tv Democracy Now PBS April 30, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
04/30/15 04/30/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! as republicans mount their first major challenge to president obama's efforts to normalize relations with cuba for the first time in half a century we'll speak with tom hayden convicted of crossing state lines to cross her right when protesting the vietnam war during the chicago convention. he was one of the chicago eight. one of his fellow defendants was ordered, the only african-american, to be bound and gagged and chained to his chair. later, tom hayden would organize a new work, among his books "
rebellion." we will speak with him about protests around the united states as well as his new book "listen, yankee! why cuba , matters." as republicans mount that first major challenge to president obama's efforts to normalize relations with cuba for the first time in half a century. >> the problem with being part of the 1% is you are so sure of yourself that you don't listen to the 99%. you certainly don't listen to the cubans who are in this little island, little tropical island that will obviously fall under the domination of the united states someday. and so it was written in a cuban voice, basically, demanding the united states listen. and i thought 55 years later, the same issue was before us and that was whether barack obama would become the first yankee to listen. the first yankee president to listen, which he did.
amy: tom hayden is a longtime anti-war activist and one of the founders of students for a democratic society. as today marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of saigon and the end of the vietnam war and the 50th anniversary this past month of the first antiwar teach-in at the university of michigan he is , set to address a major conference in washington, d.c. called, "vietnam -- the power of protest: telling the truth. learning the lessons." >> what kind of people would have said, this is a smart move? i will tell you, they and their descendents on the state department, cia now. the policies are not that different. an old judy collins question when will we ever learn? amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
in baltimore, maryland thousands of people have continued to peacefully protest over the police custody death of freddie gray. gray died of spinal injuries a week after he was arrested for looking a police lieutenant in the eye, then running away. his family said his spine was 80% severed at the neck. overnight, thousands of police and national guard troops continued to enforce a 10:00 p.m. curfew. newly confirmed attorney general loretta lynch said the justice department would provide whatever resources are needed to control the protests. >> i have been in direct contact with officials in maryland, including the governor, and i directed this department to provide any assistance that might be helpful in restoring calm and resolving the unrest that broke out across the city. amy: after arresting more than 200 people overnight on monday baltimore was forced to release half of the protesters wednesday, amid a spate of legal
challenges. some of the prisoners said they were held without food for 18 hours. in 18-year-old shown in a picture smashing a police car with a traffic cone, is being held on $500,000 bail after his stepfather convinced him to turn himself in. schools reopened in baltimore after they were closed following monday night's uprising, which saw cars and buildings torched. but the public was barred from attending a baltimore orioles baseball game at camden yards, meaning the teams played to an empty stadium. the associated press called it "one of the weirdest spectacles in major-league history." thousands of people marched in cities from boston to chicago to ferguson, missouri to show solidarity with baltimore and connect the case of freddie gray with police killings of unarmed african americans across the country. in boston, protesters gathered in front of police headquarters, chanting "being black is not a
crime. same story every time." in minneapolis marchers carried a coffin. here in new york city, at least 120 people were reportedly arrested as protesters shut down parts of the holland tunnel, west side highway, and times square. protester al patron said attention was focused too heavily on the tactics used during monday night's uprising in baltimore, and not enough on the underlying problems. >> it is getting worse. it is getting worse. instead of looking at the root we're looking at the right when the route is more important. a life was taken. i think we need to start paying attention to that instead of -- and put more on preservation of life and preservation of buildings or whatever and property. at all care about that. amy: it remains unclear how freddie gray received the spinal injuries, which killed him.
bystander video shows police dragging him into a van as he screams in pain, his body apparently limp. according to a police timeline, gray asked for an inhaler as he was going into the van, but a medic wasn't called for more than 40 minutes. now "the washington post" has obtained a police document which contains an affidavit by a fellow prisoner who was in the van with gray, but who couldn't see him because they were separated by a metal partition. the document, written by a police investigator, says the fellow prisoner told police he could hear gray "banging against the walls" of the vehicle and believed that he "was intentionally trying to injure himself." jason downs, an attorney for gray's family questioned the police account, saying -- "we disagree with any implication that freddie gray severed his own spinal cord." downs continued -- "we question the accuracy of the police reports we've seen thus far, including the police report that says mr. gray was arrested
without force or incident." hillary clinton has criticized -- addressed the issue and criticized the u.s. system of mass incarceration in her first major policy speech since announcing her presidential bid. speaking at columbia university in new york, clinton called for all police to wear body cameras, and said harsh sentences for drug offenses should be reformed. talks we have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in america. there is -- [applause] there is something profoundly wrong when african-american men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts. there is something wrong when a -- 1/3 of all black men face the
prospect of prison during our lifetimes. amy: hillary clinton's remarks contrast sharply with statements she made in as first lady, when she supported her husband, president bill clinton's so-called "tough-on crime" agenda, including a 1994 law which led to harsher sentences , for drug offenses and expanded the number of prisons and police. in nepal, a 15-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl have been rescued from piles of rubble. they were trapped for five days following the devastating earthquake. the girl was reportedly rescued in the devastated town of bhaktapur. in the capital kathmandu rescuers worked for hours to save the teenage boy. the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake has continued to rise, and now stands at 5,500. bad weather has stalled the arrival of aid to remote villages. a new report says the u.s. military operation in afghanistan extends far beyond the terms described publicly by the white house. while the obama administration
has declared an end to the war in afghanistan, "the new york times" reports the u.s. military has actually transformed the war into an ongoing campaign of drone strikes and special operations raids. publicly, officials have said the u.s. role is confined to counterterrorism against groups like al-qaeda and protection of u.s. troops -- not continuing to fight the taliban. but last month, u.s. and nato forces conducted 52 airstrikes in afghanistan, many against low to midlevel taliban fighters. one unnamed official alleged the u.s. is putting troops on the ground in afghanistan to justify strikes under the guise of protecting them. "the wall street journal" has revealed the fbi helped facilitate a ransom payment from the family of u.s. hostage warren weinstein to al qaeda in 2012, in apparent contradiction with its own policy against paying ransoms for hostages. weinstein, a u.s. government contractor, was killed by a u.s. drone strike in january.
the family of james foley, a u.s. journalist executed by isil, has said u.s. officials threatened them with criminal charges if they attempted to raise ransom money to free him. japanese prime minister shinzo abe delivered a speech to congress wednesday, pressing lawmakers to support the trans-pacific partnership trade deal. abe said the implications of the tpp go far beyond the economy. >> furthermore, the tpp goes far beyond just economic benefits. it is also about our security. long time, it's sure to took value. amy: the tpp would encompass 40% of the global economy. it has faced a tidal wave of opposition from groups across the political spectrum who say it would undermine environmental and health regulations and grant special rights to corporations.
lawmakers are considering whether to grant obama fast-track authority to push the deal through congress without any amendments allowed. in brazil, more than 200 people have reportedly been injured in clashes between police and protesting teachers in the city of curitiba. the teachers are protesting over changes to their state pensions. police fired tear gas and stun grenades, while the mayor tweeted that the city looks like a war zone. the obama administration appears to have curbed its deportations of undocumented immigrants following public protests denouncing him as the "deporter in chief." obama has deported more people than any other president including a record of well over 400,000 in 2012. but according to the associated press, the pace has been slowing, with 127,000 deportations over the first six months of this fiscal year. if the slowdown continues, this year could see the lowest number of deportations since 2006. that would be under president george w. bush. california governor jerry brown
has issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. his target marks the most ambitious benchmark set by any government in north america to reduce dangerous carbon emissions over the next 15 years. this comes as one of the worst droughts in decades continues to ravage california, with 98% of the state now suffering from a water crisis. we'll talk more about brown's plan with tom hayden later in the broadcast. the u.s. supreme court has upheld the right of states to ban judicial candidates from personally requesting campaign contributions. the ruling allows 30 states where state and local judges are elected to keep their restrictions on donations. chief justice john roberts, who supported the court's previous decision in citizens united to allow unlimited corporate political spending, supported the restrictions on judicial candidates, writing "judges are not politicians." a federal judge has struck down a pennsylvania law restricting the speech of prisoners, calling
it "manifestly unconstitutional." the law was enacted after journalist and former black panther mumia abu-jamal, who is imprisoned in pennsylvania, gave a pre-taped commencement address at goddard college in vermont. the law authorized the censoring of prisoners' public addresses if judges agree letting them speak would cause mental anguish to their victims. judge christopher connor called the law unlawfully proposed and patently overbroad. supporters of the law plan to appeal. pope francis has taken on the gender pay gap. speaking in st. pete's square pope francis called wage inequality a "pure scandal." >> as christians we must become more demanding about these issues. for instance, we must support decisively the right to equal pay for equal work. why is it taken for granted women must earn less than men? no, they're the same rights. the discrepancy, pure scandal.
amy: pope francis has rejected the possibility of equal work for women within the church, saying the door is closed to women becoming priests. in mexico, human rights activists have called for urgent action to address violence against women. as the rule of law has collapsed in many areas of mexico, amid corruption and cartel violence during the ongoing u.s.-backed drug war, thousands of women have been killed or disappeared. the violence is particularly intense in the north, along the u.s.-mexico border. in the northern state of chihuahua, there were 23 murders for every 100,000 women in 2012. maria de la luz estrada, director of the national citizen observatory on femicide, said the government has failed to address the crisis. >> we're talking about a national emergency because women are being brutally murdered more often. another is the pattern of them going missing. this happens because the government has not generated the mechanisms, the protocols, the search record to immediately
find them enter prevent more crimes from being committed. amy: newly released documents show u.s. officials had raised concerns about the germanwings pilot who crashed a plane into the french alps, killing all 150 on board. the federal aviation administration questioned whether andreas lubitz was fit to fly based on his history of depression. after his doctors said lubitz had recovered, the faa allowed him to travel to the united states to continue his pilot training with lufthansa airlines. new research has found insurance companies are failing to provide adequate coverage to women and transgender people in violation of the affordable care act. the national women's law center reviewed 100 insurance companies in 15 states, revealing more than half were violating the law. when it came to birth control, the center found insurance companies are still not covering all methods or are imposing out-of-pocket costs. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am amy goodman.
it is great be back in new york. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. as protests continue in baltimore and around the country over the death of freddie gray in police custody, we're joined today by one of the leading longtime activists in the country, tom hayden. he is no stranger to police and protest in 1968, he was a major organizer of protests against the vietnam war to the democratic national convention in chicago. amy: he became one of the chicago 8, convicted of crossing state lines to start a riot. the george does the judge ordered one of his friends to be bound and gagged to his chair. tom hayden joins us for the hour today in our new york studio. we will talk about protest movements and their effect. we will also talk about cuba. today also as before it anniversary of the fall of saigon.
but first, to these protests. protest around the country around the death of freddie gray. juan, you are in baltimore at a labor conference. it certainly passed through the holes of -- juan: it was a big topic among labor leaders who would come from around the country, especially from baltimore itself. everyone was talking about the curfew and the police presence. in critical of the mayor of baltimore for some of your best of her remarks calling the protesters thugs. it showed a class division that exists in baltimore between elite leadership, even african leaders, and the masses of people who are sick and tired of the divide and not only the economic divide in baltimore but also the continued police repression of black community. amy: as the officials advise people to wait to read -- to remain calm some of that
information will be coming out reports will be coming out -- a report was "leaked" to "the washington post" of the prisoner who was the in the police van about five minutes at the end of freddie gray's journey in that van after he was arrested. according to this "leaked the report, the prisoner said that freddie gray was thrashing about, maybe trying to injure himself. he could not see him. there was a petition in the van. and the family and the lawyer -- are they saying that freddie gray actually fractured his own spine? how would that explain his crushed voice box? juan: clearly, those who have seen the video of him being taken into the van wonder, what kind of ability he had to do anything because he was clearly limp when he was brought into the van. amy: they also pointed out he
did not have on a seat belt. juan: and those familiar with police reports know that when you're having a police investigator supposedly transcribing the testimony of someone else, there are -- there is all kinds of room for manipulation of what has been said. it is amazing that so much time has passed and we still don't know, really have any official report of what happened to freddie gray, why he was injured to begin with. i think the length of time it is taken have any kind of official report has also added to the frustrations in the community. amy: although, the number of investigations -- yet the police investigation, the department of justice investigating. and it also just leads to the whole issue of when there is an incident with police, were someone is injured, why doesn't it immediately go to an outside body, an outside investigator to
look at what is going on inside? right now we're are waiting for the police report on themselves. juan: and those reports are filled out immediately. so there are reports, they're just not being released to the public. when the public has such intense interest, it behooves the authorities to get that information out as quickly as possible. amy: we're joined right now by tom hayden, one of leading activists and a former california state senator. he was one of the founders of students for a democratic society. tom, as you look at what is happening in baltimore -- i just flew in from the hague last night. as protesters are marching down 7th avenue, more than 100 of them have been arrested here in new york. you and juan run a conversation about your book and unions where under hundreds of people are just outside protesting, but overall, police action. go back to chicago.
>> i am sick of what i am seeing. it goes back so far. there is a racial divide in terms of the filters through which we see things. there's no question about that. whites and blacks see things differently. but there is at least 1/3 or more whites that understand including myself, the black perspective on this. amy: and certainly, the protests have been multiracial all over the country, including baltimore. >> sure. i was going to say the thing that stands out here, my reaction to what stands out there is a subtext -- nobody will say "lynching." but when the of a black man whose neck has been broken, they speak of the larynx or the upper neck but he had his neck broken.
and it is so outrageous and disturbing that people don't understand that that is what they're talking about, when a police spokesman asserts on national television that freddie gray choked himself to death lynched himself, did it to himself, according to someone who didn't see it in the next cell over in his wagon -- amy: or refer to the protesters as a lynch mob. >> that was -- amy: the attorney for the fraternal order of police. >> i was in newark as a community organizer in 1967. this can go back to the 1940's or the 1920's, but in 1967, it was alleged there was a sniper -- they never found the sniper. 26 people died, two were qui
white, due to ricochet and from a flier, but it was alleged -- no gun was found, no sniper was found. i had the task of interviewing people who are the victims families and reconstructing what happened. this guy was shot in the back while running from police. this one was shot while drinking a beer on his porch. this woman happened to be shot in a window. and on and on and on. and what happened is, the grand jury was convened to bring the end -- me in to tell them who really was to blame. they were blaming the eyewitnesses and not the police. no good will come of this, because we have seen this is the
missing gap -- this is the gap in the 1960's. many social achievements cultural achievements of environmental achievements, but no change in inner-city poverty levels. little change, if any, in policing. this whole neoliberal policy which is what they call it a broad, of divesting from the inner city to reinvest in mexico or central america and replace the jobs in the inner-city that used to be working-class industrial jobs with service jobs or no jobs at all, and then mass incarceration. doesn't that explain the remaining battle ahead? we need all hands on deck to confront this issue. i'm not sure the political will is there. juan: this issue of riotin that
occursg almost endemic in american history. your mentioning newark in 1967. chicago in 1919, the major race riot that occurred in 1919 was touched off when a young black youth was swimming in an all-black section of the michigan and he happened to move over into the white section. he was attacked and round. the police come. instead of arresting his killers, they end up arresting some of the african-americans who are demanding the white killers be arrested. that touches off a riot that dozens of people were killed. time and again throughout american history, generation after generation, it is a police confrontation in an effort -- african-american-latino community that touches off widespread violence, yet we don't seem to learn from it or
reform it. every generation seems doomed to repeat the same problem. >> him make she worries you're in the business of trying to evaluate facts of the matter -- it makes you worry you are in the business of trying to evaluate facts of the matter. some white people see it as necessary way to subdue and control the savage impulses of the inner-city. people on the receiving end see it as harassment, plain and simple. newark started because a cabdriver was pulled over by police. he got into an argument with them and they beat him up. five is later come the city is completely devastated. you are right, it is a pattern. amy: speaking of subduing, if you could briefly, before we go on to the next segment and talk about your latest work on cuba, talk about being one of the chicago 8 and what happened to bobby seal. explain, specially the young
people who were not even born then, why you were charged and convicted of conspiracy to riot. >> it was eventually overturned. there was a law passed in the wake of some of these events that made it possible to prosecute for crossing state lines on a mission to commit a felony. and therefore, eight of us were indicted in chicago for having crossed state lines to conspire -- which doesn't require any tangible evidence to riot whatever that means against -- juan: it included you, abbie hoffman, -- >> and bobby seal. we were charged with conspiracy to riot. the commission later found it was actually a police riot. the fax came later.
in the case of the defendant bobby seal, who i spoke to the other day, he is an open -- amy: explained who he was. >> is the chairman of the black panther party at the time. he was already in jail for conspiracy to murder. those charges were also dropped. in the chicago case, he asserted a right to defend himself, which is a right that black people got after the civil war. so when his name was mentioned he would stand and say, i wish to call a witness. the judge thought his standing was, not only an insult to order them a but a threat to order. when he would talk from a yellow pad, that was a threat. the judge just one fine day said, deal with that man, they took him out and the next minute, he is back in chain and gagged to a chair. when i said this to young people
and they've seen it in movies they always say afterwards, well, that was creative license, wasn't it? you are exaggerating this dramatic fiction. i said no, no, this happened not only wants, but day after day until it was finally brought to an end. that happen in our lifetime. juan: the judge sentenced him to four years for contempt of court? >> yes, and none of that happen, either. none of the charges held. he never came back to trial. but it inflamed and polarized opinion, once i thinking it reminded them of slavery -- clank, clank clank with the chains. in the other side thinking he deserved it. he is a completely uncontrollable black man. of course, the police must have seen the threat and they should have tied him up. it is amazing how people see things and utterly different
polarizing ways. amazing. amy: we're talking with tom hayden, longtime activist and former california state senator one of the founders of students for a democratic society. one last question before we go to break around this 50th anniversary of the first anti-vietnam war teach-in at university of michigan. you were there all today, the 40th anniversary of the fall of saigon. >> and the 50th anniversary of the first march against the war. we're having a gathering in washington and we appreciate your participating. for the first time, the old antiwar movement reuniting in one place and they could not be a more appropriate time to learn the lessons because you will remember, the last time tanks were in the streets, really, it was during the vietnam war when
the effort to end poverty and create jobs, slogan "jobs and justice" was forgotten by the escalation of the war in vietnam . and what followed were probably 700 incidents. we were tongue-tied whether to call these riots, rebellions, thuggery. it all depends on perspective. but the country came to near collapse. baltimore, today, was everywhere in 1967 over 1968. so we have to remember these issues of going abroad to fight enemies leaves our internal problems festering, and they can blow at any time. history repeats. i'm sorry to say. amy: and some people are calling "thugs" the new "n" word.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to what could be the first roadblock of president obama's efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with cuba for the first time in half a century. earlier this month, republicans said they would not mount a challenge to obama's plan to remove cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
a move that could come as soon as next month. on tuesday, republican congresswoman who represents health 40, proposed legislation to stop new travel to cuba from the united states. the bill would block the licensing of new flights and crew ships are routes to cuba if the landing strip or dock is located on land confiscated by the cuban government. amy: the measure is attached to the transportation appropriations bill, and could prompt a veto by president obama. this comes as another group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would end all restrictions to cuba. for more we're joined in our new york studio by tom hayden, longtime activist and former california state senator. he's just published his new book called "listen, yankee! why cuba , matters." it is based in part on conversations with ricardo alarcón, the former foreign minister of cuba and past president of the cuban national assembly. you can read the introduction on our website democracynow.org.
why that title? you are writing this and coming out with this before this very surprise announcement. are you surprised? >> no, i had an intuition is was going to happen in 2013. i had visited cuba several times since i met ricardo alarcón, and he is actually interviewed me in 2006 about participatory democracy and the history of the new left in the history of the many north americans like myself who had opposed the embargo and supported better relations with cuba. i went back in 2013 because i thought there was a legacy factor that raul castro and fidel castro on the one side and barack obama had reasons for
wanting to resolve this endless dispute within the framework of their presidencies, to leave a legacy that it was time, there was no more explanation based on cuba being in a just of the soviet union, the obama administration really needed to improve relations with central and latin america. our country have become isolated from the region. cuba had become fully integrated into the region. in the way to better relations with latin america was through havana. and obama saw that in meetings that he had with people. so i thought it was going to happen. i started interviewing people on both sides including the very high-level members of the obama administration former clinton officials, kennedy officials carter officials.
and the clues were there but it was a tightly kept secret. so i started writing the book as if this was going to happen. and then i finished and it hadn't happened. and then it did happen as the book was to go to press, so i rewrote the first 50 pages to describe how it actually had come about. how had it? >> you can decide for yourself. travel is being expanded. you will be able to use her credit cards. the beaches will be open to tourists instead of tanks. history, i think, is finally moving on. it shows you how painfully agonizing and slow and it what cost any significant gains are. i know progressives don't
declare victory because they always have the gloomiest possible twist on everything will stop -- everything. juan thinks they're going to stacked this away with in a minute to a bill. they be, but there will be bumps. history has a lot of parents. i don't the exact reason everybody decided to do this except the political will to overcome the obsolete. that comes to mind. juan: you go through this really detailed history of cuban-u.s. relations in modern times. you put at the center of it does in our conversation last night you talked about what a tragedy it is the most markets really don't know who ricardo alarcón is, perhaps he is the most important diplomat in terms of
the 20th century. you talk about him and his role at how you first got to meet him? >> it is a tragedy press because we are actually embargoed from reality by this policy. ricardo alarcón has been one of the top diplomats in the world for 50 years. amy describes his credentials and the fact that people don't know him here is partly due to the fact is virtually banned from coming here, except when he was at the u.n. people don't interview him. i think you have. amy: a number of times. >> he doesn't come in to meet with editorial board of "the washington post" or "the new york times." that is why no one knows him. i think is an interesting person to interview, and we have had about 60 hours of interviews. and i transcribed some of them in the book to create his voice
as a companion to my voice, to look over many episodes in our twisted history. amy: i want to go to ricardo alarcón from 2013 when we spoke to him, the foreign foreign minister of cuba. i asked to talk about meetings cuban authorities have with the fbi in havana, to talk about the threat posed by the militant cuban exile groups here in the united states. >> there were seven meetings and fact. one took place in havana in july 1998. after some private exchanges between the two countries the two governments, including president clinton and a very well known writer who served as
a go between us and them. they came down here and they got a lot of information -- recordings videos, the addresses, phone number is everything. so much that at the end of the meeting, the fbi officials thanked cuba and said they will make some time to process the information and they will go back to us. they never went back to us. they did act against -- clearly to help, to protect the terrorists. that is the substance of this trial. amy: that was ricardo alarcón in
2013 on democracy now!, joining us by video stream from havana cuba, sitting next to one of the cuba 5. or he was talking about the cuba 5, who actually now have been released. maybe you could talk about that. he made that his mission to get these men freed from u.s. prisons. talk about who they are. >> well, nobody thought that was possible. everything turns out to be sometimes possible. the five who were arrested for being cuban spies sent to the united states to monitor the activities of other cubans who were armed and flew out of a base in florida to attack cuba. in other words, our country was sheltering cuban exiles who were at virtual war with cuba.
and the cuban 5 were arrested for monitoring those flights. and they got double life in one case long, long prison sentences. so they were the subject of tough bargaining in which it took about a year, but the obama administration finally was convinced that cuba was serious about the need to get these five back. they let to go and there were three remaining. and the trade, so to speak could not use the word "trade," but it was to get back alan gross, who was in a cuban jail for having taken, i think, five trips to cuba, smuggling high-tech to indications devices and equipment -- high-tech communication devices and equipment. i think there was a masonic lodge. all supposedly innocent.
not many people carry luggage filled with high-tech communications equipment in their bag. and so alan gross was returned here at the same moment the three remaining cuban 5 were returned. that was crucial to the deal because that was something the united states wanted really badly. you notice the issue has kind of gone away. i don't hear the cuban right in congress screaming about that, because they would have to deal with alan gross. you got back your man. cuba got back there three. it is kind of magical how sometimes these issues that could be blown skyhigh just fade away when the parties want the issue to go away. amy: we will continue this conversation with longtime activist tom hayden former california state senator, one of
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. our guest for the hour is tom hayden, longtime activist and a protesting the vietnam war participating in antiwar teach-in, becoming a california state legislator then one of the founders of students for democratic society and now empire mental advisor to governor jerry brown. his latest book is called, "listen, yankee! why cuba matter." last night juan, you and tom had a public conversation at barnes & noble about this book. juan: tom, one of the things i
want to ask you about, for the younger generation that knows nothing about -- >> honest everyone in america. juan: one of the key aspects of what cuba matters is the role cuba played in the closest the united states has ever been to nuclear armageddon. the impact of the crisis in 1962 on you and on an older generation and what exactly happened. >> i think we were inspired by cuba coming at the same time as the civil rights movement in the student movement here. ricardo alarcón was a philosophy student at the university of havana when i was the same at the university of michigan. then the bay of pigs invasion, which was quite shocking, than the cuban missile crisis where -- juan: 1962. >> to go through the experience
of being told a nuclear war or an atomic war is about to begin is something i wish on no one. it is traumatizing and it leaves a scar. cuba was apparently so important to some people that they considered a nuclear war with the soviet union, with cuba as collateral damage. it had a shaping effect. it taught us how frightening the cold war concept was that you had to go to the brink and even threaten to use nuclear weapons -- if a country like cuba was thought to be acting in the interests of the soviet union in our hemisphere, latin america, our backyard our imperial domain. and i think it had a big effect on the feeling of the student movement at the time that we
had to attack the idea of the cold war, not simply five for civil rights, because we wouldn't get very far on the issues of civil rights and justice and jobs if the cold war was always looming and threatening. we had to somehow do away with the cold war mentality, as we called it. juan: and how close were we to a nuclear war? how many missiles? >> out of know, minutes, an hour. i have stone, great journalist in the amy goodman and juan gonzalez tradition, told us at a church in d.c. that the missiles were coming. i wanted to complete numbness. thousands of us did. it did not happen. amy: and it didn't happen because? >> a deal was reached behind-the-scenes between robert kennedy and the soviet
ambassador in discussions that have not been completely declassified. juan: brennan. >> right. most of that record has been made clear. even people in the kennedy white house -- juan: and the deal was, the russians would take their muscles out and the united states would take their muscles out of turkey? >> we would separate -- it was kind of like the deal for the five and alan gross. the americans would withdrawal their obsolete missiles from turkey but they would never say they were doing it and it would be one year later. but that was done. and there would be an agreement which, apparently, had some force, that the u.s. would never again overly attack cuba. amy: two republican presidential candidates, marco rubio and jeb
bush, are taking cuba on big-time. earlier this month, former florida governor jeb bush, possible republican presidential contender, was asked the next president should put cuba back on the list. >> he is going to ease travel restrictions ease currency flows come all of which prop up the castro regime. he is made these concessions and got nothing in return. it is disappointing because look, i live in miami and there are a lot of people that want to see liberty and freedom in their former country. and that aspiration hasn't died. that sentiment hasn't died, but a lot of people are really saddened by this because there is not a step closer to freedom in cuba because of the president's actions. amy: a quick comment? >> he better get another [indiscernible] even a cuban americans who live in america are -- amy: who live in florida.
>> yes, cuban americans who live in florida have changed. that is one reason this deal is viable. they believe in normalization, but their anti-castro. he doesn't want them to have a normal life. he doesn't want them to travel to cuba. that is not going to fly as a platform. amy: in this is senator marco rubio after the obama administration announced plans to remove cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. >> the decision made by the white house today is terrible, but not surprising. cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism. their harbor fugitives of american justice, including some who killed a police officer new jersey over 30 years ago. it is also the country helping north korea is a weapon sections by the united nations. they should have remained on the list. i think it sends a chilling message to our enemies abroad that this white house is no longer serious about calling terrorism by its proper name. amy: that is presidential
candidate, republican presidential candidate and florida senator marco rubio. tom hayden? >> he is talking about individuals have fled to cuba after being charged with crimes here. and whatever we think of those individuals, and you have interviewed some of them, they are not state entities. cuba is not a state sponsor of terrorism. and they're not going to be returned to the united states in any event. they were left out of the negotiations. rubio is trying to put them back down go. i don't think that is a good presidential -- amy: what you think should happen to a solder should core who was convicted of killing a police officer trooper, after being pulled over on the new jersey turnpike. this is something she absolutely denies. the encounter left both the officer and black panther shakur
dead. assata shakur said she was shot by police with both arms in the air, then he can in the back sentenced to life in prison but was able to escape to cuba or she is lived since 1984 and there have been discussions. will this be put back on the table? >> i think it will be discussed. i don't think anything will come of it. i have interviewed her. i know her. her body was completely -- i don't even know how she lived. she was shot at close range. i can't imagine how she shot anyone. charges have been brought against her before. nothing is come of them. but the new jersey law enforcement lobby is very insistent that that issue be put on the table. menendez, who is perhaps going to jail on federal charges, is still the senator there, and he is been one of the most staunch enemies of this rapprochement
with cuba. he once said issue put on the table. amy: the indicted senator? >> he's indicted. i don't think anything will come of it. i don't know. the next issue is whether the u.s. continues to fund secret democracy programs. it is con of an ad -- it is kind of an auto idea. there's $20 million in the budget to foment an open society. how you do that see grilli, i don't know. but congress will have to tangle over that. the u.s. continues to want to sponsor the so-called democracy programs. cuba doesn't want them to be covert programs. senator leahy subcommittee is going to have to deal with that. there's a succession of issues. i don't think the fugitives in cuba is going to be a big deal. i hope it's not. i can't say for sure. juan: why does cuba matter? what is in the impact of cuba on
progressive thought and movements here and the united states and around the world? >> on the negative side, the cuban exiles have intimidated a lot of people, but have actually been quite cancerous in our society. they have created a kind of mafia click in florida. they gave rise to the jeb bush dynasty. cuban exiles were directly involved in the killing of a chilean diplomat and his assistant. they blew their car up in washington, d.c. juan: and the watergate burglary -- >> they broke into the democratic party headquarters of watergate. they were part of nixon's plumbers. they make good use of their time here in the united states of america, mainly, in very dubious and sometimes horrific activities including attacks on
cuba from bases in the united states. on the positive side, cuba sent a wake-up call to the world that small countries could indeed rebel against the united states and could indeed be self determining an autonomous -- and even with the alliance with the soviet union, when the soviet union when away, cuba proved it didn't fall like eastern europe. it had a sovereign nature and a self-sustaining quality. the best baseball players, some of the best food, best music free education, free health care . they're trying to create a model. i think they do matter, especially, now that immigrant rights is so important in this country. we are becoming more latino-ized , as i think you have written
and we are changing. cuba can be very, very central to making us understand ourselves as living in the americas. and this is our home region, and we should be welcoming of honest, open relations with cuba and other countries in the hemisphere. amy: tom hayden, thank you for being with us. we're going to talk about the 50th anniversary of the first anti-vietnam war teach-in in the fall of saigon and put it online at democracynow.org. tom hayden is the author of, welcome his latest book is, "listen, yankee! why cuba matter." based on conversations with ricardo alarcón, the foreign cuban foreign minister. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail