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tv   Lockup Louisville - Extended Stay  MSNBC  November 25, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PST

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advances in battery technology make it easier than ever to communicate, travel, and grab a quick nicotine fix. but experts want you to be aware of the dangers and mindful of your personal safety what are you trying to conceal, buddy? >> a repeat offender smuggles contraband into the jail. >> my case is considered high profile because the guy killed was a local celebrity. >> after murdering a louisville rap star becomes a marked man. a prescription pill epidemic takes his toll in the jail. >> and drug abuse can.
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>> please don't keep me from going home on friday. >> if i. >> and officials are concerned over one inmate's growing influence. >> i got a reputation of leading these young guys to do all this type of crazy stuff. this is a reputation that you've got to live down. >> a source of pride for louisville, kentucky has been the revitalization of downtown. marked by new high rises, residential and retail centers. but it also has been a busy time for another downtown landmark. the louis metro department of corrections jail books about 45
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thousand men and women each year, and many of them have been through the process several times before. >> so is the life of a criminal. since the time i was 18 i've been in prison for all my life. it's all i know. >> terry says his history at louisville metro is base odd a near life-long struggle with drug use. he's been arrested 27 times and has been convicted of charges including trafficking, possession, robbery and assault. now he's been arrested after failing to appear in court on his latest drug possession charge and must begin the familiar process of booking. >> i come in here and this is what we call the grill, this is where we do our pad searches. we have the inmate stand here with his back to the wall and that officer basically tell them take everything out of their pockets. any jewelry, watches, rings, necklaces, belts, they'll be pat down to see if we can find
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anything else on them. >> the 9% of the time, if something makes it into the facility, it's made it in the way of someone's anal area. >>. >> just keep your hands on the wall. what are you trying to conceal, buddy? >> cigarettes. >> come on, this way. did you really think you were going to get that past us? >> i graduate to be able to. >> he was taking to the strip search on the booking floor. i asked him did you have everything anything on him. i asked him why did he have cigarettes. he stated that he was looking at a lot of time so he brought in a couple of cigarettes to purchase some food items while in a dorm. >> the food they feed you in is
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not enough to feed. still have hunger pains at night. so people do this sort of thing so when they come in they can sell it for top dollar. >> how much would those two cigarettes have gotten you in here? >> anywhere from $10, $15, which is a lot in jail. $10, $15 in jail is like $150 on the streets. >> considering the amount that it was, it wasn't much. we could write him up for contraband. we can just properly dispose of the items outside of our facility and put it in his notes that he did come in with this. but no disciplinary action was taken due to the amount that it was. >> now confident that he's no longer concealing contraband, officers decide not to pursue further sanctions and allow him to continue the booking process, which poses a new challenge due to an injured finger.
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>> with a large inmate population to manage, officers attempt to ensure that new arrivals are not housed with anyone who can be a threat to them. >> do you fear for your safety here? >> hell no. >> do you have any enemies for your facility. >> probably but i'm not worried about them. >> so you don't want to list them? >> i'm not scared of them. >> all right. that's all i need. >> he'll now join the 2300 other men and women. most of them are only charged with crimes and are awaiting resolution of their cases. many of them share something else. drugs have been at the root of their problems. >> about 80% of our population have substance abuse issues.
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you can call it the war on drugs or whatever you want to call it. but it's not working. >> while drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, abuse of another substance is rapidly filling up jail beds. >> the prescription medication and some of the pill mill problem down in florida making their way up the i-75 corridor into this region has been very problematic. >> joe smithson and john carol, both from rural kentucky, have been charged with a litany of crimes which think say all stem from their addictions to prescription drugs. >> hill billy crack. >> just like heroin, but, you know, stick it up your nose. >> carroll has been sentenced to
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five years for theft and giving false information to a police officer. >> smithson was sentenced to one year for carrying a concealed weapon. >> >> he don't have no peace. >> for years. >> looking over your back. >> got 11 kids. i got eight boys and three girls. my oldest will be 19. i was real promiscuous when i was younger. >> i'm from kentucky. >> i got uncles down there bootleggers. like 190 proof, you're on fire. >> last time it was like $10 a jar. i don't drink no more, all my
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money goes to pills, now. i don't drink no more, i don't smoke pot. all my money goes to the pills. >> prescription pills create problems inside the jail as well. >> several nights ago we had inmate workers observe on camera passing what appeared to be pills. the officers reacted. they recovered 21 pills which were identified as valium. we have the results back. >> van winkle. >> one of the inmates who tested positive was destiny van winkle. but she says pills are not her drug of choice. >> i've been smoking crack since i was 12. i was good all the way up until i was 12. i started running away when i was 12, i met a 19-year-old man when i was 12, i started you
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know dating him, had a kid with him. >> soon after, van winkle's drug use resulted in a long string of arrests, convictions and numerous stays at louisville metro prison. now only days away from completing her current one-year sentence, positive drug test can result in new criminal charges and delay her release. but first she'll be questioned. >> benzodiazepine valium. that as normal. >> i only took two. >> why did you take any? >> i don't know but i only took two. >> i don't apologize to brown and he didn't think i was going to get outside charges. >> so tell me what happened. >> i told him to -- a girl gave them to me. >> did you ask her for them did you just take them. >> did you know what they were? >> no.
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not really. i thought they wasn't valium. >> but you put them in your mouth anyway? >> yeah. >> why? >> because i'm an addict. >> why are you upset you told me the other day. i don't want to get charged outside charges. >> what do you want me to do? what do i tell you all about these drugs up here? >> i've never seen drugs up here. that was the first time. >> so the first time you wanted to be a participant in it you just stuck it in your mouth. what if you were allergic to it. what if you keeled over and died. >> i'm sorry. i did it. i don't know what else to say. >> you're going to get disciplinary and i'll think about the charges. >> please don't -- >> don't beg, don't. >> please don't keep me from going on on friday. >> if you don't go home on friday, i didn't keep you from going home. you did. >> coming up". >> you made a mistake.
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destiny pleads her case again, terry gets a shiner. and. >> you seem pretty cool and collected. >> you can't cry over spilled milk. >> converted of murdering a local celebrity, another inmate faces the score of his peers. (man) my dad and i have the same eyes. same nose. same toughness. and since he's had moderate alzheimer's disease, the same never quit attitude.
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that's why i asked his doctor about once-a-day namzaric. (avo) namzaric is approved for moderate to severe alzheimer's disease in patients who are taking donepezil. it may improve cognition and overall function, and may slow the worsening of symptoms for a while. namzaric does not change the underlying disease progression. don't take if allergic to memantine, donepezil, piperidine or any of the ingredients in namzaric. tell the doctor about any conditions including heart, lung, bladder, kidney or liver problems, seizures, stomach ulcers, or procedures with anesthesia. serious side effects may occur, including muscle problems if given anesthesia; slow heartbeat, fainting, more stomach acid which may lead to ulcers and bleeding; nausea, vomiting, difficulty urinating, seizures, and worsening of lung problems. most common side effects are headache, diarrhea, dizziness loss of appetite, and bruising. (man) dad and i shared a lot of moments. now we're making the most of each one. (avo) ask about namzaric today.
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while most of the inmates at the louisville department of corrections jail are pretrial detainees, some have already been convicted. such is the case with kenneth brown. he was recently found guilty of murder, but not just any murder. >> my case is considered high profile because i guy i killed
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was a local celebrity, dancer. >> 28-year-old la shon was shot august 18th. plus say it was a drug deal gone bad. >> brown was found guilty of shooting and killing a local rap sensation better known as the shizz. just a few hours earlier brown was in court to hear his sentence from the judge. >> we the jury for the offense of murder confinement in the pen penitentiary of 24 years. >> just got sentenced today for 24 years. for first degree murder, two counts of one endangerment, tampering with physical evidence. >> you seem pretty cool, calm and collected for getting 24 years in prison. >> you can't cry over spilled milk.
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>> i was on the news earlier today, so i don't know if i'm going to be on there at 6:00 again or not. see if they got my good side. >> brown's calm demeanor might result from his rug rust exercise regimen and having already spent the past 17 months in jail awaiting the start and end of his trial and it has not been easy. fans of brown's victim seem to be everywhere in louisville metro and they all put their spin on the dance made famous by the shizz. >> that's the shizz right there, man. >> even though the murder occurred nearly two years earlier, some inmates are still angry and would like to avenge the shizz's death.
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>> [ bleep ] [ bleep ] especially did he shon powell who was friends with the shizz on the street. >> he took a friend of mine. it's like taking a piece of heart and i ain't never going to get that back. we going to always keep shiz alive on the streets of louisville. every time we dance for him we going to keep him alive. >> yeah. >> these guys are our cheerleaders. i call them [ bleep ] >> you a homo. [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] >> we'll see who's gay when he hit the yard. they going to make him a little boy for what he did. he ain't never going to get away with that. they're going to give it to him raw.
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everywhere he go, he ain't never going to be able to live. he might as well do himself a favor and kill himself. >> the notoriety around brown's case forced jail officials to put him in protective custody. >> there was a lot of people trying to get to him so we ended up having to place him into a single cell and protect him. >> i'm not a protective custody type of guy. i like to fight my own battle. well, you know, i can only die once. so if i die, i'll be with my son, i'll be with my grandparents. i'm not afraid of death. never have been. >> de shawn powell makes his hate tread well known. protective custody inmates are segregated. for powell who is jail on 14
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felony charges including assault and robbery to which he has pled not guilty, conflicts are common. so much so, jail officials have difficulty housing him. >> because he's been in so many fights, it's hard to keep shuffling around and finding a spot where he can be in a dorm and have the same privileges as guys got in the dorm. it's kind of hard to find him a spot so he ends up mostly in single cells because it's easier to deal with his behavior that way. >> have a reputation i first got here, i took initiative, beat up people, controlling floors, running floors, every time i've came back it gets worse and worse. >> he says his history of prior convictions all stems from a drive to be looked up and feared by his peers. >> i have not been that person. but no matter how much i change people still accept me as the same person.
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>> he hopes good behavior could warrant an early release to general population. but that will be up to the chief of staff and the classification committee to decide. >> they said i was running your jail. my name keep on coming up. and then i got so many keep aways in your jail every day people constantly keep-aways right now the only dorm i can go in on the sixth floor dorm three. >> ask yourself a question. >> they scared of me. i can't help because of how i used to be when i came here in my past but i ain't that type of person no more. they keep saying they're scared of me. >> i'll have a conversation about you pal. all right? >> all right. >> coming up, de shawn powell goes up on the defensive. two friends lobby to enter the drug problem.
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the louisville metro department of corrections jail. it's booked to capacity. >> a lot of marijuana, huh? >> i've been smoking since i was 12. >> pills. >> what kind of pills? >> any kind. >> opiates, oxycontin? a lot of stuff out there on the street right now? >> oh, yeah. >> if i leave tomorrow, i'm scared. >> you leave tomorrow? >> yeah. >> what are you going to do different this time? >> go to my meetings. trying to do the best i can to stay away from old people, places and things. >> easier said than done. >> yes, sir. >> talk is cheap. >> yes, sir. >> knowing that drug use, jail officials have dedicated special housing units to inmates who want to make a change. >> we talk about women have very
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difficult in recovery because of guilt, shame and remorse they experience. because you made a mistake doesn't mean that you are a mistake. >> the program is called enough is enough and it's run by the jail's substance abuse program coordinator kentucky wright. >> you have a disease and you are not responsible for having it but you are responsible for recovery. >> the focus on basic recovery to help them get back into main stream society. one of the things that happens traditionally in corrections to address rearrest, the same old kind of soup every day, get locked up, stay in jail learn you who to be a better criminal but never address the issues that are related to people coming in and out of jail. >> there's a men's version of the program as well. >> when did you start?
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>> 15. >> yeah, me too. >> having battled addiction most of their adult lives, joe and john have decided to fill out applications to get into enough is enough. >> i mean, i didn't sniff no glue or nothing like that. cocaine, heroin. meth. pain pills. all the good stuff, right? >> it will be up to wright to decide if the men get into the program. and he doesn't accept just anyone. >> i guess the question is what's going to be different now. especially because you've had some experience in treatment before. >> i've tried -- >> hold up. what's going to be different? because i'm quite sure you said the same thing before when they did an initial assessment i'm tired of going to jail, blah, blah, blah. those are the kinds of things that people often say, i want you to reach down inside and found out really what's going to be different this time? >> i don't have the answers. >> okay. perfect. >> i'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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i'm tired of the same road i was going down the wrong path and i want the good path. >> let me tell you a couple of things about it. we do 12-step meetings, relapse prevention, life skills, big book study and we do a men's group. the hardest part of the program is what we call accountability. what's going to go against the whole jail code, that means that your peers will hold you accountable. we don't use the word snitch, we don't use the word rat. so if you're doing something some violation of the rules and regulations, have you have an opportunity to hold yourself accountable and if you don't your peers will. >> i'm ready to make a change and. >> enough is enough. >> they sound real good, but who doesn't sound real good. they say all the right things. but the test is going to be once they actually get in the program.
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>> coming up, john and joe find out if rehab is in their futures. and de shawn powell is back in general population, but not for long. real you shi ne through? introducing otezla (apremilast). ne through? otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't take otezla if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. otezla may increase the risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, upper respiratory tract infection,
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>> ♪ ♪ you be crying to them boys when you want some mail, you be crying for your wife ♪ >> it's not unusual for de shawn to wrap for his friend the shizz and now he has an audience. after 30 days in segregation, he's been released back to a general population dorm. >> wake up, baby! >> kind of excited. feel like i'm back home with my friends. >> finding a housing unit where powell has no known enemies was a challenge, staff finally worked it out. but if he is to stay out of segregation, he needs to be on his best behavior. >> said that if i do anything i will be go back to max and i
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will not be back in the general population until i leave louisville correction department. >> so powell is taking no chances. >> when i want to get down i ask my bunk mate do you mind if i get down. you know, if i disrespect putting my foot on his bed, i give him respect, he give me respect. >> i can honestly say at one point in time it was fun coming to jail and doing prison time. you had your own clothes and they used to let you smoke. there's nothing fun about come to jail and being locked up no more. nothing at all. i don't like it. i don't like nothing about this jail. i don't like nothing about prison. i would rather be at home with my wife and kids. >> powell especially dislikes the routine patdown search to
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make sure they're not carrying weapons or other contraband. >> step back, open your legs. put your hands up on the wall, man. >> why you grabbing me like that? >> put your hands on the wall keep them on the wall. >> up, put it down, open your legs up. up. turn around, lift up your shirt, open your mouth, hands, mouth. >> what? >> put shoes on. >> in this case, the officer chooses not to discipline powell for his momentary resistance.
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so his stay in general population is safe for now. but that doesn't seem to be much comfort to powell. >> there's no need to search me like that. i could see if i was a fresh intake that just got liked up, but i didn't like how he searched me. >> it was just such a search of terry in the jail's booking area that turned up two cigarettes he was attempting to smuggle in. >> but he caught a break. the jail decided not to file criminal charges or give him segregation time and his good behavior since has allowed him to get a job as a work out. >> just passing out dinner and hot water, cleaning up out here. >> in addition to the hair net required for his job, he's also wearing something new under his left eye. >> somebody stole from the commissary.
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if you let it go they're going to get you every time. i've done too much time can't just let them take. somebody trying to be a bully and i'm not the bullying type so i stood up, stood my ground. >> there have been more positive developments for john and joe. they have been accepted into enough is enough. the jail's drug rehab program wherein mates move into a special dorm and must abide by strict guidelines. >> do you have any questions? >> not today, sir. >> absolutely none. >> do you under the snide lines. >> you understand that tonight you'll be going to bed at 11:00 and get up at 8:00. >> that's correct. >> what i'm letting you know it's not a choice. >> okay. >> you can't be laying in the bed and say you know what? today i just don't feel like doing it. because you have to put that same energy that you were using into the program.
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because i doubt if you got up in the morning you were dope sick did you say, hey, know what? i'm just going to lay here. okay. >> i'll see you. >> a short time later. the two men have packed up and moved into to the enough is enough dorm. >> what's up guys? >> what's up, brother? >> not everybody is as anxious to get help for their addictions. >> they have aa classes in here, this have every class in here. they have a whole dorm for recovery and addicts. i don't choose to go in there. >> why? >> i don't -- because i don't want to hear it. to be honest with you. i don't want to hear it. i know what i need to do to be sober but i don't want to hear it from nobody else. i got to want to do it myself. >> drugs brought destiny van winkle to jail as well and now just days before her scheduled release they might keep her in
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jail. >> i think you can find dope anywhere you go. an addict is going to find the dope anywhere they go. >> and van winkle did. she recently received a disciplinary write-up after testing positive for valium. she admits taken two pills begin to her illegally by another inmate. if the jail decides to file criminal charges, her release could be postponed. >> if i wouldn't have gotten
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oil rich venz. in the summer of 2006 after undergoing intestinal surgery, fidel castro temp racially turned over power to his brother raul. cuba had a delayed celebration
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of fidel's 80th birthday. but an ailing fidel ka tro did not attend the services. fidel spent his later years writing columns, and emerging publicly for the pope's visit in 2012 and for vladimir putin and china's president in 2014. but he never commented with president obama's break through to normalize regulations and he was absent when he brother welcomed home three spies long imprisoned in the united states. castro insisted that his revolution would outlive him. >> translator: if i die tomorrow morning there will be no problem whatsoever of any sort because there are leader who without a doubt have authority among the people. >> he gave his people better health care and education.
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still his regular legacy may be holding power for near half a century, longer than any modern leader. andrea mitchell, msnbc washington. >> joining me on the phone is andrea mitchell. what can you tell us about the legacy and the effect of the fidel ka trocastro's passing. >> he had been replaced ten years ago and then officially eight years ago. but he's the symbol of a revolution that has changed with the united states with new economic impetus from his brother raul and it still will be a great symbol, an important symbol for a lot of the older generation, certainly of cubans and of cuban americans. that said, the passing will presumably have a great meaning
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as well for the younger generation, even though his time had certainly passed by the time -- in his frailty by time he had died. >> well, we do know that his passing, he is 90 years old and he's passed his power on to his brother. so he's in effect not been a leader in cuba. however the cuban people, what can you predict their reaction is going to be now that fidel has passed? >> i think it will depend on the generation, certainly. the loyal followers of the revolution, and there are many, and certainly the followers of fidel castro will mourn his passing and will mourn the passing of an era. it is a generational change. but even his own brother has changed to a great degree, permitting the normalization with the nuts, reaching out for change economically.
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there is still a lot to celebrate for cubans in the health care, the educational reforms that he brought to the country. the social services in cuba were not to be denied, even though once the special relationship with the former soviet union passed, he suffered tremendous -- and his people suffered tremendous because they no longer had the subsidiesubsi >> he's going to be remember ased ed as one of the last cold war leaders. what was the impetus for him to actually change his leadership and the ability to bring cuba from where it was when he took control in the 1959 basically to where it is today? >> i think his strong belief in the economic services, rather in
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the medical and educational services. but i think it's his brother who carried out those economic reforms. and by agreeing to the political reforms -- well, not the reforms because there is still a human rights legacy, human rights abuses and continues privations in terms of free speech and communication there. but the gradual change that his brother raul permitted in agreement with the united states has meant some lessening of the tight controls. the internet, airline travel is now being normalized, banking. they're beginning to see more communication. but fidel castro to the end was dismissive and resistant to all of that. so he really was the last cold warrior. >> antree ya, if you would be kind enough to stand by one second, we do have chris
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matthews on the line. not a surprise, fidel castro was 90 but he has passed now. what does this mean for cuba? >> there's a communist dpoft there which will continue to hold power for a while. of course raul is in charge, his brother. but you know, i think there's going to be -- things are going to happen. cuba is going to open up. it's going to happen. the pressure from the cuban americans in our country, that live in havana and other places in the country are going to put tremendous pressure to bring about democracy in that island. it's long time coming. back when i was a kid kb castro, when he came to power, replaced bautista who was hated in this country, he was a popular figure in this country. we all were routing for him as kids. he came to new york, a big star, a democratic leader. and then he let it come out that
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he was a communist having denied that he was one and formed his alliance with the soviet union. and it was a very strong disappointment to this country. most people were outraged at it. nixon was one of the few people that spotted him early as a communist when he went to meet with him right after he took power. i didn't have time to meet with him. and then he became a major issue in the 1960 campaign because kennedy was calling for active yofr throw of castro and support for the freedom fighters. all of the time nixon knew that eisenhower was planning the pug's operation at some point. and then kennedy oversaw the attempt to overthrow castro in 1961 and that was a major failure for the new administration of kennedy. this has been haunting american presidents.
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this went on and on throw all of the presidencies. and of course with the operation m mongoose, bobby kennedy oversaw that to overthrow castro. this is a big part of our history. i want to go back to the beginning. a lot of americans were staggered to realize that we had a communist government 90 miles from her shoour shore. it was a da dagger in our heart. i would put it up there with sputn sputnik, when they put that in outer space. this was a second shot that he had an enemy so close to our shores. i was someone who grew up with the idea that castro was the enemy. i haven't really changed on that. there's always been the suspension that he's had something to do with kennedy's
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assassination. and there's always been evidence that we tried to knock him off. a big threat to our country and here he is in our old age, i'm looking at these pictures like everyone else, he's not the dangerous looking young figure that he was in his heyday certainly. >> right. and we know that he gave power over to his brother. and since then the doors have opened politically between the united states and cuba, which is a complete change of where it started with castro when he took the communist nation into her years where everybody was very isolated there. where do you think the political arm of this is going to end up now that castro has passed? where do you see politics going and the relations with the u.s. and cuba? >> well i think that progressive view has been that the effort to punish country ors governments or companies that deal with castro haven't really succeeded.
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the attempt to isolate him never worked. he could always say it was the sanctions against him that caused the failure of cuba to develop economically. and i think they're all going to be removed thanks to president obama. president obama has been the innovator in our relationship with castro. clearly he wants to move to very normal relations, diplomatically and socially as well. clearly in his administration obama would like to end the isolation of cuba completely. but the communist government down there in cuba does not believe in free elections. there's a real difference. they're not a free country and you're not allowed to engage in politics in cuba unless you support the government. it's a fact as of today. there are no freedoms there. it's hard for us to get that into our heads, that they don't believe in freedom. they believe in a communist government which provides for
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the kpeem health care and education, but certainly not political freedom. there's none of that down there yet. and i think that time is coming. i think we can all hope that in the next five or ten years there's doing to be a dimini diminishing effort to deny people their democratic rights down there. all americans believe that cuba could be a diplomatic country. it could well remain as a socialist country but all would like to see it as a democratic socialist country. >> you think of castro, that he was a hated man, one of the cold war leaders that we have. what do you think castro's legacy is actually going to be? >> certainly not a legacy of free elections, a legacy of democracy but a legacy of social services and of hardline leadership which his brother tried to soften but still has not agreed to the political
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freedoms that chris was just referring to. i've interviewed castros over the years, first met him in 1999 when i went down there over the controversy of elian gonzalez. and there were demonstrations from the streets and we started a long series of conversations which led to a numb were of interviews and a long documentary that we did for msnbc back in 2002. but i've traveled down there when jimmy carter went in 2002 on a human rights mission and also, you know, of course more recently under raul castro when president obama went for the first visit of a u.s. president to cuba since the communist regime. and it still was controversial but it is one of the legacy achievements that the obama white house feels they've accomplished and did it despite
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political oppositions certainly and a big question as to what will be achieved under the new presidency of president-elect trump. there has been some controversy over whether or not trump's business managers had visited cuba under the embargo when they were potentially in violation of the u.s. trade embargo because they did not have treasury licenses to do it, seeking the possibility of building hotels and casinos down there and that had been denied during the campaign. that has not been unravelled. but now it's a moot point because the ability of u.s. businesses to do business with cuba has been done by executive order. it still cannot -- the embargo cannot fully be lifted and won't be lifted until congress takes action to lift the embargo in the law that was passed under bill clinton back in the
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'fooin'90s. in his second term bill clinton fell under tremendous pressure after a group of activists from miami flying around havana had been shot down by a cuban jet, and after those deaths there was tremendous reaction, understandably on capitol hill. and that's when the laws were codified and it made the embargo that much more difficult to relax. president obama has done everything that he could by executive action. those executive actions could even be canceled in large measure by donald trump if he chooses to cancel those executive actions as well as a lot of the others he's cited. >> i know we can talk about his legacy and what he's done and his leadership abilities. but you've interviewed him. been in person with fidel castro. tell us about those meetings. what was he like in person?
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how did the crowds receive him? what more can you tell us? >> he was received by the crowds back in those years, in '99, 2000, 2001, '02, '03 and '04 when i interviewed him with tremendous -- he was almost a god to them in those years but he was also a leader that had to be obeyed. so it's hard to fabricate what was done because people believed in him and what was down because they had no other choice. the crowds were enormous any place he went. i traveled all over cuba with him and got to see a lot of what he wanted us to see, which was the economic development and the hospitals and the educational system. we had long arguments, most of those conversations, most of those interviews happened after midnight, he was a night owl,
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and he read everything. he was on the internet. his people didn't have connections with the internet but he certainly did. he asked me lots of questions about america and our economy. he was critical of our leaders. but at the same time was just a vacuum cleaner for information. we had many arguments going into the night. and some of those went until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. there were times when i had difficulty stays awake because one of his answers to one of my questions, as we later timed it on videotape, 45 minutes, one answer to a question. so the interviews were difficult. but he was very determined to try to get the cubans who had been jailed in america for alleged spying, they had been convicted in miami, and those finally -- those men were finally returned. those men were considered heros
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in cuba. that was a big issue with him. at the same time he was passionate about getting elian gonzalez back and gave elian gonzalez a great, a great reception home. and he had a very privileged life as a young man as he -- h was of course the 6-year-old who on thanksgiving weekend, ironically, washed ashore with his mother having died and was claimed by both his father in scuke cuba and his miami relatives and eventually was returned with a great deal of controversy, of course, returned to his father. but fidel castro was very very smart, very ideological and very passionate about his revolution to the end. >> to the end. at 90 years old the man has accomplished quite an amazing
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fete. he's one of the iconic revolutional leaders of cuba. again, fidel castro has died at the age of 90 years old. he came to power in 1959 and since then has ban force in world politics unlike any other. we've been have fidel castro, and we are now going to go to andrea mitchell with a look back at fidel castro's life. >> to his followers, he was commandante or just fidel. to his enemy az feared dictator. one of the world's last communists. he graduated with both a law degree and a doctorate, tried running for the national assembly in 1952 until cuban strongman batista seized power and canceled the elections. in 1953 castro led a reasonable e rebel g


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