Return to Transcripts main page
Libya Protests; Bahrain Unrest; Protests Fizzle in China
Aired February 21, 2011 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi warns of civil war as the death toll from anti-government violence is set to pass 200.
Police head off protests and Internet censors work over time as China worries about unrest abroad.
And the dancing Internet star, Matt Harding, is here in Hong Kong getting down with the NEWS STREAM team.
Dramatic developments in the Libyan capital. Protesters have overrun a state television station. Now, multiple media reports also say a government building was set on fire. Anti-government demonstrations have spread from the east to Tripoli, a stronghold of leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Now, this video posted on YouTube is said to show people chanting slogans against the regime on Sunday. It is unclear how many people have died as security forces crack down on the demonstrators.
Now, we do know it has been brutal. Human Rights Watch reports at least 233 people have died in the last four days. The group says it spoke to hospital sources.
Now, it is very difficult to obtain independent confirmation on events in Libya. Now, the government maintains tight control in communications and has not granted CNN access to the country.
Now, Fionnuala Sweeney is following developments in the region. She joins us now live from Cairo.
And Fionnuala, what is the latest in Tripoli?
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears that what evolved in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, over the last few days has now reached the capital, Tripoli. We heard of sporadic clashes overnight between protesters and the security forces. A state-run television apparently set on fire. That same state-run television running a loop, what appears to be a taped loop, even though there is a banner up saying that it is live television.
We're hearing of another government building that has been ransacked. We spoke to one woman who was afraid to speak to us because her father had been arrested during the night in suspicion of being an anti-government protester.
BP has announced that it is taking precautionary measures, evacuating all non-essential personnel and their families from Libya. They say oil production is still going on at its facilities. However, there are plans perhaps to stop production at one of those facilities if it's deemed necessary.
It is an extremely sporadic picture, but nonetheless a consistent picture that is emerging in the last 24 hours from Tripoli of increased clashes between protesters and military personnel following this speech made by Saif Gadhafi, the son of Colonel Gadhafi, in which he said the army was not like that of Egypt, that it would fight to the last man.
STOUT: And Fionnuala, the communications war -- is the protest movement in Libya using the Internet to organize? And is the government fighting back?
SWEENEY: Well, in Benghazi, there was a live stream video that ran for much of the last few days, and people were able to see what was going on. It was a webcam situation on top of one of the courthouses there in (INAUDIBLE). A lot of demonstrators passing the building outside.
Phone lines were up to a certain degree in Benghazi. But we have to say, since we have been monitoring the situation, phone calls to Tripoli are extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Also, we get the sense that people in Tripoli are afraid to speak to people on the outside for fear of preemptive arrests and getting into serious, serious trouble. And this is what makes, according to Human Rights Watch, what the people are doing in Libya, standing up to the government, going out onto the streets, all the more admirable. Because in Egypt, it was a peaceful protest, the army was on the side of the people, or at least not intervening on the streets. But what's happening of course in Libya is that the army is, for the moment, as far as we know, very much aligned with the regime of Colonel Gadhafi.
STOUT: And also the latest in Egypt. The British prime minister, David Cameron, is now there in Cairo. What does he hope to achieve?
SWEENEY: Well, he says that he is here to help. He's the first world leader to come to Cairo since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. He's meeting with the defense minister, of course, who's now really the most important man in the government given that it is a military government that is running this country for the time being.
He's also meeting with the foreign minister, the prime minister. He says he'd like to see the state of emergency lifted, but emphasizing that he was here to help. Just on the subject of Libya and Britain, Britain called in the Libyan ambassador to the country today to say that it was expressing in the strongest possible terms its condemnation of the violence against people in Libya.
STOUT: All right.
Fionnuala Sweeney, joining us live in Cairo.
Thank you for that.
Now, so far, we have not heard from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Instead, his son Saif gave the first government response. Saif is seen as a top unofficial Libyan diplomat well known for his humanitarian causes and time spent in the West. But his televised speech has been described as rambling. Saif Gadhafi blamed drunks, criminals and foreigners for the unrest, and he also accused the international media of overstating the extent of the violence.
Now, he promised reforms if the protests stopped, and he warned of dire consequences if they do not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): We ask now as a sign of solution before it's too late. Five million people will take arms. We're not Egypt. We're not Tunisia. We will all have weapons.
Everyone has access to weapons. Instead of crying over 84 people killed, we'll be crying over thousands. Blood will flow, rivers of blood, in all the cities of Libya, and you will emigrate from Libya, because petrol will stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now, that speech, it did not go over well with many protesters. One Twitter user who goes by the handle "@EnoughGadhafi," he posted this picture of a crowd watching his address on the screen. And as you can see, they're waving shoes in the air. That's a deep insult in the Arab world. One analyst says Saif Gadhafi has made similar promises before, and demonstrators are unlikely to trust him.
Now, demonstrations in support of Libya's protesters have been held in the U.S. and Canada, and their message, similar to the one on this sign in Cairo telling Libyans they are not alone. Now, this group gathered on Sunday outside the Libyan Embassy in Egypt's capital. Protesters called for the end of Colonel Gadhafi's grip on power. They also condemned the use of violence against anti-government demonstrators.
In Bahrain, protesters are demanding investigation into the deaths of at least 10 people killed during days of bloody clashes with security forces. Now, some are also calling for the removal of its leader.
Arwa Damon has this report from the capital.
AMIN JAFFER, BAHRAIN PARAMEDIC: I was at home that day. At 2:30, I have a call, "Please come. Something is happening in Manama.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was early Thursday morning. Amin Jaffer, a father of two, raced down to Pearl Roundabout.
JAFFER: I cannot imagine, I cannot explain to you what was like a war like that. Some had been here like a nuclear bomb had been here.
Suddenly, they said no one else (ph) to come here. So, again, when we came back that time, they are beating us, they are pulling us from the ambulance, and they are shooting us. More than 20 soldiers that are beating one paramedic and one driver.
After beating (INAUDIBLE), OK, now you can take (INAUDIBLE). "And if you come back again here, we will blow your head again."
That time, really it's like somebody is holding my hand. I want to do something, but I cannot. I was crying because I saw so many people.
DAMON: Friday would end up being even more brutal. As protesters approached the military cordon chanting "Peaceful! Peaceful!" the troops opened fire, using lethal rounds and tear gas.
JAFFER: I know in our job we would see so many things. But I at least think (INAUDIBLE) in my country. I see this in movies, in films, but this is the first time I've seen it happening. I said that now I have to be strong. The situation and these people need us to be more strong.
So I keep my heart strong and I say what happens happens, because if I die also, no problem. Because who will let these (INAUDIBLE)?
DAMON: When the demonstrators took back Pearl Roundabout after a truce with the government, the paramedics were given a hero's welcome.
JAFFER: These people are not walking. They are carrying us, they are kissing us, they are giving us flowers. They are singing, "You are the hero. You are the" -- I cannot explain. Really something unbelievable. I was crying.
DAMON: But the fear that it may not be over yet prevails.
JAFFER: Our people, still they are afraid, afraid of our government, because it's happened before, so many times. And they have promised us that everything will be OK. So these people that are afraid have been again. So we are here to make people feel safe.
STOUT: Some very dramatic moments there, as we saw on our screens there in Bahrain.
Now, with the latest from the island nation, Arwa Damon joins us now in the capital, Manama.
And Arwa, what is happening on the streets right now?
DAMON: Well, Kristie, those demonstrators have really dug in down at Pearl Roundabout. They've set up tents. They're cooking food in massive pots. You have entire families who are camped out.
The demands among them varies from those who say they would be satisfied with political reform, constitutional amendments. And then there are those who are demanding that the ruling Khalifah family step down.
They ruled for as long as the U.S. has been independent, around 200 years. And Bahrain is a predominantly Shia country. The Khalifah family is Sunni. But everyone who we've been talking to has been saying that this isn't about Sunni and Shia. It's about equality.
On the political front we're hearing reports that Hasan Mushaima, who's the secretary-general of the Al Haq movement, is expected to arrive in country tomorrow. Now, he has been in self-imposed exile in the U.K.
He originally traveled there for a treatment for lung cancer, but back in September, he was charged with wanting to overthrow the government, along with other opposition parties. If he does try to return, it's going to be quite an interesting task for the government that, at this stage, is struggling to regain the people's trust -- Kristie.
STOUT: OK. Arwa, the protesters there in Bahrain, as you mentioned just now, they have competing interests, a long list of grievances.
Are they coordinating their demands? Do they have a leader?
DAMON: Not a definite leader, not -- it's still very much divided in the sense that there are a number of different groups. As you said, there was a number of different interests. But the opposition here is fairly organized.
You have one opposition party that used to hold 18 seats in parliament, the (INAUDIBLE) party. Now, they have since been drawn, their members of parliament, in protests after the violence. But they have been leading the talks with the government. And on the government side, those talks have been led by the crown prince.
But with the return of this other opposition leader, Hasan Mushaima, it's going to be quite interesting to see if the opposition does try to come together as a larger movement. But it is also a very critical point, because at the same time, while all of this is happening, (INAUDIBLE) quite an economic blow, so that is of great concern moving forward as well -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Arwa Damon, joining us live from Bahrain.
Thank you, Arwa.
Now, you are watching NEWS STREAM. And up next, protesters in Yemen want to see their longstanding president gone. They're rallying in the capital for the eleventh straight day. We'll go there, live, for the latest.
And the contracts, it speaks for itself. Now, whatever China's so-called Jasmine Revolution was meant to be on Sunday, it was certainly not awash with people, unless you count the police.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, an anonymous online appeal for pro-democracy protests across China this weekend drew thousands of police, but relatively few protesters.
As Eunice Yoon reports, at times there seems to be more authorities and foreign reporters present than anyone else.
EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is unusual to see on a Sunday afternoon in Beijing, hundreds of police in one of the capital's shopping districts. An anonymous call on the Internet directed people to gather here and in a dozen other cities across China to stage a Tunisia-style Jasmine Revolution. Only a handful of protesters showed up, outnumbered by journalists, curious onlookers, and swarms of police.
The strong show of force highlights China's nervousness about potential uprisings here, as demonstrations spread from Tunisia, Egypt, across the Middle East, aimed at overthrowing authoritarian governments. China's Internet sensors have been on overdrive, deleting nearly all discussions of the appeal. The campaign first appeared on a U.S.-based Chinese Web site called Boshun (ph) and spread through Twitter, which is blocked here.
(on camera): If you search for the word "Jasmine," you won't get any results. And if you want to follow any Jasmine-related tweets, you can't, because the option has completely disappeared from the Web.
(voice-over): The call for protests comes at a sensitive time for Beijing, less than two weeks ahead of the National People's Congress, an annual meeting of government representatives. Politicians are likely to address concerns fueling anger in the Middle East, like rising food prices.
The economy is strong here and the growth has raised living standards for much of the population. So China enjoys a higher level of support compared to countries like Tunisia.
MOHAMMED BENHASSAN, TUNISIA ENTREPRENEUR IN BEIJING: China is going to do different. China is -- even though it's one political party, which is the same thing in Tunisia, for example, but the government is working hard, I believe, to maintain stability and to offer a better life to people.
YOON: The rise in status as a superpower has fueled nationalism. Even so, China worries a small protest could spark a torrent as it had in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
In recent weeks, the government has been clamping down on activists like lawyer Xien Guan Chung (ph). On Saturday, President Hu Jintao addressed officials, saying they need to do better to listen to the people to "solve problems which might harm the harmony and stability of the society," he said, "and safeguard people's rights and interests." And ultimately to head off even the possibility of widespread unrest.
Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.
STOUT: Now, in the words of CNN's Beijing bureau chief, if organizers planned Sunday's protests in China to echo those in the Middle East and North Africa, they failed. You can read more from our Jaime Florcruz by going to our Web site. That's at CNN.com.
Now, "Rubygate" and the scandal surrounding Silvio Berlusconi's personal life, it continues to send shock waves through Italian society. Now, he stands accused of paying for sex with a Moroccan nightclub dancer when she was 17 and using his influence to help get her out of jail. Prime Minister Berlusconi denies the charges.
As Diana Magnay reports, the allegations are beginning to cost him his popularity, especially among his Catholic constituents.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beneath the saints' serene gaze, the hymns of the faithful soar to the heavens. Sunday mass, a spiritual sanctuary for Italy's Catholics from the scandals overshadowing public life.
(on camera): What do you think of the scandals surrounding Mr. Berlusconi?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, my grandson Eduardo will take his first communion in this church on May 8th. And I think the example that is coming from the high powers must be different.
MAGNAY (through translator): It doesn't really matter if he's found guilty or not. I find it deeply upsetting when I watch the TV news, when I read the paper, when I hear about the (INAUDIBLE) Ruby. It makes me sick.
MAGNAY: The Vatican has stayed silent on the subject of the succession of scandals surrounding the prime minister. Hard to claim the moral high ground after the endless revelations of abuse of minors within the Catholic Church. And the Holy See has diplomatic relations to maintain with the head of the Italian state.
ALBERTO BOBBIO, ROME EDITOR, "FAMIGLIA CRISTIANA": The Holy See has to deal with this prime minister who has received the vote of confidence in the Italian parliament more than once recently. Naturally, in the Vatican hallways, cardinals, bishops also have a personal opinion.
MAGNAY: In an online survey for the influential Catholic weekly "Famiglia Cristiana," 73 percent of respondents said they thought Mr. Berlusconi should resign.
(on camera): And the Italian Church has made a stand. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who heads up the Italian Bishops Conference, describing a moral malaise in this country and calling on the political leadership to exhibit the honor and discipline required of their positions.
(voice-over): Irrespective of whether or not Mr. Berlusconi's innocence is proven in a court of law, it would appear that with "Rubygate," he's losing the faith of his Catholic followers.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Rome.
STOUT: You're watching NEWS STREAM on CNN. And the stars are out in Los Angeles as celebrities watch Kobe Bryant and LeBron James battle for bragging rights as the MVP of the NBA All-Star Game. So who won? Find out next.
And up next after the break, anti-government protests are escalating across Libya. The death toll is on the rise.
Now, state TV has been airing images of pro-Gadhafi rallies like this one, while the U.S. condemns violence elsewhere. Now, what role can Washington really play in ending the unrest?
Plus, it is day 11 of protests in Yemen. We'll bring you a live report from the capital, Sana'a.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) STOUT: I'm Kristi Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.
Now these are the only pictures of protesters appearing on Libyan state TV. It showed supporters of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi. But anti- government demonstrations have reached his stronghold of Tripoli. Now protesters have clashed violently with security forces. Human Rights Watch says at least 233 people have died over the past four days.
Now the wave of political discontent has spread to another North African nation. In cities across Morocco thousands chanted "people want change." The protesters are calling for political reform. They also want to limit the powers of King Mohammed VI. Now mostly peaceful, there were reports of vandalism in one northern city where five bodies were later found inside a bank.
Now authorities tell CNN that a suicide bomb in Somalia's capital killed several people on Monday including children and police officers. Security officials say a car bomb exploded near a police training camp. While the spotting of the weekend near a market in Mogadishu that killed 18. Medical officials say the fighting between Islamic militants and government forces was marked by a heavy exchange of fire.
Now a senior military source tells CNN the U.S. military is tracking a yacht seized by Somali pirates and is prepared to intervene if necessary. Now four Americans are believed to be on board, including owners Gene and Bud Adams (ph) who are on a worldwide missionary trip.
Now the United States is expressing outrage at the situation in Libya. Now U.S. State Department officials say that they have received many reports that hundreds of people have been killed and injured in several days of unrest. World affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joins us now from CNN Washington. And Jill, the Obama administration has issued a strongly worded statement to Libya. Give us the details.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the way they phrased it right at the top, Kristie, gives you an indication of how seriously they are taking this. They say they are gravely concerned by the reports that are coming out about the violence. And that is one of the biggest concerns right now.
This, it appears, is the bloodiest uprising in all of these uprisings throughout the Mideast and North Africa. And the State Department is saying, and urging, that the violence stop -- the violence, of course, by security forces. And then also they are saying that they've raised those objections with the government and they stressed the right for freedom of expression and assembly and that they are making that clear to the Libyan government. They also want security forces that have broken those -- let's say gone against those promises by the government to allow freedom of expression, they want them taken to justice.
But all of this, Kristie, could be falling on deaf ears, because the United States actually realistically doesn't have a lot of influence.
STOUT: And meanwhile, how is oil affecting what's going on on the ground in Libya?
DOUGHERTY: You know, that's another very good point, because as these revolutions and uprisings occur throughout the region, each country has a different side to it, a different aspect to it. And here in Libya, you have -- it's a major oil exporter. And so already that seems to be having some effect on oil futures and prices. And that would be one major concern.
And the other thing here -- I should say in Libya that's different is that personal rule by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, he and his family and other people who are close to him are the rulers of the country. It is very cut off from the outside world, especially internet penetration is not very high. They can control the internet. So even as the State Department now is trying to get information about this, they are unclear of the extent of precisely what is happening.
STOUT: Jill Dougherty live in Washington. Thank you, Jill.
Now developments in Libya are likely to influence oil prices, because Libya produces almost 2 percent of the world's oil. Now BP is telling CNN that it is preparing to evacuate families and non-essential staff from the country, but says none of its operations has been affected so far. Now stay up to date on developments in the Middle East and North Africa, our journalists they are tweeting events and analysis, like this one from our Ben Wedeman. He writes -- he wrote this just a few hours ago today, "Ben Ali took a month to fall, Mubarak 18 days, Gadhafi perhaps half that. Who is next and how fast? By end of the year may be 15 minutes." Just visit Twitter.com/cnni/arabunrest.
Now Egypt's Islamic opposition group The Muslim Brotherhood has long been banned in the country, but in the wake of Egypt's revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood has applied to become a political party. Now Harvard University's Tarek Masoud is a leading expert on the group and he spoke to Fareed Zakaria to help us separate fact from fiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Who are these people? You've met hundreds of them. What do they look like? Give us a snap shot, a kind of profile?
TAREK MASOUD, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: They actually look sort of like me. When I was following them in the 2005 elections, I'd be wearing my blazer. I'd be clean shaven and people would often think that I was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, because that's sort of how they appear. They're generally not what we think Islamists are. We generally think that Islamists are poor people, downtrodden who are turning to the comforting certainties of religion and religious zealotry. The Muslim Brothers are quite different. They generally tend to be pretty well educated, doctors, engineers, pharmacists, veterinarians. These are not the poor of Egypt. They're kind of upwardly mobile folks.
ZAKARIA: People think of them, though, as a kind of reactionary, a retrograde organization. What is their relationship to the modern world? Do they like it? Do they want to turn Egypt backwards?
MASOUD: Well, they're relation to the modern world is complex. I mean, certainly they do want to turn Egypt backwards, but not backwards in the way that the Taliban want to turn Egypt backwards. They're not the kinds of people who are rejecting western science and learning, on the contrary. If you look, for example, at the web presences of various political organizations, nobody uses the internet more intensively or more effectively than the Muslim Brotherhood. So these are people who have a desire to engage with the best thinking that's coming out of the west, because they believe there's nothing contradictory between that and Islam.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now Tarek Masoud, he also says that the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda includes some very specific goals. And that includes the setting up of a political union for Muslim countries which would function much like the European Union.
Now protesters, meanwhile, in Yemen are on the streets for an 11th straight day. As the president compares the protest to a virus sweeping the region, thousands are again voicing their discontent. Mohammed Jamjoon is in Sana'a for us. Mohammed, what is the situation in Yemen right now?
MOHAMMED JAMJOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, in Sana'a what differentiates the situation today from the situation in the last few days there's been no violence and no clashes. This is the second day in Sana'a there's been no clashes between rival groups of protesters. You have a couple of thousand protesters that have been outside of Sana'a University. They're trying to stage a sit-in. They started coming out there last night. They've put out tents and mattresses. They want it to be a festive atmosphere. They're even cooking food for some of the people that are joining in. Mostly students, they want regime change. They are champion for the fall of the regime, but they want to do it by peaceful means.
But Sana'a is not the only place in Yemen where there are protesters. In the south, in Aden, we get reports today that eye witnesses tell us one was killed and four injured in clashes with security forces there; thousands of people in Aden demonstrating against the government, thousands of people in the southern city of Ta'izz also demonstrating against the government. Now we hear in the north in the city of Sa'dah that the Husi rebels are rebelling again and that they are demonstrating against the government. Clearly momentum gaining throughout the country. Lots of different regions and governorates calling for regime change here.
We went to a press conference earlier in the day with the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. He said that he's heard from the tribes here and the people that they want him to remain in power, that anybody who wants change can go to the ballot box. But he also kind of dismissed the sentiment here, likening it as you said before, to a virus. Here's more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ABDULLAH SALEH, PRESIDENT OF YEMEN (through translator): This is a virus and it is not part of our heritage or the culture of Yemeni people. It's a virus that came from Tunisia, to Egypt, and to some regions. The sense of the fever is like influenza, as soon as you sit with someone who is infected you'll be infected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMJOON: It's interesting that in the last few days -- first we heard the Yemeni president say that he blamed foreign agendas and foreign ideas on the unrest here, now he's saying that it's simply like a fever that's been caught if you're sitting next to a sick patient. But clearly when you talk to people out in the street, they say they are angry, they say they are going to keep demonstrating until the regime changes here, until President Saleh steps down -- Kristie.
STOUT: And what are the clerics in Yemen as well as the opposition figures saying about the violence against the demonstrators?
JAMJOON: The clerics and the opposition figures have stayed silent for the most part until about two days ago. In the last couple of days we've heard from more and more of them and they are denouncing the violence that's been directed at the anti-government demonstrators. They're saying that's no way to about treating Yemeni citizens. And now the opposition politicians here who just last week were saying they were going to enter into dialogue with the president and accept the political reforms that he has suggested are now really taking a step back and they're calling on people to go and lend their support and lend their voices to people that are out in the street.
So it seems the situation is getting more volatile. Even the people that were expressing support for the president politically now seem to be stepping back from that and were wondering if that's going to make it an even more chaotic situation here in the coming days -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Mohammed Jamjoon joining us live from Sana'a. Thank you.
Now the unrest we have seen has been limited to North Africa and the Middle East, but as you've seen in this digital age, it can spread in an instant. Now a video recently posted on the web suggests the Cuban government is paying close attention.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now Egypt's social media field uprising has had repercussions not only in Northern Africa and across the Middle East, but around the world. Now in Cuba where Fidel Castro ruled for nearly 50 years before transferring power to his brother Raul in 2008. Both the government and its opponents are taking note. Shasta Darlington reports on Havana's brewing cyber war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For years, Cuban dissidents have taken their demands to the street, small groups shouted down and pushed around as they called for political freedoms. But a new video suggests the war between the communist government and its opponents has shifted to a new battlefield: the internet.
In what appears to be a government intelligence briefing a lecturer talks about the dangers and the possibilities of the web.
"We are fighting the new technology," he says, "we simply have to get to know it and use it in our favor, but also know what the enemy is doing."
The video was posted to the web anonymously and has popped up on dozens of blogs. CNN wasn't able to verify its authenticity.
The government's fear is U.S. backed dissidents will use social networks like Twitter and Facebook to incite unrest.
Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez (ph) followed the uprising in Cairo with daily Tweets.
"There are a lot of similarities," she says, "the dissatisfaction of the people, a single voice in power for so long, that's why I was so enthusiastic about what was happening there."
Cuba has also jailed an American aid worker, Alan Gros (ph), and accused him of distributing illegal satellite equipment. The Cuban government says he was working with dissidents to connect them to the internet. The U.S. State Department says he wanted to help Jewish communities. Gros (ph) could face up to 20 years in prison when he goes to trial. In the mysterious video, he's called a mercenary.
"It's just like the Bay of Pigs invasion," he says, "but this man is coming with different weapons. He didn't come on a boat with a gun in his hand, but it's the same story."
Cuba isn't turning its back on the internet. For years, it blamed the U.S. embargo for restricted access, but this month it completed an undersea fiber optic cable connecting the island to Venezuela.
When a network goes online this summer, Cuban bandwidth will increase by 3000. The question is will Cubans then have access to the web without restrictions and without excuses?
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Havana.
STOUT: Now the rumbling sound is heard for 19 minutes and up to 10 kilometers away. And there is a high plume of smoke and an alert posted by Filipino authorities. The Bulusan volcano is acting up again, so let's get the very latest with Guillermo Arduino -- Guillermo.
GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kristie. Yeah, it is a volcano that we're following closely just here in the Philippines as you see to the north. It's a very densely populated country, remember, so every time we hear something like this we get very nervous.
So we have a couple of pictures and a couple of details that I want to share with you, so let's roll it. Steve is showing you a video. There are at least 2,000 people that have been evacuated. And they are those who live around the foot of the volcano. Among those, 400 families were taken to Sorsogon, 300 to Irosin, and 100 to Juban.
Now people have been advised not to enter inside the 4 kilometer radius which is defined as the permanent danger zone.
Now in December last year -- we're talking about two months ago -- Mount Bulusan started to spew ash and steam. So for the time being, as you said, it's only 3 kilometers up there in the air -- the steam and the ash. It is very dangerous, because we don't know what's going to happen, and people -- at least until Thursday -- are taking care of the situation as best they can.
Well, OK, let me tell you about some other situation. It's a little bit more dangerous, because it is happening as we speak. This is a tropical cyclone. You see New Caledonia here. To the south is New Zealand. Then we have Fiji here. So those who went to Fiji thinking, hey, I'm going to enjoy the sunshine and going to go to the beach, well maybe they are surfing right now, because the surf is quite significant and also we have the proximity of the cyclone that is not going to go directly into anybody, any land in particular, but it is going to make all these people uncomfortable with high waves, with rain as we have seen, and also with intense precipitation.
So the diameter of the cyclone is significant, it's 1100 kilometers. There we have it near Vanuatu and Port Vila, I'm going to show you exactly where it is. The center, again, not making landfall, but too close for comfort. So when we go into Port Vila you're going to see what kind of terrain we have here on this island. You know, the desired destination for many, because we have beautiful bays and also people who live there on -- in addition to tourists, so imagine what can happen when we have these significant winds.
Port Vila is not reporting as we speak, but you have an idea of the winds close to 120 kilometers, which would be a hurricane here on this side of the world, very near the edge of those islands. And here we have it again.
The rain, it is affecting on and off Fiji. It has been raining for a while. I remember on Friday when I was reporting about this cyclone we saw this.
Coming up later throughout the evening, I'll report about some other cyclones. In the meantime, we'll go back to Hong Kong.
STOUT: All right, Guillermo, thank you very much. Good to see you by the way. Guillermo reporting there.
Now up next here on NEWS STREAM, coming soon to a mailbox near you -- well, not likely, but we have a sneak peak at a wedding invitation fit for a future king.
And imagine the scene he could make on the royal dance floor, but for now, Dancing Matt is here with us, so make space where you are, get ready to move.
STOUT: It is the most highly anticipated wedding of the year, and the hottest ticket in town if you're a fan of the British royal family. Nina Dos Santos previews the official invite to Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day and looks at who is and who is not on the guest list.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's official, the guest list is fixed and the invitations are in the post. Some 1900 8 by 6 inch cards embossed with the queen's royal cipher are heading towards addresses right across the world, inviting their recipients to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Some lucky 600 guests will also get the chance to have lunch here at London's Buckingham Palace with the queen and 300 further VIPs will wrap up the day's celebrations with a dinner hosted by Prince Charles.
Now royal analysts are saying that what's interesting about the list is not necessarily who is on it, but who is being left out most notably, Sarah Ferguson, Prince William's aunt.
MARK SAUNDERS, ROYAL EXPERT: I remember back in '93 a member of the royal household saying that the knives are out for Fergie. And it appears that they still hold some resentment against her. I don't understand why she's been snubbed in this way.
DOS SANTOS: But what's increasingly clear is that this small wedding is having a huge impact on other Britain's planning their big day this year.
LESTER GETHINGS, WEDDING PLANNER: I've had two weddings already that have had their own personal monograms on their invitations, all through the menus, the order of the day, order of service and also two weddings that I have so far this year, they have done their own monogram as well. They're very, very popular indeed. And a lot of clients are going for the engraved printing that Prince William and Kate Middleton are having on their invitations. Perhaps not as elaborate, but it's there.
DOS SANTOS: So, to those lucky enough to have an invitation to what's likely to be one of the most important royal weddings here in Britain for a generation, you can bet that they'll be getting their reply cards in early, because as past officials know, April 29th is looming fast.
Nina Dos Santos, CNN, outside Buckingham Palace, London.
STOUT: You probably don't know his name, but you may have seen his videos. Matt Harding has been everywhere from Antarctica to the DMZ and wherever he's gone, he's done a little dance. His videos have been viewed over 50 million times on YouTube. Now Matt has made three videos and he came to Hong Kong today to work on a fourth. But before Matt moved to the beat, I asked him how it all began.
MATT HARDING, WHERETHEHELLISMATT.COM: It all started on a curb in Hanoi, Vietnam about eight years ago. I was wandering around with a friend of mine. We -- I'd quit my job and just gone on a backpacking trip. And he said, why don't you stand over there on the curb and do your stupid dance. And so I went over and I did it and he recorded it and I just kept on doing that.
STOUT: You've been to places all over the world, but where was the most interesting destination?
HARDING: Oh boy. Well, fresh in my mind, I just left North Korea about three days ago.
HARDING: I was there for the Dear Leader's birthday and the mass dance celebration and that was certainly one of the most unique and interesting places I've been.
STOUT: You were dancing for the Dear Leader?
HARDING: Not for. Yeah. Everybody else was dancing for the Dear Leader and so I happened to be there.
STOUT: You went to Rwanda in 2009. And you were there to teach the kids how to use YouTube. That must have been incredible.
HARDING: That was great fun, yeah. I went and taught a sort of video production class. I wanted to find something useful that I knew how to do that I could teach for a week or so and I went down there and worked with this Generation Rwanda organization and it was a great experience.
STOUT: And this last year you were in Haiti in October. How was that?
HARDING: That was -- it was really intense. I don't know how else to describe it. We went in and got to visit one of the disaster relief camps that the UN has set up. And they gathered a bunch of kids together from a class and we worked with them for a little while and taught them some dance moves. And it actually turned out great.
STOUT: That's wonderful.
Now this last year you've been to Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, et cetera, for a new video that you're working on. Tell me about it.
HARDING: Well, first and foremost, I'm learning how to dance. That's sort of the big thing here -- for me, at least, is I'm not just doing this anymore, I'm picking up new dance moves and teaching them to people and learning from the people who I dance with. And then another focus in the video for me is going to the places that I wasn't able to get to before and that people kind of think of as threatening or unfriendly. Like you said, Afghanistan, Iraq, places that we're kind of scared of because I learned in the past from travel and I've certainly found from going to the places that there are friendly people everywhere you go and we really are all the same in some really fundamental ways.
STOUT: So you're new video is about learning how to dance. I'm going to have to come over here. Stand right here. Teach me how to dance.
HARDING: OK. Well, I'll teach you my dance, OK? All right here we go.
So, first just -- you're in heels, so it's going to be a little bit harder. All right, so just step left right -- left, right, left right. And then elbows up like this. And then I just throw in a little wasabi. I snap my fingers here like this.
STOUT: What's wasabi? Spice. All right, I think I got it. I think it's time for the rest of my scene and crewmates to come on in and dance with me. Come on guys.
Get some wasabi action in there.
Hold it. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Jazz hands!
STOUT: And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is up next.