tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 30, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
10/30/17 10/30/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> today, i have dissolved the parliament of catalonia. amy: spain''s government seizes control of catalonia just after the parliament votes for independence. we will speak with journalist carlin, who reported for the spanish newspaper el pais for nearly two decades before he was ago writing an
article headlined "catalan independence: arrogance of madrid explains this chaos." then to puerto rico, where the governor says he i is canceling the controversial $300 million whitefishith wha energy. democracy now! got reaction from the head of the puerto rico electrical workers union angel figueroa jaramillo. >> i believe this is the time to make sure these context of .appen again amy: then, tensions continue to mount between the united states and north korea.
>> no mistake, any attack on n e united states or o our alliewill be defeated. any use of nuclear weapons by the north h will be met with a massive military response effective and overwhelming. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his former business associate rick gates were told to surrender to authorities monday after a federal grand jury in washington, d.c., handed down the first indictments in special counsel robert mueller's investigation to russia's alleged interference and the 2016 presidential election. it is not yet clear what charges the pair face, but manafort is under investigation over his
foreign lobbying efforts. mueller is also investigating whether trump associates engaged in money laundering or tax evasion, and whether trump's firing of fbi director james comey last may constituted obstruction of justice. after news of the indictments broke, president trump lashed out against hillary clinton and the democratic party, tweeting -- "all of this 'russia' talk right when the republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts & reform. is this coincidental? not!" meanwhile, "the new york times" reports russia's government provided a memo to a russian lawyer ahead of her june 2016 meeting in trump tower with trump campaign officials. the meeting, which was attended by donald trump,p, jr., jared kushner, paul manafort, and others came after the lawyer, natalia veselnitskaya, promised damaging information on hillary clinton in an attempt to help trump win the presidency.
veselnitskaya, previously said she attended as a private lawyer and was not acting on behalf of the kremlin. but "the times" reports she met with russia's prosecutor general ahead of the meeting, and that she carried a memo with whole paragraphs written verbatim by the russian official's office. defense secretary james mattis said saturday the threat of a nuclear attack by north korea is accelerating, warning the trump administration is prepared to launch an all-out assault on the nation of 25 million people. mattis was speaking alongside his south korean counterpart during a visit to seoul. , any attack mistake on thehe united stateses or our allies wl bebe defefeated. any use of nuclear weapons by the north will be met with a massive military response, effective and overwhelming. amy: mattis' threat came as vice president mike pence toured an intercontinental ballistic missile launch site at an air force base in minot, north dakota, telling airmen that the
trump administration was prepared to launch an attack on north korea. >> the threats we face today mean once again, america's security and are very future depend on the airmen of minot being ready prepared. the surest path to peace is through american strength. there's no greater element of americanan strength, no grgreatr force for peace in the world than the united states nuclear arsenal. amy: pence's visit came as the trump administration seeks to expand the u.s. nuclear arsenal. a draft of the nuclear posture review reviewed by top administration officials last month calls for new low yield nuclear warheads, sea-launched nuclear-armed cruise missiles, preparations for possible nuclear weapons tests, and an easing of conditions under which the u.s. might launch a nuclear attack. in somalia, al-shabaab fighters stormed a hotel in the capital mogadishu on saturday, killing at least 29 people and wounding
more than 30 others. the attack began as militants set off a truck bomb to blast their way through the fortified entrance to the hotel. minutes later, the fighters went room-to-room shooting guests. witnesses say the men used identity carards from the country's intelligence service and were dressed in the agency's uniform. the assault came ahead of a planned meeting at the hotel between somalia's president and other top officials. the latest attack came two weeks after a massive bombing in mogadishu killed at least 358 people and wounded 400 others. spain's government has taken control of catalonia, stripping the northeastern region of its autonomy in efforts to crush catalonia's independence movement. on friday evening, spanishshrime minister mariano rajoy announced his cabinet had fired catalan leader carles puigdemont and dissolved catalonia's parliament under article 155 of the constitution, which has never been used in spain's modern
democratic history. rajoy ordered regional elections to be held in december. the announcement came hours -- just after catalonia's regional parliament voted fofor of 72ndence by a margin ---- 70 to 10. in bararcelona, cacarles puigdgt denounced rajoy's actions, saying thehe spanish leader r ws removing a democratitically elecected administrationon. he c called for contininued peal defiance. >> the best way to defend the achievements reached today is the democratic article 155. we must do so by preserving ourselves from repression and threats, by doing so without ever abandoning, never at any time, civic and peaceful conduct. amy: on sunday, hundreds of thousands of pro-unity demonstrators waved spanish, catalan, and european union flags on the streets of barcelona. we'll have more on the crisis in cataloninia after heheadlines.
in puerto rico, governor ricardo rosello said sunday he's ordered puerto rico's electrical power authority to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny montana-a-based compmpany white. the governor's move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny over the contract to reconstruct puerto rico's electrical power grid devastated by hurricane maria. the company whitefish is based in the tiny hometown of interior secretary ryan zinke, and the head of the private equity company that backs whitefish was a trump campaign donor. late last week, a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage after it surfaced that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being audited. this is anangel figueroa jaramio , president of puerto rico's public utility union misspeaking on [captioning made possiblele y democracy now!] democracy now! saturday.
>> we u understand ththis decisn by the governor is in the face of the major questions that have been raised and what is circulating as to whether he will be able to reimburse the money.. giveven the possibilities that fema h has distanceded itself fm reimbursing the money and the invoicing of $11 million, the governor is calling for the contract t to be canceled. nonetheless, in this process, he has not called for the resignation of engineer ricardo romo's. he is the one dressed up in a this contract. he does not talk about continuing to investigate this whole procesess. above all else, does not talk about cooperating in any federal investigation that might be the whitefisho contract. amy: we conducted that i intervw on sunday after spending the weekend in puerto ririco, and we wiwill have e an exclusive repot later in the broadcast with an extended interview with the head
of the electrical power union. two more women have stepped forward with allegations against disgraced movie mogul harvey weinstein, bringing the total number of women charging sexual harassment and assault to 60. actor annabella sciorra told "the new yorker" weinstein forced his way into her apartment in 1992 and raped her. and actor daryl hannah says weinstein repeatedly tried to force his way into her apartment, leading her on one occasion to barricade herself in her room using furniture. the latest revelations came as rose mcgowan told "the new york times" she was offered a $1 million hush money payment if she signed a nondisclosure agreement not to come forward with her charges that weinstein raped her at the sundance film festival in 1997. mcgowan spoke friday at a women's conference in detroit. >> i have been silenced d for 20 yearars. shamed. been slut i have been harassed.d.
i haveve been maligned. and you know w what? i just like you. becacause whwhat happened to me behind the scenes happensns to l of us in thehe societyty. and that cannot stand and it will not stand. amy: more women have come for to accuse george h.w. bush of sexual assault, bringing the number of his accusers to five. among them is former maine senate candidate amanda staples, who said on instagram that bush groped her in 2005 as she posed for a photo with the former president. meanwhile, the white house confirmed friday that its official position is that all 16 women who've accused presesident trump of sexual misconduct are lying. this is white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders being questioned by cbs's jacqueline alemany. accused of 16 women being sexually harassed throughout the course of the campaign.
last week, the president called these accusations fake news. is the official white house position that all these women are lying? >> yes, we're been clear on that from the beginning. amy: a newly declassified documents are -- shows the cia considered a plan in the 1960's to plant bombs in miami, slaughter cuban refugees, and assassinate cuban exiles all in a bid to turn world opinion against cuban leader fidel castro. the document was one of nearly 3000 files related to the assassination of president john f. kennedy made public last week. a memo to top military general maxwell taylor in april of 1962 describes planning for operation mongoose, a covert program aimed at subverting and overthrowing the cuban revolution. one part of the document reads -- "the terror campaign could be pointed at cubans refugees seeking haven in the united states. we could sink a boatload of cubans en route to florida we could foster attempts on lives of cuban refugees in the united states. exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots."
another portion of the memo describes plans to unleash biological and chemical agents on cuban farms in a bid to cause crop failures. in new york city, thousands of people marched over the brooklyn bridge saturday, marking the five-year anniversary of superstorm sandy and calling for urgent action on climate change. on october 29, 2012, the hurricane blasted new york, new jersey, and parts of new england with a record storm surge as high as 13 feet, ultimately killing 159 people along the east coast and damaging more than 650,000 homes. the storm caused $70 billion in damage across eight states. saturday's marchers called on state and city officials to invest in clean energy while divesting from fossil fuel companies and the banks that finance them. in sports newsws, dozezens of membmbers of the houston texexas nfl team took a knee or sat during the playing of the national anthem ahead of a game against the seattle seahawks
following disparaging remarks by sunday billionaire team owner bob mcnair. the demonstration came after espn reported mcnair complained to other team owners about player protests against racial injustice and police brutality during a meeting last week, saying "we can't have the inmates running the prison." mcnair later apologized for the comment. bob mcnair is a major supporter of donald trump, who helped fund his campaign and gave $1 million to trump's inaugural committee. and dennis banks, the legendary anishinaabe leader and native american activist, has died at the age of 80. in 1968, banks co-founded the american indian movement. a year later, he took part in the occupation of alcatraz island in california. in 1972, he assisted in aim's "trail of broken treaties," a caravan of numerous activist groups across the united states to washington, d.c., to call attention to the plight of native americans.
that same year, aim took over the bureau of indian affairs building in washington, d.c. in early 1973, aim members took over and occupied wounded knee on the pine ridge indian reservation for 71 days, which some have come to call wounded knee ii. speaking with democracy now! in 2012, dennis banks recounted how he was taken from his family in the 1940's and forced into a boarding school along with thousands of other native american children. >> i was taken to boarding school when i was four years old, and taken away from my mother and my father, my grandparents who i stayed with most of the time. i was abruptly taken away and then put into the boarding school 300 miles away from our home. you know, the beatings began immediately. de-indianizing
trying to destroy the culture and the present, destroy the indian-ness in them. kill an indian, save the man. amy: dennis banks remained politically active throughout his life. last winter, he joined protests against construction of the dakota access pipeline at the standing rock reservation in north dakota. dennis banks died sunday night due to complications from heart surgery. he will be laid to rest in his home community of leech lake, minnesota. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show with the political crisis in spain. the spanish government has taken control of catalonia, stripping the northeastern region of its autonomy in efforts to crush catalonia's independence movement.
on friday evening, spanish prime minister mariano rajoy announced his cabinet had fifired catalan president carles puigdemont and dissolved catalonia's parliament. >> today, i have dissolved the parliament of catalonia and have cacalled for electctions next december 21st in that region. yesterday, the president had a chance to return to legality and call elections. that is what the great majority of the people in catalonia were asking for. he d did not want toto do this.o the government of spain will take the measures to recover legality. nermeen: prime minister rajoy's announcement came hours after catalonia's regional parliament voted for independence by a margin of 70 votes to 10. the spanish senate in madrid swiftly responded by granting
rajoy unprecedented powers to impose direct rule on catalonia under article 155 of the constitution, which has never before been invoked. article 155 enabled rajoy to fire puigdemont and take control of catalonia's civil service, finances, police, and media. puigdemont denounced rajoy's actions, saying the spanish leader was removing a democratically elected administration. he called for continued peaceful defiance. >> the best way to defend the achievements reached today is the democratic opposition to the application of article 155. we must do so by preserving ourselves from repression and threats, by doing so without ever abandoning, never at any time, civic and peaceful conduct. amy: meanwhile, on sunday, tens of thousands of pro-unity demonstrators waved spanish, catalan, and european union flags on the streets of barcelona. then this morning, puigdemont posted a photo on instagram of a courtytyard at the seat of the regional presidency building,
along with the words "good morning" in catalan and a smiley face emoticon. today, spain's central government is expected to accuse him of rebellion for pushing ahead with secession. for more, we go to london where we're joined by john carlin, a journalist who has contributed to the spanish newspaper el pais since 1998. that is, until two weeks ago when he was fired for writing an article in "the times of london" headlined "catalan independence: arrogance of madrid explains this chaos." john carlin, welcome to democracy now! first, can you respond to what took place on friday and then how it was you ended up being fired by the newspaper you work for for more than -- for about 20 years? >> let me answer the second part first because that happened two weeks ago. i don't really want to go into many details, but essentially, it is becacause of articles i wrote on this catalan question, political question we are
discussing now. on friday, it was a momentous day, and action-packed day in history of spain -- of any country, really. because in the morning, you have elected president of catalonia declaring independence, unilaterally, and a matter of ,ours later, this is senate passing into law this for enabling article 155 of the constitution, which allows these and government to dissolve the catalan parliament, to fire the man who only hours earlier had declared independence, and to take over direct rule of all of the institutions of government in catalonia. that is where we are at now. it is a very ugly and depressing and potentially dangerous situation. nermeen: john carlin, to go back to your article in the articles you have written in general on
this situation, what you have suggested is that it was madrid's disproportionate response that led to what is happening in catalonia today. can you explain why you think that is the case? >> well, it wasn't just that this response, which viewers may recall in the first of october when police went in with clubs to stop people from voting in this sort of samoa referendum that took place. it has actually been the response of the spanish government in madrid over the consistently,rs, to the clamor for independence half of the catalan population, although it has been growing every year. the fundamental problem is that what the cattle ons -- catalogs want to, they wanted a referendum over independence and the same weather as a referendum in scotland three years ago. they wanted the right to decide.
in the spanish government not only rejected that, they rejected all attempts at dialogue on the matter of giving catalonia greater autonomous powers, maybe or control over the taxes, the judiciary. and generally, the attitude of madrid for the catalan independence supporters has been one that has been dismissive, not to say rude, and lacking in respect. this attitude, together with the refusal just refusal of the referendum has increased the vote in the past seven years or so from probably around 10% to 50%, close to 50%. amy: i want to turn to the spanish deputy prime minister who was speaking on friday. >> the president will no longer be the president when this article is agreed on. you will no longer have the title of president to the
general type. you will not be able to make valid or obligate tory decisions for others, nor for his own government as a consequence of this secession. you will not yield a carry out his functions. he will stop being paid as the president of the general. amy: john carlin, can you respond to what he said? unfortunately, she has something of a point. i don't like conceding that to the spanish government because of they've acted so badly, mismanaged so badly to get to the present ugly situation we're in. but when carlos pitched him on, a feeling of the opposed president of caps on, declared independence unilaterally he knew what he was getting himself in for. article 155, which would depose him, would be enabled very soon thereafter. and you musthoice
take the consequences. there's one important point, which is breaking news here, i don't know if you're aware of, but in the last hour or so, the chief prosecutor in madrid has charged pushed of mine, the president of catalonia, with sedition and rebellion. theory,rges, which in if you were to be proved guilty am a could lead to a jail sentence of 30 years. the question now is whether the spanish government are rather the spanish judiciary system will go ahead and call for his arrest and then jail him. should they do that, things could escalate rather dramatically and possibly violently in catalonia. amy: this is major news. i am also wondering how the spanish news is covering this call to independence, a vote for independence, all that you're describing.
i mean, john carlin, you yourself were fired from the spanish newspaper come the leading spanish paper el pais after you wrote an article on catalonian independence. can you talk about the kind of coverage it is getting and what people understand in spain? >> well, look. in spain outside catalonia, which is about 85% of national territory, there is a very, very strong sentiment against catalan independence. there's a pretty strong prejudice against catalans generally, which i think is part of the engine of all of this rather non-copper rising, hard-line action taken from madrid. as far as the media concern, outside catalonia is pretty unanimous. television,public it is sure nearly biased in favor of the government. outside public television, it
is surely biased in favor of the government. too,ally, the newspapers, are very much in favor of this imposition of direct rule in catalonia, the dissolution of the government, the charging of the president as we just recently heard, and in catalonia, you actually get a rather more balanced position. now i should say the catalan state television is also immensely biased in favor of independence. but in the newspapers and the radio in catalonia, you're more likely to hear both sides of the argument. nermeen: john carlin, could you give us some context on why this is happening? spain is a relatively decentralized country with 17 autonomous regions and two autonomous cities. so these thomas regions do have a certain -- these regions do have a certain autonomy, but
spain is not a federation. could you talk about what kind of autonomy these regions enjoy and what catalonia several from the others? you have spoke of their being prejudice against catalonia, so could you explain? >> yeah. just before i address that technical question, let me just say there is a way of making explain a bit your viewers in the u.s. there is a clear similarity between that polarity of opinions and perception that you get in the u.s., between those who support trump and those against him. there's a similarity between that and in spain between those in favor of catalan independence and against. and here in london regarding the issue of brexit, an awful lot of families have been divided, friends have fallen out over these political issues. perhaps even more intensely and generally in catalonia. in terms of your question, the thing about the powers granted to the various autonomous
regions whwhich woululd be equivalent to states in n the u.s., differ quite significantly . that is a problem. it was agreed on in the 1978 and constitution and barely changed since then. catalonia is quite more autonomous power than most of these regions, regional governments, but less than they have in the b bath country. a defectiveoost independent state. the critical thing the government is allowed to collect taxes and spend the money on taxes more or less as it will. in the case of catalonia, there's much less control over how the region uses its money. that is part of it. we're also talking about symbolic questions, more human questions. if you'll bear with me a second, there was a government statute passed, approved by both the
catalan parliament in the spanish parliament in 2006 which would have granted catalonia significantly more autonomy and given them the right to call themselves a nation. in 2010 after prressure from the political party now in power, the popular party, this statute agreed by all parliaments, including the national parliament of spain, was overthrown by the constitutional courts. if you're going to find one moment where the catalan independence wave again to grow and grow, it would be then. it was seen as this completely undemocratic action taken itsnst catalan to increase autonomous powers. it has grown and grown and grown and we are at where we are today. amy: john carlin, the breaking news that you just announced, the spanish prosecutors seeking charges of rebellion and sedition and embezzlement against the acid catalan cabinet officials including preached a
month, where do you see this going? >> first of all, pitched them on his to present himself -- carlos pitched him on is to present himself. only do so? we don't know. if he doesn't, he will be a fugitive from the law. will he presesent himself and wl he be formally charged? will he than be arrested and will he be jailed? if that happens, all bets are off in catalonia and things could turn ugly and potentially violent. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, john carlin, journalist and country bitter to -- contributor to the spanish newspaper el pais since 1998. he was fired from the newspaper two weeks ago writing an article in "the times of london" headlined "catalan independence: arrogance of madrid explains this chaos." this is democracacy now! when we come back, we go to puerto rico where democracy now! has just returned from to get response to the governor saying they will be canceling a $300 million contract with whitefish
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we turn now to puerto rico, where governor ricardo rosello announced on sunday that he was instructing puerto rico's electrical power authority, known as prepa, to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny montana-based company whitefish. the governor's move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny of the contract to reconstruct puerto rico's electrical power grid devevastated by hurricane maria. whitefish energy is based in the tiny hometown of interior secretary ryan zinke. joe colonnetta, the head of the private equity company that backs whitefish, was a trump campaign donor. meanwhile, whitefish ceo andrew techmanski argues his company's ability to mobilize quickly was vital to winning the contract.
amy: all of this comes as a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage last week whwhen it revealed tht the terms barrrred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being auditeded. well, democracy now! was -- went to puerto rico over the weekend. i got a chance to sit down with the head of the puerto rico electrical workers' union, angel figueroa jaramillo, just as governor rosello was speaking. i began by asking him what he thought of the governor's announcement that he will be canceling the contract, that he is going for the cancellation of the contract with whitefish energy. >> with the government has just
informed the country i is that e is asking the governing board of puerto rico electric power authority to invoke the cacancellation clause in the contract. we u understand this decision by the governor is in the face of the major questions that have been raised and the debts that are circulating as to whether he is g going t to be able toto ree the money. given the possibility thahat fea has distanced itself from reimbursing the money and givivg invoicing of $11 million, the governor is calling for the contractct to be canceceled. nonetheless in this process he is not called for the resignation of engineer r carlos ramos. he doeoes not talk about continuing to investigate this whole process. above all else, does not talk about cooperating inin any fedel investigation cannot be
undertaken into whitefish contract. amy: in the contract, which is something like 50 pages for this $300 million deal, it says that they can't be held to any timetable and they cannot be audited by any u u.s. agency. this is a company whose largest deal i think was something like $1.3 million to build 4.8 m mils of transmission lines in arizona. that was its largest deal. you are talking about 2400 miles of transmission lines here in puerto ricico. precisely. that was the first question that was raised. this was a company without experience. it's only experience is in place is totally different from puerto rico. to grant a contract for $300 million was to deposit a lot of money, deposit a lot of work in a totally inexperienced company.
it must particular in this process are the conditions of the contract. how is it possiblyly can have a contract that can't be audited, it can't be called into question, where ththe contract says it is c complying with federal regulations when it isn't and s still to this day im awhitefish continues to be contract and no one has moved away from that contract. we need to call in to question the people who brought about this contract and a call in to question the participation of fema. today, fema says "i had nothing to do with the contract." everyone is momoving away from this contract.t. i think k this contract t must e beenen viewed by m many other tn ramos. amy: do you believe fema had a a role in this? they said they didn't looked at ththe contract, it is prepa's fault. interesting fema's respsponse whehen it found out t
the scandal. as long as whitefish was being called into question will the government of puerto rico was telling the country that fema was going to reimburse the money, fema didn't react. it is only now the c congress of the uniteded states s at the mea in the united states and worldwide has called into question his contract. fema only reacted on friday saying it had nothing to do with the contract. so we need to call into quesestn the silence, why there w were so much silence for such a long time. amy: ryan zinke's son worked for whitefish, not to mention whitefish is ryan zinke's hometown. do you think ryan zinke should be investigated? how didid this contract happene? and have you m met with the men running the show here, all of the whitefish workers they are importing? not that there are that many righght now full''s tough -- not that there are that t many right now. >> whitefish didn't come to
puerto rico by accident. there must have been some connection to be able to come to puerto rico. it wasasn't that it was a classified ad. some o of the must have called puerto rico for them. worked for a brazilian compmpany. ththat is another angle that nes to be investigated. the brazilian company in this process. amy: what is the name of the brazilian company? >> we still don't know the name. this is a report by the environmenent news in the united states. company washis financing g whitefish for two years. when we saw that news, we do a relationship with brazilian company -- we drew a
relationship with h the brazilin noted as the most corrupt company in latin america. [indiscernible] amy: do you think ricardrdo ram, the e head oprepa that sign is hundred million dollar contract, should be fired? -- thread or million dollar contract, should be fired? believe ay that, i much deeper investigation needs to be carried out in puerto rico. there is an element that is always come about in these kinds of situations which is immunity. nothing happens. i think this is the time to make sure these contracts don't tooen again, to take thiss the ultimate consequences. if people need to be put in prison, local and federal officials may have been involved be put ineed to prison as well. amy: what is it like for puerto
rican workers to be working alongside of f workers from the -- continenental united statetes reportedldly being paid mumuch more to do the sasame jo? do the same job, but the ones who really know the porter in system bus star us. they work much more slowly, with much or difficulty compared to us. seeing the difference, looking at puerto rico's topography, the complexity of our electrical system, one sees this is a big scandal. when some workers are being paid $200 an hour to do the same work we do for $21 an hour, there is a difference there. areknows how poorly we paid, but it also shows how much corruption there is around whitefish. amy: if the workers, as the union, if prepa got this money
to rebuild puerto rico's power grid, what could you do with it? $300 million. >> with much less than that amount, indeed with the help of workers and companies in the united states who have experience with international assistance, the mexican electrical union has made themselves available. help we would be abable to rebuild the couountryh mumuch less money than has been giveven to whitefish. amy: i want to ask you about elon musk and solar powewer. there is a lot being g made in e uniteded s states, continental united statates, in the corporae media about his offered saying puerto rico could be the experiment, the model for the rest of the country for solar power. this goes to two issues. downs the entire grid is
most of how do you reveal it in a more sustainable -- rebuild it in a more sustainable way? and a sosolar have to mean privatization? >> first, the complexity of the electrical system of puerto rico is a totally isolated system, a system with a large amount of demand poses a major challengege in terms of looking into the possibility of solar power for powering the whole c country. it is very complex. it requires many studies, a lot evaluations.many and the people o of puerto ro can't wait for all o of that rit now. that doesn't mean n that puerto look very't have to seriously at the possibility of a transformation toward solar power. transformatione they believe is most appropriate
our solar communities. communities themselves should appropriate that system. it is not that we will become a energyty for the companies.s. amy: andnd now you h have a memr --the physical l control board fiscal control board, former air force c colonel reportedly about to be impoposed as an emergencyy manager over prepa. can you talk about the significance of this and who he is? first, theutir does not support the fiscal control board and does not support this appointment. i want to make that clear to all of the media. nonetheless, the law allows the fiscal control board to make this choice and extreme
circumstances. that means this is beingng made because there are irregularities in control of whitefish, the contract, and they are concerned that they are not going to be able to satisfy the creditors. i agree. look come i don't agree with the appointment. his appointment will be a major challenge. doesn't know anythining a aboute electrical industry, has the expertise in this area, so we are struck i his appointment to be an overseer. amy: so you had, what, over 6000 workers in 2000 and now you're down to 3500. it is almost halved. do you believe thahat -- and ths goes before the physical control board -- that there e are effors theg made simplply to destroy largest public power authority in the united states so that it is sold off, privatize?
>> yes, clearlrly, the itir has been denouncing this plan, talking for years how they were gogoing to run down the service, makeke the service morore expene and at the same titime carry oua vis-a-vis the puerto rico people, and reducing resources air mark the service alall with the deal to privatize the company. the utir as in warning the country for 18 years. amy: the author naomi klein wrote a book called "thehe shock doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism." in it she pointsts out in timesf disaster, precisely like hurricane maria in puerto ricic, those in power use the moment to consolidate their power and to take from the population.
how can you turn that around to use this absolutely cataclysmic moment right now in puerto rico to reverse that trend, to establish a sustainable economy in puerto rico? precisely what they are doing in puerto rico, applying the "shshock d doctrin" something different could be done. i believe media such as yourself could help us. puerto rico often h hears more f what is happening outside than about what is happening in puerto rico. we need to be consistentnt with our message. little by little, the country ys realizing,g, in this case, whitefish is one of those capitalism disasters. amy: in contrast to a coloniaial
recovery, whatat would a puertro rican recononstruction look like that is done for the benefit of puerto ricans for this island? >> the first, and i'm going to speak as a puerto rican and utir, thatdent of iti belilieves puerto rico shohoulde all of the powers of any country in the world to be able to develop economically. the first thing is the u.s. congress should recognize our right to self-detetermination as regards to our fufuture with no intervention of the congress. just recognizing that we puerto ricans want for r the future is something they will totally accept. within a systetem of decolonization. this first. it begins by taking down t the fiscal control board.
ththat is the first thing thee .ongress should show what they y said publicly abouot democracy. the u.s. consnstitution says clclearly that with the end of slavery, no power can be e held over and against the rights of the people. puerto rico is a people. congress tolow the continue to treat puerto r rico colonial he, like a colony, as it is doing. amy: as we wrap up this interview, i can't help but notice over your left shoulder, wall the pictures on the and posters is a poster of chee. what is his significance in your life? what does he mean to you? leaders inn other latin amemerica, shows solidariy
that we latin american people must have at all times. he is an argentine who went to cuba. an argentine whoho went to bolivia, latin america. that means we, the latin american people, need to break down the borders that divide us as countries, as people's so ass to have a singlele voice to have greater prosperity, more democracy, more happiness. that is our aspiration. for is what che represented all of latin america. and that example of solidarity, breaking them barriers that divide us as a nation is what we aspire to as puerto ricans. amy: that is angel figueroa jararamillo, head of the puertoo rico electrirical workers union. prepepa is a largest public powr authority in the united states.
i spoke with him on sunday in his office in san juan just as puerto rico's governor ricardo rossello was announcing the partial cancellation of the power company's contract with the montana-based company whitefish energy, hometown of interior secretary ryan zinke. the company is two years old and had just two employees the day hurricane maria hit order rico. -- ecial thanks to this is democracy now! back in aa minute. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to north korea where tensions continue to mount with the united states. during a week-long visit to asia, defense secretary james the stand upized between the two countries but warned that u.s. would not accept a nuclear north korea. this is mattis speaking saturday during a meeting with his south korean counterpart song young-moo in seoul. >> make no mistake, any attack on the united states or our .llies will be defefeated any use of nuclear weapons by the north will be met with a massive mililitary response, effective and overwhelming. i cannot imagine a condition under which the u united states would accept north korea. nermeen: mattis arrived in south
korea on friday for a two-day trip to the country ahead of a visit later this week to the region by donald trump. trump is slated to visit china, vietnam, japan, the philippines, and south korea over a 12-day visit. white house officials are divided over whether trump should visit the demilitarized zone between north and south korea during the trip, with concerns that a visit could further exacerbate the threat of nuclear war. amy: tensions between north korea and the united states have been building after a series of nuclear and missile tests by pyonongyang and inintense verbal exchanges between trump and north korean leader kim jong un. trump has threatened to destroy all of north korea, a nation of 25 million people. trump tweeted last month, "just heard foreign minister of north korea speak at u.n. if he echoes thoughts of little rocket man -- an apparent -- rocket man, they won't be around much longer!" trump's tweet came after north korean foreign minister ri yong ho said trump was on a "suicide mission." congressional democrats are pushing legislation that would prevent president trump from launching a pre-emptive strike against north korea.
well, for more, we are joined by christine ahn, founder and executive director of women cross dmz, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the korean war. welcome to democracy now! can you u talk about the conclusion of this visit by mattis and escalation once again tensionss.-north korea and what we can expect as president trump goes to the region in a few days? >> good morning, amy. statement,at mattis' the u.s. does not want to go to war with north korea, was kind of a primitive statement -- preemptive statement before trump's visit were more south koreans fear donald trump than they do kim jong-un. in effect, as a protest are being planned. there was an anniversary of the candlelight revolution this past
weekend and over 220 seoul society organizations declared they would hold massive protests from november 4-7 all throughout no war,try, declaring no more military exercises, stop the brinksmanship, which threatens the majority of people in south korea and also many who still have family -- family in north korea. stepnk kind of a proactive to assuage the south korean people because obviously, trump will come in and make some provocative statements. and i think that was part of the step to do that. what we don't often hear in the media is the u.s. has sent three nuclear aircraft carriers to be docked on the korean peninsula. they have been conducting very provocative joint were exercises with south korea, including navy seals that took out osama bin laden.
they do include the decapitation strikes. it is one thing to say we don't want war with north korea, and another to actually be laying the grounds for that post up it is not just the provocative military action that are underway, but the threats. we continue to hear threats from throughout the trump's cabinet. mike pompeo, the cia director, stated at a defense foreign foundation this past week that assassination plots were underweight for kim jong-un. h.r. mcmaster has said acceptance and deterrence is not an option. tillerson has said we're going to talk until the first bomb drops. this is not really inviting north korea to engage in dialogue, which is urgently what is needed. you say a little, christine, about how north korea responded? you just engine south korea and the u.s. held the lee terry exercises recently -- military exercises recently.
what was the reason wants? and is there reason to believe north korea is still open to negotiations? that is not the since we get here. correct i think it is important to note we haven't seen any missile tests or nuclear test in almost 38 days from the north korean side. i don't think that means they're going to continue. they've made it clear there on a path to achieving a nuclear -- attach a nuclear warhead that could strike the united states. many estimates is they are months away from doing that. i don't know if you recall after trump totally destroyed north ria speech at the u.n., yong ho -- i guess what happened over that weekend, the u.s. flu o on theter jets acrcross
mamaritime border. that is in complete violation of that it would be the line that would not be ofssed to prevent any kind skirmishes. so in response to that, , north korea has said, we will strike and take down u.s. planes even if they are not within our orbit or within, you know, our geographic area. -- maderea has me clear clear they're going to retaliate. ,nd given there are no channels really official channels -- there are some small private channels that are being held me know, talks between former u.s. know, talks between former u.s. officials with the north koreaen officials. there really aren't talks underway.. that is a dangerous situation that we are in. when the next north korean test is conduducted, will be usb reay -- will be u.s. be ready to
strike i it and willll that be e beginning of a very dangegerous escalation? in fact, the congressional research service just issued a report on friday saying within the first few days, 330,000 ople would be killed instantly. and that is just using conventional weapons. once you include nuclear weapons, the estimate 20 finally people. how do you estimate the number of people especially in a region where japan, south korea, china, russia, and you have north korea that possesses up to 60 nuclear weapons? amy: we just have 20 seconds. what about this debate whether president trump should visit the militarized zone? the significance of this. toi think he is not planning visit there. i think because, you know, is a administration is worried he will make some provocative statements that could trigger the north koreans. so right now i think what is really important is there is