As protests continue in Baltimore and around the country over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, we are joined by one of the leading longtime activists in the country, Tom Hayden, who is no stranger to police and protest. In 1968, Hayden was a major organizer of demonstrations against the Vietnam War during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He became one of the Chicago 8 and was convicted of crossing state lines to start a riot. The judge ordered Bobby Seale, one of his fellow defendants and the only African American, to be bound and gagged and chained to his chair. Later Hayden would organize in Newark, New Jersey, and go on to write the book, "Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response." "The country came to near collapse. Baltimore today was everywhere in 1967, 1968," Hayden says. "So we have to remember that these issues of going abroad to fight enemies leaves our internal problems festering, and they can blow at any time. So, history repeats, I’m sorry to say."
In a wide-ranging discussion, Tom Hayden, author of the new book, "Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters," argues the United States and Cuba have much more in common than a 55-year disagreement. This comes as Republicans have launched an attempt to block President Obama’s efforts to restore U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations for the first time in half a century with proposed legislation to stop new travel to Cuba from the United States. The bill would block the licensing of new flights and cruise ship routes to Cuba if the landing strip or dock is located on land confiscated by the Cuban government. Despite such efforts, Hayden says, "Travel is being expanded. You will be able to use your credit cards. The beaches will be open to tourists instead of tanks. History is finally moving on." He recalls his interviews with former senior U.S. officials on why the Obama administration is trying to end the embargo and remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and also discusses the Cuban missile crisis, the Cuban 5 and how the U.S. has sheltered Cuban exiles who were at virtual war with Cuba. Hayden’s book is based in part on conversations with Ricardo Alarcón, the former foreign minister of Cuba and past president of the Cuban National Assembly.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://www.freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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