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tv   Wolf  CNN  December 23, 2014 10:00am-11:01am PST

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hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 7:00 p.m. in paris. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. 3:00 a.m. wednesday in pyongyang, north korea. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us. we begin with breaking news. a sony blockbuster announcement, the announcement being that it will release the controversial film "the interview" for authorized screenings on christmas day. the film is a comedy about the assassination of the north korean leader kim jong-un. the news comes after north korea has been hit by two, not one but two internet blackouts, original
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unknown, at least as of now. let's get straight to our senior media correspondent, brian stelter. i take it sony has just issued a statement? >> they have. i think we can put it on screen for the viewers to read at home. it's from michael lynton, the ceo of sony pictures. he says the movie will come out in limited release on christmas. it says, we have never given up on releasing "the interview" and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on christmas day. at the same time, we are -- he's not naming the number of theaters. sony doesn't know the number yet. they're still working on it as we speak trying to figure out how many theaters can get copies of this movie by christmas day so they can show it in theaters. number two, i think the more interesting part of the statement is when they say, we're continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters. that means some sort of video on
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demand system or an online streaming service like a netflix or a comcast video on demand system with way some of our viewers are watching right now. you can sit on the couch and buy a movie with your remote control. it's unclear if sony has any deals for that. but they want the movie to come out not just in theaters but through an on-demand or streaming service, too. >> the president of the united states put a lot of pressure publicly through the bully pulpit on sony pictures, sony entertainment, brian, to go ahead and release the film. you think that had an impact on sony entertainment? >> i don't think they'll admit it but i think it did. i think something happened last friday between the president's statement and between the growing backlash against the studio for canceling the movie. remember, it was last wednesday that a lot of the big movie theater chains like amc and regal and cinemark said they wouldn't take the risk posed by the hackers. these hackers invoked 9/11 in that weird, vague threat.
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so wednesday the movie is canceled. friday, the president speaks out. also on friday, george clooney criticized sony. a lot of folks criticized sony for not releasing the movie. over the weekend, all weekend, sony worked on a distribution plan. frankly, they did not have a lot of success. they haven't had a lot of people line up and say, we're going to help you get this movie out. but yesterday and today, there were a number of independent movie theaters that said, we want copies of the movie and we want to show it on christmas. that's allowed sony to come out today and say it will be shown in a number of theaters. another part of the statement says, we only hope this is the first step of the film's release but we are proud to make it available to the public and stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech. that's a dramatic statement from the head of a movie studio to potentially north korea or to these hackers to say, we are proud to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress this film. >> and we know, correct me if i'm wrong, at least some independent theaters in, what, atlanta and austin, texas,
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they're going to be showing this film on christmas day? that's a day after tomorrow. >> that's right. i'm also seeing houston and dallas. i think as the afternoon goes on, we'll hear about more and more theaters that are signing up for this. this is a lot of independently owned cinemas that want to support this movie. right here, you see the listings for one of the theaters where you're going to be able to see the movie in atlanta on christmas. i have to guess they're going to a lot of people wanting to buy tickets. a famous theater in austin that's expanded to a number of other locations, film fans across the country know that brand. that's one of the theaters that's said they will show the movie on thursday. >> i want to bring in tom fuentes and bob baer. tom, the concern had been if they show this film, there were threats presumably from this group that hacked sony pictures, that there would be terrorist threats, if you will. how concerned should people be
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who are going to see this film on christmas day, whether in austin, atlanta or anyplace else? >> i don't see how they could carry out threats all over the country. and right now, they'd be hard-pressed to find the theaters that are going to have it well enough in advance to do something. and these theaters will have securities i.t. quick lly went from sony trying to protect itself. it turned into patriotic fervor for, how can we let this guy censor our media and what we want to watch at the movies? it turned into a patriotic almost demand that that movie be released and people get a chance to see it. >> what is your reaction when you hear this news, bob? what do you think? >> i agree with tom. i don't think there's much of a threat of violence. the north koreans aren't known to have networks here or followers. it's always possible. but it's a state that doesn't project any sort of threat
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inside this country. what we may see at the most is more leaked e-mails, it would be slightly embarrassing for sony but not as embarrassing if they had simply withdrawn the movie for good. >> right now, these are independent theaters. we're not talking about any major chains, movie chains out there where they have 500 or 1,000 theaters. they're still reluctant to go ahead and air this film, at least as of this moment, right? >> that's right. we haven't heard from amc or regal, the two biggest chains in the country, the two that i end up going to most often to see movies. they were understandably concerned not just about actual danger for cinemagoers which is unlikely but also about the idea that just the possibility of any threat or any attack would dissuade people from going to the movies at all on christmas. a lot of other big movies are coming out on christmas. a lot of movies like "unbroken" and "into the woods."
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most people thought that sony's decision was an overreaction. so i think probably wouldn't have been discouraged from going to the movies. but it was an understandable concern. i agree with what bob said about where we're going with this. it's hard to imagine that there's an actual threat for moviegoers. but we could see more leaked e-mails and documents from the hackers. the hackers last week said to sony, you did the right thing by canceling. now, never release this movie or we will reveal more of your data. sony has to be on guard as they release the movie against the possibility of more leaks, more e-mails, more sensitive information getting out into the public domain. >> i assume outover an abundance of caution when people go see the film on christmas day whether in austin or atlanta or anyplace else, there will be extra security when you walk into the theater, right? >> i don't know. that will be a good question of what these theaters do in terms
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of increasing their security. obviously they'll be on the lookout for anybody suspicious that might look like they're bringing something in that could be damaging. but i think that that's not possible at every single place on short notice. >> what do you think, bob? >> i agree with tom. i don't think there's going to be any extraordinary security. let's look at this regime, it may be half crazy but it's not 100% crazy. doing an attack in a movie theater in this country would be an act of war. i think the leadership there is smarter than that. i hope they are. >> let me say one more thing. while we've been talking, seth rogen, the star of the movie finally said something. he just tweeted a minute ago saying, the people have spoken, freedom has prevailed, sony didn't give up. then he said "the interview" will be shown at theaters willing to play it on christmas day. now people like seth rogen can stop avoiding the reporters, avoiding saying anything about this movie.
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now they can celebrate the fact it will be seen by the public. >> my instinct tells me a lot more people will want to see the movie now more than before all this commotion, right? >> i sure think so. this is a film with a $44 million budget. you have to sell a lot of tickets to recoup that investment. that's why sony wants it online in some form also. some people will go to the theaters on christmas day. but they're going to make a lot of money potentially if they can find partners to release the movie via video on demand or online in some form. >> brian stelter, our senior media correspondent and host of "reliable sources." excellent program. bob baer and tom fuentes, thank you both. just ahead, who pulled the plug on the north korean internet? the u.s. still isn't saying but the timing is certainly curious. and later, a city and a police department in mourning. what will it take to heal the
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today, north korea is reeling after a massive out aag
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knocked the country offline. the disruption reportedly took out key websites used by the kim jong-un regime including one run by the korean central news agency. one expert saying it's as if north korea got erased from the global map of the internet at least for several hours. it all comes as north korea and the united states are locked in an escalating war of words over the sony hack. after that incident, the president of the united states said the u.s. would respond. though president obama never said how or when. so was this payback coincidence or maybe an inside job? here's cnn's kyung lah. >> reporter: north korean television broadcast without a hitch leading the news kim jong-un visiting a fish farm. but in cyberspace, the country went dark. state-run website kcna blank or blooming with flowers. web security experts watching
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what is called the map of the internet. >> the north korean internet effectively erased from that map. >> reporter: what do you mean by erased? >> the tube that connects them with the rest of the world has been cut. >> reporter: cut by a hacker, by america? president obama promised the u.s. would respond to the sony hack. >> we will respond proportionally and in a place and time and manner that we choose. >> reporter: given the rising tensions between the u.s. and north korea, dprk watchers doubt the u.s. would bother or be so transparent. could north korea have cut the cord? >> you want us to kill the leader of north korea? >> yes. >> what? >> reporter: during the movie "the interview" would manage to sneak in, pregimes like egypt o syria have done it before. or could it be system failure? cyber experts say it's unlikely.
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an outage of hours upon hours even for north korea, a country known for not having electricity or food for its people is unusual. as matthew prince and i weigh the possible culprits, a surprise on state-run website kcna. >> it's back up. >> reporter: i'm hearing that kcna appears to be back up. that, says the editor of a hacker magazine, points to the most likely culprit, the rogue hacker, the on and off of north korea's web, the hallmarks of a denial of service attack. >> i'd say any 14-year-old kid in this country could probably pull it off and any toddler in germany. it's not hard. >> reporter: some hackers online have said they're responsible but the hacking and security community are extremely suspicious of anyone claiming credit. we'll likely never know who did this, adding to the long list of things we already don't know about north korea. kyung lah, cnn, seoul.
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in news about your money, the stock market delivers an early christmas present to investors. economic growth soared during the third quarter and americans are feeling much better about the u.s. economy. today the dow jones topped the 18,000 mark for the first time ever. it was about 7,000 when president obama took office six years ago. right now, it's at 18,068, the record high followed the news that the gdp, the gross domestic product, soared 5% in the third quarter. poppy harlow is joining us now with details. poppy, first of all, how significant is this gdp number? what does it say about the u.s. economy? >> reporter: it is very significant. you can't understate how important this is. this is the broadest measure of how much our economy, the biggest economy in the world, grows. it's growing at a really nice, healthy clip of 5%.
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this is the best in over a decade, the best since 2003. it has a lot to do with me and you and how much we're all spending. that pushes gdp higher by the biggest margin. but it's broad-based. you have housing growth, business investment, you have spending on a number of levels. so this is a really big deal. let's pull up the big board. the rally is astonishing in four of the last sessions. triple-digit gains each day for the dow jones industrial average after the selloff of last week. the dow is up over 1,000 points in the last week. it's not just the dow up 9% this year. the s&p 500, the broadest measure that your 401(k) tracks is up 13%. the nasdaq is up 14%. you cannot overstate how important this is. this is a real sign that the u.s. economy is recovering and is getting better by the month. however, it is not without caution. i was just talking to a market analyst who said this is the third longest rally we've had in the u.s. market without seeing a
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20% correction. and history shows when we go this fast for this long and this high, we tend to see something bad happen or a big pullback. so don't get too excited. a little bit of grinch before christmas. >> a new cnn/orc poll released today shows a lot more americans are optimistic about the u.s. economy. 51% now say economic conditions in the united states are good. that's up from 38% back in october. so americans are feeling a lot more confident. what's behind this pretty dramatic increase? >> reporter: they're great numbers. it's twofold. first, it is unquestionably gas prices. you have a national average for gas prices of $2.38 a gallon. that is remarkable. you have oil still below $60 a barrel. that translates into a lot more money for the average american to spend. what are they doing with that? they're spending it. they're pushing it into the economy. it couldn't happen at a better time. the holiday shopping season. americans feel like they have a little more spending money.
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secondly it's jobs. when you look long term, we have to remember that finally this year, the u.s. economy gained back the 8.7 million jobs that we lost during the great recession. and that feels good. it's not great because we're not where we need to be in terms of job growth in line with population growth. but we have regained all of those jobs. also something important to note, wolf, starting in january, 20 states in this country will have a higher minimum wage. that matters for people in terms of their spending money and how they feel. if they're working a minimum wage job, they're going into the new year knowing they're going to make more money by law and also finally one note, when you look at 2014, this is the best year of job creation since 1999. so a lot to be happy about going into this christmas. i will say, a word of caution, still got a global economy in question. europe and the reliance on
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russia, the ruble having that dramatic decline in the past few weeks. still a lot of question marks there. but the u.s. market is shrugging it off. >> certainly better to grow job, 300,000 jobs or so last month. hundreds of thousands of jobs in recent months. that compares to losing up to 800,000 jobs back in the great recession in 2008 and early 2009. >> reporter: we'll take it. >> poppy, thanks very much. just ahead, new york city's mayor visits a memorial for two fallen police officers. but can he bridge the divide between his office and the nypd? we'll talk with a law enforcement expert about what can be done in new york.
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. police in new york city and around the united states are on a higher state of alert right now following the ambush murders of two nypd police officers. earlier today, the new york mayor, bill de blasio, visited a memorial honoring the officers, rafael ramos and wenjian liu. the police department is following up on new threats following the killings and taking extra precautions. according to "the new york times," nypd officers on foot patrol are being told to work only in pairs. the department had suspended pairs by auxiliary officers, there are unarmed volunteers who work with police.
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also security around the new year's eve ball drop in times square will be increased. another fatal shooting involving a police officer is adding tensions between the community and law enforcement. talking about milwaukee. the district attorney there has decided not to charge police officer christopher manny for killing dontre hamilton during a confront traation back in april. the officer said hamilton who was mentally ill grabbed his nightstick and started hitting hip. he fired 14 shots. hamilton's mother said the case is bigger than the death of her youngest son. >> it's not just about dontre in milwaukee. it's about all the lives that have been taken. we hurt. we work to live in a community that we live in and our system has failed us. >> the justice department has opened a federal civil rights review of the case in milwaukee. officer manny has since been fired for not following
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protocols but won't be charged. the mistrust between the police in the community, the rift between the mayor of new york and the nypd, what will it take to heal the divisions? cedric alexander is president of the national organization of black law enforcement executives and public safety director for dekalb county in georgia, right around atlanta. cedric, thanks very much for joining us. you're also a member of president obama's select task force on 21st century policing. i know this is an important task force. how do the communities and police departments get a handle on this problem, specifically what does the mayor of new york and the nypd have to do to get on the same page? >> well, i'm more than confident, wolf, that the mayor and the leadership there within the police department are going to find a way to work through this. there are a lot of hurt feelings, a lot of people not listening to each other right now. but i am more than confident that they're going to work
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through this. this is a very difficult time now, not just in new york city but across the country as well, too, because leading into this holiday season, i truly believe that in all of this, we're going to find our way through this. but there's got to be a beginning of an opening dialogue, of communication between police and community and leadership. and one thing i'm very clear about from a leadership position, being head of noble, being head of a major police department and the roles that i have been given is that we have to talk to each other, we have to sit, we have to talk, we have to understand. these are very complex and convoluted issues. many of them have been long-standing. they have a lot of emotional feelings attached to them as well, too. but we're going to have to find a way through this. those of us in leadership positions are really going to have to sit down and work through this so we can be
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examples to the rest of the country in terms of where we want to see things go. >> it's pretty ugly. i've been covering these stories for a long time. a lot of the cops in new york think the mayor threw them under the bus, if you will. i don't remember ever seeing a sitting mayor walk through a corridor and police officers there, especially in a sensitive moment after two police officers were shot and killed, assassinated, murdered, they turned their backs on a sitting mayor. this is the largest city, new york city. have you ever seen anything like that, cedric? >> i don't think any of us have. but here's the thing, without placing blame anywhere and on anyone, there are a lot of hurt police officers in that city who saw two of their brothers go down in an assassination. and it's hurtful to all of us across this country as well. you have a mayor who's working hard to work with his police department, to work with his community. and i think what we have to ask of the police there and of the
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leadership in the city there, all of us, is that they will find a way to work through this. i am very certain and confident of that. new york is a very smart city. it has great leadership with commissioner bratton there in the police department. you have a mayor who's going to do a great job and help the city mourn and get through this mourning period as well. over time, what we're going to see -- all of us need to be there to support new york and its leadership -- the to see they move through this so that all of us move in a direction that's going to demonstrate to the rest of the country, we have issues in our criminal justice system we need to continue to talk about but we can only resolve these issues through positive communication and reaching some consensus as well, too. that's going to happen. i'm certain about that. >> when you hear -- it's a tiny number but it's awful to hear some of those protesters, 99.9% are excellent. but you have a small number who
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are shouting "what do you want, dead cops, when do you want it, now." you see nypd scrawled on the sidewalk outside nypd headquarters with the letters kkk over it, how do you deal with that? >> the majority of police officers in new york and across this country are doing a fantastic job. they really are. they're putting their lives at risk. and when we're able to exercise our first amendment rights, we still need to be respectful of each other, respectful in the sense that you have police there to make sure that they have a peaceful march. but we don't need to attack our police. not using that type of language. it is unacceptable and it should not be condoned by anyone. if people want to exercise their first amendment right which we all agree to, the fact of the matter is that police in that community and across this country want them to do it, want
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them to exercise that right. but let's not attack our police because here's one thing that we do know, wolf. this country, every community in this country needs a good police department. and police departments need community support as well, too. we have to figure out -- and we will. and it's going to take some dialogue. there's a lot of hurt and pain that's out there. but the death of these two officers, the assassination of them and the way that they died, none of us are going to stand around and accept that from anyone because as americans, being a police veteran myself, being in this business over 37 years now, it's hurtful, it's painful. for the men and women who are there with their brothers and sisters in that city every day, my heart goes out to them. what i ask of people in that community and across this country, let's come together, find some resolve as we move into the new year. >> well said indeed. cedric alexander, appreciate it very much.
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>> thank you for having me. >> on behalf of all of our viewers, our deepest condolences to the families of these two police officers, rafael ramos and wenjian liu. ime for the volkswagen sign-then-drive event. for practically just your signature, you could drive home for the holidays in a german-engineered volkswagen. like the sporty, advanced new jetta... and the 2015 motor trend car of the year all-new golf. if you're wishing for a new volkswagen this season... just about all you need is a finely tuned... pen. get zero due at signing, zero down, zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on select new volkswagen models.
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let's get back to the breaking news. sony pictures now saying it will release the controversial movie "the interview" for authorized
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screenings on christmas day ignoring threats from the hackers, sony ceo michael lynton said, quote, we have never given up on releasing "the interview" and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on christmas day. let's bring in the owner of the plaza theater in atlanta, one of the theaters that's going to be screening this film on thursday. how did this come about, the decision to go ahead, get the film, permission to get the film and to go ahead and screen it, michael? >> well, we originally were scheduled on the first go-round before it was pulled. and last night around 11:00 p.m. our time, we got a call from sony saying that they were ready to go. and i have sent them e-mails over the last couple of days saying if they ever change their mind, we were in 100%. and lo and behold it happened last night around 11:00. >> and you have a historic theater there in midtown atlanta, right? >> it is. it's the oldest historic running
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movie theater in the state of georgia. >> it's a beautiful theater. let's talk about security. are you worried? are you going to beef it up? people going through metal detectors when they come in to watch "the interview"? >> we'll certainly take certain precautions. when you have something like this, you take different precautions. exactly what we're going to do, i won't announce on air. but over the years, after 9/11, "the last temptation of christ," all films with controversial stories and things behind it, you have to be smart about it. i'm not expecting anything of a major concern. >> are you excited -- have you seen the film, by the way? >> i have not seen the film. i am excited. i'm excited because i think the consumer, the movie theaters, we
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won, the people of the united states won. there's nothing worse than censorship or blackmail, especially when it comes to the arts. you don't have to like it. you have to pay to come see a film. so that's why i'm excited. >> michael, we'll stay in close touch. i want to hear how many people show up. i assume it's going to be a big, big crowd on christmas day. thanks very much for what you're doing. the owner of the plaza theater in midtown atlanta. good luck. >> thank you. >> merry christmas and happy new year. still ahead, the new jersey governor chris christie says normal relations with cuba should be off the table until that country returns a convicted american cop killer. we'll hear from a top cuban official in havana. we'll get her response to what chris christie is demanding. stay with us. get ready for some german engineered holiday excitement. at the volkswagen sign-then-drive event. right now, for practically just your signature, you could drive home for the holidays in a new volkswagen. like the sporty, advanced new jetta
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president obama has reaffirmed his commitment to normalize relations in cuba but is facing opposition from some lawmakers here in washington. the new jersey governor, chris christie, calling the president's new policy, quote, an awful idea until cuba returns a u.s. fugitive who was
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convicted of killing a new jersey state trooper. so how will the two countries get all of this done? joining us from havana is cuba's director general for u.s. affairs. she'll be leading the discussions on normalizing u.s./cuban relations. thank you very much for joining us. you weren't part of necessarily the secret talks that the white house and cuba had in canada. but tell us a little bit about how this came together, the process of thawing this relationship and agreeing to establish full diplomatic ties, exchange of ambassadors, a normal relationship between the united states and cuba? >> good afternoon, wolf. you know, i prefer not to get into any details about the process of negotiations that took place. the most important is that we showed, both of us, cuba and the united states, that through a process of negotiation,
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respectful on equal basis, we can solve many of the problems that we have, even sensitive problems between cuba and the united states. >> what's the next step in this process, this effort to normalize the relationship? what happens next? >> the next step is that we were planning to have, by the way, in january the biannual migration talks. so we will take the opportunity of the migration talks -- that will take place in havana this time -- to begin the conversation about the process of re-establishing diplomatic relations. >> and who will represent the united states? who are you inviting to havana to begin this dialogue? i assume you'll be leading the cuban delegation, is that right? >> we already know that secretary of state john kerry has designated roberto jacobsen
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to head the american delegate to begin that process. >> you'll be leading the cuban delegation? >> i am expecting to be part of the cuban delegation that will participate in that process. >> so i assume there will be talks in havana and then there will be subsequent talks in washington, you'll rotate between washington and havana, is that right? >> i don't exclude that possibility. what we are going to do in havana is to make the first step in that process. i imagine that we will begin discussing the basis for the reestablishment of relations between cuba and the united states after 54 years. >> could you see sometime soon the secretary of state john kerry coming to havana? >> what i heard is that he said
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publicly that he expects to be the first secretary of state in almost 60 years to visit havana. 9 but i haven't heard anything concrete after that. >> what about the president of the united states? he's got two years left in the white house. would you be surprised if he makes it to havana over the next two years or you think that's realistic? >> he said himself when he was asked a few days ago that he's not looking rapidly, immediately to that possibility. so you should ask him. >> we'll ask him. but what about president raul castro? is he looking forward to coming to the united states? >> i don't have any information so far in that regards. >> what about his brother, fidel castro? how's he doing? how's his health? >> i don't have information about him.
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but he seems to be well. >> does he still meet with people? if journalists come, is he ready to do interviews, fidel castro? >> sometimes. >> i'm sure raul castro would be ready to do that as well, right? >> i know sometimes he receives visitors who come to havana and want to see him. >> let's get through some specifics, specifically the new jersey governor chris christie, he says that cuba must return to the united states a convicted killer of a state trooper in his state of new jersey before any progress can be made between these two countries, the united states and cuba. here's the question -- are you ready to extradite her, to send her back to the united states? >> what i can tell you in that regard is that the u.s. government knows cuba's position
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about this issue. has also been made public by cuba sometime ago. we have a certain number of people, american citizens in cuba who live in cuba have been given political asylum by the cuban government. and there is no extradition treaty in force right now between cuba and the united states. we had two extradition treaties but the united states decided in 1959 not to honor those agreements, those treaties when cuba requested to send back to cuba people associated with the batista regime accused of horrible crimes. >> so you will not return this woman to a united states even though a court in new jersey convicted her of killing a state trooper? >> you know, governments and states have the legitimate right to concede and to give political
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asylum. and this is what we have done legitimately in the past for a certain number of american citizens. >> in the negotiations that led to the release of the american alan gross and another spy that you released in exchange for those three members of the cuban five and other things that were involved in this negotiation, did the obama administration raise the issue of this woman who was convicted in new jersey? was that ever put on the table as a demand in exchange for going forward with the normalization of relations? >> i don't have details to tell at this moment on this specific issue. there is also, you know by now, a decision was made by president obama to release the three members of the cuban five group who were still in prison. and cuba decided to release a cuban citizen who was a spy at
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the service of the united states who was in prison in cuba in parallel, we decided to release mr. gross for humanitarian reasons. >> president obama's facing serious opposition from three very influential cuban american senators. when my conversation with josefina vidal continues, i'll ask her what needs to be done to overcome the criticism of the cuban regime and what her message is to these cuban americans.
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there hasn't been an embassy in havana since the early 1960s. no cuban embassy here in washington. but now president obama is laying the groundwork for major change. as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. here's part two of my conversation with cuba's director general for u.s. affairs. robert menendez of new jersey. they've been very critical of president obama's decision to try to normalize relations with cuba. senator rubio told me he'll use whatever power he has to block any funding for a newest embassy in havana.
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what's your reaction when you hear these cuban americans speak out against this effort to normalize the relationship. >> i have heard, of course, and read about the critical voices in the united states. but there's a majority of people and inside congress that have supported the decision made by president obama and cuba has been the same. the majority of the population. the human rights problems that exist in cuba right now. as you know, the state department has documented and other international human rights organizations have documented an enormously long list of lack of democracy, lack of freedom for
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cubans. are you going to take steps now to reassure the united states, the american people that you're moving away from some of those totalitarian anti-democratic positions of the past? >> you know, the united states and cuba have profound differences on a series of issues, including human rights, democracy, political models. exercise of sovereignty and international relations. we have said our president has regulated that. that we are willing to discuss on the basis of respect. any issues including the issues with the united states but without renouncing new of principles ideals about independence and self-determination.
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we are willing to discuss that the issue you just mentioned to me. because we also have been promoting human rights -- and that regard. >> if american companies businesses, hotel chains, others come in and start investing in cuba. the people who do the work. the waiters, the drivers, the -- all the laborers, won't get the money, 95% will go to the cuban government. your response that. >> so, i am -- i believe, the policy doesn't respond to the interest of the american people, the interests of the american business, and it doesn't serve the interests of the cuban
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people itself. that's why this is what we have to do, continue our struggle, our efforts in order for the embargo to be lifted for the benefits of the cuban people and the american government. and so, thank you very much. >> will the cuban people be allowed to get some of that. and will all of it go to the government and the government will distribute it in any way it wants. in other words, is there a direct conduit for people who work? will they get paid for their labor? >> i'm sure you know we have always been against any sanctions, unilateral sanctions against cuba. so far, any time that we have seen decisions by the united states government to eliminate some of the restrictions, which are part of the embargo, i'm sure you haven't seen the cuban government taking any measures in order to oppose or in order
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to act against those decisions aimed at a lift in the embargo and the embargo regulations on cuba. >> one final question. when do you expect from your perspective the united states to have a full-scale embassy in havana and an ambassador? and when will be the cuban embassy in washington with an ambassador, when will that reopen? what's your assessment right now? >> i cannot certainly tell you. we will begin the process of discussing how to establish our relations. and then, i know this is something that has to be discussed in your country in congress. so i think it's up to you and congress to decide when this can be done. we are open to that, and i don't see any problems coming from our side.
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>> we spoke 2 1/2 years ago, and you were suggesting very clearly you hoped there would be an improvement in cuban/u.s. relations. this president of the united states wants to see a normalized relationship. the cuban president raul castro wants to see a normalized relationship. we'll see where this process goes from here. thank you very much for joining us from havana. >> thank you very much. thank you. a pleasure to be with you again. >> the director general for u.s. cuban affairs at the cuban foreign ministry. you heard her say, though, what governor christie wants, the return of that american citizen who was convicted in a new jersey court of killing a state trooper, that is not happening. she says that don't hold your breath, governor christie. thanks for watching. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the "situation room."
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for our international viewers, amanpour is coming up next. for our viewers in north america, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> here we go. breaking news here on cnn, thank you so much, sony reverses the decision to completely pull the controversial film "the interview" from theaters across the country. the film studio has just announced the comedy about the assassination about north korean leader kim jong-un. it will be sent to at least two independent theaters, one in austin, texas, the other in atlanta, georgia, for screenings as originally planned on christmas day. this as you well know was the film that triggered cyber hacking, or sony would say, cyber terrorism from the film studio. of the film studio and threats like this claiming if the film was