tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 20, 2016 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
leert liinr prida's t.nd cd on this sunday night, historic visit. president obama in havana symbolically opening anigh era in u.s. relations with cuba as some carry on the fight against a still repressive regime. trail of violence at donald trump's campaign events. we speak to a protester who found himself being punched and kicked. distracted driving may have caused a crash that toppled a school bus carrying a high school basketball team. remarkably everyone survived. and, dear, mr. president, one woman's letter from havana gets a response from president obama. now, she hopes he will stop by for a thank you and a coffee. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from havana.
havana, behind me the museum of the revolution. just a few hours ago this communist nation welcomed president obama who is stepping on to cuban soil under a falling rain became the first american president to visit here in 88 years. as part of histwo-day trip, the president will meet with cuban leader raul castro and make an address to the cuban people hoping to further nudge open doors of travel and commerce eight months after the two nations re-established diplomatic ties. there are years of mistrust to unravel and an american economic embar go in place. chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell joins me with more on today. >> good evening, lester. what a day it has been. president obama has been working towards date for years, an historic presidential visit he hopes will make his opening to cuba a major part of his legacy. >> reporter: in driving rain, president obama touched down in havana, hoping to cement his high-stakes cuba diplomacy with
bringing the entire first family. michelle obama, the obama daughters, and his mother-in-law. he immediately tweeted in local slang, how is it going, cuba. que bola, cuba. just touched down looking forward to meeting and hearing from the cuban people. cuba has been painting, primping, repaving roads for weeks. security is intense. on this palm sunday the president is visiting the cathedral in old havana, thanking the country's cardinal ortega with pope francis brokered secret talks bre tween president obama and raul cass troechlt also coming here, ceo's to sign deals for hotels, banking and internet service. to boost biz not the president lifted restrictions so americans can travel here easily. to reach millions of cuban tv fans he retaped a routine with cuba's biggest comedy star.
>> reporter: times are changing since a young fidel castro launched his revolution. the u.s. retaliated with an economic boycott. more than a half century of suspicion dies slowly. a weekly silent women's protest against rat sheem was disrupted by counterprotesters. arrests on both sides. the u.s. and scuba still disagree over free elections and free speech. some cubans have moved to canada but now see business opportunities. i've may ask, why did you leave cuba? >> it was more about the way the country works and the way the country is run. it was more about the limitations and the loss. >> reporter: without widespread internet, a young blogger is hopeful. >> the fights between our countries many are not relevant anymore. and my generation doesn't have to pay for old grudges. >> reporter: overshadowing this visit, cuba's frustration with the u.s. economic embargo which congress refuses to lift.
is ielected all president obama's changes will be reversed a reason the president will press cuba hard this week to spiepd the pace of change. lester. >> good to have you here. upon arrival here in cuba i spoke with washington's top diplomat in havana, at the u.s. embassy for decades known as the u.s. intrasection which many saw as symbol of american resolve to undermine the communist government. i asked the ambassador what it stands for now. >> i would like to think it stands for the beacon of hope, a beacon of opportunity, the american way of life. it is about reconciliation, bringing people back together and looking to the future with a much more productive relationship but also one where we can have frank discussion as but ideas and issues where we do not agree such as, such as human rights. >> do you have any disappointment in the skew ban government's pace of change -- there is still a lot of iesh us
private sector here? >> we would like to see them move faster. in a variety of different areas. but i think we have to be patient again where, where changing relationship that had gone in one direction for a long time. >> then there is the issue of th dsidents which continue to be jailed. many people think that, having the president come here is almost a reward, an undeserved reward for the cuban government. how do you respond to that? >> well, re-establishing diplomatic relations is not a reward. we feel strongly that advocating for and promoting u.s. interests and values scan be best achieved through engagement. >> as some one who has deep experience in this country do you ever find yourself looking past the castros and -- what the future of this country might be? >> there will be a leadership change in february of 2018. president castro said he will
and so we'll see in the upcoming party congress next month if there is any hint to what the transition might look like. but things are moving on. >> are you optimistic? >> i'm optimistic that we can make this relationship a more productive one that benefits americans and benefits cubans alike. >> ambassador jeffrey delaurentis. despite improving relations some are trying to leave their process. the u.s. coast guard says nine cuban migrants died at sea and 18 rescued by a cruise ship. found on a boat friday. 130 miles west of marco island, southwest, florida. many cubans are making the journey now out of fear that the u.s. law that for years has given cubans special immigration status will change as relations with scuba improve. new concerns were raised
donald trump's campaign events. specifically how his campaign and security staff are responding to protesters. the latest incident came last night and today, trump defended what took place. our gabe gutierrez has our report. >> reporter: this weekend the anger boiled over. in tucson, a protester in a white hood escorted out by police. another one behind him repeatedly punched and kicked by men in the crowd. that protester, brian sanders, spoke with nbc's jacob rascone. >> because this political movement has gotten to the point where you may get beat to death inside of a rally. i just got my [ bleep ] kicked. >> reporter: it is this video raising even more questions. trump's campaign manager, appears to grab the collar of another protester yanked away by a member of trump's private security. today trump strongly defending him. >> security at the arena, the police were alittle bit lax.
area that were horrendous. i will give him credit. >> reporter: last week, a reporter from breitbart, filed a complaint accusing him off salt. he has not been charged. the long time gop rop atiff took a break to work as a new hampshire state police officer. >> it is very unusual. unprecedented for a campaign manager to be out in the crowd being involved in security. >> ted cruz campaigning in arizona. >> there is now only one campaign in a position to beat donald trump and win the republican nomination. polls show he trails trump there but leads in utah getting unlikely support from the so-called establishment. john kasich betting on a contested convention. >> listen nobody is going to the convention with enough delegates. at the end i will get picked i can win in the fall. >> amid reports of a 100 day stop trump campaign in the works here in florida the front-runner its set to speak to local gop leaders.
here and head to washington to speak at the apac conference. some of those attending planning to walk out. because of trump's previous controversial comments about immigration and the israeli palestinian conflict. lester. all right, gabe gutierrez, tonight. thank you. officials in belgium said today the newly captured suspect in the paris terrorist attacks may have been planning more violence. hope to learn from him what happened in paris and the broader threat from isis inside of europe. our keir simmons reports from brussels. >> reporter: salah abdeslam arrested made gunfire and explosions. may have been planning another attack. >> he was ready to restart something from brussels. it maze in theis maybe the reality. we have found weapons. heavy weapons. >> reporter: his knowledge of the paris massacre last november that may be crucial. since salah abdeslam was discovered in this building in
there are many questions surrounding the attacks in paris that he could answer. the explosives used in the paris attacks, tatp, require an experienced bomb maker. who was he? where is he? according to "the new york times," which says it has seen a police report, french investigators describe salah abdeslam as the logistics guy. so can he detail the original plan? while reports confirmed by nbc news reveal the suspected ringleader, adbelhamid abaaoud hid in bushes three nights after the attacks. had something gone wrong? ultimately he died during a paris police raid, leaving abdeslam as the only known living member of the paris cell. how much does he know? >> >> extremely proficient at it. i don't see those people sharing old information. >> reporter: abdeslam relied on
stay hidden, the belgian prosecutor says. the continuing and most urgent question tonight how many more isis operatives are on the run in europe? keir simmons, nbc news, brussels. officials in indiana are investigating whether a distraction caused a woman to drive her car into a school bus carrying a high school basketball team this weekend. the bus rolled over, but remarkably everyone survived. steve patterson has details. >> reporter: a startling scene that seemed tragic. >> oh, sweet jesus. >> reporter: a school bus on its back half crushed. on board, 27 passengers, members of the griffith high school basketball team, heading to the big state tournament. their hoop dreams side swiped by a seemingly distracted driver. police say in the next lane, a 23-year-old driver lost the lid on her drink, spilling it losing control of her car swerving it into the side of the bus.
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one, two, three come on, girl they are talented, they are fun, they are funny, and they come from everywhere across this country and all around the world. i was doing gymnastics when i was 2 'cause i took baby classes. could i go to the baby class to see? -no. -what, i just -- they have to do a cartwheel, and i don't know if you can do onyourself. [ cheers and applause ] you will not believe your eyes or your ears. this boy! is he a good big brother? he feels me better when my daddy or my mama whoop me. [ laughter ] didn't know that was gonna come out on national tv, did you? let's find a light this is not a competition. inside our universe now good job, right there. we're gonna have a great time tonight. i'm about to put them all away, whoo the greatest!