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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  March 30, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, march 30the state department says it's cutting aid to three central american countries; the unexpected frontrunner in ukraine's presidential election; and in our signature segment, life in honduras for those who woose not to flee. next on pbs newseekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue d edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cherylnd philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos a diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provid
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by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retiremepany. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. the united sta cutting off direct aid to el salvador, guatemala, and honduras. the state department announced today that it will suspend 2017 and 2018 payments to the three countries. ve comes one day after president trump threatened to mmut down the u.s.-mexico border overration and said that the cuts were already in place. >> i've enents to guatemala, to honduras and el salvador. ymore.ey goes there an we were giving them $500 million. e giving them tremendous aid.
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we stopped payment to honduras, to guatemad to el salvador. we were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we're not pahem any more because they haven't done a thing for us. >> sreenivasan: democratic members of congress who were visiting el salvador today odlled the aid cut off "entirely counter-tive." we'll have another story from honduras coming up. palestinian health officials said today that at least three people were killed and more than 60 injured during protests at the border between israel and gaza last night and today. tens of thousands of palestinians gathered along the border fence to markhe one- year anniversary of weekly demonstrations against an ofisraeli-egyptian blockad gaza. israeli troops launched tear gaf and opene when protestors approached the perimeter fence and rew rocks and explosives egypt continues to try to broker a cease-fire agreement between hamas and israel and to ease the blockade.
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organizers of today's ts vowed to continue and say they rill gather at the border again nexty. in mozambique, the number of cholera cases among cyclone esrvivors has risen to 271, double yrday's total. 5e new cases are in the city of beira, where,000 people are at risk of contracting the d sease that is spread by contaminated food ter and can kill within hours. the world health organization said 900,000 cholera vaccine doses are expected to arrive on monday. we'll have more news later in the program. >> sreenivasan: president trump has threatened to close the ico border next week if the flow of undocumented immigrants coming into the u.s. continues. in el paso, texas, the growing number of migrants crossinkithe border s asylum has caused border authorities to erect a makeshift holding pen under a
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bridge there, due to a shortage of space. most of those migrants are from central american countries like honduras, where gang violence and crime have caused some to join the caravans of people leaving there and trying to make it here. in the second part of her four- part series, "fleeing home," newshour weekend special correspondent marcia biggs reports from a part of honduras that embodies all the issues causing people to flee. she also finds there are ny looking to stay and make the best of their lives in their home nation. her reporting was supported by a grant the pulitzer center. >>gh reporter: from bove, san pedro sula looks beautiful, calm, an idyllic city nestled in the honduran hills. but on the outskirts of town, in the district of rivera hernandez, over 100,000 people live in abject poverty under the control of gangs. we got special permission to enter the area, but we're told we have to kp our windows down so gang lookouts can keep anye
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on us. trash piles up in the street. even the animals are malnourished. drinking water is contaminated, and we're told that hungry children sometimes eat the sardines found swimming in open sewage lines. so, we're at ground zero for all the problems in honduras, whether they be poverty or violence. rivera hernandez is one of the most dangerous districts in san pedro sula. it's held by gangs. ait really feels liorgotten world here. you'd never know that we're ten miowtes from the center of t the most infamous gangs in this district: ms-13 and the 18th street gan both were born in the streets of los anges during the 1970s and '80s but spread tol salvador and honduras in the early '90s bers of their ranks were deported. here, in hdiduras, they've ded up the area, running their sectors like organized crime syndicates. play by their rules and stay on your own turf, and you won't get
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hurt. ps astor danny pacheco ved here his whole life and, like most pastors in the area, works aees an intermediary bethe community, the gangs, and local police. >> ( translated ): i've been doing this for many years, and i am who i am. i stay neutral. all we do is try to help who we can, in any community. the gangs know who you are, so i think, with the passing of years, we've earned a level of trust with them and their respect. >> reporter: do you ever fear for your life? >> ( translated ): always. >> reporter: the government has touted a recent decline in homicide rates, but olence is still rampant. ngar of retribution keeps people from reporrimes, and, when they do, fewer than 5% are even investigated, much less tried. abandoned homes dot the landscape, left by those fleeing extortion and violence.
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the gangs often turn the houses into dens for kidnapping, rape and torture. they're dubbed "casas locas," which is spanish for crazy houses. hoping to bring some life back into the neighborhood,acheco is turning this former casa loca into a "casa de esperanza," a house of hope, a kind of cammunity center where kid have a place to go. what's the future for a kid growing up in this neighborhood, in rivera hernandez? >> ( translated ): it's very have a lot of kids who areways, good students,saut if someone , "i'm going to burn my eyes beudying so many hours and years, and then noble to get a job," what's the motivation for our youth to study? >> reporter: but pacheco says the biggest problem here isn't violence, it's poverty. parents can't afford to buy school supplies and uniforms. one in four children ihonduras don't finish primary school.
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>> ( translated ): they have these thoughts about what might happen to them in the future. and a gang comes along and presents to them how much they earn, the type of life they have. it's the best offethey get, so they join the gang. >> reporter: pacheco says around ree-quarters of the kids in his community have joined. thme others join the caravans of migrants heading tunited states. >> ( translated ): people continue te, all despite threats from president donald trump, who has military at the border and could fire shots at people. the goal is for people to get desperate and turn back. despite all of tt, people keep leaving the country. if the united states invests less in the wall and more in reducing poverty in theseie coun i'm sure it will fix the problem. >> reporter: the united states is supplying aid to honduras in 2017, $181 million went to programs designed to make honduras safer and curb drug trafficking.
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the process, the u.s. hopes to make it less likely that hondurans will want to emigrate. the u.s. state department and u.s.-aid funneled a majority of ryat cash toward the count's security institutions: military and police. the government built new so- called american-style prisons, rounding up and incarcerating gang members. thbut this also bolstered e authority of institutions that are notoriously corrupt. in the case of the military, when protests erupted over the 2017 election of presidenthe rnandez, security forces allegedly killed over two dozen tople with impunity. case of the police, victims of crime are often afraid to make reports for fear that police will inform on them to members of the gangs. olga casele told us that she was in the car with her family when they accidentally bumped a police car and bullets started flying. ys police shot three of her children. ven-year-old son, jose,
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was shot in the head. >> ( translated ): my dad said, "don't shoot, don't shoot, my kids are inside!" but they kept going. >> reporter: tienes miedo de ir en la calle? are you scared to go on the street? >> (anslated ): yes, i am scared because when i am out with him a gets scared and nervous. i don't wish this grief on anyone. my kids are here only because of god's grace. rythe police in this coure worthless. theshoot without even knowi who they are shooting at. >> reporterdebecause of ins like this one, police, who are trying to do right by the communities, are struggling to gain their trus ent has received u.s. dollars for new community policing and outreach program, sending national police officers to schools to speak to students and fundinthis day camp. but out of the 8,000 children in this sector of rivera hernandez, only 100 can attend this camp.
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but just down the road, jeremias vobada is giving the children in rivera hernandez, and even some adults, another opportunity for free, training future electricians for jobs that can pay up to $20 per day-- more than twice what th make working in a shop or selling water on the street. egether they walk down th road, past a river of sewage to the abandoned building that pastor danny pacheco is fing up. it will be their cssroom for the day as they begin the basics of electricity installation. his students range in age. marvin marcier is 52 years old. he lost his job at a brewing company and needs work. he shares the class with nine- oyear-old isaac, who a winter break from school. in honduras, even a fourth grader knows he has to learn how to feed his family. >> ( translated ): we have spent a long time waiting for help to c.ome from elsewhe that's why it's important for them to learn, so they can teach each other and we can grow and get ahead within our own community.
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our vision is to grow across all of honduras beducating technicians in order to eventually build a solar panel factory, to be able to grow in the field of solar energy. >> reporter: 20 years ago, vobada was a drug addict, involved in trafficking for a all local gang. he understands the choices these kids are going to face. >> ( translated ): this work keeps them off the streets and keeps their minds occupied, and this also helps them forget about the american dream. t it teaches tht here in tnduras, if they have a trade, they have a toolhelp support their families. >> reporter: after class, isaac toomok us home to meet his er. eveline nunas runs a small grocery store and is only able to stay afloat because her brother, who lives in houson, sends her around $80 a month. shhands almost a quarter of that over to the gang that controls her area. extortion is so commolace here, they call it war tax. si no pagas? iu f n't pay?
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>> ( translated ): we're obligated to pay or they'll take everything, shut you down. we are forced to do it because if we don't, we are in danger. it's very complicated here because of this. >> reporter: she's proud of c. he's smart and meticul she wants him to stay in school and says that vocational trning, even at nine years old, is equally important. >> ( heanslated ): many time asked me, "mommy, what do you want me to do in the future?" i say, "honey, i want you to prepare yourself in studies, go to college if god allows you. it's what the whole world wants, with god's help." >> reporter: we asked jeremias vobada if he ever thought about joining a cavan, like the thousands of others trying to emigrate. he said he wanted to leave e neighborhood, but not for the u.s. >> (anslated ): with a vision, i want to go with the same technical educators trained inlectricity and solar energy to different parts of this country, teaching others. mexico, the united states, it's
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not my dream. my dream is here in honduras, and here we are gointo be. >> sreenivasan: you can catch part three of marcia bigg's on honduras, "fleein home," on newshour monday. >> sreenivasan: ukraine has been in tumult since 2014, locked in a territorial war with russia and rocked by corruption allegations within its own government. its citizens are voting tomorrow in a tightthree-way woesidential race that's likely to result in a t-person runoff next month. while there's nothing extraordinary about that, what is unusual is the candidate who's leading in the polls. newshour weekend's special correspondent, simon orstrofsky, files this report from ukraine. upported by a grant from the pulitzer center. >> reporter: could this man be ukraine's next president?
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meet volodymyr zelensky-- actor, comedian, and, heading into tomorrow's election, the most popular candidate in the polls. here he is filming his hit tv show, "servant of the people," ilan which heys-- you guessed it-- the president of ukraine. zelensky's character starts out as an ordinary history teacher. >> reporter: but he acci pntally wins tsidential election af government corruption gets uploaded by a pupil and goes viral. >> reporter: now, not only is he running to be the real thing, he's namedolitical party "servant of the people," as
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well. it's as if martin sheen ran ford prt and registered a party called "the west wing." like his character, zelensky is mostly waging his campaign online a avoiding debates with his opponents. b's a departure from the methods of the parses and oligarchs that have run this country since dependence from the soviet union. >> ( translated ): i'm taking a swing at the elites and running for president, so they're calling me a clown. i am a clown, and i'm very proud of it. >> reporter: a candidacy like zelensky's would have been unimaginable just five years ago. then, an anti-corruption protest turned into a revolution that led to the election of a former government minister and powerful oligarch, petro poroshenko. poroshenko now faces corruption allegations of his own. cut back to the fictional president. he's about to take the oath of office when he has a vision: the
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philosopher plato and other historical figures are giving this inexperienced everyman advice on how to run a country. >> reporter: it's a littor on- the-nose candidate whose critics say lack of political experience is his biggest weakness. tnehe sou're filming today makes me think that maybe you're worried t become president.ght >> ( translated ): ned i'm not wor why shouldn't i win? i will! >> reporter: to many, the prospect of a political novice in the presidency is no laughing matr. you're an actor with no political experience. >> ye >> reporter: your country is at war with russia. >> yes. >> reporter: vladimir putin, 20 years at the helm. how are you going to deal with vladimir putin? st ( translated ): ff all, we will do everything to make sure that vladimir putin neveren up at the helm of our country. the main problem in our
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relaonsp with russia is the war. no one has a real answer, how to stop putin. all we can do is continue talks to achieve a cease-fire. >> reporter: achieve a cease- fire and rely on assistance from u wkraine's allies in tt. in that, his platform doesn't ndffer from those of the other main candidates, a the polling lose. until recently, it was supposed to be a two-person battle between the current president and yulia tymoshenko, whose candidacy representseb remarkable cack. >> reporter: before the 2014 revolution, she serv as prime minister. but in 2011, she was imprisoned under ukraine's pro-russia president, viktor yanukovych, on dicharges of excee her authority in signing a gas supply deal with russia. she says the charges were
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polically motivated. >> tymoshenko! tymoshenko! >> reporter: but her message to ukrainian voters doesn't focus on the past president. it focuses on the alged corruption of the current president, poroshenko. sohis asates were recently accused of overcharging the nt to the tune of tens of millions of dollars worth of military equipment, and pocketing the proceeds. under the alleged scheme, a former director of a poroshenko- owned company was t in a government position that allowed him to approve purchases of components for military equipment. h intermediary company which sold the parts to state-owned defenme nufacturers at sometimes quadruple their market value. some of the parts were reportedly deftive. >> ( translated ): the kickbacks, the laundering, and, most importantly, the damage to
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our defense capabilithave all been documented. the whole world is shocked and scandalized! >> reporter: poroshenko refused a newshour weekend interview request. he responded to the scandal by firing the official implicated and promised a transparent investigation. >> ( translated ): if guilt is proven, neither your position, yourme connections, your last nor even your old friendship with the president will save you. >> reporter: so, where does the united states stand on the ukrainian election?u. special envoy kurt volker insists washington isn't bateing a candio win. he does, though, point out who russia would like to se. >> i think it is true-- in fact, it's not only true, it's something that russia itself has said-- that they want to see poroshenko defeated, and that's simply a fact. i think that there has just been a develme of personal animosity between president putin and president poroshenko, and so he's just looking for a
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change. >> reporter: and the change candidate in this election cycle is represented by the newcomer: zensky. when he's not getting advice from plato, he's talking to informal advisors like serhiy shchenko, a former investigative journalist-turned- reformist lawmaker. he says zelensky's inexperience is his greatest asset. >> reporter: in the tv show, zelensky's protagonist takes on e's notoriously powerful coterie of oligarchs. >> reporter: but real life is a little different. "servant of the people" is broadcast on a channel owned by ihor kolomoyskyi, one of the country's most influential oligarchs.
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your tv show appears on a channel owned by one of the teigarchs running ukraine. can you really p to voters that you're as independent as your character is in the show? >> ( translated ): there is not a single tv channel that doesn't belong to one oligarchic group or another, but the channel doesn't even have exclusive use of my face. >> reporter: zelensky's charaercter in nt of the people" faces a choice just as he's about to take the oath of office. his choices are to rule eitheru throgh trickery and deceit, or take the path of honesty and decene cy. ampaign is banking on ukraine's pple believing the real zelensky will choose option two. s eenivasan: for more on ukraine's presidential election, visit >> this is pbs newshour weekend,
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saturday. >> sreenivasan: a new automated anti-stall feature on boeing 737 max airplanes may have played a role in two deadly crashes in the last six months, according to multiple newseports. unnamed sources who are reportedly familiar with data from t black boxes of the ethiopia airlines flight say the anti-stalling ature was activated before the plane crashed and killed 1 people earlier this month. the same anti-stall system suspected in causing a boeing 737 max lion air to crash in october, which killed 189 people. airline regulators worldwide ha grounded passenger flights on boeing's 737 max, including in the united states. president trump issued a new permit for the construction of the long-contested expansion of transcanada's ystone pipeline om canada into the united states. it replaces a permit he first ed two years ago.
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last november, a federal judge in montana blocked the project and ordered another environmental review. the company first proposed an expansion of the existing keystone pipeline more than a decade ago. it would bring oil from alberta, canada, through montana and south dakota nebraska. legal challenges are expected to continue. a federal judge in california ruled late yesterday that high- capacity gun magazines will remain legal in the state. san diego-based u.s. district judge roger benitez declared that a law passed in 2016 banning the possession of any agazines holding more than ten bonullets is unconstitu. california law prohibited ownership of the high capacity mautzines beginning in 2000, those who had them already were allowed to keep them. the national rifle association sued, and benit sided with the argument that the 2016 bans infringeon second amendment rights.
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>> sreenivasan: join us tomorrow a look at a sentinel of climate change. mangroves, the tropical trees rida that protect shorelines and provides habitat for wildlife are moving north. find out what researchers are learning and why florida is carefully protecting this coastal species. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. m hari sreenivasan thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual ofmerica-- designing customized individual ctand group retirement pro that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. be more. pbs. be more.
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john: lot of people disle me, i promise you... rhea: a freewheeling conversation with john waters. "...makes me feel really uncomfortable." john: well, it should. ngbeautiful is the worst t you. rhea: what is it and what does it mean? t john: what you can geay with. it's always what i've been interested in. rhea: a behind the scenes exclusive. announcer: major funding is provided by... and by...


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