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Vexing Helicopter Incident Escalates Venezuela Crisis; Six Charged Over Hillsborough Football Disaster; The Man Who Made a Bear Called Paddington. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 28, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, focus on Venezuela. For months, gripped by protests as food and medicine are nearly impossible
to find. Now, a dramatic escalation. After a mysterious helicopter attack.
The head of the country's national assembly was caught up in the drama. He joins the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are living in Venezuela in a real turmoil. And every day we have like a real crisis in Venezuela because we are living
right now in anarchy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, the long road to justice. A former police chief and five others are charged in the 1989 Hillsborough Soccer Stadium disaster
that they first blamed on the fans. 96 were killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the first disaster that was filmed live on television. I mean, some of those relatives saw their family member in the
crowd being crushed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The head of Venezuela's national assembly has just told me that he was, quote, "Attacked" by security forces in parliament yesterday as
paramilitaries surrounded the building and prevented anyone from leaving. It was just one part of a dramatic and potentially game changing 24 hours.
This police helicopter circling the Supreme Court allegedly, says the government, it was stolen by rogue plotters who drop grenades on the
building although no one was injured.
The alleged plotter, Oscar Perez, released this video message promising to return Democratic order. But Perez is also an actor who's appeared in a
film, a thriller. And this action comes hours after President Maduro made this ominous declaration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I'm telling world, and I hope the world listens. After mitigated violence, destruction
and death, if Venezuela will run into chaos and violence and the Boulevardian revolution destroyed, we would go to combat. We would never
give up. And what couldn't be done with votes, we would do with weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Ominous indeed. And he has since called the helicopter incident an armed terrorist attack. Now it does come amid reports of escalating
looting, the worst in months, as food and medicine shortages alongside soaring inflation have pushed so many to desperation.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh found out when he went to Venezuela last month.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Virginia has been doing this for 18 months to feed her five kids. She can't find
work since she had this little one. But here sometimes finds what she calls meat.
"Sometimes I find stuffed bread, rice, meat, beans and pasta. Some people are conscientious, putting it in clean bags. Leaving it out."
Pain is never worse than when it's needless. Danielle is 14 and elsewhere would probably have kept her leg. But in Venezuela, vital medicine for
chemotherapy is short, and so are the odds the bone tumor in her leg wouldn't spread.
(on-camera): Does it make you feel angry as a doctor that procedure like this is necessary, when you could have prevented it if you had the right
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE DOCTOR: Yes. That is very sad for us.
This is a society crumbling from inside, where a government who tried to control everything from wages to health care, to food prices now seems to
Where the body of a murder victim lies in the streets of Valencia, now a common curiosity rather than a scandal.
Doctors sneak us in to a public hospital to show why diseases that this once oil-rich nation thought were vanquished decades ago are coming back.
Wounded protestors making due with water bottles to drain gunfire wounds.
AMANPOUR: A reminder of the civil unrest that has led to 75 deaths since April. And the latest to die was a 22-year-old protester. This photo
captures his last moment before he was shot point blank on Thursday by a soldier after hurling stones over a fence at a Caracas airbase.
And I've just spoken to the head of Venezuela's national assembly which is controlled by the opposition parties.
Julio Borges had a dramatic account of the confrontations that took place inside the building yesterday. And he says that President Maduro has now
crossed a dangerous line.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Borges, welcome to the program.
JULIO BORGES, PRESIDENT, VENEZUELAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Can you first tell us from your own eyewitness account, what happened with all that drama in the last 24 hours? A helicopter over the
I mean, was it attacking? Was it a staged event? What actually happened, to the best of your knowledge.
BORGES: Well, we are living in Venezuela in a real turmoil. And every day we have, like a real crisis in Venezuela, because we are living right now
in an anarchy in Venezuela.
Yesterday for example, as you mentioned, we have the problem of the helicopter flying all over Caracas. And they say attacking the judiciary -
- the highest criminal in Venezuela -- the Supreme Court in Venezuela.
And then we have in the National Parliament Assembly, it was surrounded by paramilitary groups who were dropping bombs inside the parliament in
Venezuela. And we were kidnapped by them, by these paramilitary groups until 10:00 at night. And at the same time, we have a sentence from the
Supreme Court that it drawn the responsibilities of the general attorney, and with the responsibilities of the general attorney that is right now
defending the constitution. And it is like a continual violence and a coup de etat in Venezuela.
AMANPOUR: So let me just fully understand what you are saying. That who are these paramilitaries? Were they government paramilitaries that you say
attacks the National Assembly and held you captive?
BORGES: Yes. The government has a group of regular citizens to call in a way that they call the Collectivos. And these are really paramilitary
groups. They carry weapons, they have bombs, and they attack the opposition and regular citizens all over Venezuela. And they have like all
impunity in order to attack people with any kind of control. And it's very similar that they have in Cuba or they have in Panama in Noriega's time.
And it's a very dangerous situation because they act as a policemen but they really are activists from the SUP, which is the political party of
AMANPOUR: So what happened to you? Because you got pushed around yesterday. You're president of the National Assembly.
BORGES: Well, that was an additional problem. Besides that we were surrounded by these paramilitary groups. We have a situation with the
National Guard within the assembly because they didn't allowed that we make a kind of inspection within a kind of office or base that have within the
There was a rumor that they have or electoral material or even weapons within the parliament. And all the deputies were in front of this National
Guard base within the parliament. And we have a real confrontation. And the people with -- which had the responsibility of our own security, they
attack us as group.
BORGES: Yesterday. Which is a shame for Venezuelans to show these kind of pictures to the world.
AMANPOUR: Well, we are showing them. And, Mr. Borges, this is a very, very serious accusation against the government of Nicolas Maduro who will
obviously deny this. He says the country is under attack.
What is his game? What do you think this is leading to?
BORGES: Well, yesterday, Maduro have a rally for the constitutional assembly that he is promoting which is against the law, against the
constitution. And they say something in a line which is a real resume about Nicolas Maduro.
He said whatever we cannot achieve through vote, we are going to achieve through violence. I think that this is a real -- a real line which resume
was the real intention of Maduro. It's nothing else than to promote in Venezuela a very similar kind of system as we have in Cuba or even
something radical which is very, very similar as a Cuba. And this is his real paradigm.
AMANPOUR: Were you expecting such a severe escalation as you saw in the national assembly?
BORGES: No, no. Not at all. And we are concerned because we have the next selection of the constitutional assembly which is the proposal of
Maduro in a month. And they are trying to use this as a tool in order to produce more violence and more repression in Venezuela. That's our main
concern and our urgency right now.
[14:10:10] AMANPOUR: So do you believe he has the desire and the strength and the resources and the ability to crack down even further than has
already happened over the last couple of years?
BORGES: Well, they have -- he has a desire. I have no question about that. He desires to be in power all the time he can. But he has not the
Venezuelan people is out of the streets. We are arriving to 90 days of demonstrations all over Venezuela. Unfortunately, we have had like 80
people which has been killed in these demonstration.
But, anyway, people right now, as we are talking right now, Christiane, we have huge demonstration all over Venezuela, and people is willing to defend
human rights, to defend constitution, to defend democracy. At the end of the day, what we want is only the opportunity and our right to have free
elections in Venezuela.
AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Borges, you know, we see these dreadful pictures all the time and these brave people coming out on the streets.
We led into your interview, you know, depicting the shortages, the inflation, the poverty, the crisis and the hospitals, people scavenging for
food. But, look, 75 of these people have been killed.
BORGES: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: Is there really a way forward with demonstrations? Is there no other way to resolve this peacefully?
BORGES: Well, obviously there is other -- other ways to resolve the problem in Venezuela. And I would like to take this opportunity,
Christiane, to make a call to the international community.
We are promoting the creation, a kind of group of countries which can be like monitoring or even making a group like it was Contadora in the '80s in
So within that, it could be a way in order to have the involvement of a real government in order to achieve a Democratic solution in Venezuela. So
we are not fighting only for half a demonstration in the streets. What we want is to have an electoral and Democratic solution in Venezuela.
AMANPOUR: Well, so far it hasn't accepted a lot of the ideas that have come from abroad. Are you relying on the organization of American states?
Are you relying on the good will of the United States? Where do you look for help?
BORGES: Right now, Christiane, we are looking for the particular leadership of different countries in the region -- Peru, Colombia, Mexico,
Central America. We hope that these different countries could make an agreement in order to build a kind of group in order to support a solution
Also we would like that this kind of association, as the organization of American states, United Nations, or Mercosur could help.
But right now, we are relying on particular leadership of different presidents in the region.
AMANPOUR: Julio Borges, thank you so much indeed for joining us. President of the Venezuelan National Assembly.
BORGES: Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And as that crisis deepens, after a break we turn here to Britain, amid persistent cries for justice from the Grenfell Tower
families, a lesson from the Hillsborough Soccer Stadium disaster as criminal charges are finally made 28 years on. That's next.
[14:15:20] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
It's been a long and painful battle, a battle for justice, vindication, accountability and truth. Today, the families of those who were killed in
the Hillsborough football disaster spoke of their relief as the first criminal charges were announced in court, including 95 manslaughter charges
against a former police chief superintendent.
The disaster happened 28 years ago, when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in overcrowded stands. Police immediately blamed it on, quote,
Britain's leading tabloid, "The Sun," even accused some of pick pocketing the victims. And since then, survivors and families have been fighting to
clear their name saying they are victims of smears, lies and cover ups.
Last year, an inquest found the fans were unlawfully killed, that police and stadium officials were at fault for letting fans into a too tight
Today, families gave thanks for the new charges, especially in light of the latest public disaster, the Grenfell Tower inferno in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR HICKS, LOST TWO DAUGHTERS IN 1989 TRAGEDY: There are no winners in this. You know, it doesn't bring anybody back from the disaster. But what
it does do, it sends a message out of accountability, as we keep saying, that nobody but nobody's above the law, be it the police or anybody else.
And so you know, any organization -- and we all know Grenfell Towers and all these other things that, watch out, because families will come after
you if you don't do your jobs properly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Maria Eagle is a Labour Party MP, and she's a long time campaigner for justice for the Hillsborough victims. She joined me earlier
from Westminster just as those charges were finally being laid.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.
MARIA EAGLE, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY MP: Hello.
AMANPOUR: Tell me what you make of the decision today. You have been campaigning for decades for this.
EAGLE: Yes. Well, I've been trying to help the Hillsborough families since before I was a member of parliament actually since 1990, the year
after the disaster when I was junior lawyer involved with some of the civil actions that were the first thing that happened after the disaster.
And so today is a day I thought I'd never see. It is a further vindication of the strength of their campaign which has now been a 28-year-long
campaign to try and get truth and justice for the 96 people who died on that terrible day.
AMANPOUR: Just recall for us the anguish and the deep distress the families were in, not just because of the 96 who were lost, but because of
the way they were being blamed.
EAGLE: It was terrible, because they were effectively bereaved. Suddenly bereaved people.
Remember, this was the first disaster that was filmed live on television. I mean, some of those relatives saw their family members in the crowd being
crushed. And then they had to get in their cars and drive over to Sheffield to try and find them.
We didn't have mobile phones in those days. And they just had to go over there. They were then treated by police officers over there like they were
suspects. They were asked if their dead relatives had had a drink. They were asked -- mothers who were told that they couldn't touch their dead
sons and daughters who were laid out in the gymnasium, in a temporary mortuary.
They were told they couldn't touch them because they were the property of the coroner. Horrendous things.
And, you know, you can't have that happen and not be traumatized by it. To then be told -- and many of the survivors faced this, to then there are
story be out there that actually it was your fault. You had killed your own. You had pushed into the ground in some kind of drunken way that led
to the deaths of those fans, a complete calumny.
And I mean, I know survivors to this day who come up to me and say they have never spoken about it before. They are traumatized, still can't deal
with the consequences of what was done to them.
All to try and say it wasn't our fault. The police say it wasn't us. It must have been somebody else. It must have been you. And that is the
problem that has been caused over all of these years.
And it's not just that disaster. It happens in other disasters as well. And that's what we've got to try and stop.
[14:20:00] AMANPOUR: Do you think these families will get some measure of closure today?
EAGLE: I think mixed feelings for them today. Because for many of them, they never thought they would see charges laid. Accountability for those
who did wrong has always been a part of what they wanted.
But for many of them, we've campaigned over this period of time, they have their moms and dads and people who lost, who are fathers and mothers of the
96 who died have since themselves also died.
And so many of them are thinking, well, my mum should be here; my dad should be here. And so it's very mixed for them that it's taken this long.
It has taken over their whole lives. They don't feel able to let it go until they've got to the end. Now, we are not at the end. But we are at
the beginning of the end.
Once these court cases are done, that really will be the end. Whatever the outcome is, that will be it. They will have done as much as they possibly
So the end is in sight in that sense, but we are not quite there yet.
AMANPOUR: For our global viewers, tell us why this is so important, you know, going forward.
EAGLE: Well, it's important because there were 96 people died in this disaster that was caused primarily by a failure of police control at the
football ground. That finding was made within four months by the public inquiry, that the police were at fault.
But, thereafter, the police force involved, they didn't really accept what had happened. And there was then an effort to give different impressions.
I can't say too much because of the charges that have now been laid. But as a consequence, many people ended up thinking that the fans had been at
fault for the disaster.
AMANPOUR: This is what one of the victims' families and campaigner Margaret Aspinall had to say about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET ASPINALL, SON DIED IN 1989 HILLSBOROUGH DISASTER:: No one, no one should have to go through what these families have gone through for 28
years. To try to get to the truth, to get accountability, especially. I think that is important. And I think now what has been achieved today will
change things for the good of this nation. And I think that is the legacy of our 96 that they will have left behind on their behalf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So as an MP, do you believe that this lesson will be taken up? And of course I obviously speak in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire
disaster and all the allegations and accusations and demands for justice that are being raised right now.
EAGLE: Well, I hope say. And as I say, the government have said they are going to take forward the proposals in the public advocate bill which will
establish a way that families caught up in a disaster like this, and it could include the Grenfell Tower families can collectively have some
decision making and get support to make sure that their voices are heard at the early stages of legal proceedings.
Because in the past, what's happened in Hillsborough and other cases is that the voice of the families have not been heard and what's happen is
that the legal system has ended up taking more account of the expensive lawyers and people who come in for public authorities that perhaps are
trying to in any given set of circumstances minimize their own culpability.
And the Grenfell Tower, I think will be an early test of the extent to which our current government are willing to do that.
AMANPOUR: Maria Eagle, thank you so much for joining us.
EAGLE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And of course all eyes are on that test.
And when we come back, we imagine a British icon, a refugee from Peru, remembering the man behind the bear, Paddington bear, after this.
[14:26:05] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world of mad cap adventures, marmalade sandwiches and a refugee bear from deepest darkest
Peru, who made it all the way to Paddington station in London.
Today, we pay tribute to the small but perfectly formed Paddington bear as we remember his creator, Michael Bond, who died on Tuesday, aged 91 after a
Starting as a young child obsessed with books, Bond fought in World War II and then worked his way up through the BBC, where he wrote hits for
children's TV. Paddington, of course, was by far his most famous creation.
Inspired by the personality of his father and the circumstances of children evacuees, fleeing the blitz of London during the war, Paddington made his
arrival in books, waiting at the train station bearing his name with a tag around his neck saying, "Please look after this bear. Thank you."
Michael Bond's creation charmed the world then and now with new Paddington films. He wrote over 200 books over six decades and he was rewarded by the
queen with a CBE and by children and parents all over the world with a deep sense of affection for that one special bear.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcasts, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.