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CONNECT THE WORLD
Chilean Miners Ready to Go Home/George Clooney Crusades for Sudan
Aired October 14, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, the drama's over, but the attention isn't fading as Chile's miners prepare to head home. As many as a billion people across the globe tuned in to watch their rescue. But will Chile's time under the spotlight help the country change for the better?
Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories on CNN. This is the hour we CONNECT THE WORLD.
Well, Chile's president says the rescue has strengthened its position in the world, but once the cameras go away, will the country's people notice the difference?
Well, joining (ph) the dots (ph) from London, I'm Becky Anderson for you (INAUDIBLE) coming up this hour.
Soaking (ph) up tensions on the Israeli border as Iran's president heads to southern Lebanon and...
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: I happen to be someone who a lot of cameras tend to follow me, and we're just trying to go to places where they can't get enough cameras on them.
ANDERSON: Using his fame to highlight the (INAUDIBLE) George Clooney answers your questions as your "Connector of the Day" tonight. And remember, you can connect with the program on our FaceBook page. It's a new page, FaceBook.com/CNNconnect.
Well, from rescue to recovery, those 33 Chilean miners are today resting in hospital, readjusting to life aboveground after spending months in a hot, dark cave (ph). Let's go right to Patrick Oppmann for you at the hospital in Copiapo, where those miners are.
What's the latest from there, Patrick?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN ALL PLATFORM JOURNALIST: Well, let me give you the miners' prognosis, which is very, very good. Doctors say they are pleasantly surprised these men are doing so well, and they say that they should have no permanent negative effects. There should be no damages to them for the rest of their life from being in this mine, which is just really a shock to -- to both the miners' families and to doctors, who had thought these men might carry around at least the physical scars of being in this mine for so long.
Some of the men are going to have to have small surgeries, like dental surgeries. Some of them had that today. We heard it went well. One man is having an ulcer taken out of his eye. So some small procedures being done. One of the miners, Mario Gomez, is in the hospital with pneumonia, but is expected to recover.
What's next -- what's next, we expect them to be released from the hospital and begin that process of getting on with the rest of their lives. And as well, rescuers have to begin thinking about what to do with the rest of their lives. It's something that's consumed so much of their time, so much of their life. And we heard mining minister Laurence Golborne discuss that prospect of moving on to a life without having to worry about this incredible rescue that's taken up so much of his time and so much of the Chilean government's activities over the last weeks and months.
LAURENCE GOLBORNE, CHILEAN MINING MINISTER (through translator): We had to do a very important and even historic job, but our lives are going to return to normal. And this fame that you're talking about will probably recede in the past.
OPPMANN: And one of the problems that'll prevent these miners from getting on with their lives is just the intense media coverage that we're seeing behind us. I'm going to ask the cameraman I'm working with to pan in here, and you'll see this crush of people here behind me. These are members of the news media that have come down, Becky, from Camp Hope, which is no longer much of a media site because the miners are no longer there. So they've come to this hospital, and they're crowding the front doors.
Why are they crowding the front doors? We really don't know. We've been back there several times, looking at the front doors. The miners are not there. People believe, though -- members of the media -- that the miners are going to be leaving today. Some of them are well enough to be checked out from the hospital. There are many exits and entrances to this hospital. For some reason, a few cameras started showing up over there, and over the last few hours, we've just watched this mushroom in the fact that now the front doors to this hospital on this side are completely blocked with cameras. We'll see if anybody comes out. Right now, it doesn't look like there are any miners in sight, Becky.
ANDERSON: Right. Well, we're looking at the media, and we've heard from the mining minister, but this is a story, of course, about the miners. And while we take a look at some of the pictures of those miners over the past 24 hours, I wonder, have they been saying anything at this point?
OPPMANN: You know, we've heard little tiny bits from them. I talked to -- you know, some of the family members are here at the hospital, and I talked to -- you know, for instance, Jessie Yanez (ph), the wife of one of the miners. She said that it was the first night of sleep that she'd gotten, knowing that her husband was well. Going to the hospital and seeing him this morning just eased her mind. We know from one of the other miners who's an Elvis fan that he sang Elvis in the Phoenix capsule on the way up. As he went up to the surface, he was singing Elvis.
You know, another fascinating detail is the miner who was once a soccer start. His name is Franklin Lobos. And one of his rescuers was an adversary of his from his professional soccer career days. So you have to wonder what went through his mind when this man that he used to play soccer against, they were on rival teams, showed up. This is Miguel Gonzalez, the rescuer who was first down and last to leave among the rescuers. And when he showed up to rescue Franklin Lobos, he must have been very happy to see him, but at the same time, a bit of a shock to see somebody who was a rival on the field coming down to get you out of the mine you've been trapped in now for more than two months -- Becky.
ANDERSON: That's right. As we talk to you, Patrick, we are seeing shots of the miners, of course, in hospital there. Patrick, we thank you for that. It's been a long stint for you. We appreciate it. Patrick Oppmann there at the hospital.
Well, the rescue went like clockwork, taking less than 23 hours, let's remind ourselves, to bring all 33 miners to the surface. The last to emerge was shift boss Luis Urzua. He kept his team safe (ph) during the darkest days of their lives, organizing men into shifts, overseeing the distribution of food, assigning duties to ensure their survival.
Well, the Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, hugged him hard and said, quote, "I'm taking over your shift, and I congratulate you for fulfilling your duty, for leaving last, like a ship's captain."
Well, the miner himself had an emotional message of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIS URZUA, LAST MINER RESCUED (through translator): I hope this never happens again. I am very proud of what you've done. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, all the rescuers. Thanks to all of Chile and everyone. I am so proud to be Chilean. And everyone, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: We can't see these pictures enough. And after the heartfelt words, they broke into the national anthem.
Well, down below, an equally joyous site, the rescue workers who'd gone into the cave to help bring up the miners, proudly held a banner that read "Mission accomplished." Of course, it wasn't quite over. The rescuers still had to get out themselves. The last one out was the first one in. Manuel Gonzalez braved the unknown, the first human to put his life on the line by riding the capsule deep into the earth.
Well, here are his last few seconds underground.
Well, soon after his capsule surfaced to whistles and euphoric cheers. They'd done it, a miraculous rescue. Everyone came out of that mine alive. And President Pinera spoke for a grateful nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Guys, you have won the appreciation and gratitude of all the Chileans. You deserve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In a final symbolic moment of the night, President Pinera put a cap on the shaft entrance, sealing the end of a long nightmare. Gonzalez talked about the operation today, calling it an unforgettable experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANUEL GONZALEZ, RESCUER (through translator): At that particular moment, at the end, everything went through my mind. And it was pretty moving. Everybody was really happy. I know that every man that came up, you know, there was huge applause. And I'm so happy for all my companions, for all my colleagues, because we did a job well done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Good for you. Well, you may have been one of the millions of people around the world glued to their televisions, checking cell phones for updates or watching live video of the rescues on the Web. It seems we just couldn't get enough of what was a drama unfolding right before our eyes.
(voice-over): For 69 days, the world watched and waited, captivated by the story of 33 men trapped deep underground in a remote part of Chile. And starting Tuesday, in seemingly every corner of the globe, people came together to see the first miner emerge from the depths.
From Tokyo to New York to Chile itself, as many as a billion people may have watched at least some of the incredible 24-hour rescue operation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy ending. We have complete coverage of the riveting rescues...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: History is still being made tonight, still unfolding in Chile in a remote region, where we have been witnessing truly something no one else has ever seen before.
ANDERSON: It truly was incredible, both the event itself (INAUDIBLE) response it created. The dramatic rescue was one of the most watched Web events ever. People went on line to share happiness and encouragement, at one point sending overall Web traffic soaring 15 to 20 percent above average. It was the rarest kind of news event. An unimaginable hardship, a perilous rescue attempt, a near flawless execution and a happy ending made the whole world come together and cheer.
ANDERSON: Well, in addition to well-wishes, offers and gifts have also poured in from all over the world. First up, a week in the sun. A Greek mining company has offered to treat all of the miners plus one guest each to seven days in the Greek islands.
Well, in England, football club Man United has offered the group a free trip to watch one of its matches. One miner has been invited to Graceland, the fabled home of Elvis Presley. Edison Pena, the 12th miner rescued, is a diehard Elvis fan, so we heard earlier on, and he led his fellow miners in Elvis sing-alongs to pass some of the time underground.
And all of this comes in addition to a gift of $10,000 to each miner, given by a businessman in Chile.
Well, there's no question the rescues filled Chileans the world over with deep national pride, but has it changed the country's international reputation? We're going to talk about that just ahead with an expert.
And later: Iran's president speaks near the border of the country he has said should not exist. We'll get reaction from Israel and Lebanon on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial talk. It is 60 seconds away. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well, certainly some of the most memorable scenes from a rescue that was nothing short of miraculous. Many of us now know the chant "Chi, Chi, Chie, Le, Le, Le, los Mineros de Chile." And we recognize the deep pride that goes along with it. Chile's president says the country's much stronger and more united after the ordeal. And he says it's much more respected around the world.
Well, is that true? Does the world now have a different opinion of Chile? Well, I spoke a short time ago with Samuel Valenzuela, a professor at Notre Dame University, who's an expert on Chile. And I began by asking him -- I had to ask him this, didn't I -- how he felt -- and I'm sure he was glued to the TV screen -- as those miners came out. This is what he said.
SAMUEL VALENZUELA, CHILE EXPERT, NOTRE DAME UNIV.: It was a remarkable event, and it was -- there were great pictures. It was a very moving moment. Each miner that came out was a different story. And so even though it's a repeating pattern, every single one was different and very, very emotional, very touching.
ANDERSON: Were you surprised at how this story galvanized Chileans?
VALENZUELA: No. It is -- it is an important event and it's a story that the -- everybody was following very closely because it's 33 lives in the bottom of the earth. And Chile's a mining country, and everybody's always very concerned about safety issues in mines. And so no, I -- it wasn't surprising that everybody was so focused on the event. Plus, the government was making every effort to find the miners, and so there was a lot of media attention on it.
ANDERSON: This case may have galvanized Chileans, but will it reconcile Chileans, given there is a big divide still, post-Pinochet, in society?
VALENZUELA: Chile is a country that has always had very clear political families. It -- people vote more or less the same way always. And if you find that people are voting for the right and the left, they're more or less following the same pattern that comes from 1925, this is not surprising. Underlining that, however, is a tremendous process of reconciliation. And people may be voting for different parties as they used to, but the content of the politics is totally different.
ANDERSON: If this were to be Chile's finest hour, as many people say it is, what do you suggest the president does next? I mean, he's -- his approval ratings have gone sky-high post this mine case, and perhaps rightly so. But what does he need to do next to prove to everybody he really is the man to lead Chile into the next decade?
VALENZUELA: Well, the country is a real democracy, and the approval rating of the president will go up and subsequently will come down. These are, in that sense, flashes in the pan.
ANDERSON: Oh, Chilean politics for you here on CONNECT THE WORLD. Remarkable story (INAUDIBLE)
Well, a Hollywood star, George Clooney's, attempt to shine the global spotlight on Sudan. He's your "Connector of the Day," up next. He's going to answer your questions.
Plus, a provocative visit from a controversial leader. Iran's president draws praise from some corners and ire from others with a trip to Lebanon, a region that borders Israel.
ANDERSON (voice-over): He might be Hollywood's most celebrated heartthrob. That's made George Clooney anything but complacent on issues closest to his heart.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: We felt like this was a chance to be able to -- to stop -- finally stop a war before it starts.
ANDERSON: The actor has just returned from his third trip to war-torn Sudan. He's working to turn a global spotlight on the suffering in the region. Accompanied by Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast, Clooney's goal is to draw attention to a January referendum which could potentially allow the south to secede from the Khartoum-led north.
CLOONEY: (INAUDIBLE) so that peace can (INAUDIBLE)
ANDERSON: The actor and Prendergast are among many who say that a delay of the referendum could lead to a civil war in one of Africa's largest countries. Clooney has publicly promoted the issues in Sudan in the last decade, rounding up stars of the film world to rally support and attention. He's also traveled to Egypt and to China, hoping to leverage some of Khartoum's greatest allies.
Today Clooney and Prendergast are telling the world what we can do to help, making them our "Connectors of the Day."
ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) began by asking George Clooney why he cares so much about this particular issue.
CLOONEY: The Secretary of State called it a ticking time bomb because the CIA said it's the place of greatest -- with great -- at greatest risk of mass atrocities or genocide. The president has come out with a very strong speech at the United -- U.N. Security Council had the emergency meeting in Juba. That -- you know, while we were there. Everyone is aware with this referendum coming that they're going to vote for independence. And when they vote for independence, the question will be whether or not they are allowed to. And if they're not allowed to, then there could be a tremendous amount of violence.
ANDERSON: Much of the fight here is over a very oil-rich region, and to be honest, that means the involvement of international oil companies. Do they really care?
JOHN PRENDERGAST, THE ENOUGH PROJECT: It makes it a little more difficult when the Sudanese government is firmly backed by the Chinese, and the Russians, who are selling them arms, and the United Nations Security Council. Nevertheless, China has an interest in peace and -- because they want to keep the oil flowing. So this gives the United Nations, China and Europe a chance to work together on a peace process.
ANDERSON: Todd Said (ph) says that without people like you and George, things would seem a lot more hopeless than they are. He asked, though, why is there not a bigger effort, like there was, for example, in Iraq and is in Afghanistan? Why don't we see that sort of effort in a region like this?
PRENDERGAST: We don't need to send thousands of international troops to Sudan. There is a diplomatic solution waiting to be negotiated. There are interests by both parties, that both parties have, that can be addressed in a peace process.
ANDERSON: Tina, George, has just one question for you. She says, "What do you want the little people in this big country to do?" She's written to us from the U.S., but our viewers will be listening around the world. What's your message to them?
CLOONEY: Yes, well, first of all that they're not little people. And -- and it's not just this big country, it's this big world. We need the international people, as well -- the voices make a huge difference. It -- you know, they're -- in 2005, there was a peace agreement negotiated because of church groups and college students and the efforts that they made in bringing a voice to -- to the north-south. That's -- they're -- each little person making that effort and making those calls to their senators, to their congressmen -- it is -- this is one of those moments where you can actually -- your voice can truly make a huge difference in this.
ANDERSON: Kyra's (ph) got a good question for you, George. She says, "`ER,'" in which, of course, you starred, "did numerous episodes on Africa. Did you approach the producers with the idea," she says, "to definitely bring the crises in Africa to the forefront?"
CLOONEY: No, you know, I was long gone. I was off of that show for several years when they went there. That was John Wells and Noah Wiley's, I believe, idea to go there and do it. And I thought that was a really admirable thing. It was a good time to do it when the show was as popular as it was. I thought it was very helpful.
ANDERSON: How much help for you is it that George Clooney's involved in this?
PRENDERGAST: It's -- frankly speaking, no one was paying attention to this issue as shortly as a month or two ago. And right now, what we need is as big a spotlight as possibly can be generated both on Sudan, so -- as a deterrent to General Bashir and his aspirations to take the south and the oil fields militarily, and the spotlight on our president, on the prime minister in Great Britain and other places, where we need as much political involvement as possible in a negotiated settlement.
So George brings a lot of cameras and a lot of interest, and a lot of people pay attention because of him. And once they learn about it, then they'll write their letters and their e-mails and they'll make their telephone calls to their representatives and to the president. So I think that's where the big advantage is of bringing him along.
CLOONEY: Well, I think it's also important -- because I don't want to inflate my role in this -- you know, I'm -- I happen to be somewhere where a lot of cameras tend to follow me, and we're just trying to go to places where they can't get enough cameras on them. And all my job is to be a megaphone for all of the people, including the administration, including the -- you know, the U.N., including the south Sudanese, who want to see avoiding this war, rather than cleaning it up afterwards.
ANDERSON: George, final question. With all the work that you are doing, including the work in south Sudan, are you ever going to find time to get married?
CLOONEY: Good. You asked that question. I'm glad.
ANDERSON: That's right. That's right!
ANDERSON: George Clooney was in Sudan at the same time as the U.N. Security Council. They were there to lend their support for the January referendum.
Well, earlier, I spoke to the U.K.'s permanent representative to that council, Mark Lyall Grant. This is what he had to say.
MARK LYALL GRANT, BRITISH PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE U.N.: Well, there are two major issues in Sudan about which the Security Council is very concerned. The first is Darfur and the second is the north-south dynamic. And we are very committed and united as a Security Council to ensure that the comprehensive peace agreement, which brought peace after many years of civil war between the north and the south, is fully implemented and that we are now on a very tight timetable towards a referendum that should be held on the 9th of January next year. And that's why we went there, to try and encourage both parties to stick to that timetable and stick to the terms of the CPA.
ANDERSON: And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls this a ticking time bomb. Do you have any confidence that the government will, indeed, stick to this timetable?
GRANT: Well, we got assurances from the vice president and the foreign minister, whom we saw in Khartoum, that they were committed to sticking to the terms of the CPA, including the timetable, and that there wouldn't be any preconditions for that timetable. So yes, they made those commitments.
ANDERSON: China and Russia hugely involved in the south Sudanese oil industry. Are they on board in the Security Council?
GRANT: Yes, they are. Both the Chinese ambassador and the Russian ambassador, whilst we were in southern Sudan, said in public and also in private that they fully supported the terms of the CPA, including the referendum timetable, and would, of course, fully stand by the outcome.
ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) see whether they, indeed, do do that. (INAUDIBLE) the U.K.'s representative there, talking south Sudan post (INAUDIBLE) of course (INAUDIBLE) George Clooney and John Prendergast, south Sudan in focus this evening.
Well, many countries are calling it a provocative visit. Iran's president is in Lebanon, where he's received a hero's welcome. But just across the border, his trip is stirring up strong emotions.
ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London. Coming up, the Iranian president pays a visit to a tense frontier just across from the country he said shouldn't exist. We'll have more on what is a controversial visit.
Plus, legalizing marijuana in California. As the state considers the move, we'll ask how will that affect drug traffickers over the border in Mexico.
And a stark warning from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on a global crisis that could be here to stay.
Those stories are ahead in the next 30 minutes here on CNN. As ever, let's at this point get you a very quick check of the headlines this hour.
Hospital official says most of the 33 miners who were trapped in Chile could be released from the hospital soon, some as soon as today. Chilean president Sebastian Pinera visited the rescued miners today at the Copiapo regional hospital.
Pakistani police say they've headed off a plot to attack the Pakistani prime minister. They say they've arrested seven suspects who claim to be taking orders from a militant in Pakistan's volatile tribal region. Police describe the plot as being in its, quote, "final planning stages."
The Liverpool Football Club is one step closer to being sold to the owners of the Red Sox baseball time. A high court judge in London has condemned the club's co-owners for trying to block the sale. That is after the owners got an injunction from a court in the United States.
Iran's nuclear program may be back on the world agenda as early as next month. The European Union has offered a three-day meet in Vienna with six major powers following a proposal from Iran's foreign minister on Saturday. Talks say that Tehran's uranium enrichment sold in October last year, leading to a toughening of international sanctions. Moreover --
Nearly jumped my cue there. Iran's president may be on his first state visit to Lebanon, but it's been ringing alarm bells in Israel. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed a rally of thousands in the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil. It's significant because it's the area at the heart of fighting between Hezbollah and Israel during their 2006 war. CNN's Arwa Damon has more.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived to deliver his speech at the stage behind me, he received a hero's welcome, with the crowd erupting into cheers as he praised Lebanon and the resistance for their heroism in the face of the enemy Israel.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): You showed that the will of the Lebanese nation and Lebanon's resistance is sharper than the swords of the Zionists. You have shown that no power can break the Lebanese resistance.
DAMON (voice-over): Those words especially resonating with the crowd here in Bint Jbeil. Bint Jbeil saw the heaviest aerial bombardment by Israel during the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. Ninety percent of the buildings were destroyed, according to residents, and they have largely been rebuilt thanks to Kataeb (ph), but also thanks to Iran. And people say that had it not been for Iranian money and aid, they would not have been able to put their lives back together again.
DAMON (on camera): This also is historically significant. Here in this very same area is the location where Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah delivered his victory speech in 2000 after the Israeli army withdrew from most Lebanon lands that they occupied.
This trip has been highly controversial internationally, but domestically as well, with people within the current government who oppose Hezbollah controlling a militia that does not answer to the government, saying that this is an indication that Iran now has a base in the Mediterranean. Analysts are saying that it is also an indication of the increasing amount of control and influence Iran wields, and the reality that it has to be a part of any equations in the future. Arwa Damon, CNN, Bint Jbeil, southern Lebanon.
ANDERSON: Well, of course, there's certainly two sides to every story. So just how is this being covered by local media? Let's take a look first at Israel. This is today's "Jerusalem Post," quoting the Iranian president in the headline calling Lebanon "a university for jihad." They go on to address the Israeli government's stance on the visit, saying it's like a landlord coming to inspect his domain. They quote the foreign minister, Yigal Palmor, as saying, quote, "he is bringing a message of violence and extremism."
Let's take a look in Lebanon. In stark contrast, Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper, we've translated for you, talks about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's message of Iranian brotherhood to the united and resisting Lebanon. It says huge numbers walked with the president from the airport to the Republican Palace. They also describe his visit as unifying for Lebanon.
Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit has also been stirring some emotions from across the border. A member of Israel's government made some heated comments in response to the state visit. Israel's Knesset member Arieh Eldad suggested that military action might be appropriate. Paula Hancocks has this report on the view from Israel.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The excitement we saw on the Lebanese side of the border was definitely not replicated here in Israel. We're about 50 meters away from the border. The village you can see in the background is Maroon Al-Ras, a small village that was heavily bombarded in the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. And just a couple of kilometers beyond that is where the Iranian president was making his speech in Bint Jbeil.
Now, Israel has called it a provocation, the fact that the Iranian president had to come so close to the Israeli border. We've also heard politicians saying that he had come to view his domain, believing he has that much control over Lebanon.
The deputy defense minister said that he'd come to inspect weapons that Israel believes Iran is rearming Hezbollah with. And one politician even called for his assassination. A right-wing politician, Arieh Eldad, said that if the situation arose, that Mr. Ahmadinejad was in the crosshairs of the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces, he should be killed.
Now, clearly, that was not advice that the Israeli government and the Israeli military decided to take. But there has been a lot of military activity here on the border. It is a very tense border and there's often military activity. Remember, just back in August, there was one Israeli soldier, two Lebanese soldiers, and one Lebanese journalist killed in a firefight, which started just from the trimming of one tree.
We have seen drones in the sky. We've seen a couple of Cobra helicopters watching proceedings. We've seen -- we've heard drones and fighter jets as well. So even though there was no conflict as such, we certainly knew that Israel was watching very closely at the man who had come closer than he's ever come before to the country that he believes should not exist. Paula Hancocks, CNN, on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
ANDERSON: As tensions heat up on that border, we're going to take a look at another battle, this time on America's doorstep. They've been fighting for years, and now they're throwing in the towel. Find out why some former police officers, even US judges are now calling for an end to drug prohibition. Let's hear what they've got to say in just a moment.
ANDERSON: It links our world through its global use, yet it divides our populations like no other. Drugs. Cannabis. Does it heal or harm? We're going to let you be the judge. All this week, we're working through the marijuana debate. First up, we were stateside, where politicians are putting pot back on the agenda for the midterm elections. Four states have initiatives on the ballot that will change their marijuana laws in big ways.
California is one of those looking at pretty much legalizing retail sales of the drug for recreational use. We've looked at the money to be made in cities like Oakland, which earned around $800,000 in revenue last year alone from a tax on selling medical marijuana.
Now, an unusual twist. While these states in the US may become more lenient, the Netherlands seems to be moving the other way. The Dutch are looking to weed out so-called cannabis cafes. Remember, technically, the sale of cannabis remains an offense. The incoming government plans to roll back the tolerance policy that's allowed them to operate for more than 30 years.
Tonight, we are back in California, on the trail of a group of quite unlikely campaigners supporting the push to legalize marijuana. CNN's Casey Wian takes a look at these high profile drug war deserters who say it is time to end prohibition.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kyle Kazan was a foot soldier in the war on drugs. He's taking us back to his old battleground in Torrance, California, where he says it's time to give up the fight.
KYLE KAZAN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: I've made a lot of dope arrests out here.
WIAN (on camera): How much of your time, when you were a police officer, would you say you spent dealing with drug-related issues?
KAZAN: I'd say drug-related stuff was probably -- I'm just going to shoot in the dark and say it's half of what I dealt with. Most police officers look at drug arrests as a way of saying, "Look. I didn't catch the burglar burglarizing, but I got him with dope. So I'm getting him off the street for something."
WIAN (voice-over): After nearly five years on patrol among pawn shops and flop house hotels, Kazan changed his mind.
WIAN (on camera): How would it make the streets of Torrance and other cities safer if marijuana was legalized?
KAZAN: Well, number one, it takes the criminal element that's selling it today -- and when I say criminal element, the people that are willing to break the law to do it, and remember, they can't call the police if they're getting robbed when they're selling drugs. So they've got to carry guns. We either make it a legitimate business, or we let the gangsters run a business, which is bad for all of us.
WIAN (voice-over): Kazan belongs to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group of former cops, prosecutors, and judges supporting a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California.
NEIL FRANKLIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION: Our fellow cops on the street, they'll tell you right up, it really makes sense. First of all, they don't want to be wasting their time locking up someone for possession of marijuana, some minor dealing on the streets. What they want to do, they want to pay attention to those serious crimes against people. The rapes, the homicides, the armed robberies, the missing children.
WIAN (voice-over): Publicly, most law enforcement groups remain opposed to drug legalization.
LEE BACA, SHERIFF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: The whole argument about taking away crime profits and reducing crime is all nonsense. We haven't reduced anything when it comes to the casualties of alcohol, and we haven't reduced anything when it comes to the casualties of narcotics. The truth is is that it's too prevalent, it creates non-productive element of society.
WIAN (voice-over): James Gray is a retired Orange County, California judge who used to hear drug cases. He says the United States has spent a trillion dollars waging a war against drugs, and that it's been a waste of money.
JAMES GRAY, FORMER JUDGE: In my view, drug prohibition is the biggest failed policy in the history of our country, second only to slavery. And that sounds like an exaggeration, but the more people see what's going on, the more they will understand that it has its tentacles in pretty much everything that's going wrong in our country.
WIAN (voice-over): Gray says illegal drug money is at the root of threats ranging from street gangs to international terrorism.
GRAY: If our government really cared about fighting terrorism, they would adopt the one solution, to take away its money. I swear that drug prohibition is the golden goose of terrorism.
KAZAN: I got to know a lot of the guys that I'd arrested. I got to know a lot of the local drug users. And as I humanized these people, I realized they'd been to jail numerous times. That didn't work. They're still on drugs. I actually -- as you get to know them, you feel bad for them.
WIAN (voice-over): Casey Wian, CNN, Torrance, California.
ANDERSON: It's been argued by some Prop 19 supporters that legalizing marijuana could help curb drug violence in neighboring Mexico. It's an interesting theory, but not likely, according to the Rand Drug Policy Research Center. A study by that center says, while they may lose some customers, legalization wouldn't put too much of a dent in the traffickers' pockets. That's unless they are forced to compete with California marijuana smuggled to other states at a cheaper price.
Rand calculates that the Mexican cartels generate $1 billion to $2 billion annually, and that is from exporting to the US and selling to wholesalers. Now, that is far below government estimates. And if we slice up the states, since California accounts for about 14 percent of the United States' marijuana use, a legalization, according to them, would only cut total drug export revenues by about two to four percent. The debate rages on.
Coming up next, a global crisis that shows no signs of letting up, I'm afraid. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees tells me what keeps him up at night when CONNECT THE WORLD. You are 60 seconds away. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: You're with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London joining the dots for you on the day's biggest stories. And the global refugee crisis is, apparently, in danger of becoming a permanent situation. That, at least, is the message from the man who runs the United Nations' agency, the High Commission for Refugees.
In a moment, the high commissioner himself will explain what he meant by that. First, though, I want to give you a sense of just how far- reaching the refugee problem is around the world, with a few reports of the -- from CNN's correspondents that we've brought you over the past year. Have a look at these.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forage for some good news on the refugee situation, and you instead find some pretty sobering statistics. Even now, with Iraq supposedly more secure, there remain more than 2 million Iraqi refugees scattered around the world. Another 1.5 million internally displaced in their own country, unable to go back to their own homes.
Now, here in Jordan, an estimated half a million of those refugees remain. And the trend is not good. Last year, as things technically improved at home, more Iraqis chose to flee their country to come here than decided to go back.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: NATO is urging the people in Marja to stay in their villages, but many are not willing to take their chance, and are making their way to refugee camps like this one.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Those are the ferries on their way to Britain. It's the shortest point between France and Britain. This is the parking lot area, and this is where people tend to camp out, looking for their chance to climb onto those trucks and sneak into Britain.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Red Cross estimates that in conflicts across the world from Asia to Africa, 26 million displaced people are falling between the cracks, missing out on aid, protection, and assistance. But they say the problem is much bigger than that. The communities that help out the displaced are themselves in need.
ANDERSON: From the Middle East to right here in Europe, some of the places where the refugee crisis is at breaking point. In Pakistan, flooding this year has displaced more than 1.5 million people alone. But even before those floods, Pakistan had the largest population of concern, according to the United Nations. That group includes refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced, and several others. Rounding out the top five are Thailand, Colombia, the Congo, and Iraq.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that the crises in those places are creating, and I quote him, "quasi-permanent and global refugee problems and populations." I asked him to expand on what that -- when I spoke with him earlier in the week, here's what he told me.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: Permanent because these are never-ending conflicts. For decades, we still people -- we see people going out and the -- unfortunately, not being able to help them go back in in safety and dignity as we would like.
And global because now, for instance, Afghans and Somalis, you see them everywhere. And suffering enormously, because they are in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. They drown. Sometimes they suffocate in containers. They are detained, they are arrested, they are deported by police forces in different parts of the world. Really, their plight is a dramatic one.
ANDERSON: The wars in Afghanistan and, indeed, in Iraq were instigated by western forces. In your opinion, do the countries who led those wars do enough to deal with the refugee crises that they created?
GUTERRES: I think that it is important for countries in the developed world to understand that they also need to keep their doors open to people in such dramatic circumstances. To have a more positive attitude, a more friendly attitude to these groups, Afghans, Somalis, Iraqis. Not to be, sometimes, insisting, as it happens, in sending them back when the reception conditions are not there for that to be done in dignity and safety.
And at the same time, I think it's important for the developed world to share the burden, to give a much stronger financial contribution helping these countries in the south to cope with this challenge.
ANDERSON: You've raised the point that Iran is much engaged in dealing, for example, with Afghan refugees, which I think might surprise many of our viewers around the world. Does the wider narrative of the nuclear issue and sanctions have any bearing on the way that Iran deals with refugees?
GUTERRES: I think they're two completely separated things. There are complex political issues in the relationship between the so-called western world and Iran. But in relation to refugee protection, Iran has a very positive attitude. They have more than one million Afghan refugees. They have now granted 340,000 work permits, which means allowing them not only to stay in Iran, but to work legally with all the advantages that that brings to them.
And with a very open attitude, that to a certain extent can be explained because of the Islamic nature of the state.
ANDERSON: What keeps you awake at night with this job?
GUTERRES: Sometimes what keeps us awake at night are not the most dramatic events, but the problems we face, the bureaucratic impediments, the difficulties here and there. But what for me is more worrying is the fact that the international community is not able to prevent.
We still are relatively efficient in responding to crises. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. But to prevent, to avoid. It's much better, because people will not suffer. It's cheaper. The international community has shown very -- lots of limitations in the capacity to prevent. And this is probably what is more worrying, is that we know that these things will go on and on, and that the effort to avoid these crises is not there. And if we are going to cope with challenges in the future as bad or probably even worse than the ones we face now.
ANDERSON: How concerned are you that we sit in an economic cycle whereby many administrations in -- certainly in the north, and I'm thinking here of Europe specifically -- are more inclined these days than less to be sending asylum seekers back home.
GUTERRES: But indeed there is a worrying trend in the evolution of the public opinions and, of course, when the public opinions become more negative, it's easier to be a populist and to have votes based on populism. Or to use xenophobia or racism as a tool to increase political support.
ANDERSON: Heed his warning. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees speaking to me just earlier on in the week.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. We're back with your Parting Shots in just over 60 seconds. Don't go away.
ANDERSON: All right. Take two countries which, at first, seem to have absolutely nothing in common. Then we challenge you to join the dots. It's our Global Connections segment. This week, we are connecting Australia and Angola. In fact, you are connecting them for us. And around the world, you have been getting involved.
We even heard from an Australian soap star turned pop star, Delta Goodrem. She's one of the country's top-selling female artists. So get ready for the diva from Down Under as she makes the connection for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELTA GOODRM, AUSTRALIAN SINGER: I'd love to go there, I've never been there, though it sounds nice, I think. Music's a universal language, so I think that we all -- we can all speak at once, and for some reason, people have no idea why they connect to a song. It's completely subconscious.
I think another reason for strong cultural links between Australia and Angola is that they both have big mining. So lots of Australians and lots of ex pats are working there. But I didn't even realize we had similar populations.
And did you know that we're both punching above our weight when it comes to music, in whatever way we're all connected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And you can hear that full interview with Delta on the Global Connections webpage. That's cnn.com/globalconnections. She even serenades us, so do be sure to check that out.
All right, we've got a minute or so left. Let's get you some Parting Shots this evening. It had to be Chile tonight. One of the most uplifting connective stories in a very long time, perhaps ever. We've chosen some images from around the world showing ordinary people uniting in celebration.
Toasting the rescue effort with Chile's national drink, pisco sours. This shot was taken on the other side of the world in Bangkok, Thailand.
Lighting a candle and giving thanks, a group of Bulgarian miners attend mass in Sofia following the rescue.
Glued to a giant TV screen, this group watched as the drama unfolded at the Chilean embassy in Washington.
And it's hard to choose just one memorable image of the rescue, but the team did it, and how about this one? Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to be winched to safety. On celebrating his freedom, he punched the air as he led rescue workers in chants of "Viva, Chile!" Reflecting moments later, he said, "I was with God and the devil. They fought over me. God won."
Let's hear what you've been saying about this on the website, shall we? DuaneNYC says, "Hats off to the president of Chile for being at the site for the entire mission and personally greeting each of the miners." He says, "We could not expect the same from Obama. He'd still be out campaigning for the midterms."
Somebody who goes by the name of Relaxed writes, "It's not rational to just assume that they've all somehow managed to handle this traumatic ordeal with superhuman grace. They are human. Allow them to be human and have compassion."
Somebody else writes in to us, "The next Hollywood movie will be on these miners, and I am sure it will be a super hit."
And another one for you this evening. "A note to the 33. You lived second by second, minute by minute, yet you were able to pull together and to survive to the end. Thanks for giving many of us an opportunity to put our lives in perspective." Rcanright, I think we all agree with you on that one.
Now, remember, you can always get a look behind the scenes on our Facebook page. We at the team give a preview of what we've planned, and leave your thoughts on the big stories. A new page for you. The address is facebook.com/CNNconnect. Make sure you're a fan.
I'm Becky Anderson. That's your world connected. What day is it today? Thursday, isn't it? "BackStory" is up next, right after a very quick check of the headlines for you here on CNN.