tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 26, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PST
4:00 a.m. on the u.s. east coast. welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. we are following the breaking news this hour, the death of fidel castro at 90 years old. >> the former president and revolutionary leader was 90 when he passed away. for years he'd been out of the public eye. his brother, current president raul castro, making the announcement on television. >> translator: dear people of
cuba, with profound pain i have to sadly inform you, to our friends from our america and to the world, that today, november 25th, 2016, at 10:29 in the evening, a commander and leader of the cuban revolution, fidel castro, died. following explicit desires of leader fidel, his remains will be cremated in the early hours of tomorrow, saturday, the 26th. the organizing commission of the funerals will give our people detailed information about the organization of the posthumous tribute that we will give to the founder of the cuban revolution. until victory, always. >> straight to patrick altman, our correspondent in cuba, in the capital, havana. you've been covering this with you, with us for four hours throu throughout the night. what is the latest that you're hearing from the people who ton
years, he was still casting a large san ysidro ovhadow over t. i think many have yet to learn of fidel castro's death. in the last hour or so, state media has picked up on his death. we've done more on cnn than on cuban television. i think when the sun comes up and people turn on the radio, get the copy of the communist party paper, they will learn where they were when they learned of fidel castro's death. it's a moment many have been fear being, and it's occurred. >> it's important to point out patrick is the only u.s. correspondent live and based in cuba. he was live with us this hour. great to point out that he has backgrounds and experience dwee dealing with this. i know your team has been gathering facts, talking to people. what can you tell us about what happens next with this former
leader? i do want that he is to be cremated? >> reporter: yes. those were his express wishes, kooshding ing ting to pr -- ac his brother, raul castro. a planning for a massive state funeral where he will be ultimately buried or will be a memorial in his honor. no one knows the number of sites where that could occur. this is going to be a process that lasts for a while. i rememberment when hugo chavez died after being treated in cuba, a close ally of cuba, it was such a blow to the government here that they ordered there be no music, even in my daughter's kindergarten class. they were toefld thld they coul sing that day. when it's real or not, it will be mandated by the state that hundreds of thousands will need to turn out and show their grief. and some will feel very real grief after all these years.
i was talking with a woman who i knew is not an admirer of fidel castro. she began to cry when i told her the news. it struck me because it wasn't about the loss of one man. it was about the weight of history, the end of an era that changed cuba and cubans forever. >> patrick altman, cnn correspondent in havana. thank you very much. we'll of course continue to cross back to you throughout the night. we'll be particularly interested to know what kind of reactions patrick gets as cubans wake up. some of them will only be getting the information a few hours from now. let me turn to raphael romo. the question i've been wondering as i was listening to patrick and earlier guests is how long can the cuban, the current cuban political system outlive, how long can castrizmo outlive or survive after the death of castro? >> a very interesting question. to answer the question, let me read to you a reaction that we
just got from none other than arturo sandoval. those who know, he is one of the greatest musicians of all time. cuban and very proudly living in the exile. and he said the dictator of cuba has died finally -- all capital leaders. i've been waiting for this day for many years. unfortunately, after 58 years after a horrible dictatorship, the damage that he did to our country is impossible to fix. at least in a few generations to come. and -- listen to this -- i think that he'll not even be admitted in hell. it gives you a pretty good idea about how the cuban compile in miami and elsewhere. it is true, it is probably going to take a few generations for people to see real change in cuba. why is that? because starting in 2006 when fidel first gave power to his brother after falling ill, the
succession plans started. and by this i mean they started grooming and raising a new political generation of young cuban leaders who are essentially the mirror version of themselves, just about 20 to 30 years younger. so it was very telling for me to see the last congress, when you essentially heard the very same political messages come from the congress, know the sanction was forever. the same political discourse as we have heard for the last 60 years. cuba has had to deal with reality, though. we've been talking about how after the ussr fell in 1991 and they stopped sending those $4 billion that they used to send to cuba every year, they had to live on their own for about ten years. and then venezuela happened, and then china happened. somehow they managed to live for
an additional 20 years. but the reality is that the situation in cuba is very, very bad, and one thing that i need to mention is that one of the greatest migration crises in the world right now has to do with cuba. if you look at the numbers of cubans in central america in the last couple of years, most of them are trying to get to the united states, fleeing from hunger, fleeing from political repression in cuba. so it's very indicative of the reality that cuba's living right now. >> if you would stand by and just -- we want to look at what's happening in miami. if we have the images, just to talk about the reaction that we're seeing at this hour, 4:00 a.m., 4:08 in the morning, on the u.s. east coast. look at that. that is the situation outside the versailles restaurant there in little havana.
and you do get a sense people are celebrating. people are dancing in the streets. it was raining a bit earlier. not sure if it's still raining now. this is the sense, the reaction now knowing that fidel castro has died. many people have been waiting to hear this news. >> and you know what, a lot of those people are doing this to honor their parents because i see a lot of young people there. my assumption is that a lot of them are cuban americans who were born in the united states but who probably had their parents flee at some point in the '60s or the '70s or the '80s because of one of the many reasons that we have described before. so they're probably doing this more for their parents. but themselves. this is a diverse group. we see all kinds of ages. and we were listening to people banging pots and pans, but in
the back you would hear "freedom, freedom," something they would like people freely chanting in cuba. that hasn't happened in the past 60 years. >> i want your take. the more i look at it -- and i do continued's 4:00 in the morning east coast time. the more i look at it, this does not strike me as a huge group of people mobilizing. and i've covered some of the situations before. this looks to me like there's a lot of media but a hard-core group of political activists possibly that you see cameras around there. i'm not seeing this as a massive wave of cuban americans taking to the streets now. >> we probably need to wait until the sun comes up. the other thing i will say, a lot of people -- let's remind our viewers that the death occurred at 10:26 p.m. eastern. a lot of people didn't even hear about this before going to sleep. so i -- i don't know, i cannot tell you anything about the number. but the reality is that in cuba,
as patrick was telling us, and in miami, a lot of people don't know that fidel castro has died yet. >> interesting also, just noting that the camera shot seems to be in focus on one particular group. i remember seeing earlier, it was wider -- >> we did see more people earlier. >> it seemed like it was a wider group of people. you know, maybe some have left. maybe some have come in. this is the scene this hour, 4:11, on the streets of miami, florida. let's now bring in jose rodriguez, in miami. a senior correspondent for our sister network, cnn in espanol. on the streets, what are you seeing? what are you hearing? >> reporter: how are you, george? good morning. what we see here in little havana is people marching, people hitting pots, people just went as soon as they knew the news of the death of fidel castro. you know, with flags, people is
singing. people is dancing. people have been here, you know, coming all over the night, you know, just to express joy and celebration. people are absolutely happy about the news. you see people from different generations that are coming here. people from cuba came here in 1959, and you see people from different generation ts. how do you view the death of fidel castro? >> this is a celebration. not a celebration of death but celebration of hopefully liberty that we've been waiting for for many years. many years we've been waiting for this type of situation. and the hope is that not just because fidel died but also hopefully opens up the people in cuba, open up more and go against whatever it is going on over there.
>> reporter: you were born in cuba? >> yes, i was. >> reporter: your parents aren't alive? >> one of my parents are al.a. and certainly they suffered. so have many families from cuba suffered the separation of families, which was a hard thing to -- >> reporter: i imagine they never came back to cuba? >> they never have returned to cuba. hopefully someday. it's getting closer and closer. hopefully we do that soon. >> reporter: do you think that after the death of fidel castro there is some hope of political changes in cuba? >> hopefully. not just so much the death but hopefully this is the beginning. that's why everybody's here trying to celebrate that many years of suffering that we've been through. and hopefully that will be a start. >> reporter: thank you very much, sir, for this. we have a number of people here, how you live the death of fidel castro? i imagine for your age, you probably might, you were born in miami, no? >> yes, i was. >> reporter: how you live it?
>> i feel that this is a great moment not to celebrate the death of somebody, now celebrate freedom. there are many political prison investigato ers in cuba -- prisoners in cuba, many throughout the world. to have somebody that perpetrated so many human rights abuse and enslaved a country, we still hope -- hopefully this is, castro's death foreshadows political freedoms on the island. >> reporter: so do you have any hope top one day go to cuba with your parents, maybe with your grandparents, to enjoy the freedom in cuba if it's possible? >> definitely. i would love to go to cuba, a free cuba. right now cuba's not free. the hope is, and i think the real celebrations here show that everybody here hopes for a free cuba soon. and for human rights on the
island to come to pass. see that is my hope. >> reporter: thank you very much. this is an expression here and last another person who is celebrating with a flag. how do you feel tonight, sir? >> oh, my god. there's no words. so emotional. for my grandparents that are no longer, that they came for freedom and liberty to this country. >> reporter: they never returned? >> they never returned back to cuba. they lost everything in cuba, taken away their businesses. their homes, businesses, they worked hard. if you didn't want to give to the government, they would execute you, you know. the regime is still there. raul castro is going to go through the same system and ideas. but today is a day of celebration. >> reporter: yeah, a celebration, but there is a lost emotion, an emotional moment for many -- a lot of emotion, an emotional moment for many in the community. >> there's no words. we're happy, we're grateful that
such a bad person -- fidel castro to us is like a hitler. a communist. he depresses the people. there's no court system. if you don't agree with the government, they put you in jail for 30, 40 years, or execute you. >> reporter: do you expect that after the death of fidel castro some changes can occur in cuba? >> it's something we hope for. it's not something we're seeing. n they have to give us human rights. cuba has to have human rights for everybody and liberty and justice and peace for everybody. if we get that, then we can lift the embargo. >> reporter: thank you very much for this interview. george, this is the reaction that we can see many people celebrating here in little havana. the heart of the cuban exile here in miami. this is what you can see right now. it's 4:30 a.m. probably you will see people coming, you know, people coming,
you know, probably old people who -- who's sleeping now will come any time soon to celebrate. and here at the corner of versailles is one of the most traditional coffees in miami where many people from the cuban exiles come. you will see the celebration continues in the rest of the day. back to you in our studios. >> jose manuel rodriguez, with our cnn in espanol. we'll be back with you in the thundershowers come. that's what we're seeing on the streets of miami, florida. that is the reaction. people are celebrating the fact that this former leader has died. a different reaction, though, from some world leaders. we're hearing from the president of venezuela, maduro. he tweeted, "i just talked with president raul cast trow
transmit the solidarity and love for cuba before the depar of commander fidel castro." that's from the leader of venezuela. you also got reaction? >> yes, getting reaction a few moments ago. a few minutes ago from the spanish prime minister. he says, "my condolences to the government and authorities -- to the cuban government and authorities on the death of former president fidel castro, a figure of historical significance." >> raphael, stand by. we're joined by peter cornblue from washington. a cnn analyst. he's written extensively about cuba. thanks for your time. thanks for being with us. i know it's the middle of the night. people such as yourself who have written about cuba, you've -- you've considered scenarios for what might happen after the death of fidel castro. he was the sun around which all of cuban politics orbid -- orbited. what's your reaction?
>> reporter: i think as your cnn correspondent in havana said, it's the end of an era. not only for the cuban people but on the international stage, as well, because regardless of the deep and difficult feelings of cuban americans in miami, around the world fidel has been seen as a substantive revolutionary statesman. that's because of has ability to transform a caribbean island into a major actor on the world stage by supporting the anti-apartheid movement, becoming friends with nelson mandela, training doctors around the world, sending cuban doctors around the world, the health care system in cuba, the education system, et cetera. so it's going to be a change for the world. i think you're going to see
quite a few condolences from world leaders, including the presidents of some, at the tribute raul castro is planning. in terms of significance, fidel has been off the political stage in cuba for a number of years now, almost ten full years since he became gravely ill with i doer have ti-- with diverticdivs in 2016. it was a complete trans formation, transformation, passage of power from one brother to another. and even though i think a lot of people will hope that in miami and some in cuba, but will hope that this opens the door to changing the system significantly, the truth of the matter is that the cuban communist party is deeply
entrenched in cuba. and -- and has been since fidel got sick and shows no sign of wavering. >> peter cornblue, cnn analyst in washington following the story. thank you for your insight. and of course, stay with us. we'll come back to you through the hours to come. again, cnn following the breaking news this hour. the death of fidel castro. want to show you, as well, this photo, this photo that was taken november 15th in havana. he met with the vietnamese president. this image of fidel castro. our breaking news coverage continues after the break. stay with us.
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havana. >> for decades after that, he ruled cuba with an iron fist, creating a one-party state and bringing the cold war to the western hem sapphire. aligning his country with the soviet union and denouncing the u.s. he swept away capitalism in cuba and expanded education and health care, but he also clamped down on political and religious freedoms, banning free speech and executing or jailing thousands of political opponents. cnn's matt rivers joins us from beijing as we try to get reactions from around the world right now. matt, i'm going to assume, and correct me if i'm wrong, that there hasn't been official reaction to the death of fidel castro. what is the reaction likely to be like? what are the thoughts likely to be like? >> reporter: well, you're right. no official reaction yet from the chinese government. usually we get a statement or even more frequently than that the chinese government will release a statement through a
state media here. we expect the statement to kind of go in line with what we're seeing from other state leaders across the world. that walk offeould be offers of doenlss. the chinese and cuban -- condolences. the chinese and cuban relationship has been stronger lately. fidel castro and chairman mao zedong, founder of of the current iteration of china, were two of the great, larger-than-life socialist icons of the 20th century, yet the two did not get along well. in an interview in the lay '70s, fidel castro criticized chairman mao saying that while he agreed with him on an ideological standpoint, he said he had done much harm to china. he said his ego was outsized, and he took too much power in his own hands and hurt his own people. because of that even though they were two of the functioning communist states in the world, china and cuba did not have formal diplomatic ties until 1993. for those who might not follow
this that closely, that might seem surprising. like so many relationships that china has around the world, the economics won out. in 1993, both sides got more friendly with one another. castro made a visit here to china in 1995. trade between both sides ramped up. you saw president xi jinping visit fidel castro in his home in 2014. china's second in command went to fidel castro just in year, in fact, in late september. both sides really warmed up their relationship. both sides -- fidel castro actually won the chinese version called the confucius paez prize, the chinese version of the nobel peace prize. fidel castro won a few years ago. things have better than they were 40 years ago. now china is the largest single country trading partner that cuba has. >> matt rivers live from beijing. thank you very much. >> thank you. let's look now at the reaction that we're seeing on the streets of miami. we've seen these crowds that have been gathering for the last
several hours. this is the scene in little hive. what you would refer to it as. many people have come together to celebrate. many people who are dancing in the streets after they heard the news that fidel castro had died. again, this is -- >> we've heard the depth of their feelings the last few hours. >> we have. a correspondent on the ground speaking to people. one person compared castro to hitler in that interview. there is a sharp and strong reaction there on the streets of miami. for context, this is just outside the versailles restaurant. a very important restaurant. many people come together there. cuban americans, talking about politics and, at this hour, coming together to mark a moment in history, the death of fidel castro. cnn will continue following the breaking news just after the break. stay with us. (vo) it's black friday weekend at verizon and people are ready.
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welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. if you're just joining us, longtime cuban leader fidel castro has died. >> the cuban president, raul castro, broke the news on cuban television. he said that the body of his 90-year-old brother would be cremated early saturday. no cause of death has been given. castro has had failing health now for years. large crowds on the streets of miami this hour. miami's little havana. even though castro has been out
of the public eye for much of past decade, he still provokes a strong reaction in the united states. what you see there, people have been celebrating in the streets since learning the news that fidel castro is dead. >> let's go to havana and join cnn's correspondent there, patrick altman. patrick, first of all, describe to us the scene in havana. it's been quiet since the beginning of the night when we started talking to you. >> reporter: that's right. sort of an eeriness, quiet streets as i came in tonight. later i was told that there was a military presence on the street. they usually don't see it here. i have been talking with people all night long and into the morning. many did not hear the news. it took the official media here several hours, others than that surprise announcement by raul castro to begin getting news out that fidel castro, such a monumental figure for so many cubans throughout their whole lives, that he had died. and talking to official a while
ago, then the revolution itself. it felt like a death in the family. they had a hard time kindi in-- keeping it together. you have ambivalent reactions to people who say he's been out of the public eye for so long, he didn't matter to my life. or people who felt he took the country down the wrong path economically and politically. and really created the enduring problems that cubans are still facing today. for many cubans, they have not heard the news. people do not have internet in their homes by and large, don't have independent sources of news. so for so many millions of cubans, when they wake up in the coming hours, they will learn from neighbors, from state media, from other people that really the world has changed and that fidel castro, an om omnipresent force in people's lives, has been relegated to
history. >> important to point out to viewers around the world as we're getting this report from patrick, he's the only u.s. correspondent based in havana. he's been covering it for many years. we're getting a great deal of information from you. good to have you live this hour. talk about what you would expect to hear as cubans wake up? again, they're just hearing the news. you pointed out earlier that many people are just getting news from you. what do you expect the reactions to be as sun breaks and people start to learn this? >> reporter: having lived here for a while, i'm often asked do people still revere fidel castro. i think there is a minority that is vocal in favor of him. there's another minority that feels that he is, as people outside of cuba often say, that he's a dictator. then there's perhaps a majority that is somewhat ambivalent. that -- that if they revered him before, that they have since --
and they want to know when they'll be able to turn the page on the situation in cuba. you know, raul castro has implemented economic reforms here. he says we won't go too quickly, and we won't stop or go too quickly. i think people feel it's been far too slow. this is a country that still has a very centralized soviet style economy. people do not have the right to protest, do not have the right to pick leaders out of the communist party hierarchy. changes come to cuba. certainly seeing president obama here, seeing the rolling stones play, seeing americans fill the streets. those are things i never expected to cover. for the cubans who expected or hoped that their life would get better in the last few years with the change in the relationship with the u.s., that hasn't happened. i think some of the people that
i've talked to really feel that this is perhaps not a good thing. that in the short term the government will increase control, can increase prohibitions on island, and that fidel castro's passing while symbolic is not necessarily going to improve their lives, not going to bring improvements that they've wait for and hoped for for so long. >> pa training altman in havana. thank you very much. >> patrick pointing out there are many reactions. some people loved castro. many people hated castro. we're seeing that difference in response as this news, you know, is now, you know, spreading around the world. >> difference being in cuba everybody's not going to be able to say exactly how they feel. as various contributors have been explaining. >> in miami, so many people on the streets celebrating. i want to bring in a new guest. we just got in, robert miller. director of the cuba solidarity campaign. joining us live in london.
robert, thank you for being with us. first of all, i want your reaction when you first heard the news. what did you think? >> reporter: on a personal level, i was personally very upset, sad. i first met fidel castro in 1978 when i was just a 15-year-old boy. fidel has been part of my life and part of the lives of people across the region in cuban certainly, but across latin america where heats seen as a beacon or symbol of resistance, if you like, to the u.s. aggression which has been played out over the last 50 years against cuba. and fidel has outlived, i think, 11 u.s. presidents. and he's -- he stood firm in the face of this glaeaggression. for many, particularly in latin america and africa and the developing south, fidel represents a symbol of hope and of change for a better world. >> mr. miller, i'd like to put perhaps some of what you're saying in context.
we've been hearing a lot of the exact opposite over the last few hours, that he doesn't represent a symbol of hope or change for a better world. that he represents dictatorship and authoritarianism. >> certainly the united states authorities over the last 55 years have spent -- >> i wasn't referring to u.s. authorities. >> sorry? >> i wasn't referring to u.s. authorities. >> no -- >> i've heard a number of different voices -- >> you isolate an island and use the mass media to present a certain picture. and i can assure you that across latin america and africa that people won't be cheering the news. they will be celebrating the life of a man who has -- >> what about across cuba? >> sorry? you'll see when people wake up in cuba. i mean, certainly there are cubans here at event in london today who are extremely upset about the loss of their leader. at the end of the day, with the cubans -- >> sorry to interrupt you, but will we -- will cubans really get a chance to express their
sincere feelings about this? >> certainly the cubans that i know here in london are expressing their feelings. when people are pro or against the revolution, they are extremely proud of their nation and what their nation has achieved. and they're extremely proud of a nation that provides health services, education services, and social care for their people. and fidel represents that proud country in the world. and the cuban people will celebrate his life. >> mr. miller, tell me about freedom of speech in cuba. because i feel -- tell me about freedom of speech in cuba. because you're telling us about the legacy of fidel castro. and i -- >> yeah -- >> i'm not denying everything you're saying. but i feel that you're telling us one side of the story. >> when you interview people in havana, when the cubans wake up, you will see -- >> which has been remarkably difficult for a long time. as any reporter going to cuba would tell you. >> i understand up haven't reported in cuba, just the world's media. they will talk to cubans, and cubans will have different opinions. the vast majority, i can assure
you, will be very upset by the passing of fidel castro. >> will they be upset because -- this is something that we see in countries with similar situations -- he has represented the entire contemporary history of the country for half a century? so there are emotions attached to that. or will he be upset because they miss his style of governance? >> well, futurecast is -- has been the leader or a leader of the cuban revolution since the days of the revolution, since the overthrow of batista, an ambitious dictator who killed tens of thousands on the island. so it's -- fidel castro represents the best of cuba, along with the other historic leaders of the revolution. and they are very much respected by people across the island. of course mistakes have been made. at the end of the day, cuba is a proud independent company that's achieved an awful lot despite the ongoing aggressive u.s. blockade for over 50 years. >> i do have to push back with one thing. i mean, even human rights watch has a very grim report when it
comes to freedom of speech, to reporters being able to do their job, when it comes to people being imprisoned. how does all of that factor into his legacy? >> i think cuba is by now means, by anybody's standards, a human rights disaster zone. there are many human rights disaster zones around the continent. and the united states have been involved in many situations. in chile, nicaragua, el salvador, guatemala. to accuse cuba of being a human rights problem i think is missing the point completely. cuba is the only country in the world to have achieved its set-out millennium development. no child in cuba goes hungry. children are educate. -- are educated. people are educated. it's a fallacy to say there's no freedom of speech in cuba. the cubans have a different democratic system to yours or mine. it's difficult to understand. but it is their democratic system. it's one that they worked on. it's participatory. all cubans are highly educated and participate in the political
process. it's completely different and very, very difficult to understand. when you compare it to your recent elections in the united states where money played such a large part in the election of your president, i really do think it's difficult for our country to throw stones at glass houses. >> robert miller with the cuba solidarity campaign in london. robert, we appreciate you being with us and lending your voice to this important historic moment. the death of fidel castro. thank you, and we'll be back with you throughout the hours. >> thank you very much. thanks for followinging us here. our rolling coverage, the death of fidel castro, the late cuban leader who died at age 90. stay with us. this holiday, the real gift isn't what's inside the box... it's what's inside the person who opens it. give your loved ones ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can tell them where they came from -by revealing their ethnic mix.
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news for those of you just tuning in. former leader fidel castro has died at age 90. his brother, the current cuban president, raul castro, announced his death on cuban tv. he said he died friday night and will be cremated early saturday. >> he's been a controversial leader and survived nurm ed num assassination attempts. his death has drawn mixed reaction. look at the scene in miami, florida. the center of the cuban exile community in the united states. this is the scene now. we've seen bigger crowds now, earlier, not sure where the camera shot is. a lot of people have been gathering there just outside of the versailles restaurant in little havana. it's a meeting place for many cuban americans to talk polit s politics. this day they're coming together with flags, celebrating the death of futureca-- of fidel ca. news of his death has likely not reached many cubans as it broke
late last night. many are learning about the news from our correspondent on the ground. we'll bring him in later. first, juan carlos lopez joining us live. let's talk about the implications around the world of this significant moment, the death of fidel castro. >> reporter: it's a moment that has di -- has a different meaning. we saw the images of people celebrating. there was an incident several years ago when this happened, around the many rumors of fidel castro's demise. created a backlash. people felt that it didn't send the right message. we see that he passed away and see that. but this has been expected for a while. so the reaction will be more the loss of a historical leader in cuba more than the leader of the country because as you have been reporting he was not running cuba. he was seen as a reference. he was seen as a guide.
but the country's being run by his brother, raul, who has a transition plan in place. this will be more impact of an iconic figure for cuba, as you've heard, a figure that generates all types of reaction, different from people who had to come to the united states and other countries than from those on the island. most now living on the island grew up under the revolution. a important historical fact. not i believe -- you can say this is a transformational moment for cuba. it's hard to predict. this had already been assumed and incorporated into the political process in the country. >> juan carlos, you're expecting more of the status quo, then, going forward in cuba? >> reporter: that's -- that's cuba -- you have to understand cuba works in a different way from the democracy that we're accustomed to in the west. the process in cuba, the political process in cuba has been in motion for a while. they've been clear on where they're going, who their leaders
will be. and they saw fidel castro -- i'm speaking for what i've heard in havana and people who work for the government and others who didn't, they saw him as a revered figure in the country, a historical figure. they were aware he was not the one calling the shots. he might have disagreed with things done by his brother. i remember when president obama visited the island -- this was a historic visit in itself. fidel castro then came out with a column that he used to write frequently criticizing and highlighting the mistrust that he had toward the u.s. and there was this debate on whether fidel was going a different way than raul. in a visit, he said no. there is only one revolution. this is a kind of debate we have in the revolution. and that was -- fidel spoke his mind, and people were used to hearing what he had to say but were aware that he wasn't the one calling the shots.
now raul is on the process, raul castro, the current president of cuba, and that's also something that generates a lot of reaction in the u.s. when people consider that he's not a president. he presides, he presides the different cabinets, cabinet in the cuban government. and he's already planning his departure in a couple of years, in two years. so this is -- people -- we'll see. we'll see what happens as patrick said when light comes out in havana, when people come to the streets. the process is in motion in that country. >> and you're giving us a sense of the political process there in cuba, as our viewers in the u.s. are waking up and hearing the news. let's put it into context. this is all happening with a new president of the united states that will be taking office in january. so how does this, the long shadow over cuba for so much time now that he is gone and, you know, with raul castro, the leader, how does this play out
with a new president donald trump? >> well, raul castro congratulated donald trump as have done many other leaders worldwide. but it's really right now anyone's guess on what's going to happen with this process. now remember, the u.s. still imposes an embargo, an economic embargo on cuba. that embargo can only be lifted by congress. it can't be done by the white house. president obama through executive action and through other measures has taken steps to soften that economic embargo. but even the cuban government through raul castro said that it's not enough. what they expect is for the u.s. to lift the embargo, to have a normal trade relationship, and then the relation can be fully restored. what's interesting -- and americans can travel anywhere they want, they can't -- now it's easier to travel to cuba under measures by president obama in this process. it's still against the law to go as a tourist to cuba. what will happen with the
incoming government? we saw president-elect trump visiting south florida toward the end of the campaign, promising that he would address these issues, that he would have a stricter position on cuba, and that he would demand human rights and would demand that cuba abide by international law. we don't know what's going to happen. we don't know who the secretary of state will be. we don't know what his policy toward latin america will be. we know he's been vocal on mexico and the relationship, but not on where cuba fits into the process. will be a wait-and-see process. it's been historic presidency, during president obama the fact that not only relations were re-established but also that the president of the united states visited havana. the last president to go to havana went on a ship. there was no commercial air traffic. things advanced quickly, but they're not at the point where everything has been solved. we'll see what the new administration brings. >> cnn anchor juan carlos lopez, thank you very much for your
insights. appreciate your time. let me turn to peter cornblue from washington, a cnn analyst. he's written extensively about cuba. i want to condition to line of questioning about what happens next for cuba and when this change is something for the system of government. the politics of cuba. we are, it appears, at a juncture where i wouldn't say vulnerability, but he's preparing for success, a new u.s. president about to come into office. here we are with the figurehead of the cuban revolution who passes away. does this change the politics of cuba going forward? >> i think the transition in cuba took place already over ten years ago when fidel became very ill and passed the baton of the revolution and the leadership of cuba to his brother raul. and raul castro himself, as you've discussed, is about to pass the baton in a couple of years to the next generation of
cuban leadership. the real issue here today is that this is a delicate moment in u.s./cuban recessions. the cubans, like many other countries around the world, don't know that to expect and have great fears about what to expect from a donald trump administration and have been concerned about that. with fidel's passing, the kind of news cycle on this statements that are being made, the images from miami, whatever trump comes out and says really will set the tone for when this reconciliation and reproaapproct continues in the post-obama era. and could easily go the route of having grave tensions if the cubans perceive a trump administration trying to take advantage of what they believe to be instability in the wake of
fidel's passing, or we could have a more rational approach and everybody understands that this doesn't really change the relationship between the united states and cuba. it certainly doesn't change i think the future leadership for the foreseeable future in cuba. >> peter cornblue on the line with us, cnn analyst in washington. thank you for being with us. stand by as we will reset here at the top of the hour. before we leave you, let's look at the scene in miami, florida, right now. don't think we have these live images, i'm told. again, earlier we did see a big crowd of people outside of the versailles restaurant. these are families of exiles, people who have come together to celebrate the headline here, the cuban leader, former leader, has died at the age of 90.
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