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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  July 13, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy for an immediate cash payment. visit coventrydirect.com to find out if your policy qualifies. hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. here is what we're watching at this hour. battle over voting rights. democrats fleeing texas to block republicans from passing new voting restrictions. and president biden is planning to tackle voting rights and the big lie in a speech today. the hunt for assassins, exclusive cnn reporting on the wild chase to capture suspects who killed haiti's president. and at alarming surge, new covid cases are increasing in a big way across the united states as the battle over masks and vaccines in schools heats up. thanks for being here. we do begin with breaking news. republicans in the texas house are reconvening a special
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legislative session right now. but this will not go far. they will not have a quorum, it seems meaning that they don't have the votes to really do any work. and that is because in an extraordinary move overnight, a majority of the state's democratic lawmakers left texas and are now in washington, d.c. in order to block republican efforts to pass new voting restrictions. the democratic lawmakers are now vowing to remain out of the state until the end of this special session, which could mean weeks out of the state. it comes as president biden will be delivering a highly anticipated speech on voting rights today. cnn's dianne gallagher is live in washington following the texas lawmakers as they plot the next move. so diane, what is happening? >> reporter: so the texas lawmakers who flew on the private planes leaving the state of texas in the effort to deny quorum which is about to happen, watching the house floor right now to see when they will
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reconvene. that is their first accomplishment of the trip. the effort to deny quorum because you need two-thirds of the legislature there to do official state business. next, it is a lot more difficult. and that will be potentially trying to convince senate democrats to push forward federal voting protections. now they've been up here before as they denied quorum in the regular session but there doesn't seem to be much appetite on capitol hill for this. so they're going to spend the next 27 days or potentially more if the governor goes through with his effort to call another special session and another special session trying to convince senate democrats to do what they could not do in texas since they are in the minority. take a listen. >> we are not going to buckle to the big lie in the state of texas. the big lie that has resulted -- that has resulted in
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anti-democratic legislation throughout the united states. we said no. >> we can't stay here indefinitely to run out the clock, to stop republican anti-voter bills. that's why we need congress to act now and pass the for the people act. >> reporter: and again, they talk about staying here indefinitely. republican governor greg ab rot has said that he will use his powers to continue calling consecutive 30 day special sessions until they get some voting legislation passed in texas. kate, of course, the democrats say, there are a lot of restrictions in this legislation. we don't feel like this is morally okay and they're going to try as long as they have funds and ability to stay out of the state to prevent that from happening. >> diane, thank you for that reporting. joining me now is armando martinez, one of the texas house of representatives who went to
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d.c. last night. thank you for being here. what is your plan for today? >> absolutely. and thank you very much, kate. our plan is mainly to meet with congress and our senators as well to discuss the importance of voting rights and making sure that we can pass the voting rights act to address this situation and this anti-democratic suppression session that we're facing in texas. >> i saw a note that chuck schumer said on the floor he's going to meet with you all today to kind of plot your next move. what could that really be? >> you know, it's great that major leader schumer is going to meet with us. we've met with him in the past and i think it is just discussions an what we need to do to continue moving forward and allowing this measurer to pass which is very important, not only for texas, but across the united states when it comes to democracy and voting. >> so, you can't stay out of
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texas forever. with republicans in the majority, the bill that is being discussed, it will very likely get passed. if this is the eventual reality, do you acknowledge that what you are are doing is a stunt. >> i don't think it is a stunt. i think we've used the rules to our benefit. i think democrats once again are very resilient and have come out ahead and utilizing anything that we have available placed on the table in order to address this. i think it is something that we will continue to look at ways that we can address this issue, especially with voting rights. and the fact that we as democrats are doing this in a way that not only for party affiliation, not only for social economic status, it is for everybody and voting rights is extremely important. so democrats are going to do everything available to us in order to make sure that we
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address voting rights and democracy within texas. >> look, and politicians pull stunts on both sides all of the time and sometimes it is to draw attention to an issue that you care deeply about which is what we're seeing. but you have said and we've heard other lawmakers say you need congress to now act. congress, on the voting rights element of this, has not acted. they will very likely not act when it comes to these voting rights bills because congress is deadlocked on this issue. why do you think any of this going to convince them what you coming to washington, d.c., to convince them otherwise, because the bill that y'all are talking about coming out of the senate and congress, it is going nowhere right now. >> right. and we're hopeful that they will take this into consideration. we have not done this once. this is a second time that we're doing is it. >> but why are you hopeful? where do you find the hope? because i'm cynical, yes, but in
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watching congress in the recent history and long history, they're not going anywhere on this bill right now? >> right. but we are hopeful that they will. and that they will make a decision. when texas legislators, even though we're in the minority, we still have a voice and our voice is very powerful when you have over 50 members coming to washington, d.c. and we are hopeful that the senate will take this into consideration and the members of congress. >> are you meeting with joe manchin? >> we did meet with him last time. and we're hopeful to meet with limb on our stay during these next few weeks. >> that woo be interesting if that happens because that is a key vote in this. so the texas governor, he said when you return to the state you are going to be arrested and cabin in the capitol until the vote on this is taken, until you do your jobs. let me play for you what he said. >> i can and i will continue to call special session after special session, after special session all the way up until
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election next year and so if these people want to be hanging out wherever they're hanging out on this taxpayer paid junket, they'll have to be prepared to do it for well over a year. and as soon as they come back into the state of texas, they will be arrested and cabined inside the texas capitol until they get their job done. >> what do you say to that? >> yeah, i think first of all, the governor is not the king. we live in a democracy. and so he can't just make those types of statements and secondly, the misstatement about this being a taxpayer junket is totally false. the house democratic committee paid for our stay, they paid for our travel and those are dues that we pay as members of the house democratic caucus. so a lot of misinformation, a lot of misleading information about our governor. but let me tell that you we're not going to buckle and we're not going to back down and fold our hands to something that he is saying. what he has done is he has forgotten the fundamental needs of texas. when we talk about the grid,
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when we talk about access to health, when we talk about flooding in the rio grande valley that this happened the fourth time in a row and he has not looked at funding or any type of infrastructure that is important for the people of texas, he is placing politics over people and that needs to stop. people come first. democracy comes first. voting rights come first. and the people of texas are the ones that are being placed in this position because of him. >> thanks for coming in. let's see what your next moves are. appreciate it. >> thank you. so the bill texas democrats are fighting are one that dozens are trying to pass as we have covered. take a look at map. texas and 16 other states have already put 28 restrictive new laws in place since january 1st. all driven by republicans and largely driven by the lie pushed by donald trump and repeated by many republicans that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election and that we know there was not. later today, president biden
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will be taking on donald trump's election lies and making the case for further protecting voting rights. kaitlan collins is live in philadelphia where the president will be speaking very soon. kaitlan, the white house calls this a major speech. so what are you hearing about what the president is going to say? >> reporter: well, what they believe he's going to do when he comes here today is put his political muscle behind this issue. speaking from the national constitution center here in philadelphia, we're expecting this to be an impassioned speech. the president is going to attach urgency to the issue and going to describe the efforts like the ones you were seeing in texas and in the other states that you just laid out on the map there as authoritarian measures. he believes they're unamerican, the efforts to limit access to the ballot. but i think the other question comes out of the speech today once president biden has delivered it, are what is the concrete steps that the white house is going to take here. he's being urged by civil rights leaders and other democrats to use the bully pulpit that comes
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with being president of the united states to get behind this issue and in a bigger way than he already has after the speech that he gave in tulsa. pretty similar to the one he's going to give today according to white house officials. but you're seeing the efforts continue and seeing republicans barrel ahead with trying to restrict access to voting or change the way that their election laws are even if there was no fraud in their state. and you've seen that senate democrats have been blocked by republicans so far to enact any kind of federal legislation. you saw the supreme court ruling recently that was weakening the enforcement clause of the voting rights act. so there are real questions about what the white house and what president biden could do beyond giving a speech here in philadelphia and what concrete steps they could take. of course it is reviving questions about the filibuster with jim clyburn putting out this idea of creating a carve out for something as grave as voting rights. the white house said that is an issue for the senate to decide not president biden. so we'll see if he does reference it here in philadelphia in just a few
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hours, kate. >> thank you very much kaitlan collins reporting there. still ahead for us, a new battle over whether masks should be and will be required for children in school. california just reversed course. more on that ahead. and also a cnn exclusive, reporting on the wild chase to hunt down the assassins who killed haiti's president. ♪ you bring your best. we'll block the threats. cyberprotection for every one. malwarebytes ♪
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cases right now. 34 states are seeing an increase of 50% or more in new cases in the last week. yesterday that number was just 11 states and now we're talking so many more. this is being driven by americans who remain unvaccinated. one major impact if this trend continues is getting kids back in school in the fall. just as there is a new battle over whether masks are going to be required for children in school. cnn's brynn gingras is live at a new york city school where the mask questions seems to have been settled there at least. but this mask debate is stretching from coast to coast. >> reporter: yeah, kate, listen, the mask debate has been going on since the beginning of pandemic and now it is going into the schools as we start heading into the fall and kids going back into school. in california that was an about face because they said everyone needs to wear a mask when they return to school and then there was a lot of criticism going on
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there. so now they're letting school districts decide. and that is what a lot of states are actually doing. letting individual school districts decide what is best for their students in their communities. new jersey and new york being one of them. but then will are sharp states taking a strong force against not wearing masks at all, making sure there is no mandate. seven states right now saying so. texas, utah, saying that school districts, no one could tell a student to wear a mask in school. that is something that they may see an increase in cases when students actually -- have a full return to in-person learning. and there are states like new york where just yesterday the mayor said that masks are going to be mandated. and one of the reasons really because along with the cdc guidelines, they say they want to keep the three feet distance in between students. well if you know new york city, you know schools are tight as it is with the population inside of those classes. they want to make sure that there is safety first.
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and that includes the first level of protection which in this city's mind is wearing masks. now the mayor of course couching it saying, listen, we'll give updates guidance and continue to look into this as we get closer to the return of school in september. but as of now, parents should know that if you're coming back to school in the fall, you need to wear a mask. >> brynn gingras, thank you so much. in addition to the battle over masks, a new cnn analysis has found that at least seven states have enacted law this is year prohibiting schools from requiring students to get a covid vaccination. yet another kind of layer in all of this. joining me now is dr. chris presentel, a public health physician from the american college of preventative medicine. it is good to see you. what is your reaction to that analysis. we're looking at seven states making moves to restrict schools, stop schools from requiring covid vaccinations for students. >> kate, that is flat out disheartening for me as a public
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health physician. we need to be practicing sound and rational public health recommendations and guidelines to flat out prohibit covid-19 vaccination is not in anyone's best interest. we know that now we have those who are 12 and above who are eligible for the currently authorized vaccines and what we need to be doing is encouraging vaccination. when states make that move, they get in the way of good and effective public health. and we can education our children and be safe at same time. so i'm really disappointed. >> and then you have a debate over masks again. and so, doctor, with what we know about the virus and the delta variant and its impact on the unvaccinated. what do you say here? >> this is primarily a pandemic of the unvaccinated. and we need to be very clear about that message. because we don't have a way of
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knowing who is specifically vaccinated and indoor large public spaces, we should be masked. i work in a health care environment, i'm masked every day when i go inside of that hospital. if you're in a long-term care facility, you will be masked. if you're on mass transit, you will be masked. if you're at a jail or a prison, you will be masked. so for me, i don't think we should create a different or another set of circumstances for schools where you have high traffic areas, where you could not verify and confirm vaccination, we need to keep the most amount of people safe and what we know is that the delta variant is more transmissible, kate. it leads to, because of the higher transmission rates, people getting sick and we can see an increase in hospitalizations and we could potentially see an increase in deaths. typically those data points lag about three to four weeks. we need to prevent that.
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prevention is on our side. >> and look, people might not want to hear it but things are not -- or are heading in the wrong direction with covid. the number was just 11 states yesterday. i want to play for you what one doctor in missouri which is getting really hit hard right now said he is seeing in his hospital. >> i can see the regret on their face, we ask them because we want to know are you, are you vaccinated? and it's very clear that a lot of them regret it. >> because he said 99% of the people that are sick enough to be hospitalized are coming in are unvaccinated. so even so, i'm sitting here wondering at this point, what would the country look like if we didn't have the level of people getting vaccinated that we do at this point? >> if we had not experienced this measure of success that we have today, over 67% of adults
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having at least one vaccination, still hovering below 50% of the population being fully vaccinated, we would not see that among the vaccinated folks and populations life resuming some semblance of normality. and this is why our message needs to remain clear. we are not out of the woods. vigilance needs to still be our main and primary goal. we see that this delta variant in states where you have low vaccination rates are like missouri or states in the south, like florida or even like arkansas or even in wyoming, those states unfortunately are a set up for disaster. but we could prevent that. >> they're very important lessons in what we're talking about right now. doctor, thank you very much. coming up for us, exclusive cnn reporting on the frantic search for the group that killed haiti's president. an inside look at the wild chase to capture the suspects. .
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cnn is learning extraordinary new details about
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the plot to kill haiti's president and the pursuit that followed his assassination. police chasing the suspected attackers through the streets of the capitol. cnn's matt rivers is live in port-au-prince with this exclusive report. matt, you've been able to recover some remarkable details on how this unfolded? >> reporter: we were able to spend a good chunk of time with a very key source here in port-au-prince who really took the time to walk us through in detail so much about what happened in the key 36 hours after this assassination. hours after haiti's president was assassinated, gunfire still crackled through port-au-prince. but this time it was the alleged assassins under attack. as bullets slammed into the concrete walls around the group, one fighter called his sister. he told me they were in a house under siege under fire and fighting, she added he's not a
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killer. just 36 hours after a group of more than two dozen colombians and two haitian americans allegedly assassinated a president, most would be detained or declared dead. this is how that happened according to a source with knowledge of the operation to track them down. night time video from around the time of the president's death quickly went viral where you could hear a suspect claiming that there was a dea operation on going. later a convoy of five cars could be seen leaving the area with ease. but down the road a trap was being set. as the convey traveled down ken's cough road, a road block was ready. heavily armed security forces would not let them pass without a fight. arriving and seeing they couldn't go any further, the convoy stops. part of which you could see here. our source said the suspects jumped out and saw this building across the road. they raced toward it,
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immediately taking the stairs to the second floor. >> it is in this building that the alleged mersenys will defend themselves but they're coming in here, haitian security forces are making a crucial decision, they know that these alleged attackers have limited, food, water and ammunition and no power. so they essentially decide to wait them out. about 12 hours later after baking in 90 plus degree haitian heat, authorities throw tear gas in front of the building. it is enough to force negotiations and the colombians inside send out four people. including this man, one of two haitian americans who authorities have detained. he's joined by the other haitian american and two haitian hostages. a pair of police officers who were at the president's house. according to our source, at some point during the negotiations, a group of the colombians still here come out of the building and start heading up this hill
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on the back side of the building. and eventually they make their way to a seemingly strange destination. just about 100 meters up the hill from the building lies the taiwan embassy. our source thinks the colombians went through because it wasn't an easy place for police to enter given the diplomatic immunity. they had to walk through a residential neighborhood and someone tips off authorities that a group of heavily armed men was here. when they arrived at embassy, they found a largely empty building except for two security guards whom they tied up. security forces quickly surrounded the embassy and then turned their attention back to the building below where they believed a few suspects remained. it was time to go in. a small assault team went in on the ground floor. and were met with fierce fire that you could hear from the handful of colombians still inside. the hour-long fire fight
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shattered windows, scarred concrete ceilings and walls and in the end the government said at least three colombians died in the fighting. the next day, with taiwan's permission, authorities went into the embassy, our source said authorities checked cctv cameras and found nearly a dozen colombians in a room who ended up giving up without more fighting. nearly a half dozen still haven't been found. >> matt is back with me now. matt, great reporting as i mentioned. but what is the latest that you're learning about the suspects and their ties to the united states? >> yeah, this is some reporting from our colleague kate evan perez last night. he reported that several of the suspects involved in this assassination have direct tied to u.s. law enforcement agencies as informants including at least one who worked previously as an informant for the u.s. drug enforcement administration.
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the dea actually confirming that, telling cnn in a statement that this person worked for prem previously, not working for them any more. but as you saw in the piece, there was one suspect outside of the residence saying dea operations. dea are aware of that but emphasize that none of the suspects were here on the behalf of dea. but still the longer this goes on, each day that goes by, it just feels like and is true that the number of links between what happened here in haiti with this assassination and the united states, the links keep multiplying and it is going to be fascinating over the next few days to see what more shaked out. >> the details and the video you were able to get, really remarkable. thank you for the report. coming up for us, president biden is heading to philadelphia expected to call out trump's big lie and make the case for protecting voting rights. actions, though, are going to follow those words. way for you to sell your car.
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do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy for an immediate cash payment. visit coventrydirect.com to find out if your policy qualifies. in a few hours, president biden will be making what the white house is billing as a major speech on voting rights, making the moral case for more voter access to the ballot box while also targeting donald trump's big lie directly.
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white house press secretary saying that biden will call out the republican efforts in a number of states to restrict voter access as unamerican and unpatriotic. we're seeing that clearly play out in texas today but seeing that fight continue in the commonwealth of pennsylvania where biden is set to make his remarks. joining me now is pennsylvania lieutenant governor john fedderman, a democrat candidate running for the u.s. senate. thank you for being here. what do you want to lear from president biden today? >> i think it is a shame that president biden has to come to pennsylvania. i mean, of course we're delighted to have him. but the reason why he has to come to pennsylvania is because the republicans need to be called out on this systematic attempt to suppress votes all across this country. and that problem is exacerbated by democrats in the senate refusing to collectively vote as democrats and really push some voting rights legislation
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through using -- by getting rid of the filibuster. >> so you're calling out democrats. you're talking about joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, yes? >> i'm talking about any democrat. you have a party on the other side that is absolutely committed to making sure that they suppress enough votes for them to win the next election. they see it in texas and in pennsylvania. and when you're under that kind of a siege and they certainly are tripling down on the big lie, i think it is incumbent on our party as democrats to step up and vote like democrats and do what we need to do to push this stuff back, to stop it in its tracks because voter suppression is a fiction and any laws passed to combat that are fiction as well, too, and their roots are in voter suppression, pure and simple. >> so republicans in pennsylvania are trying to force an audit of the 2020 election result in a commonwealth now.
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something similar to arizona. you've had some choice words about this aemt itted move. but regardless of whether it happens or not or moves ahead at all, do you worry this still works to undermine the confidence of voters in the commonwealth? >> as i've said, my choice words, like, this is the very back of the gop bench. again, this is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier that is behind this. the bottom line is that the main line republicans don't want to talk about this any more. they don't want to run on election conspiracies. and if they end up performing an audit, that would be fine because it would just confirm what we already know, that joe biden won. this is all theatrics on this side. but it is not something that we need to be taken seriously, but it also works to the democratic advantage because you could not
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win in pennsylvania talking to the lunatic fringe and you cannot win with a news max candidacy state wide here in pennsylvania and that is exactly what this is rooted in here. >> well then i'm curious, to this, we know the election result in pennsylvania is decided, biden won and that is not going to change. no audit is going to change it. all legal challenges have been dismissed in court. so what do you think the end game is for republicans that we're talking about here in the commonwealth and elsewhere and continuing to follow what is more and more transparent lie about the 2020 election? >> the end game for this particular actor is basically just hoping that the former president gives them a rose for hissen dorment and able to successfully run as the republican nominee for governor. this is just bad performance art. this is what i keep trying to emphasize to people. it won't go anywhere. it has to legitimacy or realistic path. this is a man actively fundraising off this to fill his
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campaign coffers as he attempted to navigate through the gop primary cycle in the hopes of securing the former president's endorsement. it is nothing more than that. this is not a sophisticated plan, this is just simply bad performance art through the lens of an audit that is fictional at its best. >> i'm curious to know what you think of the president's remarks as you never do mince words. so thanks for coming on. appreciate your time. >> thank you. coming up for us, we are learning about dozens people arrested or missing after the biggest anti-government protest cuba has seen in decades. we're going to havana for a live report. to make my vision a reality my varilux progressive lenses provide seamlessly transition
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developing, more than 100 people reported missing or are behind bars in cuba following the biggest anti-government protest on the island in decades. we are joined now on the phone from havana where the government continues to be forcing internet blackouts. what are you hearing about the people missing, patrick? >> reporter: this is from activists who have a list of names. the government has not said how many people have been arrested or injured. whether police or protesters that we've seen some pretty
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horrifying videos of people being hurt in confrontations with police in the last several days. and this crackdown continues on despite the white house's calls that protesters' right to speak their minds should be respected. the cuban president, the protesters are criminals, and they are trying to bring down the government, and what we see as a result of that really is a widespread crackdown not just in havana but across the high land. the question now is what comes next? the internet has been down. not working has led to the unprecedented host of people hosting videos, live streams of themselves as they left their homes to go out and protest what many people say here are just unlivable conditions. blackouts every day.
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a lack of medicines. despite the calls from washington and other places that these protests go on. the cuban government decided they won't. >> patrick, thank you so much for your continued reporting. really appreciate it. joining me for more on the situation is ricardo, executive director of the cuba staudy group. what do you see in this moment? do you see this as an inflection point for cuba? >> certainly it's an unprecedented moment. right? we've never seen protests at this scale and magnitude of people calling for the right for self-determination of expressing a their very strong grievances with the poor way their government has mismanaged their economy. lockdowns as of late, and many, many other aspects of cuban
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society. these are organic. i mean, to some extent, whether there is some orchestration coming from some other place, it's hard to argue that most of what we're seeing on the ground is organic. a reflection of real grievances. and in that -- that is something we can expect to go away soon, because really, in all likelihood, if governments don't act soon, chances are a month from now we're only going to see greater feed scarcity and greater covid outbreaks. we're only going to see greater currency shortages and a lot more desperation. >> yeah. i'm really starting to hear from a lot of different corners here that essentially something has got to give. do you think this is going to -- everything you're playing out if the government continues to crackdown, continues to force these internet blackouts, continues to not offer assistance, do you see this leading to another mass exodus from the island? >> i mean, that certainly is the
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risk. these are not organized movements. right? there is no leadership. there's no hierarchy. there's no organization. there's no strategy. it's just people taking to the streets for the most part to really express their frustrations. and it is very possible that if we don't see action from either the cuban government -- well, if we don't see a change in the ma'amic -- dynamic between the u.s. and cuba since can cuban government has cited the -- it's possible the situation could grow so dire that people take to the seas in rafts. we've already seen maritime migration increase five fold this year. there's no reason to expect that won't continue to grow as we go into this very hot summer in cuba. >> look, the biden white house has said as recently as march that a shift of cuba policy does
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not a top priority for the administration. miami herald has a headline saying cuba cannot stay on biden's back burner any longer. what would you like to see and hear from president biden right now. >> that's absolutely correct. you know, the longer it takes for the united states to act, the more costly this situation becomes for the cuban people. we think that it is fundamental for the biden administration to send a clear message to the cuban people, not just of support for the right of determination, but also that they will pursue a constructive policy that seeks to empower them. that seeks to remove external obstacles to then be able to get their hands on basic needs. on resources. on contacts. to have communications with the outside world. to have medicine and all sorts of medical supplies to address the covid crisis on the island.
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biden needs to send a clear message that they're seeking to dial down the heat and pursue a policy that is going to support the cuban people, and help put them in a greater position to demand greater freedoms from their own government. but we have to acknowledge this change can only come from within, calls for military intervention are irresponsible. no less irresponsible than calls for combat as we've heard from the cuban government over the weekend. we need to dial down the heat. and there's a lot that the administration can do. this administration has already -- the president himself has recognized that the current policy which remains the trump administration maximum pressure policy does nothing to advance democracy or -- nor does it do anything to reduce the suffering of the cuban people. that policy is now of this administration. they need to -- >> and it's in and out their choice, and it is now on their -- well, like it or not, it is now on their front burner.
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ricardo, thank you for being with us. >> exactly. maintaining the pressure -- >> i'm sorry. we've just run out of time. thank you so much. john king picks up after this. follow me. ♪ (realtor) so, any questions? (wife) we'll take it! (realtor) great. (vo) it will haunt your senses. the heart-pounding audi suv family. get exceptional offers at your local audi dealer. if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, little things can become your big moment. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream.
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