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U.S and Saudi Arabia Fallout Grows Over the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi; Jamal Khashoggi's Very Last Column Published at "Washington Post"; Julian Castro, A Potential Presidential Contender in 2020. "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream." By Julian Castro; Midterms and the Latino Vote; The Rise to Fame at Age 14. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 18, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
As President Trump gets debriefed on the latest from Saudi Arabia, fallout grows over the disappearance of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Was the West
too quick to brand Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, a reformer?
"New York Times" Columnist, Tom Friedman, gives us his first TV interview as an early MBS supporter. He also struggled with Salman's growing
And, Julian Castro, former San Antonio Mayor, has the resume and the personal story to help the Democrats out of the doldrums. But could his
party have a Latino problem?
Plus, an African-American high school student trapped between two conflicting worlds. Our Alicia Menendez talks to Amandla Stenberg, star of
the new movie "The Hate U Give."
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It's official, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is backing out of a high-profile investor conference in Saudi Arabia, the co-called "Davos
in the Desert." As the Trump administration wants to give the kingdom a little more time to come up with its story on Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi
journalist and insider who became a prominent critic of the royal family.
This as the "Washington Post" published his very last column today and it's a haunting dispatch, a plea for freedom of expression in the Arab world
delivered to the paper by Khashoggi's translator, the very day after he was reported missing in Istanbul.
Khashoggi writes that hopes for a more open and transparent society were raised by the Arab Spring and then quickly shattered. Now, he writes from
the grave, "Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address much less publicly
discuss matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not
believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative." These are powerful and poignant last words from a brave
colleague who we believe lost his life trying to dislodge that false narrative.
Now, for decades, "The "New York Times" Columnist, Thomas Friedman, has been a deeply influential observer of the Middle East, and he was the among
the first journalist to publish an interview with MBS, welcoming the crown prince as a reformer in articles like one. Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring at
last. That was November 2017.
But in his columns this year, including this one titled, "Trump to Dictators, Have a Nice Day," Friedman warns of an MBS induced "climate of
fear" in Saudi Arabia. Tom Friedman joins me now for his first TV interview since Khashoggi vanished.
And welcome to the program, Thomas Friedman.
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS OP-ED COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Great to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just take the news from the top. What do you make, first and foremost, of the growing fallout, we now have at the very last
minute, the Secretary of the Treasury pulling out of this crown prince backed investor conference in the kingdom, we have Pompeo, the Secretary of
State back from his trips there briefing President Trump and they're saying, "Let's give is a few more days"? What can be going on? What do we
need a few more days for do you think?
FRIEDMAN: My guess, Christiane, is that the Saudis are in a complete panic. Because with the Turkish press, the "Washington Post," "The New
York Times," "CNN," basically everyone has made clear that this killing in the Istanbul consulate of the Saudi embassy was done by people very, very
close to the crown prince and that they apparently were armed with a bone saw.
So, the -- I think the original desire to say, "Oh, this was just a rogue operation that -- interrogation that went bad," that's just not going to
And so, I think they're desperately trying to come up with a concocting cover story that somehow can insulate the crown prince from this event,
from this terrible killing, and they can't.
That's why I said, you know, Christiane, in my column yesterday, there's no fixing stupid. When you do something as evil as they did in their own
consulate, and this is utterly stupid, there's no fixing that. And so, it is now such a colossal mess. If you ask me how they're going to get out of
it, I just have no idea.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just take a little bit from that last column, which was yesterday. For starters, I believe that the promise of MBS, however
much you did or did not think he could bring social economic and religious reform is finished. He's made himself radioactive, absent to credible
independent exoneration for Jamal's disappearance and apparent murder.
So, the two points there. Do you think there will be a credible transparent explanation and investigation? And then, by the same token,
who's going to get rid of the crown prince? I mean, he's presumably actually going to stay no matter how radioactive you say he is.
FRIEDMAN: A good question, Christiane. A, I don't think there will be any independent investigation. Again, I think it's -- this is all just what
they can best concoct to get out of this and I don't think it's going to be much. I don't think you'll even remotely pass a lab test of the crown
prince's cousin, yet alone, you know, the world media.
Here's how I see the dilemma in Saudi Arabia. I don't think Saudi Arabia can have a crown prince and future king who cannot come to the United
States of America. And I believe as a result of this action, I cannot see how the Congress is not going to invoke the global Magnitsky Act, to
sanction the crown prince, I don't see how Congress would stand for it.
And so, they have a dilemma, how can Saudi Arabia -- and we have a dilemma, our closest ally in that part of the world, are -- if a ruler can't come to
America in the same time. So, I don't see how he can be king and I don't see how he cannot be king because he's leveled all of his rivals.
And so, there is not a natural person to succeed him there. And his father is ailing, he appears to have some form of dementia. It's not clear how
much he's in and out.
And that's why I think what you're going to see, Christiane, the whole system there is going to cease up. It has to be in a complete panic.
They're complete paralyzed.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you know, put on your Middle East observer hat, which you've been doing since 1979. We're going to get to the details in a
moment. But right now it appears that if you take the Trump administration's point of view, here they are having tried to box Iran into
a corner using Saudi Arabia as their biggest ally in that and within a few days or a couple of weeks, want to add a whole new raft of oil sanctions on
Iran, November 5th is the deadline.
AMANPOUR: You say, you know, the Saudis are probably in a panic. But it's the Trump administration in a panic how to react? Because, you know, all
of a sudden, their best laid plans to squeeze Iranian oil might not work if they start -- you know, given what they need to get out of Saudi Arabia.
AMANPOUR: And Saudi Arabia doesn't give oil, what happens?
FRIEDMAN: I think they're in a real dilemma now. And maybe, Christiane, we'll force them down another track toward Iran. You know, Trump has
thrown some olive ranches toward the Iranian saying, you know, "We could -- I'm -- I'm ready to talk to you like I did with Kim Jong-un in North
Korea." And I have a feeling, you know, the Iranians probably might want to talk to him.
Let me just sort of go to one level higher and say, I believe the sort of Iranian Sunni -- or the Persian-Iranian, you know, Sunni Arab civil war in
the Middle East. It has completely driven that region into this terrible corner that it's in right now. And until -- unless that is resolved, the
region, it's going to be doomed, Christiane, it's going to be doomed.
And I think American diplomacy, what it should be and about all along is not taking sides in this war, it's not like one side is morally greater
than the other. It actually should be seeing, this is the most important peace process in the world, I think it's between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
It's between Shia Iran and the Sunni Arab world. And if we don't get that right, it's just going to be one more of this after another. But the whole
region is just going to spiral downward and downward, farther and farther.
AMANPOUR: You know, a lot of people faithfully read your column because they believe that you have a major, you know, decades long proven track
record there. And so, a lot of people did sit up very, very straight when you actually interviewed the crown prince and you had your column, which I
mentioned, which said, you know, Arab Spring comes to Saudi Arabia at last.
AMANPOUR: That was in November of last year.
AMANPOUR: And just one line from it was, "I found his passion for reform authentic, his support from the youth in his country significant and his
case for making radical change in Saudi Arabia compelling." And I think you said, "Only a food would predict his success but only a fool would not
root for it."
So, you know, now people are saying -- well, were -- was everybody, were you too quick --
AMANPOUR: -- to call him and brand him a reformer? So, take us through what was going through your mind and what you saw in him then compared to
FRIEDMAN: Great. So, let me start for the beginning for me, Christiane, it's one of the reasons I wanted to be in your show because I actually
would have some time to talk. And for me, the story personally starts with 9/11, which I think was the worst thing that happened to our country, in my
lifetime, I think, you know, worst (INAUDIBLE) and the spill out from it.
And my argument after 9/11 was that 9/11 was produced by two toxic bargains. One was a bargain inside Saudi Arabia dating back from 1979
where basically the Saudi ruling family told the clerics, you know, "You bless us with -- and give us legitimacy and we will bless you and give you
the money and the resources basically to set the cultural norms in our society and export the most puritanical fundamentalist antimodern,
antiwomen brand of Islam around the world." And I believe that ended in Al-Qaeda and later in ISIS, and it was the inspirational roots of the
people from Al-Qaeda who did 9/11.
At the same time, there was a terrible bargain we had. American basically said, we treated the whole air world and the gulf but particularly the
Saudis as a collection of big gas stations. And we told them, "Guys," because there's only guys, "Here's the deal. Keep your pumps open, your
prices low. Don't bother the Israelis too much. And you can do whatever you want out back. You can treat your women however you want, (INAUDIBLE)
whatever you want, write what conspiracy theories in your newspapers you want. Just keep your pumps open, your prices low and don't bother the
And I believe on 9/11, Christiane, that we got hit with the distilled essence of everything that was going on out back. And so, immediately
after 9/11 I went on the tear against the Saudis and on the tear for making America energy independent, that we needed to disengage from this thing.
Now, I will tell you, I hope that the Iraq will somehow open up that part of the world and bring a different government and change that bargain. I
hope the Arab Spring would do that. And unfortunately, none of them did that. And so, for the last 15 years, I was focused on this oil energy
problem, wrote a book about it, et cetera. Then I come to Saudi Arabia.
Actually -- I've actually first interviewed the crown prince when he was deputy crown prince in 2015. And he talked about the reformed program.
And I could see why, because Saudi Arabia was going down. They were running out of money, basically, and it was clear, if someone like MBS to
reform and diversify the economy have not come along, they would have to invent him.
So, then, comes along November 2017, I go back there again because of this whole thing at the Ritz Carlton. Actually, I wrote two columns. One
before I went there in which I basically said anti-corruption campaign from you, where did you get the money for your (INAUDIBLE), maybe that came from
lemonade stand outside your palace. I was quite skeptical.
But here were the five things I saw on that trip that I had never seen before in Saudi Arabia. I saw someone, a Saudi ruler ready to remove the
religious police off the streets, a huge deal for Saudis. Second, I saw him giving women the right to drive. Third, we saw him opening the country
to cinema, western concerts and sporting events. Fourth, I saw him actually taking on the hardline clerics in the war of ideas, saying, "No,
you don't have the right interpretation of Islam. I have the right interpretation." No Sunni -- no Saudi leader had done that before.
And, Christiane, most importantly, what I saw were young Saudis were coming back to Saudi Arabia because they thought a real change was happening. In
my column, I said Arab Spring from the top down, not the bottom up. And that's what I saw.
And some people said, "You know what, Tom, it's all a fake because look what he's doing in Yemen, look what he's -- you know, people that he's
arresting here." And my attitude was, maybe, there's clearly a downside here, there's clearly an upside. And I thought it was worth investing a
little hope in the upside if we could curve the downside.
And so, I basically spent the next nine months writing columns saying, "It's got a big upside but a big downside. It would be nice if we had a
U.S. ambassador here. It would be nice if Trump actually talk to this kid about curving the downside. Why don't we appoint someone like Secretary of
State Baker to come here to be your envoy?"
And what happened over the last six months, Christiane, and to me, it's one of the mysteries of the story. I don't -- I can't quite explain it. But
the place her got particularly captured by conspiratorial ideas, this notion that they could be -- they could have the China approach, you know,
China grabbed the islands in the South China Sea, the world complained China told everyone to get lost and then the world just got used to it. I
wrote about how the China model was being -- infecting his thinking.
And somewhere along the way, his circle got really tight and small. My sources were telling me there's some really bad people there feeding bad
ideas, OK. And I think it ended up in crossing a terrible redline thinking that they could kill -- really a mild critic. Not some guy who --
FRIEDMAN: -- was feeding some movement. A mild critic in their own consulate in Istanbul. And so, I -- you know, I feel that I made a
responsible bet. For me, I'm very comfortable with it. I understand why critics say, "You shouldn't have it." I thought it was so big based on
real proof points. But whatever either of us though, the party is over.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really interesting that you say that the party is over because I -- it's very interesting as -- and we don't know how this is
going to end. As you say don't know whether MBS says where he is, who, if anybody, comes up and does what next, but there are real issues like, for
Do you believe, therefore, that the Saudi Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump obsession on Iran was worth making this bargain with MBS? Was that the
leading foreign policy objective in the region or not?
FRIEDMAN: You know, I'm not sure I connected them that way, you know, Christiane. I saw the problem a little bit differently. You know, as you
know, six months ago, in March, before MBS came to American I wrote a column that was a phony, I made it up, a memo from the U.S. ambassador to
Saudi Arabia to President Trump if we had an ambassador. In which I warned the president kids got big -- the young man's got big upsides, he's got big
downsides. You got to curve the downsides.
We had no ambassador. Christiane, we still don't have an ambassador in Saudi Arabia. We thought, the Trump people through that Jared Kushner on
his WhatsApp could manage Saudi policy, and it was absolute madness.
And so, I see that more is the problem than the Iran thing. But I know what you're saying, the obsession with Iran, enormously unhealthy. I've
always felt that was unhealthy, I always felt that the peace process we need, as I've said early, was between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And if we
don't fix that, you know, people pointed out, MBS basically abducted the prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri. Let's not forget, the Iranians,
(INAUDIBLE), murdered the prime minister of Lebanon (INAUDIBLE) Rafic Hariri.
So, it's like -- the idea that one of these guys is Black and the other is White, that's just crazy. It's not -- American should not be deciding
between these two parties, they're both awful. Our job should be to be moderating them. That's what Obama's Iran deal was about, that's what I
hoped we could nurture with MBS, OK, that's what we should be doing.
AMANPOUR: So --
FRIEDMAN: Not choosing between them.
AMANPOUR: So -- you know, do you think, therefore, the Canadian government has a more robust moral but also robust foreign policy than the U.S.
government at the moment? For instance, on August the 2nd, there was this whole contractile between the Canadian foreign minister and the Saudi
regime when Chrystia Freeland tweeted, both in English and in Arabic, "Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been
imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada stand together with the Badawi family in this difficult time and we continue to strongly call for the release of
both Raif and Samar Badawi."
Of course, they were -- you know, they're activists trying to get some freedom. And of course, we've mentioned all the women who was 17 of who,
who were just doing more and more driving activism were put into prison.
But anyway, the result was that Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador and barred Canada's envoy from returning and placed a new sort of trade ban. I
mean, are we only just waking up to these kinds of things, to the terrible war in Yemen, which the United States backs and which could not be
prosecuted without U.S. and U.K. help? Are we only just waking up to the sleeping giant of problems because of the, we believe, murder of our
colleague Jamal Khashoggi?
FRIEDMAN: No question that, you know, this was not on the radar screen of the administration. They were on autopilot with Jared and the crown
prince, I would argue. So, I want to go back to the Canadian thing. I think it was very important.
When they write the history, I think, of the whole year, I can tell you, because when that Canadian thing happened, I contacted senior Saudi
officials and when the women driving thing happened. And I basically said, "What in the world are you doing?"
And what I got back, I have to tell you, were some crazy conspiracy theories about a Saudi dissident in London who is in tough with the women
driven activists. And you know, my answer, as I put in the column was, "Do you -- are you -- do you really think your kingdom is threatened by women
And I think what happened and I noticed from my own Saudi sources, something happened inside that sealed room, where they just got obsessed,
Christian, with conspiracy theories, plots and threats. I can't tell you - - I wasn't there. I don't know why. And I think the Canadian thing is important for this reason.
It was an absurd over reaction as I wrote. But you know what, when the Trump state department's spokeswoman was asked about it, "Do we stand with
Canada or Saudi Arabia on this?" She basically said, "We are not taking a position."
And I believe, Christiane, of all the sort of green lights and yellow lights that we gave MBS that ended up, I believe, in his crossing this
redline and the murder of Jamal, one of them was watching the Trump administration say, "In a dispute between our brothers and sisters in
Canada, we lost 175 people fighting with us after 9/11 in Afghanistan." And Saudi Arabia, "We have no opinion."
AMANPOUR: And I wonder also whether they got sort of subliminally encouraged by President Trump war on the press. You know, and Jamal
FRIEDMAN: Yes, absolutely.
AMANPOUR: -- was potentially, you know, an opportune target. But just in terms of conspiracy theories, let's end with our friend who has written and
had published a column from the grave from -- on the "Washington Post." He says, "The Arab world is facing its own version of an iron curtain, imposed
not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power." And he says, "During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years
into a critical institution played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom and Arabs need something similar."
So, he's constantly talking about it and I wonder whether you can comment on what Al Arabiya (ph) has claimed today. The reports of Khashoggi's
disappearance have been pushed by Qatar. Saudi Arabia newspaper, "Okaz," says that Qatar has a 50 percent ownership of the post and has influence
over its editorial direction. And the newspaper Al Yaum has claimed that members of the death squad were in fact tourists.
FRIEDMAN: You know, Christian, after -- in 2002, the United Nations came out with a very important report, it's called the Arab Human Development
Report. It was written by Arab social scientist. And they concluded in 2002, and I'm the one who actually broke that story, of that report. I was
the first one to write about it. That the Arab world suffered from a deficit of knowledge, a deficit of freedom and a deficit of women's
empowerment. And if it did not rapidly move to reverse those deficits, it was going to face terrible problems.
And unfortunately, what you just read, Christiane, was just proof of how those deficits, all three of them, have only gotten deeper and deeper. And
what Jamal was saying, he was really saying, "Folks, if we don't reverse these deficits, we are doomed." And I really fear now -- I despair for
that part of the world, there's so many people that I like and admire, I fear, Christiane, that it is doomed.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, you're very, very, you know, firm on that. So, I just need to ask you one last question. Do you believe that there is any
way that there has been a rogue operation or that the crown prince did not know what was going to take place despite all the things that the Turkish
authorities have leaked including a tape?
FRIEDMAN: You know, as I wrote, Christiane, there is zero chance that this was a rogue operation. This government is very tightly controlled. Show
me one example in Saudi history of such a rogue operation. This unfortunately sadly for Saudi Arabia and for the Saudi youth who really
were hoping for a change. This will be traced back right to the crown prince. I cannot tell you that he ordered it. I don't know what the
details are. But the idea that he is innocent of this incredibly evil and incredibly stupid murder is utter fancy.
AMANPOUR: Thomas Friedman, thank you very much for joining us.
AMANPOUR: So, the debate over how to respond to Jamal's disappearance is playing out in the shadow of a major political showdown in the United
States right now, the mid-term elections which are less than three weeks away. And this will be the first test for Democrats who are looking to
regain some power after their bitter loss to Donald Trump in 2016.
Julian Castro hopes to play a major role in that story, as a likely presidential contender in 2020. He is both a golden resume as former mayor
of San Antonia, Texas and a member of President Barak Obama's cabinet and he also has a compelling personal story. He's identical twin brother,
Joaquin, is a member of Congress. And their mother is a prominent activist in the Mexico -- Mexican-American community. So, his roots do run deep.
But there are reports that Latino voters are less fired up about the mid- terms than Democrats had hoped. Julia Castro is the author of "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream." And he joins me now from New
Julian Castro, welcome to the program.
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Great to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, first and foremost, are you going to be a contender for 2020?
CASTRO: Well, you know, I've been straightforward with folks. I've said that I'm seriously considering it and, in fact, likely to do it. But I'm
going to make a decision right after the November 6th election. I'm going to spend between now and November 6th helping candidates that are actually
on the ballot, because that's the first priority.
And then, right after that, you know, there are a couple of things that I need to do. One of them is personal. Of course, my wife and I have talked
about the possibility of my running but we haven't had the kind of long put everything on the table conversation that you have before you make a
decision like this.
And I want to see, frankly, what happens on November 6th. Because I believe that these mid-term elections, they set a tone, they send a message
from the American people about where we're at as a country. I have my hunch about what that message is going to be. But there's not a rush to
make a final decision. And so, I want to see what that message is.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, you know, you do have a compelling story and you just said you needed to take care of some personal things. So, let's sort of go
back to sort of the beginning. And, you know, you seem to have had your eye on a number of prized from a very early age. I mean, you've had a
mission, you have followed, you know, the lead, your mother has been very influential in your life for both you and your twin brother.
But there's a really interesting anecdote in -- around your youth when you go to visit, in fact, a Republican political strategist to ask about, you
know, politics and how it works and, you know, there's -- in Texas, of course. And he apparently asked what you thought you would do. And
apparently, you both said, "We're going to be mayor of San Antonio." Is that true?
CASTRO: Yes. You know, it's interesting that after you go into politics that folks remember different things about what you said, you were going to
do or weren't going to do. I really don't remember getting interested in politics until I went away to college. And then, by the time I was in law
school I had a sense that I wanted to come back and make sure that other people in my home community of San Antonio could have the kind of
opportunity that I had and my brother had.
You know, we went to the public schools there, having grown up with my mother and my grandmother. And I got a kind of chip on my shoulder about
the place that I had come from and I wanted to see it improve.
And so, you know, I don't think that when I was a kid that I was going around saying that I was going to become mayor or be anything else. But
eventually, as I grew up and I could see the community that I had come from through the eyes of an outsider and how much improvement needed to be made,
that I decided to go into public service.
AMANPOUR: Well, of course, you did become mayor and you did become HUD Secretary and your twin brother is a Congress person. But I want to ask
you about the immigration part of your story. Because I believe it was your grandmother who came over and you say that if there had been even the
remotest of the kind of policies that are in effect right now, threats to close down the border, separation of families, all of that that we've seen
in glaring technicolor, potentially, your grandmother might never have made it across, might never have stayed and your story would be complete
CASTRO: That's true. My grandmother came with her younger sister when my grandmother, Victoria Castro, was seven years old because her parents had
died in Mexico and her nearest relatives brought her through Eagle Pass, Texas and they ended up on the west side of San Antonio. And, you know,
they had their papers at that time, something that I didn't know until a couple of days before I gave the speech at the DNC in 2012. There is
genealogist that published the papers on the internet.
But I think a lot these days about what would have happened if the same attitude that the current president who is so hostile, not only to the
folks who are presenting themselves at the border seeking asylum or folks who are undocumented but also to legal immigrants in the United States, I
wonder whether the same story that my grandmother experienced the same life and the generational impact that that had, whether that is possible today.
And I remember also growing up even when my grandmother was in her 70s, she would still get very emotional, she would cry about having been taken from
her mother before her mother passed away and not really getting to say goodbye. And that's a very different context from these children that are
being separated as they get to the border. But I saw the impact that that kind of separation could make for a lifetime.
[13:30:06] And that's why I believe that this policy that Donald Trump has put in place is not only humane but it basically amounts to state-sponsored
child abuse of these kids who are going to suffer from that for a lifetime.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about something that sort of leapt out at me. First of all, you know, part of the subtitle of your book is Waking Up from the
American Dream. So I want to know what you mean by that. Is it a nightmare? Is it something that you think is unattainable anymore? What
do you mean?
But also there are some 16 million Hispanics in the United States right now. What is the percentage of those who can be counted on to vote
Democrat? And why do we have a situation where apparently Democrats are concerned that Latinos, Hispanics are not fired up about this or as fired
up as the Democratic Party would like?
CASTRO: Well, I mean let me just start with your last question. You know in 2012, President Obama got about 71 percent of the Latino vote and
Hillary Clinton got something similar. So, you know, it's about 70-30 in presidential elections the Latino community has been voting Democratic and
there's a good reason for that.
Democrats have stood for expanding opportunity for everybody and making the investments that it takes to thrive in the 21st century in public
education, in making healthcare more available, and ensuring that we invest in things like infrastructure and so forth. So it's not surprising that
the Latino community that is often still aspiring to achieve their American dream would vote Democratic.
Going forward, there needs to be a massive and sustained effort to register and to turn out Latino voters. And that effort doesn't have to be
partisan. It can be nonpartisan. It should be. But until we have that massive and sustained effort, I'm not sure that the rate of participation
of voter registration and turnout is going to be what it should be in a very fast growing Latino community.
AMANPOUR: And, in fact, you do point out that eligible voters versus those who actually vote, there is a disparity. The number of eligible voters has
skyrocketed in the Hispanic community but the number of Hispanics who actually vote in midterms hasn't really kept pace.
So you've talked about how one needs to counter that by much more reach out much earlier, not just, you know, a few weeks before election. But is it -
- does it make sense to consider Hispanics in America one great big group because, of course, Conservatives claim them as well?
You've seen Ted Cruz in Texas speaking just this month, the Hispanic community, our community, is conservative. The Hispanic community, the
values that resonate in our community, are faith, family, patriotism. I mean it's a real sort of Democrat-Republican fight for this group, for this
very important demographic group, right?
CASTRO: Well, you know, of course, Senator Cruz and others have made that argument. The way that patterns are voting just don't bear that out
because Hispanics have voted primarily Democratic. And I'm convinced that they're going to continue to do so. That doesn't mean the Democrats can
take them for granted. They shouldn't. In fact, they should invest more in outreach, in registration, and making sure that folks turn out.
But I don't worry that somehow a whole bunch of Latinos are suddenly going to be attracted to Republican policies. Donald Trump is probably the best
thing that the Democrats have going for them in terms of making sure that Latinos stay, especially young ones, stay in the Democratic camp. We see
in Texas that there's still a lot of work to do in this Senate race that we have coming up. Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz will be a good measure of the
ability to help turn out the Latino vote.
AMANPOUR: So let me just put out that little poll then that's a recent one. Sixty-one percent of Hispanics do actually favor Beto O'Rourke while
37 percent of Hispanics favor Ted Cruz. You just mentioned, you know, Donald Trump and the galvanizing effect he does have on a number of
different segments of society. So I mean again, you'd think that because of all of these immigration issues and all the rest of it and certainly
Democrats think that they should -- your community should be more galvanized but aren't necessarily.
CASTRO: Well, I think it's -- we'll see on November 6. But again, I believe that that there needs to be much much more turnout, much more reach
out. There was a [13:35:00] survey analysis that the National Association of Latino Elected Officials or NALEO did about a month and a half ago that
surveyed Latinos across the country. And found that something like 65 percent of them said that they hadn't been reached out to at all by any
candidate about the midterm elections. And so there's obviously a deficit there.
What's happening is that unless you're a consistent voter, you know, unless you go and vote two out of the last three times, oftentimes these campaigns
don't even knock on your door or give you a call. And that's problematic because once you fall off of those lists, you're kind of in this black
We need to be much more broad than that and to reach out to folks who don't have a history of voting and to register people who are not registered.
And it's not like that work doesn't happen at all. I mean I sit on the board of an organization called Vote a Latino whose mission is to register
and help turn out Latinos in a nonpartisan way. But it's -- we need more scale. We need to be scaled up significantly.
AMANPOUR: You know just going back to your personal story and the incredible amount of activism that you sort of grew up on, your mother
herself was an activist in the, what was called then the Chicano. They call themselves Chicano, Mexican-American activists lobbying for their
Tell me, first of all, about the history of that name for those of us overseas and around the world who are not necessarily familiar with that
and how did she influence you. What was it like, you know, the two identical twins assimilating in America and their mom was out there every
day, you know, battling?
CASTRO: Yes. You know my grandmother, her mom, had been pulled out of elementary school and so she never got a formal education. And she worked
as a maid, a cook, and a babysitter. My mother was the first one to graduate from high school and that get to go on to college. And she was a
real child of the 60's.
She rebelled against what she saw as a system that was unfair, where you still had a dropout rate there in San Antonio amongst Latinos or Mexican-
Americans that was 75 percent. You had neighborhoods that had no drainage, just terrible infrastructure, real inequality. And the way that she tried
to respond to that was to get active in our democracy.
In 1971, she ran for city council with a slate called the Committee for Body or Betterment. And they all lost but it was part of trying to improve
that community. And so although she never held public office, she remained active on different women's empowerment issues and Mexican-American civil
So, you know, I grew up with that, getting dragged to rallies and speeches and, you know, different organizational meetings. And because of that,
initially, I thought that politics was very boring and I had no intention of going into it. But what it gave me was this foundation of tremendous
respect for participating and a belief that ultimately we can make change if we participate in our democratic process.
And that's a message that I deliver in the book and that I hope will resonate especially with young people today who can become very cynical in
the face of a lot of nastiness that has been engineered especially by this president in unprecedented ways. You know, we have a choice. You can
either throw up your hands and back away from it or go full bore into it. And I hope folks will go full bore by organizing and by voting.
AMANPOUR: So back to your book and the title, My Unlikely Journey, Waking Up from My American Dream. Tell me about waking up. What do you mean by
CASTRO: What I mean is that for each generation of my family and I bet for a lot of other families, you realize that it's not enough to just work hard
for you, you know, for your family to work hard, to reach the American dream. Often, it takes working hard to try and improve the community or
the society around you.
You know my grandmother got to Texas in 1922 when you still had signs that in the storefront windows that read, "No negroes, no Mexicans or dogs
allowed." And then my mother had rebelled against that and became a Chicana activist. And that was a way of trying to create more opportunity
for people that look like her and everybody else. And for my brother Joaquin and me, our going into public service was a way of making sure that
we could expand opportunity in our community of San Antonio and more broadly when I served in the cabinet.
So my hope is that especially [13:40:00] young people, will take from that subtitle Waking Up from My American Dream the idea that you have to work
for it. That we still have work to do to ensure that we expand opportunity for everybody. That we don't fall under the path that Donald Trump wants
to lead us on of picking and choosing who gets opportunity in this country and who doesn't, you know, based on what your religion is or the color of
your skin or how much money you have.
AMANPOUR: Julian Castro, thank you so much for joining us.
CASTRO: Thanks a lot, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So now to another political message but in a very different medium with our next guest. The actor Amanda Stenberg. She didn't follow
your usual path to success. Her breakthrough performance in The Hunger Games opposite Jennifer Lawrence so her targeted by a range of racist abuse
online when she was only 14-years-old.
It's the kind of experience that could destroy someone. But since then, Stenberg has been picking projects with a message. She stars in the new
critically acclaimed film, The Hate U Give which deals with the police killings of black youth, as well as all the dos and don'ts forced onto
African-Americans as she sat down with our Alicia Menendez to discuss that.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks so much for joining us.
AMANDLA STENBERG, ACTRESS, THE HATE U GIVE: Thank you for having me.
MENENDEZ: Tell me about this film The Hate U Give.
STENBERG: The Hate U Give is based on this book by Angie Thomas. And it's about this girl named Starr Carter who is code-switching between her two
environments. So her neighborhood where she grew up which is predominantly African-American and then her school which is across town and it's really
dominantly white and privileged.
And so she's kind of had to learn how to compartmentalize herself in order to fit into a different environment. And this really traumatic event
happens when she's in her neighborhood with some of her childhood friends and they get pulled over by a white police officer and he gets shot and
killed in front of her. And she's prepared to gravel with being the witness and making the decision to speak up and out for him but at the same
time, she has to kind of compromise her safety and confront her identity.
MENENDEZ: Right. A lot of complex questions about race. Let's watch a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS CARTER: A lot goes to a cop's mind when it pulls someone over. Especially if they have to get into a contest with the driver about why
they stopped them. It's often an alarm. Are they hiding something? (INAUDIBLE).
STARR CARTER: But you still don't know if they did anything wrong.
CARTER: That's why we search them. But if they opened the door or reached to an open window, they're probably going for a weapon. So if I think I
see a gun, I don't hesitate, I shoot.
CARTER: Because you think you see a gun? You don't say something first like put your hands up?
CARTER: It depends. Is it night? Can I see? Am I on duty alone?
CARTER: What if you were in a white neighborhood and with a white man wearing a suit, driving a Mercedes? He could be a drug dealer, right?
CARTER: He could.
CARTER: So if you saw him reach into the window and you thought that you saw a gun, would you shoot him or would you say put your hands up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: So there you have Starr talking with her uncle played by Common. He is a police officer and she's trying to make sense of the role that
racist played in the shooting. What did you take away from that scene?
STENBERG: Something that I thought was really compelling about Angie's writing is that she wasn't afraid to explore, internalize racism also and
how these are internalized notions about ourselves that we often act upon. We don't even realize it. And so I thought it was cool that she was
willing to explore this topic in a nuanced way, in a way that was inclusive of even the perspective of a police officer.
MENENDEZ: How did being a part of this film shaped the way that you think about race?
STENBERG: I think what star-topped me in the process of filming was that there's nothing inherently wrong with code-switching, that it makes sense
the natural human reaction to being placed in those different environments. And with that, you know, you should never compromise who you are.
MENENDEZ: And I think for those of us who grew up in minority communities and then work or later live in predominantly white environments, we're
accustomed in doing that code-switching all the time. When did it first manifest for you?
STENBERG: I think the first time that manifests is when I would witness family members of mine doing it. And I was kind of confused by it as a
kid. Like, why is her voice that way then but then when she gets on the phone, it's someone from work, why is it a completely different voice like
coming out of her body?
My mom, you know. So I witnessed that first my mom. I also had a really similar experience growing up in a minority community but attending a
school that was [13:45:00] primarily white.
And so probably when I first started going to the school that I went to, I noticed that it was a completely different culture from what I was used to.
And that I was alienated and being different because I was one of the only black students, because I was one of the only students that didn't have
that level of privilege that those kids had.
And so I felt like I had to adapt a new sort of language to fit in. And I don't think I was really self-aware about it until later in high school
when I realized the ways in which I had been making myself smaller or more accessible in order to appease the people around me.
And that's something that's really beautiful about Starr's journey. She kind of reconciles that. She doesn't need to appease these people. She
can just be herself.
MENENDEZ: Who did you start becoming when you were able to pull yourself out of that?
STENBERG: Hopefully, I thought of becoming more of myself. I was less afraid to challenge the institutions. I guess the first step is
recognizing the institutions that have made you do what you do growing up. And once I started recognizing, you know, the systems and structures that I
was placed within, I was able to then challenge them.
Later in high school when there was sort of this first primary wave of online activism, that I was able to find a community outside of my
immediate surroundings and recognize that we existed. I was validated by people on the Internet who are having similar experiences all around the
country in the world and they inspired me to continue challenging.
MENENDEZ: It occurs to me that Tumblr plays a large role in the film.
STENBERG: It does.
MENENDEZ: And it also plays a large role in your personal story even though people know you as Rue in The Hunger Games. There's actually a
video that you did for school and posted online on Tumblr --
MENENDEZ: -- that really sort of blew up your star. Can you tell us about it?
STENBERG: Yes, sure. I never could have anticipated that that would be, I don't know, what would actually lead me later to casting opportunities in
Hollywood because I always thought of activism as like kind of the antithesis to Hollywood. I never could have anticipated that we'd be
living in a social climate where, you know, being vocal, being yourself would actually help.
But yes, I made this video. It was called Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows for my modern U.S. history class with this really close friend of mine named
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUINN MASTERSON: So I've been seeing this question a lot on social media and I think it's really relevant. What would America be like if we loved
black people as much as we love black culture?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STENBERG: And it was just about our tendency in America to commodify black culture while we don't actually humanize people of color. So it was about
fame, style, fashion, sensibility, humor. How we were witnessing it a few years ago really becomes the driving force behind mainstream culture in a
way where people who don't necessarily understand blackness or the experience were kind of snatching it up without respecting the place that
it came from.
MENENDEZ: Well, that too manifests itself.
STENBERG: It does.
MENENDEZ: I know that you would be playing (INAUDIBLE). So I wonder, if you watch the film, where can I see your fingerprints on it?
STENBERG: Hopefully, all over it. I got involved in this project really early on so --
MENENDEZ: Before there's even a script?
STENBERG: Before there was even a script, yes. It was an unpublished manuscript of the book.
MENENDEZ: Which is wild. Like that does not happen.
STENBERG: That doesn't happen. But -- and also it's like a testament to, you know, what Angie Thomas did. And I was just immediately captivated by
it because I felt like I had never seen something that's so accurately reflected my experience or a lot of black girls' experience which is if
you're living a contemporary black life, you probably code switch. And there are all these little parallels and things that I can relate to.
The producers are really amazed by how parallel my experience was to Starr's and how much I could potentially bring just seeing from my
perspective. So I was there for even the process of scriptwriting. I met with Audrey Wells and we worked on the script together. I would tell her
things that I thought like were are authentic or inauthentic. So from the dump, it was all -- it was a really collaborative experience. And so I
think my touch is all over it. It's actually because Starr's been in my heart for so long.
MENENDEZ: If you put one thing away from this film, what do you want it to be?
STENBERG: I think you can take away from the film what you need depending on who you are, what your experience is, what you might need to learn or
[13:50:00] what you might need to feel validated. I think we specifically made this film for the black community. And Angie made the book for her
community too because she knew that the kids in her neighborhood couldn't read anything where they could see themselves reflected.
Within the black community, we don't necessarily give ourselves the room to emotionally bend or to grieve because of what we're up against. So
hopefully, the movie can be a space for us to do that. And then beyond that, I feel like we want it to be a tool of empathy, a tool to instill
empathy in those who have seen these events on TV, on the news, understand that they're happening but maybe can't quite understand what it feels like
from a really human perspective.
And hopefully, through watching the film, they can glean a little bit more about the way in which the media misconstrues us and the way it dehumanizes
us. Hopefully, they can feel us in our experience in their hearts.
MENENDEZ: As young as you are, you have been in the industry now a long time. And so I wonder from the advantage point what difference you think
Me Too and Time's Up has made.
STENBERG: I think it's made a huge difference. I'm seeing a shift in both representations that women are afforded and also representations that
people of color are afforded. And I think that that's in large part due to the Me Too Movement. There's definitely this really powerful community
forming in a way that I haven't witnessed before and maybe I've been too young to witness it.
But for the first time, you actually have like the most powerful women of Hollywood getting in the same rooms and saying, "I'm here to support you."
Not just in a public facing way but if you need to talk to your trauma, if you're feeling unsafe in your work environment, if you feel like you're
being manipulated, you have 30 but also like infinity, you know, women like ready to get behind you and support you in a way that isn't, you know, just
topical. So that's been really beautiful to witness and it makes me feel safer definitely in pursuing my career.
MENENDEZ: You, in every way, defy labels and expectations. You are young and black and gender non-binary and openly gay. And you act in this movie
but then you also, just on the side, write a song like you're on the soundtrack. I wonder if you're fame has come because you refuse to be
defined by those labels or if it has come despite the fact that you refuse to be defined by those labels.
STENBERG: I don't know.
MENENDEZ: You're just doing you?
STENBERG: I'm just doing me at the end of the day. I will say that I am from a generation that is pretty intolerant of misogyny, of racism, of
transphobia. And my fans are excited that I am transparent about who I am.
MENENDEZ: That sounds like a lot of freedom and also sounds like a lot of pressure.
STENBERG: Yes. It's definitely a catch 22. Sometimes, it's a balance. I'm still figuring out exactly how I want to share myself, what parts I
want to keep really private, and don't feel like sharing with people. But I also know that I'm not the type of person that would be happy living a
dual life, you know.
MENENDEZ: You -- especially for a young person, you wield tremendous influence. You're on the cover of Time Magazine. You have a mega platform
at this point. Do you know what you want to do with it?
STENBERG: I want to continue, you know, doing what I have been doing which is just being myself, creating narratives that hopefully can be humanizing
and helpful to all kinds of different people in different ways. I want to be a creator myself. I want to be a director. I want to tell stories.
And I want to continue to empower my peers.
MENENDEZ: Amandla, thank you so much.
STENBERG: Yes. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So it is encouraging to see Amandla Stenberg using her fame and influence in such a constructive way.
And that is it for our program.
Tomorrow, as the world takes a closer look at Mohamed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen is back in the spotlight. It's already the world's
worst humanitarian crisis and the U.N. says half the population, that's half the population, could soon face famine.
For now, though, thank you for watching
And remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Bye-bye from London.