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CNN Locates Abducted Kids in Cuba; North Korea Warns Foreigners in South Korea; Mixed Feelings Over Margaret Thatcher's Upcoming Funeral in UK

Aired April 9, 2013 - 12:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today. Let's update you on some breaking news out of Cuba.

MALVEAUX: So far we have learned, CNN confirming, that the two abducted boys from Florida are now in Havana. Police say that two- year-old Chase Hakken and his four-year-old brother Cole were kidnapped by their father. That he tied up the grandmother and then fled with them and his wife. I want to bring in Patrick Oppmann, who actually saw one of the boys on a boat in Havana, in a marina in Havana.

Tell us what you've learned.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes. And this is, you know, probably the largest tourist marina in Havana. It's where boats come in briefly to Havana, the western end of Cuba, would come in and check in with immigration authorities, check in with customs. And, you know, honestly, it's full of Americans despite the embargo. We're there and you see plenty of boats from Florida.

So as we were driving through this large marina today, we saw a number of boats that we thought could have been the Hakken's boat. But none of them were. And then we finally get to the last slip (ph) in this marina and, sure enough, the boat "Salty" was there. We saw a boy playing on top of the deck very happily. And then, you know, as we were filming, two things happened. One, immediately some plain clothed Cuban security came out, some of them with side arms on their hips, and said you need to stop filming immediately.

And then we saw a man come out who was Josh Hakken. I said, are you Josh? And he said, yes, who are you. And I said, I'm a reporter. And he said, I don't want to talk to you. And he got onto his boat.

And as we were there talking with the Cuban security, while, obviously, keeping a very close eye on this boat, we said is this man under arrest? And they said, no. And I said, well, can we go talk to him? So without our cameras -- they wouldn't let us bring our cameras -- they let us approach the boat. And there on the top of the boat was one of the boys. There was Josh Hakken and his wife. And they didn't want to talk to me. They didn't want to come out from the boat. They just kept saying, we don't know what you're talking about. We have nothing to say. And then to Sharyn Hakken I said, you know, I only see one boy. Are both boys OK? And she said, yes.

You know, it's such an interesting problem now for Cuba and the U.S. authorities because they've got to figure out how -- what the next step is for these boys and for the Hakkens, who, of course, are wanted for kidnapping. And it seems like that's moving. We're hearing that there is some pretty unprecedented cooperation between the Cubans and the U.S. moving forward. There was a lot of concern that perhaps Cuba might say, we're not going to extradite them. We don't have to extradite them. And then there might be another diplomatic problem, as there have been so many in the past.

But the word we're getting just as of a few minutes ago is that there is cooperation it seems like that progress is moving slowly to see what's going to happen to these boys and their parents who, for the moment though, are cooling their heels on a sunny day in quite a pretty marina here in Havana.

HOLMES: Patrick, I've got to ask you, you touched on this. Explain a little bit more, what is the Cuban government's position, or is there one at the moment? We're talking about a country with no, obviously, extradition treaty with the U.S.

OPPMANN: Well, you know, so far we've been asking the Cuban government all day about this and I think because it's such sensitive diplomacy with the U.S. anything can go wrong. Any accusations or anything like that can really gum up the works here. So I think that's about it having gone back to this (ph).

But there clearly aware of who these people are, that the U.S. wants them and is keeping a very close eye on them. You know, there are many fugitives here in Havana from U.S. (INAUDIBLE). And, of course, Cuba claims that there are people that they would like to see tried for crimes in Cuba in the U.S. So there is something of a standoff when it comes to extraditions.

But of all the people here in Cuba, the people who are political, the Blank Panthers, maybe they committed terrible crimes, but, you know, were here -- the key here during sort of a different era. And in recent years, Cuba has sent some people back while still refusing to send some of these older revolutionary types back. So, you know, it is interesting to hear, though, from sources that there are talks going on, that there's cooperation going on.

It seems for at least the moment, though, this family is not going anywhere. They didn't appear to be in custody, but they're surely not wandering around Havana. The security that was around them reacted very quickly when we got there and they're very much aware of who these people are and not to let them get probably too far out of -- out of the area, Michael.

MALVEAUX: OK, Patrick, just to be clear here, right now you're saying that they are in Cuban official's custody? That the parents, as well as the kids, are in Cuban custody. I just want to be clear on that point. And secondly, again, what was the demeanor of the parents here? I mean they -- they are wanted for abduction here. You describe them as being rather calm about the whole thing. OPPMANN: They were. I really wonder, you know, even though in places like this marina you can get international news, you can get CNN, you might even be able to get online. But they didn't -- they seemed surprised that I was there. And, you know, they're on their boat. I saw Josh Hakken get off the boat at least twice. But he didn't go very far. It seemed like he was going into kind of a little market to buy some food. And surely to have this perimeter of marina security would appear to be plain clothes state security around them suggests that the Cuban government knows who they are. Their (INAUDIBLE) the United States most likely, not letting them go very far. But, you know, those same security officials said this family is not in custody. But then they said I couldn't film them and really wouldn't explain why. So a bit of a contradiction.

We haven't heard anything official yet from the Cuban government. But, of course, the Cuban government most likely (INAUDIBLE), people could have showed up anywhere. They're not Cuban-Americans. (INAUDIBLE) for why they've come here, but surely they're Cuba's problem now and it's going to take some very delicate diplomacy --

HOLMES: Delicate indeed. Patrick, thanks so much. Patrick Oppmann, whose based there in Havana.

Well, Victor Blackwell is outside the sheriff's office in Tampa.

And, Victor, Sharyn Hakken's parents were granted permanent custody of these boys the day before the kidnapping. What are the police there saying there about that and how they were actually snatched?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that this happened, according to authorities, just before dawn on Wednesday. Now, the parents lost their parental rights to these children on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, we're told, that Joshua Hakken went into the home of the Hausers and bound Patricia Hauser, stole her car, and in that car were Chase and Cole, took them off. The car was later found. They then searched for his truck and the boat that we're told that he purchased, this 25 foot "Salty" that now CNN's Patrick Oppmann says is in Havana.

And now that they've found them, the question is, what will happen with these grandparents? And I say grandparents plural because we've had some communication with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and they tell us that the grandparents, with an "s" plural, meaning grandmother and grandfather, are here. Earlier we were told that the grandmother was here. We now know that both of them are here. They're having a conversation.

We also know that if there is a news conference, and they're using "if" because there's no guarantee, that will be in some time. But we are set up waiting for that.

MALVEAUX: If you wouldn't mind --

BLACKWELL: We also know that this is not the first run-in with the law over these children.

MALVEAUX: Yes, if you wouldn't mind --

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

MALVEAUX: Tell our viewers, why did they lose custody over these kids? Are they considered dangerous? What was the reason behind that?

BLACKWELL: That's where I was going next. It started in June of 2012 at a hotel in Slidell, Louisiana. Inside the hotel there was the entire family, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken and the two boys. They also say that alcohol and guns and drugs were in there. And they say when -- the police say that when they questioned Joshua Hakken, he said that they were en route to the end, journey to Armageddon. And police felt that the boys were in danger. So they arrested them for the drugs and the alcohol and the guns. They kept the guns for safe keeping and took the boys into foster care.

Two weeks later, there was another incident in which they say that Joshua Hakken went to the foster home where those boys were with a gun, tried to take them. He was unsuccessful. He still faces charges in Louisiana for that incident and now a growing list here in Florida.

HOLMES: All right.

MALVEAUX: All right.

HOLMES: Victor, thanks so much. Victor Blackwell there.

Let's carry on.

MALVEAUX: Elise Labott at the State Department.

Elise, can you tell us, first of all, how is the State Department reacting to the fact that they have now found these two American boys in Cuba? And what can they do?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, right now, unsurprisingly, Suzanne, everyone is very silent, not saying anything. There are privacy laws. Concerned. A lot of times the State Department won't say anything about an American citizen if they don't have a kind of waiver from the parents. In this case, because these parents are -- seem to be fugitives, it's even more complicated. And, obviously, they're working with the FBI.

The U.S. intrasection (ph) in Cuba has been trying to reach out to Cuban authorities. It's all very tricky because the U.S. doesn't really have many tight relations with the Cubans. It's very hard -- difficult to work with them in numerous circumstances on any given day. And so now to reach out in terms of a crisis, this is one of the areas where no relations really hurts when there's something like this going on.

Sources are saying that they're trying to get information about this family. They say they haven't seen the family yet. But, obviously, if CNN is able to find them, then the Cuban authorities and the U.S. must have a pretty good idea of where this family is right now.

MALVEAUX: All right, Elise Labott, thank you very much. We'll be following that story. It's just extraordinary.

HOLMES: Extraordinary (INAUDIBLE).

MALVEAUX: And it could be a very diplomatic mess too as well just trying to get them back.

HOLMES: Yes. Good work by Patrick Oppmann finding where they are.

MALVEAUX: Finding them.

HOLMES: Exactly.

MALVEAUX: First one.

HOLMES: We got -- the other big story around at the moment, of course, the Korean peninsula. North Korea, another day, another threat. This is its latest warning. The North telling foreigners in South Korea to prepare in case there is an all-out -- and they use the words "thermo nuclear war."

MALVEAUX: And this is a message -- this is coming from state run media urging foreigners, find shelter, get out of South Korea. The North says it doesn't want them caught up in all of this if there is a conflict or a war that breaks out. Anna Coren, she's following the developments out of Seoul, South Korea.

And is this a warning that people are really heeding, first of all? Are they taking it seriously?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, I think we have to put this into context. We have been getting these threats on a daily basis coming out of North Korea. So you'd have to say, people here in Seoul are really tiring of this rhetoric, this war-like rhetoric. Yes, this warning coming out of North Korea today that foreign nationals here in South Korea should leave, should evacuate because they cannot guarantee that they would be safe in an act of war.

Now, just to give you an idea as to how seriously the British embassy is taking this. This is a segment from them and I quote, "we are not commenting on specifics of every piece of rhetoric from North Korea. Our travel advice remains unchanged."

So it gives you an idea as to the way it's being read in this part of the peninsula, anyway. But it does come, obviously, following that warning late last week from Pyongyang that foreign embassies in North Korea should also evacuate and leave. And certainly before the 10th of April. Well, it's just gone one 1:00 a.m. here on the 10th of April, and that is when South Korea is expecting that North Korea could perhaps launch a missile test. We do know that they've moved two missile launches to the east coast of North Korea and that they will be likely to be firing off missiles of a medium range that would be about 4,000 kilometers. That would take in obviously here South Korea, Japan, and then, obviously, U.S. bases in Guam. So, that is the concern that the missile test could go ahead. Obviously there would be serious repercussions from the international community.


COREN: More sanctions. More condemnation. But you would have to assume, Suzanne, that would fall on deaf ears.

MALVEAUX: All right, Anna Coren, thank you so much.

And, of course, we know that Japan is also taking precautions in case there is any real threat that is coming out of North Korea.

HOLMES: That's right, the Japanese government, in fact, setting up missile defense systems in and around Tokyo. These are patriot missile batteries. They were installed in case North Korea carries out another missile test, which could theoretically happen any time now.

MALVEAUX: Japan is not a direct target of North Korea's threats, but the Japanese government says it's going to take every possible effort to protect its citizens and insure their safety.

Christiane Amanpour, she's going to join us in just a couple of minutes to talk more about what is behind all of these threats and perhaps motivating the North Korea leader. A very young guy. A 29- year-old.

HOLMES: That's the big question. Yes, 29 years old. Who knows what he's thinking. That's what everyone wants to know.

Also tonight at 6:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer devoting again an entire hour to the crisis in North Korea. A special edition of "The Situation Room," 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Do tune in for that.

MALVEAUX: Here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD this hour.

Rough skies ahead. Here is a new report now. It's going to get bumpier even. If you are actually flying across the Atlantic Ocean, it is going to be rough for the next couple of years.

HOLMES: That's what they say. So, buckle your seatbelt.

Also, Halle Berry gives up the dirt on her pregnancy surprise and talks about how motherhood is changing her. We'll have that and a lot more.


MALVEAUX: North Korea telling foreigners in South Korea to prepare in case there is an all-out war. This is the latest warning that comes after weeks and weeks of threats against the United States and South Korea including this latest threat of a possible war.

HOLMES: Yeah, they used those words on air, thermonuclear war. Now the North started all of this tough talk, of course, after the U.N. security council approved tighter economic sanctions against North Korea (INAUDIBLE) they carried out.

MALVEAUX: So they are angry about the sanctions. And, of course, there is an effort by North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to flex his military might, as well. He's got a lot to prove.

I want to bring in our Christiane Amanpour. What do you think, essentially, are the motives behind Kim Jong-un, and do you think he will carry out something, some sort of launch or something in the next 24, 48 hours?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne and Michael, having talked to so many U.S. officials and other officials about this now over the last week and more since these threats have become so regular, I think there are, and we keep hearing, a sense that we really don't know about this new leader and we don't know his intentions.

So everything is kind of guesswork. What they do believe is that he does not have the capabilities, despite all of this talk of thermonuclear war and all of the rest of it, to do anything like that.

What the United States and South Korea are saying and preparing for is the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that there might be some kind of missile test. If it is a hostile act, they say they are prepared. If it is actually directed at something other a sparsely populated area or into the waters over Japan, they are prepared to take their defensive measures. But nobody thinks there's going to be any outbreak of anything resembling a nuclear war or an exchange of any type.

HOLMES: And, of course, you have got another untested, new leader in South Korea. She is in an awkward position to say the least. And you have got this situation where Kim Jong-un, because he is untested, we know his dad and his grandfather used to take it to the brink and then get concessions and walk it back. Well, where is this guy's line? He seems to be going a little bit further than his predecessors.

AMANPOUR: Yeah, exactly, and that is what's sort of the unknown in this whole equation. What is his line? Where does he go up to? When does he stop?

Lots of American officials I have talked to believe that he has and the North Koreans have figured out how to, quote, "master the news cycle." Every day at a certain time, these new threats, these new statements, these new advisories to evacuate come out, but to what end?

And, as you say, they came to a sort relationship after many years with Kim Jong-il whereby they knew that he would ratchet things up many, many time in order to get concessions of some kind, aid, fuel, food and the like, and then sort of dial it back and then it would sort of ratchet back and forth.

Now we've talked to our own colleagues in Hong Kong who've rung around all of the embassies and who say, as Anna reported, that there is no concern amongst foreigners either in Pyongyang or in Seoul, and no embassies have advised their people. The U.S. embassy hasn't advised their people to leave. So there is a difference in the state of the rhetoric and the state of what's going on on the ground.

HOLMES: All right, Christiane, thanks so much. Christiane Amanpour there, appreciate it.

MALVEAUX: One of the hard things I think that it is so unpredictable, this young leader. I know that President Bush hated -- hated -- the father, Kim Jong-il, one of the few people he hated, for starving his people. At least they had a little bit more information about the elder. This guy, not so much, totally unpredictable.

HOLMES: And, of course, his Western education, his Western sort of semi-upbringing as well, makes everyone -- made everyone think that maybe this was a new era. Well, not the era they were looking for, that's for sure so far.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, a lot of tension still, questions.

This could be the biggest British funeral since Princess Diana's. Up next, we're going to live to London to find out the plans for laying Margaret Thatcher to rest. We're going to take a look at the very different ways that the British newspapers as well are covering the former prime minister.


MALVEAUX: Somewhat divisive here, people now arguing today about whether or not the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, deserves a royal funeral. She died yesterday of a stroke at the age of 87.

HOLMES: Yeah, I want to show you some of the British newspaper headlines now, and, boy, can they write headlines, to give you an idea how polarizing she was in her time and even now.

MALVEAUX: So, first, "The Times" which has a simple and respectful front page. And then there is the front page of "The Daily Mirror" which calls Thatcher "the woman who divided a nation."

HOLMES: Yeah, they're fiercely political, the newspapers in Great Britain, "The Mirror" very much on the left.

Compare that with "The Daily Mail" which calls her "The Woman Who Saved Britain."

Now the prime minister's office says that Thatcher is going to be laid to rest next Wednesday, Wednesday next week, with a funeral service that would be fit for a member of the royal family.

But not everyone thinks she deserves that.

MALVEAUX: Max Foster's in London. So, Max, tell us about the controversy here and what is the difference between the royal funeral and perhaps something that would be less.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a state funeral is something that's normally reserved for monarchs. On the odd occasion, you have seen them afforded to notable commoners, if I can call them that. Winston Churchill was the last one back in 1965.

You may remember Princess Diana's funeral. It very much looked like a state funeral, but that was a ceremonial funeral.

So, with a ceremonial funeral, it would have a bit less of the trappings. So with Princess Diana's funeral, you did see the military involved. There was a procession. But there wasn't a (INAUDIBLE). She didn't lie in state here, as Winston Churchill did. So you can expect to see a similar sort of funeral as we saw with Diana as with Margaret Thatcher next week.

The debate is really, you see it played out in those newspaper headlines. Really those on the right would like to see a full state funeral. They are not happy with the plans. And those on the left would rather she didn't have a big public funeral at all. She would have a private one at her own expense or her family's expense.

So that's really the debate, and I have to say it is polarizing all the time. Over the last 24 hours, people seem to be digging their heels in more and more and settling into their views.

HOLMES: Yeah, and people actually, Max, partying. And there is fear, I suppose, or concern that there could be demonstrations at the funeral which would be rather unseemly. Are police preparing for that?

FOSTER: Well, there have been parties. I have to say, isolated events really. In London, in Bristol, in western England, in Northern Ireland, there were parties last night, people celebrating.

And police did get involved because it turned into sort of quite aggressive parties, demonstrations, you could argue. And certainly there will be those are coming to London, I'm sure, for the funeral. They will be wanting to get their voices heard, wanting to get their voices heard, and the police will be preparing for that.

So we will see what happens. It won't be a straightforward state occasion. That's for sure.

HOLMES: All right, Max, thanks a lot. Max Foster, our royal correspondent there in London.

MALVEAUX: And following, again, breaking news, two American boys abducted from their grandmother's home have now turned up in Cuba. We're going to go live to Havana for the very latest.