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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  December 17, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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happy holiday season to all of you. today is the first day of hanukkah, and i guess so far it's the best hanukkah that i'll be celebrating for a long time. what a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country and thank you, president obama, for everything that you have done today and leading up to today. i want to acknowledge the extraordinary determined efforts of my wife, judy. 44 1/2 years we've been married. i know you're not 44 1/2 anymore and my lawyer and personal moses, scott gilbert. and their efforts to restore my freedom. they have my endless gratitude, love and respect. the relentless and often intense efforts by judy and scott, the
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partners and associates and staff of gilbert llp law firm, that's where we are right now, they made me take the jacket off. i didn't want to take it off but they said i had to take it off. tim from capitol hill, jill, their efforts have been inco inconceivabl inconceivable. senator patrick leahy, and i want to thank all of the members of congress from all sides of the aisle such as senator flake, and numerous others who spoke up or visited me, subjected themselves to my ranting and helped me regain some of my weight. even in cuba, m & ms melt in your mouth and not in your hands. to all of those who tried to
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visit me but were unable to, thank you for trying. i am at your service as soon as i get some new teeth and i hope that they'll be strong and sharp enough to make a difference. to the washington jewish community, ron in particular and his staff at the jewish community relations council, jcrc, all of the executive directors, staff and volunteers of participating jcrcs, synagogues, schools and other jewish, christian and muslim organizations nationwide, god bless you and thank you. it was crucial to my survival knowing that i was not forgotten. your prayers and your actions have been comforting, reassuring and sustaining. and to my extended family, especially my sister, bonnie, my cousins and friends, howard,
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bruce, and so many others who exemplify the true meaning of friendship. thank you. i do understand that there are many others who actively participated in securing my freedom of whom i'm only nominally aware at this juncture. i promise i will express a more personal gratitude as soon as i know who you are. ultimately the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the oval office. to president obama and the staff, thank you. in my last letter i wrote that despite my five-year tenure in captivity, i would not want to trade places with him and i certainly wouldn't want to trade polices with him on this glorious day. five years of isolation notwithstanding, i did not need
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daily briefings to be cognizant of what are undoubtedly incredible challenges facing our nation and the global community. i also feel compelled to share with you my utmost respect for and fondness of the people of cuba. in no way are they responsible for the ordeal to which my family and i have been subjected. to me, most are incredibly kind, generous and talented. it pains me to see them treated so unjustly as a consequence of two governments mutually opposing policies. i hope we can get beyond these
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policies and i was very happy to hear what the president had to say today. it was particularly cool to be setting next to the secretary of state as he was hearing about his job description for the next couple of months. in all seriousness, this is game changer. which i fully support. in the meantime, i ask that you respect my wishes for complete and total privacy. a lesson i learned from this is that freedom is not free and as personified by scott and our entire team, we must never forget the two pillars of moses covenant, freedom and responsibility. i'm incredibly blessed finally to have the freedom to resume a positive and constructive life
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but for now i'll close with a quote. "it's good to be home." thank you and i wish you all a happy holiday season. thank you. i support the president. thanks very much. >> all right. just wanted to hang in there to see if he would answer any questions. imagine that room there all of the members of the media, cameras going off, finally really witnessing history. this is a man, alan gross, standing finally by his wife, judy's side, after five years in prison in cuba serving five of his 15 year sentence for trying to bring the internet and go around the cuban blockade and bring the jewish community internet.
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we're watching history in the making. the united states and cuba after 50 years of ill will and resentment have pledged to bury the hatchet. american alan gross imprisoned by cuba for the last five years as of late this morning and as you heard him speak for the first time back on u.s. soil. his release by cuba paved the way for this monumental shift aimed at full restoration of diplomatic ties, the mere mention of which is political dynamite among cubans exiles. you heard alan gross thanking the oval office sealing the deal in his phone call with cuba's president and announced it to the nation two hours ago. >> i've instructed secretary kerry to remain communication with cuba. going forward, the united states will reestablish an embassy in havana and high ranking
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officials will visit cuba. >> let me repeat. we are talking half a century of strife that started in earnest with the cuban missile crisis which was about as close as the world had ever come to full on nuclear war. we're also talking about the castro support from revolutions in latin america and then we recall the journeys across the florida straits of cubans seeking freedom on u.s. soil and the angry official attacks such as this one uttered after cuba downed a small aircraft whose cuban pilot was trying to defect. >> this is cowardice. >> reflective there of u.s./cuba relations. for as long as anyone can remember and today, mark this date, december 17th, 2014, it changes everything. lots and lots to talk about
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here. we have senator bill nelson, democrat of florida joining me now from orlando. senator, wonderful to have you on. thanks for joining me. >> it's a hallelujah day not only for alan but we know have two americans home in that exchange and then a whole bunch of other things are going to happen in the future as you just heard. >> let me get to the other things in a second. first, senator, i would love to hear your gut reaction to seeing mr. gross there almost jovial cracking jokes here. he's been in a prison for five years. he's back on u.s. soil. he's got his popcorn and his corn beef and rye sandwich on the plane. what did you make of what we just witnessed there? >> just amazing. the american spirit is alive and well even though they subjected him to such brutal conditions.
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so this is a hallelujah day. by the way, when he gets around to finding out about all of those people that helped, the president of haiti at my request went in a state visit to raul castro and asked for castro -- this was a couple years ago -- to release him and at that point castro told him we want to talk to the u.s. government. so indeed there were a lot of people that were helping out. >> you know, i hear you singing hallelujah. a couple republicans aren't. you have senator marco rubio. it's a lifeline for the castro regime allowing them to become more profitable. jeb bush, i don't think we should negotiate with an oppressive regime to make changes in our relationship. senator graham, this is an
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incredibly bad idea. what's your take on that? >> well, i am as anti-castro as any of them. i think this is a step in the right direction. it's time for us in the 21st century to move on, but this, of course, is conditioned upon raul's willingness to give freedom to the cuban people. now, he released some dissidents. we're going to start these negotiations about recognizing cuba. let's see if he's going to give freedom of speech and of the press and freedom of assembly. let's see if this really happens. and if so, there will be an economic renaissance between the united states and cuba and especially my state of florida. >> it's incredible to think. my mother grew up in miami. incredible to think of what her
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generation witnessed and the changing of the tide but the other part of the story that fascinates me, i watched raul castro's address and president obama's address, i understand the pope was involved. the vatican, senator nelson, facilitated some of these talks. can you tell anymore about the involvement of pope francis and do you help that gives -- we mentioned criticism -- political cover for president obama? >> the pope was. i have that on direct information. and again, it's showing what an extraordinary man this new pope is. not only is he remaking the catholic church, but he's really putting his efforts at peace where his mouth is and he's making it happen. and now we need to turn to the middle east and on and on on many other troubled spots in the
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world. >> final question, senator, from all of the people asking me on twitter, when can everyone finally go to cuba? >> well, give secretary kerry some time to negotiate this. let's see if they are genuine in the cuban government that they're going to start giving freedom to their people. and then we can start going to cuba. >> all right. senator bill nelson from florida, thank you so much, sir, for joining me today on this historic moment. part of the history here, we have our chief washington correspondent and host of "the league" jake tapper standing outside of where that news conference just took place. you saw alan gross and his wife with your own eyes. what was that history in the room like? >> reporter: it was a very special moment. alan gross in the united states for a few hours. he came into the room and the first thing he did after
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remarking on all of the reporters who were there to cover his return, his release from a cuban prison, was he noticed that there were two american flags behind the podium and he looked over and he touched one of them. i guess it had probably been the first time he touched or seen an american flag in more than five years other than on the plane he was on perhaps this morning. he seemed remarkably composed as you heard. and then there was another thing we had been told about by the family spokesman, that he had lost several teeth, especially some of his front teeth, while in captivity. we were told that ahead of time. he gave the crowd a big smile after noting that he needed to go to the dentist. he had a litany of people that he thanked as you heard. obviously president obama, his wife, his attorney, members of congress who had been working hard, the jewish community,
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which had been working hard. he noted today was the first day of hanukkah and he wished the crowd a happy holidays several times and he talked about the remarkable moment he had today after he had landed while he was at andrews joint air base today and meeting with members of congress who were there, senators and members of the house of representatives. coincidentally, secretary of state john kerry landed at andrews and -- >> that wasn't preplanned, right? >> reporter: no. that was a coincidence. and kerry went into the building, gave him a big hug, and this was right around noon and then they sat on the couch and watched president obama announce this new cuba policy and gross joked that he was watching secretary of state kerry learn from his boss what he was going to be doing for the next few months and he firmly
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said he supported the new policy. in fact, he referred at one point to criticizing both the united states and cuban governments policies towards one another, which had hurt the cuban people, and he made sure to thank the cuban people, most of whom he said he loved. >> he said he had the utmost respect and fondness for the people of cuba. thank you so much in washington there. and as you can imagine, given this story today, the reaction is pouring in in havana. we have the only tv correspondent there live. we'll talk to him next. my name's louis,
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you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll talk to someone in havana, cuba, in just a minute. but first the holiday comedy that's turning into a nightmare for sony pictures. some chains are now taking them up on not showing the interview. >> you two are going to be in a
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room with kim and cia would love it if you could fake him out. >> huh? >> take him out. >> for coffee. >> for dinner? >> the seth rogan/james franco movie has raised hackles in north korea and put sony at the mercy of hackers threatening people who go see this film. at least two theater chains we know of at this moment are pulling the film. that obviously could change any second. the country's oldest theater group announcing today it will not show the interview at any of its 58 theaters. keep in mind it comes out christmas day. earlier we reported that one dropped "the interview" from 278 locations. it's a lot. we'll talk to jay thomas in a second who is laughing. tomorrow night's premiere at a theater in new york has been called off. the press tour for the movie has been canceled but a filmmaker
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who produced the 2008 comedy "pineapple express" isn't letting the threat stop him. we go to his twitter. he says, i'm not going to let a terrorist threat shut down freedom of speech. i'm going to "the interview." here he is. what a treat. good to see you, sir. >> thank you very much. >> when you react to those theaters saying no, what were you thinking? >> on my sirius radio show months ago when you knew this was coming and they would kill this guy, i said could you imagine if we did a movie that killed the iranian president or did a movie they would kill barack obama. i said this guy is nuts. the japanese head of sony had never, ever done anything to the movie department. he called them up and said are you crazy? they blow his head up. this guy has nuclear weapons that he shoots over us.
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>> you don't think it's appropriate period. there was a british film or south korean film from a couple years ago that assassinated george w. bush and hillary clinton said it was despicable and yet now we have this. you say it's not okay whether it's the north korea's leader or our leader or iran's leader. >> you picked a crazy person. the craziest guy you can get. maybe the movie is hysterical and then what's funny about hollywood is everyone is such a chicken in hollywood. look at them running. look at them running. they are tough and they are creative integrity and all that and that becomes immediate crap when someone scares them. so they all run away. they'll all be fine. it's absolutely hysterical to me. the guy is nuts. he said i'll do something if you do this. i think most people think it's really funny. >> sony is not laughing. they are calling this cyberterrorism. now there's this threat that's basically saying from this group
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remember 9/11 threatening any theatergoer on christmas day. it could be someone -- it could be north korea hiring someone to do this. it could be someone not at all related to. it could be someone trying to sound like south korea and isn't. we don't know. do you think given the threat, laughable or not, do you think sony shouldn't release the film period. >> it's scary if he launches against an island, a disputed island that they have. yeah. it's kind of scary. they say -- they edited it down so the head doesn't blow up as badly. you blow one head up, you've blown a head up. some people say it's very funny also. would it have been better if they made it fictitious? they'll never show it in asia. that's a huge market. my answer is i would probably pull it. i would probably pull it. >> as an actor and we just said
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that rogan and franco aren't doing these scheduled press conferences -- >> that's bad. >> would you do the same thing? would you hang back? >> if i did the movie and i wanted this creative integrity, how could i not have thought the crazy person we're doing the movie about wouldn't launch missiles. no. i would have gone to them and taken my medicine and if they do strike, seth rogan and james franco, what a great end to their careers. they made a movie. they kept their integrity and they caused a guy to launch a movie. they were told this when they first started this. the guy said -- it's like if you say i'm going to punch you in the nose. they did it. as a broadcaster i look at it and go -- as an actor i would have done the movie in five seconds. >> hopefully it's a pump fake. jay thomas, thank you.
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>> i think it would be against japan and maybe not the united states. that's upsetting to everybody over there. >> jay thomas, thank you so much for swinging by. >> i would have gone to the opening of course. you know me. >> thank you. thank you so much. the smallest coffins are the heaviest. that's just one tweet in response to unimaginable tragedy in pakistan. cnn has new information today on the six men who scaled the wall of a school and commenced this massacre and more of our breaking news coverage out of cuba where the so-called cuban five, some of whom were exchanged in the swap for an american, one senator calls them convicted spies. ♪ [ radio chatter ] ♪ [ male announcer ] andrew. rita. sandy. ♪ meet chris
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feet...tiptoeing. better things than the pain, stiffness, and joint damage of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist decide on a biologic, ask if xeljanz is right for you. xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a small pill, not an injection or infusion, for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz can relieve ra symptoms, and help stop further joint damage. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers have happened in patients taking xeljanz. don't start xeljanz if you have any infection, unless ok with your doctor. tears in the stomach or intestines, low blood cell counts and higher liver tests and cholesterol levels have happened. your doctor should perform blood tests before you start and while taking xeljanz and routinely check certain liver tests. tell your doctor if you have been to a region where fungal infections are common, and if you have had tb, hepatitis b or c,
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or are prone to infections. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. one pill, twice daily, xeljanz can reduce ra pain and help stop further joint damage, even without methotrexate. ask about xeljanz. another december day, another day i sit and tell you about children who take their last breath at what is supposed to be the safest place in the world for them, their school. all those left are their empty pillows holding the scent of sons and daughters. the toys, their pajamas all left behind because just hours before they put on those uniforms to go to school as they did each and every morning, but this time would be the last time their parents would wish them a good
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day, to say good-bye because monsters, killers decided to take their way to the most innocent among us. the ones who cannot nor should have to ever fight back. these gunman, taliban militants had zero intention of leaving anyone alive while kids took math tests and others hid beneath benches until the killers found them. students watched their teachers die before the terrorists pointed their guns at them shooting pointblank. outside horrified parents stood waiting, listening to those gunshots, watching the terror unfold wondering if there son or their daughter had survived. parents and relatives raced through these hospitals and in some cases ran through the morgue looking for their children. one father told the associated press and i'm quoting "my son was in a uniform this morning.
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he's in a casket now. my son was my dream. my dream has been killed." another man tweeted the saying "the smallest coffins are the heaviest b heaviest." amid the evil, i want to focus on survivors. the ones that found hiding places. the ones that played dead join another survivor who took bullets from the same taliban just for wanting to learn. she and the others prove they won't ever let the terror win and some dreams refuse to die. >> we stand with all of those families and all those children who are injured right now and who are suffering through this big trauma and now it is time that we unite and i call upon the international community, teachers in pakistan, all political parties and everyone that we should stand up together and fight against terrorism and we should make sure that every child gets safe and quality
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♪you're not the only one ♪listen up forefathers ♪i'm not your son ♪you better help the children ♪let them have some fun ♪some fun ♪some fun. bottom of the hour. i'm brooke baldwin.
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why has there been a u.s. embargo against cuba. it began in the 1960s so it's easy to understand if you're not entirely there. i bring you five questions you might have been embarrassed to ask about the cuban embargo. why did the embargo start? the u.s. began imposing sanctions against cuba after castro seized power back in 1959 and soon after he nationalized more than a billion dollar in national assets on the island. senator john f. kennedy made the embargo official in 1962. number two, what kind of restrictions does the embargo currently impose? answer, the imbargo not only keeps american companies from doing business in cuba but also prohibits americans from traveling there or spending money as tourists. american citizens can face up to a $65,000 fine for spending money in cuba according to the u.s. treasury. the embargo also limits the amount individuals can spend to family living in cuba.
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number three, so what's changing as of today? well, both countries will work toward reestablishing embassies. we heard that. the u.s. will ease travel restrictions making it easier for americans to travel to cuba and do business there. and u.s. and cuban banks will be allowed to start building relationships and that means american travelers will be able to use their credit and debit cards when visiting. number four, why doesn't president obama end the embargo all together? easy answer, he can't. only congress can end a trade embargo but white house officials say the president can ease certain restrictions under his executive authority. this is the third time president obama has acted to ease the embargo but today's agreement goes way beyond any measure before. and finally, how much has cuba been impacted by this embargo? cuba said in 2011, that the economic damage of the u.s.
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embargo topped $1 trillion in its five-decade history. i want to talk you live to havana and speak with wayne smith. a senior fellow of the cuba project at johns hopkins university. wayne, nice to see you, sir. welcome. >> pleasure. i'm actually at the center for international politics. >> forgive me. thank you for correcting that. let me just begin with the question that we went through five questions people are asking and let me begin with how does this impact americans potentially traveling to cuba, goods americans would want to bring back, ie cigars and what not, does that change? >> i have no idea whether that changes or not. you've been able to bring some things back for a while. whether this changes it, i don't know. >> how about why don't you tell me -- you were there in havana.
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i heard that church bells were ringing. have you had a chance to speak to cubans? how are they reacting to the news? >> i haven't been in cuba in havana. i have actually. i'm in havana right now as a matter of fact. there was tremendous enthusiasm in the streets here in havana when the news came that the u.s. was going to ease restrictions on cuba. we're going to establish diplomatic relations with cuba. it's been a long time coming. let me just say that the embargo, the hard line policy that the united states has followed for the past 40 or 50 years hasn't worked and surely it's time to change. when something doesn't work, you should change it before 50 years have passed. >> you know, we're hearing from some republicans, some potential
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presidential candidates come 2016, who are not singing hallelujah as senator bill nelson was. i don't think we should be negotiating with an oppressive regime is what jeb bush said. senator lindsey graham saying this is an incredibly bad idea. what would you say to them? >> i would say that's foolish. we have and have had for some time normal diplomatic relations, trade and everything, with china which has a communist government. there are certain repressive measures in china. the idea here is that there are things about the cuban government we don't like but we've had this hard line policy refusing to deal in place for 50 years and it hasn't accomplished anything. surely after 50 years it's time to try something new and i'm relieved and pleased to see that
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obama is. i thought his speech was excellent. the measures that he has indicated are very sound. >> you know, at the exact same time president obama is speaking at noon eastern today, we heard from the president there in cuba from president raul castro giving obama respect. which is something that surprised a lot of people following u.s./cuban relations mean a myriad of administrations for decades. your reaction to the word respect out of raul castro's mouth? >> i'm sorry, i didn't understand. we didn't hear the word respect out of raul castro? >> let me start over. the fact that we heard when raul castro gave his address today at noon, he said "giving obama respect." based upon this decision today and my question to you as someone that's followed the
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u.s./cuban relations so closely for years, when you hear a u.s. president giving -- rather a cuban president giving a u.s. president respect, how do you interpret that? >> i think it's very good. it's a very positive development. what else could it be? >> wayne smith there in havana, cuba. thank you so much for joining me. i really appreciate it. so with this historic shift in relations between u.s. and cuba, we're now hearing of the release of one of the most important intelligence agents the u.s. has ever had in cuba. it's what the president said earlier today. >> cuba today released one of the most important intelligence agents that the united states has ever had in cuba. and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades. this man who sacrifices known to only a few provided america with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of cuban
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agents that included the men transferred to cuba today as well as other spies in the united states. >> president speaking just a little while ago about the release of the remaining three imprisoned members of the so-called cuban five. we'll talk with the author of "what lies across the water. the real story of the cuban five." welcome. >> hello. how are you today? >> hello. i'm wonderful. let me begin with this mystery spy who led to capture of the cuban five. who were prisoners held in the u.s. and why they were convicted of espionage? >> the cuban five were all members of an intelligence network that was sent to miami in the early 1990s. what was going on after the fall of the soviet union and exile groups in miami were plotting and carrying out terrorist
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attacks against cuba. they were attacking tourist inti installati installations. there was a series of bombings. they also plotted and one of the things that agents were able to uncover and derail was a plot to blow up an airplane filled with tourists coming to cuba. they infiltrated the exile groups and discovered what they were plotting and sent it to havana and they were able to stop it in most cases but not all. >> you have three of those cuban five as part of this swap. alan gross was in cuba and you have this mystery man, this intel agent. this mystery spy who was also released in cuba. what do we know about this individual? >> not very much. i mean, first of all, during the trial of the cuban five, it was
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disclosed that the united states had been following the members of the cuban five for about two years before they were arrested. but nobody ever in that trial said how they got onto them in the first place. the information that came out from president obama and others today seems to indicate this would have been a high ranking official in the directory of intelligence in cuba who would have had access to information about the cuban five but also about some other operations in the united states. that would have to be a pretty high ranking person because in cuban intelligence, it's very compartmentalized. people wouldn't know if they didn't need to know. the fact that somebody knew about different operations seems to indicate that this was somebody fairly high up. a cuban national high up in the intelligence apparatus in cuba. >> seems like a key player just listening to president obama talking about him. let's focus then of course on alan gross. take me back for 2009.
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he took four different trips to cuba prior to the fifth trip in which he was imprisoned. he was working as a s subcontractor. what is it he was trying to do in cuba? >> i think it's important for americans to understand that he was not the humanitarian do-gooder of state department releases. he was operating in a program going on in in cuba and he brought in sophisticated telecommunication equipment. he used religious groups to carry some of the equipment in. he was not the humanitarian do-gooder caught in the wrong place in the right time as state officials said. he was somebody that was a
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victim of a failed american policy. he was there for the wrong reasons at the wrong time and like the members of the cuban five, trapped in this failed policy that had been going on for more than 50 years. >> caught in the crosshairs. he's now home. thrilled to be home. i think one of the most fascinating pieces of this entire thing, a, the 16, 17, 18-month negotiation between cuba and the u.s. never leaked and part of that came down to the pope. a letter to raul castro and president obama and also canada. your country of canada where you are joining me from today played a vital role. what involvement did the canadians have here? >> i think the canadians sort of provided a safe haven where discussions could tack place. it's important if you think about over the past ten years about both cuban five in that
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period and alan gross from 2009. the people who were trying to free the cuban five or get alan gross freed, were operating in a vacuum. nobody was paying attention to them and slowly but surely things have changed. i know that for me i went to washington back in september and i had been there a number of times talking to congress people and people in the state department and you could sense that there was a sea change in how people were responding to this case. so on one hand i was surprised when this happened today and particularly the wide scope of what's happening but it was something that had been building for some time and clearly there were a lot of people pushing for this in latin america and certainly the pope. >> stephen, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. thank you. we're going to take you back to this breaking story out of cuba. meantime, let's talk russia. who loses in russia's economy
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crumbles? the surprising answer to that and how president obama is suddenly winning against vladimir putin. me from modeling.t stopped my doctor told me about stelara®. it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ... stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization. before starting stelara®... ...your doctor should test for tuberculosis. stelara® may increase your risk of cancer. always tell your doctor if you have any sign of infection, have had cancer, or if you develop any new skin growths. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems- these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. serious allergic reactions can occur. tell your doctor if you or anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. in a medical study, most stelara® patients saw at least 75% clearer skin... ...and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks.
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russia is moving to prop up its currency which lost half value against the u.s. dollar this year and russian consumers have been scrambling to stock up on imported goods which get more
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expensive as their currency drops. the finance minister is selling foreign currency in hopes of bringing stability to russia's financial markets. i have two experts here to walk us through this and how it could affect us. good to see both of you. yesterday we covered this. in 24 hours the ruble is doing better today. for you, gut check, how hard is this hitting russia's economy? >> it's huge. russia's economy follows the path of oil and oil has fallen off a cliff in the last few months. 40% decrease in the last four months. an economy where exports are 70% oil, they're down for the count. >> is there a sense we saw when it collapsed 23 years ago when you saw people racing out for milk and bread, is it the kind of thing we'll see again?
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>> not immediately. the economy of russia is not particularly strong but it's stronger than it was 20 odd years ago and russia does have very, very sizable foreign reserve as esets. they have squandered quite a lot of it trying to prop up a failing currency but it is not going to be as immediate or dramatic. what is very likely to happen is this drip, drip, drip effect down further and further. because every barometer is flashing red. it's not stagflation. it's in recession. inflation is high. currency is collapsing. unemployment remains high. >> huge debt. >> this is the thing with u.s. sanctions, they can't renegotiate their $700 billion in debt. that's another crushing thing on top of the economy there. >> okay. >> and every potential short-term answer. jacking up interest rates is a waste of time and sends you
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further into recession but everything else they can do creates a pressure cooker. >> drip, drip, drip. we focus on russia. but global picture, who then loses as the economy in russia is drip, drip, drip. >> good news is it's only 3% of the global economy. this is not going to trigger the meltdown you might see if something similar was happening in europe. >> it won't? >> it will not. in 1998 there was a meltdown in the russian economy. that had a bigger effect because russian finances were more interconnected. sanctions have hit hard. the connections except with europe, europe will be harder hit than the u.s. germany in particular. >> even then everybody has had
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gloves when dealing with russia. >> nobody wants their money in russia no matter what the interest rates are. >> and if you shove interest rates up to 17.5%, we saw what that did in the u.k. thailand did it. it doesn't work. >> you mentioned sanctions a second ago. i remember sitting here six, eight months ago, you had different people saying sanctions that obama is putting on russia not doing much at all. it was even. it was even. let me quote this. house intelligence chair mike rogers. putin is playing chess and we're playing marbles but we just got up with putin? >> not necessarily. >> what those sanctions are doing -- >> seems like they are making a dent in russia. >> what sanctions are doing is making a bad situation worse. >> absolutely. again, these are things that hit average people. they can't move their money around. one of the great tragedies of russia, there's a tremendous amount of human talent there. one thing they did right was
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invest in science and technology. there are well educated smart people in this country that don't have opportunities because the government is totally negligent and hasn't diversified the economy. >> with that thought, you need to bear in mind this is not an economic story. this is a geopolitical story. putin is going to continue what he is doing no matter how bad the economy gets until either they get rid of him or peasants revolt. >> are they all in bed with putin? >> not so much. they're being hit hard. he's a cornered bear right now. what happens when they are cornered when the price of oil is falling which it will stay low because saudis don't want to pump more because they want to put pressure on iran. there's a great game of oil going on right now. >> and the u.s. isn't going to stop pumping because there's no single authority so you are waiting for every individual
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fraccer to say i'm going to stop. this is why the situation is so dangerous. >> it's not helping our air fare at all. i digress. that's another story. i like the two of you together. let's do it again sometime. coming up next, we're getting breaking news from the war against isis. there's word that a mass grave has been found. 230 people killed allegedly at the hands of the terror group. hear what survivors are saying about that attack. so stuffed upl like you're underwater? try zyrtec-d® to powerfully clear your blocked nose and relieve your other allergy symptoms... so you can breathe easier all day. zyrtec-d®. find it at the pharmacy counter. zyrtec-d®. with my andi can...m tracfone, order more shaving cream. pay the electric bill. keep towels piping hot. get kids to sit still. play beard styling tunes. learn new razor tricks. hire a pro waxer. post before and after pics.
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i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara®. it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ... stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization. before starting stelara®... ...your doctor should test for tuberculosis. stelara® may increase your risk of cancer. always tell your doctor if you have any sign of infection, have had cancer, or if you develop any new skin growths. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems- these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. serious allergic reactions can occur. tell your doctor if you or anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. in a medical study, most stelara® patients saw at least 75% clearer skin... ...and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks. stelara® helps keep my skin clearer. ask your doctor about stelara®.
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we continue on hour two. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. we're beginning with the first public words uttered in the first few hours of freedom for an american who is no longer a prison in cuba. we're watching history in the making today. this american speaks as the united states and cuba after half a century of ill will and resentment have pledged to essentially bury the hatchet. the american, alan gross, imprisoned for the past five years as of late this morning, he's back on american soil and he began with an outpouring of gratitude to all of those who tried to help him get out when
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he was losing faith it would ever happen. we'll get to that in just a moment. gross' release by cuba apparently paved the way for this monumental shift aimed at full restoration of diplomatic ties. the mere mention of which is political dynamite among local cuban exiles. president obama sealing the deal in a phone call with raul castro and announced it to the nation at noon today. >> i instructed secretary kerry to reestablish relations with cuba. going forward, the united states will reestablish an embassy in havana and high ranking officials will visit cuba. >> we are talking 50 years of strife that started in earnest with the cuban missile crisis which was about as close as the world has ever come to a full-on nuclear war. we're also talking about the
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castro support in latin america and then journeys across the florida straits of cubans as you see seeking refuge on u.s. osoi and the angry official attacks such as this one uttered after cuba downed a small aircraft whose cuban pilot was trying to defect. >> frankly this is not cowardic. >> mark this day. the day it changes. lots to talk about here. let's begin live in little havana in miami. you're talking to people in the wake of huge, huge historic news. what are they telling you? >> reporter: i want to