tv Good Morning America Weekend Edition ABC November 26, 2016 8:00am-9:00am EST
good morning, america. breaking overnight, cuba's fidel castro who ruled the country for nearly half a century dead at age 90. his brother, the current leader, making the announcement. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> with the news spreading the reaction from cuba. now a national warning to florida's little havana overnight. the raucous scenes, celebrations in the streets. and the hopes for friends and relatives still in the country. >> and i hope the cuban people have freedom tomorrow. >> his time in power. >> translator: i am not afraid to say i am a communist. >> facing off against ten presidents, the bay of pigs and the cuban missile crisis bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.
>> translator: yes, we were very close to the nuclear war, extremely close. >> and the look ahead. what it could mean for the country and its people. to u.s. businesses and tourism. team coverage on this breaking story right now. good morning, and we're dedicating much of this show to the breaking news, the death of fidel castro. >> we want to you look at the contrasting scenes overnight. right there on the streets of miami, you can see jubilation, members of the cuban community, many of them exiles who fled castro's repressive regime celebrating in the streets. meantime, in havana, the cuban capital, the streets quiet and empty. >> fidel castro was a towering figure in both a physical and a historical sense and a controversial one in pretty much every sense. he tried to create romance around his revolution with his signature look and his sweeping often anti-american oratory but he was also a tyrant whose people have fled by the
thousands on rickety and overloaded boats. >> castro also a persistent thorn in the side of the united states. a man who helped bring the world to the precipice of nuclear confrontation during the cuban missile crisis. his death comes at a very delicate moment. president obama has recently moved to normalize relations with cuba, however, incoming president donald trump has threatened to overturn those actions. >> we have team coverage this morning with our reporters and analysts standing by but we start here with abc's jim avila in l.a. jim, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, dan. the cigar chomping, bearded firebrand who once gave a seven-hour speech is silenced this morning. fidel castro survived multiple assassination attempts by the u.s. government but went quietly overnight after nearly a decade of failing health. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> reporter: fidel's brother, president raul castro, announcing the death of his older brother on state
television ending the broadcast echoing that infamous revolutionary mantra. [ speaking a foreign language ] castro remained skeptical of the u.s. right up to his death. defiantly commenting after president obama's historic visit that cuba will never forget what the bay of pigs invasion and does not need america. >> translator: i am a communist, a marxist, socialist communist. i am not afraid to say i am a communist. >> reporter: fidel castro was born in 1926 out of wedlock to a wealthy cuban land owner and his maid. he went to catholic schools and then studied law. his two passions were baseball, he was very good at it, and politics. he became an activist for the poor and working class. in 1956 after being expelled by cuba's american supporter dictator fulgencio batista, castro returned secretly with his brother raul to wage a guerrilla war seizing power in 1959. >> the road to havana paved with glory for rebel chieftain fidel castro.
>> reporter: in 1961, president john f. kennedy just elected approved the cia trained invasion force of 1,300 cuban exiles who went ashore at the bay of pigs. castro demolished them. a huge propaganda victory. in 1962 american spy planes discovered castro had let the soviets put nuclear missiles in cuba. >> translator: yes, we were very close to the nuclear war, extremely close. >> reporter: ultimately the soviets removed the missiles. even castro's critics praise his advances in health care and in education. but the inefficiency of cuba's soviet-style economy produced dissent. in 1980 more than 125,000 cubans, some expelled, many allowed to just leave braved rough seas and dehydration to come to the united states in the mariel boatlift. in the early 1990s the fall of the ussr cost cuba billions of dollars in soviet aid and trade leading to
widespread shortages in rations. in 2006 just before intestinal surgery, he gave up power temporarily to his younger brother raul. he never took the reins again, made it official in 2008. then suddenly in the summer of 2010 he began displaying his indomitable drive again in public. giving tv interviews, laying flowers at the tomb of the fallen, exhorting the communist youth and addressing the cuban parliament. after nearly five decades in power filled with revolution, defiance and strife, castro did live to see the cuban flag raised at the u.s. embassy in 2015 and an influx of american tourists, sports teams and rock concerts. the memorial will be what you might expect for a man who changed cuban history and dominated the island for more than 50 years. he'll be cremated today so the body will not be lying in state, instead, castro will be memorialized by millions first
in havana where the crowds will be asked to sign a loyalty to the revolution oath and then his ashes will tour the island before burial in his hometown of santiago de cuba. >> that will be a week from tomorrow. jim, thank you for your reporting and cuba has been a consistent source of national security concerns for the u.s. from the missile crisis to elian gonzalez to questions about our prison in guantanamo bay. >> for more on all of that and the potential impact of castro's death on american policy going forward let's go to washington and abc's chief global affairs correspondent martha raddatz. martha, good morning to you. >> good morning, dan and paula. for a generation of americans the threat from cuba was real and frightening. a tiny country just off our shores, 90 miles, with a powerful ally. from military disasters to near nuclear war, the 50-year feud with a fidel castro-led cuba was marked by tension and tragedy. the country's alignment with the soviet union led to the icy international relations with the
u.s. during the cold war and the two nations' newfound resentment escalated quickly. >> the purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western hemisphere. >> reporter: while his allies agreed to remove their missiles, castro's animosity towards the u.s. survived. in 1999 the custody battle over elian gonzalez playing out as castro demanded the little boy's return to cuba. his mother had drowned while escaping with him to the u.s. armed u.s. agents forcibly removing the boy from his miami relatives, returning him to his father in cuba. and there is guantanamo bay, the naval base leased by the u.s. from the castro regime since 1959. after the controversial practice of housing terror suspects, castro repeatedly denounced the u.s. occupation saying the land was being used to do america's dirty work.
ten american presidents tried to isolate castro and hoped for his demise. then in 2013, this defining moment, president obama shaking hands with president raul castro at nelson mandela's funeral paving the way for renewed diplomatic relations. >> this is not merely symbolic, with this change we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the cuban people. >> reporter: in 2015 the two presidents meeting again as obama calls for the 53-year-old embargo to finally be lifted. and as for guantanamo bay naval base, the lease of those 45 square acres does not seem in any danger. it can only be dissolved by mutual agreement. dan and paula. >> martha, stand by. if you will. we want to ask you a few questions. as you reported, president obama recently restored diplomatic relations with cuba but his successor, president-elect donald trump, has promised to reverse that policy. >> yeah, here's what trump said
at a rally in miami in september. >> we will cancel obama's one-sided cuban deal made by executive order if we do not get the deal we want and the deal that people living in cuba and here deserve including protecting religious and political freedom. >> all right, for more on this we want to bring back in martha and abc's chief white house correspondent jon karl in our washington bureau, and first and foremost, jon, what impact do you think that castro's death is going to have on this fluid situation? >> well, he was such a symbol of the cuban revolution and such a symbol of tension between cuba and the united states that even though he has effectively been out of power for ten years, it could well have some impact on how congress looks at this. the big change that president obama wants to u.s. cuba policy is lift the embark bow,
the trade embargo that can only be done fully by congress. ultimately with castro gone, with fidel castro gone, there may be some lessening of the opposition there buy by and large fidel castro has not been in power for a long time. >> what are you hearing and what's your sense of where things go from here given that we've got a new president coming in and a congress that will be thoroughly controlled by the republicans, a congress with whom he can work? >> reporter: well, i think, first of all, you'll probably see donald trump say he really wants to study this to see what's going to happen to see how he'll make any changes in what president obama has done. but this is an opportunity in a way for president-elect trump to take a second look at what's going on there. i mean, fidel castro was such an iconic figure. he really defined what cuba is as jon pointed out. he has been out of power for quite a long time, and his brother has said he will give up power in 2018 when his term
ends, and that's what president-elect trump will really want to look towards, who is next? what comes after 2018? who are the younger people who might take over and possibly a more progressive movement. >> but, martha and jon, i mean, is there a sense and i'll start with you, martha, is there a sense that raul is quite different from his brother and might be able now to have more latitude in his relations with the united states now that his older brother is gone? >> reporter: my sense is that raul castro wouldn't be anywhere without fidel castro, so i think there is not a great deal of change with him, and i think certainly fidel castro, even though he was out of power, had a lot of influence on his brother. >> you know, i would say, dan, on the actual policy coming from the united states, donald trump did promise, as you played the sound, did promise to undo what president obama had done on cuba. but at various points during the campaign he said that he favored lifting the embargo, he favored
continued diplomatic relations so trump has been kind of all over the map on this at least during the course of the campaign. and he is correct that much of what president obama's done can be undone right away with another executive order undoing president obama's executive orders, but i don't get the sense that undoing all of that would be a top priority for president trump. i agree with martha that this is a perfect opportunity for him to say we are going to look at the situation, we're going to see how things have changed and go from there. >> ever the negotiator, keeping his options open. >> and trump specifically asking for the freeing of those political prisoners. we're going to get more into the human rights crisis in cuba but, martha and jon, we want to thank you for your insight as usual. when the news broke of castro's death overnight miami's little havana erupted in celebration. >> the streets filling with people cheering the news and glenna milberg from our abc station wplg joins us from miami right now. glenna, good morning to you. >> reporter: dan, paula, good morning.
from what we call little havana and where i'm standing on southwest 8th street this is sort of the -- has been the de facto area where people through the decades have come to protest and rally all things cuba. today, this morning for the past five or six hours it has been the scene of a huge celebration. and so many people around the country are going to look and say, well, isn't that so disrespectful celebrating a human being dying? and i'm here to sort of be the voice of this community to say what the celebration is about today is possibly the beginning of freedom for cuba and that freedom is such a central theme, it's a very diverse community, but very unified in coming from a place where they were not free to vote for an elected leader. many of the people who are in the older generation who had come here in the '60s had family members murdered, politically persecuted, had families who were separated for decades.
many of the later arrivals, some came in the '80s on the mariel boatlift and some chose to came in makeshift raft, that's how desperate it was for them, getting into rafts crossing the straits of florida. so many thought that this day would never come in their lifetimes because as we've heard, fidel castro had grown to be such a mythic figure, such an icon of the revolution, but this community now has a period at the end of their sentence and ready to move on to another chapter in what has been a really difficult life for so many people who have actually helped miami become what it is today. dan, paula. >> so much hope there in little havana, glenna milberg, thank you very much from wplg for your reporting this morning. we appreciate it. in 1977, abc's barbara walters traveled to cuba for a five-hour, five-hour interview with fidel castro. >> it was fascinating and years later in 1993 abc's diane sawyer
interviewed him for primetime live. here are some excerpts of their fascinating talks. >> your newspapers, radio, television, motion pictures. no dissent or opposition is allowed in the public media. >> translator: we do not have your same conceptions. our concept of freedom of the press is not yours, and i say this very honestly. i have nothing to hide. if you ask us if a paper could appear here against socialism i could say honestly, no, it cannot appear. it would not be allowed. the government nor the people. >> why? >> translator: in that sense, we do not have the freedom of the press that you possess in the u.s. >> do you think politically that an american president can lift
the embargo and resume relations with cuba as long as fidel castro is in power? >> translator: if i were the obstacles, i would be willing to give up not only my position and responsibilities but even my life. what i would never do is negotiate the revolution. the revolution is not negotiable. socialism is not negotiable. sovereignty and the independence of our country are not negotiable. that i would never negotiate. >> does it seem crazy to you that american presidents every four years allow the american people just to vote them out of power, that they put their entire power at risk every four years? >> translator: i think four years is too short for any program that you want to undertake. in eight years you can do a bit more in terms of government
programs. in 12 or 20 years you can do much more. >> just fascinating interviews from barbara and diane right there, but we want to switch gears a little bit and take a look at the weather and for that we send things over to rob marciano. good morning, rob. >> good morning, paula. hi, dan. of course, the holiday weekend and a lot of people outside on the roads. we want to run down where the trouble spots are. blewett pass in washington east of seattle and winds with one of several storms coming through knocked out power for a few thousand people there and we've got another storm coming and flooding rains across parts of portland and other areas of coastal oregon, as well. our next storm coming in, san francisco, you're about to get rain and another punch behind that, this will affect the entire west coast all the way down to san diego substantial wind and rain across southern california and then tomorrow afternoon a storm will bring another batch of rain and mountain snow above 3,000 feet that includes the mountain passes over interstate 5 and heavy rains along that trek. so if you are traveling here in the next couple of days, just
leave early and take it slow. problems across the intermountain west. maybe salt lake city and denver airport tomorrow and then this batch of rain getting into the nation's midsection. east of the mississippi looks to be pretty good. >> good morning i'm meteorologist chris sowers with this accu weather update, radar clear, there's a beautiful should have the commodore barry bridge. that's pretty much how the day will play out. partly sunny, breezy, highs around 53. beg travel day tomorrow. look i guess in the immediate philadelphia area, lots sun breezy and cool, highs near 50. holiday weekend and beneficial snow is coming through, as well so we'll talk about that in the next half hour. >> want to bring in ron because i know
i want to start with you and, you know, we were talking this morning. this is very personal. your parents fled but there's also this almost danger of romanticizing the revolution and what fidel castro was. >> yeah, that is so true. i can't remember a time when i didn't know the name fidel castro. i mean, i've known that name as long as i -- since i've been alive and something that's been part of my life and my family's life. they fled cuba, as you mentioned, as political exiles and there is this tendency when world leaders to die to kind of misplace this romanticism around world leaders, but fidel castro is someone who was a tyrant, a killer, a liar and i really never realized how fortunate i was to be born in this country until i did a story that took me to the florida straits and i was embedded with the coast guard and they were intercepting cuban rafters and cuban go fast boats that were smuggling in cuban citizens and i got to see firsthand what it looked like on these boats, dozens of families, babies in diapers and best choice twla these families had was to
put their children on a boat in the middle of the night not knowing what would happen than to live in cuba. and cuba at a distance may look beautiful, it may look mysterious, it may look nostalgic but up close it is cracked. it is faded and the people are hungry and that should be the legacy of fidel castro. >> there are no questions, no question that there are horrors ongoing horrors in cuba right now and, of course, for decades that you just referenced but, ron, you know, you covered -- you were in our miami bureau for years at abc news and you've been in cuba. there are also arguments one can make on behalf of the castro regime. >> well, the literacy rate in cuba is one of the highest i believe in the world. the infant mortality rate i believe is as low or maybe lower than it is in this country. but as tom was saying, you know, i've been there in the late '90s and more recently earlier this year and people live in fear there of even saying the name castro out loud. they live in fear of their neighbors informing on them. they have these committees for the defense of the revolution where your neighbors can spy on one another.
there have been economic gains in recent years, more people are making money. for people there's some free enterprise but it's a very repressed place and a very poor country. you get away from the tourist areas, it is grinding poverty. the infrastructure is in terrible shape. it will take decades and decades for that to improve. >> on ron's point i mean the literacy rate is amazing but you're told what to read. you can't read whatever you want. they also talk about the world class doctors in cuba. yet the citizens receive third world health, and i can remember night after night with my family stuffing envelopes, greeting cards with medicines and kool-aid just they could have calories. and that's what i remember. >> yeah, this is incredibly powerful to hear your firsthand testimony. tom llamas, thank you very much. ron claiborne, as well. thank you.
we'll have much more coverage of the breaking news, the death of fidel castro including a report from cuba on what it's like there right now. we're going to talk to experts about what this could mean for the country's future, as well. ron is going to expound on his travels to cuba, what he found during his recent visit and how it's being affected by the explosion of tourism. stay with us, we're right back. "good morning america" is brought to you by ihop. eat up every moment. ♪
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manayunk norristown line and closed the schuylkill river to shelter in place. we'll have the latest for you on a live report. let's get you caught up on the forecast with meteorologist chris sowers. >> it doesn't look too bad. we have lots of sunshine in some location, mixture of sun and clouds in other, mostly sunny breezy for today with a high of 53, only 50 for tomorrow. greg >> thanks for the update. action news continues in about 30 minutes, i'm gray hall now stay tuned for more good morning america.
welcome back to our coverage of the death of fidel castro dead overnight at the age of 90. >> they are celebrating on the streets of miami's little havana but it's a much different scene in cuba and that's where hannah berkeley is this morning. >> many cubans right now are waking up to the news that former president fidel castro has passed away at the age of 90. the news came in many forms late last night, many cuban youth were out on the streets socializing as they do any weekend night. the news came via phone calls, many family members from abroad calling telling them the news. they could hear partying going on in miami, but the streets of havana looked very different. there's a much more solemn mood, many of the elderly cubans i
spoke to who actually remember the pre-castro days of cuba and fought for the cuban revolution say that they have fidel and the revolution to thank for everything that they have. they'll actually be able to pay homage to the former president in one of the iconic centers of the city at the plaza of the revolution then a few days later his cremated remains will be brought to santiago de cuba where they will be buried along side cube's national poet and hero, jose martin. paula. >> hannah berkeley reporting from havana. for us this morning and joining us by phone is florida congresswoman is ileana ros-lehtinen, the first cuban-american member of the house of representatives. good morning to you. thank you for joining us. >> well, good morning. thank you so much. this was a day we've been waiting for a long time. >> i want to talk to you specifically about the human rights crisis, ileana. people can be locked up for speaking their minds. the government still controls most of the media. according to the latest state department report, there are 60
to 70 political prisoners, so how should that factor into u.s. relations going forward? >> oh, it should factor in very heavily and i know that there are fidel apologists around the world who say, oh, he's an iconic figure and he was just an old man, but this is a man who -- i was born in cuba. i had to flee with my family when i was only 8 years old. and people were fleeing cuba then in 1960 and they're fleeing cuba now, not because he's a charming, iconic figure but because he was a ruthless dictator, and he's had an opportunity to now allow his brother raul to slide into power, but the question of human rights under fidel or raul are just as bleak. they imprison people for speaking their minds. there's no free press. there's no show like your show in cuba. everything is state sponsored. state-sponsored newspapers, state-sponsored media. and human rights dissidents are
rounded up and thrown in jail. the very peaceful group called damas de blanco, the ladies in white, they dress in white and they march peacefully to the catholic church every sunday and with holding up a photo of their loved ones who have been or are in jail for political reasons, and for that they're beaten up and thrown in jail sometimes for two days, sometimes for one hour, sometimes for weeks and months at a time. so human rights are still terrible. >> it is terrible. you're painting such a stark picture, a bleak picture of exactly the reality of what's going on in cuba to this day and, ileana, i know this is a very personal story for you and for so many out there. we do want to thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. >> let's bring in now abc news political contributor alex castellanos from our washington, d.c. bureau. alex was born in cuba. came to the u.s. shortly after castro took power.
we want to talk to tom llamas whose family fled cuba years ago. you were raised among cuban expats in this country. alex, let me start with you. you have a story, a very powerful story of being in school as a child under a newly empowered fidel castro. what was that like? >> well, that's one of the reasons my parents left cuba, took us out of cuba to the united states. i would -- when fidel castro took over, i would bring home from school the coloring pictures of the brave cuban soldier bayonetting the cowardly american soldier brainwashing the kids and one day at school our teachers said, all right, kid, pray to god for ice cream. and we closed our eyes, no ice cream, and then the teacher says, well, let's ask fidel for ice cream, and, yay, we got ice cream. at first the castro regime tried to undermine the church before they decided it was easier to co-opt it, but that's the story of fidel and raul castro in cuba
and 60 years of socialism and communism and failure. >> alex, you told us your parents got you out of cuba in 1961. you left with $11 and 2 suitcases. do you think after this death overnight of fidel castro that things will change on the ground in the country of your birth? >> i am hopeful, but i'm not optimistic. you know, raul castro basically has been in power since 2006, since 2008 officially, and cuba is a military oligopoly, it's run by the military, by the generals. raul castro is the head of the military. and all business in cuba runs through a thing called gaesa, which is a conglomerate owned by the military itself and 60% to 80% of cuban economic activity goes through this military owned basically conglomerate, so i
think if both castros left, you would still see a cuba very much like egypt run, controlled by the military. >> and, tom, you were mentioning earlier during the commercial break, i know that this is somewhat of an emotional day for you, for so many cuban-americans but you said that you and your family have been waiting for this day. now that it's here how do you reconcile those emotions? >> it's interesting. almost every new year's eve cuban-american families say next year in havana or next year in cuba is what you celebrate. it's a time for reflection. it's a time to remember all of our relative that is came over like my grandparents who never got to see their country again but who never fully unpacked their briefcases and their luggage because they thought there would be a day where they could go back. as far as cuba changing, 75, more than 75% of cubans right now have no leader other than fidel castro or raul castro. they don't know what democracy looks like. for any change to happen it's going to have to happen with the cuban people. >> probably should not expect
overnight change, tom llamas, that image of your grandparents never fully unpacking is indelible. thank you very much both to tom llamas and alex castellanos for your input. we appreciate it. we do want to acknowledge however that there are other headlines on this saturday morning, and for that as always we bring in ron claiborne. good morning, sir. >> hey there, dan and paula, tom, good morning, everyone. we begin with donald trump's latest picks for his white house staff. the president-elect choosing two washington insiders to fill key positions. donald mcgahn was tapped to be white house counsel. mcgahn is a lawyer who worked on campaign finance election laws and k.t. mcfarland a veteran of the nixon, ford administrations was named deputy national security adviser. wisconsin election officials will recount by hand that state's presidential vote which donald trump won by less than 1%. green party nominee presidential nominee jill stein filed for the recount friday. she has raised more than $5 million to pay for that recount and another in michigan and pennsylvania. some election experts doubt, though, that the recounts would overturn trump's electoral
college victory. and finally online shopping powered a surge in black friday sales this year. several major retailers reporting a big jump in website traffic but in-store sales were up only slightly. over last year. the national retail federation says it expects total holiday sales to reach -- rise to -- by nearly 4%. over to robert marciano with the good morning, everyone, meteorologist chris sowers with this accu weather update. radars are calorie. couple of rain and snow showers for the parks first they don't
know this morning, by afternoon, partly sunny skies, breezy, fairly comfortable. high 53. mississippi. we have nice weather for the big football games happening at ohio state and clemson and happy valley in penn state, as well. we'll be watching. dan, paula and ron, back to you and i. i got ohio state. she has michigan. >> before michigan's quarterback broke his clavicle but i did want to make good. >> i gave you a chance to get out of it. >> yeah. >> thank you, robert. >> we'll be back with more of our continuing coverage of the breaking news this morning, the death of fidel castro keep it here on "gma." um, shouldn't it be "spokes-crayon?" can somebody turn on the a/c? i'm melting here. ♪air marker spraayer!!! chemistry, baby! so i just hold this part and spraaaaaay... i'm okay.
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and we are back nour with more on the death of fidel castro. >> we are joined by philip brenner from washington. he is a professor at american university and an expert on latin america. professor, thanks for joining us. we're hearing so many perspectives of castro on this show, but how do you think he'll go down in history? >> i think that's an important question because i think americans are getting a wrong picture about fidel castro. the rest of the world is very
saddened by this. he was probably the last of the great world leaders that this generation will know and americans should understand why that is. >> why is it in your view, because we've been hearing from people throughout the show who say he was a tyrant, violent and led his people to sort of countless miseries. >> well, in fact, you heard something about the achievements in cuba. the most important achievement probably was that he gave cubans a sense of dignity. that was true for about 20% of cubans before the revolution. there was no democracy that they ever experienced in cuba. they had corrupt governments before that did very little for the majority of the people. the vast majority of cubans benefited from the cuban revolution, and other countries around the world, poor countries, looked to cuba in that way as a leader for what they could do for their people, bringing literacy and health care. >> we've got just a few seconds left. can you just quickly tell us
what you think is going to happen now for people in cuba after fidel castro has died? >> fidel castro really has not been involved very much in anything day-to-day or even in the large policy directions for the last at least five years. so i don't think there will be much change. i've gotten messages from friends in cuba who tell me that there is great sadness as if the father of the country has died. >> philip brenner, professor at american university, we appreciate your insight this morning. thank you very much. and coming up here on "gma," we continue with our coverage of fidel castro's death. and a look at the flood of tourists hitting cuba. could it change everything? keep it right here. family road trip! fun! check engine. not fun! but, you've got hum. that's like driving with this guy. all you do is press this, and in plain english, "coolant", you'll know what's wrong. if you do need a mechanic, just press this. "thank you for calling hum." and if you really need help,
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welcome back as we continue our coverage of the breaking news, the death of fidel castro at age 90. >> and cuba is opening its doors to more and more tourists these days drawn by its history and a sense of nostalgia. one of those tourists was our own ron claiborne who recently visited. what did you see? >> i was on assignment just for the record but for a long time the u.s. and cuba have had a strained relationship, the economic embargo which is still on, broken off diplomatic relations, refugee crises but in the last year, that's begun to change and dramatically. one of those changes americans can now travel to cuba a lot more easily. it began with last year's restoration of diplomatic relations between cuba and the united states. the u.s. embassy in havana opened shortly afterward. american tourism in cuba forever transformed. >> the progress that we marked today is yet another demonstration that we don't have to be imprisoned by the past. when something isn't working, we can and will change. >> reporter: in may of this year a carnival cruise liner docked in havana, the first american
cruise ship to arrive in cuba in decades. and in august, the first direct commercial flight traveling between the two countries since 1962. americans now flooding the island and filling up hotels with record bookings. on my trip to cuba this past may, i ran into several american tourists. >> now it's here. the americans are here. the tourism is here. >> reporter: an influx of visitors bringing much needed income to cuba's tourist industry, a big difference from my first visit 20 years ago. i first came to cuba 19 years ago, and at that time this area, old havana, was pretty much in disrepair. i came back a second time two years later, and this area was being restored, and now 19 years after my first visit to havana, old havana has been pretty much restored to its centuries old splendor. when president obama visited havana earlier this year, he was the first sitting president to visit cuba since 1928. major league baseball holding a preseason game there last march. the first time since 1999.
and that same month rock legends, the rolling stones strutting in front of a huge crowd, many of whom used to have to listen to their favorite rock bands behind closed doors. >> it's a historical thing. >> reporter: that's a lot of change in one year for a country once frozen in time for more than half a century and mostly forgotten by american travelers until now. and just one point that you still -- americans cannot just get on a plane and go there. you need to go as part of a cultural tour, so the tourism, it's picking up, but it's not open. you can't just fly there. >> it almost looks like you're walking into a time capsule. >> in many ways, yeah, absolutely. >> all right, ron, thank you very much. >> we'll be right back, everyone. ♪ ♪ ♪
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city on santiago on sunday december 4th after days of public mourning and a tour of his ashes throughout the country. he did express his wish to be cremated. >> we'll keep you up to date all day longen on all of these developments on abc news and abcnews.com and want to thank you for joining us. see you right back here tomorrow morning. next on ries the exclusive accu weather forecast
after man barricades himself inside a home. reports that he had fired shots at police. two children rescued in delaware as the family home goes up in flames >> and caught in the cross fire, a woman injured as philadelphia police get into a shoot-out with man in port richmond. those stories and much more in in just a moment. how is your voice holding up >> doing better. tea and honey does the trick. let's get it outside and show you the view overlooking the commodore barry bridge and we have a little bit of cloud cover upstairs and that help to keep temperatures on the mild side during the overnight hours and look where we're starting out. these temperatures easily this time of year could be in the 20's and 30's. and instead, some locations are already closing in on 50 degrees. philadelphia, 47. wilmington, 47. atlantic city 46. poconos, 35 degrees.