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Race for the White House 2016; Female Politicians Decry Sexual Harassment; One-Year Anniversary of Waco Biker Shootout; Human Trafficking Survivor Runs Triathlon; Al Qaeda-Held Christian City Now Recovering; Venezuelans Protest President's "State of Emergency"; Juarez Struggles to Repair Violent Image. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 16, 2016 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00]

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK: Donald Trump deals with more controversial comments.

Calls for an inquiry after Manchester United's fake bomb fiasco.

And female politicians in France denounce sexual harassment.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CURNOW: Hi, there, welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

And we start with Donald Trump, who's on the defensive again. He's back on Twitter this morning, ranting against a newspaper story on his past

behavior with women. He's also fending off new criticism from within his own party and from President Barack Obama.

But do these attacks hurt or help the Republican frontrunner?

Phil Mattingly has more on a likely nominee, who continues to confound critics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump facing a not- so-subtle critique from the man he's campaigning to replace.

OBAMA: It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That's just not knowing what

you're talking about.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The presumptive Republican nominee coming under fire amid new allegations of inappropriate behavior with women. Dozens of

women revealing to The New York Times" accounts of, quote, "unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form and unsettling

workplace conduct."

TRUMP: Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A defensive Trump lashing out on Twitter, slamming the report as a lame hit piece, dishonest and a witch-hunt. Trump's allies

offering a defense.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: People have not expected purity on his part. What they're concerned about, they're deeply concerned about, is

this: somebody strong enough to take on Washington.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): RNC Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledging it's an issue he will have to confront but won't change the voters' decision.

PRIEBUS: These are things that he's going to have to answer for. All of these stories that come out and they come out every couple of weeks.

People just don't care.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump also denying reports that he used to pose as his own publicist in the '80s and '90s under the name "John Miller" or

"John Barron"...

"JOHN MILLER" (via phone): He's somebody that has a lot of options. And frankly, he gets called by everybody. He gets called by everybody in the

book, in terms of women.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- despite previously admitting using both pseudonyms.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Is the campaign seriously claiming that that isn't Mr. Trump?

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I could barely understand it. I couldn't tell who it is. Donald Trump says it's not him, I believe it's

not him.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trump's latest controversies amid continued efforts within the GOP to mount a third-party candidate to derail him.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse and Mark Cuban both declining the job.

PRIEBUS: They can try to hijack another party and they can get on the ballot but, look, it's a suicide mission for our country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: That was Phil Mattingly reporting there. Let's go straight to Mark Preston; he joins me now from Washington.

Hey, there, Mark. Happy Monday.

"People just don't care."

I mean, these stories speak to Trump's character, some Republicans anxious still. But, as we heard in that piece, his supporters remain dedicated.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: They do, Robyn, certainly here in the United States. Donald Trump is a candidate that we've seen none other

than.

I mean at this point, certainly in modern history, where he has been able to dip and dodge any kind of controversy that would have very likely taken

down another candidate, specifically somebody who was a professional politician.

But Donald Trump's not a professional politician. He's a professional marketer and he does very well in convincing people that he is going to

quote-unquote, "make America great again" and don't worry about all this other side stuff that you're hearing. That is just a distraction.

So he will say to the main topic which, of course, is trying to turn around the American economy and, of course, dealing with a country's -- you know,

on major foreign policy issues.

CURNOW: Well, yes, let's talk about that, a side issue, perhaps, foreign policy, I'm not sure.

But when he talks about unity, domestically, people also look to him, talking about unity internationally. And I want to play a sound bite on

how Donald Trump describes the British prime minister. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Looks like we're not going to have a very good relationship.

Who knows?

I hope to have a good relationship with him but sounds like he's not willing to address the problem, either.

[10:05:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like David Cameron --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- would you like him to withdraw the particular comments that you're "stupid, divisive and wrong"?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, number one, I'm not stupid. OK. I can tell you that right now. Just the opposite.

Number two, in terms of divisive, I don't think I'm a divisive person. I'm a unifier, unlike our president now, I'm a unifier.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: What do you make of that comment and what it says about Donald Trump and how he might deal with big issues around foreign policy?

PRESTON: Well, Robyn, well, if he says it, it's so be true. You know, the interesting thing about Donald Trump right now is that he is, in some ways,

alienating the United States' greatest ally in Great Britain. He says that he's not going to have a good relationship with David Cameron.

At the same time, he'll say, I'm always going to have a great relationship with Great Britain. So it's a very mixed message that he's sending. But

you know as well as I do, when we talk to our colleagues around the world, who are talking to world leaders, there is apprehension about Donald Trump

becoming President of the United States.

And that apprehension is really centered around the unpredictability of some of the decisions and comments that he makes. So it will be

interesting to see if Donald Trump is able to regulate what he says, if he's able to take a step back and not respond to criticism, like we've

heard him respond to David Cameron right there.

And Cameron had very harsh words for him. But right now Donald Trump hasn't been able to do that. But it is causing foreign leaders to be

concerned about his ascension to the White House.

CURNOW: And David Cameron was referring to Trump's proposal to ban Muslims coming into the U.S. We also heard Trump saying that the new London mayor

should take an IQ test and kind of threatening him, saying he should -- he will remember those statements, also in response to his comments about a

ban on Muslims.

Let's talk about all of these conversations, these brawls, these kind of, in many ways, kindergarten brawls about my daddy and your daddy.

In a way, does that play into Trump?

Does it -- no one's pegging him down or he's kind of dodging and weaving on substantive policy issues here.

I mean, that's the criticism, that no one can peg him down on the big stuff.

PRESTON: Well, absolutely.

Look, why is Donald Trump engaging in a fight with the mayor of London?

When will he ever have any kind of substantive policy discussions that those two gentlemen are going to iron out?

It's not going to be the mayor of London. It's going to be David Cameron, OK, right. That is the person that he is going to have to deal with.

So the fact that Donald Trump has such a thin skin and will go right after somebody who, in many cases, would be below him, should he win the White

House, is absolutely ridiculous.

But to your point, it's these sideshows that are taking up all the oxygen in the media.

At the same time, people are wondering what is Donald Trump going to do about the economy here in the United States?

What is he going to do here economically in the U.S. that is going to have repercussions throughout the world?

What is he going to do about Middle East policy that is not only going to affect here, people here in the U.S. and soldiers here in the U.S., but

also our allies overseas?

So there's all these questions that are unanswered at this point. But, in many ways it has, to your point, played to Donald Trump's persona, is that,

"Don't worry about it, I'll take care of it and just trust me on it."

And his supporters are trusting him on it.

The question is: heading into November, when the U.S. holds elections, will the American people trust him on it?

CURNOW: Yes, a good point.

Let's talk about trust and vetting. Hillary Clinton, many critics around her candidacy, this weekend she said she would put her husband in charge of

the economy. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My husband, who I'm going to put in charge of revitalizing the economy,

because, you know, he knows how to do it and --

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: -- especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: OK. And of course, just to refresh anyone's minds, you know, her husband is Bill Clinton, of course, former U.S. president.

What does she mean by this?

PRESTON: Well, a couple things.

One is let's put aside the controversy that Bill Clinton had with the intern and Monica Lewinsky here in Washington, D.C.

If you go back to the Clinton presidency, the eight years of the Clinton presidency, times were great. The economy was chugging along, there was a

budget surplus. Things were doing well.

Now we are, what, $19 trillion in debt here in the United States. And it continues to grow. And somebody like Bill Clinton, if you are a Democrat

or, quite frankly, even if you are an independent voter here and perhaps a Republican, you look back to those times and say, economically, Bill

Clinton knew what he was doing.

Here's the thing about Bill Clinton: Bill Clinton was able to work deals with Republicans. Bill Clinton, the Democrat, was able to work a deal with

Republicans on Capitol Hill to get things done.

In addition, though, Bill Clinton is a better surrogate for Hillary Clinton to go out and try to get white male voters to support --

[10:10:00]

PRESTON: -- her candidacy. That is something that she is struggling with right now in this election against Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator,

who's challenging her for the Democratic nomination.

But Bill Clinton can do that for her. So we'll see more of him on the campaign trail and certainly in Washington if she wins.

CURNOW: But, Mark, was she suggesting there that she'll give her husband a Cabinet position?

PRESTON: No, of course, not. I mean, certainly somebody will have a Cabinet position. But when you are moving into the White House, you don't

need to be a Cabinet secretary if you've been the former president. He will no doubt lead the economic policy team of the U.S. if she wins.

CURNOW: OK. Mark Preston, thanks for your perspective.

PRESTON: Thanks.

CURNOW: To Britain now, where officials are demanding an inquiry after a fake bomb was found at a football match Sunday. The security blunder has

left many in Britain asking serious questions.

Christina Macfarlane joins us now live from Manchester over the debacle that not only lost a lot of money for Manchester United but it's also

highlighted some security gaps.

Hi, there.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Robyn.

I think, as you say, their relief has turned to concern today over the detection of that device that was found here in the stadium yesterday.

Why it took so long for the security teams to find it, it was in place here in the stadium for four days and it was only discovered just half an hour

before the match was due to be played.

Now this was something that we took up with the crime commissioner earlier today, who we spoke to, Tony Lloyd. And it was his main concern. And he

told us that was sheer incompetence. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY LLOYD, CRIME COMMISSIONER: These event of yesterday, Sunday, has revealed that there is a gap in the security and that gap has now got to be

recognized, that gap has now got to be filled, to make sure that, in the event of somebody trying to place a device, that that will be discovered.

Obviously, in the end, it's about the professionalism of the club, Manchester United, to make sure that the public has the reassurance they

can go to a football ground, a sporting ground, and be safe.

In that way, I am calling on the club to make sure there is proper independence in their inquiry. I think there is a call to the world

football to examine security and keep people safe. It's more important than three points in a football match. More important than money, in

actual fact. But we've got to get it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACFARLANE: So it's not an ideal scenario by any account, Robyn. But there is a chance here to learn from lessons of the past. And as you heard

there, Tony Lloyd, calling on Manchester United now to fix that gap, that breach in their security.

Who picks up the bill, on the other hand, will be another matter. We know that Manchester United, the fallout from this, from yesterday's event, is

due to cost them somewhere in the region of 4.3 million.

But that's not taking into account all the additional costs, you know, the great number of police that had to come here, the bomb squad that had to

come here.

And that is something as well that Tony Lloyd told us he will be taking up directly with the club.

CURNOW: Christina, thanks so much.

Coming up, some powerful women in France are drawing the line on what they call rampant sexism in politics, including this powerful woman. We're live

from Paris.

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CURNOW: Women know the length of their skirts or what they look like should have nothing to do with how they are treated in the workplace. Now

a group of politically powerful women in France are taking a stand against sexism. Jim Bittermann has more from Paris.

Hi, there, Jim. Tell us about this latest outrage. A lot of top French politicians stand accused of quite a lot here.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Very much so, Robyn. This appeared in yesterday's paper here, 17 women that were in previous

governments here, former ministers and then -- probably include one of at least one of the ministers who's in the current government, who said she

would have signed out on this letter, too, a lot of that they set out, saying basically that, in fact, they're not going to keep quiet anymore

about the kind of sexual harassment that they face, sometimes on a daily basis, and had faced on a daily basis during their terms in office.

And this comes as a result of two incidents last week that were revealed, one involving minister of finance, who was caught up in a scandal, which he

-- of course, denied the facts -- but, in fact, a woman said that she had bent over and he'd snapped the elastic on her panties at Davos a few years

ago.

He said that wasn't really what happened. But, nonetheless, he apologized for inappropriate behavior.

And the second incident, probably more serious: eight women came forward and accused the president -- deputy president of the national assembly --

of some real harassment, including backing them up against a wall and groping them and things like that.

He resigned; he denied the charges. But, in fact, his -- one of the reasons he may have resigned is his wife is a minister of the current

cabinet.

So this has come out and I think that triggered these 17 leading women, which included Christine Lagarde, a former minister here and now head of

the International Monetary Fund, and a number of other leading personalities to come out say they're not going to keep quiet about this

sexual harassment any further -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Good for these women. There's often a lot of shrugging of shoulders in France when it comes to issues around cultural sexual issues.

But this is a lot of real outrage that's there, specifically because these male politicians seem to be going unpunished for breaking harassment laws

that they themselves have voted for in parliament.

BITTERMANN: Well, this is the thing. And the women accuse these politicians of hypocrisy basically. And they've got a couple of proposals,

too, they think that could straighten things out.

They say that you don't really need new laws. The laws are on the books, but maybe slight changes.

For example, one of the things they say is that associations should be allowed to sue and bring charges against people in place of individuals,

which is to say if a woman feels that she's going to lose her job, for example, if she complains of sexual harassment, that perhaps an association

could bring the charges against the offender instead of her.

And that could possibly avoid the problem that she might face of losing her job and other things like that -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Jim Bittermann, thanks so much.

The American myth of the open road takes its cowboy culture and a curved patch worn on the back of a jacket. These are all part of the backdrop

behind a deadly shootout one year ago today.

Here's the security footage from the Waco, Texas, restaurant, where rivalry between biker gangs escalated into gunfire. Our Ed Lavandera has been

following this story closely; he joins us now from New York.

Hi, there, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. Well, talk to any hardened biker in American biker culture and they will tell you that what happened a

year ago in Waco is the wildest, most insane chapter in outlaw biker history.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground. Get your hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like a gunfight in the OK Corral, bang, bang, bang, one right after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not here to drink beer and eat barbecue.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is the site now, a year after one of the notorious chapters in outlaw biker history. On a quiet Sunday last May,

the thundering rumble of Harley motorcycles descended on the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas.

[10:20:00]

LAVANDERA (voice-over): An all-out brawl turned into a gun fight. The violent melee between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs ended with

nine bikers dead and at least 18 wounded; 177 bikers accused of engaging in organized criminal activity.

Investigators recovered a staggering number of weapons. But that was just the beginning of what is turning into an epic saga.

Since the deadly brawl, federal investigators arrested the top three leaders of the Bandidos, including President Jeff Pike, who wasn't in Waco

that day. Pike was arrested in an early morning raid at his home in January.

LAVANDERA: As we're talking to you now, here, you're out on bond.

JEFF PIKE, PRESIDENT, BANDIDOS MOTORCYCLE CLUB: Yes.

I got a 409 in it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): And speaking exclusively with CNN from his home, where he says refurbishing classic cars and motorcycles are his favorite

hobbies.

PIKE: You don't have to worry about pulling up next to somebody who's got one just like it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The investigation has shifted beyond Waco to what the Department of Justice and the FBI are doing in San Antonio, Texas.

Federal investigators believe that Pike and the other Bandidos leaders masterminded a series of vicious attacks on the Cossacks. The Feds'

indictment includes a wide range of charges, including assault, extortion and murder.

LAVANDERA: Did the Bandidos declare war on the Cossacks?

PIKE: They asked me that in my interview when they arrested me.

And I laughed and said, well how do you do that?

Do you -- it's an act of Congress to declare war.

So what do we do?

Write them a letter or what?

LAVANDERA: Do you think of yourself as an outlaw?

PIKE: I haven't broken a law in decades. I don't know what you're talking about.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Video of the Waco shooting captured the moment the fists started flying and gunfire erupted. Bandidos biker Jake Terazel (ph)

was in the middle of the fight.

JAKE TERAZEL (PH), BANDIDOS BIKER: I had guys all over me. I had Cossacks all over me.

LAVANDERA: You hear the shots --

(CROSSTALK)

TERAZEL (PH): I hear the shots going.

Going off, whizzing by me. I've never been that scared in my life.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This Cossacks biker, who asked us to hide his identity, was wounded in the chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a lot of carnage, it was a lot of carnage. I still remember the blood coming out of me, the pain, the people around me

being shot. So it's just not good.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A year after the massacre, 154 of the 177 arrested bikers have been indicted by a Waco grand jury and are out of jail, on

bond, awaiting trial. But it's not clear when any of the biker brawl cases will see the inside of a courtroom.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And, Robyn, we have two exclusive interviews with bikers who were closest to the beginning of that melee, the most vivid accounts that

we've been able to gather yet of what happened that morning.

And also, as well as you saw there, the exclusive interview with the president of the Bandidos, this nationally, internationally renowned

motorcycle club, he is under federal indictment and speaking to us. So we will get into a lot of this, what led up to Waco.

Because Waco just didn't happen on that quiet Sunday. What happened in Waco and what's going on now and where is this investigation going, so

we'll get into all of that tonight.

CURNOW: OK. Great. What a story. Extraordinary detail. Thanks so much, Ed.

And, yes, catch up with Ed's special report on the shootout with all of those exclusive interviews. Watch "Biker Brawl: Inside the Texas

Shootout" on CNN at 9:00 pm Monday in New York, that's 9:00 am Tuesday in Hong Kong.

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CURNOW: Now it's the story of a young woman, who thought she was going to realize her dream of becoming a model. Instead, she became someone's

property.

After she regained her freedom, she took up running to cope with the trauma and to help others. CNN's Kyung Lah has more in our Freedom Project

report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The miles don't matter to Norma Bastidas. They gather and pool like the rain she pushes through or the

tears she often shed.

NORMA BASTIDAS, TRIATHLETE: I have been an endurance athlete in breaking records. But there was a part of me that not a lot of people knew that it

was I'm a survivor of sexual violence and human trafficking.

LAH (voice-over): Born to a desperately poor family in Mexico, Norma's father died when she was 11. So when a friend told her about a modeling

job in Japan, she says she saw it as her big break in a lifetime of dark clouds.

BASTIDAS: I remember my mother saying, I'm afraid but I can't stop you because this is the only chance.

You know?

And we all desperately --

[10:25:00]

BASTIDAS: -- wanted it to be true.

LAH (voice-over): It wasn't. She says the agency delivered her to a members' club, who told her she must repay all the money it took to bring

her to Japan as an escort.

BASTIDAS: You could not go to the police. And I could not go home until I paid my debt.

LAH (voice-over): And that left her, she says, vulnerable to all kinds of abuse.

BASTIDAS: And I was drugged on my way home from to the club, drugged and beaten. Nobody wanted to help me because I had been a bad girl. So I had

no value.

LAH (voice-over): After several years, Bastidas managed to pay off her debts and leave. She later married, moved to Canada and had two children.

For years, Bastidas says she numbed the pain by drinking but she realized if she was going to do more than just survive with her children, she would

need to thrive.

BASTIDAS: So I started running because I didn't want them to hear me crying at night.

LAH (voice-over): Six months later, to everyone's astonishment, Bastidas qualified for one of the world's most prestigious race events, the Boston

Marathon.

BASTIDAS: I just became an incredible runner because of the incredible amount of stress I had to manage.

LAH (voice-over): Then she had her big idea. She would break the world record for the longest triathlon in history and she would do it to send a

message.

BASTIDAS: I designed the triathlon to follow human trafficking smuggling route.

BRAD RILEY, IEMPATHIZE: They didn't quite get it and then I was showing them all those clips.

LAH (voice-over): Brad Riley of the anti-slavery group, iEmpathize, soon joined Norma's team. He organized the permits and coordinated operations

for the record-breaking attempt. He also documented her journey in a film called, "Be Relentless."

BASTIDAS: I wanted to look like Angelina Jolie but I think I look more like Mickey Rourke on "The Wrestler."

The salt water eating my gums, the thought of destroying the inside of my mouth. It was very painful. That was probably one of most painful things

I've ever done.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The journey took 64 days. All told, Bastidas racked up 3,762 miles, shattering the previous Guinness world record.

Along the way there were roadside accidents, malfunctioning GPSs and constant inclement weather. But for Bastidas, this was a test that had

little to do with punishing waves or pounding the pavement.

BASTIDAS: As an athlete, I would celebrate it, because I break world records. But as a survivor of human trafficking, I was shamed.

By living large, by being as big as I can be, I've empowered every single victim.

I ran the last two miles with survivors of human trafficking. The healing comes from seeing them, from seeing every single one of those young girls

being unbroken. I just want them to be proud of me. I want to do them proud.

LAH (voice-over): And for every step she takes, every mile she ticks off, Norma Bastidas is proving that somebody, once trapped in a nightmare, can

now live out her dreams -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Powerful story.

Still ahead here at CNN, Syrian Christians under fire from militants finally get some time to regroup and rebuild.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:00]

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CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow.

Iraq's military says it's launched an operation to break the ISIS siege of Ar-Rutbah, a strategically important city on the road from Baghdad to

Jordan's capital, Amman. Tribal forces and coalition warplanes are backing the assault.

Now the U.S. says ISIS has gained little ground in the last year and is now on the defensive in Iraq and in Syria and Al Qaeda has been pushed out of

some areas, including one ancient Christian city in Syria, where a rebirth is now under way.

Our Fred Pleitgen just returned from there. He joins us now from Damascus.

Hi, there, Fred.

What did you see?

What did people tell you?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, Malula is one of the most ancient Christian towns in this entire region, which in

many places is part of the birthplace of Christianity and it was under the control of Al Qaeda's wing here in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra.

Jabhat al-Nusra was then ousted from that area but there is still widespread destruction but at the same time also a very defiant Christian

community there, one that has been decimated but one that vows to fight on. Let's have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN (voice-over): "Jesus loves you, no matter how you feel," these children sing at a religion class in Malula, Syria's most famous Christian

town, which was occupied by Islamist militants for six months. Several townspeople are still missing.

"I want things to be better, like they were before, and for the kidnapped people to come back," 7-year-old Gabriella (ph) says.

Similar words from 8-year-old Berla Amun (ph).

"I want Malula to be better and more beautiful than it used to be," she says.

Shocking, their reaction when I asked how many of them have had to flee their homes.

Islamist rebels led by Al Qaeda's wing in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, invaded Malula in late 2013. This video by one of the groups allegedly shows a

suicide blast that took out the checkpoint to the village.

The rebels kidnapped 12 nuns from a convent. It took more than six months of intense battles to oust them. But scars remain. This is the same Tekya

(ph) convent and shrine -- or what's left of it, a warning to Syria's Christian community.

PLEITGEN: While some buildings here in Malula have been restored, others remain exactly like this, completely destroyed and mostly burned out. And

of course, many people who live in this town ask themselves whether Christianity still has a future here in Syria.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Syria is home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. Malula is the last place where the Aramaic that

Jesus spoke is still in use.

But groups like ISIS have vowed to oust the Christians from this land. This member of Malula's city council shows me just some of the priceless

icons that were damaged or looted, especially the most ancient ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They shot it and then they fired the others; the new one, they fired it.

PLEITGEN: They burned it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burned it.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): As we left Malula, a Christian song was playing on a loudspeaker system in the entire town, a sign of defiance from a

Christian community that hopes the children learning about their long heritage in Syria will have a future in the land of their ancestors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN: And certainly many of them really worried about the situation here in Syria. And it is very difficult for the very ancient Christian

community here in this country, Robyn. For a very long time they've tried to stay out of the Syrian conflict. There are some rebel groups who accuse

them of being on the side of the Syrian government.

But most Christians will say, look, all we want to do is live here in this country in peace. Then, of course, you have groups like ISIS, that have

made very clear that Christians in this land, to them, are not welcomed, that either they can convert to Islam or must leave or they will be killed.

Those are very, very dim prospects for the Christian community here in this country, as they see this Syria conflict continue to roll on. And at this

point in time very few people believe there is any sort of end in sight, despite all the political efforts that are being made, of course, not just

in Syria but very much by the international --

[10:35:00]

PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- community as well -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Great reporting there. Thanks so much, Fred Pleitgen there in Damascus.

Venezuela is in crisis. Its citizens are starving. Its hospitals can't care for the sick. And now anger has pushed Venezuelans into the streets.

They protest what they say is a last grasp of power from President Nicolas Maduro.

He declared a state of emergency Friday. Our Paula Newton has returned from Venezuela. She joins us now from New York.

This is a political meltdown but it's also a humanitarian crisis.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I think even if you look at the numbers of the people in the street, Robyn, not a lot at all.

Why?

Because they're trying to deal with their day-to-day basic needs. They spend a lot of their time just scavenging for food at this point and with

some of the highest inflation in the world, it doesn't matter if you have dollars in your pocket. The point is the food just isn't there. It's not

available.

The shortage is even more acute when you think about basic medicine. The problem is now, Robyn, is the political impasse. Now President Maduro has

called for another two months' emergency -- state of emergency in his country.

The problem is what does that mean?

It doesn't seem as if there is a path forward from which this country in the short term that things can improve. And I think many people are

looking at the political process with a lot of resignation right now, thinking there are no solutions there.

So what they're left with is, as I said, trying to find the basic daily needs every day. Remember most of the country under rolling blackouts, no

electricity for long hours in a day and federal employees only working two days a week in order to save on that electricity, at least according to the

government.

I mean, Robyn, the situation there changes weekly. When I say changes weekly, I mean one week you are able to get flour, you're able to get a

little milk, you were able to get maybe a little bit of the food that your family might need for dinner.

The next week, you're down to perhaps having one large meal a day and just snacks for the rest of the day because you could not find any food in the

nation's supermarkets.

CURNOW: Yes. And I know your reporting has been powerful on this and I think it's the human stories that reflect those real issues. In terms of

what next, the president has also said that he might, you know, seize closed factories. We talk about this state of emergency.

What does it mean for the region to have failing or failed states on the doorstep?

NEWTON: Well, hopefully many people assume that whatever goes on in Venezuela is able to stay contained, except for the fact that obviously

there's a large oil producing country and it could have an impact on oil production going forward.

The problem is that the United States is just one has been looking to the countries in the region to say is there anything that can be done?

There had been an opening last year where the United States trying to get Venezuela off its anti-American rhetoric and see what could be done to

help. The problem is, Robyn, the economy is just so dysfunctional. You're talking about these factories that the government is trying to seize.

People who operate those factories just don't have the input. If you're trying to make flour, the machine that was processing any of the wheat has

long ago broken down and you cannot get the spare part.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that Venezuelan government is running out of foreign reserves and yet a lot of people are scratching their heads,

saying, look it's coming up with the money, the foreign cash to pay its debt. And that means it is restricting imports, which means that the

Venezuelan people will continue to suffer further.

I mean, Robyn, it does not seem as if there's any kind of compromise as well on the part of the Venezuelan government at this point.

CURNOW: OK. Paula Newton, thank you so much.

After Mexico's most infamous drug lord is transferred to a prison near the U.S. border, there are worries the Mexican city nearby could plunge back

into lawlessness and drug warfare. That story next.

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[10:40:00]

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CURNOW: Mexican drug boss El Chapo has spent the past week in a prison close to the U.S., an indication perhaps that he may be extradited to

America at some point.

Now you would think his being in prison who make people feel safer but now families living nearby in Juarez are worried. Nick Valencia tells us why

people are petrified their city could turn violent again. Here's his report.

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NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Life goes in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Once desolate streets traded for a semblance of tranquility in the

city just across the river from El Paso, Texas.

Not so long ago, it was infested with drug cartels. At its violent peak, there were more than 3,000 people murdered in one year. Most of those

deaths were attributed to the war between the local Juarez cartel and the infamous Sinaloa Federation, popularly known for its leader, Joaquin

Guzman, AKA El Chapo.

While life on the streets has changed in Juarez with El Chapo's return, the bloody past seems very much present. His presence has reimagined the

nightmares for many.

Sergio Velez lived through the violence brought to Juarez by El Chapo between 2009 and 2012. He says he still mourns the death of one of his

construction workers, killed inside his business.

SERGIO VELEZ, BUSINESS OWNER (through translator): There are many people very hurt by that war. There are many still mourning what happened during

the narco war and there's still a very latent sense of insecurity bred by the delinquent group of El Chapo Guzman here in Ciudad Juarez.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Painful memories Velez buried deep in his mind have been unlocked by the return of El Chapo. Even with the kingpin behind

bars, some fear of a return of impunity for the cartel foot soldiers still in the city.

However, the mayor of Juarez tells CNN the drug lord's transfer to Juarez has had no impact or relevance on the daily life of most residents.

JAVIER GONZALEZ MOCKEN (PH), JUAREZ MAYOR (through translator): Juarez now finds itself peaceful, working and dedicated to produce goods and services.

Juarez is dedicated to creating better life conditions for its residents.

VALENCIA (voice-over): There are obvious concerns that El Chapo will escape prison for a third time. There have also been questions about the

penitentiary's infrastructure.

Is it capable of holding him?

With the spotlight back on Juarez for the moment, residents would prefer to discard the unwanted attention and move on from its violent past -- Nick

Valencia CNN, Atlanta.

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CURNOW: That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. Don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" with

Amanda Davies is next.

END