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Fidel Castro, By the Man Who Knew Him; Frustrations Felt in Europe Over Brexit; What to Make of Trump's Twitter Storms. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired December 2, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET



[14:00:15] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Hannah Vaughan- Jones in London. This is CNN "News Now."

The bodies of dozens of victims of Monday's plane crash in Colombia are being sent back to their home countries. Most of them will be returned to

Brazil. Five are being repatriated to Bolivia. Meanwhile, Bolivia's government has launched an investigation into the charter airline that

owned the plane and has pulled the company's permits.

Italy and Austria are preparing to hold crucial nationwide votes this Sunday. Italians will cast ballots in a constitutional referendum. Prime

Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his career on passing reforms that would scale down the country's Senate.

And Austria's presidential rerun pits independent Alexander Van der Bellen against the far right freedom party's Norbert Hofer.

Donald Trump said he's chosen retired General James Mattis to be Defense secretary. The surprise announcement came after the president-elect "Thank

you" tour in Ohio. Mattis will need a waiver from Congress to get the post, though, since he hasn't been in civilian life long enough to qualify.

And Formula One's world champion Nico Rosberg has announced he is retiring from racing effective immediately. The news comes after Rosberg beat

Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton for the title just last weekend in Abu Dhabi.

That is CNN "News Now." I'm Hannah Vaughan-Jones. Do stay with us here on CNN for AMANPOUR, up next.


Tonight, tears and cheers as Cuba's Fidel Castro is brought to his final resting place half a century after the revolution. The former Mexican

foreign minister remembers the man and maps out the island's future.

Also tonight, the British prime minister insists that Brexit means Brexit. But looking for a road map to there has got Europe's blood boiling.


MANFRED WEBER, GERMAN MEP: This game is over now. The cherry-picking is over after Brexit. We offer a very special deal for Great Britain and

Great Britain refused and that is now the outcome.


AMANPOUR: Last, preparing to be U.S. president one tweet at a time. When a twitter tirade is so much more.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to this special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

A rebel and a revolutionary, a tyrant and oppressor. This week, Fidel Castro was lauded and condemned as all of the above. Even in death, he

divides his people and the world.

For the past week, Cubans have been immersed in the rituals of mourning and saying good-bye to the only leader they've ever known. Castro's ashes,

taking the reverse route of his triumphant march to Havana when he overthrew the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959. Hourly, cannons

are firing salutes.

While in Little Havana, in Miami, Florida, there were tears of joy. So what next for Cuba? One of the last bastions of communism. I got insight

from someone who knew Castro as few others did. First, as a young man, and then as Mexico's foreign minister -- Jorge Castaneda.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, Jorge Castaneda.

JORGE CASTANEDA, MEXICO'S FOREIGN MINISTER: Good to be with you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: There are lots of pictures of you. You've met him through the years of your youth and your career. What is your personal reflection,

your personal memory of him?

CASTANEDA: Well, I met him as a very young man and then again when I was foreign secretary of Mexico, and he struck me as obviously charismatic,

obviously well-informed. But I was also struck by the fact that when he wanted to, he could have endless conversations with his interlocutors on

really nonsensical matters, such as Cuban production of cheese, or what kind of yogurt he should eat, which was better for his health, or really

matters that did not seem to be of any interest to the person he was speaking to, although he was very knowledgeable about it.

I don't know why he wanted to be knowledgeable about it, or not. But it was very impressive how he had this great knack for talking about anything


And when he didn't want to talk substance, he could come up with any item of conversation and just go on and on rambling about it. And I literally

mean for hours, not just for a few minutes.

[14:05:00] AMANPOUR: Were you surprised -- I mean, Fidel Castro is as polarizing in death as he was in life. Are you surprised by the war over

remembering him?

CASTANEDA: No, I think this is the way he would have wanted it. This is the way he governed Cuba for nearly 60 years. This is the way he came to

power. And I think this is the way he wanted to be remembered as a controversial polarizing figure.

There are too many people who think very highly of him and too many people who think very critically of him for it to be any other way. It's not

surprising and I'm sure he would have wanted it this way.

AMANPOUR: And I'm just wondering, obviously, on the plus side, you have 100 percent literacy in Cuba under Castro. You have an amazing medical

system and very low levels of infant and maternal mortality.

Is that sufficient on the one hand to make up in any part for the incredible ledger on the other hand?

CASTANEDA: Well, I don't think so, Christiane. First of all, because these achievements of the Cuban revolution may have faded with time. We

don't really have any external statistics gathering mechanism by international institutions, either on education or on health in Cuba today.

And so it's hard to say whether what they say is true really is, or was true, but no longer is.

But in any case, even if it were, there is no reason why that could only be done under a brutal dictatorship, which is what his government or his

regime has been even to this day.

Or secondly, if that was the only way to achieve it, which I don't think so, but if that was, what would the Cuban people have said if they have

been consulted in this regard.

We don't know what they would have said, because we don't know what they think, because they have never been consulted. So it really isn't a very

attractive trade off, I don't think for anybody.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, then, because you raise obviously the incredibly important point, and that is what would the Cuban people do if

consulted. We have seen that Raul Castro in the few years that he's actually taken over in being president has instituted some modest reforms,

but even those have been losing some steam.

Fidel himself, just before President Obama came, you know, seemed to come and want to block even those reforms in the party Congress that he

attended. So of course, everybody wants to know, is Raul now liberated to go full steam ahead? Does he even want to? What is on the cards from your

perspective for Cuba?

CASTANEDA: Well, I think, Christiane, the main issue here is what Donald Trump is going to do, because Raul did bet on normalization with the United

States and with the economic positive consequences of that normalization in terms of investment, tourism, trade, credit, et cetera.

Now with Trump, it's very hard to say if that is going to continue. If it doesn't continue, then Raul's economic reforms will go nowhere, and his

political reforms haven't even started because there is really no political opening in Cuba. There has been no political opening under Raul Castro.

Yes, the regime is a bit more tolerant. Yes, there are fewer political prisoners. Probably those who remain are better treated than they used to

be in the past. But all of these reforms were a bit premised, I think, on their being some kind of economic improvement, and from what we see, the

number of Cubans leaving the island more than any time since 1994, it doesn't seem that economic conditions have improved a great deal.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you then, because you mentioned the next administration and Trump has been on Twitter today even saying, "If Cuba is

unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban-American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate the deal."

So despite all you're saying and all the caveats you have about Raul and what might happen and et cetera, is it in Cuba's interest for this deal

with the United States, the normalization, the, you know, the planes going back and forth, is it in Cuba's interest and in America's interest for it

to be terminated?

CASTANEDA: I don't think it is in anybody's interest for it to be terminated, not for Cuba, not for the United States and not for Latin

America. The problem is that Donald Trump won the presidency because he won -- in part because he won the state of Florida. And he won the state

of Florida because he got a greater share of the Cuban-American vote than Obama obtained in 2008 and 2012.

And so today, he owes the Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County a great deal. And as we saw from the scenes Friday night on 8th Street or Calle

Ocho in Miami, they were celebrating Castro's death. They certainly were not regretting it.

So I think Trump is in a somewhat difficult position. He owes this group of people big time, and I'm not sure he can get away with doing nothing of

what he promised.

AMANPOUR: Fascinating. Thank you for your perspective. Former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda. Thank you so much for joining us


CASTANEDA: Thank you, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, frustration seems to be growing in Europe as British ministers struggle with how Brexit will actually be achieved. A

view from Germany, when we come back.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. This weekend, voters in Austria and Italy will cast their ballots in historic decisions. That will not

only impact the future of their countries and the fate of their leaders, but the future of Europe itself.

As the UK struggles to navigate a course out of the EU, Europeans contemplate the future of their once-united continent.

Manfred Weber is a leading German MEP and he's chair of the European People's Party. He joined me from Brussels this week to discuss the future

of the European Union as the winds of populism buffet Europe and as the need for greater unity comes at this challenging time.


AMANPOUR: Manfred Weber, welcome to the program.

WEBER: Hello, good to hear you.

AMANPOUR: There seems to be a huge confusion or at least no clarity on which way Brexit is going to go. And not only that, there's a huge clash

amongst, you know, experts and Brexiters and this and that.

WEBER: Well, first of all, Brexit was not an idea of the European Union, not an idea from Brussels, it was an idea from London. So they have to put

on the table what concretely Brexit means in daily life of people.

I met a lot of politicians from London and I have different answers on this. Some want to be part of the single market, some not. Some want to

have a trade treaty with us. There is no idea behind it. That's why first of all we wait in Brussels. We simply wait for a clear answer from London.

They have to clarify it.

AMANPOUR: Taking one of the recent controversies. There's a report that there were special notes taken at a Downing Street meeting that said the

words -- have cake and eat it. You must have been seeing this report. And you know what the term means, we can get the best of all worlds.

Whether that's true or not, can Britain get the best of all worlds? I mean, the prime minister of Malta said, look, we are not bluffing. We are

not going to let you have ala carte.

What from your perspective is happening in German capitals, in, you know, all the big capitals of Europe?

WEBER: Frankly speaking, people all over Europe are a little bit fed up about what we hear sometimes from London and just from politicians in

London. Sometimes this arrogance telling that we know what we can do for us and we don't care about the rest.

This game is over now. These cherry-picking is over after Brexit. We offer a very special deal to Great Britain and Great Britain refused, and

that is now the outcome. So I don't see any chance for this specific deal any more. It will be very tough because you have to know that such a leave

treaty must be accepted unanimously by the member states, by the 27 rest of the EU countries, and by the consent of the European parliament. And that

is a very tough job to organize these majorities. It will be very hard for Britain to get this deal.

AMANPOUR: And now, look, you said that, you know, hear all sorts of contradictory things and you're getting a bit fed up by what you're hearing

from British officials.

You have been talking to the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and you've expressed your frustration at some of the things that he is telling you.

For instance, that he would now support access to the EU by Turkey, having used exactly the reverse claim during his Brexit campaign.

Give me an idea of how personalities are rubbing Europe the right or the wrong way?

[14:15:30] WEBER: Well, it's first of all about behavior of responsible politicians and you correctly described it.

So Johnson was using Turkey even Syria and Iraq as possible next members of the European Union, which was on Syria and Iraq, purely a lie. He was

using this to make people afraid in Great Britain about the European Union, about migration challenges for the future. And then he won, OK. That's

democracy and then he went to Ankara and told Ankara and Erdogan there, Great Britain, me as foreign minister I want to help you to become member

of the European Union.

And that is the behavior of what I will describe as an arrogant behavior. When somebody wants to leave the club, he has no right to decide about the

long-term future of this club. And that's why I would ask the British government, the British authorities, to keep silent when we are talking

about the future of the 27 member states. We want to have a common future. We want to go on this way. If Great Britain does not want to go on this

way, then it should keep silent.

AMANPOUR: Can I broaden this? Because you made yourself incredibly clear on this issue. I want to broaden it to Europe wide. You obviously face a

populist tide. We've seen it in Britain. We've seen it now in the United States. And there are, you know, referendums and presidential elections

coming up in the not too distant future.

You know, a recent study showed that 55 percent of Austrians and 54 percent of French view globalization as a threat.

Are you worried about the center holding? About institutions holding?

WEBER: I am worried, yes. I mean, we have shared the common value base. The gender equality, democracy, rule of law, that are where it is, and the

question will be whether we can defend them in a globalize world. That's why I think we have strong nations and I'm a friend of strong nations, but

strong nations can only survive in a globalize world if they combine, if they bring together as a power. And they defend their interest in a common

way. Like we did it for example in the trade questions.

When we talk with bigger powers like America, (INAUDIBLE), we can do this much more efficient together when we bring our common strengths together.

That is the idea of the European Union. Know nothing against nations. It's to make nations great again. That is the idea of Europe.

AMANPOUR: And what will happen, what will the consequence of Austria, if it elects a far right president for the first time since the Second World

War? And the election is on Sunday.

WEBER: Well, it is again a step in negative direction. You have to respect the outcome. That's not the question. We respect Brexit. We

respect that Kaczynski won in Poland. That's not our question. But the question is that there's a credible maturity in the European Union who

stands now and fights for a way together.

It's a question of to defend the historic success story behind the last decades since the European Union. And I can only warn, because the

nationalist movement, the echo in the European Union is very easy to start. It's very easy for politicians to emotionally start this nationalistic

debate, but that will lead to a very negative development for our continent.

AMANPOUR: Chancellor Merkel is practically the last politician standing who defends the views that you've been talking about. Do you think she'll

make it, seeking a fourth term?

WEBER: Yes, I think she will make it because after her announcement that she will run again for chancellor, the polls show already very clearly that

people support this idea. Germany is an important country in the European Union and people understand in Germany, the stability, it's in their


And even having Brexit in mind, people understand it's better to make Europe, to reform Europe than to destroy Europe. That is what people

understand now in Germany and we will go on together with Angela Merkel exactly this way.

AMANPOUR: Manfred Weber, thank you very much for joining us.

WEBER: I thank you so much.


AMANPOUR: When we come back, imagine a world trying to read the tea leaves, in this case the tweets, for some insight into a Trump

administration's foreign policy.

We get insight from veteran Washington watcher and columnist, Walter Shapiro, next.


[14:21:30] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world taking President-elect Trump at his word. In which tweet do we trust?

This week was dominated by Trump's baseless declaration that he, not Hillary Clinton, had won the popular vote.

Also by a cryptic announcement that he will soon tell all about how he'll deal with his mega business empire once he is president.

And he's under fire now at the end of this week for reversing himself with a fulsome praise he bestowed on Pakistan's prime minister in their first

telephone call.

To help us decipher how to approach this unprecedented method of communications and policy, long-time journalist Walter Shapiro, who have

covered ten American presidential elections joins us from New York.


AMANPOUR: So, Walter Shapiro, thank you.

First and foremost, how do you think the world, which is watching this program and obviously watching Donald Trump and looking into the United

States right now should be looking at and trying to decipher Donald Trump who comes across on tweets?

WALTER SHAPIRO, JOURNALIST: Well, first of all, I have this vision of this man in solitary splendor at Trump Tower watching cable television

obsessively and talking back to his television set by tweeting things.

There was something on American television this morning, I think on "Fox News," about the American flag not being put on -- up on a flagpole at

Hampshire College. Suddenly Trump is all over Twitter with tweets about flag burning and how people who do that should be stripped of their


So, I mean, what you have is for the first time in American history, you have a perfect view of a president's id. That this is Donald Trump

uncensored, unplugged and what comes out is quite scary for democratic norms.

AMANPOUR: Well, you said unprecedented. You have covered ten presidential elections and many people say, well, you know, every president has lied,

has done this, has done that, has spun. Give me the perspective on that for people watching.

SHAPIRO: The hardest thing to deal with is that this is the most out of the norm electoral event in American history since the civil war. So the

idea that if you take spin at 10 percent, Donald Trump is 110 percent. There has been nothing in American history with the possible exception of

Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s of a major public figure, in this case a president-elect with total and wanton disregard for what normal human

beings would consider truth.

Going back to that 2.5 million stolen votes, that's the entire population of Los Angeles, California, San Francisco, California and San Diego,


If all of the votes in all those cities instead of going for Hillary Clinton had been -- not happened, that is the margin that Trump has. And

for a conspiracy that vast, a totally invented conspiracy, it would require a massive level of coordination, none of which have been proven, and that

is why words like "The New York Times" use in the headline "baseless." That we are dealing with someone whose connection with reality is that of a

con man. A con man who believes his own con.

[14:25:00] AMANPOUR: But you know, I want to -- I want to go on to the foreign policy aspect of it, but you brought up the voting issue which is

the latest big one. And he's taken aim at CNN. You know, basically saying to our -- you know, re-tweeting and tweeting about our correspondent, "What

proof do you have. Donald Trump did not suffer from millions of fraud vote. Journalist do your job."

And then a response from correspondent, "Good evening. Have been looking for examples of voter fraud. Please send our way. Full-time journalist

here still working."

What, for the sake of public understanding and how should journalists be covering this president-elect, this next president?

SHAPIRO: Well, first of all, I don't think you can ignore the tweets, because I said they are the unfiltered window into the mind of the

president-elect. And I think you have to keep saying words like baseless, totally made up, bizarre, that wonderful New York Phrase, whacko. That

this is just a level of denial of reality that we have never seen in American political life.

AMANPOUR: OK. All right.


SHAPIRO: And the only thing you can do --

AMANPOUR: I'm sorry to interrupt you, I just want to ask you about keeping on reporting, that you've use twice now denial of reality and not quite

tethered to reality.

This is somebody who is going to be leading much of world geopolitics and everybody abroad is trying to figure out what kind of relationship, and how

to react to the next U.S. president. Many people think that it will be business as usual. That what they say in campaigning or even before they

are inaugurated will not translate into the presidency.

How do you see foreign policy ahead, for instance?

SHAPIRO: Well, I don't think we know until we know who the secretary of state and secretary of defense is. That said, he has a national security

adviser, a General Flynn, that when he headed the defense intelligence agency was known around the Pentagon for what were called Flynn Facts.

Hyperbolic statements that were not grounded in reality.

So I am just so petrified that we are going to have a phantom world view that's going to direct real foreign policy and I think it's not at all like

business as usual.

Before I was somewhat confident that Trump would veer towards reality, but I think the choice of Flynn for the most important job in government that

is not subject to Senate confirmation, the national security adviser, was really a chilling signal of where Trump is going.

AMANPOUR: Well, you've been watching this for a long, long time.

Walter Shapiro, thank you very much for your perspective tonight.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast anytime and you can always see us online at and

follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.