tv Inside Story Al Jazeera April 18, 2021 3:30am-4:01am +03
the. this is just there and these are the top stories 3000000 people have now died of cover 19 around the world the experts say the true number of deaths is likely much higher. india has the highest number of new cases in the world more than 200000 have been reported for the 3rd day in a row. brazil has the world's highest daily death toll of just under 3000 the health ministry is urging women to delay pregnancy if possible it appears variants
are more dangerous to expectant mothers sons or m.p.'s he has more from bogota. you what worries the most health authorities in brazil right now are the effects of these new variants that you know they are more contagious and now they fear they're also more dangerous especially in groups of people that have so far been spared the worst depend in this case is young pregnant women also young people in general teenagers and even children and babies they still don't know exactly how it's affecting them but they are seeing the numbers of cases going up in these groups. the number of refugees allowed into the united states this year will soon be increased from its historic low president joe biden had initially agreed to limit admissions 215008 cap set by his predecessor but he faced criticism from his
own party and says the cap will be increased by mid may. the united nations nuclear watchdog says iran is enriching uranium at 60 percent purity confirming earlier statements from tehran it comes as members of the 2050 nuclear deal continue efforts to revive the agreement in vienna the head of the iranian delegation says talks are on the right track. former italian interior minister and deputy prime minister matthew selvi has been ordered to stand trial the right wing likud party leader has been charged with kidnapping for refusing to let a migrant ship dock in sicily 2 years ago ukraine is expelling a russian diplomat after one of its officials was detained in russia russia accuses alexander source the nuchal trying to obtain classified information ukraine rejects the allegation is calling it an illegal detention was the headlines the news continues on al-jazeera right after inside story.
the end of an era after 6 decades of a castro's cuba gets a new leader will it bring change what about relations with the u.s. this is inside story. hello and welcome to the show i'm sam is a than for the 1st time in 60 years cuba will not have a castro at the helm 89 year old the old castro is relinquishing his position as
head of the communist party under the banner of continuity and unity he says he wants to pass the baton to a younger generation raul and his late brother fidel began their leadership of cuba after the communist revolution in 1959 as he now heads into retirement role leaves the country wracked by the economic effects of coronavirus and u.s. sanctions and flickers of dissent well bring in our panel shortly but 1st this report from our latin america editor newman. not even the pandemic could prevent cuba's 8 communist party congress from proceeding exactly as planned but raul castro's confirmation that he was stepping down was nonetheless historic. my task as the 1st secretary of the central committee of the communist party of cuba concludes with the satisfaction of having done my duty and confidence in the future of the fatherland. nevertheless peculation that the last of the castro
brothers to rule cuba might retire from politics entirely was quickly to rest. i have reached the meditated conviction not to accept offers of any other top party position but i will remain in the party as one or more revolutionary combatant making my humble contribution till the end of my days. i will castro used most of his opening speech to repeat accusations that the united states is tightening an economic news around cuba to sabotage its companies and monetary reforms impose chaos and to provoke a social uprising. this was a thinly veiled reference to an increase in demonstrations and expressions of political dissent in cuba. coincides with an acute economic crisis and scarcity of primary goods. while i live i will be ready to continue fighting for the country
and socialism with the most strength than ever let's shout together long live a free cuba the. crown castro ended perhaps for the last time with the slogan pointed to his brother fidel. fatherland or death as cuba's communist party prepares to face an uncertain future without a castro at the helm you see in human al-jazeera. well at all gaston is in half an hour with more on how cubans are reacting to roll castro stepping down. what does raul castro's retirement mean for ordinary cubans all the sectors of the population are broadly supported by the government particularly those that lived through the huge improvements in health care education public safety that were ushered in by the cuban revolution in the 1960 s. but for 30 years this island has been living through a slow drawn out economic and social crisis and there's
a younger generation that's demanding more that we need only the 1st thing i'd change is i'd get rid of the blockade so that the spire of this country would change that although when the river aleutian trials to did a lot for society schools hospitals and there were other things that went backwards housing trade. for me the customer's legacy is that there is free education and healthcare and we should be grateful for that and i must tell you the limit really is that we have serious problems with freedom of expression most cubans are scared to express themselves because they are scared of reprisals all that the police have them in the streets although they take them away in a police car because they won't know the real problems we have cubans are living through the most serious economic crisis since the fall of the soviet union the silence been lashed not only by the pandemic but also by powerful new sanctions that the communist regime put in place improving the economy is the island's main political challenge but the mood here in havana is that more than anything any
cuban leader can do improve the economic future hopes and dreams run through improved relations with the united states. let's get the thoughts of our guests now joining us in washington d.c. philip brenner professor emeritus in the school of international service at the american university in washington d.c. philip is also the co-author of cuba liberate a 500 year quest for independence in have an a cube or we're joined by ambassador carlos right he's the former cuban ambassador to the european union and in. miami john suarez executive director of the center for a free cuba welcome to all if i could start with carlos so does the change in leadership ambassador carlos mean a greater chance now of political change in the country. well i think it's
you have to understand that this change in leadership has been going on for more than 10 years since the old castro to go over us president the 1st secretary of the queue in communist party he announced there would be a transition from what i call a generational differences general power there have been changes in a number of things for example the there is a new hue and constitution that was approved in 2019 which changed the system towards a more collective leadership kind of system but it remains basically the socialist type of system where the single party and and. basic control of food the political process by the cuban communist party but we have now a broader democratic debates on cuba it's a better fact all the main documents are today existing and this side and said the
pattern over cuba is what we were broadly discussed by the cuban says and ship and approved only after that discussion so we are we are in the middle of change in the broad sense of continuity from what. they were the 60 years of all of the 2 brothers being the major political figure more in let's bring john in john listening to that cuba has been undergoing political change for the last 10 years said the ambassador and now there is greater perhaps scope for discussion of change how excited are you. unfortunately not terribly excited and if we see what's taking place with dissidents one example is the santa signal movement the 27 n. movement that has been experiencing some severe repression over the last few months not much real gentlemen heard in vienna as us are going to the protests in november
by well started at least and the requests and also and also the agreement and also an agreement initially with the minister of culture for a dialogue which was then broken by the minister and i actually ended up physically assaulting some of these demonstrators a couple months later but to the ambassador's point of a transition what's been taking place has been a succession 1st from fidel to raul castro and i believe it may not be formal this time but a succession from raul castro to a new generation of castro leaders most prominently i'll handle castro spain why do i bring up his name there handle castro. then lieutenant colonel back in 2014 was the main person who negotiated the normalization of relations between the united states and cuba he also organized the visit of vladimir putin in that same time period and today colonel castro is part of the ministry of the interior continues
to be an important force this and so describing him as the one who's pulling the strings in cuba now roll castro even though he's stepping down will still have i believe a veto over what takes place in the country for some time whoever replaces him as the head of the communist party of the last name isn't castro will have to respond to both role and alejandro castro in what is actually done let me bring in ambassador for a quick come back on some of that particular on the point ambassador this is seems to be the widespread assumption among some at least that at all castro will continue to pull the strings behind only some strings behind the scene. i think he will turning to the elder person to be consulted on very specific and concrete the issues but the main lines of what the government is going to do are already in paper the guidelines for the transformation of the q economic system they cost to
do should they cause have dolly say sure now let me correct an idea that was thrown in by john alexander castro dots on a coup by any post and the structure of the government as a matter of fact right now i don't personally have talked to him he he s. wait the 4 of us simon says he was replace as head of the national security. council of the equivalent of the national security council of cuba so i think he is not in for me should get better information or i'll give john a quick can i give you 10 seconds for bring philip in yes very very quickly what i said was not formally in a position but one who exercises power the fact of the matter is it wasn't the s. canel or anyone in a high position who negotiated the normalization of relations between the united states and cuba it was lieutenant colonel allen 100 cross to respond to look those negotiations secretly from 2013 forward with the united states that indicates to me
a person in important position all right so i think you both made albeit informally good points on that one let's shift things a little bit and talk perhaps to philip about miguel diaz can now he becomes 1st secretary of the communist party but he's not an unknown in the world of politics he is in fact the cuban president what do we know about his political inclinations philip and where he might stand when it comes to political reform. well 1st it's very important to recognize that what's going on today and this weekend is a party congress and really. that raul castro was that he worked her assiduously to separate the party from the government and so that we killed the as can i was elected president 2018 and so there will be obvious continuity and the government the government in effect takes its direction from the
party but i think we can make too much of this change party leadership. so what do we know about me yes going out he was is an engineer he was a regional party leader and then was brought to a banner in an effort to rejuvenate the party in a. in the central part of the party and he was minister of higher education and then became vice president. essentially waiting in the wings become president as president he has been somewhat cautious although there have been some major changes already this year there in the one awaited change in the dual currency has been it now implemented are there under we give the us can know there is this new constitution it was raul castro had it the
constitutional commission but the is to now is the president and we have a new customer but as ambassador said cherice power. they and so those are a significant reforms he is someone who is not on it illogical he is someone who tries to do things almost like an engineer and sometimes that misses the human element i. i think that's the biggest complaint that will go he lacks a kind of charisma. of intuitive understanding of politics but it's not a media war that's going to be interesting to see then how he's going to relate to a younger generation ever can take this question back to ambassador carlos we saw protests in november do you think that this current leadership is going to be
able to manage expectations or do you think there's a chance we might see protests emerge once again. ok let me let me let me answer by this i think i think let's let's not put too much on this demonstrations they existed i don't think they were handled as they should have been handled i have been on the record as criticizing the way the ministry of culture and the ministry of the interior and the the demonstrations but this this are not you know huge events they are rather limited events you what what you have to focus on is on the thousands of cubans who are right now fight the the main battle that cuba has today which is bank wishing the pun d.b.i. they covered the 70 countries the world cuba is dealing with that there are certainly has its ongoing in the last but it also has allowed us to say working on
the when we look at the fact that the san isidro movement existed for water around 2 years. isn't something worth taking no toll of can we not say that there is at least the sanction of the younger generation that once more plurality in the country this is not a a microscopic phenomenon i am not saying it is said by crow scopic i am not saying that they are there are not being. wrong reactions to the to the diversity of q well what i am pointing out is that exactly that queue is diverse it's not the question of the government confronting sang it's either all or d $27.00 n. there are many other actors has a better fact for example when 27 and happen about 30500 direct roles joined the demonstration for a station in front of the ministry of culture when they tried the same thing again in january simply nobody appeared because they didn't have the reason to
appear because there have been a parallel discussion of which for example i have been a part. in which we are discussing these issues so what are the other hand you have all the people who are working to make the. disappear and these are supporters of the government obviously they are not against the government they are doing and here there is one example of the government doing something very well indeed working on deep on the on the basis health scientific advice on the basis of what the health people are telling them what they should do and all the other hand there was the the badly managed situation we sang you see that all and and and and it was the 7 n. . sides confronting each other the many sided many sided political situation in which everybody is putting something let me bring john
into the discussion fuel perspective on this point how easy is it going to be to keep power centered within the communist party when the leader is no longer the leader no longer has the the revolutionary credentials that legend status of the castros. well i think very simply while raul castro is still alive and also other members of the historic generation continue in high post in office they'll be able to do that the question will be as was the case with fidel castro's death if there be some sort of psychological break with raul castro's death and that's why you see this 10 year process of the norman club and the castro's trying to manage those aspect expectations with this succession model but i'd like to return very quickly to what the ambassador was saying about the pandemic the 10 demick and specifically the fact that there are questions
throughout the past 3040 years of how the cuban government has responded to past epidemics covering them up locking up doctors like dr does he then do also back in 9798 who warned about a gang get a demo and people were dying we also saw that there was a lack of reporting during a sikh epidemic in 20162017 we're receiving reports now that the situation in cuba with regards to cope in $1000.00 is much worse that's one bit than what has been reported with official numbers i think everyone is concerned about defeating code 19 globally and also within cuba but in addition to that the film is my government that has done better than some of the neighboring regional countries you know contain we don't know because they date 20162017 those claims were made about the epidemic that broke out in the region and then in 2019 we found out because of tourists who been affected by sica in cuba through contact trace studies that cuba
had done as badly as everybody else in the region so my suspicion is ok if we see that for example the dominican republic has 4000 dead that's probably much closer to what the accurate with the real numbers into but not the numbers provided to film and i think i can one by 1123 when i want to say i can hold up very briefly is that directions if you. many terry made by n.g.o.s and by the cuban diaspora has been blocked during this time of economic hardship in cuba and that's on the cuban government ok let me give the colace a chance to come in quickly. please in 30 seconds if you want to come back in on some of those points before we move to further well i think john has put some isolated incidents as the rule you know i leave it cuba i every morning at 9 o'clock i watch television because the head of head baby ology at the ministry of public health gives a broad information of what's happening how many cases where are the cases where
are their main incidents what the government is doing every day the working group of the council of ministers and like this meets and it's shown on television how do they discuss with the governors of the provinces so there is broad information leaked or national ok unity or and here john is confused see what he said in miami what the american government does the the american government has really increased the embargo the sank shows during the pun the bia that that should be condemned even by cuban americans and my ok you made a good point and i thought we were doing government we will have 8 thank you we need to move on let me try to bring philip into the discussion and ask the question whatever happens well 1st of all for the by so you are shaking your head do you want to get in on some of what was said before we move on. well i agree with president zuma right that john is taking a few incident every government under states that the response to cohen.
sometimes intentionally sometimes unintentionally there is no evidence that cuba is to liberally hiding what's going on in fact they have an extraordinary record in this case checking people and they've developed a vaccine that looks like maybe it helpful to the rest of the world ok and then we got we must absolutely now move on to ok 10 seconds john john i'll give you 10 seconds go then you get and then they have done this was ico they have done this would they get that done this with cholera in 98 in 2012 and been 262-7000 in terms of the kind of reporting we're all right you made your point jockeys from speaking out all right you made it home we must move on to talk about economics philip whatever happens with politics is it fair to say economic reform must absolutely be stepped up by desk i know the economy contracted 11 percent in 2020.
so cuba's largest problem is that it doesn't export but now it doesn't have a way of bringing in hard currency which is what you need in order to be able to buy on the international market. cuba imports 2 thirds of its food that's crazy now for agricultural country surrounded by fish and water it should not be importing much speech but at this point it needs to find ways of getting hard currency not only to change its agricultural system but to import food and so it's trying to do that it's trying to open up order foreign investment ending the dual currency will purge that it's now allowing cuban americans to invest all right we in europe we've got a minute left now sorry for that let me try and give the final minute then to the ambassador and also this question does cuba have an alternative to widening the
scope of private business and capitalism if it needs phillips had more foreign investment it has it has it house and model that was approved over the last 10 years the main problem has been implementation of the model because there has been kind of the has the faithful to communism if it's widening up to capitalism. it's going towards what both of the world has which he said makes that got to me here that that i think is a baby brother and we certain parts of the cuban style bridge when they think of socialists and that's only they old economy whereas what what all are experiments in china area down there will trade that you have to go to where it makes that corner we there ease a lot of upper edge in. the risk of what would would be to open up the private sector allow investment i'll private investment allow
private investment by cuban americans which was that was the. recently or are there is this resistance from the bureaucracy this sort of system from the party ideologues or go forward and it has been approved castro said it himself yesterday or i'm afraid he has beaten city on that and this is the problem we have already i'm afraid we are at a time so i know this is been a really interesting discussion i wish we had more time but we do need to thank all of our guests at this point look for perhaps to continue this in another show that's thank phillip brenna thomas and so what i and john suarez and thank you for watching you can see the show again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com for further discussion head over to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle various a.j. inside story from me sam is a than and the whole team here for now it's
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world needs w.h.o. making the healthy a world for you. to everyone. i'm kim burrell in doha with the top stories on al-jazeera 3000000 people have now died of covert 19 around the world but experts say the true number of deaths is likely much higher the worst affected country remains the united states with more than half a 1000000 deaths but it's india that is recording the fastest draw used in cases nearly 235000 infections have been reported in yet another daily record praga gupta reports. 2 on the outskirts of new delhi.