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French Head to Polls in First Round of Voting; Cuba's Poor Cinema Festival Getting Hollywood Attention; At Least 130 Dead in Taliban Attack in Afghanistan; U.S. Secretary of State Visits Army Base in Djibouti. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 23, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:13] ROBYN KRIEL, HOST: This hour, France decides after scandal, confusion and terror. Right now, millions of people in one of the world's
most powerful countries are picking their next leader. We're there live.
Plus, we're on the ground in Afghanistan looking at the aftermath of a deadly Taliban attack that killed well over 100 people. Those details and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Most days here someone catching a big fish passes for news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRIEL: Glamour, it's got none of it. We take you to Cuba to the Poor Cinema Festival.
Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Robyn Kriel here CNN's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta where I'm sitting in for Becky Anderson.
We begin with what could be a pivotal election in France taking place just days after yet another terror attack. Polls closed three hours from now in
this first-round presidential vote. We should be getting unofficial results soon after that when exit polls begin rolling in. They'll us where
France is headed on issues from immigration to whether it should stay in the European
Security is a top issue, as well with the country in a continuous state of emergency since 2015 when coordinated terror attacks in Paris left 130
Well, let's get the very latest. Our Melissa Bell and Jim Bittermann are s watching the vote. Jim is in (inaudible) and Melissa is in Paris.
And Melissa, you're at Emmanuel Macron's headquarters. What would a France look like under him?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in some ways, much like the France we've known until now, all of the leading candidates in the
polls going into the final few days of this campaign, Robyn, he is probably the one that represents the greatest amount of continuity on a number of
different issues. He's pro-European, much more than many of the other candidates in the running in this poll. He's in favor of more
globalization rather than less. He is really the candidate of openness and continuity as opposed to the populists - and there are several of them in
this race who are in favor of closure and a retreat behind borders and much more of a rupture of all that's been before. And yet, if he has managed to
do as well as the opinion polls suggested that he might.
What he's really been able to capitalize on is that all of the while representing a certain continuity when it comes to policies, he also
represents a rupture with the past, because he's trying to do something that's never been achieved in French politics before, which would be to
make it to the Elysees Palace without the benefit of an established party behind him and having never been elected to anything before.
His plan, to shake up France's political system, which we've heard a great deal about over the course of the campaign as a result of the judicial
troubles that have really afflicted the campaign of what had been the front-runner, the Republican Francois Fillon.
KRIEL: Melissa, of course, the sense of continuity there.
Jim, let's go to you. Really an antithesis of continuity where you are in Beaumont. Is there a particular type of French man or woman who would be
voting for Marine Le Pen today? And if so, what does he or she look like in terms of for France?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, typical, I'm not so sure, but in this particular area of France, this is a stronghold for Marine Le Pen up here in Beaumont. The voter here I think has been caught
with contradictions over the years, basically as the economy has gone down and I think if you look carefully behind me, you can see that big pile,
that big, black hill back there, that is a played out mine. Those mine tailings that have
been stacked up. And in fact, it says something about the economy of this area that the voters here are -- have been affected by that and very
Unemployment is a big issue up here and the played out minds and played out steel factories in what is essentially France's rust belt has weighed
heavily on the minds of the voters, especially in the last few elections because increasingly, they used to be voting to the left
up here, that's why this hall where Marine Le Pen is going to speak tonight, the Hall Francois Mitterand, the country's leading socialists,
it's ironic that Marine Le Pen will be speaking there in a far right candidate in a socialist candidate's hall.
And it says something about the way the voters have changed up here. They've gone from the left to the right as they're looking for solutions to
what is their crucial problem up here and that is unemployment - Robyn.
KRIEL: Unemployment obviously a huge issue, Jim. What are people saying where you
are? What is the sense you're getting from the ground? Is there excitement? Are people anticipating a win?
[11:05:05] BITTERMANN: Well, I think there's a lot of excitement and we saw earlier in the day - and I don't know if we have that video, but we saw
earlier in the day an argument that almost came to blows between voter for with the far left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon and the far right candidate
- there it is. I think you can see the video of these two people arguing, one voted for the far left and one voted for the far right. And they got
into a fight in the streets that was quite animated and quite noisy, but you can tell that further compassions are running very high here. And I
think the excitement over this campaign has been running very high, Robyn.
KRIEL: Melissa, let's go back to you. A France divided, that's what we're reading a lot about in the newspapers. Would you agree?
BITTERMANN: I think that's definitely what we've seen. There are several France's expressing themselves in this poll and the question is which one
will really gather the most voters around it. Now, one of the crucial questions going into this, especially for campaigns from the center ground,
the mainstream, leaving aside the more extreme populists is turnout. Will those people - Marine Le Pen has an electorate that is absolutely rock
solid. Her voters will go out and vote. The question for candidates, like Emmanuel Macron, like the Republican Francois Fillon, like the Socialist
candidate Benoit Hamon, is whether these mainstream voters, many people would go out precisely because they want to avoid the extremes getting into
The latest figure, and it's just come out, is the 5:00 p.m. local turnout figure. It is just shy of 70 percent, which is really within a breath of
what we saw at this time in 2012. And you know, people in French elections tend to go out to vote massively when it comes to presidential votes as
well in the last two elections the turnout has been well over 80 percent. It looks like
we're on track for that again as we look at the 5:00 p.m. figure. And that was one of the crucial factors.
So, here, this is where Emmanuel Macron will come either to celebrate or to concede in just a few hours' time. But a great deal of excitement around
his campaign about what this poll might lead to.
KRIEL: What are you hearing, Melissa, in terms of Francois Fillon, or is he - is anyone talking about him today, or is it all about Macron and Le
BELL: No. A great deal of interest in Francois Fillon and his electoral fortunes today.
You know, we spent a lot of time going out in the country to try and test the mood of the electorate, to try and get a sense of how France, beyond
the capital, was planning to vote. One of the really interesting things we heard is that Francois Fillon, who is the embattled Republican candidate,
just to remind our viewers, who was the subject of an ongoing inquiry, who has been charged in the context of this inquiry, as has his wife, both of
course, deny the allegation that she and two of her children were paid for parliamentary work that was not carried out over a number of years.
When you got out into the country and you speak to Republican supporters - and again this was theirs to lose. When you go back a few weeks before,
when those traditional troubles have not come to light, Francois Fillon was looking like the candidate who would go on to become the next candidate.
That's what when you speak to supporters, they say in fact his support has not evaporated, it's simply gone underground. They believe the pollsters
can no longer hear it and that their man will nonetheless go on to win.
KRIEL: All right, fascinating, keeping an eye in Paris for us and in Beaumont, Jim Bittermann and Melissa Bell. Thank you so much.
And of course, we will continue crossing to them just as those results start to come in.
Now, french soldiers spent more than a decade on the ground in Afghanistan, but security there
now seems far off. The country is holding a day of mourning after a Taliban attack on Friday killed more than 100 people.
Though official numbers aren't in yet and sources say the toll is much higher, the president met with some of the wounded on Saturday. The target
was the base in the north. And the military says that soldiers were not armed when the Taliban struck, rather they were praying.
Journalist Sune Engel Rasmussen joins us now via Skype from the Afghan capital of Kabul. Sune, thank you so much for your time.
Huge death toll. Just how did this happen?
SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN, JOURNALIST: It happened around noon on Friday when two Afghan National Army vehicles were carrying close to a dozen Taliban
fighters approached this base in (inaudible). They were wearing army clothes and some of them were pretending to be wounded and then they got
into the base by blowing themselves up, one of their fighters apparently blew themselves up outside the second checkpoint and then they came in and
went on a shooting spree in the dining hall and outside a mosque, when most of the soldiers as they are...
KRIEL: Well, extremely sophisticated. I believe that you said in an earlier interview Sune that they were -- unfortunately, it looks like we
have lost our interview, but let's just recap what he did say. A massive death toll of 140 and saying that Afghan soldiers were attacked just after
they'd finished praying and unarmed in the mess hall, as it were.
We do I believe have Sune back via Skype from the Afghan capital of Kabul. Tell us more about just how these Taliban fighters managed to infiltrate
the base? I believe that they were dressed as injured people or faking that they were injured?
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, they were pretending to be injured and some of them were wearing drips
in their arms, some of them wore bandages around their legs. And they managed to pass one checkpoint apparently this way. And at the second
checkpoint, the guards became suspicious and then one of the Taliban fighters blew himself up and blew open the gate and that way they entered
into base. And from there, it was just driving pretty far, but they were coming up to (inaudible) went on a shooting spree.
KRIEL: Of course, tought questions ahead for the Afghan forces as they start investigating just how this was able to happen and as you say a very
But where was the quick reaction force? How was this able to happen that so many troops were, in fact, massacred?
RASMUSSEN: Well, a lot of the soldiers are unarmed when they're on base. (inaudible) question completely, but I think you asked what the quick
reaction force did.
A lot of soldiers are unarmed on base and that's why they killed so many and the commandos
arrived pretty quickly, but by that point they said there were 10 Taliban fighters had dispersed into the base and they (inaudible) to down once they
get going. And it took about six hours (inaudible) the attack had been stopped by the Afghan commandos.
There were also some international, probably American, advisers as they're called on base, but as far as we know they did not participate in the
defense of the base, but were taken to another part of the base. That's what we've been told.
KRIEL: All right, thank you so much for your time, Sune Engel Rasmussen live from Kabul, Afghanistan for us there.
Let's get you up-to-date now on other stories that are on our radar. Israeli police say that four
Israelis sustained light injuries in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv. Israel security agency tells CNN it considers the attack a terror-related
Saudi Arabia's king is shaking up his government kicking out two important ministers and bringing back bonuses for civil servants. The government is
hailing the country's fast economic recovery from dipping oil prices.
And Venezuelans marched in silence on Saturday in memory of those killed in anti-government protests. At least 22 people have died so far this month.
The government says that nine of those were electrocuted when they tried to loot a bakery. The opposition calls President Nicholas Maduro a dictator
saying he's blocking regional elections and they blame him for the country's brutal economic crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PILAR LAORI, VENEZUELAN PROTESTER (through translator): I, for example, I'm here. I'm 24 years old and I refuse to leave the country. My entire
family is here. My debt are here, my future is here and I want it to be so. That is why I am here and I will continue to be here until we see a
change or at least one of the points that we are demanding is fulfilled and we have been in the streets for 20 days making demands of the authorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRIEL: The U.S. defense secretary is visiting Washington's only defense base in Africa. James Mattis is in Djibouti right now at Camp Lemonnier.
Here you see him arriving in the Horn of Africa nation. He met their president, head of the U.S. Africa command, or AFRICOM and Secretary
Mattis' visit is focused on regional stability.
Well, Farai Sevenzo is live for us from Nairobi with more on this. Hello, Farai.
The camp is home to combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa that oversees the U.S. war on al
Shabaab and supports the African Union troops fighting the al-Qaeda-linked group inside Somalia. What can we expect from the defense secretary's
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: You know, Robyn, this is not the first defense secretary to have visited Djibouti. Remember
Djibouti lies strategically right - 20 miles away from Yemen, for example, right on the edge of the Red Sea. Djibouti is a country of 840,000 people.
And when the Secretary of Defense Mattis the president of Djibouti today, Mr. Guelleh, he tried to reassure them that they would carry on this
partnership of basic United States troops in Djibouti.
Let's not forget this comes at a very important time, contextually. We're talking about just a few weeks ago President Trump signed his authority to
let the U.S. African Command wrap up their operations against al Shabaab. And just the other week, of course, 40 people arrived from the United
States especially to train the Somali national army in logistics. And of course, it's not just the Americans that are in Djibouti, it's a former
French colony, the French are based there, the Japanese are there. And more importantly the Chinese are setting up base there.
At the moment we know - we understand the United States pays 63 million to have 4,000 personnel based in Djibouti. And they are crucial to fighting,
as you say, the al-Shabaab and indeed the war in the Arab peninsula.
KRIEL: Well, a high level. Let's stay with Somali and al-Shabaab, Farai, a high-level UN official was very critical of the so-called ramping up of
this U.S. backing of the offensive against al-Shabaab saying that it could have a negative impact on the international community's aid efforts there
especially given the famine and the millions of people who are in jeopardy of starving to death essentially.
What is the Sefense Mattis going to say about that? What are you hearing?
SEVENZO: Well, what we are hearing is that this is a good time for Defense Secretary Mattis
to re-establish his contacts in Djibouti, to let the American forces there know that this fight against al-Shabaab is going forward.
When you talk about the humanitarian situation in terms of drought, that drought has affected this entire region. You know very well, Robyn. Kenya
is affected. Southern Somalia is affected, Ethiopia (inaudible) are affected, and of course, northeast of Nigeria - northwest where there's
trouble there, too.
So in terms of whether the presence of troops there that will affect the drought relief, that is an open-ended question, but certainly, people do
need assistance there.
KRIEL: All right, thank you so much. Farai Sevenzo live for us in Nairobi with the very
latest on the U.S. secretary of defense's visit to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
So, while President Trump's defense secretary is in the Horn of Africa, there's a lot going on back in Washington. Congress returns from recess.
And it will have to scramble to avoid a partial government shutdown again.
One of the major sticking points is the president's proposed border wall with Mexico. And for more on that, here's Athena Jones.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. A big week ahead hear in Washington. House republican leadership held a brief conference
call with the entire caucus today to talk about this coming week and made it clear that passing a bill to keep the government running is the top
priority and will be the primary focus of this coming week.
We know a couple things the white house wants to see included in that funding measure, one is money for the hiring of more immigration agents,
another is money for the border wall the president promised on the campaign trail. Senate democrats though say that the border wall money is a
nonstarter. They do not want to see that in this bill. They are also opposed to including the money for immigration agents in this spending
bill, so the big question is will the president sign a bill to keep the government running that doesn't include money for the border wall? My
colleague Dana Bash spoke with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about this. Watch.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the border wall with Mexico and how it relates to keeping the government open. If congress
doesn't send President Trump a government funding bill by midnight on Friday, the government will run out of money and a shutdown would begin. So
will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stopgap government funding measure?
JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SESCURITY: With that I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his
desire in the need for a border wall. So I would suspect, you know, he'll do the right thing for sure, but I will -- I will suspect he will be
insistent on the funding.
JONES: So there you heard Secretary Kelly sounding pretty certain that the president would insist on border wall funding, but the president himself
sounded a bit less definitive about that in an interview he gave to the associated press. He told the AP, "I want the border wall, my base
definitely wants the border wall," but asked whether he would sign a bill that doesn't include that funding, he said, "I just don't know." So to use
one of the president's favorite term of phrase, "We'll see what happens on the border wall funding issue next week." I should mention that one GOP
source was on that conference call said republicans were still in negotiations on the final points of the spending bill and hoped to get it
on the floor Friday. Friday by the way is the deadline. Back to you.
KRIEL: Athena Jones.
Still to come tonight, right now voters in France are picking their next president. It's a tight race that could bring about seismic change.
And Cuba's humble, low-key film festival goes Hollywood. What's behind the new infusion of glitz and glamour still to come.
[11:22:06] KRIEL: More now on our top story, the French presidential election. The first-round voting is in its final hours now. Top issues
include immigration and even the country's EU membership. 11 candidates are in this race. The top two finishes are expected to go to a runoff on
May 7. Security is a top issue, as well. France has been under a state of emergency since 130 people were
killed in the Paris terror attacks of 2015.
Well, Joining us now live from Paris is Bruno Cautres who is the political scientist and professor of politics at Sciences Po. Thank you so much for
your time, Bruno.
Several news articles have intimated that France through this election is suffering from an
identity crisis. Do you agree?
BRUNO CAUTRES, POLITICS PROFSESOR, SCIENCES PO: Yes. Certainly. Obviously, it's not the only one issue, but it's certainly the case that
France since a few years is - the French politics is turning around a question of over immigration, identity, but obviously it's not the only one
question, the election was also talking a lot about the economy and about also ineuqlaity since France, but certainly it talks also about France and
EU, France and globalization, and France and this identity, yes. Certainly.
KRIEL: Let's talk now about security, Bruno. Terror struck France again and again. As well as the attack just this Thursday. We know that a few
months back in February a French soldier shot a man wielding a machete near the Louvre Museum in Paris. Last July, a man drove a large truck through a
packed street in Nice killing almost 100 people. November 2015, terrorists launched an assault across
Paris, at least 130 people lost their lives with hundreds more wounded. And in January that same year
the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, killing 12.
Now, that same day and another four people were killed when an attacker took hostages at a
Now, are all these attacks on voters' minds today as they head to the polls?
CAUTRES: Yes, certainly. Even if no one in the campaign really went back on the issue of the terrorist attack that we used to have in France since
Charlie, in particular, even if no one was clearly talking about that issue, I believe it was clearly in the minds of the voters.
If you look to the program of the candidates, most of the candidates are actually talking about increasing security forces, military budgets for
France, so obviously, even if it was not explicitly on the top of the agenda of the campaign, it was there in the back, and in particular in the
voters' minds. It is certainly that we could explain if, let's say, if Marine Le Pen was doing - is doing finally qualification
for the second round, certainly that security would be on the top of the minds of the Marine Le Pen voters certainly.
[11:25:09] KRIEL: And Bruno, the American president, Donald Trump, just tweeted. He called the French election, quote, very interesting. A
simple, but perhaps pointed message. And he did also tweet about that terror attack just a couple of days ago. Bruno, do you think that Donald
Trump sees as some would call it the Trump effect taking shape in France or is he at
least hoping to see that?
CAUTRES: Probably the American president would like to see that there is a Trump effect in the French election. And it depends on what exactly we
call the Trump effect. If we call the Trump effect, that election in France is going to show that also in France, leaders that are saying that
we should break the habitual way to the politics in France, yes, if Marine Le Pen is qualified for the second round, yes, obviously there would be
like bit like a Trump effect. But it is really something that we have seen in France before Trump, the Marine Le Pen in the French electorate and the
Front National in the French electorate actually started in the middle of the '90s.
Jean-Marie Le Pen in '88 was already getting 14, in '95 15, then in 2002 he qualified for the second round. The Front National was the winner of the
European elections in France. So it is before Trump, obviously.
KRIEL: And of course, the ramifications of this election, Bruno, extend far beyond just France, as we said here in the United States as well, and
to the entire EU. Just take us through what it means for the rest of the world.
CAUTRES: So, I think that that election is particularly scrutinized by the rest of the world, in particular among the European capitals we have seen
in France an amazing coverage of this election before that probably like much more than before.
If you look to what the Germans are awaiting, if you look to what the (inaudible) institutions are
waiting, they are clearly waiting that France is going to head about the European integration. It is more than ten years now that France is a
little bit in a national debate about the European Union since we had the referendum in 2005 and so the situation actually in France was dominant
more that we say is that the French public opinion, the French citizens, are disillusioned with the EU, but they don't want France to go outside
Europe. And there won't be a majority in France to vote for what they call the Frexit, that will be the French equivalent to the Brexit, no. The
dominant tonality of French opinion towards the EU is that EU should clarify its agenda, and in particular that we should get back to know what
is the direction of the European Union. But certainly there is not a majority in France to vote for France getting outside the EU.
KRIEL: Well, we do really appreciate your time and analysis, Bruno Cautres. Thank you so much. Saying to us that the dominance -- the
dominance on the minds of most French voters, security as well as disillusionment with the European union.
Of course, we are going to continue crossing live to Paris just as soon as we get updates on the story. And like most parts of the world, France does
have special rules that say what we can and cannot report about the elections as they are happening,
But they'll be lifted in less than three hours from now and CNN will be counting down to that with special coverage from Hala Gorani who is live
for us from Paris with expert analysis and in-depth reporting, all starting just before 7:00 p.m. London time, that is 10:00 p.m. over in Abu Dhabi.
We're going to get you up to speed with the latest world news headlines next. Plus, another American is now being held in North Korea. Just what
we know about his detention.
[11:32:53] KRIEL: In other news from North Korea, the secret state is detaining another American citizen. The Swedish embassy says that the man
was taken into custody as he was trying to leave the country. This is now the third American citizen in North Korea is known to be holding.
Our Ivan Watson has more from Seoul, South Korea.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: North Korea detained a U.S. citizen on Saturday morning. This information confirmed to CNN by a
diplomat at the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.
Sweden represents U.S. interests in North Korea since Washington and Pyongyang do not have direct diplomatic relations.
The deputy chief of mission at that embassy told CNN that this was a male who was detained
when he was trying to fly out of Pyongyang International Airport. She would not comment further on his case.
According to South Korea's news agency, Yonhap, this is a man believed to be in his 50s, an academic with a ver ycommon Korean surname, Kim.
Now, there are currently at least two other American citizens that are in detention in North Korea. One of them is a university student from the
University of Virginia named Otto Warmbeier. He was detained trying to fly out of the airport in January of 2016. He has subsequently been sentenced
to 15 years of hard labor after he allegedly tried to remove a political party poster from a wall of his hotel while on a tourist trip to
Another American citizen in detention is Kim Dong-chul who is facing 10 years of hard labor
for espionage charges. Now, it is not uncommon for the North Koreans to detain foreign citizens on their way out of the capital, out of the
international airport. In a best case scenario, a British BBC reporter Rupert Winfield Hayes was detained and interrogated for some ten hours last
year and accused of insulting the Korean people in his reports.
The latest detention of this unnamed American comes at a time of heightened tensions on the
Korean peninsula with North Korea vowing to conduct more banned missile tests and speculation that it may want to conduct a future nuclear test.
The U.S. has dispatched the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the region. It is currently engaged in naval exercises with two destroyers
from Japan off the coast of the Philippines, not quite in the Korean region just yet. North Korea has denounced the dispatch of this aircraft carrier,
and in its state propaganda, it has vowed to destroy the aircraft carrier with a single blow.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Seoul.
KRIEL: North Korea is only one of the challenges President Trump is facing. He's also getting blowback over his tough stance on immigration.
Millions of undocumented immigrants fear they could be deported at any moment, but that fear is not new.
CNN's Nick Valencia spoke with a family that was torn apart more than a decade ago.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's just after 6:00 a.m. in California, and like he does every day --
MICHAEL PAULSON, WIFE DEPORTED IN 2006: Oh, boy!
VALENCIA: Michael Paulson is rushing to get his three kids ready for school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need me to sign anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.
VALENCIA: Paulson is married but he might as well be a single dad. For the last 11 years his wife Emma Sanchez hasn't been home. In 2006 she was
deported to Mexico and their family was ripped apart. It's been the most difficult on her kids.
(on camera): What makes you upset about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That everybody else has their parents, both of them and I don't.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA (voice-over): Nearly 70 miles away on the other side of the border his mom, Emma Sanchez stresses, too. Countless sleepless nights without her
family have left her physically worn.
EMMA SANCHEZ, DEPORTED IN 2006: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: It hurts to know that my kids are growing up without me she says fighting back tears. I missed out their childhood, I missed their
birthdays. You don't need to understand Spanish to hear the pain in her voice.
SANCHEZ: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: Here in Tijuana, Sanchez helps direct a group called Dreamers Moms, a collection of deported mothers fighting to get back to their
families in the U.S. Yolanda Varona founded the organization after she was deported in 2010.
YOLANDA VARONA, FOUNDER, DREAMERS MOMS: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: I hurt more every day, Varona says, wiping away tears, people think it gets easier with years. That's not true, she says. Alongside
Varona, Sanchez works with the mothers to deal with the despair brought upon by being deported.
Today they host a group of veterans who served in the U.S. military but were later deported. They're getting a spiritual workshop on healing
through meditation. It's one of the ways Sanchez says she can occupy her mind while she waits for approval to return to the U.S. She recently
completed a ten year ban for twice crossing into the U.S. illegally.
Back across the border, his mother's absence has been especially tough on 15-year-old Alex. He was old enough to remember when his mom was taken
VALENCIA (on camera): What do people not understand about the impact that deportation has on families?
ALEX PAULSON, MOTHER DEPORTED IN 2006: They're viewing us people as something, somebody, when they separate families it devastates them at any
age or any family member.
(voice-over): Hope is something the family counts on. Alex's father says it's usually all they have to keep from focusing on the fury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard. It's financially it's very hard. Not only financially but stress, a lot of stress on the person.
VALENCIA: But there is a light at the end of the tunnel with her U.S. ban now over, Sanchez has reapplied for legal entry. She could be back within a
SANCHEZ: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: The fight will not end when I get back to the U.S., she says. The day children don't have to grow up without their parents, that she says is
when her fight will end.
Nick Valencia, CNN. Tijuana, Mexico.
KRIEL: When President Obama was in office, he was known as the deporter- in-chief. But he was responsible for an historic thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba. There, a week-long film festival wraps up today until
this year it was called the Poor Cinema Festival, but that's changing a bit now that Hollywood's taken notice. Here's Patrick Oppmann.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The remote seaside Cuban town of Gibara is a stunning but usually pretty sleepy place. Most days here, someone
catching a big fish passes for big news except the one week a year when Gibara buzzes with activity as a movie festival brings in throngs of
visitors, including Hollywood stars.
BENICIO DEL TORO, ACTOR: There's great filmmakers that have come out of Cuba that we don't know.
So you know, maybe they'll reach out, you know?
Maybe we'll be able to get a little bit out of Cuba and not just Cuba getting ideas from all over the world but also the Cuban ideas will also --
it's like change.
[11:40:12] OPPMANN (voice-over): Gibara is a long way from Cannes or Sundance. There are more horse-and-carts on the road here than cars. But
what the festival lacks in glitz, it makes up with pure Cuban soul.
When the film festival began in 2003, organizers celebrated the town and the Cuban movie industry's humble means by calling the event the poor
cinema festival. But times are changing. Renewed ties with the U.S. have lured big-budget Hollywood pictures like the latest installment of the
"Fast and Furious" franchise to film in Cuba and the --
OPPMANN (voice-over): -- Netflix series, "Four Seasons in Havana." Jorge Purgoria (ph), the star of that series, an organizer of the festival, says,
starting this year, it will no longer be called the poor cinema festival but the International Cinema Festival to reflect the changes taking place.
"When this festival began, it was motivated by low budget movies," he says. "Now we want to widen the spectrum of movies that participate and the
attendance of movies here and let the quality determine the movies."
The festival's name may have changed, if not the antique equipment on hand.
OPPMANN: It may no longer be called the festival of poor cinema but resources here are still pretty scarce. A screen hung from a tree turns a
public park into a makeshift movie theater.
Despite the threadbare conditions, though, many here are convinced that Cuba has captured Hollywood's attention.
OPPMANN (voice-over): How will the increased attention impact places like Gibara?
Just go there, says this Hollywood star.
DEL TORO: But no, I think it's great. I think people here are like -- they'll know how to handle it. They'll know how to handle the change.
You've got to have faith in people.
OPPMANN (voice-over): Gibara has resisted change for a long time.
But maybe now this small Cuban town is ready for its Hollywood moment.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Gibara, Cuba.
KRIEL: The little film show that could.
Well, there's not just great stuff to watch there, there's also plenty up on Facebook.com/CNNconnect. But be sure to check that out for much more on
Connect the World. And for much from me, head over to Twitter. Catch me ther @RobynkrielCNN.
Well, I'm Robyn Kriel, that was Connect the World. Thank you so much for joining us this hour. Up next, CNN's John Defterios taking us for a spin
around cyber security in this week's Marketplace in the Middle East.