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CONNECT THE WORLD
World Reacts to Fidel Castro's Death; Nico Rosberg Wins F1 Championship; Syrian Troops Retake Parts of Aleppo; Israeli Soldiers Exchanges Fire with ISIS. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 27, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:23] NICK PARKER, HOST: Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Nick Parker in New York.
We begin this hour with news that, of course, Fidel Castro --- is now entering the second day of
mourning in Havana. And he was something of a tyrant and a revolutionary to some, but to others a hero around the world.
The country, as we just said, is in an official state of mourning until his funeral a week from
today. Meanwhile, flags are flying at half-staff and many public activities are on hold.
Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us live now from Havana. Nick, good to have you with us. How would you describe the mood
on this second day of public mourning?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's subdued, I suppose, is how you best describe it. I mean, this is a country that's known that
this was coming, they've known that Fidel Castro was sick and they've known that each time they see him on television he's been becoming more and more
frail. So it's no surprise.
What we have learned from the government now is a little bit more about how they plan to
commemorate his passing. Monday morning, 9:00 a.m. they will fire a 21 gun salute here in Havana and also in Santiago de Cuba at the other end of the
country, simultaneously they say. They will do the same 21 gun salute.
Next Sunday that will be again at 9:00 and that's the day where Fidel Castro's ashes will be buried.
They are also saying that each hour between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from Tuesday until Sunday they will fire a single canon. So there's going to be
plenty here to remind people of his passing. And, of course, on Monday in Jose Marti Revolution Square where we can expect a large gathering of
people where they will get the opportunity to mourn his passing again on Tuesday as well before his ashes are taken on a reverse route, if you will,
of his revolutionary ride to the capital going all the way back to Santiago de Cuba by next weekend.
But you have to, you know, when you look at what's happened in little Havana in Miami and you see the celebrations on the streets there and
clearly emotions being shown. You don't see that here. You don't see a celebration at all. You don't get a sense of huge outpouring of grief.
This is a nation knew that this was coming. This is a man who factored so big in three generation's lives here and people are still grappling with it
in the terms that you do when you know something is coming and it finally happens -- Nick.
PARKER: And, Nic, clearly this death was long anticipated giving his advancing years and problems with his health.
As a journalist covering this from your point, is this the reaction that would expect? What has surprised you about it, do you think?
ROBERTSON: No. I think this is the reaction that you would expect in a situation like this. This is a country that's seen a transition from his
power to his brother's power. There's an expectation, a hope, even, perhaps among younger generations that with his brother gone, that Raul
Castro, the president, who has said himself that he will step down in 2018, will perhaps speed up some change here.
But I think it's -- you know when a country has been so used to a system that on the one hand
oppresses it, on the other hand tries to provide it with education, tries to provide it with health care and
the things that the government sort have been lauded for at times, at the same time struggling with a
really poor economy, I would not expect to see people coming out on the streets in any way challenging this system that's been ingrained into their
lives and also ingrained to the lives of the people through which this system runs the country.
I think this is what we would expect.
PARKER: Nic Robertson live for us in Havana. Nick, thank you.
And from Havana itself to Little Havana in Miami, Florida.
Castro's rule forced many Cubans flee the country, of course. People often risk their lives in the process. So, it may not be hugely surprising that
this was the reaction to news of his death.
PARKER: Thousands of people poured on the streets in celebration. The news offering a sense of closure after so many decades.
Our Boris Sanchez is in Miami with more. Boris, thanks for joining us.
So, Little Havana traditionally seen as a center of anti-Castro sentiment. Is that still the case with a new generation of Cuban exiles?
[10:05:18] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, without question, Nick. Right now things are actually relatively calm here outside Cafe Versailles
(ph) on Calle Ocho (ph). This is the epicenter, as you said, of the exiled community here in the thing that was interesting yesterday was that the --
out of the hundreds of people that were here, many of them were young. There wasn't that feeling that it was an older generation that had directly
felt the pain of Castro's rule in Cuba.
There were a lot of people that were walking around with their grandparents and showing them
around. There were also people that were here remembering those, the older generation that wasn't able to be here for a moment that many Cuban-
Americans have been waiting for, as you said, for generations.
There were hundreds of people here -- flags, signs, pots and pans banging and music being played a sense of jubilation, completely in stark contrast
to what we've seen in Havana. This was actually an expression of jubilation, and a lot of it has to do with that disagreement, the polarity
between those who adored Fidel Castro and those who were praying for his death.
I'll be honest with you, Nick, I'm Cuban-American, I left the island when I was a young boy and in my family growing up I remember for many, many years
as long as I can remember my parents openly hoped for the day that Fidel would pass away. They were actually here yesterday and remember my
grandparents who are no longer with us, but they were hoping also for this moment not just because it means that this chapter in Cuban history is
over, but because they hope that this signifies a new chapter in Cuban history and a new potential for the Cuban-American community to reconnect
with those in Cuba.
Clearly, the chasm is still very wide. You can tell by the reaction to Castro's death both here and on the island, but the hope is potentially the
regime in Cuba is more open to human rights and freeing of political prisoners, Nick.
PARKER: And Boris, on that subject looking into the future, what has been the impact in the public mood there in little Havana of the rapprochement
between the United States and Cuba that was United States that was announced in 2014. Has the public mood shifted in the attitude towards
the Castro government and Raul Castro?
SANCHEZ: I think that's where the generational thing we were talking about earlier comes
into play. For the older Cubans, that fled the island themselves or that lost their businesses or lost
loved ones through Fidel's leadership, they will never be able to let go of those feelings of anger and resentment towards the Cuban regime.
The younger generation that's not as directly linked to that pain has had an easier time seeing
the easement of relations with the Cuban government. In my own experience, my parents were open to ending the embargo in part because they felt like
it failed, like it didn't achieve its purpose in ending Castro's leadership or at least in alleviating what they saw as human rights violations.
Despite that, there is still a sense of resentment partly because they felt in that alleviation of sanctions or alleviation of the embargo, so to
speak, they didn't get enough concessions from the Cuban government in the way of freeing of political prisoners or in the way of allowing
entrepreneurship among the Cuban people.
So there's still kind of a divide between the generations here, but in the sense that this chapter of Cuban history is closed and Fidel's regime has
come to an end, there was nothing but joy and celebration here in the streets.
PARKER: Boris Sanchez, reporting live for us from the streets of Little Havana in Miami, thanks very much for that. Appreciate it.
And now to the political reactions in the United States. President Barack Obama offered condolences to the Cuban people in a statement that also
said, quote, at this time Fidel Castro's passing we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans in
Cuba and in the United States with powerful emotion recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, and
families, and the Cuban nation.
Meanwhile President-elect Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of the Obama administration's work to restore those diplomatic ties with Cuba.
His first reaction was simply Fidel Castro is dead!
Later, he called the former Cuban leader a, quote, brutal dictator and said while Cuba remains a
totalarian island it is my hope that today marks a move way from the horrors endured for too long and toward a future in which the wonderful
Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Castro's anti-U.S. message influenced many leaders and leftist movements in Central and South America. Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro honored
Castro in Caracas on Saturday and declared three days of mourning in his country to pay tribute.
And in Chile people placed flowers and condolence letterse outside the Cuban embassy. Our Shasta Darlington is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with
reaction from there and across Latin America.
Shasta, thanks for joining us.
So, as we were just saying, Fidel Castro really inspired a new generation of leftist leaders. But since then, there has been something of a shift to
the right, I think it's fair to say, in Latin America. How would you define the reaction?
[10:10:58] SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nick, obviously Fidel Castro was a charismatic, but very controversial figure and
that is true here in Latin America as well.
But I think it's also true that for so many people here he was a larger- than-life idol. He really inspired people especially during tea he '70s and '80s when military dictatorships had taken over many countries in South
America, when civil wars were sweeping through Central America, they looked to him as this man who had invented the ideal of a rebel leader, somebody
fighting from the jungle for what he believed in. His movement won. And they viewed that as something that they could strive for as well.
In fact, during the military dictatorships many people fled to Cuba to seek exile there. When Cuba lost its main ally the USSR and obviously their
luck shifted there, Fidel Castro reinvented himself and really went on to become a mentor for this whole new generation of leftist leaders -- as you
mentioned, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador.
And so today we're seeing condolences from those leaders, but actually from across the political spectrum and that's because Fidel Castro managed to
stand up to the United States for some 50 years this not only regional superpower, but global superpower, showing a region that for so long had
been called America's backyard, that they could be independent, that they could really stand on their own as equals in the face of the United States.
So, even governments and people who are more centrist, they recognize that Fidel Castro did do that for this region, shaped the politics of region and
in many cases really affected the lives of the people here, Nick.
PARKER: And, Shasta, on the subject of the leaders in Latin America, we now see that Fidel Castro is dead, Hugo Chavez also died of course, and
Correa of Ecuador, there's some doubts about his political future.
Who is poised now at this stage on the left in Latin America to inherit Castro's mantle, do you think -- if anybody?
DARLINGTON: I don't know if anybody is, Nick. Evo Morales still certainly has a lot of sway in Bolivia, but the fact is, as you mentioned, there has
been a shift more towards the right. People -- or governments have maybe looked to China. They've really built up relationships with China,
replacing the United States as the main trading partner, were shifting back towards the United States under Obama. This has been happening in
Argentina, now in Brazil, a number of countries.
I think the big question mark going forward isn't so much the death of Fidel Castro, how that could reshape relations, but the election of Donald
Trump, somebody who is viewed as having very protectionist, isolationist policies. So, these countries and government who had decided to veer back
towards the United States may find themselves suddenly abandoned and with fewer commercial and political allies than they had initially imagined,
PARKER: Shasta Darlington with a view from Latin America joining us from Rio de Janeiro. Shasta, thank you.
And we'll have much more on the death of Fidel Castro later in the hour, including reaction from Russia and The Vatican.
And it's game on for a recount in the U.S. election. We'll tell you what analysts are looking for and why Hillary Clinton is now jumping on board.
Stay with us.
[10:16:38] PARKER: Hello, you're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. I'm Nick Parker. Welcome back.
Some ballots cast in the U.S. election are headed for a recount and Hillary Clinton's campaign is now jumping on board.
The Green Party spearheaded the challenge in the state of Wisconsin, a state that unexpectedly went for Trump in the election, but U.S. president-
elect Donald Trump calls it a scam and he says that the election results are being, quote, abused.
The former democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders disagreed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D) VERMONT: The Green Party has the legal right. Republicans have requested -- I think the governor of North Carolina right
now is thinking about doing a recount. That's a legal right. They do it.
I don't think that Hillary Clinton, who got 2 million more votes than Mr. Trump in the popular election, thinks that it is going to transform the
election. But do people have a legal right to do it? Yeah, we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PARKER: And a handful of activists, analysts say, there is good reason to recount the ballots in
Our Tom Foreman reports.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Wisconsin, with almost 3 million votes cast, Donald Trump edged Hillary Clinton by less than 28,000.
In Pennsylvania, out of almost 6 million votes, his advantage was 60,000.
And the count in Michigan still remains too close for CNN to call the race.
But now, some political activists say in counties using electronic voting, Hillary Clinton appears to have mysteriously underperformed compare to
areas with paper ballots by as much as 7 percent, according to what they told top Clinton aides in a call urging an official review. They've not
released their analysis nor provided proof of hacking but the margin could have tipped Wisconsin and, if the others went her way too, she would have
So, who is leading the charge?
JOHN BONIFAZ, DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST: Our democracy is under attack.
FOREMAN: John Bonifaz is a Democratic activist who ran for office a few years ago.
BONIFAZ: This is a story of where the Democratic Party needs to be.
FOREMAN: He's a big proponent of voting rights. And he tried to get President Bush impeached over the Iraq war.
BONIFAZ: The United States House of Representatives has a constitutional duty to investigate fully and comprehensively.
FOREMAN: But at the University of Michigan, the chief computer scientist behind the discovery of these alleged voting oddities seems to be on a
different page. J. Alex Halderman is concerned about the risk of elections being hacked. He talked about it C-SPAN before this vote.
J. ALEX HALDERMAN, PROFESSOR, COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: A realistic attack on the election will be homing in on whichever states end up having
the closest margins.
FOREMAN: But he wants an investigation because he thinks any questions about voting security ought to be addressed. Not because he is convinced it
would necessarily change the result nor prove anyone tried to rig the vote.
He has posted online, quote, "Were this year's deviations from pre- election polls the result of a cyber attack? Probably not. I believe the
most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong."
As for election officials, some certainly went into the balloting pretty confident.
JERRY FEASER, PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION OFFICIAL: I could set one of these machines in the middle of Red Square in Moscow and the Russians couldn't
hack into it.
PARKER: That was Tom Foreman reporting.
In France, the nation's Conservative Party is about to choose its presidential candidate. Two former prime ministers are competing in the
runoff: Francois Fillon is the frontrunner after coming out on top in the first round of voting last Sunday. He was seen casting his ballot earlier
in Paris while his opponent, Alain Juppe voted in Bordeaux. Polls are set to close in about three hours.
Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy was knocked out of the foot race in the first-round. He is now backing Fillon. And whoever wins the
primary is largely expected to face off with the far right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in next year's election.
To Syria now where we have just learned that government forces have retaken parts of two different neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo. The move appears
to be part of a much anticipated ground assault to seize control of the area from rebels. The UN estimates that at least 250,000 people are
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has spent a lot of time reporting from Syria over the years. And he joins us now live now from London.
Fred, good have you with us. How would you categorize, do you think, this stage of the offensive?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nick, I think it's one of the most significant gains that the Syrian military has made
probably in the past five years that this civil war has been going on, because one of the things we have to
keep in mind, Nick, is taht eastern Aleppo really at this point in time is the main prize of Syria's civil war both for the rebels and
for the government forces as well. It's the last major urban stronghold where the rebels control a significant amount of territory and at the same
time in the government's quest, if you will, to win back as much land especially in the west of Syria, which is the place where most of the
Of course in that country that is also something that is very significant and it's one of the
things that the Syrian government has said over and over again is that for them the main priority is winning back Aleppo.
Now, there has been a fierce assault on the rebel-held areas over the past couple of weeks,
over the past couple of months. There have been massive air strikes going on around the past week or so which many 100 people have been killed in
those. And just yesterday in Aleppo and the surrounding areas at least 46 people were killed.
Now, you have this situation here where it seems as though some of the rebel defense lines in those areas have collapsed, especially in the Hanano
(ph) disctrict, which is the biggest area held by rebels in the government in eastern Aleppo, that is where the government has made the most
significant gains. And of course in all of this we can't forget to mention, Nick, that
of course, there are still by UN estimations around 250,000 civilians who are still trapped inside eastern Aleppo.
And, of course, for them supplies were running low anyway, the UN can't get any convoys in there. But now, of course, more than ever they are also
under threat by that fighting that is inching closer and closer and really has been accelerating over the past days, Nick.
PARKER: Certainly, that is one of the greatest concerns going forward as we watch this assault progress.
What do we know more about the conditions of the civilians on the ground there?
PLEITGEN: Well, they are catastrophic. I mean, one of the things that's been going on over the past months is that a lot of services that were sort
of available in eastern Aleppo have basically been cut. You're talking about things like water. You're talking about the availability of
electricity. But then the other thing that's happening is that supplies have been drastically short and are running out as well.
Again, the UN has said it's not able to bring any food, water, or medicine into that area. And aside from people being under threat of starvation,
there are, of course, also a lot of people who have been wounded. There are a lot of people with medical conditions. They can't get treatment and
they can't get out the get any treatment at this point in time.
Now UNICEF says that another really dire thing about all this is that they think about 100,000
children are also still trapped in eastern Aleppo, of course, with no chance to get an education, with no chance to play with the fighting
accelerating as well. Apparently, there are some people who set up playgrounds in basements to try and allow the children some sort of
So, really a dangerous, a dire and very much a catastrophic situation for the civilians that are still trapped there inside eastern Aleppo, Nick.
PARKER: A 100,000 children estimated to be trapped in eastern Aleppo. Fred Pleitgen reporting live for us. Thank you, Fred, appreciate it.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government is facing international sanctions including from Washington. So, it's perhaps not surprising that the
country's president, Bashar al-Assad offered these words upon learning of Castro's death: our friend Cuba was able under his leadership to stand its
ground in the face of the most ferocious of sanctions and unfair campaigns witnessed in our modern history. The name Fidel Castro will live forever
in the minds of generations and remain an inspiration for all the people who aspire to achieve real independence and liberation from the yoke of
colonialism and hegemony.
Meantime, Israel became involved in its first major confrontation with ISIS in Syira. Israel says its forced carried out an air strike on Sunday
killing four ISIS militants. The IDF says th terrorists were targeting them with mortar rounds and gunfire.
Oren Liebermann joins us live now from Jerusalem. Oren, thanks for joining us.
Just how significant is this move by the Israeli government?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what happened here happened in southern Syria, in fact, right at the meeting point between Israel, Syria and Jordan. That's where there is a group of ISIS
loyalists, a group called the Khalid Ibn an-Walid Army (ph). They haven't clashed with Israel in the past, but now the Israeli military says they
intentionally targeted Israeli soldiers, as you said, Nick, gunfire and with mortar, that would mark the first time ISIS loyalists positioned,
stationed have targeted Israel.
The question at this point is will it happen again? There was an exchange of fire. Israel called it an air strike and struck the vehicle these four
were in. Israel says they confirmed four kills inside that vehicle.
Now at this point we wait. In the past, much of what we've seen right along the Golan between Israel and Syria has been far north of there either
between Syrian regime or Syrian rebels. And it's been straight fire. Israel responds to that stray fire, but that is essentially the end of the
confrontation. It starts with, again, stray fire often and goes away then fairly quickly. The question is will this group, this group of ISIS
loyalists target Israel again. That's what Israel is waiting to see.
They have on the Israeli side there in the Isareli occupied Golan Heights, that's agricultural fields. The Israeli military says they've pulled
farmers away from that area for safety now and they've increased surveillance there just to see how this develops now.
PARKER: And Oren, turning to another story that we've been following over the last few days, the wildfires that were raging in Israel in the northern
and central parts of the country, the Israeli prime minister now reaching out to the president of the Palestinian Authority
LIEBERMANN: And that was a significant statement. These two haven't talked in a long time, but he thanked him for the Palestinian effort,
really what became an international effort to put out these fires and Palestinians contributed a number of trucks and a number of fire personnel
that became even a bit of a social media sensation. Israelis taking pictures with the Palestinians working side by side with Israeli fire crews.
It's been three or four days of fires now. The major fires are out. Those were in northern Israel. And even around Jerusalem there were a number of
major fires. Those are out. Now it moves to the investigation to find out what the cause was behind these fires. Israel
has a number of suspects in custody for questioning on starting the fires. The last count was 23. But Israel hasn't released much
information about who exactly they have detained. They have said they've detained a number for incitement as well, #israelisburning had become
quite popular, not only from people sharing news and trying to get help, but also from people it seems inciting the fact that Israel was on fire..
Now it comes the investigation, now it's up to Israel and fire investigators to find out the causes behind the more than 200 fires that
had spread across the country.
PARKER: Oren Liebermann, live for us in Jerusalem. Oren, thank you for that.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead plus Fidel Castro lived long enough to see a thaw in U.S. relations. We'll take a closer look at the
former leader's final years. Stay with us.
[10:32:31] PARKER: Fidel Castro made many enemies over his decades in power and the U.S. was perhaps his biggest adversary. But the Cold War
revolutionary managed to live long enough to finally see a thaw in U.S.- Cuba relations. Rafael Romo has more on Castro's final years.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fidel Castro knew his days were dwindling, telling Cuban Communists before his 90th birthday this year, soon I will be
like everyone else.
After a near-fatal illness in 2008, Castro turned the reigns of power to his younger brother Raul.
And as Cuba's new president began take tentative steps towards reform, the U.S. began to
ease its restrictions. But Fidel Castro was suspicious writing in January 2015 that although he doesn't trust U.S. policies and had not exchanged a
word with them, this does not mean, however, that I would oppose a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war.
In September last year, Fidel met with Pope Francis. They talked about common problems of humanity, but the pope had once condemned what he called
Cuba's authoritarian and corrupt regime.
In March this year, American President Barack Obama visited Cuba, seven months after the two
countries re-established diplomatic relations. He met with Raul Castro, but not Fidel.
At his 90th birthday party in August this year, a frail Fidel Castro appeared at a theater named for Karl Marx and was shown in occasional
photos with foreign leaders.
Fidel Castro came to power as a revolutionary inspired by Marx. But as he died, Castro was
watching his revolution change in a way that was beyond his control.
Rafael Romo, CNN.
PARKER: Well, Cuba's biggest Cold War ally was, of course, Moscow and President Vladimir Putin says that Castro will live forever in the hearts
of Russian citizens. Former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty has more from Moscow.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From Russian President Vladimir Putin to
average Russians, there was a lot of nostalgia for Fidel Castro, an ally for more than half a century.
President Putin called him a symbol of an era and a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.
Here in Moscow, over at the Cuban embassy, Russians went by laying flowers and candles in
memory of Fidel Castro, some of them even crying saying that they remember him from their childhood. They remembed him as an old revolutionary who
stuck to his guns and also as a leader of a small island that stood up to the big United States.
Russian TV meanwhile had nonstop coverage all day, showing old black and white footage of the relationship, showing video of Fidel Castro as a
revolutionary up in the mountains, showing him with a variety of Russian leaders, and also very interesting footage of the Cuban missile crisis.
Even there was an implied comparison between Fidel Castro and President Vladimir Putin, one Russian politician saying that sanctions didn't work
and also international isolation didn't work when you have a strong leader.
Jill Dougherty, Moscow.
[10:36:03] PARKER: In his early days, Castro saw the Roman Catholic Church as an enemy of the revolutionary regime, but they say people change and
time heals. Both can be said of Castro's relationship with the church.
Ben Wedeman has that story from Rome.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to Raul Castro on the death of his brother,
Fidel. Now, Fidel Castro had a complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.
In 1961 when Cuba declared itself a socialist country, it shut down the catholic university there, closed 350 catholic schools, and expropriated
hundreds of catholic churches. Nonetheless as time passed and as for instance the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba was definitely in need of
In 1996, Fidel Castro visited Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. And two years later Pope John Paul went Cuba on a historic visit. And of course it
was Pope Francis who behind the scenes played a key role in re-establishing relations between the United States and Cuba.
PARKER: Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida, meanwhile, couldn't be any happier that Fidel Castro is out of their lives forever. They are expressing new
hope for the family and friends they left in Cuba.
Ileana Fuentes joins us now from Miami. She's the director of the American Museum of Cuban Diaspara. Ileana, thank you for joining us. Appreciate
your time today.
ILEANA FUENTES, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF CUBAN DIASPORA: Good morning.
PARKER: It must be difficult to put into words, but if you could begin by telling us how the community has reacted over the last two days?
FUENTES: The community has reacted with joy. They are celebrating, actually. Many of them are saying they are not celebrating the death of
Fidel Castro as much as the death of a tyrant. And that's the spirit in which we have to look at this as exiles and as Cuban-Americans. It is the
death of a tyrant, the end of his reign, then end of his influence.
He made many enemies in his life, but he also made many victims, hundreds of thousands of
victims. And among those victims were artists, and writers, and film makers who received electroshock treatment for their dissent, who were sent
to jail for as little as 56 as Alberto Parilla (ph) did who was sent to jail in the 70s, or Ernesto de Rodriguez (ph) a poet who was sent to jail
and spent all of 22 years in a political prison.
So it is a time of joy because the tyrant is gone, and maybe his policies which are still in effect today, people are still being repressed, they are
being carted to jail, they are being sentenced to prison terms, maybe that will also come to -- if not to an end immediately but at
least to a possible change.
PARKER: Castro in his final years did give his sort of blessing to the re- opening of relations between Cuba and the United States. What are your hopes for that policy going forward?
FUENTES: I have no hopes about it going forward. The United States has often throughout the years given room for that change for relations. And,
of course, in his lifetime Fidel made sure that never happened. He needed the enemy in the north. He need the imperialist enemy.
Well, he's gone. Raul Castro is a different person, known as a tyrant as his brother, but the situation in the country is much, much different. So
there might be some moving ahead with change and with relations. But, of course, for us as Cuban-Americans and as emigres for decades, the end will
be when there are democratic elections in Cuba, where there is a really democratic government in Cuba, and where people can do what we do here in
this country -- life, liberty and the pursuit of their happiness. That is what we're looking toward.
PARKER: And what do you think will bring this about? Raul Castro is not expected to stand again for the presidency in 2018. What do you see taking
place on the ground in Cuba? And what can to be done to bring about greater amounts of democracy from your point of
FUENTES: I think the more we support the moderate voices the better. Raul Castro is on his way out. He has no charm. He has no support from the
people. He is totally disliked and has been disliked ever since the beginning of the revolution.
There are group struggles inside of Cuba, have been for years. The death of the General Ochoa (ph) years ago, his execution is evidence of that.
And this is no different. Things have changed for Cuba because Cuba is totally destroyed, totally unable to function as a modern state. So,
therefore, Raul Castro cannot continue to hang on to his policies.
There are octogenarians in government, people 80, 90 years old. A country and the 21st Century cannot be run by people who weren't even alive when
penicillin was invented.
So, it is a serious, serious situation for Cuba. There are moderates in the government. There are younger people in the government. There have to
be Afro-Cubans in the government. Cuba is -- and women -- Cuba is a country where 51 percent of the population is female. And as much as 60 is
calculated is of Afro descendants -- roots.
So, this white, blonde, blue eyed government made up of one token woman, one token black has to go.
PARKER: Some forceful opinions there. Appreciate your time today. Ileana Fuentes of the American Museum of Cuban Disapora. Thank you forgoing us
FUENTES: Thank you. Thank you very much.
PARKER: And live from New York this is Connect the World. Coming up, we have a winner. Find out who came out on top of the 2016 Formula One world
And music legend Lionel Richie opens up in Abu Dhabi about his career and friendship with Donald Trump. Stay with us.
[10:45:00] PARKER: Hello. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Nick Parker. Welcome back, and thanks for joining us.
Nico Rosberg is the new Formula One champion. He came in second at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is more than he needed to win the title. He had a
significant championship lead going into the race. He beat out Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton to the F1 title.
World Sport's Patrick Snell joins me live now from CNN Centter in Atlanta. And Patrick, walk us through the drama.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: It was a case of huge relief in the end for Nico Rosberg, the German have finally won the world drivers crown for
Fomula One. This has been a really career in the making for him and probably at 31 years of age, Nick, he will feel the time is right.
He took a 12-point lead into the season closer on Sunday. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the UAE. He knew that a podium finish would be enough to
seal the deal irrespective of what Lewis Hamilton did. For the record, Hamilton finishing the season really, really
strongly, indeed, winning the final four races of the season But it was Rosberg who came in second.
That was enough.
And just look at those scenes of joy. Just look what it means to him. Remember this is a man who is a teammate at Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton,
who has finished runner up to the Brit for the last two seasons. They famously, let's b e honest, don't get on very well. And I'm quite sure
Rosberg liked nothing less than finishing runner up to Hamilton.
This is so special. Let's listen to Rosberg now and just hear what it means to him. But don't think this was stroll in the park, this was a
nervous, tense finish to the season. Take a listen.
Well, I'll tell you what, though, he was just expressing his absolute relief to get the job done, but he was pushed all the way. Young, Max
Restapen (ph), the Dutch team for Red Bull, potentially an awkward moment during the race when the two brushed. And then Hamilton as well disobeying
orders near the end of the race, which potentially allowed Rosberg to get sucked back into it as the oncoming traffic from behind, but in the end he
stayed cool, he got the job done.
And Nico Rosberg now emulating -- this is what's really cool, Nick, emulating what his father (inaudible) Rosberg did for (inaudible) back in
1982 when he was world champion.
Rosberg senior not at the races. They couldn't be there. His mom was there as well. A real special family affair. Congratulations to Nico
Rosberg, finally Formula One world champion at the age of 31.
And now, as he moves foward, he'll just be hoping he can build on this, Nick. Really special moment for Rosberg.
Meanwhile, Patrick, news that the England Football Association is launching an investigation into sexual abuse allegations.
SNELL: Yes, yes, taking a very different tone right now, Nick. This is a story we are following very closely, indeed. England's FA on Sunday coming
out and saying that it is now official. Just confirmation that it will be officially investigating these allegations of historic sexual abuse in the
sport made by a number of former footballers during their time as youth team players.
Early this weekend, we reported that crew Alexander (ph) football club, a club in northwest England. They announced their own independent
investigation, is following claims made against one of their former youth team coaches there at that particular club.
We can reveal, just to confirm, just to reset in terms of this story a number of four UK police forces in total are also assessing the allegations
that have been made in recent days. And on Sunday, the FA revealing that it has instructed, in fact, an independent legal counsel to help with the
In part, the statement reading from England's FA, "at this times, with acknowledgment that a wide-ranging inquiry may be required in time, we are
working closely wit hthe police to support their lead investigations and must ensure we do not do anything to interfere with or jeopardize the
The internal review will look into what information the FA was aware of at the relevant times around the issues that have been raised in the press,
what clubs were aware of and what action was or should have been taken.
As I say, Nick, we're following this story very closely indeed every step of the way. Back to you there.
PARKER: Patrick Snell, appreciate that. Thanks for the update.
Now, we've got one car that we want you to take a look at. Let's take a look at how things are looking at the music scene. Our own Amanda Davies
spoke with the legendary Lionel Richie just before his performance in Abu Dhabi last night.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Wimbledon or F1?
LIONEL RICHIE, SINGER: F1. That's hard. That's so hard. Because I do like both of them.
DAVIES: Pub or swanky bar?
DAVIES: Would you ever do a duet with Lewis?
RICHIE: Well, I have dear friends of mine who are tennis players. And I used to say, you know what? You play tennis I'll do the singing. So, I'll
say the same thing to Lewis.
DAVIES: Rihanna or Taylor Swift.
RICHIE: Ri Ri. You got me in so much trouble.
DAVIES: Are you doing to be getting?
[10:50:04] RICHIE: I know. I know. Taylor I love, too, oh my god.
DAVIES: Facebook or Instagram.
DAVIES: What is it you like about Instagram.
RICHIE: My kids expose me every second of the day. Every time I see them in the
hallway of my house I have to be prepared for camera ready.
DAVIES: Michele Obama or Melania Trump.
RICHIE: Michele. I love her.
DAVIES: You have performed for hundreds of thousands of people on stage singing how does that compare to driving a Formula One car on the title
RICHIE: The adrenaline rush is the adrenaline rush. It's something about one, two, three, lights go off, show starts and you're transformed into the
The endorphins hit and they talk you into a great day.
DAVIES: Which is the song that you get the biggest thrill out of performing.
RICHIE: To this today All Night Long is still, oh my god.
RICHIE: And the one that I don't sing at all probably any more is Hello. The crowd takes over.
RICHIE: Well, the ultimate hit on is Hello is it me you're looking for. Of course. I mean, 250 pound men have walked up to me and said I've made
love to you many times, Lionel. And I'm going, you need to get away from me as soon as you can.
DAVIES: And is it the same reaction every where you go in the world.
RICHIE: We're in the Middle East. I mean, I couldn't imagine when I first started out I was going to play over here. And now I mean, it's one of my
largest markets. All religions. All politics. You name it. All languages.
They cannot speak English, but they know every word of the songs.
DAVIES: Dare I venture into the world of the new president of the United States.
RICHIE: I actually know him. So, he's a friend of mine. So, I wish him good luck. He's definitely controversial. And we'll see what he's going
Is one thing to talk about a campaign, is another thing you have four years to do what you said.
DAVIES: What would be your advice to him?
RICHIE: Do everything the opposite of what you said you're going to do.
I wouldn't want the job. I like singing my songs better. It's easier. But it's a tough gig and right
now I don't know where it's going to be. We'll see.
PARKER: Lionel Richie not running in 2020, it would seem.
Live from New York, this is Connect the World. Coming up, with Cuba in the spotlight we take a look at some of those incredible classic cars still
roaming its highways. That story is next. Stay with us.
PARKER: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. I'm Nick Parker. Welcome back.
Many Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida are cheering Castro's death. But for other Cubans his death has left a void not easily filled.
Here are some of those reactions. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a historic day for the Cuban community here in Miami. And we just happy that we have hope now. We get started with a new
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's very sad, painful, because he really was a person who helped us a lot. The Cuban people specifically
those who struggled the most and it's something that truly left us all traumatized. We are sad and he's a person we will never forget.
UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Really sad, the separation of family, all the death that's been going through. And I really celebrate because the guy has been
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The Cuban people is feeling sad because of the loss of our commander-in-chief, Fidel Castro and we wish him
wherever he is that he's blessed, and us Cubans love him.
[10:55:44] PARKER: Now even if you don't know much about the country or who Fidel Castro was, you probably have seen some of Cuba's colorful
classic American cars. So in today's Parting Shots it's a project that took 10 years to complete, but was well worth the wait. Standing the test
of time we look at what's become part of Cuba's cultural heritage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I first went to Cuba in 2004 and I remembered looking at the parking lot and seeing all of these incredible cars from the '50s,
some of them were pristine and some of them were hammered.
Things will change in Cuba as it opens up more to the west. The Cubans really love their old
American cars. I think it will make it easier to maintain them actually because they will be able to
Just as their culture will be deluded, so will the collection of cars, but then more people will
have cars because now very few people do have cars.
They are kind of a cultural heritage. A lot of people are very proud of the cars.
PARKER: Formula One has the world watching happening where this show is normally broadcast from in Abu Dhabi. We're going from classic cars to the
fastest car in F1 history said to hit the track next year. We discuss what that will mean on our Facebook page. Be sure to head to
I'm Nick Parker and that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.