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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  September 19, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> hill: on this edition for sunday, september 19: the growing migrant crisis on the texas border. >> the sudanese liberation army and the sudanese government have not fought a major battle since 2019. but, these soldiers are not ready to put down their arms. >> hill: and in our signature segment, a remote rebel stronghold in the mountains of sudan where the war in darfur remains present. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family.
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the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultal differences in our cmunities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of u at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety o no-contract plans, and our u.s.-based customer servicteam can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit www.consumercellular.tv. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for
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public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> hill: good evening, and thank you for joining us. i'm michael hill, in for hari sreenivasan. the united states began flying haitian migrants who have converged on the u.s./mexico border back to haiti today, and blocked a river-crossing point-- inhat officials say is an effort to deter more migrants from entering the u.s. the associated press reports three flights bound for port-au-prince departed san antonio, texas this morning. close to 15,000 migrants-- many from haiti-- have crossed the rio grande river in the past week and settled in a makeshift camp under a bridge near the texas town of del rio in what is quickly becoming a new border crisis. >> hill: texas public radio reporter joey palacios is covering the story from del rio. and he joined us earlier today. joey, thanyou for joining us. tell us, where are you and
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what's behind you there? >> what we're looking at behind me is the border wall. and, see that small entryway? that's where border personnel, texas d.p. personnel, are able to get back and forth to this migrant site. now, the migrant encampment, which has upwards of 15,000 people right now, is maybe about a mile, three quarters of a mile down that way. and you know, from here, you can see just agency vehicle after agency vehicle. we've seen buses coming in and out, to bring people to c.b.p. processing centers to have their asylum cases heard. this massive amount of people? they are all people hoping to get asylum within the u.s. the majority are from haiti. and from what we've heard, some of these people have been in mexico or in central america or in latin america for years, well before the recent earthquake, well before the assassination of haiti's president. and you know, these are people that have heard that, you know, that this is the area to come to
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where they have the best-- probably the best chance of getting into the u.s. and that's one of the reasons why this encampment has grown from around 2,000 people, at-- monday, to where-- the more than 15,000 people that it is now. >> hill: when you say a "processing center," is the government actually processing the haitians and processing them to find out if they really have a reason to seek asylum here? >> yes. as of yesterday, what we've heard, about 2,000 people have been processed so far. and that number could be changing, you know, by the hour, as the hour. and these are people that, you know, they'll-- it'll be determined if they have an asylum case, to stay within the united states. once they-- they are granted an asylum case, they're allowed to remain here legally. and they'll receive help from different agencies, like the val verde humanitarian border coalition, which helps people
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find family here in the u.s., to get bus tickets, to just get to the next destination. so, i mean, there is a large response from community groups here to he these people, once they're released from ice. >> hill: joey, in this case, how are they going from the encampment where-- near where you are, to airports, either 50 miles away, to san antonio, or wherever these flights are going to take place? >> so, the process is kind of a mystery. you know, from the-- so-- some of the impact that this is having is that the international bridge here is closed, so regular traffic between the u.s. and mexico is not taking place, and has not been taking place since friday. so the bridge, which is just a few feet away from the-- basically a ghost town, other than the 15,000 people that are underneath it. so no one is coming across. in fact, if you want to try to get in or out of the u.s. or mexico, you'd have to go about 50 miles away, to eagle pass. now, as far as the people that are under there, what the
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process is, the people dow there may not even know that this isome of-- that this is the biden administration's plan. there hasn't really been any clear direction-- or information, rather-- on how this is going to take place. hill: joey, the heat there in south texas is extreme. we're talking about triple digits. have there been any health concerns with these migrants? 15,000 essentially camping out tside under a bridge? >> yes, absolutely. you know, yesterday, the heat index was about 104, maybe 105 degrees. and what wve seen coming out of that gate is that there are ambulances that will go in and out. and in fact, yesterday, i saw an ambulance parked right outside, and a family, three people, come out. a mother and her child got into that ambulan. what the issue was, i'm not entirely sure, but as they were opening the door, there was already somebody else inside, too. so, heat exhaustion is a real concern. feeding the people here is a real concern.
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in fact, yesterday, the restaurant where i had gotten dinner, i was talking with the general manager, and he had said that they had been approached by a federal agency to come in and supply food. from what i understand, just other restaurants too are coming in to try to help with that. >> hill: joey palacios with texas public radio. joey, thank you. >> michael, thank you. >> hill: for more national and international news, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. >> hill: four years ago tomorrow, maria, a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles an hour, made landfall in puerto rico. the storm caused widespread devastation, and sent thousands fleeing to the u.s. mainland and central florida, aeady home to an expanding latino community. newshour weekend had been reporting on how mainland communities were assisting victims of hurricane irma, which struck puerto rico just two weeks before, and spoke with father jose rodriguez
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who was helping coordinate shelter and supplies. since then, his church has become a cornerstone for the community, helping with services and vocational training for those affected by maria. newshour weekend's ivette feliciano checked back in with father rodriguez. >> reporter: father rodriguez, a rehabilitation program at your church, what is the years since maria been like for them and why are training programs like these so important? >> well, the year since >> well, the years since maria have-- have been very difficult on them. you know, the market can only sustain so many english language learners. those few jobs that were, you know, suitable for language learners were taken up. and then we ended up wita surplus of workers, because it wasn't only just the puerto ricans arriving from puerto rico. central florida-- orlando in particular-- has been receiving
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a lot of displaced venezuelans. so the past four years has been a struggle for our displaced workers to find homes in the communities they work in. and it's also been a struggle for them to have the time to hone their skills, improve their skills, while they're also trying to work one to two jobs, take care of their filies. >> reporter: and even before hurricane maria, puerto ricans were moving to orlando by the thousands due to an economic crisis on the island. you know, how did hurricane maria and the pandemic change the stakes for them? >> you know, the aftermath of maria, there was a big push to get them back to puerto rico-- but get them back to puerto rico for what? these families had never made plans to come to orlando before, but necessity brought them here, and they weren't going to go back. you know, if they were going to rebuild somewhere, they decided to rebuild where life has taken them. so you know, first, the hurricane and dwindling resources in the community, and then the pandemic.
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not only were they losing jobs, they were losing cars. central florida does not have very dependable public transportation. and then many of them started losing those apartments that they worked so hard to get. so it really just reset them, took them back to the beginning. but our people are resilient, and we were very blessed. the career source partnered with us to create this program, because-- at least for 50 of them, and we were able to equip them to step back up and not only get a good job, but get jobs that they want. because many of them had to take a job that was offered, and they took it because they came here to work. but a program like this is allowing people to step up into the jobs that they had in puerto rico, the jobs they trained for, the jobs they went to school for. >> reporter: of course, puerto ricans born on the island are u.s. citizens. but, how does their identity as puerto ricans and as mainly spanish speakers impact or play a role in their ability
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to integrate into mainland communities in central florida? >> so, in this beautiful intersection of puerto rican identity and american identity, you know, they've really been trying to integrate into our local community. luckily, there was a receiving puerto rican community to receive them. but sadly, we're up against facts. many americans do not know puerto ricans are u.s. citizens, and many of them hear our accents and confuse an accent with an inability to speak english. and we have to remember, these are adults who are very smart. they're u.s. citizens. but for a variety of reasons and biases in our community, they're often "othered" and left out. and this has added to the trauma of displaced puerto ricans in central florida. first, a federal government that wanted to push them back on the island, and then a receiving community that didn't fully understand the nature of the relationship between puerto rico, the united states, and also really didn't understand
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the connection between puerto rico and orlando. orlando is kind of like a puerto rico north. and after the hurricane, we were the number one destination. after all, florida does have the largest puerto rican population in the united states. >> reporter: father jose rodriguez of the episcopal church of jesus of nazareth in orlando, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> hill: 15 years ago, the genocide in sudan's darfur region received widespread media coverage. today, the conflict there is largely forgotten. sudan's former leader, omar al bashir, who was accused of orchestrating the genocide, is now behind bars, but the situation on the ground remains unchanged for millions of darfur's victims. traveling by car, by donkey, and on foot, pbs newshour special correspondent benedict moran and
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video journalist yorgen samso visited a rebel stronghold in darf's remote jebel marra mountains. there, they found rebels unwilling to put down their guns, and isolated communities for whom the war has never ended. ( military chanting ) >> reporter: for these rebel fighters in the sudanese region of darfur, the war against the capital far from over. ( singing ) >> reporter:his is torong tonga, headquarters of the sudanese liberation army. the rebel group has been fighting sudan's central government for nearly two decades. ( singing ) these fighters are doing daily drills: of marching... ( military chanting ) ...and dancing... ( singing ) ...in a routine that prepares civilians to become rebel soldiers. >> ( translated ): participants
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come here because they believe in the movement, and have the same principles as the movement. we'll spend nine months with them, then they'll be rey for battle. >> reporter: the first battle was fought in 2003, en the s.l.a. launched a rebellion against sudan's central government. ey were protesting discrimination and neglect. omarl bashir, then sudan's president, responded with brutal force, sending local arab militias known as janjaweed to attack civilians. the violence killed hundreds of thousands, and displaced millions, in what the international criminal court allege was ethnic cleansing and genocide. ( otests ) in 2019, a popular uprising in sudan's capital, khartoum, forced out omar al bashir. he's now in jail. he's been replaced by a transitional government, which has signed peace deals with two of darfus major rebel groups. but these fightersave refused to sign. ♪ ♪ ♪ they say the mistrust runs too
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deep. thsudanese liberation army and the sudanese government have not fought a major battlsince 2019. but, these soldiers are not ready to put down their arms. 22-year-old maryam saleh adam abdallah joined the s.l.a. three years ago. she did so, she says, to avenge her father, who was killed by the janjaweed. >> ( translated ): the government deceived us, they made us flee from our lands. we knew with time that they have no principles. whenever we move, we are raped, and we are killed. that's why we came here. >> reporter: torong tonga is high up on jebel marra, an ancient, dormant volcano that rises nearly 10,000 feet above the desert. the mountain is surrounded by destroyed and emptied villages, evidence of nearly two decades of war. s.l.a. rebels blew up the road that goes up the mountain long ago. today, the only way in is by
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foot, camel, or donkey. so, we've been on a donkey for about six, seven hours. we're approaching the s.l.a. headquarters. it's extremely remote-- there are no roads anywhere near here. unlike the rest of darfur, this area is lush. water is plentiful, from both rainfall and the mountain's spring-fed rivers. enough for apples, oranges, and grapefruit to grow in abundance. but there are few schools. healthcare is nearly nonexistent. anna bylund works with the humanitarian agency doctors without borders. >> this area has zero coverage for healthcare, and it's been neglected for a very long time. because of the conflict, it's-- no n.g.o.s or other actors have had access. >> reporter: until bylund opens up a new clinic that
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would provide a baseline of medical services in torong tonga later this year, ismail moussa ibrahim is the only medical worker for the area's 11,000 people. operating in this simple mud hut, treating up to 80 people a day, doing everything from a check-up to amputations. using simple, even medieval, instruments. he tells me, "sometimes i have to use this hacksaw to cut off legs andands." like many rebels here, ibrahim says he experienced the disenfranchisement that was commonplace under the former government. >> translated ): the main reason i joined the rebellion is because of the lack of education. there were no facilities where we could study. then the government came to destroy our village. there were no peaceful areas to go and study in. >> reporter: his village was destroyed the widespread ethnic cleansing that occurred earlier in the war. >> ( translated ): the last time i saw my village was 20 years ago.
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i don't even know where it is, exactly. but it's been wiped off the map, destroyed. >> reporter: though they haven't signed the peace deal, these rebels are currently negotiating with sudan's central government. but they say they are far from an agreement. abdulgadir abdulrahman ibrahim is the sudan liberation army's ad commander. >> ( translated ): all the armed movements that signed the incomplete peace agreement were not looking to help the needs of the vulnerable. they were acting in their own self-interest, to fill their own pockets. >> reporter: ibrahim says sudan's old military-- including elements that are implicated in war crimes in darfur-- still hold too much sway in the new government. he points to geral mohamed hamdan dagalo, also known by the name “hemeti,” perhaps the most powerful individual in sudan today. he is leader of the rapid support forces, a paramilitary organization created out of the janjaweed, the arab militias that have long terrorized these villages. have things changed for you,
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since the 2019 revolution? >> ( translated ): the armed militias that attacked the villages, they are headed by hemeti. they are the people committing crimes against humanity. we didn't notice any change from the former regime and the transitional government. the rapid support forces are the people who have authority. they are the ones who were told to eliminate darfuri communities. >> reporter: ibrahim and his soldiers are calling for compensation to darfur's victims, and for displaced darfuris to be able to return home. but violence in darfur is increasing, in particular along ethnic lines, threatening to put the region in conflict yet again. in january, more than 250 civilians, including three aid workers, were killed in inter-ethnic clashes. dozens of homes were burned, and more than 100,000 people fled. just weeks before the violence, the u.n. shut down its peacekeeping missionere-- once one of the world's largest and most expensive. the u.n. peacekeeping base
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used to protect kalma camp, darfur's largest camp for displaced people. more than 128,000 people still live here. with violence escalating around darfur, most are reluctant to return to their villages. 49-year-old saleh haroun mohamed says his brother tried to leave kalma and return to his birth village last year, but was killed by arab militias. does anyone in the camp feel like anyone can go back to their villages? >> ( translated ): last month, there was a group of people who decided to volunrily return to their village. after they arrived, people came and killed them, and burned their village again. how can we feel safe to go back? >> repter: the transitional government of sudan promised to send former president omar al bashir to the international criminal court, where he is wanted for war crimes. the urt will soon begin the trial of a man accused of being a senior commander of the janjaweed militias.
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crucial steps, some here say, that might provide peace of mind for many of darfur's victims, even if it doesn't create peace on the ground. >> ( translated ): if they don't take bashir to the i.c.c., the nflict will start again because his followers will follow in his footsteps and do the same as he did. because there was no punishment. we are insisting that the government should take bashir to the i.c.c. for punishment. he shouldn't be punish here in sudan. >> repter: meanwhile, the international community is encouraging the last hold-outs to work with khartoum's new authorities for peace. volker perthes is the special representative of the u.n. secretary-general to sudan. >> there's a lot of mistrust. and i guess this is probably the most important obstacle, to get everybody to sign up and work together. we are trying to tell all the stakeholders that they are all needed to build a new sudan. >> reporter: back on jebel marra, the rebels say the
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sudanese government can build trust by doing more to help mmunitie here. humanitarian aid can now enter rebel areas. for moussa ibrahim and his mud hut medical clinic, that means hope for the future, and for jebel marra's 11,000 civil and military inhabitants. >> ( translated ): the whole area, and s.l.a. lands, depend solely on this clinic but now since doctors without borders has started to arrive, the future looks better than before. >> repter: if living conditions can improve, that could encourage the s.l.a. to stand down, and put their signature on a peace deal. >> ( translated ): the s.l.a. movement works for its people, to fulfill their humanitarian needs. we will put down our guns when the area is safe and peaceful. then we will participate in all government areas as equals. we do not want war, and when we fight, we fight for our
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people's rights. >> this is pbs newshour weekend, sunday. >> hill: finally tonight, in rwanda, hundreds of endangered grey crowned cranes-- under threat from poachers and a loss of habitat-- are getting a second chance in a sanctuary in kigali. their refuge is thks to a veterinarian and conservationist who grew up hearing their calls. newshour weekend's ivette feliciano has the story. >> reporter: in this sanctuary built just for them, grey crowned cranes stroll and eat under the gaze of caretakers. >> so six years ago, there were more cranes in captivity, in people's houses, in hols, than there were in the wild. what was happening was that many people really love cranes, but some people wanted to have them in their gardens. so there were huge demands f pet trade.
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>> reporter: the cranes, considered symbols of status and wealth, paid a price for their popularity. >> we've lost about 80% of the whole population in the last five decades. >> reporter: dr. olivier nsengimana is a grey crowned crane champion in part because he treasures his childhood memories of waking up to the cranes' calls. >> we didn't have watches, we didn't have telephones to tell the time. to say, let's wake up when cranes call for the first time, let's wake up when the cranes call for the second time. so, it was time-telling. so, and people really enjoyed their dance, their call. it's just one species that means a lot in the society, in the culture. >> reporter: the sanctuary says it has rescued more than 200 grey crowned cranes over the past six years, and it has a breeding program-- all part of the goal to raise awareness and save a species in decline throughout southern and eastern africa.
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>> hill: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. i'm michael hill. thanks for watching. stayealthy, and have a good night. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family.
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barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutl of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and invements. additional support has been provid by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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