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One World with Zain Asher
CNN Looks Into The Devastation In Derna Left By Earthquake; U.S. President Biden Speaks On Autoworkers Union Strike; Stagnating Economy Drives Young Cubans To Enlist In Russian's Invasion Of Ukraine; Zain Asher Sits Down With Chef Kwame Onwuachi To Talk About Food And Life. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired September 15, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Libya in limbo. Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: We're not there yet in Libya. We don't know the extent of the problem.
ASHER: Sludge and rubble. The U.N. says the situation in Libya could be much worse than we know. Also, ahead.
SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: They waited till the last week to want to get down to business. Shame on them and what they're saying is
ASHER: Standing their ground, American auto workers take to the streets in a historic strike. And later --
UNKNOWN: You're not just cooking for perfect seasoning. You're going to share something with someone. Yes, or life can --
ASHER: From the mean streets of New York City to one of the most elite kitchens in the world, how Chef Kwame Onwuachi beat the odds. Hello
everyone, I'm Zain Asher in New York, and this is ONE WORLD.
The U.N. Aid Chief says the extent of the unfolding disaster in Libya is still unclear. Days after catastrophic flooding in the east smashed
buildings and swept entire neighborhoods out to sea, witnesses say the Libyan city of Dona resembles a war zone. Thousands of people were killed
when two dams burst during a torrential rainstorm.
Just take a look at a fraction. This is just a fraction of the damage that's been left behind. Some 10,000 people are still reported missing.
Beyond the staggering numbers, volunteers say they're overwhelmed by the scale of human disaster in Derna, where aid is slowly beginning to arrive.
I want you to listen now to what the U.N. Aid Chief is saying about the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: This is a tragedy in which climate and capacity has collided to cause this
terrible, terrible tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is on the ground in the devastated city of Derna. She filed this report a short time ago.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've all covered wars, natural disasters before, but none of us have seen anything like this. I mean, we
drove into Derna late last night, and even during nighttime in the dark, you could still see the destruction. And now, during the day, this is just
utter, utter destruction. And it really feels like you're walking through a war zone. Like massive bombs had gone off here. And this is what people
here would tell you.
You know, you've got several cities along the Libyan coast that were impacted by storm Daniel, by the flooding over the weekend, but nothing
like this, what people are describing here as this catastrophe. What happened in Derna, of course, as you know, is those two dams that burst and
you have the flood waters that swept through the whole of the city, washing out entire buildings, neighborhoods, homes, infrastructure, families, and
brought it all down here to the sea, to the Mediterranean.
I mean, this is just -- it's very difficult for us to really move the camera around because of the communication issues -- the communications
were disrupted in the city. But looking into the sea, what we see here is people's lives in there. You see homes, you see door frames, windows,
furniture, clothes, cars, everything. And they are still right now searching for dead bodies, bodies that are still washing up on the shore
six days after this tragedy happened.
ASHER: The International Committee of the Red Cross says that it is sending additional supplies --we're talking medicine, food, first aid kits
and some 5000 body bags to Libya. We'll of course keep you updated on that story.
All right, a judge has ordered former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales to stay away from player Jenny Hermoso. The restraining order was issued
after a hearing in Madrid where Luis Rubiales answered a criminal complaint of sexual assault and coercion. Of course, this all stems from that
unwanted kiss on the lips, Rubiales gave Hermoso at the Women's World Cup.
The judge has not yet decided whether or not the case will go to trial. Journalist Al Goodman is in Madrid for us. He's covering this story. So,
the court essentially grants a restraining order here that just means that Rubiales will not be able to be within 200 meters of Jenny Hermoso. What
more can you tell us, Al?
AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Zain. That's 200 meters or 650 feet. The prosecution had asked the judge for a 500-meter order, so he shaved that
down. But the prosecution did get that Rubiales cannot contact Hermoso in any way during this investigation. The judge also denied a request from
Hermoso's lawyer that the court protectively embargo the assets of Rubiales. That was scotched.
Now, Rubiales and his lawyer came down this street going into the courthouse a little before
mid-day hearing. They said nothing on the way in, and after the hour-long hearing, they said nothing on the way out.
But the prosecutor, in a statement, said that, in the courtroom, Rubiales denied the charges of sexual assault and coercion and answered the
questions from the judge, the prosecutor, and Hermoso's lawyer. Hermoso's lawyer did speak to the media outside the court, saying that the whole
world basically saw that this was a non-consensual kiss.
And that's what the legal team would try to show. This kiss came after Spain about four weeks ago on a Sunday, won its first ever Women's World
Cup, beating England in Sydney, Australia. The game was televised. This was the awards ceremony right after. So, people -- a lot of people saw that
This case has been seen as really a changing Spain, as old attitudes, as they're described about sexual relations, are matching up or butting up
against a younger generation that want gender equality. Now, the judges -- the judge at the national court here will now have to investigate and see
what really happened.
He's looking at video. He'll be checking with Australian authorities to see what's in their legislation. This court is not unaccustomed to doing these
kinds of difficult investigations, money laundering, organized crime. They've got this one on their plate right now. Zain.
ASHER: It's been quite a traumatic month for Spain's women's football team. When you think about everything that's been in the headlines, obviously
sexual assault when it comes to the Luis Rubiales kiss and then also gender pay gap disputes. I mean, it's -- the conversation has been literally about
everything other than these women's talent on the pitch. How do they bring the focus back to what they do best?
GOODMAN: Well, that issue that you mentioned is right front and center this afternoon because the new coach of the team, the male coach who led
them to the World Cup, has been fired as part of this shakeup. And the new coach, a woman who had been an assistant coach on the team that won, was
about to present a few hours ago the list of Spanish women players who were going to be on the team for the next games, which are going to be in Sweden
and Switzerland coming up starting next week.
But a large number of the women players on the winning team have said they do not think there have been enough changes at the federation with the
ouster of Rubiales and the coach -- with Rubiales, I' sorry, his resignation five days ago after he said he would not resign and the ouster
of the coach.
They said there haven't been enough changes. So, the federation has postponed that announcement of who will be representing Spain in a game
that's supposed to be next Friday against Sweden, which is still considered the top team in the world.
So, it is an issue that's ongoing right this moment, and it's not worked out. The players are trying to take a stance. They really want to see some
deeper changes in the federation and not just the ones that have happened so far. Zain.
ASHER: All right, Al Goodman, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right. Any minute now, we expect to hear from U.S. President Joe Biden on
the strike by union workers at the big three automakers. Workers at these three auto plants walked off the job at midnight -- a GM plant in Missouri,
a Ford plant in Michigan, a Stellantis plant in Ohio.
Among their demands a 40 percent pay raise over four years, restoring cost of living increases and traditional pension plans for all workers. Limits
on temporary workers and forced overtime and protection against job losses as production shifts to electric vehicles. Ford's CEO says the wage
increase alone would put his company out of business. The head of the union says the car companies have had plenty of time to negotiate a deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAIN: They've had our economic demands for six weeks. We've told them from day one, we expect a bargain now, not wait till the end. They waited till
last week. We had to file unfair labor practice charges on two companies to get them to come to the table. So, they waited till the last week to want
to get down to business. Shame on them and what they're saying is complete BS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: He did not mince his words there. Vanessa Yurkevich joins us live now from Detroit. So, Vanessa, I know that you spoke with the CEO of GM,
Mary Barra, but from the perspective of the unions, I mean, Mary Barra is a woman who makes what, $29 million a year?
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Yeah.
ASHER: And you have the CEOs of the sort of big three auto companies fighting against these pay increases for workers who are essentially making
minimum wage, who just want to make what school teachers and firefighters make. That is the perception of the union workers. The optics -- when you
think about the salaries of some of these CEOs, the optics do not look great.
YURKEVICH: Yes, certainly. You know all three CEOs of these big three automakers make tens of millions of dollars in salary and they have seen
pay increases anywhere from 20 percent to 34 percent over the last four years. And that is what the union has been sort of pointing to as the
reason why they are asking for 40 percent in wage increases for their workers. They just want to keep up with their CEOs.
But you know, negotiations really fell apart yesterday in the last few hours. We heard from Shawn Fain at 10 P.M. last night -- the UAW President,
that he had already figured out where these targeted strikes were going to be. When the clock struck midnight, the workers at three plants around the
country were already on the picket lines.
I spoke to the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barr, just a short time ago, and asked her why she thinks negotiations fell apart and why they couldn't
reach a deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: Well, I think that's a question you probably need to ask the UAW because we have a very compelling offer on the
table. I'm very frustrated because I think we had an offer that resonates with our people. It's a historic offer. Gross wage increases of 20 percent
that compound to 21 percent, maintaining world-class healthcare.
There's several aspects, as well. But I think one thing that's most important is job security. And you know, we're in an incredibly exciting
time in this industry right now as we make the transformation from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles and General Motors is well-
poised. We have a pipeline coming. And so, when we look at that and we look at how this could, you know, delay that, it's at a critical juncture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YURKEVICH: So, General Motors saying there that they believe that they have submitted a historic offer. Ford and Stellantis also saying the same
thing. The union saying that's not good enough. We know that the two sides will not be negotiating today. The union president, Shawn Fain, will be
holding a rally with Bernie Sanders a little later today at 5 P.M., and we are awaiting President Biden, his remarks on this historic strike. 4
He's going to have to tow the line between making sure that the economy is stable and that the doesn't have a ripple effect down the road. But of
course, he's a pro-union President and has supported unions for decades now. It'll be interesting what he has to say and no doubt workers and the
automakers will be listening. Zain.
ASHER: Yeah, he actually predicted that they wouldn't be a strike and of course, you know, there is one we are expecting to hear as you point out
from Joe Biden any minute now. We will, of course, bring that to our audience as soon as that happens. Vanessa Yurkevich, live for us. Thank you
All right, Kenya's President is in San Francisco to meet with top tech executives and enhance trade relations with the U.S. William Ruto's visit
comes as Kenya's fuel prices hit a record high as he marks his first year in office. Fuel prices jumped as much as 20 percent overnight, sparking
absolute outrage in Kenya. President Ruto was elected partly on his appeal to, you know, to appeal, rather, to poorer Kenyans, branding himself as a
leader who understood their challenges.
CNN's Larry Madowo joins us in Nairobi. Now, I mean, this is interesting. You know, this is the guy you and I have talked about this, Larry. He
branded himself as the "hustler-in-chief". His whole messaging was like, look, I'm just like you, you know, I'm just like you. I'm for the common
man. He appealed to ordinary Kenyans, especially those who are struggling financially.
And then he comes into office. And one of the first things he does, albeit, you know, because the economy was struggling, is raising taxes. And that's
meant that ordinary Kenyans have struggled to pay for basic goods. Just walk us through how the perception around President Ruto has changed over
the past 12 months.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Zain, and we talked about this when I spoke to President Ruto shortly before he was
elected, he said, I'm the "hustler in chief". And that message resonated with Kenyans who felt that he wasn't the son of a dynasty. He didn't come
from politics or money. And he essentially pitched Kenyans on, I understand your struggles.
But as soon as he came into office, he removed the fuel subsidy, which saw an immediate increase in fuel prices. And that obviously has an effect on
the cost of other basic commodities. And after that, as the shilling has continued to weaken, the cost of living has increased in the country. On
top of that, President Ruto's government has introduced new taxes and levies like the housing levy, which is very unpopular. You saw the
opposition ride -- rally around a cost of living protest --
ASHER: Larry, I'm so sorry to interrupt you.
President Biden speaking now.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, I've been in touch with both parties over -- since this began over the last few weeks and over the last -- the
past decade. Auto companies have seen record profits, including the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of UAW
workers. Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers.
Just as the Treasury Department has released a report pointing out that the most comprehensive report ever dealing with how unions are good for both
union workers and non-union workers and the overall economy. Unions raise workers' wages, they said, incomes, increase homeownership, increase
retirement savings, increase access to critical benefits like sick leave and childcare, and reduce inequality, all of which strengthen our economy
for all workers.
That's because unions -- unions raise standards across the workplaces and entire industries, pushing up wages and strengthening benefits for
everyone. That's why strong unions are critical to a growing economy and growing from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. That's
especially true as we transition to a clean energy future, which we're in the process of doing.
I believe that transition should be fair and a win-win -- excuse me -- for auto workers and auto companies. But I also believe the contract agreement
must lead to a vibrant, made-in-America future that promotes good, strong, middle-class jobs that workers can raise a family on, where the UAW remains
at the heart of our economy and where the big three companies continue to lead in innovation, excellence, quality, and leadership.
Last night, after negotiations broke down, the UAW announced a targeted strike at a few big three auto plants. Let's be clear. No one wants a
strike. Say it again. No one wants a strike. But I respect workers' right to use their options under the collective bargaining system. And I
understand the workers' frustration.
Over generations, autoworkers sacrificed so much to keep the industry alive and strong, especially the economic crisis and the pandemic. Workers
deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create for an enterprise. I do appreciate that the parties have been working around the clock. I --
and when I first called them at the very first day of the negotiation, I said, please stay at the table as long as you can to try to work this out.
And they've been around the clock, and the companies have made some significant offers. But I believe they should go further to ensure record
corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW. Let me say that again. Record corporate profits, which they have, should be shared by record
contracts for the UAW. And just as we're building an economy of the future, we need labor agreements for the future. It's my hope that the parties can
return to the negotiation table to forge a win-win agreement to continue our active engagement. I'm just -- I'm deploying -- dispatching two members
of my team to Detroit, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling, both of whom have been involved up to now, to
offer their full support for the parties in reaching a contract. The bottom line is that autoworkers help create America's middle class. They deserve a
contract that sustains them in the middle class. So, thank you very much. That's all I'm going to say. Thank you.
REPORTER: Mr. President, what -- have you been directly involved in the negotiations? Should Hunter get a pardon?
(LIVE COVERAGE ENDS)
ASHER: All right, President Biden speaking there about the strike that is happening right now. The UAW is on strike in the United States. That means
GM, General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, all on strike. The President delivering quite a pro-union address, I thought, talking about the
importance and the role of unions in terms of fighting for the working class, reducing inequality, and ensuring fair living wages for auto
workers, as well.
He did say that the contract agreement does need to be fair to both sides, especially the workers. He pointed out that, look, nobody wants a strike,
nobody wants a strike, but the workers do deserve a fair share of the profits and, of course, the importance of labor agreements, as well. All
right. We will have much more news after the break. Don't go away.
ASHER: All right, let's talk about the twin disasters that we've witnessed over the past week in North Africa. Of course, I'm talking about Morocco
and Libya. Both in the past seven days have seen each devastating disasters. Last Friday, you'll remember a magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck
Morocco's high Atlas Mountains, killing at least 2900 people. Then on Monday, an intense storm and flooding in Libya burst two dams that nearly
wiped out the city of Derna.
Doctors Without Borders says at least 5000 people there have lost their lives, with thousands more missing. Morocco and Libya are, of course, both
in northern Africa, not too far apart. But their ability to respond to these crises have been very different. Libya has two rival governments.
Derna is in the eastern part of the country, and that's run by Commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army. Infrastructure across the
country is crumbling, and you've also got the political turmoil, too. International aid has been very slow to arrive, as well.
But it is a very different story in Morocco. The main hindrance to helping earthquake victims there has actually been the ability to reach them,
because the epicenter of the earthquake was in remote mountain villages. I want to throw now to Nada Bashir, who's in Marrakech, with more.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: It took days for the winding mountain roads leading to Teletnyakoop (ph) to be cleared. Debris from the earthquake
making it almost impossible for aid workers to reach this small town. But a week on and it has become a hub for humanitarian aid. Two days after the
earthquake struck, Dr. Zuher's (ph) team arrived from Casablanca. But it's not just physical wounds that they are treating.
Some of these people have lost their entire families. Children come and tell us that their parents or siblings have died, Dr. Zuher (ph) tells me.
Sometimes the emotional trauma these people have faced is even worse than their physical injuries. In this town, the crumbling remains of life before
the earthquake are a constant reminder of all that has been lost. Homes, livelihoods and loved ones, all gone in an instant.
Across Morocco's devastated mountains, there are countless stories of tragedy. Few people have been untouched by death and there are towns like
this one which were cut off for days but amid the stories of destruction, there are also remarkable stories of survival. Abdulaziz Rougi (ph) is the
head nurse here in Teletnyakoum (ph). He rushed to the local midwife's residence with a glimmer of hope, only to find that the building had
So, this is where he found midwife Maryam (ph) and you can still see her pillow. He saw her head beneath the rubble and he began digging himself and
pulling her out. Alone and in the dark, Rougi (ph) says he prayed that Nurse Maryam, a colleague he considers to be Mike's sister, would survive.
She begged me not to leave her, Rogui (ph) says, and I promised that I wouldn't leave her alone. Nurse Maryam (ph) did survive, and though shaken
and with no clinic to operate in. Rogui tells me she delivered two healthy babies the next morning.
This town, like all those affected in the earthquake, will never forget the tragedy of September 8th. So far, the death toll has climbed to nearly 3000
people and while there has been an outpouring of support not only from the Moroccan people but also from the international community, the road to
recovery for this country will be long.
ASHER: That was a story from Morocco. Let's get a broader view of these two disasters. We're joined live now by Hossam Al-Shakwari. He's the
regional director for the Red Crescent in North Africa. Thank you so much for being with us.
I mean, it's sort of strange to say this, but in a way between both countries, Morocco, of course, will fare better in the long-term just
because of the political situation in both countries. When you look at what's happening in Libya, how hard is it when you have a disaster that
coincides with conflict?
HOSSAM ELSHARKAWI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, IFRC, NORTH AMERICA AND MIDDLE EAST: And it coincides with climate change and severe weather and so on. You end
up with a perfect storm for much suffering and the tragedy that is unfolding. Yes, there are similarities between the two events in terms of
damage and needs, and there are key differences between the two events on how we respond to them as responders and humanitarians and medical teams
and so on. And that is what we are balancing now.
Libya, largely an urban destruction, tsunami-like with the water and the mud sweeping away 25 percent
of a city of 200,000 people. And the water recedes and the mud is being cleared. And now we're dealing with the aftermath of the fear of cholera
and so on.
And of course, the trauma of the people affected, the psychological trauma that can last a lifetime for both disasters, for people that have lost
everything, including loved ones. And the rebuilding. And the reconstruction is always top of mind for people.
Immediately what they think, I want a home, I want a roof, I want my home, I want to go back to my home to retrieve my, some of my belongings, to see
what survived. That's absolutely natural. And we see that on both fronts. That's a human thing to do. And we have to enable that as responders
because that's also about people's dignity and preserving it even in such extreme conditions.
With Libya's conflict, which you have alluded to, of course, is a factor. Aid is beginning to come in. In our Red Cross, Red Crescent family at the
International Federation, many Red Crosses and Red Crescents from around the world are approaching us now with support. We have launched a $10
million assistance, emergency assistance package for Libya, an appeal, and we've released a million dollars for them to respond, and many others are
So, flights are beginning to come in. Access will get better every day. Contrast that to Morocco where you have constant aftershocks, three today.
And that tends to stop everything, also reshape the land. Roads that may have been cleared yesterday are no longer clear today. And you're always in
that race against time. Mountainous communities, treacherous roads -- in Morocco, we rely a lot on helicopter assets in this phase as the roads are
being cleared. That is not required so much in Libya context. Y
ASHER: Yeah, I mean, just in terms of -- I mean, for both countries, but especially Libya, the distribution of aid, access to Derna, I mean, all of
these things, of course, complicated by the rival governments and the sort of complicated political situation on the ground there. But Hossain al-
Sharqami, we have to leave it there. We are out of time, unfortunately. But thank you so much for joining us today.
ELSHARKAWI: Thank you.
ASHER: All right, this is a solemn day of remembrance in Birmingham, Alabama. It was exactly 60 years ago that a bomb ripped through the 16th
Street Baptist Church. Four black girls, one 11 years old and the others were 14, were killed in the blast.
An FBI investigation found four members of the Ku Klux Klan carried out the attack, though it took decades to bring them to justice. The bombing shook
America's conscience and led Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. Among the many people taking part in today's anniversary ceremony is Ketanji
Brown Jackson, the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. You just saw a video of her there speaking in the center. All right.
We'll be right back with more.
ASHER: All right, welcome back to ONE WORLD. It has been one year since a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman died in the custody of Iran's so-called
morality police. Her crime allegedly violating the regime's mandatory hijab law.
ASHER: Mahsa Amini's death sparked months of unprecedented nationwide protests, creating the greatest challenge to Tehran's hard-line government.
In decades, furious demonstrators, many of them young people, took to the streets, some of them burning headscarves, others cutting their hair in an
open act of mourning and defiance. But Iran's security forces cracked down hard using tear gas, clubs, and in some cases reportedly using live
ammunition on Anar protesters.
Others were beaten and detained. It's still not clear how many people were killed, but activists put that number at roughly around 500, with thousands
more arrested. Twelve months later, what, if anything, has changed? The uprising in Iran may have been crushed but the fight for freedom has not
been extinguished. Time now for the exchange and my conversation with Negar Mortazavi, she's an award-winning journalist and host and editor of the
Iran podcast. She joins us live now from Washington DC.
I mean, when you think about this past year, Mahsa Amini's death in custody triggered pretty much Iran's longest sort of anti-government protest since
the revolution -- since 1979. As I pointed out, we don't exactly know how many people were killed. We put the estimate, roughly around 500 but 20,000
at least were detained. When you look at this past year, when you look at this, you know, past 12 months, what exactly has changed for women in Iran?
NEGAR MORTAZAVI, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I would call this nothing short of a cultural revolution. Essentially, the killing or death
in custody of Mahsa Jina Amini was a watershed moment. Years and years of the state based on religious readings of what the dress code is and
patriarchy, centuries of patriarchy was trying to dictate to women what to wear, essentially limit their bodily autonomy.
And with the killing of this young woman, I think the country showed up to say, enough is enough. You can't kill us for how we dress. And we've seen
in the past year that women have been defying this mandatory dress code, women and girls, not just in Tehran, not just in big cities, in smaller
I speak to women, Anwen (ph), who are themselves shocked and surprised at images that they see in public in Iran, and essentially this collective
pushback to the state of the limits that they've set for the hijab. It's been a transformation that has been happening for four decades, but the
giant leap that they made in the past year has been very, it's basically been giant. And I don't think the state they want to, but I don't think
they're able to put the genie back in the bottle or push women back to before September of last year?
ASHER: I think what's really interesting is that if I remember correctly, I mean, we covered this almost every day on the show when it happened. And
I remember a lot of people saying, you know, this is the beginning of the end just in terms of the regime. You know, there's going to be a big
revolution, and things will absolutely change.
But what ended up happening was that the sort of desperation of the Ayatollah in terms of crushing the descent was so brutal that, you know,
the life and the energy that the movement had just began slowly to sort of dwindle. I mean are you -- did you predict that that would happen? Are you
I mean obviously now we are still seeing signs of defiance. Women, you know, in Tehran not wearing their headscarves occasionally, but the
momentum of the movement has really slowed down compared to obviously what we saw last year. What's your reaction to that?
MORTAZAVI: Well, I actually, to be honest, didn't see it as a political revolution and compassing immediate end to the regime. I know it was
disappointing to those who did. But nevertheless, that's why I call it a cultural revolution or I called it a feminist uprising from the beginning.
This is a serious legitimacy crisis for the regime. Let's not forget that. They're realizing, and that's why they're using the brutality, the
violence, and they have a monopoly on violence, on force, on guns, on arms, and they've used it very brutally because they realized that they're
dealing with a serious legitimacy crisis.
A big part of the population, the youth, doesn't want them and how they're doing things. But I don't think it's gotten to the level of an existential
crisis, meaning threatening their existence that they're imminently about to fall. So, I want to be careful when we call it -- when I call it a
cultural revolution. I think it's massive, the way women have pushed them back, throwing their hijab in the bonfire.
We've heard even from religious women, hijabi women saying, I choose to wear this, but don't force it on my sister, don't force it on my daughter,
on my granddaughter. I think it's a big cultural and social transformation that we shouldn't undermine. But at the same time, I think there was some
illusions that this is the beginning of an end and it's imminent, that I honestly didn't see from the beginning.
But nevertheless, I think if the authorities, if the state is not hearing this voice, this cry, this women putting their lives, their bodies on the
line, this will eventually be the beginning of an end, but maybe further down the road. I don't know how long, but at this point, I think the
legitimacy crisis is more of a seriousness than an actual existential crisis.
ASHER: All right and that's why you point out that it was more of a cultural revolution and you wouldn't go so far to call it some kind of
political revolution. All right, Negar Mortazavi, live for us there.
Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it. All right. Still to come, why Russia's turning to Cuba for new recruits to fight in Ukraine and
the problem that's causing. That story, next.
ASHER: The Ukrainian President is set to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, and during his visit to the U.S., sources tell CNN
Volodymyr Zelenskyy will hold discussions with President Joe Biden. But it's not clear whether they will meet in New York or Washington, D.C. The
last time both leaders sat down for talks was at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan in May.
In Cuba, conflicting messages from the country's leaders and its ambassador to Moscow about whether Cubans should join Russia in its fight against
Ukraine. The Cuban foreign minister says his government opposes it, but Havana's envoy to Moscow says Cuba's government is okay with legal
participation in the conflict.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports families whose loved ones are fighting with Russia are confused and caught in the middle.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Putin's invasion of Ukraine grinds on, the Russian war machine desperately needs to replace
soldiers lost on the battlefield and is increasingly casting a wider net. In places like Santa Clara, Cuba, where the stagnating economy drives young
Cubans to enlist.
This woman says her teenage son left in July to help Russia rebuild infrastructure damaged by the war, but was instead sent to fight. She fears
reprisals from Russia for speaking to the media and asked us not to show her face and to use a pseudonym. He has seen what you see in a war, she
says. He said he has seen the wounded, that at the hospital people arrived missing arms and legs. He isn't used to seeing that.
But Cubans traveling to Russia are running a risk back home. Cuban prosecutors said in September that police had arrested 17 people for
alleged human trafficking and planning to fight as mercenaries for Russia. In Santa Clara, this Cuban father tells me he hasn't heard from one of his
sons since he left for Russia over a month ago.
Another son contacted by shadowy online recruiters was arrested by Cuban police in September on suspicions he was also about to fly to Russia. He
was deceived, he says. I hope they take that into account and evaluate that because, like him, there are many more.
Cuba has not accused its ally, Russia, of being directly involved and it's not clear who these recruiters work for. Russia's Ministry of Defense did
not respond to CNN's requests for comment on allegations that Russia is using Cuban mercenaries to fight in Ukraine. But families of Cuban recruits
tell CNN hundreds more were enticed by promises of high payouts and fast- tracked Russian citizenship into taking up arms in a war on the other side of the world.
OPPMANN (on-camera): Small cities and towns in Cuba's economically hard- hit provinces have proven to be fertile recruiting grounds for Russia's war in Ukraine. A Cuban soldier fighting there can earn more in a month than a
doctor makes here in an entire year. But the families of those Cuban soldiers tell us they're not only worried about their relatives getting out
of the war alive, but what charges they could face if they return home.
A week after news of the arrest, an apparent reversal, perhaps indicative of the enormous influence Russia still wields in Cuba. Havana's ambassador
to Russia now saying that Cubans have to first sign a contract to, quote, legally take part in this operation with the Russian army. It's unclear
where that leaves Cubans already on the battlefield or those who want to return home.
This mother says her son's fate may already be sealed. He said, mama, I am on the front line in Ukraine. He's there where it's dangerous, she says.
They are there to shield the Russian troops. They are cannon fodder. Instead of improving their lives, the fate of the Cuban recruits now
appears to be tied to the ever more bloody struggle for Ukraine. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Santa Clara, Cuba.
ASHER: All right, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un is continuing his travels through Russia's Far East, following his high-stakes summit
Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Earlier today, Kim's armored train pulled out of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and we're not exactly sure
where he's headed next.
During his visit, he toured a plant that makes fighter jets. It's Russia's largest aviation manufacturing facility. According to the Kremlin, no
agreements were signed during Wednesday's meeting between Kim and Putin. And today, Mr. Putin said, Moscow will seek good, neighborly relations with
North Korea within the framework of international law.
All right, still to come, I am going to introduce you to a highly decorated chef who is bringing people together with his fusion of African and
Caribbean cooking styles. Meet Chef Kwame after the break.
ASHER: All right, the road to the top of one's field is, of course, never easy. But in the culinary world, it's even harder. I actually recently sat
down with Kwame Onwuachi, who started from humble beginnings to becoming one of the most decorated new chefs around. The Nigerian-American uses
African flavors to bring cultures and people together.
And I asked him about his New York restaurant, which I went to, by the way, with a very impressive address. Take a look.
ASHER: Chef Kwame, thank you so much for being with us.
KWAME ONWUACHI, CHEF AND OWNER, TATIANA RESTAURANT: Of course. Thank you for being here. Welcome to Tatiana.
ASHER: Thank you. I think what I love about your story is that it is somewhat an unlikely ending, right? The way you grew up, you were kicked
out of school, you joined a gang, but did you ever expect 20 years down the road that you would have this, you would have a Nigerian restaurant by
ONWUACHI: Yeah, I mean, probably not. Not in this location. I mean, you say 20 years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, I was selling candy on the
subway and he used to stop on the steps --
ASHER: Oh my God.
ONWUACHI: -- right in front of Lincoln Center just to rest. And little, unbeknownst to me, like, right behind me, I would have this premier
restaurant. I always thought I was going to do something great with my life, but I didn't know it would be this, per se.
ASHER: I like to sort of see those years as, you know, your searching years. You're still trying to find out who you are and what you want from
life, and you discover it through cooking. I mean, how does that love affair begin?
ONWUACHI: For me, it began with my mother. She's a chef, and I used to have to help out with the catering company that she operated from the Bronx
and it was me, my mom and my sister and that sure turned into a hobby and that hobby turned into, you know, a craft and you know that turned into all
ASHER: In an industry that doesn't really take African food seriously, how do you break down those barriers?
ONWUACHI: You know, for me it's honing my craft, trying to be a little bit better every single day. You know when I look at a restaurant, I think that
people you know remember a restaurant because of the food, but they come back because of the way you made them feel.
ONWUACHI: That's what I focus on here. You know, everything from the music to, you know, the service to -- to the sounds.
ASHER: To the music over there, yeah.
ONWUACHI: And I think everything from the full scope of the restaurant, it's all important. And I try to tell a story. I have a mantra that if a
dish tells a story, it has a soul. You're not just cooking it for perfect seasoning. You're there to share something with someone.
ASHER: You've used food as a bridge to connect different cultures, which I just think is so beautiful. Just explain the thought process when you
decide to create a goosey soup dumpling. Which is just bizarre, but in a good way. I mean, I'm confident in you. It's an amazing sort of fusion, but
just tell us, you know, the thought process.
ONWUACHI: I thought of how it would be a cool way to eat a goosey, you know, and I thought of like even like the dumpling wrapper, the texture is
kind of like fufu. So, you're eating it all in one bite. And I have stew at the bottom, as well. So, it's like, you're able to get quintessential
flavors of Nigeria all in one bite.
ASHER: This idea of, like, connection. And yes, we see it in the food but it's also mirrored in terms of the type of people you attract. I mean, it's
everybody. It's people of every race, every age.
ONWUACHI: Oh, yeah.
ASHER: It's business people. It's artists. It's musicians. It's everybody, right?
ONWUACHI: If you walk into here, it's a kaleidoscope of the human race. There's people in a durag and a tuxedo sitting next to each other.
Somebody, you know, just going to the opera and someone just hanging out. What's cool about it is you'll see the tables start talking to each other.
ONWUACHI: Yeah, throughout the meal. And it's a very communal atmosphere in here.
ONWUACHI: And I love it. I love how diverse this dining room is.
ASHER: And the kitchen is diverse, too.
ONWUACHI: And the kitchen is diverse, as well. All the leadership positions in the kitchen are women of color.
ASHER: Your dad is Nigerian. You were born in America, but your mom -- did the same thing my mom did and sent you back to live in Nigeria for two
ONWUACHI: She didn't tell me.
ASHER: Did it work, though?
ONWUACHI: I would say when I first came back, I was kind of worse.
ASHER: Oh, I've never heard that before. Okay.
ONWUACHI: Cause I felt like I had been through something, you know. But when I got older, I learned to like really appreciate what I have here. And
also, it pertained directly to my craft because we had to raise our own lifestyle.
ONWUACHI: You know, we had to cut, you know, palm kernels to make Banga soup, you know? So, there were lessons on so many different levels.
ASHER: In the restaurant business, though -- it's hard for everybody, right? Just think about how many restaurants closed and obviously what the
pandemic did to the restaurant industry. I mean, what does the future look like for a place like this, do you think?
ONWUACHI: I think the future is bright. I think the beautiful thing about Tatiana is, you know, to your point, people would not have thought that
this was supposed to be here. You know, I did. I did. I was like, it makes sense. But I hear the general public, you know, would be like, like this is
a crazy juxtaposition. And that's why restaurants like this are important because it lets people know that it's not crazy. You know, it can be
ASHER: We can normalize it.
ONWUACHI: It can be popular. And I think the more people take chances on places like this, then the more West African food, Caribbean food will have
a rise to the top.
ASHER: Because you have so many interests and you're very creative and you do so many things. I mean, do you see yourself pivoting away from this
business and moving more into other ventures?
ONWUACHI: No, I love cooking.
ONWUACHI: I think, yeah. I think for me, whenever it gets too tedious or life-consuming or absorbing, I need to like not take it so seriously.
That's when I'm actually sucking the fun out of it. It's ingredients. They want to be played with.
ONWUACHI: We're just serving dinner. It's not that serious. So I have to take a step back and then have fun with life again. And as long as I have
that outlook, you know, everything's going to be all right.
ASHER: And I think that advice applies to everything, advice not just for cooking but for life. Worth noting the reason why he named his restaurant,
I should have said this, Tatiana, is because that's his sister's name and his sister helped raise him, so it was an ode to her. That's why he named
All right, thank you so much for watching ONE WORLD. I hope you enjoyed that piece by the way. I'm Zain Asher. "AMANPOUR" is up next. You're