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tv   FOX News Reporting Cuba -- Losing the Last Battle of the Cold War  FOX News  January 25, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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ned with nutrients people don't get enough of from food alone. centrum. for the most important parts of you. last battle of the cold war hosted by bret baier. see you saturday. >> today the united states of america is changing its today the united states of america is changing its relationship with the people of cuba. 50 years as cold war enemies ended just like. >> cuba is just one more example of saving dictators who are on their knees. our shift in the cuba policy stops it is legend of destrust. >> that is cold comfort for those who suffer as a result of castro. every time you complain about the living conditions in the prison you are assaulted and punished. >> there is crimes. >> fox news reports that cuba, losing the last battle of the
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cold war. from washington, bret baier >> fidell castro and his brother raul have ruled cuba through 11 presidencies and have been a thorn in america's side. now in their waning years as cubans ponder life without the castros, america is reaching out to the regime. >> we will end an approach that has failed to advance our interests and will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. >> it was a bombshell. president obama announced he would use executive power to open diplomatic relations with cuba and loosen restrictions on travel and trade. >> you are in favor of opening up travel, trade, communication can cuba. >> because the policy of the last 54 years has been a complete and utter failure.
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the idea was that the embargo isolating cuba would somehow bring down the castro regime. the only people isolated are the people of cuba and u.s. policy in latin america. >> what you are doing doesn't work for 50 years it is time to try something new. >> in his state of the union speech the president doubled down. >> this year congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. >> why would you engage a rogue regime that has a history of abusing its people antidemocratic and award them with everything they want and get nothing in return? >> obama's overtures marked biggest change in u.s./cuban relations since the embargo began. in that time cuba has occupied a unique place in american imaguation, an island neighbor that became the enemy at our
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door step. before fidell castro took over the caribbean nation was a favorite playground for americans, a tropical paradise for those who could afford it. in the 1950s cuba was one of the richest nations in latin america but there was high unemployment u.s. companies dominated its economy and the u.s.-supported leader ran a corrupt and repressive regime. the castro-led revolution forced batista into exile. at first america didn't know what to make of this bearded man in military fatigues. the u.s. under president eisenhower recognized the new government and some saw castro as a hero. indeed herbert matthews in the "new york times" with lines like this, dr. castro is the greatest hero that their history has known. castro himself didn't tip his
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hat. >> very clear. >> what became clear was america in the middle of the cold war had a communist nation on its door step just 90 miles off the coast of florida. castro took over farmland nationalized businesses including america and signed deals with the soviet government also aided by revolutionary. he oversaw thousands of political executions. before leaving office president eisenhower imposed a partial embargo to exports on cuba. in january 1961 the u.s. officially severed relationships with cuba. eisenhower authorized a plan to overthrow castro through a force of exiles. that invasion in bay of pigs was a fiasco. a propaganda for castro and was
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a black eye for the new president, john f. kennedy. in 1962 kennedy extended the embargo to all trade but not before purchasing 1,200 cuban cigars for personal use. in october 1962 came the cuban prissal crisis where the united states and soviet union had a tense face-off over nuclear weapons deployed in cuba. as part of the settlement the u.s. agreed not to invade cuba but as punishment president kennedy imposed restrictions in 1963 preventing u.s. citizens from traveling there. over the next decades presidential support for the embargo waxed and waned. >> supermarkets. there is no fresh bread or meat on sale only jars and tins of goods from red china and russia. >> throughout the decades this small communist nation was a
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constant thorn in the side of the u.s. its defiance lent cuba a certain romantic -- hollywood celebrities spoke highly of fidel. liberal politician bill de blasio travelled to havana for his honeymoon. no american president on the left to the right seriously alterred the embargo policy. and then came president obama who promised to fundamentally transform america. whether or not he succeeded is a judgment call. there can be little question now these has fundamentally transformed our relations with cuba. we take a closer look at this island nation, romanticized by many around the world, but what are the realities? we go inside cuba and meet a man who was willing to put his
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freedom on the line to speak with us. edom on the line to speak with us. no super-slow-motion footage of trucks splashing through the mud. no cowboy hats, horses or hay bales.
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because health is everything. >> a member of the patriotic union of cuba knows first-hand the limits on freedom inside cuba. two years ago he was arrested and imprisoned for what in america would have been an every day exercise in political speech. even though speaking his mind is what landed him in prison he was willing to speak with us. >> translator: my name is milan. i was born in cuba. i think my life is in danger by speaking to the media. i use this form of communication to notify the world about my situation and if something were to happen to me then everybody knows the truth.
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♪ >> translator: the owners of this country have been in the regime for 55 years and they own everything. cubans cannot own their own businesses. they manipulate everything. the revolution they created back fired on them in real life. >> translator: can you explain a little bit more about march 23? >> translator: on march 23 during a peaceful rally asking for changes on the island of cuba the police arrested me. this was the shirt i wore the day of my arrest. these are blood stains on my shirt. the police officer picked me up and threw me against the ground. i was threatened and told i was going to disappear. on march 30, seven days later the threat they made towards me took place.
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i thank god that i am alive because they could have killed me. i had a wound on my head and had seven stitches taken and i was left unconscious for approximately 20 minutes. they didn't release me and instead took me to jail. the reason i was given for my arrest was for threatening the country, threatening fidel and raul. for that reason i was going to be convicted for eight years and then i was told the conviction would be reduced to four years. >> translator: was there a judge? did you have a lawyer? >> translator: no. i wasn't given the opportunity to tell the truth. the courts are in partnership with the national security and you don't have a chance to a fair trial. >> translator: how were you treated in prison? >> translator: i was treated badly. they don't have a medical clinic. we were assaulted malnutrition. the cells were small.
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the beds were broken and dangerous to sleep in. every time we would complain about the living conditions in prison we would be assaulted and punished. >> translator: how has this affected your family? >> translator: it has effected my family a great deal. my son gets up in the morning and the first person he asks for is for me. where is daddy? where is daddy? i have to reuassure him that i will be here with you. >> translator: how did your wife feel with your absence? >> translator: she has cried a lot. she suffered a lot. now we are happy and we are together. >> translator: do you hope that with this new agreement between the u.s. and cuban government it will be a change after 56 years of dictatorship? >> translator: i'm going to tell
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you the truth, i wish and hope that there are changes and that this is all true and they haven't lied to president barack obama and made false promises. i have a letter that was given to me when i was released from prison that says i was released because i was sick. i am not sick. i feel like i am still in prison. i am not free. i am still a prisoner of cuba. >> as we see the people inside cuba are reminded every day of the limits on their freedom. but even those who escaped generations ago carry with them the scars of the castro regime. we will hear from our all star panel on the administration's sudden turn for cuba. nice! gr-reat! a shot like that... calls for a post-game celebration. share what you love with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. they're gr-r-reat!
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>> for most for most people the cuban revolution has faded into history but for one group it is something they keep with them every day of their lives. >> reporter: we all know the regime has the policy of terror. >> radio host a cuban exile living in miami speaks out against fidel and raul castro. >> for the last 56 years if you look back you are seeing the same crimes that were committed at the beginning of the revolution. >> reporter: her show is two hours long but every minute is filled with stories about the daily abuse and violence cubans endure at the hands of the castro regime. >> i have reported on everything from six month old children dead on a tug boat because they didn't want them to leave cuba
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so you name it and there is no crime. >> half a century later those horrific memories remain fresh in her mind. >> people were taken before the firing squad without a proper trial. and you would see men being taken before the firing squad in front of your eyes. i remember going to a prison where they had taken my uncle and the firing squad was there and a lot of the women fainted because they would have to walk by that place and you would see that it had been washed but you could see blood stains from the night before. it was really a horrible time. >> may have a prominent perch to tell her tales but miami -- >> i always say that every cuban
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is able. they went through what they went through to leave the country. >> cuba flag wearing roosters most signs in spanish and the spanish language drowning out the occasional english you could walk down the streets this is miami's little havana. spanish for eighth street where many old school original wave of cuban exiles live here drinking cuban coffees and hatred for castro brothers remains as passionate today as it was when they fled their homeland.
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>> we like freedom. >> what do you think about the castros today? >> same thing as yesterday. criminals. criminals. >> i feel like we are starting to negotiate with hitler. >> what are your thoughts on the castro brothers? >> [ bleep ]. >> the cuban community in miami has always been a loud and influential one unified of one goal, the total defeat of the communist castro regime. now that cuban americans have been born here 90 miles from the homes of parents and grandparents many see the old hard line approach with cuba softening and younger generation taking a more practical approach to havana. >> i spent 22 years in cuba before i came here. i know what happened in cuba. >> 76-year-old george suarez as a boy says he witnessed his own
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uncle's execution and at 17 he and his family were put under house arrest and threatened with death. his father and sisters were thrown in prison. at 22 suarez escaped to the u.s. alone on a cargo ship. suarez's great nephew born in the u.s. doesn't fully grasp the brutality his family experienced in cuba. >> we have no idea what we are talking about. we have never been in cuba. that is a very important distinction. >> i did not live through what some people lived through when they were forced to flee from their homes. that passion and that anger is not with me. so i am sort of removed from the situation but i think i get to see things without the emotion. i see things in a clearer perspective. >> which is why some younger generation cuban americans aren't so bothered by the prospects of a thaw in cuban american relations. >> i think the two countries
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need to get together. >> i'm all for it but a lot of my family is against it. >> i'm scared to say yes. what if nothing changes. >> and recent fox news poll more than half of all americans support making the embargo and are in favor of renewing the diplomatic relations. >> anything in history the longer it kind of fades away the emotions and the anger from generation to generation. a good number of them polled have never been to the island. great majority of my friends are in agreement with me that they are conflicted. they are in between the angst and anger that their relatives have and then they also want to see change happen in cuba but want to see something different from the last 50 years. >> they have no idea. they have no idea what they are talking about because they don't know what cuba was and what cuba is. >> despite the differences among cuban-americans they all agree on one thing, president obama is
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changing things like no president before him. >> america is not about just turning your back and doing business in a country where there are no human rights where there is repression. he has given everything to the cuban regime doing it at a time when they are in the worst state because venezuela cannot continue supporting them. and it comes at a perfect time to bail out a 56-year-old dictatorship. that is not what america is about. >> but what was behind this sudden surprising change in american policy? when we return we will look at who gave what to make this cuba reset happen. there's a more enjoyable way to get your fiber. try phillips fiber good gummies. they're delicious and an excellent source of fiber to help support regularity. mmmm. these are good! the tasty side of fiber. from phillips love drama? go on a first date. my passion is puppetry. here?
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blizzard watches and warnings for tomorrow set to go in effect by 1:00 p.m. eastern. 50 million people from pennsylvania to maine in the storm's path. the greatest impact seen monday afternoon through tuesday. new york city's mayor calling it historic. >> my message to all new yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have seen before, prepare to be safe. >> it is not a hurricane but they are saying it is like a hurricane with a lot of snow. thunder snow. mayor saying sanitation crews getting ready to keep 6,000 miles of streets clear. we will be watching this for you on fox news channel. news.comfor the latest headlines. >> so so far we have looked at the history of cuba and the current repression of the castro regime. president obama has turned the page on all of that. what had to happen to make this
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possible? you will be surprised by at least one of the diplomatic measures that was taken. it took people by surprise when president obama announced the change in america's cuban policy. it didn't happen overnight. it was preceded by 18 months of intense negotiations including many sessions in canada where both sides could meet in secret as well as discussions at the vatican where the pope helped broker a deal. president obama had for years hoped for a more open relationship and so did cuba but the biggest sticking point was a prisoner swap. the u.s. wanted freedom for gross who worked with the u.s. agency for international development was arrested in 2009 for distributing to cuban synagogues communications equipment that wasn't under the control of the state. he was held without charge for 14 months quickly convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 15 years.
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meanwhile cuba insisted on the return of the cuban five spies who infiltrated in miami. one group they targeted was brothers to the rescue who flew small planes along the waters searching for refugees fleeing cuba. in 1996 based on information fed by the spies cuba shot down two planes flown by brothers to the rescue killing four. the five spies were arrested in 1998 and convicted in 2001. once the exchange was agreed to by cuba and the obama administration the way was then clear for diplomatic relations. i spoke to representative of maryland who was in the delegation and just returned from cuba. >> when i went out of the hotel and put the bags away and took a little walk i had on a pen that had the cuban flag and american flag.
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people on the street came up to me right away and said they were excited about the new relationship, the new opportunity. >> which leadership or leaders down there did the delegation meet with? >> so we met with the archbishop of the catholic church in cuba who was very instrumental, by the way, together with the pope in what became the release of gross. we met with dissident groups a whole array of representatives within cuba. and we met with the cuban foreign minister. >> where do you see cuba 20 years from now? >> i don't expect change overnight. i hope over time we will have a growing private sector in cuba. their economy right now is really constrained. over time that will lead more cubans to challenge the limitations on their political, as well. there are no guarantees in this
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process. >> while he is hopeful some of these colleagues are highly skeptical of obama's new policy. what do you say to the people like chris van hallen and democrats who say we will change it from the inside? >> name one time america took a dictatorship and changed it from the inside. what he has done in cuba is made every other dictator think that maybe barack obama will do business with me. this is a time to choke the financing of the cuban regime. this is a time to show leadership as opposed to doing what president obama has done is trying to throw a life line to the castro regime. >> there is a lot of secret preparation up to this point. your thought on the process and this administration how it has handled it? >> the process is horrible. he didn't speak to congress or opposition leaders in cuba. he didn't speak to democrats.
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>> one part of the secret negotiations that has excited a lot of interest is pretty hard to believe. one member of the cuban spy ring and his wife back in cuba wanted to have a baby. what to do? at the instigation of democratic senator of vermont united states facilitated. >> the cuban fight if you read the american press you would think this was a musical group. they were spies. hernandez whom the united states was so eager to facilitate that his wife would get pregnant through artificial insemination which i had never heard of that for someone convicted of killing americans. >> since then the five had returned to cuba and been given
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a hero's welcome. and hernandez returned to his wife who just gave birth to a baby girl this month thanks in part to the senator. >> he defied the u.s. government for the revolution. and in the end he was returned to cuba thanks to the u.s. government and president obama. >> while some feel betrayed there are those who can't help but take the whole spectacle very personally. >> he is a murderer and he murdered american citizens. and i think it's very sad that our president just let him walk out the door. >> reporter: she is the daughter of one of the men who died in that 1996 shoot down because of the cuban five. he escaped cuba at the age of 10 served as a u.s. marine in veterinarian
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vietnam. marlene believes president obama sold out all that her father believed america stood for. >> my father fought to bring democracy to cuba and i think also it would hurt him terably the fact that a country that he possibly could have given his life for and that he went to war for. in some ways the most mysterious part of cuba is a portion of the country that america actually controls guantanamo bay. what will happen to gitmo coming up. our eyes they have a 200-degree range of sight. which is good for me. hey! and bad for the barkley twins. your brain can send information to the rest of your body at 268 mph. three times the speed of a fastball. take care of your most important parts with centrum. multivitamins expertly designed with nutrients people don't get enough of from food alone. centrum. for the most important parts of you.
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mention guantanamo bay naval base better known as gitmo and people think of the detention camp there. well before 9/11 and its after math the u.s. had control of this 45 square miles of land at the southeastern tip of cuba for more than a century. in 1898 the first u.s. troops in cuba made camp at guantanamo bay. >> the u.s. came into possession of the guantanamo bay base after the spanish american war. >> reporter: michael phillips is a reporter for the "wall street journal" and has written about guantanamo. >> they got lease to it in 1903 and have had it since. the lease gives united states right to stay on the base. it can only be cancelled if u.s. and cuban governments agree. the u.s. government doesn't
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agree. >> reporter: relations with cuba remain stable for the next 50 plus years but then came the cuban revolution. it was the beginning of a hostile relationship. perhaps the trickiest question in the early castro years was what to do with all the cubans who work there. >> there were still thousands of cubans who worked on the base and commuted at night. a number of the cubans decided they were in danger on the cuban side because of the opposition into the revolutionary government and wanted to stay on the base. eventually hundreds of cubans came to live on the base full time. >> no one at the time had any idea how long they would be at guantanamo. >> the kennedy administration said you can stay until this is resolved. and surprising to find themselves still there. >> at the height of the population there were hundreds of cubans living there. now there are only two dozen still around. >> they feel like they have by
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action of history ended up in a place as good as they could hope. all of them have either u.s. citizenship or u.s. residency but continue to choose to live on guantanamo base because that is where they feel home. the youngest ones are in their 70s. they lived out their lives confined. it is a small life but a safe life. >> if you ignore the military trappings guantanamo comes across as a place with a splnt small town atmosphere. >> those who live there love it. >> reporter: montgomery granger is a retired army major who arrived at guantanamo bay a few months after 9/11. he wrote a book called "saving grace at guantanamo bay" detailing his experience. >> guantanamo bay had at that time about 3,000 or so civilian and dependents.
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they had them all at an outdoor movie theater. it had a community center officers club et cetera. you could go scuba diving fishing. there was a great restaurant, a mcdonald's. >> granger was there when gitmo became synonymous with something more controversial, a detention camp was established in january of 2002 to hold those captured in the war on terror. there was a legal battle over the detainees. the bush administration did not believe that they as enemy combatants who did not follow the rules of war were guaranteed any rights under the geneva conventions. the u.s. supreme court declared prisoners at guantanamo were due basic protections. >> they all could have been shot on the battlefield. they didn't have to take one of them prisoner. the morality of gitmo is that it exists at all.
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each is lucky to be alive. >> i was there when the population was upwards of 600. >> ceo of concerned veterans of america served at gitmo from 2004 to 2005. >> what kind of contact did you have with the detainees? >> what these guys faced was some of the worst scenarios, cocktails of urine and feces and semen being thrown on their face. >> that was the gitmo cocktail? >> that is what some called it. >> these guys were characterized as the worst of the worst. >> and they were. they were hell bent and determined to get back to the battlefield. you could see it in their eyes and actions and hear it in their words. these folks were at war with us. >> what do you make of efforts to portray the detainees as victims? >> it is a part of portraying americans as wrongdoers. if you can paint a picture that these are misguided views and
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not nasty people then guantanamo bay becomes illegitimate. >> as a president he has made moves to close guantanamo. >> as americans woo ehave a profound commitment to justice. it makes no sense to spend $3 million per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. >> i cannot get over the fact that this president would continue to release people in the environment that exists today. al qaeda has not been decimated. you are sending fresh recruits. >> lindsey graham has been a jag officer for 33 years. he recently cosponsored a bill to limit the president's ability to release gitmo detainees. >> we are a nation without a jail in the war on terror when we desperately need a jail.
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>> in my opinion every american can be proud of guantanamo bay and the job that our military does there every single day. it's absolutely the best military detention facility on earth. and the islamist equivalent is a pile of heads. >> throughout the controversy the u.s. has made the annual lease payment of $4085. the cuban government refuses to cash the checks. at present cuba considers the u.s. presence in guantanamo illegal. what arrangement may be worked out now that dip lot maic relations have been reopened is still in the air. >> i believe part of his plan is to normalize relationships with cuba cancel the lease agreement and close guantanamo bay through that route. >> are you linking the president's cuba policy shift to his gitmo closing promises? >> this is my biggest fear that
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by normalizing relationships with cuba that we will one day cancel the lease that allows us to operate at guantanamo bay there by closing the prison. >> the whole issue of what happens at gitmo in the future is a separate american decision in my view is not part of the negotiations. >> cuba has claimed that our presence there is illegal at guantanamo bay. do you sense there is push by the cubans to try to get that land back? >> i have been there three times. the cubans have never raised the issue of getting back guantanamo. wouldn't be surprised if they continue to bring it up along the list but i don't see it as one of the priorities they have right now. >> coming up next, our all star panel takes up the question.
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>> i am back. i am joined by our all-star panel. george will. the "wall street journal." a.b. stoddard, associate editor of "the hill" and syndicated columnist, charles krauthammer. george, your overall thoughts on this policy these moves and the fallout? >> many of the critics of the policy soup to assume the cuban regime will crumble when its founding dictator dies. the problem with that is that the soviet regime survived the death of its founding dictator by 67 years. the soviet regime survived the death of his successor stalin. it began under the presidency of dwight eisenhower. as did attempts by the united states to bring the regime down. the regime has survived the presidencies of eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, nixon, ford,
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carter reagan bush, clinton, bush, and obama. that's 11 presidencies. it's not going to fall by itself. we don't know what will work but 50 years of futility is probably about enough. >> jason, as we've heard in this hour critics of this policy say this was the time because the soviets are no longer supporting like they did, neither is venezuela because of falling crude prices. if this is the time, critics say this is a lifeline to the castro brothers. >> well, what we've learned is that if you look at countries like china and vietnam you can have relatively economic free countries that co-exist with political repression. and that's what we have in cuba. and you also have to remember or that's what we could possibly have in cuba under this regime. you also have to remember that while the u.s. has not been trading with cuba for a long time, other nations have, and there's no reason to believe that u.s. dollars will work some
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sort of magic that hasn't been worked by these other countries in the west that have long been trading with cuba. >> a.b.? >> well, what's interesting is the way that president obama, i think, saw this was generational, that as george said, 50 years, it wasn't working but this is an issue that is not of any concern to people who are young in this country. this is now, his new policy is 60% approval rating. it's much higher almost 70% among younger americans. and so he's thinking if there's a short-term benefit to this change, to the regime, long term, he is hoping that like other proponents it's going to hasten the dictatorship's demise and that history will view this as the right decision. >> critics say, charles, point to a country where this has worked, wher you say wharls where establishing this opening it to mi the inside has >> the rest of the world it is
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the only major country that does not have relations with cuba, france has, britain has tons of it hasn't had an iota of change on the level of repression in that police state. there's no evidence whatsoever it is going to have any effect. normalization would be okay in principle iful you had at least got something in return. g you are not going to get the regime giving up. why didn't we exchange for example some normalization exchange for at a minimum opening the internet to cuban civilians. for every step we reward them with something else. instead we gave away everything for stnothing. >> just a difference with china, vietnam, there is this business community that is dealing with u.s. business. in cuba at least so far everything to do with cuba goes through the regime. >> the government would give away useless pesos to the
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masses. that's something i wish thee administration had pushed to change in these negotiations. one thing they are still asking for theye didn't get is for gitmo. they wanted return. obama talked about closing it but they want it back. i think what we have seen in recent weeks in terms of terrorism is that it not only rm should stay open it should stay under our control because we need some place to send these. >> why stop with gitmo? what about alaska? didn't we seal that, too, in some swindell during the lincoln administration administration? >> the deal that obama struck is the deal it is too soon to say.or congress is flexing its muscles with iran and flexed them member morebly with regard to syria in 2013 i guess. it has yet to put forward the money and authorization that would be necessary to formally
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normalize it. it will hold up concessions that the president may get. >> you talk to law americas there is zero chance of lifting the embargo at least not now. on the issue of gitmo clearly the president is engaged and wants this thing closed. there doesn't seem to be the advertising that is building behind me. >> it is very high among critics of his decision. they are going to fight very he hard. they as- -- the constituency has been galvanized for a long time. it sounds popular in the opinion poles they were not pushing for pi this and not asking the administration to please normalize relations with cuba. this was obviously a pet projectth for president obama to make it into the history books.ry it is clear by the way he set itle up by charles' description giving away the store by the op people he included and didn't t
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include that he did a sloppy job. it will be amended over time it will be constrained over time. when it comes to guantanamo bay he made a promise in his campaign in 2007 and second day of his presidency and he has not been able to fulfill it largely because hehe doesn't have support within hisbl own party.he though they might be quiet abouty. it in the end they don't supportit it. he doesn't have the constituency ines congress to close it. r as much as he is trying to rush it through i believe in the end he is not going to be able to do n it on his own. charles? >> i don't think he will close c it. if he tried giving it away i think it would be in congress he wouldn't be able to sustain. i say why not alaska to russia, why not louisiana to the french. wht y stop there? i think the one thing that obama has gained by normalizing relations is he now has the optimum place to put his presidential library, havana. >> and with that we are out of
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♪ >> it is monday. marathon monday. we have the road closure along the city. >> ideal running conditions this year. >> preparations are already underway in the starting line and thousands of runner ace cross the world gear up for marathon


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