tv Road to the White House CSPAN May 2, 2016 1:00am-2:01am EDT
this. trump is trying in a number of ways to tap into my support. if i lose the nomination he will , not get that support. if i lose the nomination, and we are doing everything we can to win it, and i will fight as hard as i can to make sure donald trump does not become president. is nicole here? "usa today"? john nolan, cbs? john here? are you here? did you have a question? >> what have you heard back in reaching out to superdelegates and asking them to look at your wins and ones you may win over? bernie sanders: again, there are two separate issues. it's not just me. it is people in the states. if you live in colorado, if you live in some of the other states, minnesota, where we have one landslide victories, i think the superdelegates are hearing from the people in their own
state saying, hey you know what? , how about representing the people of our state, colorado, minnesota, or whatever state it might be. and we have got to begin the conversation with many of the superdelegates who signed on with secretary clinton very early on. and if, i think the objective evidence, and people say we still have time to go, we have through june 14. if the evidence is there, that we are by far the strongest candidate, we will win some of those folks over. dan of the guardian? dan, hey dan. >> [inaudible] looking back, what prompted you to achieve this? [indiscernible] bernie sanders: not into legacy, dam. right now in the next month and
a half we are fighting to win every delegate that we can. i have my legacy will be that i was a very good president of the united states. [laughter] mary alice here? there you are. >> if you do not secure the majority of pledged delegates, do you still believe that superdelegates should switch and back you as you are projecting the opinion of the voters? bernie sanders: well, you know it's a funny thing. , right now, we have state after state where i have won landslide victories and superdelegates of said we don't have to , listen to the people. by the way, i hope you will win win the pledged delegates, but at the end of the day the responsibility of those delegates is to decide what is the best for this country and what is best for the democratic party.
and if those superdelegates include the bernie sanders is the best candidate, the strong as candidate to beat trump and any other candidate, we would welcome their support. danny freeman, nbc? >> [indiscernible] in california you said you're going to hold a lot of big rallies. have there been any lessons learned from states like new york were you predicted you would do better that you apply to these upcoming primaries? bernie sanders: good question. i thanks for giving me the virginity to enter that in this -- opportunity to answer that. new york state, what are we, 42%, 43% of the vote? 3 million independents in new york state disenfranchised. they could not vote because of the crime of writing down the
they were independents. i think that's absurd. i can't tell you, and i will not tell you, if they were allowed to vote, and by the way, in most polls, in most contests, we do far, far better than clinton in the independent vote. sometimes when you get two out of three votes. i cannot tell you that we would have won. i don't know. no question, though, that we would have done much, much better. so we walk into not only are we , taking on -- i don't mean to cry here, but we know we are getting into. we know what the rules are we , accept them. we are doing the best that we can. but please appreciate that in state after state, where independents cannot vote, we are at a real disadvantage. and it's a little bit absurd because independents do vote in a general election. so democrats want the strongest candidate out there to take on a republican, i think it's pretty dumb to be excluding
independents, and i hope we will fight whether i win or not, to , change those rules. frankly, in hindsight it is always, you know you could , always think about things that you could have done better. i will tell you about that. at the end -- that's true for any campaign. i'm sure if you talk to clinton's campaign, they will tell you the things they could have done better. but i am enormously proud of the campaign that we have run up to this and i hope it gets better. point, any of you here who would bet that on may 1, bernie sanders would have won 17 primaries and caucuses? if you had the odds, a year ago i think you wouldn't be sitting , here. very wealthy individuals. if you have guessed that is odds, you would be very wealthy individuals. we are very proud of the campaign he ran. is really here? millie? ok, yes.
what did you want? and that may be the last question. we have got to catch a plane here. >> can you talk a little bit more about what clinton said about reaching out to sanders supporters? bernie sanders: pardon me? ok, ok. all right, listen thank you very , much. we got to catch a plane to get >> here's a look from cnn's "state of the union." sen. sanders: in a -- senatoradvocate
sanders has been a passionate advocate. it's good for the democratic party, but there comes a time when you have to look at the reality. i was much closer and pledged delegates to senator , but than is the case now eventually i decided i had to withdraw and support senator obama. the goal is to make sure we had a democrat in the white house. i will be aggressive in reaching out to senator sanders supporters, but we have so much more in common. and far more than they do with donald trump or any republican. >> tomorrow our road to the .hite house coverage continues live at 7:00 p.m. on c-span2.
couple of months, you have seen our student cam contest winners. this is where we invite high school and junior high students to talk about issues of importance. they send invidious and it is a contest. send in the video. it is a contest. today, we are going to talk with our grand prize winner, olivia oklahoma. she was given a check for $5,000 for her video. we want to show you a portion of it. [video clip] spendingcretionary received $1.1 trillion. the second section is mandatory spending, $2.45 trillion in 2015. lastly, interest on the federal debt.
this totaled $3.8 trillion. in order to pay for these things, the government has to take in money somehow. you have revenue and asked thence. the u.s.se of government, revenue is created through taxation. when the money taken in through is putoesn't equal what out through spending, we have deficit. borrowing can be a temporary solution to an unbalanced budget, but it is the cause of a greater problem. debt is the sum total of all past deficits and futurents all of the generations, my generation, are going to have to pay that.
dear candidates, i would like to know how you, if elected president, will deal with the debt crisis. host: where did you come up with the idea to do this. i wanted to do something related to --. i discovered what a big problem the government funding of other areas is. that got me interested in the national debt as a whole. there is not just one solution.
a big effort to be and we are going to have to try multiple things. at the end of my video, i threw it out to the candidates, but please get this nation back under control. have you gotten more involved or do you follow politics more since working on the project? since doing all of the research, whenever i hear somebody talking about the debt or something along those lines, i was like -- oh, i know what you are talking about. how did you find out about student cam? i am in film at my high school. my teacher has all of his
students enter this competition every year. this year it rolled around and he was like -- get to work. host: it was a forced assignment. [laughter] are you going to give him a cut of your prize money? guest: i might buy him a gift card or something. host: have you gotten the check? i got it in the mail last week. you andat year are where are you going to college? i am a sophomore. i don't know where i want to go. i would love to go to film school in california or new york. she is the grand prize winner of this year's student
>> now a senate hearing on the united states human rights and diplomatic tories. -- priorities. the state department's testified. they identified central america, asti, cuba, and turkey places in most need of assistance. this is about one hour 15 minutes. >> good morning, this is a ofring on the committee global women's issues and the purpose of this hearing is to review the resources, priorities , and programs in fiscal year
2017 budget requests from the president and u.s. department your of western hemisphere affairs in the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor. panell have an official with three witnesses. the assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor. the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs. miss elizabeth hogan, the acting assistant administrator for latin america and the caribbean agency for international development. i want to thank all of you for being with us, we appreciate your time and commitment to further the important work of this committee. i also want to thank your staff for working with the committee and members of my staff to making this hearing possible.
today is an opportunity to learn more about the nations priorities in the western hemisphere in promoting democracy and human rights around the world. there are many challenges we need to collaborate on. building strong democratic institutions and building -- is in the moral and strategic interests of the united states and she to be one of our top priorities. it is important for u.s. programs to be aligned with our priorities and not just in the western hemisphere. it is also important that u.s. taxpayer dollars are not wasted that instead used to address significant challenges to national security interest. i believe congress can continue to work in a constructive way to enhance the department's efforts. i hope you address these issues in your testimonies and with that, i turn it over to our ranking member.
>> i asked that my entire statement be placed in the record and i will summarize. this is an important hearing and i want to extend my welcome to our guest and witnesses -- guests and witnesses. our subcommittee is a very important one that has a range of matters, including the countries of the western hemisphere as well as global responsibility for democracy, human rights and women's issues. while we face numerous challenges in the western hemisphere ranging from narcotics trafficking to assisting countries in the wake of natural disasters, the region is making tremendous progress and it is rife with opportunity, due in large part to the support of the united states. i know the chairman and i are friends, but we disagree strongly on cuba, so i will say that president obama's to change a field plus -- decision to change a fail policy is working with me and i hope it will turn out to be so for the cuban people and the human rights activists there.
it is an unprecedented moment and i hope the cuban people make the most of it that the government understands that they have to change. we have also witnessed progress in columbia due in large part to the support of the u.s. negotiations between the government and they continue to move forward. a look at argentina where the united states is poised to build stronger ties. i visited recently and was so depressed and disgusted with what i saw in that kershner government. i have hope now and i really
believe as we see the new government saying they will pay back the bonds and make investors at least partially whole, it is an important point. in mexico, we continue to build upon and rhea horse our relationship with our close neighbor -- and reinforce our relationship with our close neighbor and i am very concerned about threats posed by the spread of the zika virus and i think we will be hearing more on that. this is an emergency. we should not be quibbling about it. our people are going to get sick. we already have in florida, 99 cases. it is going to happen as sure as we are sitting here and in short order. we need to leave the world, and i know there are no sure answers. we will stumble and fall, but as they say, what is important is get back up and make sure we don't repeat those mistakes because in any kind of human relations, let alone foreign relations, we make mistakes.
i support funding for programs that support human rights defenders and simple society organizations that promote religious freedom, strengthen accountability and the rule of law. >> we begin with a testimony from our panel and we will have a vote at 11:00. we will get into the pretty heavier statements the record. -- for the record. >> mr. chairman, ranking member boxer and distinguished members of the subcommittee, i am pleased to present fiscal plans for the year 2017. our request for $970 million will promote the interests of the united states while significantly improving the quality of life are those we help. we have identified five priorities to focus our assistance where we can have the greatest impact, prosperity, good governance, promoting a
sustainable and equitable peace in colombia, long-term development in haiti, advancing democracy and human rights across the americas and addressing environmental threats to livelihoods. one of our highest priorities is central america, particularly in el salvador, guatemala and honduras. we know that opening doors for citizens, especially -- will bolster our efforts for more prosperous societies. our programs include efforts to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, encourage private investment, train youth in job skills and improve agricultural productivity. these efforts to grow prosperity are only sustainable in an environment where democratic values and institutions flourish, human rights are respected and civil society and the media can play their rightful role. our programs are aimed at
reforming to root out corruption, strengthening civil society's ability to hold governments accountable, fostering a culture of respect for human rights, especially for historically marginalized roofs and improving fiscal transparency -- groups and improving fiscal transparency. it will ultimately be difficult for our efforts to take root in societies plagued by insecurity. we are using tacit approaches in the most violence prone communities to create safe spaces, provide job and life skills training and provide police for the residents. with sustained committments, we will help the northern triangle develop into a safer and more prosperous region for all those who live there. such sustained commitment yields results, as we have seen with the notable strides made in columbia. in 2017, we are requesting 187 million dollars to expand upon current programming to help the
colombian government established a stronger presence, provide post-conflict reconciliation and justice, improve economic growth and sustainably manage the country's natural resources. it programs will build upon current successes, especially for marginalized population. along with central america and columbia, haiti remains a high priority. our fy 17 request will continue our efforts to help haiti grow into a stable and economically viable country. we remain focused on promoting economic growth, job creation, and agricultural advances, providing basic health care and education services and improving the transparency of government institutions and the responsiveness citizens. while more remains to be done,
we are committed to supporting the haitian people as they build a more secure future. throughout the region, our democracy and human rights friends address fundamental issues including anticorruption -- anticorruption, and the rule of law and the support for civil society. we work to ensure that governments are open and accountable and use public runs responsibly and effectively and deliver critical services to citizens. we are also committed to serving human rights wherever we work, underpinning all of these efforts is support and protection for a strong civil society that can hold governments accountable. another challenge facing the region is the negative impact of extreme weather events. our mitigation and adaptation efforts helped reduce devastation to life, property and economic activity. we are also seeing the
development and the one at of advanced clean technology and revelatory environments. we have one goal in mind with democracy and human rights everything that we do, to empower countries to assume responsibility for their own development and grow beyond the need for national assistant. we use science, technology and private sector partnerships to find new solutions and scale up what works. for every dollar we spend in the region in 2014, we mobilized i've times that in every sector resources. we take our responsibility to the taxpayer seriously and we are committed to accountability, transparency and oversight of our programs. we use a full range of monitoring and evaluation tools to track progress and ensure the programs are meeting goals and delivering results. with sustained commitment from countries in the region to advance their own developing goals and our government support, we are well paced for success. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify on fiscal year 2017 for assistance request for the western hemisphere and thank you for your ongoing support of our diplomatic efforts in the hemisphere.
the administration's approach to the region improves security, strengthens the rule of law, promotes the sea and human rights,racy and human advances partnerships, and promotes prosperity and inclusive growth for all its citizens. u.s. assistance is a critical tool that supports these goals. in our request for central america and mexico, the to address the underlying conditions driving migration from central america through mexico and to the united states. the request also includes increases to support colombia's implementation of an expected peace agreement marking the end of the hemisphere's longest-running conflict. the request maintains support for key partnerships with peru, haiti and the caribbean. the fy 2017 foreign assistance request for our strategy in central america continues support for prosperity,
governance and disparity -- in recognition of the acute challenges these companies -- countries face. u.s. assistance complements the investments northern triangle governments or making through their own development plan, the alliance for prosperity. they planned to spend $2.6 million this year on their own plan. continued u.s. support will be vital to columbia's success as it seeks to implement a peace accord. our partnership with mexico remains an important priority
for the united states and includes a range of issues that benefit both countries, including trade and investment, energy and security. the america initiative continues to provide the framework for our bilateral security cooperation at both rural and date levels. our request also includes essential democracy assistance for cuba and venezuela were the united states will continue to provide assistance that advances in universal human rights and supports civil society. promotions of democratic principles and human rights remains of the core of u.s. interest in cuba. our continued investment in infrastructure, agriculture, economic growth, basic education and health, expanded governance and security. a sustained u.s. commitment is essential to build on the past gains of u.s. efforts in haiti and build its capacity to respond to citizens' needs.
improving development directly benefits u.s. initiatives. the initiative cattleman's caribbean efforts to reduce crime and violence, strengthen the rule of law and address the factors that put you in marginalized communities that put youth and marginalized communities insecurity. u.s. counter narcotics investments maintins -- in eradication and alternative development and cultivation. i urge the u.s. congress to fully fund this request for the western hemisphere as it advances our national security and wisely invest our resources where they can have the most significant impact. i look forward to your questions and i just want to point out there is a great group of students from richmond, virginia at the hearing. >> can i ask if they are maggie walker students? congratulations on we the people, you guys are fantastic. >> thank you, senator rubio, it
is a pleasure to be here. i will say a few words about our global programs support people who are struggling for advances in democracy and human rights around the world. i will start by acknowledging that this is not an easy time to be doing this kind of work. authoritarian governments with big power are striking out with great ferocity against freedoms of expression, association, and the press. the horrible war in syria and the terror of isis and mass migrations of refugees and the fear that all of this security creates even in democratic countries with all the impact on our politics that we have seen.
all of that should disturb us, i don't think it should surprise us. freedom has advanced in waves over the last few decades. it has been followed by advances in the internet and the global civil society which allows people in just about every society in the world know exactly what they are missing and to connect with each other and people around the world, to build effective mover -- movements for social change. people often say to me that human rights is a soft issue, but i think it is the hardest issue there is, because it's advance is a threat to the most dangerous people in the world. if you are trying to steal an election or stay in office for life or profit corruption, then of course you are threaten by ngos and journalists who try to
expose those abuses of power. of course you will fight back and that is what we are facing in many parts of the world. as a look around the world, i find that the good guys are winning as many victories as they are losing, particularly when we are there to help them. look at the historical elections that took place in burma, nigeria, sri lanka even in venezuela. the lesson i take from that is that if we have patience and determination and stick with these efforts and with these programs, we are going to win more victories than defeats. that is where the funding you provide my bureau, through our human rights and democracy fund comes in. it is about $85 million. we like to think of it as our venture capital fund for freedom. we are using it to get news, knowledge and get --
entertainment into north korea, an effort that is changing minds and awakening expectations in the most closed society on earth. we are using it to support the legal defense of political activists and dissidents in multiple countries. we are using it to support political prisoners in burma so they can contribute to building democracy and fight the religious hatreds that threatens democracy. we are using it to deploy cutting-edge technology that breaks through china's great firewall and protect activists in dozens of countries from cyberattacks and cyber intrusions. we are using it to help organizations defending him of expression in latin america. one of our programs supported a campaign that saved ecuador's number one press freedom watchdog. we are using it to keep civil society organizations alive in area where groups we funded negotiated cease-fires, documented the crimes of the
aside regime -- of the assad regime. we are setting up early warning systems in remote areas of the eastern congo so that people there can call for help when they are threatened by armed groups in nigeria, to protect people from boko haram. we're using it to help women who have a desk escaped isis captivity in northern iraq. we are using it to support organizations that try to build trust between muslim communities and the police and eastern kenya so that they can unite against auch about -- against ousted bob -- al shabab. we are using it to get help the people who needed faster than any agency and the u.s. government. our emergency grant programs can get small but life-saving amounts of money to activists and ngos under threat is little as 48 hours. we are using these programs now to provide protection and assistance to some of the
bloggers and others who have been threatened in bangladesh, one of many examples. to save the best for last, on a fiscal standpoint, libby say that we also use it to support the work of ngos and journalists that expose corruption around the world. this work has contributed to almost $3 billion in confiscation's and finds, including over $1 billion in the justice department seizures which is a good investment for your drl funds. i want to thank you for the strong support that this committee and the congress has shown our programs over the years. with continued support, we will continue to do work that that only does our country proud, but makes us safer and stronger in the long run. >> thank you. my first question is on the issue of human rights and the president's visit to saudi arabia.
there were two cases. you know if either one of these cases were raised in those meetings and what are we doing to pressure? there was a bipartisan letter urging the president to make human rights a priority with his -- during his meeting with the king. if these cases were not raised during the meeting, what are we doing in regard to these -- in regard to these people who have been jailed unjustly? >> these cases have been raised more than once with the highest levels of the saudi government and i know the president had an extensive conversation with the king about human rights in saudi arabia. you may have seen some stories about how intensive that conversation was. i can pledge to you continued cases privately with the saudi government and publicly where appropriate until people who are unjustly detained for peaceful expression as these individuals are, are released. >> the administration made
countries of particular concern designations and noticeably absent -- absent from the list was pakistan. a recent example of intolerance was the horrific easter attack. what would have to happen for pakistan to be designated as a country of particular concern? >> there are a lot of tough calls when the secretary makes these decisions, i think the test is not simply whether there are significant abuses a religious freedom in a particular country, but whether we feel that there is a commitment within the government to try to do something about it and it is in valuation that the
secretary makes on a case-by-case basis. we added a country this year because after a lot of diplomatic meetings with the government, we were not getting a sufficient spot to our requests -- getting a sufficient response to our requests to take action. >> the secretary recently made his genocide designation. what steps does the department take -- communities which is found themselves in the crosshairs of isis? >> this has been a burning priority for many of us since this conflict with isis began. i was in northern iraq a couple months ago. i visited the religious shrine just a few miles north of the front line with isis. we have a lot of programs that we are funding to provide direct
support, that just military this is but psychosocial support for people who have faced violence, escaped captivity on the part of isis. as you know, the first shots we fired in this war to liberate territory in iraq from isis was fired to protect these people when they were surrounded by the terrorists, and i think this is something that we need to think about with particular focus in the next stage of the military campaign, as it focuses more closely -- many members of congress rightly urged us to look at the genocide determination and call was happening to the other minorities by its name, by using the terminology is the easy part, the important thing is that we find a way to liberate
these historical homelands of these people in a way that not only to each isis, but enables these communities to go home with dignity and security. frankly, that is going to take resources and we are working with you in reaching out to you to talk about what it's going to take to do this in the right way so that people can go home. >> what additional budget resources are necessary? >> i am probably not the best person to ask what the total cost of the entire mission. it will require support for short-term idp's, for example, as it is squeeze, there will certainly be hundreds of thousands of people fleeing that city. there are 2 million people that will need to be cared for, somewhere by somebody. it will require stabilization
funds after the liberation of that area for rebuilding and supporting institutions of justice. it will require training and support for local security forces, including some of the local security forces, including the christian communities that have been performing in that area. we are beginning to work with those folks and i think if you look at the various appeals including the appeal for the humanitarian support, you will find that a lot more is needed. >> last year, there were over 8600 documented arrests in cuba, is the only country in the americas still classified as not free. in light of all of this, why would the administration request a reduction from a $20 million it has provided annually in recent years in funding to democracy assistance for the cuban people?
>> thank you for the question. the fy 17 request seeks to establish a sustainable level of democracy support in cuba. we believe the human rights situation merits continued and -- continued attention and our assistance is designed to work with civil society, independent civil society, promote democratic values, human rights and advance fundamental freedoms. the funding is one we believe we can execute on the ground. >> you are saying that you don't think you can spend $20 million or find programs to fund so that is why you are asking for less? it is very unusual for a government agency to ask for less. >> we believe that is the
sustainable level of programming that we can carry out inside cuba. >> what does that mean? the funding you can get in the future or that is as much as you can handle? >> it is a combination of the amount of money that we believe can be absorbed inside you but at this time. >> that was not the feeling two years ago? is that a change in position because a couple of years ago, the funding was at $25. -- $20 million. what happened to the additional money? >> i will have to get back to you on what happened to the previous funding. >> you say you don't believe the island can support $29 in spending, there are none of programs for it to sustain. in past years, there has been more money, are you saying that it has not been spent? something you fund in the past is not getting funded now, correct? >> we have spent slightly more than $58 million in the past and
what we face every time we make these request to be honest is overall, as you well know, a diminishing pool of resources to do almost everything that we want to do around the world. the way i look at this, as the head of the democracy and him that human rights bureau, i always welcome as much spending as we can do in any country in the world that needs it. we have about $85 million globally for every country, for human rights and democracy programs and i could probably spend more in every single country where we are doing this kind of work. cuba at this point, next to a rock is a country that receives
the most -- next to iraq is the country that receives the most hunting in the world and merits it given the challenges and importance that this issue has to the united states. i sometimes look at it and say i would love to have more and sometimes i look at it and say i'd rather have more than $200,000 for a country in africa or in asia were that is all we have. those are some of the choices. >> so this is a part of reallocation. within a limited budget. >> we have a very limited budget. you know the challenges that we have had overall in trying to maintain adequate levels of spending in a lot of places we care about. cuba is one of them, so it is not certainly a real cap -- it
is certainly not a reallocation away from supporting human rights, but we have hard choices to make within the limited amount of money we have. i would love for us to be able to do more and a lot of places. >> i would like you to be able to do more, i think -- i want to get back to the zika virus because i think this is an absolute threat to this country. ms. hogan, i will direct this question to you. there is no doubt the zika virus is a public health the that has affected thousands of people in the western hemisphere, including almost 300 americans. it causes severe birth defects occluding blindness and deafness. in adults, it is late to syndromes which can cause paralysis -- linked to syndromes which can cause paralysis. the world health organization
described the zika threat as one of alarming proportion. -- proportions. we also have learned that zika is sexually transmitted. in our country, the most danger -- dangerous american -- endangered americans are those that live in the gulf states. it is clear that these types of epidemics know no boundaries. we have to respond quickly. in february, the president requested a $1.9 billion
emergency supplemental for zika. a portion of this would go to usaid. unfortunately, and sadly, and inexplicably, congress has not provided the administration with the ending it needs to rest on to this outbreak. those who oppose it will be held accountable. it is as simple as that. time makes a big difference in these kinds of epidemics. the longer we wait, the more people get infected and the more lives are painfully altered forever. we have seen it. i'm asking you, with your limited funds, what efforts has u.s. a i.d. -- usaid taken to combat the spread? i've heard several republicans say take the money from ebola. that is a whole other problem and it is not the answer. i want to know what you are
doing with your limited runs and du agree we have a great need for the ones the president asked for? >> thank you for that question and we share your deep concern about the potential impact of sica in the region -- the gut -- of zika in the region. thus far, usaid has conducted assessment around the region, particularly in those countries were health systems are weak and we have developed a strategy which we are ready to launch. the strategy would include social, behavior change, syndication, vector control, investing in new diagnostic techniques. >> can we diagnose it? is it easy to find out if someone is carrying the virus? >> cdc is the expert in this area, and i know that they can diagnose it. doing it more rapidly and less
expensively is what we are hoping to bring about through a grand challenge that the usaid had issued to the private sector for $35 million to invest in innovative technologies and approaches to do the kinds of things that i just mentioned in terms of diagnostics. >> so to sum it up, you are doing everything you can with limited resources, but it is a race against time and from my understanding, we have so much -- and i know you are supporting taking action -- we don't even know how long the virus stays in your system and since it is sexually transmitted, couples planning to have children that are know the situation, whether the man is infected and can pass it on. i raise it here because it is one of those unusual situations where there is a direct impact for americans that is going on in another part of the world.
this is not some foreign policy matter, this is a health emergency and i will be continuing to speak about it. mr. millenials key, afghan women have made progress in education, health and political representation and i have been engaged in meeting with the women and while president donnie is a strong partner on women's issues, it is clear that women continue to face great barriers, especially in regards to their legal rights. last year, a mob really killed a woman falsely accused of burning the koran. this murder happened in central kabul in broad daylight in the presence of security officials. disturbingly, the afghan supreme court recently vindicated the death sentences of four men charged with this murder and
reduce the sentences of nine others. this is but one example of ways in which afghanistan's legal system continues to fail afghan women. how will the u.s. continue to work with afghanistan to bolster the legal rights of afghan women? >> thank you for that question. i'm sure i won't do justice to every aspect of it or everything that we are doing. with -- with respect to the afghan judiciary, one of the steps that the president intended to take was to appoint the first woman or women to the afghan supreme court. when i saw him last, i urged him to do that and he said he was committed. his appointments have been unsuccessful and blocked. >> where they learning how to block appointments to the supreme court -- where are they learning how to block appointments to the supreme court? that was a bad joke. [laughter]
>> i'm resisting all kinds of -- at a lower level, but at a important level, we have done a lot of work with local justice institutions in afghanistan through training and other assistance programs to help them implement a new violence against women law which has been one in advance. we have a program out of my bureau, which supports sending talented young afghan women to a university for women in bangladesh. we established a really interesting program there and women who graduate on the program often go back to afghanistan and enter government and the justice system. at a grassroots level, just encouraging more women to take up positions in the justice system has been an important priority for our programming.
>> senator gardner. >> requires a designation of him and him -- i wanted to start with north korea if i could be the legislation that was passed a couple of months ago requires a designation of human rights violators in north korea and a designation out of -- out of curiosity, how are those investigations going and do you have any intention of naming someone under legislation passed by congress? >> we are working very hard on identifying people. i have often spoken publicly about this in one of the most important things that we can do for human rights in north korea is to send a message inside the system to the mid-level people. people in public security ministries who are responsible for the worst abuses that guess what, we know who you are and
someday, when there is change on the peninsula, you will be on a list you don't want to be on if you are associated with those abuses. figuring out who those people are is not always easy for reasons i'm sure you will understand. we are working with our partners, including with the south koreans to try to figure this out, we have made some progress and we intend to use the sanctions authority. the president's executive order for the legislation passed created a human rights sanctions authority for the same purpose. i cannot tell you who because we are not there yet, but when is hopefully as soon as possible. >> will you be looking at the highest levels of government for the sanctions? >> we can look at individuals and at ministries. i don't want to just say kim jong-un is a bad guy. my preference would be to
identify some of the people who are less well-known in order to send that message that we do know who they are and there may be consequences in the future if they are associated with executions and the prison camp system. >> we did provide additional authorities in order to communicate with the north korean people to ways to build cheap and efficient medication channels in order to get the message out about the atrocities of the regime and hopefully those authorities, senator rubio was a critical part of that and will be utilized and helpful in getting the word out about ask that these people are carrying out -- about the acts that these people are carrying out. >> we are go -- we are working with old technology like radios and getting information to people in the north.
there are about 3 million cell phone contracts in with korea right now, so people are communicating with each other and also with people outside the country in surprising ways. there are a lot of folks working on delivering content that will raise awareness and bring information to people in north korea about simple things at what life is like outside of the country. we find that some of that out of my bureau and at their is room for a lot more. >> china has had a policy of returning north korean defectors to the regime. are you in conversation with china about changing the policy, are they intending to change the policy? >> we have raised this many times with china, as some other countries have in the region. i would note that there are some cases recently in which china has allowed people move on who
have sought asylum. there were some north korean workers in beijing recently, who managed to get themselves to south korea without objections the chinese government -- from the chinese government. it is a question we continue to raise. >> the week after president obama visited -- the week after his visit, things in cuba have returned to normal, 150 activists were arrested on saturday. is that an accurate assessment? how many political prisoners are there in cuba today that we are aware of and has their been in a resort decrease in the number of these arrest since our policy change? >> the big distinction is between long-term political prisoners, most of whom have been released and the short-term harassment, often violence that is inflicted on people who try
to hold meetings or organize rallies, discussions to engage in the politics of the island. that is absolutely -- that has absolutely not let up. there were a couple thousand short detentions in the first three of this year. i think it reflects both the highly repressive tendencies of this government, which we know extremely well, but also their nervousness, about the changes that are taking place in our relationship and the hemisphere. it was interesting to see the reaction of the cuban government to president obama's visit after the fact. fidel castro basically left his dad to deliver a speech denouncing president obama and said we don't need any gifts from the empire. president obama's syrupy words
about brotherhood and shared history were enough to give cubans a heart attack, he said. raul castro made similar statements. there is a myth of american hostility toward cuba and we have completely destroyed that and they have nothing else and are extremely nervous as a result of that. >> if i could, i will introduce you to the students who are here, the school is for governmental and -- and international studies. it is in the neighborhood where i lived, it was a vacant and abandoned building when i unelected and over the course of about evan years, we worked with