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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  September 27, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> charlie: welcome to the program. beginning with the clinton global initiative in new york city and a conversation with former president bill clinton. >> people forget and politicians and the apparatus covering politics forget that elections are giant sovereignties and the election for president is the grandest job interview on the planet. >> charlie: also from the clinton global initiative we talk about climate with gina mccarthy, david crane, joseé mariía figueres olsen. >> i believe that we're at the questiobeginning of a new dawn e talk about climate change solutions and that we finally made the link between the economy and environment. >> charlie: we conclude with juan manuel santos, the president of colombia. >> i decided it was one of the risky decisions to talk and
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fight at the same time. i have not accepted any cease fire. people don't understand that. why are you talking about peace and killing each other here in colombia? to explain that is difficult, so the sooner we finish the process, the more lives we'll save, the more suffering we'll -- the less suffering we're going to have and, so, hopefully, by next year, it will be over. >> charlie: clinton, climate and santos, when we continue.
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>> and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: i have the great honor to introduce the man who had a lot to do with c.b.i. and is very proud of it on this tenth anniversary. please welcome william jefferson clinton. (applause) so let's begin with this: after october 1 or sometime close thereafter, a boy -- a little boy or a little girl is going to say, grandpa, a lot of people seem to know you. what is it you did? what will you tell him or her? >> i will explain what i did with my life. li will say, you know, after i
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grew up and went to law school and taught for a while, i went into public service and i will explain what it was. after i left being president, i got a chance to do something entirely different. i wasn't term-limited so i got to do it a little longer. thanks to my health being saved by a lot of people. i will tell my grandson or granddaughter why i do it and why i think it was worthwhile. >> charlie: and where will you put c.g.i.? >> oh, way up there. it's made a big difference. you know, it's -- also, i think it came along at the right time, a time when information technology and kind of more global consciousness may be kind of partnerships and networks
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possible and desirable and even necessary. so it's really made a big difference. >> charlie: you said in a profile for the atlantic magazine, overall bill has conducted the most energetic high profile post-presidency since theodore roosevelt and money making ventures. besides supporting his wife, he has made his most unconventional contribution to the clinton global initiative. that's why i ask about this. has the idea of not just talking but doing worked out as well as you expected? >> oh, yeah. even when what we do doesn't work, it's better than talking and not doing it. (laughter) i mean -- you know, for a guy that's uttered as many words as i have and loves speech and
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loves political speech -- >> charlie: really? -- i still think what you do is more important and what you say is credible in direct relationship to what you do and what you have done and what you're going to do. i think ideas matter greatly, but can only add impact if you turn them into action. so, yeah, i love this. but, now, i try to run the other part of my foundation, too. i think, you know, we've done some other pretty big things, having over half of the people on earth alive who have aids because they're eligible for a contract for the at least expensive high-quality drugs in the world, that's important. and making this agreement, an alliance for healthier generations, reducing the caloric content of drinks at schools by 90%. that's a couple of pounds a year
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for a lot of these kids struggling with their weight around the country. >> charlie: for you, what is the biggest misconception about the clinton presidency? >> they're about to get it right now, according to all these surveys. (laughter) i think most people underappreciate the level of extreme partisanship that took hold in '94. >> charlie: even greater than had been for -- >> i wouldn't say greater. nobody's accused of murder, as far as i know. it was pretty rough back then. that kind of -- the way the institutions of american life, including the way the media covered politics, basically rigged -- designed -- rigged sounds unfavorable -- designed to promote conflict over cooperation to an extent that was, you know, not healthy for
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our country. >> charlie: has that gotten worse or better? >> well, the politics, i think, by parties are even more polarized than they were then. because the people have been polarized, in part, by being ball cannized. part of it is congressional reapportionment. but part of it goes beyond that. if you look at the pew studies, they show we want to be around physically and virtually -- between our television and internet viewing -- people who agree with us, and we don't much care to spend any time with people who don't. >> charlie: meaning list upping to and hearing people who agree with us. >> i tell everybody america's made such progress, we're less racist and homophobic than we used to be, we just don't want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. that's the very worst thing we can do. we can fill this room with a
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social science research which proves that groups make better decisions than geniuses acting alone and that diverse groups who actually disagree, bring different perspectives, different experiences and debate issues, but they debate it with the purpose of coming to an agreement, make better decisions than a small group of like-minded people, no matter how smart they are. the only thing that makes worse decisions are diverse groups who have in mind that they must never make a decision unless they get everything they want. now, that's worse than letting a small group of people like that alone. but that's what is hurting us. it may be very good for people who are financing all this polarization who don't basically want anything to happen, but if you believe the country needs a
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government to get the show on the road, and that all this political polarization is kind of a bummer and basically involves majoring in the minors at a time when there are huge challenges facing america at home and abroad, be bet for we got together more. >> charlie: let's talk about that. looking at the challenge from i.s.i.s. today, is the president doing it about right? or do you believe we need more different weapons to challenge -- i mean by that, diplomatic -- >> i understand. well, i think you've seen a blizzard of diplomatic efforts in the last few weeks. i think the strategy involving the sunni tribal leaders and other moderates in the western
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part of iraq, first in the government, which our country pushed for and i'm proud of them, that was the right thing to do, and then in the fight against i.s.i.s., has a chance to prevail. i think it is correct that we should not be directly involved in a land war in iraq. i think it's enough to send -- we had to have some people on the ground there to do intelligence work and other things, but i think -- >> charlie: and they are in harm's way. >> they are in harm's way, but they're not carrying the brunt of the battle. i think they're necessary to make the air war and the other things work. it's got a chance to succeed. you always have a chance to win. that surge in iraq worked when i didn't think it would, i admit. >> charlie: because?
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because the tribal leaders, the sunni tribal leaders were willing to take a stand against al quaida in iraq. they were willing to take a stand against their own people being murdered and beheaded and all that sort of stuff, and you can't beat somebody with nobody in a fight. you've got to have somebody to back, because it's their fight, and if you try to make it your fight, you're, like, playing an away game, and when you get tired and go home, all they have to do is survive, they don't even have to win. >> charlie: and you can't do it alone, a, because you have to have somebody there. >> that's correct. >> charlie: so as important as it is to anybody -- >> yeah, so i think this has a chance to succeed. and i also believe that the air strikes are important that have been conducted because of the beheadings. i think you just at least have to let people know there's a price to pay for that without being sucked into what they want which is to get you on the ground in large numbers so they
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can kill more of you and cost you a lot of money and make people think that their fight is against the united states instead of against more moderate, decent iraqis. >> charlie: but what if it's not enough? is i.s.i.s. and radical, fundamental terrorism such a threat to us that if, in the end, it requires american combat troops, in the interest of national security, that's a decision that the president has to make? >> it's a decision he has to make. i think it highly unlikely that he will have to make that decision because he'll have to discount against whatever good we can do sending troops there. the problems we know that will happen will be interrupting and stunting the growth of what has a chance to be the first truly inclusive iraqi government.
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and making the fight about us. i mean, there are lots of -- there are reasons he didn't do that that i think are quite sound, and you would have to know more about the threat to the united states from i.s.i.s. than i know now, since i'm not in the intelligence group, i don't know what else is going on. >> charlie: but you would argue, wouldn't you, that an islamic state as conceived by i.s.i.s. is unacceptable? >> it would be a bad thing, yeah, if they took over a massive swath of syria and a massive swath of iraq and made a new state that was basically capable of robbing billions of dollars from banks and otherwise stealing money and running -- if it became basically a terror syndicate, it would be a bad thing, if they wanted to hurt us or destabilize our friends and neighbors. but i think that we have a task now. it has been defined.
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it may be achievable. and i think that, as soon as somebody sets on a policy today and rapidly involve media involvement -- i'm going to be interested to see what you say to gina mccarthy, talking about the e.p.a. policy -- >> charlie: exactly. as soon as somebody sets on policy and particularly foreign policy, particularly if a bomb will be dropped, people start asking, okay, what if this fails, then what new terrible thing will have to be done? i think we need to give this a chance to succeed and then, if it doesn't, we need to look at the facts on the ground at the moment it doesn't. i think the president's strategy has a chance to succeed and we should give it a chance to do so. >> charlie: and if it doesn't, you have to jump that bridge when you get dot get to it? >> yeah, based on why it doesn't succeed and what the facts are
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on the ground then and what the realistic appreciation of the threat to our people is and our allies are then. >> charlie: let's assume that you were advising a presidential candidate -- (laughter) >> that's a heavy assumption. >> charlie: yes, it is. my advice is sometimes welcomed and sometimes not. (laughter) sometimes right and sometimes not. (laughter) diswhrnch>> charlie: what wouldu suggest? thinking about america today, what would you suggest is the narrative, the imperative theme about what's essential for us to go forward as a nation? >> the recovery of our capacity to provide a society that offers equal opportunity and the
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possibility of shared prosperity. an expanding middle class with poor people having a reasonable chance to work their way into it. and a much more vigorous orientation toward the future, that is making future-related investments like a modern electrical grid, a national network of -- a wireless network where the computer download speeds are comparable to south korea. the national network is being born by google. the truth is, as hillary learned as a senator from new york, sometimes people can profit most economically immediately from
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rapid access and rapid download with broadband are in rural areas. >> charlie: connect them in different ways to a larger world. >> quad grouple a business and 100% of the polls were in norway and the man was in a small town in upstate new york. if it hadn't been for the internet, that couldn't happen. you need a policy that puts us in the future. same thing with research and development on energy areas and biotechnology areas. i think america's really well positioned for the future. i know it's tough, but there are very few countries in the world that have anything like the positioning we have to grow our economy in a broad-based way for the future, but we've got to do it. >> charlie: are presidential elections always decided on the future or are they often -- or could they be a referendum on
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the past, whether the past of the obama administration or the past of the clinton administration? >> i think people think -- you know, i think what happened in the past is relevant insofar as it's an indication of what might happen in the future. and i use the word "might" advisedly. but by and large, almost all elections are about the future. people forget and politicians and the apparatus covering politics forget that the election is a giant job interview and the election for president is the grandest job interview on the planet, and when you show up for a job, the difference is, if you decided to retire and i wanted to interview for your job -- spho -- >> charlie: please don't.
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i'm not saying i want you to retire. i'm trying to make a point here. i've watched you for years, and i've got an idea of what this show is and what it is, right. but if you were running for president -- >> charlie: yeah! looking better all the time... (laughter) you might have some ideas from watching me or george w. bush or george h.w. bush or barack obama. >> charlie: yeah. but, you know, one to have the burdens of running for president is you're actually trying to define the job for the people who are going to decide whether to hire you or not. so it's a most interesting job interview. that is, you know there are certain things you have to do, no matter whether republican or democrat or whatever. but every four years, somebody stands up there and says, i want this job, and if you give it to me, this is what i will try to do with it. and then if you're the person making the hiring decision, you have to assess you and your family's condition and the condition of your community and the condition of your neighbors
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around america, how we're doing with the rest of the world, how did this guy do defining the job? then you've got to say, wonder if he or she can do that? you know, it sounds good. wonder if they can do it. >> charlie: there's no way you can know because they've never done anything like that before. >> no. you've got some indication. >> charlie: as a governor or -- >> yeah. it matters. it is a good indicator, but it's not definitive. and then something else we've learned, all of us in the last 20, 30 years, with the dispersal of power, because of information technology and other things, it is even more likely than it used to be that there will be something you didn't think about in the election that will happen. al gore and george w. bush had all those fervent debates.
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nobody asked either one of them, what are you going to do when the world trade centers come down, when the pentagon is bombed? how will this person handle the incoming fire? >> charlie: so i close with this -- there's no one i know in politics from the left, right, republican, democrat, male, female that doesn't say bill clinton is the best political animal that's ever been in american politics, and certainly for as long as they can remember. tell me what you think that's about. why does everybody have that opinion of you as a political person? >> well, some of the people who refer to me as an animal think i should be in the zoo. (laughter) >> charlie: yes. and some of them acted as if i actually was in a zoo. no, i think -- look, i don't know if it's true or not, but, to be really good at this,
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you've got to like people. you've got to like policy. and you've got to like politic you've got to have a pain threshold. you have to understand, there's a reason this is a contact sport. i grew up where people taught me to pay attention to other people. i believe being taught that people, without regard to income, race, education level or standing, are equal in the eyes of god and, therefore, should be equal in your eyes and should be treated with respect and they all have a story and you should listen to their story before you tell one, i think that simple set of lessons led directly to where i'm sitting today. >> charlie: i would do what i do whether there was a television or not because it's the love of the idea of conversation. >> but the thing i like is i pretty much know kind of your political views and your preferences and all that, but
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you interview everybody the same, and you ask hard questions, just like you threw these zingers at me, but you always give people the chance to tell their story. i think it's important that we recover that again, in political discourse. there's plenty of room for differences, but i think we've got to recover that. >> charlie: thank you for joining us. >> thank you. (applause) >> charlie: let me, first of all, thank you guys for coming here to talk about one of the most important issues of our time, and let me just begin with all of you. what do you hope to achieve in this summit and what's taking place here in new york? >> the biggest issue we have in the united states from a public policy perspective is that the politicians keep hearing from their pollsters that less than 1% of the american public cares
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about climate change, that it's, you know, way down in double digits on the list, and as long as it's way down there, then the politicians won't act in a way to solve the problem. so from my perspective, i just think that raising awareness is the most important thing at this point. >> i agree with my utility colleague, that you don't often hear from. >> yeah, this is being taped. (laughter) >> hopefully limited audience here. the most important thing for me is that people get comfortable understanding that climate change actions will actually be not just good for the world and our families and our kids, but they're going to be good for an economy. you can phot have a sus -- you cannot have a sustainable economy without making that part and parcel with a low energy strategy. the worst thing we could see is
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nothing happen on climate change. the cost of that are immeasurable to all of us, where climate change can do good things for us and our economy are at our fingertips and we have to grab those. >> charlie, i see a tipping point here. >> charlie: that's exactly what i was going to ask. >> i'm encouraged about thousands of people in new york and millions of people in the world out there for climate. i'm encouraged by what you're seeing in the papers, funds, pension funds, insurance companies, big corporations divesting from fossil fuels, investing into renewables and moving towards a low-carben economy, and i'm encouraged about 120 heads of state in new york as of tomorrow. we had 90 in copenhagen and 120 here. so what i see is this big, giant, public-private
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partnership on which you have all three ingredients necessary to start the movement towards a low-carben economy. >> charlie: what ought to be the agenda to do that? >> linking economics and environment. climate change and mitigating its impact is the most impressive, important economic opportunity of our time, perhaps of humanity. i believe we're leaving behind 200 years of industrial revolution. the steam out of that engine is out. we didn't leave the stone age because we ran out of stones, but because we went on to something better, and the low-carben economy is something much better. so linking the economy and the environment is the key. (applause) >> charlie: will you add to that? >> well, what i would say is it's time for people to actually develop the strategies for moving forward. we've talked a lot about goals
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that need to happen. the actions are in front of us. that's why president obama put out a climate action plan, not a gold plan. we have goals and we want to be aggressive but we want to get there as well. >> charlie: where is the resistance? >> the resistance for years has been that we have been projecting the climate will be a problem in the future and we have been trying to convince people that it's a global solution that's necessary which disempowered people from taking action. what's happened in the meantime is the world has started to change. we're in an energy -- >> charlie: in other words, they can see what's happening. >> they can see it. the impacts are now. we're documenting, not projecting them, and we can see the solutions are here. in the united states states and cities, they're here today. they're making announcements about things they're doing because they have been doing them and it's good for them. you have cities saving money from efficiency programs so they can hire teachers and firemen. these are the things you actually want to do.
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so they see the future as being in front of them and they see it as being brighter because they're looking at climate change. >> charlie: businesses can't afford to have thei head in the sand, to be ostrich-like. are you seeing more collaborations because of the imperative of a policy between government and business? >> well, i think, to be frank, charlie, i think businesses' attitude toward government and climate change right now is certainly nothing's coming out of washington anytime soon. >> charlie: so without washington, we have to take the bull by the horns? >> yeah, well, the business needs to make a compact with the american people. >> charlie: ah. to do something. when you deal with other c.e.o.s, as i do, there's no c.e.o. that denies climate change, because in business we deal with facts. >> charlie: okay. so i've never heard a c.e.o. -- they would be laughed out of the room. so every business is dealing with it.
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i think what you're seeing now is more and more c.e.o.s coming into major corporations, much bigger corporations than mine that not only know that doing something about the climate is essential to the future of their business, but they're -- you know, as parents -- and their feeling it not only intellectually but in their heart, and i think you actually face a prospect now in the united states where we can have the first business-led social movement. usually businesses are a lagging indicator for social change. so maybe i'm too optimistic and maybe it's just the seat i sit in, but i'm very optimistic about the role business has to play. >> charlie: take china. everybody goes to china and everybody watches television and sees china and understands the pollution problem they have. how are they responding? >> fantastically. ltlet's take china. they installed ten gig awatts of solar last year and are installing the same this year. they are responsible almost
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single-handedly for reducing the price of solar by about 80% since 2009 or 2010. but if you look at what they're doing and inventing in their third five-year plan which goes into action as of january of 2016, it's all about moving towards a low-carbe a a low-car. china is seeing the opportunity to catch up with the west by at least 25 years. >> china, the 800-pound gore riel lain the room is china's coal plant. the average in the united states is 30 years old. by year 2050, virtually all the coal plants in the united states will be retired and no one's building new coal plants in the united states. but china, the average age of a coal plant is less than ten
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years. so there is one technological interviolation we need and it's post-combustion carbon capture. we need to retrofit the coal plants in china because they're not going to turn them off. if you said, david, what's the one technology we have to deploy at scale and low cost, that's it. we're doing a projects in the united states and others are doing it, so that's the greatest contribution we could make in u.s. businesses is develop that technology and share it withshine and india and others who are building new coal plants. >> i think the important thing to remember about china is they're not only interested in what the u.s. and others are doing on climate change and i think the president sends a signal when we go out domestically as strongly as we have, but they're worried about air quality in general. i mean, that is a big problem for them. >> charlie: it's a health issue. >> when you go after carbon, all the other pollutants that cause
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the problem begin to get captured as well. if they think about this as a strategy for the public health of the people in china, not just how they build their economy in ways that will continue to be globally competitive, they've got to come up with a solution that grabs all of that. >> charlie: tell me, each of you, i mean, what gives you most hope and what do you worry about most? >> i get to go first. well, what gives me hope, again speaking as americans, we were involved in the effort to pass the waxman marky bill several years ago and when that failed so miserably, i felt the issue would go away for a generation because it was seen as the next b.t.u. tax which sort of inflicted congress for 20 years. what gives me hope is the issues come back in the u.s. political spectrum as quickly as it has, which is important because of the urgency of it. what makes me most concerned
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about is the climate change science, which i'm no expert on -- i mean, it's clear that the climate scientists know something's happened but they don't know how the earth is going to react and really what makes me most concerned is not knowing how much time we have. i mean, how are the oceans actually acid fying? >> charlie: yeah. so that's the thing. we're playing a game where we don't know, you know, what's the end of the fourth quarter and we have to -- >> charlie: in other words, reaching a tipping point where we have no time to do anything about it. >> exactly. well, in my world, the dynamics are pretty good for us. e.p.a. knows the direction it needs to take. we have a president that's been very clear about that, and we have really quite astounding engagement on that, whether it's from the utilities in the business sector or whether it's from just the general public who's responding to these issues. so i couldn't actually be more positive. i think the solutions are before us, and we can make an argument
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whether you care about the world or the environment or whether you care about the economy, we can make this work. i think the things that concern me most immediately and ones that i think you will hear from states and our communities is the question of how do we get resilient because we know that the climate has already changed? how do we invest in that infrastructure that we need to keep people safe in a changing climate? we have a lot of efforts underway that try to work with local communities, but people are getting hurt now. you see agriculture having billions of dollars in disaster payments. you see california already, you know, projecting billions of dollars in losses for that drought. we need to not just talk about this globally, but we need to look in our own neighborhoods and keep our family safe and that takes a concerted effort. >> what gives me hope is this giant global coalition we talked about in the beginning.
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civil societies marching. businesses investing today, political leaders meeting at the united nations tomorrow. i believe that we are at the beginning of a new dawn when we talk about climate change solutions and that we've finally made the link between the economy and the environment. the new climate economy report came out on the 16th of september. it talks billions of different ways in which we can make that linkage, create jobs, which is what the world needs today. what worries me is how do we scale rapidly? how do we scale rapidly? because we need not only to reduce our own personal carbon footprint, we need to bring down, pull out of the atmosphere gigatons of carbon and that requires scale and velocity. >> charlie: thank you all very
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much. >> thank you. >> charlie: juan manuel santos is here, president of clommia won a second term this june. he has lead controversial peace talks and armed forces known as the far. after 50 years of talks, the conflict could achieve resolution in coming months. the government is said to be too soft on the rebels. president santos is at the general assembly this week. welcome. >> thank you. >> charlie: you were here last time and i asked what the measure of success would be one year later and you said i hope i can come back next year and see peace in colombia. we've reached an agreement with the fark and changed the feature of columbia for the better where do we stand on that? >> we advanced substantially since a year ago. we reached agreement on three of
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the five points of the agenda. the first point is rural development. second point is political participation, and the third point which is very important is drug trafficking and we've reached agreement on those points. what's left is victims, transitional justice, and the fifth point is disafternoonment, demobilization and reintegration, and we are advancing in the fourth point. >> charlie: what's the toughest nut to crack? >> i would say the toughest nut to track is where to draw the line between peace and justice. how do you respect the right of the victims to justice, but, at the same time, achieve peace, and that's been the nutshell of will every conflict. >> charlie: have you gotten
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any guidance on what they did in south africa on the reconciliation? >> yes, i had a chance to speak with mandela many times on the peace process there. as a matter of fact, one of the persons that helped mandela a lot in the peace process, i know him quite well with, and he told me how mandela used the commissions and the truth commission -- >> charlie: for reconciliation. >> -- to bring out the fears and the hatred and that helped a lot to reconcile. that's why, in colombia, we repair the victims even before we have repaired so far 400,000 victims without the conflict because i think the sooner you start healing the wounds the easier it will be to reconcile. >> charlie: what have you done for them? >> well, first of all, recognized them. >> charlie: right.
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second, give them either collective reparations, like if it's a town, give them schools or hospitals, and most of the times money individually to families or scholarships for the kids, things like that. >> charlie: what's their mindset? do they have the same sense that we want to get past this as you do? or are they reluctant negotiators? >> the farc... >> charlie: yes. i would say they're afraid. at that moment when you're going to parachute for the first time and you think, what if it doesn't open? >> charlie: yes. so they're seeking guarantees, and we have to give them confidence. of course, they're always -- they always want to include certain points in the discussion that i have said since the beginning that's a red line,
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we're not going to make a revolution by a decree at a negotiating table. we're going to negotiate how you can lay down your arms and rticipate in a democratic, free country and pursue your political objectives, but without arms. >> charlie: laying down your arms has always been a sticking point for negotiations like this. >> but this is a must. there's no way that this will succeed if they continue to have their arms. the whole point of the process -- and they know that -- is to give their arms up, maybe not to the colombian government, maybe to a third party, but what i want in colombia is to eliminate forever politics and arms because those two things don't go together. >> charlie: so what else do you come here to new york to meet at the u.n. and meet with other heads of state, what's your mission and what do you want to tell them about colombia
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today? >> colombia today, in this world that is full of problems, as you've seen wars in the middle east, afghanistan, you've seen them in europe, ukraine, the ebola epidemic in western africa. colombia is a country that is about to reach peace after 50 years of war and economic success. we are the country in latin america, the whole of latin america growing the fastest. we are the third in the world which is decreasing poverty and extreme poverty more than any other country, create an employment, lowest inflation, booming economy and, so, we are a success story that, if we reach peace, if the international community helps us reach peace, the takeoff will be
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even much faster. >> charlie: what is your gdp today? >> the first half of the year, 5.2%. >> charlie: a lot better than the u.s., by more than double. how did you achieve that? what's the reason for the economic success of colombia? >> first of all, we set out some reforms and some basic principles, fiscal responsibility, the respect for the rules of the game to attract investment. we identified certain sectors that would push the economy, for example construction and infrastructure. so you have a combination of different factors and, today, i think we have -- and i'm proud to say probably the most solid economy in the whole history.
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the challenge is to maintain that because, as you know, economic cycles are as guaranteed as death or taxes. so that's the big challenge for us. but if we reach peace, what every economist says is that the growth rate in colombia, which today is 5.2%, will go up 2 points forever. so that's one of the dividends of peace for colombia. >> charlie: how do we stand in terms of this hemisphere, doing something that will give it a kind of united economic power? i mean, there's a lot of talk about canada, the united states and mexico. >> we created a very successful alliance, a specific alliance with four countries in america -- mexico, peru, chile and colombia. these are the four top performers of the whole of latin
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america. we have integrated much more than a simple free trade agreement and we're attracting a lot of attention from other areas. one of them is the united states. they want to see how they can participate more because it's a market -- >> charlie: it's a huge market for you? >> it's as big or bigger than brazil and with a higher per capita income, and that is something which is changing very much what -- how latin america performance, even though we don't want that to be considered as an exclusive club. on the contrary, you want to open up to whoever wants to play with us. >> charlie: what about drugs? drugs... i am trying to promote and, thank god, people are listening, and many people are in the same
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mind framework, to have a new look on the war on drugs. because colombia has been the country that has suffered the most, has made the highest sacrifice in the war on drugs for the last 20, 30, 40 years, but the problem continues. consumers in the u.s. continue, and even though we have been successful in winning or beating the drug cartels, the business continues, and our success has made the problems of central america, mexico, our neighbors, and not only a problem here in america, it's an increasing problem in the middle east and europe. >> charlie: are you getting the same support from the united states that you did in the bush administration? >> no, we're getting more support. more support, with that emphasis, a new approach. last week there was a resolution of the o.e.s. where the united states and canada were present,
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in that direction. let's take a more pragmatic and more effective approach because simply sending consumers to jail doesn't work. >> charlie: are there other challenges you find that are essential to the long-term growth of colombia? >> yes. continue to improve our social indicators. we still have too much poverty. 30% of our population, 29 now -- we brought it down from 39 to 29 -- but still 29% in poverty, almost 10% in extreme poverty. >> charlie: how do you define extreme poverty and poverty? >> there are different measurements. it's how much you make a week or a month. >> charlie: alarming statistics about how many people in the planet live on a dollar or two dollars a day.
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>> and i quote former president kennedy very often when he said, you can't be rich if you're surrounded by extreme poverty. >> charlie: there's also the question of the single four-year term. most people want to expand the number of terms they can serve, and you want to set a four-year term limit on presidents? >> yes. >> charlie: why? because colombia has had a tradition of four years, and there's a renovation of the leaders, and there's chance force new people, and i believe much more in the importance of institutions than the importance of people. i think any democracy would be much better off. >> charlie: but can you get things done in four years? >> yes. >> charlie: if you don't get them in four years, you can get them in eight, i would think. >> i think we could get things
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done in four years. >> charlie: what happened to you and president rebe? >> i'm willing to discuss whatever difference we have. >> charlie: what is the difference? >> i don't know. he hates the peace process. >> charlie: it's all about farc and giving up too much. >> but, no, first of all, you were saying that so people think they're giving too much. i will tell you something, today -- today, i decided to make public the agreements so everybody can read what we've agreed to. >> charlie: total trance parentsy. >> because people like uribe said i had negotiated the disappearance of the army and the police would be under the control of the farc and i was going to exploit to the land
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owners who was cultivating the problems and none of that is true. i'm not negotiating anything basic of our economic model of our democratic principles. so the decision i made today and we agreed with the farc to make those public will close the mouth of many of the critics because i they will then see that we have not given up the country. >> charlie: but here's the man who you were his defense secretary. >> yes. >> charlie: and he had something to do with you becoming president. >> yes, and i continued with his policy of -- i think his security policy against the farc. there's not been any precedent that has given more. we started when i was defense minister. but there's a time when you have to make peace, and he tried to make peace. he tried to do exactly what i am
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doing. >> charlie: but failed. but failed. >> charlie: what's the difference? >> the difference is, i think -- >> charlie: why did you succeed and he failed? >> well, the circumstances, i think. first of all, the farc didn't want the talk to him. >> charlie: yeah. second, you need, for example, the international community backing you. eth very difficult to -- it's very difficult to reach a peace agreement of this order and he didn't have that. i managed to get that and, fortunately, i have that. the u.s. is backing us, also cuba and venezuela are backing us. the whole international community, and that is extremely important, because once you take certain decisions and we are the first country, the first country that is negotiating an arms conflict, the determination of an arms conflict under the umbrella of the treaty of rome. so we are setting precedent and,
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for the world, whatever happens in colombia in this process will be an example for other armed conflicts that will be resolved. so it's very importa to have the backing of the international community. >> charlie: you also argue the relationship between the u.s. and latin america is more important than between the u.s. and afghanistan. >> yes, i insist on that. i say that the united states should look more south of the rio grande. >> charlie: has that changed? that's been the cry of latin america forever. they say basically the americans only care about domination. >> well, depends on how you interpret that, but i would like very much the u.s. to get more interested in central america. >> charlie: how would they reflect that interest? >> by mentioning the area in their speeches. >> charlie: that would be
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helpful, wouldn't it? hello, we're here... >> yeah. >> charlie: there's some initiative called plan colombia. >> yes. >> charlie: what's that? plan colombia was created by two parties and by president clinton back in the year 2000 to help colombia when we were on the verge of being declared a failed state. and i say -- >> charlie: drug trafficking and drug kingpins. >> exactly. and it started as an initiative to fight drugs and evolved into an initiative to support colombia in its fight for democracy and to strengthen our democracy, and i say with no hesitation that that has been the most successful bipartisan foreign palsy initiative that the united states has made in the recent past, and if we reach a peace agreement, that is the
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cherry on the cake. the whole circle would be completed. >> charlie: your biography is interesting. you had an opportunity to be educated beyond colombia -- not that you can't get a good education in colombia -- but including harvard and kansas. >> yes. >> charlie: did that add to being able to move beyond your own boundaries -- >> yes. >> charlie: -- and absorb cultures and education and meeting different people who have come from a different place in terms of how the tools that you bring to government? >> well, that helps a lot. it opens a new world, new ideas. you're much more open to respect different views, different people. i also studied in england, in europe. >> charlie: right. and it opens your mind much more. >> charlie: did you always plan to go into politics?
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>> well, no. quite frankly, at the beginning, i thought i was going into journalism. >> charlie: we talked about this before. >> and i was a journalist for a long time. >> charlie: yes. but politics, i don't know why it has always sort of interested me, and i became a fanatic of, really, biographies of great politicians, and i started having a feel for it and here i am. >> charlie: so when we come back a year from now, the likelihood that you will have completed the negotiations and signed off on the negotiations with farc? >> that's what i hope. >> charlie: okay. these processes have a dynamic and people start getting bored and, for, example -- >> charlie: get mired down and louis your initiative and your urgency. >> i decided whatever the risky decisions to talk and fight at the same time. i have not accepted a cease
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fire. >> charlie: right. and people don't understand that. why are you talking peace and you kill each other here in colombia? to explain that is difficult. the sooner we finish the process the more lives we'll save, the more suffering we're going to -- the less suffering we're going to have and, so, hopefully, by next year, it will be over. >> charlie: see you next time in colombia. >> thank you, charlie. >> charlie: thank you very much. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> charlie: for more about this program and early episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
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