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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  February 25, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EST

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twitter or facebook, and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow. >> just when it looked like america's longest war was winding down, the pentagon is talking about leaving troops in afghanistan. i'll take you on the ground in kabul. and as america's cold war in
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cuba stars to thaw out you'll meet a modern day rum runner with a thirst for black market booze. i'm ali velshi and this is "real money." president obama and his new defense secretary ashton carter are reconsidering america's exit from afghanistan. almost 14 years after america invaded afghanistan as late at 2011 the number of u.s. troops on the ground peeked at 100,000. the current plan could whittle that down to 5,000 troops and all troops out by the end of flex year. but secretary carter just told
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officials the u.s. is now rethinking that plan. the obama administration prefers a larger than planned troops perhaps keeping most of the 10,000 troops on the ground through 2016. they would stay on to train and adviseadvise afghan troops. the new leader, ashraf ghani. the u.s. has allocated $700 million to afghanistan and related counterterrorism operations. some 2200 american troops have died in the operation, more than 20,000 afghan government security forces have been killed and afghan civilians have suffered as well. more than 17,000 have died in the conflict and with the
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taliban launching new offenses in many parts of the country life for afghan civilians does not seem likely to return to normal any time soon. nicole johnston has the lort. >> 25% increase in civilian casualties in afghanistan in the last 12 months. one of the main reasons for that is because the ground operations between the afghan security forces and the taliban has been expanding. now, children have been very badly affected by this, with a big increase in deaths and injuries. as you'll see in this report. every hour abdul zahed is rolled over. his father keeps an anxious vigil. zahed is 14 paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot by an ambush of local officials. >> it's been seven months like this. i blame the taliban. the poor are suffering.
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i don't have anyone, just a small son and a wife, no one here knows our situation. >> when he arrived at this hospital in kabul zarir had a bed sore the size of a man's fist. he's now recovering day by day. last year was a terrible year for afghan civilians. almost 3700 civilians were killed. up 25% on the previous year. the number of child casualties increased by 40%. >> 2014 was the worst year we ever had in terms of admission of casualties in both our hospitals here in kabul. we notice an increasing of usage of ied, improvised explosive device, that are very dangerous and are creating a lot of damage. >> last year, almost all foreign troops withdrew from
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afghanistan. now afghan government is fighting against the taliban on its own. a large part of the increase in civilian casualties is being blamed on the withdrawal of international forces. there's less air support for afghan security informs and that means that the fighting on the ground has become much wider and is lasting for longer. the u.n. says the number of deaths and injuries caused by ground operations has increased by more than 50% in 12 months. >> we've seen increased ground fighting between the insurgents and the afghan forces. both parties making offensive ground operations and defensive ground operations, in and around often district centers. >> this man was traveling with his family in a mini van when it was hit by an improvised explosive device. if he's lucky he should be able to walk again in another six months. how afghans feel about the u.s. troop withdrawal depends on who
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you talk to. in the southern parts of the country, helman province and kandahar, rural areas that have borne the brunt of the fighting, many are happy to see the back of the foreign forces. they blame them for the ongoing war. but in other parts of afghanistan particularly in cities like kabul many have benefited from increased security and booming war economy. many are worried about the withdrawal of troops and what's going to happen next. now as the for the afghan government the new president ashraf ghani is traveling to the united states in march. will be meeting with president barack obama and it is our understanding that the afghan government will be asking for a slow down in the withdrawal of u.s. troops. it wants those troops to remain for longer and to have a greater role in security in the country.
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>> nicole johnson in kabul. republicans in congress say hard won gains made against the taliban could be lost in much the same way that sectarian violence returned to iraq after u.s. withdrawal there. secretary of state john kerry says president obama will make a decision soon. rosalyn jordan is in the u.n. rosalyn, what effect does this have? >> ali, let's consider what it is that the 9800 u.s. troops in afghanistan are supposed to be doing. they're not combat force he. they are training ansf forces working with them in the field to basically improve their capacity and make them more confident in their skill sets. but it's the afghan military that's carrying out the fight against the taliban. now complaints that republicans have made about a too-hasty pullout from the country well you're now starting to hear something similar coming from
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the top general of u.s. and nato forces general john campbell. he has suggested slowing down the number of u.s. troops, leaving the country by the 2016 deadline. and there's also this: they're not just going to continue with the draw down. in fact they're sending in more troops. members of the seventh infantry division headquarters unit from joint base lewis mcanchored in washington state are going to be deploying, into canada, one of the hotly contested places for what general campbell would like to see and more important what president ashraf ghani would like to see. >> when we look at syria and iraq we see power vacuums particularly in iraq the president wants to be very clear that there's a strong government
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in kabul. at the same time they are equally worried if not more so about the resur gent resurgent taliban. >> particularly now that ashraf ghani has become the new president of the country to actually engage in afghan to afghan peace talks to find some sort of political accommodation because the u.s. says while it has its own issues with the taliban, the taliban is considered a viable political entity in the culture. what they want to do is support the ghani government but the u.s. isn't engaged with any direct talks with the taliban. it is a matter of stabilizing the central afghan government. >> rosalyn jordan, thank you so much for your analysis, at the state department. >> from the streets of havana to the streets of new york city. here is a quick taste.
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>> the it's and cuba resume talks for furl normalization. wants to reopen u.s. bank accounts that have been frozen for decades. president obama seems to be listening. during his state of the union address he called for an end of the embargo on cuba. not everyone is leap about the kumbaya moment. bacardy, the signature rum brand, now the u.s. could open you sales of black market
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versions of that very be rum. david arioso reports. >> in this new york city tavern there's a growing thirst for what kenneth connolly is serving up. u.s. rum to stay competitive connolly is on the lookout for those vintage and hard to get brands, in order to tempt his customers. >> if you can't get it, then that's one thing but it's all going to change because of what's happening in cuba. >> havana q has been available in places like europe but warming relations between cuba and the u.s., have people planning trips to the island
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with idea of stocking up. despite the embar go that prohibits resale in the u.s. >> if i'd like to, i would like to see if i could get cases of it. >> and that's exactly what may have bacardi a little concerned. a growing underground supply of cuban rum in u.s. markets. the new u.s. regulations say you can buy $100 worth of liquor and bring it back to the united states and for havana q, there is not a commercially viable amount of alcohol the concern that if bacardi has if they bring this back to the united states it's possible that havana q can start showing up.
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ownership, in 1997 bacardi bought the rights to the name. nationalized under fidel castro. that sparked a nearly two decade long trademark battle between bacardi and the country that had been selling in other countries. bacardi eventually won after spending nearly $3 million to lobby congress to essentially rewrite u.s. trademark law in its favor. but now as the cold war with cuba thaws those old rum wars may be heating up as cuban spirits sneak into american bars. >> the bacardi folks justifiably says, this is an end run around restrictions.
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>> the u.s. rum market accounts for roughly 40% of global sales. and cuba wants in. its french partner recently registered a new brand of cuban rum with the u.s. patent office, known as havanista. >> we should work to ending the embargo. >> cuba is getting ready and yet for bacardi which declined to discuss what the new u.s. policy could mean for sales. the prospect means more than just new competition. founded in santiago de cuba, emilio bacardi was a leading activist. >> first film of cuban leader fidel castro.
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>> but castro double crossed the bacardis. exiled funding money to anticastro groups in miami intent on overflowing the castro government. the effort failed but the family vowed to one day return to its home land. walking through streets of havana you can't but get the sense of being in a time warp. there are so many relics in the past. the b emblaze oned on the wall, that b is for bacardi. you can get a sense of why there is such an emotional attachment to this property, for those cuban exiles who left this country half a century ago. castro's communist government confiscated roughly $20 billion
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worth of private businesses and property including bacardis facilities. u.s. trade embargo has lasted for half a century. >> the reality is many companies have written off the value decades ago. but they're still on the books. >> that has to be resolved before the u.s. trade embargo can be lifted. but bar owners like kenneth connolly plan to stock up on the cuban rum which last become a little more accessible. >> david arioso, beautiful piece, beautiful color and booze. why does it matter? >> they are planning for a postembargo united states. post embargo cuba. this was a situation they were sort of getting ready for in the
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1990s now there seems to be momentum for it. you see polling in florida this vociferous area that last kept the embargo in place. the polling shows the favor is on cuba called on congress to lift the embargo. >> rum is obviously the product and bacardi is the company. what does postembargo cuba look like? >> nobody talks about this when they talk about the embargo how terrible it is for cuban businesses or ex isles. the letter of the law says, that in order to lift the u.s. embargo against cuba you have to find some resolution for all these companies, you have the exxon mobiles and the coca-cola
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some sort of potential compensation. >> rather than a bunch of independent legal settlements we might see some kind of a blanket offering. >> right now cuba doesn't have the money to shell out billions of dollars. we are seeing a market change as far as what's transpiring with cuba and with some of these companies kicked out in 1959. >> excellent reporting from cuba, glad to have you back, a lot of good stories. thank you david. america's policy could ignite the policies that predate i'm going to talk to someone who was there. hit me up at facebook.com/ali velshi. back in two minutes.
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>> the cuban revolution inflicted tremendous losses on both families and companies. his family lost everything after castro came to power. that included his home and a rare art collection that belonged to his father. carlos joins me from new hain. thankhaven.thank you for joining us. david was setting the stage for the negotiations to be pursued at the highest level but what about others, you and your family and people with small interests small holdings and houses, where are you all likely to fall in this discussion? >> well, it will be very, very hard to reclaim property that
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cube ansancecubans loss. nothing is going to happen to the property taken friday cubans or other foreigners not just cubans. my grandparents on my mother's side were spanish immigrants. they built up a life and suddenly lost it all. as long as the castro regime is in power it's going to be verve hard if not impossible for cubans to get back any of their property. >> you are a professor of history well educated, you know the story it's personal to you. your father died 14 years after you left, you were not able to attend his funeral. as a student of history what do you do as you look back at this 50 years of what appears to be failed u.s. policy. do you think it should continue? >> oh yeah, i definitely think it should continue. i don't think it failed. the policy stems from the
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confiscation of property bit it was really set up and maintained for security reasons for the containment of a rogue regime that has allied itself continuously for over 50 years with all the worst enemies of the united states. that's why the embargo was in place. most people don't know that there really hasn't been an embargo, before the embargo is lifted, the u.s. is cuba's fifth largest trading partner and for some years it's been the third largest trading partner. what they say when they want it lifted, they want credit. right now they have to pay cash. >> if the u.s. is the fifth largest trading partner, there are others that have been able to trade. >> oh yes. >> it's not been the tightest of
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embargoes. >> oh no. one man in alabama boasts to me that every new telephone pole in cuba came from alabama. that's a lot of telephone poles. >> as guys like you continue your lives in america polling as david indicated among those hard liners that were concentrated in south florida shows continual erosion of the support for embargo and hard line towards cuba. notwithstanding everything you are saying, the situation is not going to get better for those ex isles that lost property in cuba. what's your prescription for what's going to happen? >> what happened in south africa. when you have only one nation on earth placing sanctions on a rogue regime not much happens but when you have the entire world placing sanctions that's the cure but it's not going to happen. i'm realistic. it's knot going to happen. >> fair enough.
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what's the prescription that might work for those like you who feel it's not useful for the united states to engage cuba at this level what should we do? >> the u.s. should place some kind of conditions on its negotiations in cuba that will ensure the end of the castro giambiregime and the rebirth of democracy in cuba. that's not going to happen either, not with this administration. what they want is for cuba to be like china or viet that many and that's not going to please most cuban ex isles. >> let me ask you, is the net benefit that some argue will come of the lifting of trade sanctions, the opening up of these negotiation qulos is negotiations, people like you, what will upset those losses? >> nothing upsets those losses,
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even with the real hope of getting a check npt future of the future, i never saw my family, i lost my entire family, i lost all that time with them and that's not going to come back because some check comes in the mail for things lost. and i think most cuban ex isles have the same kind of point of view. what upsets those of us who don't like this new embrace between the obama administration and the castro regime what upsets us the most is that all of this so-called opening or normalization is going to entrench the castro regime and entrench those in power in the military who control cuba and who actually run all the businesses in cuba. >> but you know that there is a younger generation who is not experienced it with the intense personal -- you know has not had the intensely personal
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experience that you've had and they don't understand why this is here so they don't support the continuation. >> well i'm not sure. some of those polls have been questioned by experts but the fact yes somebody who's 50 years younger than i am is not going to have the same perspective and living in new haven, you know i only know three other cubans in new haven so i'm not able to sort of test the waters myself. but there have been serious questions raised about that polling. >> professor thank you for being with us. >> thanks for having me on the show. >> tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. gri kate brown to solemnly software. >> and so my truth is that i am a gay american. >> the man who started a public conversation about a very private issue of sexuality in public office. then disappeared until now with battles raging over gay marriage and the first openly bisexual
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governor in office, jim mcgreevy is back with me. at 10:30. that is our show, i'm ali velshi, thank you for joining us. plotting to aid i.s.i.l. three men under arrest - accused of threatening to bomb new york and kill the president, before travelling to syria to join the group playing war games - iranian forces blow up a mock u.s. aircraft carrier - message sent to the west as iran tries to negotiate a new deal. a police shooting under investigation. authorities reveal details on the death of a migrant while

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