tv The Seventies CNN November 25, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
cuban-american families have evolved more than 50 years after castro rose to power. when jorge came to the united states in 1960, at age 19 he had hopes of crushing fidel castro's dictatorship. >> now, you know i guess everybody's tired. >> everybody's tired. >> everyone's tired because nothing has been done or we lost a lot of opportunities. >> reporter: jorge and his wife have lived in the united states longer than they ever lived in cuba. fidel castro was a figure that forever changed their lives. >> what can i tell you about fidel. fidel is fidel. i don't think it will change. where fidel goes the regiment will be the same with different people, younger people. maybe i'm wrong. i wish i am. >> are you as angry today toward
him as you were 40, 50 years ago? >> i mean, you know, life makes you change. like the way you think. when i came here i was too young. he destroyed our lives, you know? most of my life has been here, in my country. in that sense, it has affected me a lot because -- the american-born children of exiles view cuba dimpley. >> it is an abstract for me. it is a culture, a traditional, it's family. it's what you do. for them it is more raw. for me it's -- i don't like castro. i'd love to see a democracy there and i think most americans probably would but what they feel will be greater. >> because we have to live with
the invasion. we both lost, yeah, a lot of friends, you know, close friends. i remember october crisis. >> the talk turned toward what could have been done differently in the last 50 years to bring political change to cuba. it's not something the younger generation thinks of as much. time has softened cue man-american support of the embargo but they are adamant that castro's regime must go. >> the dinosaurs, if you want to call it, the cronies, that are in power right now they don't want to let go and they should have let go a long time ago and they were true patriots, yes. i'm angry at that because we had a beautiful country. >> did you think you would be at this age and not going back to cuba? >> i did not.
>> the day may soon come when they visit cuba together, at least that remains the hope. ed lavandera, cnn, miami. >> let's take a moment to recap the breaking news we are following. three minutes after the top of the hour. 1:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast and fidel castro, the former leader of cuba, dead at the age of 9 ott years old. he's been out of the public eye for some time. there have been rumors about his death. cnn confirming that indeed fidel castro has died in cuba at the age of 90. let's bring in our global affairs correspondent who is following this breaking news.
>> the reopening of diplomatic ties with the u.s., president obama forged with cuba was with raul castro. i think this is a symbolic day. both for the cuban people and for cuban americans in this united states. i don't think it changes anything in terms of -- i don't think the u.s. expects any flood gates to open in political openings.
what is going to happen to this diplomatic between the u.s. and cuba under president-elect trump. president-elect trump has said president-elect trump said he could walk back some of the openings that president obama gave to cuba such as the trade reopening and the travel. he wants to make sure the openings and restoring of ties is trickling down to the people. there have been already reopening of trade and business. millions of dollars millions of dollars in cuba right now. i think it would be hard to undo some of that. certainly there are some executive orders that
president-elect trump could undo but this opening. >> all right. thank you very much. i'd like to go back to havana now. of course we will get back to her shortly. we will be getting reaction from around the world here on cnn. right now the most important reaction on the streets of havana with our correspondent who is joining us from the cuban capital. thank you for being with us. i know you jumped in to the studio when you heard the news. i want to get back to something you were saying earlier.
more often than not, you were the one breaking the news to them. giving them information. what you heard from castro. what i'd like to hear from you now, what's it like to tell a cuban who's only ever known fidel castro that the man has passed away? >> one person that i called for reaction, i don't want to use their name, i have known her for many years and she hates fidel castro and she began to cry perhaps from relief, perhaps from this is somebody that all cubans feel they know. my office staff is somewhat stunned as i called them. people were not watching the news this late at night. almost 11:00 when the news broke here. people were going to bed or doing other things and not watching this broadcast. the end of a celebration of --
events that led to the cuban revolution that raul castro announced his brother fidel castro had passed away. most cubans i'm sure there will be in the days to come a sense of organization but other than that initial announcement by raul castro we are not hearing the news reported widely here. people are stunned that perhaps the news is getting greater coverage for the moment on cnn than cuban state tv. this news, even though fidel castro was 90 years old, suffered from ill health over a decade now. so many times we heard he was on death's door or false rumors he had in fact died. tonight, the news we expected so long that fidel castro had
passed away is still stunning people. we expected it. they planned for it but even for cubans i know who wish for this, now this happened there is a great sense of uncertainty. what happens next? of course fidel castro is no longer the president. he does not wield much power but he is a large symbol and of course the most famous cuban alive has passed away and somebody who had such an impact both positive and negative on so many people's lives is no long more and i think people will be reflecting, wondering and perhaps trying to provoke the government here which welds quite a bit of authority over this island and does not take provocations lightly. certainly in the days to come i expect to see more police on the street and more soldiers on the street and the beginnings of a plan to commemorate this man's life who had such a great impact, not only on the island of cuba but of course the united
states and around the world. this is somebody who despite the fact he was a leader of a small island, not important geo politically became a leader known around the world. how many people are known by their first name but fidel castro was. certainly tonight people are reeling with the news of his death here in cuba. >> cnn's dedicated correspondent to havana, cuba. i want to touch on something you mentioned last hour. the statement that fidel castro was described as immortal until proven otherwise. this is a leader revered and loved by many. and hated and despised by many. what would you say the reaction is as you point out the news is starting to slowly get traction there in cuba. that this former leader has died. >> i think people are stunned. there's a been a silence and sadness. i haven't seen too many tears. that perhaps will come later.
whether they are real or people being told by the government to show their sadness at fidel castro's passing. for many of the young people here they never knew him as president. he has been out of power and out of sight for ten years. certainly in the last years of rule here did not lead the active life. he drove his own jeep, shook hands, gave speeches, sometimes for hurst hours. there was no escaping fidel castro for many years. in the last years he was out of sight. a few months ago talked to his son and he said, his son said the pictures we usually see of fidel castro he said his father didn't want monuments to at this time. he wanted to project the image of a simple scholar and revolutionary. that is going to change. we expect the government here to celebrate what they call a historic leader of the revolution and fidel castro often joked with the rumors of
his death and plots over the years that he said the day i die nobody will believe it. to a surgeon degree that's the reaction here. people have been told so long that fidel was on death's door, that he wouldn't last much longer. he always seemed to just survive. he was a great survivor, as many referred to him and he seemed to endure. now that his life has ended at the age of 90 there's something of a stunned silence, a hush over the city of what vab that. it is late here. many cubans will wake up with the news and will surely feel they are living in a different cuba. >> patrick, i want to read this information that just came across our news desk for raul castro. it reads, not verbatim but the following, with renowned pain i announce that fidel castro died november 25th at 10:29 p.m. it goes on to say his remains will be cremated in the early hours of tomorrow, saturday,
november 26th. that is new information from the present leader of cuba. >> looks like cuban authorities, patrick, ready move quickly on this. >> oh, absolutely. they have had many occasions over the years. even when fidel castro fell ill, he was on death's door. he said he did not expect to survive this long. it was not his wish. some of his last appearances he said he did not expect to live much longer but he had an appearance where he met the president of vietnam. in recent months you would see world leaders come and visit. heavily guarded area. recently we saw leaders coming to meet and talk to him. he couldn't stand at that point. he was fairly clear. he would engage in lengthy
conversation about any number of world topics. his son told me he still managed to read quite a bit. was on-line, which is a privilege most cubans don't have and stayed very much involved in terms of being a witness of world affairs. so this is not what the many expected that he would disappear from public view. his health took a turn for the worse and fidel castro has passed away. that will be an event that marks every cuban's life. i think you can safely say that every cuban when hey hear the news will remember where they were, who told them in the days that follow. >> it is one of those moments that many people in cuba and around the world -- they know the name and to hear the news it
is one of those moments that you remember. >> a history to himself. whatever you think of the man he represents a half century if not more of history. it's cuba and the u.s., the rest of the world. influence over latin american leaders. we will break down this here on cnn. we will look at his influence and legacy. patrick has been talking about that a lot. patrick, you are standing by and will be with us for the foreseeable hours. for now look at the role of the army. it has had a big role since he came in to power. here's the package that patrick put together. >> reporter: from the moment they rolled in to havana that new year's day 1959, ragged, bearded and unwashed they were bent on a radical break from the past. today more than 50 years later, cuba's armed forces remain the
most powerful institution, key to cuba's feature. military leaders in latin america came and went but raul castro was cuba's minister of defense and now he's president. while regional militaries earned a reputation knocking down governments as they saw fit, cuba's military always stood by fidel castro and the communest party. it was left to the interior ministry to enforce communist role. it's worth stressing the unity of the people, the army and the party said raul castro in a parade marking the an vcrry of the armed forces. this unity is our main strategic weapon which has allowed this little island to resist defeat so many aggressive acts of the imperialists. while others focused on internal security, cuban soldiers earned
experience abroad. tens of thousands fought in angola, the congo, ethiopia and mozambique supporting leftist movements and regimes. what distinguishes cuba's military is its role in the economy. this is the face of the military today just as much as troops in tanks. the army directly controls many tourist hotels like this one and they have a hand in everything from mining to telecommunications. though the economic role started well beforehand, it expanded after the fall of the berlin wall and the collapse of soviet subsidies. >> their tradition of hierarchy and discipline were asked to take over in the sense of posting officers in and militarizing the industry. by militarizing that meant military discipline could be applied to the workers there. most importantly, the military is the backbone of the country'
government. if loyalty and close ties to the communist party make cuba's armed forces a more likely source of continuity than change. cnn, havana. >> thank you. cnn following the breaking news. iffing fk dead at the age of 90 years old. social media looking at the reaction over twitter. there are many different responses but talk about the mix you see. this was a leader loved by some and hated by others. you get that sense as history will make the final determination on the life and legacy of fidel castro. he died at the age of 90 years old. we are joined from washington following the breaking news this hour. let's talk more about that. you have a mix when it comes to opinion of this name that so many people learned in school.
you learn about fidel castro in the history books. what would you expect to hear from the reaction in miami, the reaction in cuba as this news slowly starts to gain traction? >> i think it will be a mixed reaction. obviously some of these cuban americans have grown up in the united states never having been back to cuba. it is in recent years there's talk that they had been able to go back and see their cuban relatives or send money back home and really the whole idea of fidel castro is more of a myth and legend than anything they have experienced, but yet there are so many cuban americans who live live in cuba and have migrated to the united states, become citizens and made america their home. i think it will be mixed
emotion. some people will be happy, some will feels no stas feel nostal perhaps. it has been an obviously a histori historic, landmark deal. it is not moving fast. it's moving steadily. cubans will wonder under president-elect trump is this going to continue? are the u.s. and cuban people going to move closer together? are these economic and cultural
and trade ties that have begun to be open, will that continue or will it be shut? will president-elect trump undo some of the deals that president obama started? >> even though the deal -- the change and improving of relations has happened under raul castro and the president president obama i remember even fidel had a defiant tone in a written statement about those improved relations. even though many people were applauding and praising it, castro had reservations. >> sorry. go ahead. >> oh, no. i was going to say, of course that is true. i think the cuban government was looking for that economic opportunity. how was the regime going to benefit? how was the cuban economy going to benefit? the question was were the cuban people going to benefit from
this opening? of course the expectation is more businesses, you know, as more businesses, restaurants, hotels, business owners, taxi drivers were able to get benefits of american tourism going down, some investment in a cuban economy that would trickle down. we haven't seen that. the question is if president-elect trump is going to continue that, what he said is he wants to make sure it trickles down to the cuban people. it can't just be a good deal for the cuban regime but the cuban people, as well. that will remain to be seen. >> we will come back to you in a short while. i want to go to havana, cuba.
patrick, i want to ask you in your opinion -- i want to tap in to your knowledge about cubans and cuba. is the grip of raul castro on the cuban government fragile? is it vulnerable? >> no, it does not appear to be. an example, you mentioned where you had raul castro taking a different path in engaging with the united states than his brother and fidel castro criticized him, krit sided the policy openly but that didn't change the engagement. raul castro has had ten years to consolidate his power. he has all of the titles his brother had. he is in charge of the military, president of cuba and also 85 years old. he's now more than ever perhaps aware of his mortality. raul castro said previously he would step down in february of 2018. we will see if that changes.
but of course we have always said that nature, mortality happens for everyone even fidel castro, a man that seemed he could escape death whenever it came for him. that of course has changed. raul has had ten years. many times getting rid of the fidel loyalists and putting in his own people and he very much controls the island but certainly opponents here and outside people will find this to be an opportunity to try to provoke him, to try to call for greater liberty on the island. we expect to see that. we expect to see the government perhaps exerting more role but raul castro in terms of the government of cuba he has had ten years since his brother stepped down to take over. he's done that. he's done economics that his brother resisted.
this is perhaps the end of the transition for the fidel castro era to the raul castro era. now in the final year of his presidency, raul castro said he will begin to turn it over to the next generation. that will be tricky because raul castro is part of the revolutionary generation. he fought with fidel castro. it was ease is i for him to succeed in that sense he was always his most trusted aide and ally. sometimes when he only had a handful of people following him. kals stroe was always there. the generation that follows will be trickier. they are not revolutionaries, not people that fought in the cuban revolution and winning the trust and respect of people will be much more difficult for them. backing up to the news that fidel castro will be cremated, i think that is interesting. we have always wondered what was going to happen. will he be like lennon or other
leaders. i was here when -- was brought back and remains passed by for days. hundreds of thousands of cubans. iffing fk will be cremated a after that we expect public ceremonies. a lot of official examples of mourning. a big question mark. cubans wonder if their lives will get better after this news or because raul castro is in total control we don't expect major changes to emerge from this momentous event that things will continue the same here and of course cubans continue to leave the island in record numbers and the economy here remains in very dire circumstances. so while there's perhaps hope for many cubans that this passing of the torch, the most significant old guard, the historic leader of the old revolution, as he was called as died there their lives will be improved but there's no evidence to prove that will happen
because the people that fidel castro trusted most, his brother raul, remain in control of this island. >> i want to follow up on what i was asking you a about vulnerability to the cuban government. i understand what you are saying, they were prepared for this eventuality and of course they prepped for it and the fact the cremation is happening in a few hours shows they were ready and planning for this. this is the kind of event of such magnitude and fidel castro casts such a long shadow over cuba that this is the kind of thing that can reshuffle the cards. that's why i'm asking you the question. if you think there is potential for vulnerability there or still the cuba we have analyzed for so long where things are just locked down and nothing is going to change. >> you know, certainly while they have the soldiers, they have control, raul castro not
only runs the military but the army and i have known cubans who said they were not communists that they believed in fatal castro. while they didn't agree with everything he did he ery respected and revered the man. some will say now what we stayed true to fidel castro his ideal of a revolution that led the island to where it is now, the economic problems, of course under economic sanctions, severe economic sanctions and i think people will expect with this momentous occasion that perhaps raul castro will address them and perhaps a different future. having lived here for now five years, i was here during the fidel castro era. i saw fidel castro during one of his speeches quite up close. i think people who expect something different to happen,
expect that raul castro could fall or the cuban government is in danger of collapse their hopes are too high. they have had a long time to prepare for this and it is an island that is tightly controlled and probably tonight is more controlled than ever. last week, they were going through island wide military exercises. i fully expect the cuban military and government is on high alert tonight looking for any dissent or threats, internal or external. it will be a tense time the next few days. again, raul castro, though he is 85 he is very much in control and will be showing his influence and the fact he has a tight grasp of power. >> raul castro, the leader and in control of the nation, but raul castro leading a population, as you point out, not all are revolutionaries. many are people more interested
in wi-fi, getting wi-fi connections and cell phones, new cars and seeing improved relations, travel relations with thet united states. it will be telling and interesting to see the reaction as the news continues continues to gain traction. let's reset the bottom of the hour for our viewers. the news the former leader of cuba fidel castro has died at the age of 90. i'm george howell alongside my colleague here and we are following this news to give a breakdown of the history. fidel castro born august 13th, 1926. he led the cuban revolution in 1959 turning this island nation in to the first communist regime in the first western hemisphere. >> he ruled 50 years first as prime minister and then president. he was known for his long fiery speeches, his military fatigues of course and his cigars. he brought social reforms to
cuba. he has been criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech. during his reign, thousands of cubans fled for the united states. health problems forced him to resign the presidency in 2008. he named his brother raul as his successor back then. raul has been running the country for ten years. as our correspondent was telling us, it's been a fairly smooth transition because fidel castro wasn't running the country anymore. >> right. cnn has team coverage this hour. we have our dedicated correspondent to cuba following fidel castro's death, patrick op man is live this hour. elise abbott is following the reaction in washington. our foreign affairs correspondent. bring in a columnist with the "miami herald" joining us now on the found. armando, i want to point out armando is a columnist and a
critic of castro. i want to get your reaction from miami at this breaking news we are following. >> well, as i said earlier on twitter, i am shedding tears tonight, but they are tears of joy. hell has a special place for fidel castro and there's one less vacancy in hell tonight. >> armando salguerro on the line with us. let's talk about the reaction of many others. you have explained your feelings on this. in miami, i know the feelings run deep, as well and are divided between those who are older and younger. >> i'm not sure that's true. i would say the exiled community in miami is divided politically as it pertains to american politics. the older generation is much
more conservative. probably leaning republican. the younger generation is more progressive, probably leaning toward the democrats. as it pertains to cuban politics, as it pertains to fidel castro, i think that is pretty much a hoe moj nous front. i think none of them -- the reason these people are in the united states is because they could not make a life in cuba. they could not find a way to live with any sort of freedom, with my sort of expression, with the common decencies that americans enjoy every day. those decencies of human rights are lacking in castro's cuba. so, young or old, that is known among the miami exile community.
>> armando, thank you for being with us. please standby. we will come back for more reaction and i'm sure you will be speaking with many other people to get their response and thoughts on this important breaking news. >> let's bring in cnn foreign affairs correspondent. elise, i'm sure washington will be reacting and we will ask you what the reaction is before it comes out but before that happens, i'd like to turn our attention to the rest of the continent, central and latin america where so many leaders, including stom still in power were influenced by the political path and the political rhetoric of fidel castro and what he stood for. can you tell us what their perceptions might be in the rest of the americas?
>> i think you continue to see left wing politics in countries like bolivia and venezuela, but i think again, this is more of a modern day -- and the revolutionaries we saw in guevara and fidel castro. i think they were a thing of the past. more of a modern day leftist politics. i think it will be symbolic day for the region. i think the region has moved on, although they maintain good relations with fidel castro, i think this modern era of leftist politics, while it certainly has its roots in leaders like fidel castro i think it is moving forward. >> as i was asking the question, i was looking at castro with
maduro, the current venezuela lan president. i was reminding myself that a few days ago the second version of the peace deal between the cuban -- beg your pardon, the colombian government and the farc guerrilla group was negotiated in havana. they still have that diplomatic place as a power broker or as a -- has a place of diplomacy for latin american conflicts in countries. >> certainly it does. you have to remember that fidel castro, while his good -- has been used for these kinds of deals he hasn't necessarily been intimately involved in these in sometime. they are pinnacles of the government that he put in place certainly cuban officials have helped, raul castro has helped but fidel castro used his good
name and his symbolism to help these conflict and governments. he hasn't been in power for ten years or so. i think it's the new generation of cubans, such as raul castro, that perhaps will continue to be having cuba as helping in these type of diplomatic negotiations. >> elise labott, thank you very much. cnn is following this breaking news. we are getting reaction from cuba. we are getting reaction from miami where many cubans live. our affiliates there are busy getting reaction from the many people. we are getting reports that people are celebrating in the streets given the news of fidel castro's death. we are also following some
information. let's bring in our cnn writer and producer alejandro who is on the phone in miami. alejandro, if you hear me, you are at the famous versailles restaurant there. talk to us about what you are seeing an the reaction that you hear? >> right now it's a sense of jubilation. you are seeing people are marching down right now holdi bi cuban flag in the streets. you are seeing people carrying out traditional pots an pans you would normally see in a celebration that happens in south florida f the dolphins were to win the super bowl or if the marlins won the world series. they are out now and they are clanging following the death of fidel castro. it's a weird mix of emotions right now. you are seeing almost -- you are seeing jubilation, celebration and also saddened faces.
you are seeing people crying just what was lost. people exiled from this community who haven't been in their homeland for decades, their grandparents haven't been able to go back. it is bittersweet emotion right now. it is definitely the most crazy i've seen this city in quite sometime. >> alejandro, about the emotions you are seeing, we were speaking to a columnist at the "miami herald" and he was categorical saying no one there will shed a tear for fidel castro. he is someone who is engs treatmently critical of the late cuban leader. to be clear, the emotions you are seeing, are they mixed emotions when you say people are crying, or are people one sided about this? >> i think the "miami herald" writer had a good point. crying in the sense of -- i
guess the overwhelming of it all. the fact they never thought this moment was going to come. being in the market when i was in local news for five years, you would constantly get tales of hopes that fidel castro had passed on. some sort of indication, i assume for what was lost when people were pushed out of their homeland. so the tears shed are not for the loss but more so for the overall moment. >> alejandro following the situation in miami where as we are hearing and seeing from our affiliates that people are celebrating in the streets that the former cuban leader fidel castro died at the age of 90 years old. cue hours ago, castro informed the cuban people in a statement in of the death of his
brother fidel. he said dear people of cuba with profound pain i have to inform you and our friends of america and to the world that november 25th, 2016 at 10:29 in the evening the commander and leader 0 the cuban revolution fidel castro died following explicit desires of leader fidel his remains will be cremated in the early hours of tomorrow, saturday 26th of november. the organizing commissioner of the funerals will give detailed information about the organization of the. >> patrick is live with us this hour. we have elise labott as we hear word on the passing of this former leader. we are touching base with writers, columnist, people in miami to get reaction.
people celebrating the death. many celebrating the death of fidel castro. two things about this former leader there can be no doubt. he was in power a long time. the feelings a mixed. martin savidge has more on his life and legacy. >> depending on who you talk to he was a legend or a despised dictator. there's little middle ground. castro came to power in 1959 overthrewing the then dictator. the new government gained the recognition of the united states. ♪ wasn't long before the bearded rebels leftist ideology put him on a collision course with america. especially when he aligned himself with the soviet union. seeing a threat the u.s. decided
to act. >> i have directed armed forces. >> reporter: first launching a trade embargo failed by the bay of pigs invasion and several assassination attempts on castro this while the cuban leader allowed the soviet union to secretly build nuclear bases on the island. when they were discovered by the u.s. in 1962 the so-called cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. as castro turned more and more to socialism many of his well to do cubans fled the country. millions left behind became part of a social experiment, a one party communist state led by one man, himself. >> many saw positives, education and health care for all, racial integration. >> what fidel achieved in the social order of this country has not been achieved by any poor
nation and rich countries despite enormous pressures. >> but critics say it came at a terrible cost. >> we have a total tearian regime. >> with castro never managed to achieve is economic prosperity with years of the soviet union. opponents were dismissed as traitors, imprisoned or exiled. ms. more and more disaccidents ended under arrest he was a target of condemnation. but like before he never backed down.
never has a person disappeared in cuba which has been common practice all over america. we feel proud of our clean record in relation to this problem. >> call it pride or selected reasoning, but castro never lost faith in the revolution. opponents concede his popularity diminished hz as his beard grew whiter. but he commands fear and respect. he would eventually out live many critics and out last ten u.s. administrations. in the end it was illness, not washington that forced him to retire. passing cuba's leadership to his younger brother raul. in his last years he appeared on occasion, mostly in photos looking frail. at times he tried to play the role of elder statesman but more and more he seemed inconsequential. >> the cuban government has been agile. it slowly removed him from the scene. it would have been if he had abruptly died july 31st, 2006
but his image and importance slowly faded. >> castro insisted death was not something he feared. >> i've never been afraid of death. i was never concerned about death. the latter statement seems ironic coming from a man who single handedly dictated over cuba for nearly a half century. >> let's bring in cnn dallas correspondent ed lavandera. i know you spoke to people to get reaction and thoughts about the present leadership and the figure always in the shadow of fidel castro. what do you expect the reaction
to be in the hours and days to come? >> i think it will be an experience of intense emotion, especially here in the united states for millions of cuban exiles who called the united states home for such a long time and now many of these people -- we're talking about and i'm speaking on a couple of levels, as the son of cuban exiles an a reporter who has had the privilege of keeping changes firsthand between the united states and cuba over the course of the last couple of years. it has been a fascinating experience. speaking to the first part of that, for millions of cuban exiles, many of them, we're talking about my grandparents' generations who left thinking they would perhaps be gone a short time for cuba an then, you
know, realized many decades later this would be an island homeland they would never return to. set up and establish roots here in the united states. an incredibly emotional time. as we put on images i don't think you can lose sight of the fact that as you look at pictures of iffing fidel castr look at his life the magnitude and intensity of emotion that his image alone brings out for millions of cuban exiles. in many ways, it's feelings anger and resentment for breaking up families. they blame him for families that have been divided and split up for decades. take my family foinstance. my grandmother and grandparents
left in 1959, '60. my grandmother would never see her brother and sister again. she lived to be 90 years old and never saw her brother and sister again. these kind of emotions are, even avenue this amount of time incredibly raw and real for millions of people here in the united states. i was in cuba last week reporting and i can say from that side, when you talk to people they are very much -- it's an interesting relationship. i found that many cubans have. i spoke to many last week in havana, if you asked them what they believe in these dice days, one woman said i am not a socialist, but i'm fedderista. i believe in fidel castro. a complex mind-set.
a woman trying to start her own business in half vanna but still in many ways remains very loyal to fidel. is that because she is speaking with an international reporter and wants to kind of put on a confused face? it's hard to say. but the power that fidel castro still has over many people there on the island is very real as well. >> all right. ed, please stay with us. and i want to bring in rafael romo, now, our cnn correspondent. >> all of you have special input on this story. rafael, you know this continent, central america, latin america, of course this country, the u.s., inside and out and this cuban story and fidel castro is a part of that. when you were coming into the studio to give us your insights, did you have -- were you able to take a second and take in the magnitude of this? >> i was thinking about a conversation that i had with a college students in havana the last time i was there.
and i was asking him, do you ever want to have free elections in your country? and his answer was, where are you from? and i said i'm originally from mexico. he said well you have free elections and are you guys doing any better than we are? of that his answer. that's tells you how much younger people are indoctrinated, for lack of a better word. and how they were not socialists but definitely fidelistas. and it would be difficult to find any other figure in modern latin american history that has had more influence, more power than fidel castro. think about the guy. he was answer 26 years old when he attacked the government of battista in 1953. 26. i mean, you think about nowadays about a 26-year-old guy and they are barely getting out of
college trying to figure out life. he was -- in 1959, when -- and he entered havana triumphantly with his army he was not yet 33 years old. the baf of pigs invasion, the cuban missile crisis, all of that happened before he turned 30 years old. and if you read the story of how he made it all the way from veracruz, mexico on the boat called the grandma across the mediterranean -- i'm sorry -- the caribbean. and got into cuba. they capsized. and out of an army of more than 100, it was only a few dozen that they had left. and most of them were killed. and he was trying to hide in a corn field. and according to his own words, he was on his back for three days trying to take cover from the battista army. so it's just an incredible story
regardless of your politics, regardless of your political persuasion. it's just an incredible story of survival. think about the many assassination attempts that he survived. >> and there were many. >> enema, many. >> yeah. >> it's incredible. and the many governments, not only the united states, that wanted him dead. and the fact that he is dying at the age of 90 of natural causes, that's just incredible. >> let's now bring in a columnist with the miami herald, who is also following the situation. ar mannedo, we had you on the line just aphile while ago. i want to get your feelings. first of all, your response and reaction to what you are seeing on the streets of miami. what is the feeling there given this breaking news? >> well, again, the exile community in miami is not a community that's going to mourn the death of fidel castro. okay? i understand that there arifi arifiedelist -- are fidelistas
in cuba proper and are worried about what might come next. although there is still a castro in power, it's not the castro that's in power. having said that, and i have been watching your excellent coverage and i see this narrative of well, this wasn't such a bad guy. and please understand that if you look at history, you understand that he was a villain, in fact. this is a man who during the cuban missile crisis, if you read the records from the former soviet union that were uncovered once the soviet union find of fell by the wayside, he was encouraging nikita crucial yev to use atomic weapons against the united states. this is a guy whose air force, his migs over international
waters shot down the brothers to the rescue cessnas basically like little commuter plane puddle jumpers because they were, much to his chagrin, they were patrolling international waters unarmed because people had decided that launching out into shark infested waters into the atlantic ocean was a better idea than actually living under fidel castro's rule. >> ar mannedo -- >> and brothers to the rescue were the guys that were trying to help out those people that were in open water. and they got shot down by american migs. >> i want to interject. and i do with all due respect opponent out, as your role of columnist, we understand that you will take a position on this. and i want to make sure that as you suggested there is a narrative. there is no narrative. we are simply covering the news and the news is simply that fidel castro has died at age 90.
and there will be revolutionaries who will mourn his death. there are those also in miami as you rightly point out who are celebrating in the streets. i would ask you to stay with us because we'd like to speaking with you much more throughout the evening. i also want to bring in our correspondent rafael romo to get your thoughts on what you are hearing from mr. sag earo. >> i understand what he is saying because you have to think about the hundreds of thousands -- millions of people who had to leave cuba with nothing, absolutely nothing, either because they didn't have anything to eat anymore or because they were people who were politically persecuted. think about the marrier boat in the 1980s. the peter pan kids, they were 6 or 7 whose parents said it is better for me to let my children go to the united states even if
i cannot come with them than to live here under this dictatorship. i understand what he is saying. thinking about the people, the exile in miami who died waiting for this moment. and the assumption up until the i want to say the '90s was that if fidel died the cuban regime, the cuban government was going to change. it is not very clear to me that that's going to happen any more because the plan to keep the same political system in place is well underway. >> and as we pointed out in our correspondents have covered this, we are now looking at a population that frankly is excited i can find a wi-fi connection, now perhaps i can get a better food. thiss situation for many people living there. >> we have to also think beyond cuba. the influence that fidel castro had on the latin american left is just impossible to describe. just in the last 20 years, for example, can you think about somebody like hugo chavez in
venezuela rising to power without the influence of fidel casse throw. morales, churchner. the moving to the left in latin america in the last 20 years was due to castro and it was fidel and his brother raoul right there to help him along the way. >> we are following the breaking news, the death of fidel castro here on cnn. we'll be right back. we live in a pick and choose world. love or like?
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