united states was gone. i think he understood that well, i think he wanted to remind cubans that the enemy was still there. whether the enemy is or is not donald trump, i don't know but that is the next topic. jeffrey: one final question for you all. this is a donald trump question. he just tweeted today if cuba is , unable to make a better deal, for the cuban people, the cuban-american people in the u.s. i will terminate the deal. , it is not entirely clear to me what deal he is talking about but what can donald trump do
once he becomes president to reverse what obama and castro did? peter: he could easily resend the executive orders, open travel, he could close the portals of commerce between the united states and cuba that obama has opened up. and worst of all, he could use his bully pulpit, he will be the most bully of all presidents. the cubans will react extremely negatively. there is one thing in history that cuba relations have shown. with all these 11 presidents that fidel almost outlasted it's , that cuba does not respond to bullying and demands and does not make concessions. progress made under obama is
under a dire threat at this jeffrey: how powerful is donald point. trump to reverse everything that obama did? i find donald trump's opening his rhetoric to be confusing. this is a business guy, a hotel guy. he is a capitalist. he will reawaken the hard-line opposition inside of cuba. represented by fidel to this opening by continuing this aggressive top. i have to wait and see because i think he will come under some pressure in january when he takes office to take a look at all of the commercial ties that are beginning to go into cuba from the united states. and see if perhaps we ought to split it a bit. jorge, only looking at a donald trump presidency where we are confronting cuba?
or is he building golf courses in guantanamo bay? where are we heading? jorge: i do not know. if i knew, i assure you i would be a very happy camper. what could the president of the united states, do by executive authority? he could stop the agricultural exports to cuba authorized by -- over $5 billion authorized by george bush. they all come from republican states in the midwest. he could authorize stopping collaboration with cuban security forces to prevent drug trafficking through cuban air and space and facilitate drug traffickers entering the united states in that way. he could stop u.s. cuban military collaboration and the perimeter of the u.s. base in
guantanamo and make it easier to prisoners in guantanamo flee into cuba. he could stop the migration agreement that lasted clinton, bush and obama and therefore stop cuba from enforcing a child -- the trump-preferred u.s. migration policy. there is a lot that the president of the united states can do. i don't think the president trump will do any of that. i think therefore there is a pretty solid rock underneath u.s.-cuban relations, no matter what the rhetoric says. jeffrey: thank you so much. thank you to all of you. ♪ jeffrey: we continue with ben
rhodes, the deputy for strategic communications. it thank you for being on the show. is about to be sent off to his final farewell, who will be representing the united states at this funeral and procession? >> we not into spreading a large presidential delegation. he was an extraordinary controversial figure.
we do have an embassy functioning in havana and we have enough cash a there. he will be representing us -- and we have an attache representing us. you are the architect of the opening to cuba, you have an insight into every corner of this. why did obama not see fidel castro? your brother saying, best not to poke that there -- bear? ben: he was going to see him as part of protocol. they wanted to normalize the relationship. that was raul castro. second, fidel castro raises
difficult emotions among cuban-americans, many who suffered personally because of the policies he pursued. we put cuban americans at the central on our policy. is not without controversy, but nowhere near that of the dell. --fidel. jeffrey: let me ask you about this. the president issued, as soon as we heard of fidel castro's death. he issued a statement that was remarkably anodyne he has been a , confrontation with the united states for so long. let me read you a part of what the president said. we know that this moment bills ls cubans with powerful emotions. he altered lives of families in the cuban nation. remarkably neutral language. and you have taken some heat for that neutral language. you just talked about the fact that many cubans and cuban-americans suffered under this man's dictatorial rule.
tell me about the thinking behind the statement and how you respond to the criticism that you were not acknowledging the crimes of fidel castro and standing in solidarity with cuban-americans who suffered under his rule? ben: everything we have done is about trying to put the past in the past. the degree to which we are perpetuating the conflict with cuba stirring the pot with cuba , and fighting old battles only supports our hard-liners in cuba who reject any opening to the united states. we want to look forward. that is in our interest. if we want to promote things like the empowerment of the cuban people, a better life for the cuban people that is best , served by not looking backwards, but by looking forwards. it would play into the wrong hands to essentially be shadowboxing history. jeffrey: your theory is that fidel castro would have wanted a condemnatory statement from an
american president? ben he tried on conflict with : the united states. even after obama was down there, he gave a robust speech. including a defense of our values, he criticized obama's trip down there. he has not been perfectly aligned with his brother in his view of normalization with the united states. jeffrey: nevertheless, d.c. why cuban-americans will look at that statement and say, you could've said more about our personal suffering? how could that have ruined the relationship between the two countries? ben we have been very : disappointed about not only into a trap that we are arguing about history with the cubans. that is an argument that has no end. it only serves those in cuba who want to take a hard line about the united states. i have spent a lot of time with cuban-americans in miami, every step of this process. including those who are critical and supportive. they understand our approach, to create as many openings as possible for commerce, travel,
people getting into cuba. including cuban-americans who can send money down to cuba to have seed money for small businesses. many cuban american elected officials including marco rubio have criticized the , the cubanroach approach by the obama administration saying that you , are not taking into account the human rights violations. how do you respond to that? ben: where did their approach get us for decades? we were getting nowhere. it is not as of the cuban government was about to collapse because of the embargo. we were isolated because of the embargo. we were isolated from the cuban people and the rest of the world. if you look at the progress we have made in just two years in terms of the increase of cubans that are self-employed and american businesses operating down there, and travel -- jeffrey: have you seen any actual political openings? greater freedom of speech, access to the internet?
ben: i'm a democrat who is saying that the empowerment i am seeing is there are a number of cubans who are self-employed. they went from roughly 10% to under a third under this administration. those are people who now control the bread that they put on the table. there is increasing internet access and travel to cuba that is bringing new ideas and the connectivity to the world. absolutely there are huge human rights concerns in cuba. i would argue to my republican friends that there is empowerment that comes from economic liberty and economic interconnectivity with the rest of the world. turning that off only hurts the cuban people. jeffrey: you are the american official and a couple of generation that knows the cuban system the best at this you point. spent endless hours of negotiation over there. is it true that raul castro was in effect, waiting for his brother to pass the scene before he embarks on greater openness?
was a living fidel castro a spectre over his brother that was holding back progress? fade as a factor in his last year? ben: here is what we know, after raul castro came into power cubans were permitted to , travel up of the island. there was a liberalization there , incremental to their economy, and there was an agreement to establish diplomatic relationships with the united states. these are all moves that are dramatic reforms, even if they seem incremental to us. we also know fidel was the leading skeptic of normalization to the united states. we know this because he said it himself. jeffrey: you think there is a huge difference between fidel castro and his younger brother? then: i do not want to understated. they certainly agree about more than i would.
there is no question that raul castro has taken a much more pragmatic approach to many issues. they need to allow foreign firms to hire cubans, and things with their currency that would make a difference in the lives of ordinary cubans. what we also know is that this is the beginning of the readership transition in cuba. raul castro says he will step aside next year. we should do what we can to empower reform in cuba. if we shut the door right now, all it does is to incentivize us to turn back the clock. jeffrey: this sounds like the conversation we had about iran. another country that president obama tried to open for america. but we did get the nuclear deal. there is a discourse in iran that there are moderates and hard-liners. we should align with the moderates and help them. one of the ways to help them is not by provoking the hard-liners. is that the model that you're using in cuba? we have not seen that work in
iran yet. what makes you think that will work in cuba? ben: there are three countries i have worked on. they have had three degrees of change. there is a decision by the government to change their political model. they have democratic elections. that is a huge change. in cuba, the government decided to change their relationship with us. they decided to establish to the medic relations even with the embargo in place. in iran, they made a decision to have a nuclear deal. full-scale political change. in cuba, the deliberate change of establishing a relationship with us. in iran, it was restricted to the nuclear deal. i do believe our engagement have to seek to support those who are promoting reform, and greater connectivity to us and the rest of the world.
if we pull back, we know what will happen. we know that there are hard-liners in this country who thrive on having perpetual conflict with the united states. jeffrey: let's use a couple countries that are analog to this. vietnam and china, fully capitalist societies in many ways that remain under single party communist rule. do you anticipate cuba going that route? the market will open but they will have power over speech, politics, the press? or do think that there are some fundamental differences between what happened in vietnam, china and cuba? ben: they would love to open up to their economy and political system. but none have said they would like to have private ownership of newspapers? ben: no they are very upfront , about that. what we are also very upfront about is that china is a country
of 1.3 billion people on the other side of the world. cuba is 90 miles from florida with an enormously successful diaspora community in florida. they want to support values like freedom of expression. i think that to compare china to cuba, it is beyond apples and oranges. it is 1.3 billion people. to just over 10 million people. far away, to just over 90 miles from florida. the other thing i would say is that some of the same people who draw these comparisons to criticize our policies and that they don't seem to have a problem that we have an ambassador in china. we have trade with china. cuba that says we should have no trade or commerce. telling americans they cannot even travel somewhere they do not want to go. we would not tell americans that they cannot travel to china because it is a one-party state. jeffrey: to put it bluntly,
carnival cruise ships, is that they about regime change? do you want to see regime change in cuba brought about through openness? our policy is not to impose regime change on cuba. i believe the cubans should decide who they want to lead. the problem we have gotten into in the past, we wanted to dictate from here who runs cuba. honest about the fact that we have a bad history in that regard. -- thata constitution allows us to overthrow the government whenever we want to. that is wrong. we'll support the process of democracy in cuba. we appear to want to inflict regime change. what do i believe as more cruise lines are going down there, there will be an exchange of ideas. they will be an exchange of resources and ultimately the
cuban people will be in a better position to make decisions about their own future with that connectivity. jeffrey: you're the greatest expert in the u.s. government on the internal cuban system. how far do you think the intelligence community in cuba, to hermetically sealed sealed -- seal off cubans from their cuban-american cousins? who are coming over with not only material products but with ideas? ben: they want to maintain control of the politics in their country. on the other hand, they need revenue. the only way that they can do that to sustain the system is through an opening to the united states and the rest of the world. i believe that ultimately the incentive for change lead raul castro to take a step that he has always taken. in some ways, he has already
gone down a path where their revenue model depends on international engagement. international travel. that is ultimately going to be a magnet for them to make needed reforms starting in the economy. economic reforms breed interconnectivity, breed internet access, access to new ideas from people who are traveling there. i think that will put cuban people in the position -- jeffrey: any chance that communist party will be subsumed by a multiparty democracy with a free market system? any chance of that? isn't that what president obama wants? want a multiparty democracy in any country. there is a u.s. policy that we wait and squeeze. we just hope that that will bring about change. we have tested that and it failed. i believe we are better position to influence the direction that cuba takes if we are engaged in there on the ground. if we wait and squeeze it is
easier for them to hermetically seal the country. jeffrey: when you did engage, you did not distract from the jails. what did you get in terms of human rights from the cuban government in response to your offer to reopen diplomatic relations? ben: they released 53 people from prison they allowed a , number of high-profile prisoners to travel. that is 53 more people who would not have gotten out of prison otherwise. beyond that they have increased , internet connectivity. but they also did was agreed to establish diplomatic relationships with us. they agreed to this process of normalization were now we have agencies who are down there on the ground working with them. we have businesses like cisco who has a tech academy down there. you have a cuban cancer vaccine in critical -- clinical trial in the united states. this step they have taken toward normalization with us and the rest of the world is going to be
beneficial for human rights in the long run. ultimately, this is a long game. sitting back and squeezing will not achieve our objective. but commerce, the free flow of information, that is ultimately going to be empowering. i have two statements in front of me. one is by president obama. thethe other is by president-elect on the death of fidel castro. no one would confuse one for the other. president-elect trump stated that the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppress his own people for nearly six decades, he had firing squad, death, unimaginable suffering and human -- and denial of human rights. he tweeted that unless we can strengthen the deal, he does not define what it is he's going to , revisit the deal. he has spoken very harshly about the policies of the obama administration on cuba. what can he do? you are inside the white house, you understand how this works.
what can he do to reverse course? what are you doing right now, what is your president doing to make sure that he can't reverse course? i assume that you consider this to be a signature foreign-policy achievement and you don't want it undone on january 21. ben: you know as an executive of determination, we have cooperation with cuba. jeffrey: donald trump could break relations with cuba. ben: he could. the opening that we have made on travel, commerce, those are regulatory changes. it took a very long time for us to write those regulations. they are not written by the white house, they are written by professionals. that is a much more time-consuming process. what i would say is that we are trying to demonstrate the value of the policy. having an embassy puts us in a stronger spot. closing the embassy would
self-evidently harm american interest. we have the first direct flights to havana. telling americans who bought tickets to cuba that there tickets are canceled, it doesn't strike me as a good idea. american businesses have begun to operating cuba. terminating that business would not be in our interest. there is a clinical trial for a cancer vaccine with a cuban drug that is taking place in new york state. terminating a trial on a cancer vaccine does not strike me as a good idea. what we're trying to show is that there are benefits to the united states to keeping this opening. this has transformed the standing of the united states and latin america. we heard from our friends in latin america that we made it harder for them. we had elevated the standing in the region that has never been the case before. that has that concrete results of the columbia peace deal.