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CNN Today

Jesse Helms Addresses U.N. Security Council, Rebukes Fidel Castro

Aired January 20, 2000 - 2:41 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: The Elian Gonzalez case came up today at the United Nations after Senator Jesse Helms addressed the Security Council.

CNN Senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth is there with details on the Gonzalez case.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, details on the Gonzalez case, and Cuban-U.S. relations, always strained, especially here at the United Nations.

Senator Jesse Helms, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, was addressing, in fact, lecturing the U.N. Security Council in a rare, open meeting today. Helms issued a lot of criticism of U.N. actions. He also said that Fidel Castro does not have a sovereign right to oppress his own people.

And now this is what happened when the Security Council meeting with Senator Helms concluded:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The meeting is adjourned. Meeting's adjourned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Cuban Ambassador Bruno Rodriquez Parrilla went into the well of the Security Council and addressed Senator Helms, who we're not sure if he really heard him, complaining about his inability to speak.

The ambassador later told journalist and explained his actions:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I requested the floor, and I received a refusal. And I have to say, the two slanderous attacks against Cuba are unacceptable. This senator -- and Cuba is absolutely open for discussing everything at the United Nations and to help any kind of role of the United States in full accomplishment of it's obligation, financial or something, to the U.S. But despite that, we cannot accept this approach to unilateral sanctions or this kind of complicity by this senator to the kidnapped of the Cuban child Elian Gonzalez.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Senator Helms in Washington has put his support behind a bill that would, in effect, keep Gonzalez in the United States and make him a citizen.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Holbrook, the current president of the council, said it was a meeting only for Security Council member nations; 100 other countries wanted to speak, they could not either.

Richard Roth, CNN, reporting live at the U.N.

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