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U.S.-Cuba Commercial Flight About To Take Off; Donald Trump To Meet Mexico President Wednesday; Former Mexican Pres: Trump Is Not Welcome; Soon: Brazil's Senate To Vote On Ousting President; Theresa May Stands Firm: "Brexit Means Brexit"; ISIS Vows Revenge For Killing Senior Leader; North Korea Executes Top Education Official; Study Finds Decline In Africa's Elephants. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 31, 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] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there and welcome everyone. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN center.
I want to draw your attention to these live pictures you're seeing there on the screen. A JetBlue flight, quite innocuous isn't it? Looks like any
other plane but this is history in the making. This plane is about to take off, one of the first direct commercial flights to Cuba from the U.S. in
more than 50 years.
This plane is about to leave from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and make a quick hop, skip and a jump over to Cuba to Santa Clara. And of course,
this has been just a number of firsts this year since diplomatic relations were eased between the U.S. and Cuba.
It begins to taxi. And our Patrick Oppmann is based in Cuba. He is at in Santa Clara at the airport waiting for this plane to land in the next hour
Patrick, just give us some sense as this plane starts to move, what it means.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is something, you know, that hasn't happened for most Cubans' lives to see a flight coming directly
from the United States, direct commercial service. Up until now you'd either had to come through a third country, a very long extensive process,
or book a flight on a charter service which are very expensive and not the most efficient airlines.
So, to be able to get on a website, book a ticket, it's only $200 which is very affordable, less than half of what tickets from the U.S. used to cost,
and then to be here in just under an hour is really something amazing.
So long this island was isolated by the United States, it was cut off, Americans coming here faced penalties, the U.S. government threaten to take
away their passports, you really took a risk by coming here. And of course, there still is a travel ban but it's been eased so much that pretty
much any American who does a little bit of research can now come to Cuba and we expect many of them to do that, up to 110 flights a day, the U.S.
and Cuba, have agreed to. This is just a first. It's the beginning of something very, very big here and we are seeing a crowd of Cubans at the
airport excited to see a little bit of history being made.
CURNOW: And this has, as we've both covered as you more so than me, but when I was there Cuba with you as we watched President Obama touchdown in
Havana a few months ago, history being made there, there's certainly has been a number of firsts.
What do you think is so key about this particular flight, though? Why is this opening up over a 100 flights a day really in many ways the key to
this new relationship?
OPPMANN: Absolutely. And President Obama has said that he want to make his policy shift towards Cuba, the biggest policy shift by a U.S. president
since the Cuban revolution. He want to make that policy shift irreversible and this is really that in action.
Once Americans start coming here, becomes so much easier to come here, for Cuban-Americans to come here and visit the family in greater numbers. Once
that begins to happen, there is no rolling that back as what the administration officials say because it just becomes a matter of two
people's who have been divided by politics get to learn about each other. Americans will come to a beautiful country that has a lot of problems but
is culturally a very, very rich place and they will want to come back.
That is what has happened. Of course Italians and Spanish and Canadians have been coming here for years but America is just next door, it's a huge
market for Cuba. And so, here we are in a communist country seeing Americans being welcomed, JetBlue will open up an office in the airport
where I'm in. You don't see American companies here in great numbers and that is also changing, too, Robyn.
CURNOW: I doubt you can see these pictures but just so you know, Patrick, this plane is starting to taxi, it's going to take off in just a few
minutes. But, do we know who's on this plane?
OPPMANN: Yes. So we are told that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is aboard, of course an Obama administration official who has
played a key role in reestablishing these flights, who's here in February when they announced that commercial air service would be restored. Of
course, every JetBlue executive you can imagine is on this flight. This is a great P.R. move for them. That's why JetBlue and so many other airlines
fought tooth and nail to have this first flight and JetBlue won out.
And of course, there's a lot of people like us, CNN, Associated Press, a lot of journalists are aboard to be on this very short flight. I flied
these flights a lot and you literally go up and go down and you feel like you landed in a time warp because Cuba looks and feels so much different
than most countries that Americans regularly travel to. And they will start coming here in much greater numbers, Robyn.
CURNOW: I mean, that was certainly the experience of many people who have gone to Cuba in recent years. It's just how long it takes to get there
from the U.S. You know, you either have to hire a charter, you have to go through a third country. In previous months, I mean, it would take
literally a whole day to get next door. And what we're seeing now is the ease of which this will be able -- this trip will be able to make. Also
just so important.
[10:05:25] OPPMANN: And you land here, Robyn, and there are murals of Che Guevara, there are people dropping off their family in the international
airport in horse and buggy. I think Americans will wonder if they've traveled back in time, which of course is somewhat enchanting for people
who don't live here.
For Cubans, they want to use this surge in tourism to remake their economy. The economy here is in terrible shape. So this is a vital lifeline for the
economy. Never did Cubans revolutionaries thought depend so heavily on the United States. But that's essentially why they changed their policies.
They need this money so badly, but there is a trickle down effect going on where you see Americans staying with Cubans, eating at the restaurants
which are the best restaurants in Cuba. And so increasing, while all the money does go to the government, it is trickling down to regular Cubans and
that's having a huge impact in their lives.
CURNOW: A huge impact and that's a sign of change, of thawing relations. Patrick Oppmann, as we watch this JetBlue flight to take off, it is
speeding down the runway at this moment in Fort Lauderdale. It is just an hour flight until it touches down in Santa Clara where you are now. It is
just taking off.
And Patrick Oppmann, why Fort Lauderdale? Why Santa Clara? Why were these destinations chosen?
OPPMANN: Well, you know, the interesting thing about Santa Clara is, they couldn't announce the Havana flights because there's only, you know,
there's a limited space at the Havana airport. It's not a modern airport and the Cuban government said that we can only fit 20 flights a day from
the U.S. which seems optimistic. There were 60 airlines, Robyn, that wanted those flights.
So there's still fight being played out, we think it will be ending in the next few days. We could see an announcement today perhaps about Havana
flights, but it was easier to say a smaller city like Santa Clara to do the first flight there. I think Fort Lauderdale certainly that's where
JetBlue's hub is and they are a major Caribbean company that really has flights all throughout the Caribbean.
I know American would have liked it, but I think perhaps having a flight on American airlines from Miami would have brought up some of the politics a
little bit too much. And still very, very sensitive, we are told that this first flight when it lands here will not be shown live to Cubans on T.V.
The government while they need this, they're also still very sensitive and they say that we're welcoming Americans but of course many other tourists
that come here and there really will be no special treatment for Americans. But of course, we expect that island to become flooded with Americans in
the years to come, Robyn.
CURNOW: And we will be going live when this plane touches down where you are in Santa Clara so we'll check in with you in about an hour. Patrick
Oppmann, thanks so much.
Well, let's talk about another trip in just a few hours. Donald Trump lands in Mexico. Now, this is a last minute visit ahead of a major
immigration speech. Mexico's president invited Trump to a private meeting, it seems both men have a lot to say to each other face to face.
Now, this comes after a year of fierce often insulting rhetoric about Mexicans from Trump. Jason Carroll takes a look at this particular trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are also going to secure our border and stop the drugs from pouring in.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump surprising the political world by announcing that he is heading south of the border today to meet
with Mexico's president, just hours before his highly anticipated immigration speech. The visit coming after more than a year of criticizing
Mexico on the campaign trail.
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some, I
assume, are good people.
CARROLL: Trump tweeting, "I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico and look very much forward to meeting him." A
surprising invitation given Pena Nieto's previous comments about Trump, rejecting the Republican nominee's promise, he'll make the Mexican
government pay for a 1,000 mile border wall.
TRUMP: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under no circumstances would Mexico pay for that wall?
ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICO PRESIDENT: There is no way that Mexico can pay a wall like that.
CARROLL: The Mexican president likening the billionaire's rhetoric to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
NIETO: (Speaking foreign Language)
CARROLL: The Mexican president saying, he extended the invitation to both presidential candidates tweeting the reason behind Trump's visit is to
promote the interests of Mexicans worldwide and mainly to protect Mexicans wherever they might be.
[10:10:10] During a North American summit with President Obama in July, Pena Nieto proposed a frank open dialogue with whomever is elected.
TRUMP: Tomorrow night in Arizona, big speech on immigration.
CARROLL: Trump is set to unveil his long awaited immigration plan but details remain vague. The big question is whether Trump will soften his
hard line position to use forced deportation to remove an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
TRUMP: Eleven million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out.
DONALD TRUMP J.R., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: We have to have baby steps first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, between his trip to Mexico and his immigration speech, it will certainly be a busy day for Mr. Trump. But will these events help
Trump move the needle with Hispanic voters?
Well, let's bring in our Rafael Romo, he's our senior Latin American Affairs editor and CNN Espanol's Gustavo Valdes, he's in Arizona where
Trump will make that speech a little bit later.
To you, Gustavo, first, I mean this is a bold move for both politicians.
GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN EN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: It is indeed and almost it makes you wonder whether Donald Trump is calling President Pena Nieto's
bluff. Maybe President Pena Nieto invited both candidates not expecting that Donald Trump would actually accept.
Donald Trump has done very little to reach out to Latinos, he's not talking to Latino media, he skipped a couple of mayor events that he was invited to
address Latino leaders. So this is a little bit of a surprise and quite frankly, he might feel like he has nothing to lose.
He is polling very low with Latinos in the United States, so maybe this can help him gain some attention, make those who don't like him turn their
heads and pay a little attention to what he has to say. And maybe this could be an opening to continue a conversation down the road. This could
be just saying, hey, I'm here talking to Latinos, I'm not just talking about Latinos like others have done, putting Hillary Clinton under the
microscope to see what she's doing next.
And also perhaps the one that has most to lose is President Pena Nieto who is very unpopular in his country. Bringing this highly criticized
politician could create a problem for him, depending on what is discussed. This is supposed to be a private meeting, so maybe there won't be cameras
there to capture what really happens. And at the end, we won't really know what is said with both people coming out and say whatever they feel is
going to help them the most.
CURNOW: I think you made a good point there. I mean, both of these politicians can spin this any way they want if it's a private meeting.
Rafael Romo to you. And Gustavo has just mentioned, I mean, the person with the most to lose here is the Mexican President. His predecessor
Vicente Fox just came on CNN and said, if he is perceived to soft, he is not going to be perceived as soft, he is going to be perceived as a traitor
here. I mean, what kind of a political risk is this?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, there's a lot of indignation about the invitation of Mexico to begin with. And frankly,
people scratching their heads. Why would President Enrique Pena Nieto invite Donald Trump right now to Mexico when he really has absolutely
nothing to gain and much to lose.
And the President's response to this, and he said it on Twitter, says that he wanted to open a dialogue and start a conversation with whomever is the
next president of Mexico. But then there's again indignation from the Mexican, right, indignation from the Mexican, left, people are completely
outraged and nobody can understand.
And you said it yourself former President Vicente Fox said on our air that he would like to apologize to all of his fellow Mexicans because this is an
insult to the entire country to have Donald Trump, the man who has called Mexicans rapists and criminals, to their faces, now he is a guest to the
Mexican President. Just unbelievable for many Mexicans.
CURNOW: So Gustavo to you, I mean, looking ahead to the speech and of course the key issue here is the Latino vote. Will anything do you think
change the minds of Latino voters after this visit or after what he might say in the speech?
VALDES: I think the biggest thing is that he gets their attention. They're going to be listening, watching to see what happens. And let me
tell you, I've been on the campaign trail since last year. Last year in Iowa the state fair I met Latinos who are -- don't like what Donald Trump
says on immigration, for instance, but they like the terrorism, anti- terrorism position.
I went to New Hampshire where I talked to business owners who are not very happen with Obamacare and they want to hear another option. I was in
Colorado where many Latinos are disappointed President Obama did not follow through on his promise to make -- to pass an immigration reform. That cost
Democrats a Senate seat in Colorado.
[10:15:18] So, what Donald Trump is doing right now, it's showing Latinos that the media is talking about them and not the Middle East and not
Europe. This is his opportunity to say, I'm starting with Mexico and if he continues and addresses the Puerto Rico debt crisis, if he talks about the
crime in Central America, if he goes and talks about Venezuela, about Brazil, about Argentina, he might have an opening and show that unlike
other candidates who, you know, during the campaign trail we've only heard about what are you going to do about terrorism, what are you going to do
about ISIS, what is the role of NATO. This might provide him an opportunity to tell Latinos in the United States, I hear you and I might be
the one who can represent you in the White House.
CURNOW: You make some excellent points there. Thanks to you both. Rafael Romo and Gustavo Valdes. Appreciate it. Thanks guys.
Well, Brazil's political future is being decided right now. Senators are making closing arguments on whether to remove their president and they're
set to cast a final vote in the coming hours.
Our Shasta Darlington is in the capital Brasilia with the following -- and is following this impeachment trial on Dilma Rousseff.
I mean, we thought this might happen yesterday, do you think it's likely to happen today and if so, how soon?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, definitely, Robyn. This is D day for Dilma Rousseff. They're just beginning to sit down in the Senate
now and begin those closing arguments as you mentioned. We're expecting two senators from each side, both the defense and the prosecution, to make
some arguments, final statements by the president of the Supreme Court. So we could see the votes starting in about an hour, hour and a half.
You know, and as we've talked about before, Robyn, it is widely expected that there will be two-thirds of senators voting in favor of impeachment.
So this is very likely just another hour or two that Dilma Rousseff will be president. She's watching everything unfold back at the presidential
residence. She has former president Luiz In cio Lula da Silva by her side.
We expect that when this is all over, she will come out and give a brief statement to reporters gathered there. At that point she will no longer be
Again, we expect her vice president, Michel Temer, who took over as interim president back in May when she was suspended, we expect there will be a
brief swearing in for him this afternoon because he's in a hurry. He actually wants to take off for the G20 in China but he wants to take off as
the Brazilian president.
So, on the one hand, you have the man that Dilma Rousseff accuses of orchestrating her ouster, really in a hurry to get this all over with and
Rousseff supporters trying to drag it all out. This, as we know, has dragged on for months now, but this is definitely the final day, Robyn,
when everything will play out.
CURNOW: OK, and keeping an eye on all of this, Shasta Darlington there in Brasilia. Thanks so much.
Well, Brazil -- Britain's prime minister called her cabinet together to begin planning strategy for leaving the European Union. And one thing
appears for certain, there is no turning back. Well, CNN's London Correspondent Max Foster joins me now.
So Theresa May says "Brexit means Brexit."
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, but what does that mean, Robyn?
CURNOW: I'm asking you, Max.
FOSTER: This is where we're getting down to the nitty-gritty really. Because, yeah, everyone accepts in her government in the country pretty
much, I saw that in the referendum that Britain should leave the European Union. But on what terms does it leave? And that's where the splits are
developing through the country and within her own cabinet.
So she's brought them together. There is effectively in away day at her country residence, other issues on the agenda as well but they're talking
about how Britain should leave the European Union. So, she does accept the term there will be no referendum, she said that ahead of the meeting and
she also said they will -- that Britain would not say in the E.U. by the back door.
But within her cabinet, there are those who campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, most notably Philip Hammond or the Chancellor
of the Exchequer and there are those like Boris Johnson who wanted Britain to leave. And the split there now is an acceptance that Britain should
leave but should they leave this European single market which is so crucial to the British economy? And Philip Hammond has said definitely wants to
stay in. Those on the other side of the spectrum saying that there is no option but to leave the -- that common market and then find some new set of
trade deals with those European nations.
CURNOW: So what you're saying is that there's argument over sort of degrees of Brexit. What is probably the most pressing thing is when this
Article 50 will be triggered. And I understand the Prime Minister has a royal prerogative. So she actually doesn't have to ask parliament.
[10:20:10] FOSTER: I believe so. Again, unchartered territory so we're pretty much going on what Downing Street says on this. And she's going to
invoke it before the end of year. She may invoke it next year, but her language is increasingly sounding as if Britain should leave the European
Union sooner or later. And she's not necessarily sounding that supportive of the single market either, because some of the language she had today was
talking about describing the opportunities for departments outside the European Union. So, finding Britain's place in the world which isn't
necessarily next to those European countries.
So, we know that she sent her ministers around the world, to India, for example, to try to start negotiating trade deals and with Australia as
well. And the department heading up all of that is certainly trying to recruit lots of trade negotiators.
So it does seem as if, she's moving towards this idea that Britain should completely leave the European Union and the single market and then try to
find some way forward after that. Certainly, countries like Germany aren't going to want to cut off trade with the United Kingdom, for example. So
there is going to be some sort of solution there and now they're working on that detail.
CURNOW: The detail and the devil in that detail. Thanks so much, Max Foster there in London.
Well, ISIS says it will avenge the killing of a senior member. Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was believed to have played a key role in major attacks
including the one in Paris and inspired others. The U.S. hasn't confirmed his death.
Well, Nic Robertson joins me here in the studio.
Great to be able to talk to you face to face. Thanks for sitting here and joining us at the Idesk. What do you make of this sort of argument now,
particularly with the Russians coming in saying they did it?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it's a great get for whoever got it because ISIS is -- and increasingly or has been
increasingly a big problem, and a big threat in Europe and the United States and other places, Russia included. So to get the man who's actually
called for and we've seen reaction to his calls, the lone wolf type of attacks, the type of attack that we saw in Nice last of last month. You
know, he was saying, if you can kill them shoot them and if you can't shoot step, then stab them, and if you can't stab them, then burn them, and if
you can't burn them, crush their heads with rocks and if you can't do that then drive your vehicles at them.
And then, very clear, there's a correlation between that and what we saw in Nice and again, in the period of Ramadan before that saying we should
increase the attacks. You have the attack in the early period of Ramadan in Orlando in the Pulse nightclub.
So this, whoever can verifiably claim that they got him, it's a big tick in the box for combating ISIS. Now, why would Russia weigh in on this? Well,
they would like obviously that tick in the box. The Pentagon came out yesterday and said before the Russians spoke saying that they had launched
an air strike targeting him. But even before that, ISIS themselves had announced this and it was like, again, he was their head of their sort of
P.R. if you will. But this was a P.R. exercise of their own, it was bad news that he was dead but they got out ahead of everyone else trying to
claim it saying he's dead, eulogize him, he's a martyr, he's wonderful. That was their message.
CURNOW: How dangerous is it that he becomes even more powerful or his words become more powerful in death?
ROBERTSON: I think this fact that they're telling their supporters, you know, use this particular hash tag, talk about what he did and what he
achieved and, you know, make him bigger than he was in life, make this threat seem even bigger. And they're saying, you know, we'll revenge him.
But look, I mean, ISIS is always saying that they want to attack. There's always -- they're always -- and he was one of the architects of this,
putting out messages we must attack, we must do this.
So, the threat is there. I mean, the British have been saying -- security sources, they have been saying that they recognize ISIS, has been trying to
increase their ability to attack there. So the threat is there that ISIS is saying, no, we're going to have an revenge attack. I don't think we
should read too much into that. No doubt if they have a successful attack in the near future they will say that this is revenge. The fact is that
they are trying or would like to do something at their first opportunity anyway.
CURNOW: Let's just also put this in perspective of major gain -- major losses on the battlefield for ISIS. There's a huge drop in foreign
recruits, whoever took him out, someone has just taken out their key figure head in many ways. This is, this is not necessarily good for ISIS and it's
certainly, whether it's the Russians or the Pentagon, this is good news.
ROBERTSON: It is because, again, it is a negative for ISIS at a time when they have multiple negatives. The Iraqi forces are closing in towards
Mosul, they're losing territory in Iraq, they're losing territory in Syria, they're losing territory in Libya. And perhaps this is one reason why they
try to get out ahead of the news themselves by announcing his death, by trying to make a positive out of something that was a negative here.
[10:25:01] But, I mean, when we look at ISIS we know that their structure, it's a broad command structure, it relies on these sort of surer councils
for finance, for a civil order, for, you know, for raising funds for the battle, for the military operations. All of that, he was a key person next
to Baghdadi, he had the heritage of, you know, he fought to with Baghdadi and with al-Qaeda in Iraq from 2005 going forward against the United
States. So there's a loss of a significant player but is it going to destroy the organization? Probably not, because he will just be replaced.
CURNOW: A multi-headed Hydra. Thanks so much. Nic Robertson, as always. Thank you.
Well, North Korea has executed one of its top education officials. Now, that's according to South Korean officials that say his crime was having a
bad attitude at the ruling party's assembly last year. Paula Hancocks has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A reminder that no one is safe in North Korea. The regime of Kim Jong-un executing yet another
member of the elite. Kim Yong Jin, a top education official, was executed by firing squad in July, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.
Accused of having a bad attitude at the key Supreme People's Assembly in June. Investigated by the State Security Department and found to be anti-
party and counterrevolutionary.
Seoul saying Wednesday they also believe two other high ranking officials have been reprimanded. This man Kim Yong-chol in charge of the department
that handles inter-Korean affairs, a South Korean government official tells us he's accused of abusing power and being overbearing. He was apparently
sent to a farm for reeducation for one month.
An official from the propaganda department also sent away from Pyongyang since late May. It's not an exact science. South Korean officials have
been wrong about executions in the past. Information from the isolated country is scarce and North Korea almost never publicly acknowledges them.
One notable exception, December 2013, and the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek publicly accused of being a traitor of all ages.
South Korean and U.S. officials say they consider Kim Jong-un to be more brutal and impulsive than his father, the late Kim Jong-il. His
willingness to execute, breeding loyalty through fear according to defectors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: A government think tank here in South Korea estimates that more than 100 officials have been executed since Kim Jong-un took power less
than four and a half years ago. Rank, even family connection meaning little to the North Korean leader. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
CURNOW: Well, still ahead, more on that meeting no one saw coming. What to expect when Donald Trump sits down with Mexico's president.
[10:30:17] CURNOW: Welcome to the "International Desk", I'm Robyn Curnow. Here is a check of the headlines.
Overhead right now, a plane is zipping from the U.S. to Cuba making history. It's the first commercial jet to fly direct between the Cold War
rivals in more than 50 years. And it's the latest in a series of restored diplomatic ties. But a partial travel ban still in place.
Authorities in Brazil are now making closing arguments in the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff. In the coming hours their final vote
could remove her from office permanently. She stands accused of doctoring budget entries, but she said she did nothing illegal.
Donald Trump is heading to Mexico just hours ahead of a major immigration speech. He will meet the country's president. Throughout Trump's campaign
he's had fierce criticism of Mexico and illegal immigrants. His speech is expected to clarify his policy.
Well, when Trump arrives in Mexico City he may be in for a rocky reception. John Vause is there waiting for that.
Hi there, John, many Mexicans asking why exactly their president invited Mr. Trump.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Many people are asking that question today, in fact, it took us all a little bit by surprise last night when Donald
Trump tweeted out that he would accept that invitation from the Mexican President to come here and meet privately with him. But to say that Donald
Trump is unpopular here would be an understatement. The website "Politico" for instance was quoting one poll today which shows that Donald Trump's
favorability rating here is at about 2 percent. And keep in mind, Robyn, they make pinatas of Donald Trump here. This man said that he's unpopular
after making Mexico the focus of much of his campaign, pretty much since it all began.
There has been a lot of back and forth between former presidents of Mexico like Vicente Fox who said today that Donald Trump is not welcome. He's
also being some harsh words between the current president of Mexico and Donald Trump. Back in March Enrique Pena Nieto said this, essentially
linking Donald Trump to dictators of Europe, especially in the tone and the rhetoric Donald Trump uses. This is what the president of Mexico has said,
"There have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions, this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous
situations in the history of humanity. That's how Mussolini got in, that's how Hitler got in. They took advantage of a situation."
But we should note, though, a couple months out of that, that was back in March, so by July the Mexican President was taking a softer tone. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIETO: We are very respectful to whomever is elected. We want to build a positive and constructive relation among Mexico and to whomever becomes
president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Donald Trump taking a softer tone as well it seems. At that rally last night -- Donald Trump also taking a softer tone as well at that
rally last night at Washington State. No mention of building a wall on the border with Mexico, no mention of deporting 11 million undocumented
So, it does seem that Donald Trump is trying to maybe walk back some of the harsher points of his immigration policy. We understand that the meeting
today they will be discussing immigration, security, as well as trade issues. Robyn.
CURNOW: Yeah. Well, we know Mr. Trump has threatened to build a wall, force Mexico to pay for it, deport 11 million illegal immigrants, many of
them Mexicans. What is the best case scenario that Mexicans, in particularly Latino voters, would want from a meeting like this? I mean,
does anybody really think that Mr. Trump is going to apologize or at least soften his stance so much that there'll be a major policy shift?
VAUSE: Well, yeah, there's a lot of theories out there that maybe this is the moment when Donald Trump has that sort of epiphany that, you know,
maybe that immigration policy was a bit too harsh and he's going to completely reverse a lot of it that does seem to be very unlikely. You
know, if you're looking for some kind of Nixon going to China moment, but in reverse, it probably isn't going to happen here today.
A lot of people, those detractors of Donald Trump, are saying this is just simply P.R. stunt and there's a lot of criticism of the Mexican President
saying there is nothing for him to be gained by having this meeting. But the people who support Donald Trump say this is what Donald Trump does, he
goes, he meets people, he sits down and he talks to them and, you know, maybe they can walk away with some kind of at least a better understanding.
[10:35:06] CURNOW: John Vause there in Mexico City. Great to have you there. Thank so much, keeping an eye on that meeting.
Well, still ahead, we go to Africa where there's been a dramatic tragic drop in elephant populations. We'll look at what's killing them off and
what can be done to save them.
CURNOW: It's 37 minutes past the hour. And I want to bring you a story out of Africa. Once plentiful elephants are disappearing at a disturbing
rate, their population has dropped dramatically by 30 percent in just seven years.
Well, David McKenzie has done some exclusive reporting on this, he joins us from Johannesburg.
I mean, Dave, both you and I have spent a lot of time in the bush and there's nothing more magnificent than seeing a herd of elephants and you've
these really, really catastrophic numbers to share with us.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Robyn. As you know, these iconic beasts are some of the most important species across the
African savanna. And no one really knew just how badly they've been hit by the poaching spike in the last few years but the new numbers are shocking.
Populations have declined by 30 percent, that's nearly a third, Robyn, between 2007 and 2014. They could drop even further in the next nine years
having to around 175,000. And 96 elephants are killed each day, that's almost one every 15 minutes or so.
And since before colonization there was, say, 10 million elephants and the numbers have always been estimates, they have dropped precipitously in
recent years. In fact, there's a new study, "The Great Elephant Census" which was colored across Africa gives us these disturbing numbers and we
joined that scientific team, and I must warn the viewers that some of these images will be distressing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Getting ready to fly in Botswana's far north. Elephant Ecologist Mike Chase has spent years counting savanna Elephant from the
MIKE CHASE, ELEPHANT ECOLOGIST: Never before have we ever conducted a standardized survey for African elephants at a continental scale.
All right. Start counting. Nice speed, nice height, well done, Tammy (ph).
MCKENZIE: Hundreds of air crew counted elephants in 18 countries across the continent over two years.
CHASE: Elephant seven. Seven elephants, right.
MCKENZIE: Flying the distance to the moon and then some. Their results, more shocking than anyone imagined.
CHASE: We've spent thousands of hours of counting, flying over areas where elephants historically occurred, but are no longer present to these
[10:40:04] MCKENZIE: Killed for their ivory, in seven short years up to 2014 elephant numbers dropped by a staggering amount, almost one-third.
Across Africa their numbers are crashing. If nothing changes, the elephant population will half in less than a decade. In some areas, they will go
CHASE: Some landscapes we saw more dead elephants than live elephants.
MCKENZIE: Now, it seems like there's a disturbing uptake on the poaching on the borders of Botswana and in the Namibia. And this bull was killed,
it seems, just a few days ago, Eman (ph).
UNIDENTFIED MALE: Three days.
MCKENZIE: Three days max and you can smell it all the way from here.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. He was spectacular. Look how big he was.
UNIDENTFIED MALE: In fact, not even three days. And there you have the clear evidence that his face hacked away like that that he met his end at
with people chopping away at his tusks.
MCKENZIE: And you've grown up in this country, you are from Botswana, what is it like be to see these magnificent beasts killed like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anybody in the world has seen the number of dead elephants that I've seen over the last few years with The Great
Elephant Census. And for me, this becomes a lot more personal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll continue to check planes, too.
MCKENZIE: To fight the war, Botswana has mobilized the army with more than 700 troops guarding its northern border. Patrols spend days in the bush on
foot, armed with a shoot to kill policy for poachers. They're up against a sophisticated enemy.
So, they're looking for any sign of poachers. If they come across and they are often highly organized groups of about 12 people, two of them could be
shooters often and those shooters are frequently foreign Special Forces.
Mike Chase's research proves that if we can't protect elephants they will learn to protect themselves.
So you can hear him snoring. Is it a he or she?
CHASE: He, he's in his prime about 30 to 35 years of age. And if these young bulls that have the propensity to move dramatic distances and map
their trans-boundary conservation corridors.
MCKENZIE: But their satellite tracking shows that the elephants use incredible levels of intelligence to avoid poaching hotspots in neighboring
countries, retreating to the relative safety within Botswana.
It's quite incredible being this close to this animal.
CHASE: It is. It certainly is.
MCKENZIE: We called this bull "Promise," for the promise that Mike Chase has made and perhaps we all should to save this magnificent species.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: And that elephant, Promise, went off to join the herd, but so many carcasses we saw during just those few days in what should be the real
stronghold of elephant populations, Robyn, and really scientists fear if nothing is done by governments, by those countries where it is wanted like
China and parts of southeast Asia we will see elephants go extinct in a generation or two. Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. David, great reporting there. Thanks so much. And I do urge our viewers to go to cnn.com, more of your reporting there on that story
which is headlined sentenced to extinction or catastrophic decline, really, really disturbing. Thanks so much, David McKenzie there.
Well that does it for us here at the "International Desk." Thanks for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow. World Sports is next.