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Quest Means Business

U.S. Calls For Calm In Cuba, Condemns Violence Against Protesters; Boeing Woes Help Drag Down Dow 30. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 13, 2021 - 15:30   ET




ALISON KOSIK, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Alison Kosik. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.

Boris Johnson meets with social media companies after English footballers suffer racist abuse.

And we'll be live in Havana as the United States is still deciding what to do about sanctions on Cuba. Before that, the headlines this hour.



KOSINSKI: The U.S. State Department is calling for calm in Cuba, saying the U.S. condemns any violence against peaceful protesters. The Cuban

government is blaming street protests on U.S. sanctions that then candidate Biden pledged on the campaign trail to reverse.

Former president Trump rolled back President Obama's diplomatic opening, reinstated travel and commercial restrictions and named Cuba a state

sponsor of terrorism. Patrick Oppmann is live for us in Havana.

And these protesters, they risk lengthy jail terms to demand access to scarce food, vaccines and COVID vaccines.

Will any change come from this?

I'm talking about from the U.S. to reversing the sanctions.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, if anything it makes it harder for President Biden to lift sanctions because you have these images

of the Cuban government police, arresting en masse many of these protesters. Now they've cut off the internet to most of the island.


OPPMANN: So it will certainly make it much more complicated for Joe Biden to lift any of the sanctions. And it is not clear if he was planning on it.

Of course, Florida is a swing state. It's a hot button issue in Florida, where you have so many Cuban exiles, about what to do with Cuba.

And we saw, during the last presidential campaign, that Donald Trump said that Joe Biden was a supporter of socialism -- which is not true but,

certainly now, taking any measures that will appear like he's being soft on the Cuban government, which is cracking down so hard on the protesters,

will probably be very unlikely for him.

It makes it much harder for him to open the door to any kind of dialogue with the Cuban government.

KOSIK: What's the latest on the protests today and what's the sentiment you're getting from protesters, who are putting their own freedom on the


OPPMANN: I think the most fascinating thing about these protesters is there was really no leadership. It was not something that was planned ahead of

time. It started in one small town, early in the day on Sunday, because they have had Blackouts for about a week.

And people just got fed up. It is July in Cuba. It's stifling hot and people were trying of living without electricity. So they took to the

streets. What they did is something people here have never been able to do because they didn't have internet access on their photos until very


They streamed it live. They posted videos and photographs. That inspired people across the island to begin doing the same thing. Talk to any Cuban

and they will tell you about troubles and their complaints. It is a full- time job being Cuban during these really difficult times of the pandemic.

People are spending all day in food lines. They can't find medicine. They're not able to receive money from relatives. So the economy was

already ailing. And now its barely on life support.

Many people told me on Sunday they've had enough. What has happened since then, the Cuban government has begun arresting protesters. People are not

permitted to engage in anti-government actions, like what we saw on Sunday. That is what made them so striking.

And the government has shut down the internet so we can't see anymore if there are protests going on around the island. Certainly here in Havana,

when we have gone around to see what the situation is, there is a heavy police presence. They're arresting people who are not necessarily involved

in the protests but are considered to be troublemakers.

So while the Biden administration has told Cuba to go easy on the protesters, Cuba is saying they'll do whatever is necessary to safeguard

their revolution.

KOSIK: OK. Patrick Oppmann, live for us from Havana, Cuba, thank you.

British prime minister Boris Johnson has met with executives from social media companies. He's urged them to do more about the racist abuse on the

platforms. England football players who missed their penalties in the Euro final were targeted by trolls.

Salma Abdelaziz is in London with more on this.

Salma, great to see you. I'm curious to see what came out of these meetings.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're still waiting to find out exactly what has been decided on. But the prime minister now going to Twitter,

trying to urge that they do more to tackle this racist abuse online.

One government minister this morning on Sky News, one of the local channels, said if these companies don't do something, then we'll do

something to them. So tough language coming from the prime minister on that.

For Twitter's part, they do say yesterday they took down over 1,000 tweets. They suspended several accounts for engaging in this very horrific online

abuse against these players.

But I can tell you, Alison, there is a sense the prime minister is passing the buck here. That's what you heard from one of players, Tyrone Mings, who

directly responded to the home secretary, Priti Patel, on Twitter, accusing her of stoking the fire.

Why is that?

This government, prime minister Boris Johnson's administration has been accused time and time again of siding against a very tough, very angry and

denialistic (sic) backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement in this country.

So a lot of people feel like that, rather than tackle the issues within his own government, begin to acknowledge these cries for racial equality, begin

to acknowledge what's going on within the government to deny that systemic racism exists in this country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is passing the

buck, saying it is up to the social media companies to tackle something that is a much larger problem.

Although of course these social media companies have to act but something that is a much larger ill in society -- Alison.

KOSIK: Yes, this is certainly a bigger issue, not just where you are but around the world. Salma Abdelaziz, thanks so much.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash for the closing bell. Up next, "CONNECTING AFRICA." I'll see

you in just a bit.




KOSIK: Hello, I'm Alison Kosik. It's the dash to the closing bell and we're just two minutes away. The markets are near session lows in the final

minutes of trading. Investors are reacting to the latest inflation data. It shows the biggest increase in prices in 13 years.

Still many experts believe the jump is temporary and will subside as the economic recovery continues. That's keeping wider market losses in check.

New production problems with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner are dragging down the company's shares and the Dow 30. Boeing is off about 4 percent. That has

shaved more than 60 points off the Dow.

The company says it has to slow down production and postpone Dreamliner deliveries after finding a structural flaw with the plane. A similar issue

held up deliveries last year.

Take a look at the Dow 30. Boeing is trailing all the other components. A lot of red on the screen. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are trading lower.

That's despite both banks reporting multi-billion dollar profits in the second quarter.

The International Energy Agency says the global economic recovery could be derailed by an oil crunch. The Paris-based organizations has pointed a

finger at OPEC Plus, the cartel of oil producing nations and its partners, who failed to agree to increase output last week, despite rising demand.

Oil prices are trading higher, close to multiyear highs that they hit following the conclusion of that meeting. That's your dash to the bell. I'm

Alison Kosik. The closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street. And then "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER," that will start. See you soon.