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Maduro and Guaido Hold Rival Rallies amid Blackout in Venezuela; Interview with William Spindler, UNHCR, about the Plight of Venezuelan Refugees; Future of Brexit Hard to Read; Turkish Airlines Turbulence Injuries Dozens; Manafort Faces Second Federal Sentencing; New Poll of Democratic Hopefuls. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired March 10, 2019 - 03:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Lights out in Venezuela as the power outage leaves the country in darkness for a third night. We talk to the U.N. Refugee Agency helping Venezuelans to flee the country.

With Brexit negotiations as murky as ever, CNN seeks clarity at a tarot card reading.

And he's not in the running yet but in a new poll, Joe Biden leads the pack of presidential hopefuls.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. Thank you for being with us.


VANIER: So much of Venezuela remains in the dark as widespread blackouts continue to cause hardships for millions. In Caracas, the capital, most of the city is still without power but on Saturday Caracas was a gathering for pro- and anti-government protesters. CNN's Paula Newton was there.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They have passion but, oh, so much frustration, too. Opposition protests were marred by confrontations even before they started. When they did, there was this. National guard troops blocking their way at every turn.

NEWTON: Opposition protesters were trying to walk all the way up this avenue. As you can see, they're blocked by the national guard. The national guard continues to move them down this road, trying to pin them in. Opposition protesters have taken to negotiations. They're trying to convince them they have the right to protest.

NEWTON (voice-over): Opposition leader Winston Flores embraces a national guard leader as the both agree to keep it peaceful. "Speak to them from the heart. They're Venezuelans like you," he says. "They don't have power. They don't have food. They don't have anything right now."

NEWTON: So you're just trying to keep this peaceful. You want this to stay peaceful.

WINSTON FLORES, VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER: Yes, I say to the people, stay here. (Speaking Spanish).

NEWTON (voice-over): Pacifism is what he means. Some protesters don't believe it will work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What dictatorship has go down (ph) peacefully?

You tell me one.

NEWTON (voice-over): Others want the U.S. military to step in.

NEWTON: Maduro says he's not going anywhere.

FLORES: I need the help of the (INAUDIBLE).

NEWTON (voice-over): When opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke, he, too, seems to side with those who say a more robust strategy might be needed, leading to some kind of a military mission.

The faithful, meantime, gathered at a textbook government rally in Caracas.

"The U.S. has no business being here in our country," she tells me.

NEWTON: This pro-government rally, President Maduro is looking for his own momentum, with his core supporters, he will broadcast this rally throughout Venezuela in places where the opposition momentum isn't quite as strong.

NEWTON (voice-over): The irony: as president Nicolas Maduro denounced what he called the "imperialist invasion," barely anyone saw it or heard it. Rolling blackouts continue through the city and the country. Barely any Internet, TV or mobile coverage, not to mention food, water or medicine.

On both sides, Venezuelans are at their breaking point with few daring to predict what could happen next -- Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.


VANIER: The crisis in Venezuela is so bad that, every day, families head to the border and seek refugee in neighboring countries. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, close to 3 million Venezuelans have fled over the last four years and many of them cross over into Colombia.

UNHR has opened its first shelter there near the border with Venezuela and let's talk to William Spindler. He is senior communications officer for UNHCR's operations around Venezuela. He's currently talking to us from Panama City in Panama.

You opened the shelter on Friday.

What have the first two days been like?

WILLIAM SPINDLER, UNHCR: We have already have about 200 people move there. These are some of the most vulnerable who will otherwise be -- have to sleep out in the streets. The place where the center opened, close to the border with Venezuela, is one of the areas that is receiving the most refugees from Venezuela.


SPINDLER: The services there are overwhelmed. There's not enough shelter for them. There's not enough room in schools for children. The hospitals also feel the strain of so many arriving, many in poor shape.

We realize this is a small contribution to a very large and very demanding need but -- but it is a way to support the response of the -- of the national authorities and of the local authorities and of the people of Colombia, who have been extremely generous.


VANIER: Do you have a sense of how many Venezuelans are crossing over into Colombia daily?

Any sense at all?

SPINDLER: Yes, we estimate throughout last year about 5,000 Venezuelans were crossing every day. So far this year, the numbers are lower than that. So -- so somewhere between 4,000 a day. So -- so the people are still -- still leaving Venezuela because of the situation there and going -- going -- many of them into Colombia.

Some of them are further afield from Colombia. They move on to other countries in South America like Ecuador and Peru and Chile and so on.

VANIER: About your center, tell us about the capacity. You say it is 350 and there are about 4,000 crossing into Colombia daily, is that enough?

Secondly, the shelter is temporary.

What do you expect people to do once their basic needs have been addressed?

SPINDLER: The response to the situation of the refugees has come mostly from communities. There are now many places like the center in Colombia. This is the first of its kind. So most people who are arriving are absorbed in cities close to the border but also in other cities in Colombia. And as I said earlier on, other countries as well. So --

(CROSSTALK) VANIER: When you say absorbed by communities, you told us earlier that people end up sleeping on the street because they have nowhere to go.

So absorbed by communities meaning they find shelter with friends and family?

SPINDLER: That's correct. Also civil society in Colombia has organized so that a shelter is provided for the most vulnerable. But clearly the demand outstrips -- the current capacity of the communities that are receiving the refugees. They are strained and that's why we have opened this center after consulting with the local authorities and the local community as a way to help relieve some of this pressure from the community. The people who will go to the center are some of the most vulnerable, like children and the elderly and the sick, people in the most desperate need.

But we realize that this is not enough. And more needs to be done. This is just one town (ph) that is preceding Venezuelans. There are many more in Colombia and throughout Latin America.

VANIER: William Spindler for UNHCR operations. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.

SPINDLER: My pleasure.

VANIER: The British home secretary is facing backlash after the death of an ISIS bride's baby. Shamima Begum left the U.K. as a teenager to join the terror group and had a baby last month in a Syrian camp and then was transferred to a hospital when the baby's health deteriorated.

The organization helping the mother said the baby died a few hours later. The British government has sought to revoke Begum's citizenship, a move spearheaded by home secretary Sajid Javid.

In a series of tweets, opposition MP, Labour MP Diane Abbott blamed Javid for the baby's death. She adds that the mother and son should have been brought to the U.K. Abbott writes that Begum would have faced justice and the baby could be saved.

Aid group Save the Children is also reacting to the child's death. Syria response director said, "All children associated with ISIS are victims of the conflict and must be treated as such," adding, "It is possible the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided. The U.K. and other countries of origin must take responsibility for their citizens inside Northeast Syria."

There's only 19 days left until the U.K. is scheduled to quit the European Union and still we still don't know what will happen.

For weeks, British prime minister Theresa May has been knocking heads with the European Union to secure changes to her Brexit deal that could win over her divided Parliament. Now British lawmakers are set to vote on her proposal on Tuesday. Bear with me as we follow what could happen. If it passes -- [03:10:00]

VANIER: -- Britain leaves the E.U. with a deal in place. But if the deal is voted down, then there would be another vote, this one on whether Britain should leave the E.U. with no deal.

If that passes, Britain would crash out of the E.U. with no trade agreement. But if it is voted down, there will be a final vote the next day on whether to delay Brexit.

Now if that one doesn't pass, OK, well, there's no script yet written for what would happen then. So if only there were a way to see into the future. CNN's Bianca Nobilo may have found one.



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain wants to know what is in the cards for Brexit. With only three weeks to go the outcome is now cloudier than ever as the future of Brits and business hang in the balance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I may have put it to her that because she used hardly mystic make (ph) when it comes to understanding where this place (ph), maybe it would be a good thing for her to do. There is a large amount of crystal ball gazing, a gamble which could cost growth and jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I don't know if there's a mystic mag (ph) or a prophet but there is a great fear among many, many people that what he described all that time ago is exactly what is happening.

NOBLES (voice-over): Next week brings hope of clarity as lawmakers will finally get another say on what course the U.K. will take. Theresa May will bring her deal back for a second time after it faced a crushing defeat of 230 votes.

With politicians and experts none the wiser to the outcome, we turn to a more unscientific way of reading the future.

NOBILO: What are the chances that Theresa May's Brexit passes next week?

MICHELLE, TAROT READER: Let's have a look and see what the cards indicate.

Well, it doesn't look like the deal is going to go through. You've got the Groundhog Day card here, the Knight of Wands reversed. You've got The Sun reversed, which is unhappiness and this shadow over the situation. And Judgment Heartbreak (ph) is a card of a clean slate or a transformation, a milestone.

NOBLES (voice-over): If her deal does not succeed, May has warned Parliament that the future may be even more uncertain.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Back it and the U.K. will leave the European Union; reject it and no one knows what will happen.

MICHELLE: It appears to suggest that with the cards that we're not leaving the E.U. on the 29th. There isn't going to be another referendum and yet there's a delay in terms of trying to renegotiate. There seems to be contradictions with the previous cards' indications. So I'm very confused by these cards.

NOBILO: That sounds like Brexit.


NOBILO: So what is on the cards for Theresa May?

Will her deal pass?

It is expected to be defeated but by a less humiliating margin than last time.

So how about a no deal?

That's unlikely because it has already being rejected by Parliament.

So what about an extension?

That is the least controversial but it might put options like a second referendum or even a softer Brexit back on the table.

NOBLES (voice-over): With so many unknowns and variables, only one thing is for certain, Brexit is now impossible to predict -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


VANIER: If this continues any longer, Bianca Nobilo will look into a crystal ball for her next trick.

The U.S. State Department says it is aware of new rules for American travelers and others heading to Europe. Beginning in 2021, citizens from 60 countries, including the U.S., will have to apply for a security authorization to visit most European countries. It is similar to a system already in place in the U.S.

After last week's deadly tornado, severe weather again across the southern U.S. has many on edge and thousands in the dark. We'll have a live weather update.

Plus early polling in Iowa offers a snapshot of Democratic presidential hopefuls so far. And the person at the top isn't even in the race. Stay with us.





VANIER: Sever turbulence blamed for dozens of injuries aboard a flight from Istanbul to New York. A Port Authority spokesman says the Turkish Airlines jet was less an hour from JFK International Airport when it encountered the turbulence. At least 30 people treated for bumps, bruises and cuts. One person may have suffered a broken leg.

Severe weather is once again hitting parts of the southern U.S.


VANIER: Another Trump White House will watch the U.S. Senate like a hawk this week, waiting to see which Republicans buck the president. The Senate could vote on a resolution disapproving Trump's declaration of a national emergency to fund his southern border wall. The White House hopes to keep Republican defections to a minimum and Mr. Trump vows to veto the measure if it passes.

Also on his radar is his disgraced former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He'll be back before a federal judge on Wednesday for sentencing in a case --


VANIER: -- he already pled guilty to. Last week another judge gave him almost four years in prison. That was another conviction. And that sentence was widely criticized as too lenient.

And because it is never too early to start thinking about the next election, the White House will be sizing up its potential Democratic rivals in 2020. Right now, the top preference among Iowa voters are former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and U.S. senator Bernie Sanders.

Peter Mathews joins us, he's a professor of political science at Cypress College.

Peter, good to talk to you again. A couple of different things on the radar. For the second time in as many weeks, the president's former campaign chairman, Mr. Manafort, is going to get jail time.

PETER MATHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: Yes. This time he faces a much tougher judge, Amy Berman Jackson. She won't be as lenient as Judge Ellis. He could get up to 10 years maximum. And it could be concurrent or more than likely consecutively. It would put him in prison for possibly 14 years. That's coming up and it's going to be a tough time this Wednesday for him.

VANIER: The president has been downplaying this. He has a pretty good argument I would say that those crimes that Manafort is going to jail for have nothing to do with the president.

MATHEWS: It is correct that it has nothing to do with the possible Russia collusion or conspiracy but the thing is that Manafort committed crimes, according to the evidence, and there was serious crimes. He had lied to the FBI. He had decided to not -- not tell the truth about things. He was convicted of tax fraud and evasion and all kinds of things that were very serious.

They could have had a maximum of 19 and 24 years but he only got four years. Remarkable.

VANIER: He hid foreign bank accounts, withheld money from the IRS, all of those things. Mr. Trump says is it doesn't have anything to do with me or my family and my campaign and certain got nothing to do with collusion.

I want to move on to the Senate which is going to vote on the president's national emergency declaration in the coming weeks.

This is going to be really uncomfortable for Republicans.

MATHEWS: It is. First of all, it's Congress versus the president. Congress should not be giving so much power to the president and some Republicans are going to vote with Democrats on this. Four Republicans are already committed to voting with Democrats. Ten more are on the fence and they don't want to give powers that Congress has in the Constitution to the president; the power of the budget, for example.

The president is seen by many of them, Democrats and Republicans, as having seized power by declaring an emergency without any basis in order to move money around and take money from the Defense budget and use it for this. That's the power that the Congress is supposed to have.

So it makes some Republicans worry, if they vote against the president, what will happen in the 2020 election?

That's where they're caught, between a rock and a hard place.

VANIER: From Donald Trump's point of view, even if the Senate votes against him and vote to shoot down his national emergency declaration, even if that happens, he could veto it and then it is the end of the story.

MATHEWS: It can be. It would be a real rebuke to him to have a bipartisan vote against his actions which is seen as unconstitutional by many people and the American people. Two-thirds are against his declaration of an emergency and that is pretty bad for his popularity.

Of course he can veto it and then both houses would have to pass it; two-thirds majority with a two-thirds majority. It would be very difficult to do. But the rebuke itself by having a simple majority voting against him to end the emergency is important. It is remarkable what happens to the president.

VANIER: Let's look at the poll I was showing a few minutes ago. This is the new Iowa poll on the Democratic presidential race. Now leading the race right now, even though he's not officially running, is Joe Biden, 27 percent.

Just behind him, Bernie Sanders 25 percent, and the rest of the field is really far behind. You see Elizabeth Warren there with 9 percent in third place.

Now how do you read these numbers?

Not only is it still early days but also this is not a nationwide poll, this is just Iowa.

MATHEWS: I'm not surprised by it, Sanders had a nationwide campaign and, in Iowa, he did well. He has a ground campaign there still. People know him. Vice President Biden was known by the whole country for eight years. That's why you have the two leaders.

The fact is that it is still early but I think they have a good chance, either one of them. Biden is undeclared yet but Sanders has a good chance. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire and gets some momentum -- here's something else.

Sanders reached out a lot to people of color and women, which he hadn't done in the first campaign in 2016. That's one reason he lost to Hillary Clinton. African American voters and women voters in the early primaries. This time he has reached out. He has a very diverse campaign committee --


MATHEWS: -- co-chairpeople are in the American congressman Ro Khanna; includes Nina Turner, the Ohio state senator; and other people from Puerto Rico, the mayor of Puerto Rico, San Juan, he's also a co-chair.

He's reaching out consciously to say I'm not running just for only a certain segment of the population. I'm for everyone in America based on progressive issues. So he has got a good shot and he's expanding his base. We'll see what happens.

VANIER: You think those numbers have staying power. Peter, thank you. Good to talk to you.

MATHEWS: Quite possibly. You too, Cyril. Take care.

VANIER: CNN is partnering with young people worldwide on March 14th for a day of action against modern-day slavery.

We're asking, what makes you feel free?

Hear what people everywhere have been telling us.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What makes you feel free?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What makes me feel free is having my own rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It being a girl being able to go to school and learn basic things and one day become a very independent woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What makes me feel free is having facing (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being who I am without any judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stating my opinions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to be is expressing myself without fear.

MAHERSHALA ALI, ACTOR: I believe what makes me teal free is being able to -- go for exactly what I want and to be the person I want to be and to be enfranchised and supported along the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is when I can vote and my vote will count. When I can finally have the power to choose people I want to preside over my activity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's being able to make your own choices without feeling ashamed of making those choices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What makes me feel free is expressing my opinion.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I'm skateboarding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being able to something I have a passion for nonstop. That's it.

VANIER (voice-over): We cannot allow freedom to be just for the few. It is and must be for everyone.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): We also have to stand up and protect it because freedom doesn't come for free.

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: My experience of the world is anytime and anyplace and anywhere people choose, they choose to be free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think what makes me feel free is the ability to help others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being able to pursue my passions without limitation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ability to for me to express myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me means having a vision for my life. (INAUDIBLE) among people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was enslaved from the age of eight to the age 14. I found solace by losing myself in my music because that is what makes me feel free.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: Please go ahead and add your voice to those. Share what makes you feel free, using the #MyFreedomDay. I'll be back with the headlines in a moment. Thanks for watching.