Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Fears Over Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine; Russia Expands Size of Armed Forces; Growing Outcry After Nicaragua Detains Bishop; More Details of Mar-a-Lago Search to be Released in Hours; E.U. and U.K. Brace for a Difficult Winter; Power Outages Across Cuba Become Increasingly Common. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 26, 2022 - 10:00   ET




PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): The IAEA and other international organizations must act much faster than now.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: The Zaporizhzhia plant fully back online but yesterday's outage has fears increasing over the facility that generates 20

percent of Ukraine's electricity. The hardships brought on by this war not going away anytime soon, both inside Ukraine and, indeed, around the world.

With energy bills expected to rise by as much as 80 percent, for example, here in the U.K.

Over the next two hours we'll have reporters across Ukraine looking at what exactly is going on at Europe's largest nuclear power plant. Plus an energy

crunch being felt from Europe to the Caribbean. What you need to know from here in London, from Paris, Havana and beyond.

I'm Becky Anderson, live in London for you where the time is just after 3:00 in the afternoon. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, we begin with the volatile and very dangerous situation at Europe's largest nuclear power plant. A literal power struggle that has become a

source of global concern. Ukraine's nuclear operator now says one reactor at the Zaporizhzhia plant has been re-connected to Ukraine's electric grid

and is building back capacity.

Now this comes a day after the Russian held plant, which supplies about a fifth of Ukraine's electricity, was totally cut off for the first time in

its history. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for attacks in and around the plant, as well as for these outages. The head of Ukraine's nuclear

power company says Moscow is trying to connect the plant to the Russian grid system. And in doing so, creating a very dangerous situation.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says backup generators were all that stood between Zaporizhzhia and catastrophe.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): If the diesel generators hadn't turn on, if the automation in our staff on the plant had not reacted after the

blackout, then we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident. Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation

one step away from a radiation disaster.


ANDERSON: Frightening stuff, isn't it? Ukraine's nuclear operator says that the plan is now getting its own power from what is a repaired line.

Meantime, officials in Kyiv say that demilitarizing Zaporizhzhia or the surrounding area is the only way for Europe to, quote, "peacefully sleep."

The head of the IAEA says he hopes to lead a mission to the plant within days.

The loss of external power may be the biggest, but not the only threat to that nuclear plant. Sam Kiley explains.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A fireman tests for radioactive fallout. It's an essential ritual repeated several

times a day. It's safe for now. But the war and the shelling that puts this city on the frontline of a potential nuclear disaster continues.

(On camera): The pattern over the last month has been that this city has been hit mostly at night. But in the last week, the locals are telling us

that there's been regular attacks during the daytime more or less at exactly this time of day, around about 3:00.

(Voice-over): While communications are reestablished, an officer explains where the shelling is coming from pointing to three locations close to a

Ukrainian nuclear power station captured by Russia in March. And now Ukraine's top nuclear official is raising fears that Russian trucks which

had been parked inside the plant's turbine hall could be laden with explosives or cause an accidental fire.

PETRO KOTIN, ENERGOATOM PRESIDENT: And if it happens, then there will be real major fire in a turbine hall and after that, it can actually impact

the reactor building.

KILEY (on camera): Essentially are you saying that that risks a meltdown of the reactor?

KOTIN: Yes, could be because, you know, you cannot stop this fire if it goes.

KILEY (voice over): There's been a renewed exodus of civilians living under Russian occupation in the towns close to Europe's biggest nuclear power



Safely in Ukrainian held Zaporizhzhia, they consistently told CNN that Russian troops were bombarding locations close to the plant shelling that

Russia blames on Ukraine.

The Internet is switched off before it starts, probably so that nobody can film it. But we already know that if the internet is down, we should expect

Russian shelling in half an hour.

Amid international demands that Russia leave the nuclear power plant and demilitarize the area, the Russian shelling from the power station has

increased. This is the result of one of 70 artillery and rocket strikes here in the last 24 hours, officials said.

The shelling every day, every day it just happened to hit here. Good thing no one was at home or there would have been casualties, she says.

Russia has responded to international demands to demilitarize the power plant by adding troops inevitably increasing the chances of a disaster

whether by accident or design.


ANDERSON: That was Sam Kiley reporting from the Zaporizhzhia area.

Joining me now is Ross Peel. He's a nuclear security expert at King's College, London.

When you heard that news yesterday of the outage, just how concerned were you? And what are the risks at this point?

ROSS PEEL, NUCLEAR SECURITY EXPERT, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Well. thank you very much for having me. The risks at this point are quite concerning.

We're looking at a situation where a disconnection from the energy grid limits the ability of a plant to run its safety and security systems. And

if we are going to have that happening again, this places the plant at the risk of using only one single source of power for those, which is its

diesel backup generators. With only one single source of power for those critical safety systems, we are in a deeply concerning situation.

ANDERSON: What if those fail?

PEEL: If those fail then we are looking at a situation where the nuclear fuel starts to heat up and heat up and heat up within the reactors and

within the spending fuel cooling pumps. And the result of this is that, if that becomes too hot, it can cause the fuel to melt, it can cause fires, it

can cause even explosions, and the potential outcome of this, if the safety systems aren't able to prevent it, is the release of radioactive material

into the atmosphere.

ANDERSON: We hear much talk from experts that what they see happening at the moment is Russia weaponizing electricity. Can you just explain what you

believe is going on at this plant? And how difficult it would be, for example, leaving aside these incredible risks of some sort of catastrophe

there. If indeed this is Russia looking to try and divert electricity from the Ukrainian plant from there on to the Russian grid, what would that


PEEL: Well, to do so is not an easy process. The Russian and European grids are incompatible, and grids are not a simple system where you just put the

electricity on and take it off again. You have to manage that and stabilize the grid, and manage how the load behaves. And so this would involve

disconnecting Zaporizhzhia from the European grid, there will be a period of changing equipment and making adjustments before it could be connected

to the Russian grid. And during that time it would certainly be running solely on those diesel backup generators that I mentioned before.

ANDERSON: And that would be a real risk. So you can see why it is that as experts try and assess what's going on there, with very little information

coming out of that plant, that there is these reports that it could be Russia weaponizing electricity. What's the worst-case scenario here?

PEEL: The worst-case scenario I would say is that we have that release of radioactive material and that could come about in a number of ways. For

instance, through direct shelling on to the plant itself which would cause a release of material from its containment structures, or it could be

through an indirect route whereby the cooling systems are unable to operate through lack of power, lack of water, or through other means that will

ultimately cause that fuel to overheat and eventually breach forth from its containment in some way.

ANDERSON: The IAEA says that they hope to get access to the plant. This is in U.N.'s weapons inspectors. Within the next few days. I spoke to one of

the advisers for the president, he told me that he thought that that would probably happened within the next few weeks, but let's see. I mean, you

know, clearly, Rafael Grossi has talked about having spoken to Kyiv and to Moscow, and getting commitment from both that his weapons inspectors can

get in.

Having got in, what will they be looking for at this point? Because these plants are huge, aren't they? What's sort of access will they need and how

efficient and effective will one group of inspectors be at this point?


PEEL: Well, if I may I'll say that the IAEA are not really weapons inspectors, they're more civil nuclear facility inspectors. And what they

will be doing is likely going forward to complete themselves a safeguard inspections primarily. So is all the nuclear material that we expected to

be there still there, still in its original form? Has any of it been removed or modified or taken away?

They will also likely be taking -- and seeking to take with them international experts a nuclear safety and nuclear security to go and

perform assessments of that nature. That will be subject to agreement by both Ukraine and Russia. What they will be looking for is any kind of

evidence of what has been happening at the plant, inspecting the conditions that the workers are operating in, the conditions of the safety and

security systems, and so on.

They are very used to doing these kinds of inspections. They do them very regularly all over the world on a constant basis. So I believe they are

fully capable of doing it. What is the barrier to them doing so is the inspection and indeed the possibility that when those inspection dates are

set, that evidence might be removed in the interim.

ANDERSON: Absolutely right. My mistake in talking about weapons inspectors. You are absolutely right. This is a safeguarding exercise and those

inspectors will be going in to do exactly as you described. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

PEEL: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, the war shows no sign of ending anytime soon. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is making his military even bigger. He signed a

decree that will add some more than 130,000 soldiers. Now this means that Russia will have more than two million people in its armed forces. A recent

U.S. estimate puts Russian losses in Ukraine at up to 80,000 troops killed or wounded.

Let's bring in David McKenzie, CNN's correspondent live from Lviv in western Ukraine.

Many of those soldiers being recruited in rural areas of Russia, many will be in the frontline as it were, for fighting in Ukraine, David, where tens

of thousands of soldiers have reportedly lost their lives. Just what sort of theater of war would these new young Russian recruits be arriving in at

this point and where in the country?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very brutal frontline right now, Becky. All across the northeast to the east and

into the south more than 1,000 miles. And many of those soldiers have dug into foxholes, dealing with relentless artillery barrages on both sides. So

if the Russian side or the Ukrainian side sends more soldiers they're going into a fulcrum of a very bitter and static conflict at this point.

But there is a sense that the real victims that we have spoken to over the last few days and weeks have banned the civilians. More than 5,000 killed

according to the U.N. and that's certainly an undercount. Hundreds of children also have been innocently killed in this war. And I have to say

some of the images you're about to see may be disturbing to some viewers. But it's important to show the real impact, the sorrow of war.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): In Bucha, they lived in peace, had family and names. But they died in a war that no one here wanted. Behind each number, an

unknown victim. A life worthy of Father Andre Havelin's (PH) prayer.

Each person had their own life, and each had one and only one, he says. It's not just bodies that we are burying. For us these are people who lived

once. People to whom the Russians brought suffering and death.

Bucha is now synonymous with the horrors and brutality of Russia's war of choice. When their army retreated, their burned out tanks were cleared.

Bucha seems almost normal now. Almost, but not. Not here, not anywhere in Ukraine. Because they are still discovering the dead.

The police forensic team gathers evidence at a shallow grave. They say a man was shot as he fled. They found more than 1300 bodies in greater Kyiv


Everything changed on February 24th, says Kyiv's police chief. They invaded our country and started killing people. It's very difficult for any country

to prepare for this because you never expect such cruelty.


The cruelty, the shared weight of loss for Oleksandr is hard to comprehend. This is where the shots were fired, he says. And where the car was on fire.

His family, like others, tried to flee the Russian advance. They came to Bucha from Ukraine's war in the east. They were happy here. Madvia and Klim

(PH) were inseparable. The boys, a joy for their father. But as they escaped Bucha, he says a Russian armored vehicle struck their car again and

again. Everyone died, only Alexander lived.

My oldest would have been 10. My youngest 5, he says. It's very hard. Justice much be restored. Everything must be done to destroy the Russians.

To destroy the nation completely. Probably you can't say that. But I want this whole nation to not exist at all. So that there would not be so much


So much grief, too much for any nation to bear in a war that still shows no end.


MCKENZIE: Well, Becky, I mean, as a father myself I really struggle to hear the story of Oleksandr and his family that have been wiped off the face of

the earth because of this conflict, because of an APC that fired upon what was clearly a civilian vehicle. I mean, he's a broken man. And you look at

the devastating impact of this war on so many civilians, so many Ukrainians we've met just in the last few weeks, and, you know, you can get caught up

at the geopolitics of all of this. And who's got what sort of artillery and who's getting weapons from whom and how effective that is.

But really, you speak to the people, everyone is touched by this conflict in this country. Many people in Russia as well, of course, and you really

feel the pain throughout this country. A pain that who knows how long it is going to last, how long this war will last -- Becky.

ANDERSON: David, as a mom I share your feelings, you don't have to be a parent to understand or to try and understand what that chap is going

through and you make a really good point there. And a reminder to all of us that this is a war that is killing people as war does.

David, thank you.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, we are in an energy war with Russia. That's a declaration from the E.U. And we will take a look next at what

Brussels plans to do about it, and we get more details about why the FBI searched Donald Trump's Florida home. The affidavit behind that search will

be released very soon.



ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the stories that are on our radar right now. Pakistan's climate minister says that 33 million people

have been impacted by unprecedented floods in recent weeks. Since mid-June, more than 930 people have died, and many more have lost their homes. One

province has requested a million tents to shelter those in need.

Well, the U.S. and Iran may be inching closer towards reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran's state-run news agencies says Tehran is reviewing

Washington's response to what was an E.U. draft aimed at ultimately restoring that agreement. Former U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally

withdraw the U.S. from that accord in 2018.

Another American politician is visiting Taiwan in defiance of Beijing, which considers the island a renegade Chinese province. Republican Senator

Marsha Blackburn met with the President Tsai Ing-wen, voicing Americans' support for the self-governing island. Blackburn is not representing the

Biden administration in Taiwan.

Outcry is growing over Nicaragua's detention of Bishop Orlando Alvarez, a vocal critic of President Daniel Ortega. Alvarez was arrested along with

several other clergymen last week, amidst escalating tension between the government and the Catholic Church.

Stefano Pozzebon has the very latest for you.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A cry of pain rising from the pulpits across the Americas, from Costa Rica to Miami.

SILVIO BAEZ, AUXILIARY ARCHBISHOP, DIOCESES OF MANAGUA (through translation): Let the prisoners go. My thoughts go to my brother, Bishop

Rolando Alvarez, who is wrongfully detained and all the priests behind bars in Nicaragua.

POZZEBON: The detention of Bishop Alvarez, a Nicaraguan clergyman and a critic of the government of Daniel Ortega, is just the latest in a yearlong

crackdown against Ortega opponents, the media and now the church. Catholic radio stations have been shut down. Nuns, including Mother Theresa's

Missionaries of Charity, expelled.

Before arresting the bishop, Nicaraguan police stood guard outside his residence for almost two weeks, preventing him from leaving. The government

accuses Alvarez of subversive actions and says that the detention was necessary. Calls to release the bishop and seven other clergymen arrested

with him are mostly coming from abroad. That's because at home, dissent can lead to arrests.

The tension between the church and the government began in 2018, when the clergy acted as mediator during an intense wave of anti-government

protests. In the years since, Ortega has moved against opponents with brutal efficiency. In 2021, he won a fifth presidential mandate almost

unopposed. His main rivals either jailed or exiled. The church, critics say, is the only institution standing up to the government after political

parties and the free press have been quashed.

Martha Sanchez (PH) knows this reality from experience. She used to work for a television station run by Bishop Alvarez.

MARTHA SANCHEZ, JOURNALIST IN EXILE (through translator): He asked me to be in charge of the news because the government censorship on traditional

media was rampant. He saw our role as much more important than just spreading the gospel.

POZZEBON: In 2019, Sanchez says that she had to flee the country due to government repression. She now lives in Costa Rica. When she found out the

bishop was being arrested, she was sad but not surprised.

Pope Francis has expressed concern for the church in Nicaragua and called for dialogue to resolve conflicts in the country. But for those in exile,

like Gabriel (INAUDIBLE), a Catholic teacher who says he served prison time for taking part in the protests, the Vatican just seems too distant.

GABRIEL, CATHOLIC TEACHER (through translator): Holy Father, we pray you, step in.

POZZEBON (on-camera): Bishop Alvarez is currently under house arrest in Nicaragua's capital, Managua. The question now is, will he appear in front

of a court, or like so many who dare to question Ortega's rule, will he be forced to leave the country?

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.



ANDERSON: In less than two hours, we could learn more about what went into the decision to have the FBI search Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. A judge

has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to release the affidavit that was used to justify that search. The affidavit will be redacted to protect

witnesses. And so as not to reveal the scope of the investigation. The judge said it was in the public interest to learn more about why the FBI

searched the home of a former president.

We will of course bring you more on that affidavit as we get it. Let's bring in CNN's Jessica Schneider. She covers the Justice Department for us.

How heavily redacted do we expect this affidavit to be? And what do we expect to learn?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So that's the big question, how much of this will actually be blacked out? How much of it will be in

public view? You know, when the DOJ argued before the court about a week ago, they had said that to put this out into the public sphere, they would

need to redact most of this. They said all redactions would sort of make this affidavit devoid of any content.

However, the judge in that hearing really pushed back on this and said, I think there is more that can get out there, maybe took a look at this. And

that's what the DOJ has been doing for the past week. They were going through and they submitted their proposed redactions just before noon

yesterday. Remarkably, it was pretty swiftly that the judge, less than four hours later after that, said, OK. This is satisfactory to me. It is going

to be released by today at noon. Just about 90 minutes from now. Maybe even sooner.

So what you might be able to draw from that is that maybe the DOJ is now able to release a bit more than they originally thought during that court

hearing one week ago. How much will be redacted? We'll soon see. The government did say that this was quite a lengthy document. That this

contained a lot of information about multiple witnesses that they had spoken with throughout this month's long investigation that is still

ongoing into these classified documents that were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago over the period of several months.

What the judges has said in this two-page order yesterday is that he absolutely agrees with the DOJ, but there will be multiple items that the

public will not see, that will be blacked out. That pertains to the witnesses, the agents and government investigators involved in this entire

process. Grand jury information, the investigation sources and methods. So there will be a lot about this investigation you will not see.

But, you know, the DOJ may be able to release some new nuggets of information here. Procedural, perhaps some substantial, because as the

weeks have gone on, we've gotten a lot of information from Trump's teams. The DOJ might have gone back and said, well, the former president and his

team has already released some information, so maybe now we can unseal it from the affidavit, unredacted.

So we're waiting to see, Becky, but you know definitely pins and needles as everyone waits to see what will be in this affidavit. How much of it will

not be blacked out.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's the what, isn't it? What is inside? What was the effort being made at Mar-a-Lago and why? The teams will be on it, I know you and

your team are waiting on that affidavit to be released and it's as soon as you get, of course our viewers will get a sense of what is there. Thank you

very much indeed.

Just ahead, millions of U.K. households will see their energy bills rocket. What that means in day-to-day living is up next. Plus, power outages in

Cuba on the rise. How the blackouts there are disrupting the lives of thousands across the island.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. It's half past 3:00 here in London. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, it may be late summer across Europe. The continent already bracing for what could be a winter of discontent and discomfort. Over the global

energy crisis, the E.U. says it will convene an urgent energy meeting as soon as possible over what it calls its energy war with Russia. Politicians

are under pressure to do more and to do more now. French President Emmanuel Macron is courting Algeria as Russia's war in Ukraine accelerates European

demand for North African gas.

And actual gas prices in the global market were already rising post- pandemic. But Russia's war in Ukraine has driven significantly higher. And that's translating into more household hardship, not least here in Britain,

for example. The U.K. energy regulator or Ofgem announcing the price cap on household energy costs will rise by 80 percent. Eight-zero percent.

CNN's Scott McLean joining me here in London.

Sort of what the energy crunch means when you're living there on a day to day basis? And, Scott, just to explain this price hike and the sort of

impact that they are likely to have.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And certainly, Becky, this is not a problem that is unique to the U.K. by any stretch of the imagination. You

mentioned those E.U. energy ministers holding these emergency meeting, this emergency meeting to discuss this energy war with Russia.

I want to show you a chart that really illustrates where we're at. So this is electricity prices in Germany which is the black line and then France

which is the redline. Now these are wholesale prices so the numbers themselves won't mean much to you, but if you look at where we were in

August, around 100 euros or so, now look where we. Over 1,000 just a year later. Germany is right behind there, about 900. So you can see just how

much the price has gone up. In some cases about 10 times what it was a year ago.

I also want to tell you about what's happening in the U.K. I should explain before that this energy price cap, it is not a maximum of what you could

possibly pay in energy. Instead it is a cap on the amount of profit that the energy companies can actually charge over and above the wholesale

price, and the other cost that they're allowed to charge for and that they have to obviously take into account.

So I spent the day with a calculator in my hand, trying to figure out what the impact would be on the average British household. And what I found is

that average British household in this country after tax makes about just over $3,000 per month. Obviously rent, food, this makes up the lion's share

of expenses. But there's also big ones for transportation, TV, phone, internet, water, clothes and of course energy.

So this is $349 is with a new cap in effect which will take effect in October. This is what an average household with average usage will be

charged as a maximum. But if you add all this up and subtract it to your median income, you don't actually have a whole lot left over. You have $904

per month. And there's a lot I didn't take into account here, a broken car, a birthday gift for your mom or your friend or whoever.

I also did not take into account anything resembling fun. Things like eating at restaurants, going on vacations, smoking, drinking if you're into

that. I actually looked up, Becky, the official government estimates on what people spend on these types of categories. We're talking about around

$400 U.S. per month on things that are fun for people. So there is not a whole lot left behind for people.

Obviously this is going to have a much bigger impact on poor households, a lot less on richer ones. Richer households make about twice this, poor ones

make about half. So now we're talking about only $1500 per month.


They poor is one-fifth of households, they're underwater before we even think about energy costs. If their bills look anything like this, the

energy price obviously just makes it that much worse. Now the government, they do want to do something about it. So they have announced a lumpsum

payments that will add about $40 or so per month, for poorer families, they might get an extra $120. But Boris Johnson is not going to be prime

minister after September 5th. It is most likely going to be Liz Truss, who is framing herself as sort of the true conservative in the Conservative

Party leadership, braced to become prime minister.

She is proposing scrapping something called the Green Light which will add another $15 or so. She also wants to build upon what the government has

already been doing, adding a little bit more. But she hasn't said how much so that's a bit of a question mark. She says that she wants to lower taxes

and also increase production of oil in Britain. Good in the long term, not so good in the short term -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Scott, thank you for that. That's an awful lot of information there being crunched in those numbers. It's taken some time to do it. But a

really substantive explanation there of what is going on.

The energy regulator here in the U.K. explains the increase in the price cap this way.


JONATHAN BREARLEY, CEO, OFGEM: Now when I look at the prices in winter, they are already 15 times where they normally are. Now if that were to

happen in petrol that would mean it would cost us 400 or 500 pounds just to fill up our car, so the cost of energy are changing dramatically. Now

unfortunately we do need to reflect that cost and that is why the price cap is changing today.


ANDERSON: That's Ofgem head there.

Like a blow upon a bruise, the global energy crunch making life even harder than it already was. In Cuba which is already dealing with major economic

issues, we've checked in regularly with CNN's man in Havana, Patrick Oppmann, back again today.

Just explain what's going on.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, you know, you were just talking about the impacts of those same global phenomenon on richer countries in

Europe. You come to a much, much poor country like Cuba, that already has so many economic problems, and the impact on regular Cubans has been simply



OPPMANN (voice-over): For many Cubans this is now their life, waiting in the sweltering heat for the lights to come back on. In this neighborhood,

people say the power is regularly cut by the government amid growing energy shortages for up to 16 hours each day.

It's very difficult, really uncomfortable. When it's time to go to bed you can't, he says. The mosquitoes eat you alive. The heat doesn't let you


Power cuts are nothing new here, but Cubans are now dealing with the worst outages in decades as a perfect storm of economic calamity. A drop in

tourism and skyrocketing inflation batters the island.

The Cuban government blames increased U.S. government sanctions for the outages, but lack of investment in the state-controlled energy sector and a

massive fire that destroyed Cuba's main oil storage facility have brought the crisis to the brink.

As the lights go out more frequently, Cubans fed up with the outages have taken to the streets in rare protest that the government usually does not

allow. Cuba's president says protesters need to be patient.

Some people take advantage of the situation to shout anti-revolutionary slogans, he says. Others take part in vandalism and throw rocks, and break

windows and that doesn't resolve the situation.

But government officials admit there is no quick solution to the outages.

(On-camera): The power outages have a major impact on people's lives. When the lights go out food spoils more quickly in the summer heat. People can't

go to work, go to school, and they often have to sleep outside on the streets where they're exposed to mosquitoes that carry diseases like

dengue. At this point there is no indication that the energy crisis is going to get better anytime soon.

(Voice-over): Wendy is nearly nine months pregnant and most nights has to sleep on the ground outside her house. She says out loud what many here are


The food spoils and there's no food in the stores. There is nothing, she says. This is going from bad to worse. I want to leave.

Already, a record number of Cubans have left the island in the last year. For those that remain, they know there are more long nights like this one

to come.


OPPMANN: And Becky, you know, you talk to so many Cubans now and they say, what that young woman said to me on camera, which is quite rare, that they

are planning on leaving. They're doing anything they can. That's why we're seeing record number of Cubans leaving. Over 1 percent of this country in

the last year has gone to the United States. And that is driving that immigration.

You know, Cuban government officials say they hope by the end of the year to have this worked out, these energy problems, that they're investing in

renewable energies, and other types of fixes they should have made a long time ago to these really old power plants but for many here it's just too

little and too late.


ANDERSON: Patrick Oppmann is in Havana. Thank you, Patrick.

Coming up, tennis icon -- a tennis icon prepares for her final tournament. We now know who Serena Williams will play at the U.S. Open in what could

also be her final match.


ANDERSON: Opponent announced, what is very likely Serena Williams' final tennis tournament. She will play the world's 80th ranked player in the

first round of the U.S. Open in New York next week. And if she gets a win in that round, well, I was going to say it gets a whole lot tougher, as it

would as you move through a tournament. Who is she up against?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS: Well, the first round, world number 80, Danka Kovinic, they've never played before. I hope it's going to make a splash.


DAVIES: They've never played before but Kovinic says, you know, what a moment, looking forward to this.


DAVIES: And I think everybody is in that, do we -- you know, does she want to win or she knows if she few loses that means Serena will carry on the

fairytale. But if not, she's -- the second round if Serena does get through, she's playing second seed Annette Kontaveit, so it certainly would

get a whole lot tougher. But, fascinatingly, Serena is very relaxed heading into this. She's just run the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. We know

she's starting to think about what's next. She said that was on behalf of Serena Ventures, but what we do know it is going to be an unbelievable

occasion. Monday night. We suspect under the lights.

ANDERSON: She really is one of the greats. Thank you.

"WORLD SPORTS" after this. I'm back with the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD after that. Don't go away.