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Biden Kicks Off First Trip Abroad: "The United States is Back"; Myanmar's Military Charges Aung San Suu Kyi with Corruption; Russia Declares Navalny's Group Extremist; Cyberattacks Becoming More Frequent & Sophisticated; Migrants Flee Gangs, Poverty, Natural Disasters; U.S. Sanctions Follow Opposition Leaders' Arrest; Interview with Britain's Prince Edward. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 10, 2021 - 01:00   ET



JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Avlon, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour, U.S. President Joe Biden is getting ready playing face to face with Vladimir Putin.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm headed to the G7, and then to the NATO ministerial, and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know.



AVLON: We have the latest on their upcoming meeting and the G7 Summit.

Plus, the U.S. imposes new sanctions on Nicaragua as political opponents of that nation's president are being jailed.

And our Max Foster talks one on one with Britain's Prince Edward about his father's passing, the Queen, and Prince Harry and Meghan.


AVLON: A clear message and promised commitment from the U.S. president. Setting foot in Europe, he proclaimed that America is back and ready to restore its critical alliances. Joe Biden, making those remarks from England in his first trip abroad as U.S. commander-in- chief.

And in the coming hours, he'll sit down with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Those talks will kick off a very busy week, which includes the G7 and NATO summits, a high stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Biden wants we really just know that after four years of Donald Trump's isolationist approach, that the U.S. is again standing with its allies.


BIDEN: At every point along the way, we're going to make it clear, that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future, that we're committed to leading with strength, defending our values, and delivering for our people. America's better position to advance our national security, and our economic prosperity, when we bring together like-minded nations to stand with us.


AVLON: CNN's Nic Robertson is covering all the developments from Carbis Bay.

Nic, what is expected when Boris meets Biden?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're expected to renew the Atlantic Charter, which is an important sort of symbolic, if you will, strengthening of the U.S. relationship with the U.K. That's certainly what Boris Johnson wants to achieve. They will talk about possibly improving travel between the two countries at the moment during the pandemic. It will possibly open the doors to planning for agreements to sort of give British businesses better access to technology developments and business in the United States, in the field of A.I.

But I think the headlines are going to be, you know, the shared democratic values, and the importance of collective security. And, of course, all this plays into a very important narrative that President Biden wants the bill here later the G7, which is, you know, a collective message security, political, diplomatic to China that its trade practices and that's human rights abuses, won't be stood for. That its military -- it's strengthening in the South China Sea won't be stood for.

So, this will be sort of wrapped up within the broader framework of the -- of that Atlanta Charter. But that there will be a point of contention between British prime minister and President Biden, and that will be over the northern protocols, the sort of post-Brexit wrangling that's going on, Biden takes a very fair position in the strength of the Good Friday agreement of Northern highland. And he's afraid that Boris Johnston's post-Brexit wrangling damages that.

AVLON: Nic, Brexit aside, is Boris Johnson like-minded with regards to Biden and the need for democracies to unite to offset autocracies?

ROBERTSON: Yeah, you know, President Biden, you know, described before he came to office, describe Boris Johnson as effectively, you know, a smaller clone of President Trump. So, there is a sort of different style and substance, between the two. Boris Johnson quite populist, President Biden not so much.

That natural tension between people of two different sort of styles will exist. And I don't think anything is going to change that. But it is important to both countries to have a stronger alliance.


The United States is using a British aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. It has F-35s aboard it. That's not just symbolic. That's important, strategic, collective joint security between the two nations. And we're going to see evidence of how that can build ties between the countries, and how that gets beyond just the personal relationship between the two leaders.

AVLON: Military strategy beneath the symbolism.

Nic Robertson, thank you so much for joining us as always.

Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS", joins us now. There is literally nobody better to make sense of this high stakes upcoming week, President Biden's first trip abroad, the G7 meeting culminating with the meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Fareed, obviously, President Biden often frames the challenges of our overtimes as a contest between democracy and autocracy. I want to play a clip of him talking to U.S. troops shortly after landing in England get your take.


BIDEN: I believe we're an inflection point world history. We have to discredit those who believe that the age of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe. We have to expose as false the narrative that decrees of dictators can match the speed and scale of the 21st challenges. You know and I know, they're wrong.


AVLON: Fareed, what can the G7 do to turn the rising tide against autocracies?

ZAKARIA: I think that Biden is framing this in kind of an ideologically charged way, that politically, probably makes a lot of sense. The real challenge, though, is to do at least as well, as the countries of the world mostly the democracies did, and the last great crisis.

In '08, '09, the global financial crisis, what was noticeable about that, the response of governments around the world, mostly democracies, but actually the Chinese were very cooperative, is how much they work together. If the central banks of the world and the governments of the world had to work together to stabilize the economy, we would've had a second Great Depression.

This time around, the pandemic has really brought out divisions more than unity. So, what Biden is trying to do is at least among the democracies, show that unity. And I suspect that he will be able to get some significant measure of unity, on some core issues.

AVLON: Such as? ZAKARIA: Well, he's coming to the table with a pretty powerful one-

two punch, which is first the United States has demonstrated that it is competent, which is one of the things the world has always looked up to us for. We have managed to vaccinations at a pace, at a scale that really is, you know, extraordinary. Basically, about 60 percent of the American public are vaccinated. Britain has about the same percentage. No other large country is close.

The second piece is this announcement that we're going to donate 500 million vaccines the world. So first you're showing American power, then you're showing American generosity, and I think that will move on other countries, the European Union, Britain, to start making their own efforts in that regard.

If the democracies of the world can show that they care about the whole world, they want to make sure that everyone is in this together. They want to make sure, they want to emphasize we get nobody is safe until everyone is safe, if all of that becomes a reality, that's the single most important thing on every governments agenda right now. The question is, how do I get out of this pandemic? The answer is vaccines, but they don't have them and they don't have a plan of how to get them.

If the G7 can provide that? That would be a powerful win for Joe Biden and for democracy.

AVLON: Vaccine diplomacy. Certainly, there are a lot of things on the agenda -- climate change, COVID response, pandemic preparation. But another thing is this idea of a global minimum tax that the Biden administration has been advancing.

What do you think the chances are of that going forward?

ZAKARIA: I think his biggest challenge will actually be in the United States Senate, not with the G7. Janet Yellen has done a pretty smart job of presenting it in a way that is quite intriguing, compelling, maybe even seductive to a lot of countries, because it's very well thought through as a diplomatic piece, which I mean, you get something if you give something. What these other countries have been trying to find a way to do, is to tax America's large technology companies, who they feel do business in their countries but somehow managed to not pay taxes.

And what Janet Yellen is saying it is okay, we'll allow you to tax those companies, but in return, we have to end this game of tax arbitrage and this race to the bottom where everyone goes and ends up headquartering their companies in Liechtenstein or whatever, because it's the lowest tax rate.


So, that deal, a lot of European skepticism, I think a lot of them have come on board. The problem will be the Republican Party is so an alternately opposed to any kind of minimum tax, that you might get into an awkward situation where Joe Biden can sell this to all the other countries, he just can't sell it to Joe Manchin. AVLON: Fareed Zakaria, thank you so much for joining us my friend.

Good to see you.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure, John.

AVLON: New developments out of Myanmar. The country's military government has charged Aung San Suu Kyi under the country's anti- corruption law. Suu Kyi's government was overthrown by a military coup, in February.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me with more from Seoul.

Paula, what can you tell us about these new charges?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, these are just the latest in a string of charges, that we've seen being brought against the former leader of Myanmar. So, this is something that authorities have said they started investigating back in March.

They accused Aung San Suu Kyi of corruption, not now they say they believe they have evidence to show that they can in fact charge her. They say that she misuse her authority and renting land and a building to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation headquarters, a group that she was chairperson of. Also said that she had accepted some $600,000 and gold from the former Yangon chief minister.

So they say, that she will be charged. Three other former officials also charged on these counts as well. We know that case files have been opened at the police station, according to the junta-led media on Wednesday.

Now we've spoken to her lawyer who said that these claims are absurd, that these claims are groundless, also saying that in all these years in his job as a lawyer, he has never met anybody less corruptible than Aung San Suu Kyi. She may have character flaws, but quite frankly personal greed and corruption are not some of those character flaws he say, and many of his supporters say that all of these charges that have been brought against her by the ruling military junta are really trumped up, that they are politically motivated.

John, Aung San Suu Kyi was in fact leading the government, which was democratically elected in November last year, which the military junta then disbanded and said was false, John?

AVLON: Well, certainly when the military junta accuses anyone of corruption, it should be treated with the extreme skepticism.

But what does this mean for the future there?

HANCOCKS: Well, what it means is we are very unlikely to see Aung San Suu Kyi in any kind of position of power anytime soon. We heard from the military junta at the beginning when they said that election was null and void, and the democratically elected government was forced from power on February 1st. They said they'd hold elections within a year.

Now, we don't know if they will. They claim that they were fair and free. I think we can assume that they would not be.

But, certainly, the more charges that we see brought against the leader of the National League for Democracy, the NLD party, that overwhelmingly won the last election, the more charges against her, the less likelihood there is that it will be in any way fair and free. It shows that the military junta knows that if they did run against her again, they would lose again as Aung San Suu Kyi still enjoys remarkable support from people within her own country.

AVLON: Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul, thank you very much.

Members of Russia's top opposition movement have been scrapped from the ballot, in elections this September. Next, the power play by President Putin that prevents supporters of imprisoned activists Alexei Navalny from running for office.

And a U.S. meat supplier hit by an $11 million ransomware attack. The accelerating increase of cyberattacks and what experts say is the best way to deal with them.



AVLON: Two organizations founded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny have been declared extremist groups in Russia. Navalny, who's serving a prison sentence, has been a thorn in President Vladimir Putin's side for years. Wednesday's ruling by a court in Moscow means that Navalny's regional political offices and his anti-corruption foundation must shut down. The members cannot run in upcoming elections.

Now, in a post on social media, Navalny said his political work will not be silenced. The U.S. State Department says that Russia has effectively criminalized one of the few remaining independent political groups. The statement also said, this is not the first time that Russia has labeled groups extremist to stigmatize their supporters and justify abuses against them.

Timothy Frye is a professor political science at Columbia University, and author of "Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia".

All right. Professor Frye, that's a very timely title given the news today, that Vladimir Putin via a court in Russia seems to have declared Alexei Navalny's political party, verboten in Russia.

My question to you is, is this a sign of strength or a sign of weakness? Couldn't risk blow back? Where does it effectively kill opposition in Russia for the time being?

TIMOTHY FRYE, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, in my, view this is a sign of weakness in that Putin did not have to resort to such measures, in previous terms when his popularity was high, when the economy was booming, when propaganda was effective, these are all tools that autocrats like Putin would prefer to use then the more costly and risky measure of restricting political activity and using repression. So, I take this as a sign of weakness, rather than a sign of strength.

AVLON: Do you think it could create blow back in the streets over the summer?

FRYE: Well, Putin could -- he certainly has the apparatus to sideline of only in his operation, to take it out root and branch. The problem is that sidelining Navalny doesn't resolve the problems that gave rise to Navalny in the first place. Low levels of trust in government, high levels of corruption, and a stagnant economy where living standards have not increased in the fact that they declined by about 5 percent in the last decade.

Russia is a well-educated urban country and it's not hard to see that others might be willing to take Navalny's place, even if Navalny is really a singular political talent. But the problems that created him are not going away.

AVLON: Certainly not.

Obviously, we are in the run up to a high stakes summit, between President Biden and President Putin. And in advance of that, the deputy foreign minister warned the United States about uncomfortable signals that would be coming.

Do you take this to be one of those signals, and what are you expecting further?

FRYE: Yes, this certainly I think is one of the signals. This is a decision that could easily have been pushed back until after the summit. These measures have been gaining momentum of the last few weeks, even before the dated summit was announced.

So, the legislative machinery to make this happen was already pretty far down the tracks. And for Putin to have stepped in and pushed back I think could have been seen as a sign of weakness from some of the many enemies that Navalny has made at very high levels within Russia.


AVLON: President Biden sort of set the table in comments he made in front of U.S. troops shortly after arriving in England. I want to play them for you.


BIDEN: I'm going to communicate that there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere. I'm going to be clear, that the transatlantic alliance will remain vital, a vital source of strength for the U.K., Europe and the United States.


AVLON: On the one hand, you're speaking about the language of diplomacy, but this is a president who forthrightly is called Vladimir Putin a killer. So what does he need to do in terms of a show of strength? Not to

elevate Putin, but to treat him and Russian and all their misadventures as essentially an irritant, not an equal?

FRYE: Well, President Biden -- candidate Biden did a terrific job I think not responding to candidate Trump's, President Trump's provocations during the election campaign, and keeping people focused on the bigger issues, the economy, the pandemic.

I think Biden could be well-served by adopting a similar strategy that speaks beyond Putin to the Russian people, about the intentions of U.S. foreign policy, and does not try to engage in a kind tit-for-tat with Putin, where Putin will undoubtedly bring up the insurrection of January 6 to try to embarrass President Biden.

But I think Biden should really not engage in these kind of mano-a- mano showdown, and really speak to a broader audience within Russia, and within you have for that matter.

AVLON: Professor Timothy Frye, thank you so much for joining us. We'll talk to you again soon.

FRYE: It was my pleasure. Thank you very much.

AVLON: Meat supplier JBS USA is revealing that it paid an $11 million ransom after a cyberattack shut down its entire beef processing operation. The company CEO says it was a difficult decision to pay the ransom, but did it to protect customers. The hack affected the company's systems in the U.S. and Australia.

The U.S. officials are attributing the attack to a criminal gang, believed to be based in Eastern Europe. The JBS hack is just the latest in a wave of ransomware attacks, on businesses and government agencies around the world. And these cyberattacks are becoming more dangerous, and more sophisticated.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): They feel almost daily now, cyberattacks. As we moved online in the pandemic, crime moved with us. In the European Union last year, new figures obtained by CNN show significant cyberattacks doubled, with hospitals horrifyingly hit harder than before, often with ransomware, targeting private data.

APOSTOLOS MALATRAS, EU AGENCY FOR CYBERSECURITY: Because of the pandemic, a lot of services were provided online and that happened in kind of rush, so security was an afterthought. At the same time, people stayed indoors for a lot of time, and it's given people a lot of opportunities to explore vulnerabilities and exploiting systems, critical infrastructure.

WALSH: The average cost of an attack doubled, just so far this year to now $1.8 million, say security expert Sophos. The highest ransom now astronomical.

JOSH SHIER, SOPHOS: I believe 50 million, 5-0, was the sum that I heard.

WALSH: The latest are so-called triple extortions. They don't just encrypt the data on your computer until you pay up, or just threaten to release it online. Instead, they use that data to attack your systems again, and even to blackmail your customers.

SHIER: They are trying to be more purposeful. They try to penetrate as fully as possible, so that they can then extract as much money as possible. If you are customer of this company whose data has been stolen, they'll threaten to release your information or they'll also call other companies that are your partners.

WALSH: And there is new ransomware known as "fileless" attacks, that don't even require the human error of clicking on a suspicious link. They seep into the operating system of your computer, and never show up as a file on the hard drive, hard to know if it's even happened.

The solutions say experts? Like with kidnappings, don't pay. But that's tough, when privacy is key to a businesses' survival, this leaves police following the money, usually the bitcoin. Ransomware criminals, DarkSide, were behind the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attacks that froze up U.S. gas stations. The FBI quickly recovered half the $4 million paid out, as this graphic of the bitcoin short route shows the FBI traced its path relatively easily with the help of cybersecurity experts Elliptic.

Other scams like one on Twitter last year are a lot more complex with hundreds of crypto transfers over months.


It's in the real world, though, they get caught.

TOM ROBINSON, CHIEF SCIENTIST, ELLIPTIC: At the moment, criminals want to cash out in dollars or euros or whatever, and so, in a vast majority of cases, we do see funds sent to an exchange. If that exchange is regulated, then you should be identifying their customers and reporting any suspicious activity.

WALSH: Still, it gets harder which tricks like mixers that enable users' cryptocurrencies to get mixed together, like shuffling used dollar bills disguising their ownership.

ROBINSON: It's about identifying who the perpetrators are, but also ensuring that it's very difficult for these criminals to cash out. It means there's less of an incentive to commit this kind of crime in the first place.

WALSH: In short, don't pay the money. But if you already have, follow it.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Now, El Salvador has become the first country to adopt a bitcoin, as illegal currency. Lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the move Tuesday night, and it means that bitcoin will become legal tender there, in about 3 months, side by side with the U.S. dollar, the decision gave a shot in the arm to bitcoin, which is trading up. Most central banks have been hesitant to embrace cryptocurrencies.

But as Patrick Oppmann reports from Havana, El Salvador is not one of them.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: El Salvador's Congress has approved a plan that would make the Central American nation the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender. This was expected as Congress is controlled -- the majority of the Congress is controlled by the El Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele.

He made the announcement a bitcoin conference in Miami that El Salvador would be taking this novel and controversial approach of adopting bitcoin as a legally acceptable currency across the country. As well as the U.S. dollar, which El Salvador has used since 2001.

Bukele says that he's hopeful that this will bring investment to El Salvador, since bitcoin entrepreneurs will be granted residency and they will not be taxed for the money they make trading bitcoin if they live in El Salvador. He's also hopeful that the majority of El Salvadorians who do not use formal banking system within that country, that they will begin to adopt bitcoin.

Billions of dollars flow from El Salvadorians living in the U.S. to their native country, and the hope is that they'll be able to do that more efficiently, more cheaply using bitcoin.

How does will all really play out is yet to be determined. El Salvador is a country that has massive problems with corruption, with gang violence and, of course, many people in our country do not trust banks.

They're unlikely to trust a virtual currency that they cannot touch or hold, and a currency that over recent months has been incredibly volatile. It remains to be seen whether people who have very little money will take the risk in investing that in bitcoin.

But El Salvador is the first country to do this, it is a milestone for bitcoin.

Now the question remains, whether other countries will follow their lead.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE) AVLON: Nicaragua's presidential election is just months away, and Daniel Ortega may not face any rivals, after sweeping arrests of opposition leaders. Coming up, how the U.S. is responding.



AVLON: Welcome back. I'm John Avlon. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Back to our top story. U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in England on Wednesday for the upcoming G-7 summit. It is his first trip overseas since taking office.

In the coming hours he is expected to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is hosting the G-7 in Cornwall. The President used the week-long trip to shore up relationships with European allies that were badly strained during the Trump presidency.

He will also hold his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Geneva.

The U.S. is responding to political crackdown in Nicaragua with sanctions. Senior members of President Daniel Ortega's regime including his daughter are the targets. The sanctions come after police arrested seven high-profile oppositional leaders accusing them of acting against the sovereignty of the country. The arrests leave Mr. Ortega almost unopposed for a fourth term in the November election there.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the arrests during the past week a wave of repression.

U.S. border officials say they encountered more than 180,000 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in May. Now, that is up from a year ago putting the U.S. on track to surpass 2019 numbers.

Authorities are using a pandemic emergency rule to turn migrants away. Officials point out those expulsions are leading to a larger than usual rate of repeated border crossing attempts.

Meanwhile the Biden administration is vaccinating unaccompanied migrant children for COVID-19. CNN obtained internal guidance showing officials are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that all children 12 and older receive the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine will be part of the health assessment children receive when they come into custody.

Now there are a variety of reasons for people to leave their homes to start a new life -- gang violence, pandemic-fueled poverty, and the aftermath of natural disasters, all playing into migrants decisions to leave.

Matt Rivers is just back from Honduras with some of their stories.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we spoke to a lot of migrants one-on-one over the past couple of months especially here in Mexico, migrants coming from Central America. And we hear these consistent stories. There's a lack of opportunity. There's chronic violence. There is chronic corruption.

And so we wanted to go to one of those Central American countries, go to Honduras to see exactly what those migrants that we've been speaking to are talking about.


RIVERS (voice over): Twin 17-year-olds Gerardo and Celine (ph) were born and raised in Choloma (ph), Honduras in a gang run neighborhood in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

They live in abject poverty. But for the boys it is home and they will miss it because they are about to leave in the United States.

At the bedroom they shared they show us their new prized possession the brand-new shoes they will use to make the minimum 1,500 mile journey to the U.S. mostly on foot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm leaving like the 17th or the 20th of this month with these clothes here that they're going to bring with them.

RIVERS: Gerardo says "It feels terrible because we're going to leave my mother but we have no future here."

They will join the tens of thousands of other Hondurans who streamed into the U.S. this year leaving behind one of the poorest countries on earth.

Northward migration isn't new but the conditions forcing people to flee, arguably have never been worse.

Starting with twin category 4 hurricanes that made landfall late last year just two weeks apart utterly decimating this region. People lost everything and half a year later, hardly anything is back to normal.


RIVERS: We meet a family who built a makeshift shelter on top of their old home after it was subsumed by mud during hurricane flooding.

"We lost everything" says this man. "I want to leave because I can't find a job. There's no support from the government."

And just up the street, we meet another family, another home wiped out during the storm.

Water leaked right through the walls of their shelter made of old boards and tarps.

(on camera): They sleep on mattresses that are on dirt floor in a house made out of makeshift supplies.

"We're desperate" he tells us, "we don't have a choice" saying he will soon be forced to migrate north too.

It's hard to believe that more than six months after this hurricane, authorities have done so little here to try and help people clean. I mean look at this. What used to be a house it got completely filled up with mud during the hurricane. And now obviously the family that lived here can't come back.

In response, the government told CNN they have been making repairs giving us this video of some of their work. They said repairs like this take time and that back-to-back hurricanes would be difficult for any country to deal with, critics though from citizens to NGOs say their efforts haven't been nearly enough.

And making the recovery worse, all this damage came during a different kind of storm -- the pandemic. A government mandated shutdown and COVID-19 restrictions meant unemployment soared and around half of Hondurans now live below the poverty line says the World Bank.

"If they had more opportunities, people wouldn't have to leave this country," says this local priest. For now they will take the time they have with each other, because in a few days the boys will likely end up here -- a bus station where every night a bus leaves for the Guatemala border. From there many make a reluctant walk north. This family of four plans to do just that.

"We can't take it anymore," this dad says, saying there's no jobs or a good education for his kids. We've got no other option but to leave.


RIVERS: Now, some of these neighborhoods we went to were extremely dangerous. In many places we had to let local gang leaders know that we were going to be there just so there weren't any surprises.

We spent five or six days on the grounds in Honduras and I think all politics aside, if there is one thing that our team took away from this is that if you want less migrants to arrive at the southern U.S. border, you have to give them reasons to stay, John.

AVLON: Christopher Sabatini joins me now from London he's a senior fellow for Latin America Chatham House and a professor at Columbia University.

Christopher, just reflecting on that package you just saw from Matt Rivers it makes the point you hear from the Biden administration, Vice President Harris about the need to address root causes.

My question to you is what are the actions that the United States can take that has proven to be able to stem the tide of these migrants with regard to dealing with root causes?

CHRISTOPHER SABATINI, SENIOR FELLOW FOR LATIN AMERICA, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, first of all that was a good package. It does indicate just how systemic these challenges are. And you're right it's going to take some time. These are questions of lack of social mobility, lack of opportunity and with that has come sort of a violence and insecurity that the report talked about.

And those are systemic issues. They're not going to be solved overnight. You have to first of all address government capacity. And that is not something that you do very quickly and turn around. There are decades if not centuries of governments and states that are ineffective in delivering education, ineffective in generating jobs, ineffective in creating a sort of predictable and stable environment that is necessary for investment and job growth.

But you also have problems in terms of delivering education, delivering police forces and security that provide both sort of the context in which people live and provide them the sort of stability that they need but also the ability to track job and investment in the country.

And these are things that the United States is going to try to address, through development assistance, but it is going to take much more than that. Just throwing money at this problem, when governments are so ineffective, and there's such skewed inequality, or distribution of resources is a very long term problem for which there is no easy solution.

AVLON: That is a very tall order as a matter of policy. Of course, another contributing factor throughout the region is political repression.

That's why I want to turn to Nicaragua. And there's a tweet from Julia Chung, she's the acting U.S. assistant secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere affairs. And here is what she said.

Quote, "Presidential candidate Felix Rodriguez's arbitrary arrest, third Nicaraguan opposition leader, arrested in 10 days, should resolve any remaining doubt about Ortega's credentials as a dictator. International community has no choice but to treat him as such."


AVLON: Now, that is tough talk from the State Department. The sanctions on Ortega's inner circle are tough actions but is it enough when you're dealing with someone like Ortega?

SABATINI: That is exactly the question. You know, sanctions can try to attempt to impose some pain on these individuals and that is what these sanctions are doing. They're not sanctions against the countries per se. There are those. But these are trying to tighten the latitude for movement and the ability to gain resources and travel even for the members of the Ortega family and those around him in response to this oppression.

But you are right we can't really measure the level of cruelty and the need for these governments and officials to stay in power. First of all for as long as they're in power they have impunity. And they know darn well there is effectively a price on their head.

Once they step down from power they will likely be arrested if they travel, they will likely have to spend time in jail for their crimes against humanity. So they are doing everything they can to stay in power.

And you know, sanctions simply are just going to up the ante a little bit. They may impose a cost but what we're really looking at here is some form of defection within the government where people -- those around Ortega -- he's not going to step down easily for the reasons that you say.

So somebody should defect and say well, my time is better spent not with this guy, I'm just going to basically turn him in and change government.

AVLON: All right. Christopher Sabatini from Chatham House. It's a complicated issue in a crucial part of the world. Thank you very much.

SABATINI: Thanks very much.

AVLON: All right. Ahead CNN's Max Foster sits down with Britain's Prince Edward as the royal family remembers its beloved patriarch, Prince Philip on would would've been his 100th birthday.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I ask how she is coping without him?

PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX: Well, you know, thank you for asking. And I think actually doing remarkably well.


AVLON: Now to "Call to Earth", CNN's initiative to promote a more sustainable future. And story from the Netherlands about a simple but effective method of removing trash from our cities' water waste. Take a look.


PHILIP EHRHORN, CHIEF TECNOLOGY OFFICER, THE GREAT BUBBLE BARRIER: I think for me the ocean or water has always been fascinating. To see plastic in our oceans and how it's damaging our environment, that hurts obviously. I was thinking about all sorts of mechanical ways of how we can live more in tune with the environment rather than to exploit it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to the World Economic Forum, 8 million tons of plastic waste are being leaked into our oceans every year. That's the equivalent of an entire garbage truck being dumped every three minutes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The source of the problem -- the world cities.

FRANCIS COET, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, THE GREAT BUBBLE BARRIER: If you see some of the rivers in the Netherlands but also in Spain, in Indonesia you can tell that this problem in the ocean is being created by us.

And if we can stop it closer to home it also becomes more visible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in Amsterdam a simple solution has been found that could stop up to 86 parent of plastic waste from ever reaching the oceans. A barrier made of bubbles.

EHRHORN: So the way the bubble barrier works is basically it's a tube that we place diagonally on the bottom of the water way. The tube has a lot of tiny holes, we pump air through it and the air bubbles will rise towards the surface. And then so we bring plastic which is in suspension towards the surface.

And then at the surface together with the natural flow of the river, we also bring plastic that is already at the surface towards one side of the river which is our second component of the Bubble Barrier System which is where we retain the waste until it is removed and then taken for processing.

I think the simplicity of the system is what is really appealing. In theory it's just a tube and a catching system. If you want to do anything in rivers ship traffic is going to be dominant as some economic driver. We won't be able to stop that.

So we would have to find a solution which would be, you know, it's not hindering all the other existing activities, and of course, also the ecosystems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bubble barrier does exactly that. While it provides no impediment to water traffic and marine life can passed through freely, it also catches plastic waste of all sizes. Anything from one millimeter scraps of microplastics to wind surfing boards and abandoned TVs.

EHRHORN: So with every bubble barrier system that we're implementing, we're trying to work together with the city and, you know, local NGOs to evaluate what the bubble barrier is catching to implement new policies and additional measures on land and upstream so that collectively, in the future, we can work towards less plastic and things (ph) in the water in the first place.

COET: Our next step is a bubble barrier within Europe, or actually multiple within Europe. And we of course want to move to Asia, because we think we can make a lot of impact there and that is what we are going for right now.

EHRHORN: Bubble barriers is one part of the approach, it is not going to be our silver bullet to solve the whole plastic solution problem, but we think it is a significant, and very important tool to really, you know, have a pragmatic approach of saying that we know we have plastic in our oceans, we know rivers and canals are major pathways.

We can stop this today to tackle this problem in a more integrated approach. That we look at how are things being produced, how are things being collected, how are they being processed and recycled.


AVLON: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call with #CallToEarth.

We will be right back.



AVLON: It's been a difficult year for Britain's royal family, from a very public rift to the loss of their beloved patriarch, Prince Philip who would've turned 100 years old on Thursday.

CNN's Max Foster sat down with the Earl of Wessex to talk about his father's legacy, and how the monarchy is coping with the latest challenges.

FOSTER: John, Prince Edward and his family live here in Windsor near by the Queen. They see each other all the time. They are particularly close.

And eventually Edward will inherit the title of the Duke of Edinburgh. And I asked him about his father's legacy.


FOSTER (on camera): You're Royal Highness, thank you very much for speaking to us. It's a very poignant time of course. But I know you want to focus on celebrating your father's life at this point.

PRINCE EDWARD: Indeed. I mean it's -- not just such a broad life, but a life that was involved in so many different interests and he traveled so much of the world saw so much.

Not only that but he was the sort of person that, you know, once met, never forgotten.

FOSTER: It would've been your father's 100th birthday. How do you think he'd look back on his public work?

PRINCE EDWARD He was always, always incredibly self-effacing. It wasn't about him. It was about other people. He just gave them the nudge of encouragement and off they go.

And tragically, it wasn't until he passed away that everybody went, wow, that is what he did. And of course it is too late that they ever find out.

But then, I suspect that if he had made it to his 100th birthday, a lot of that would've come out. And it would've been lovely for him to have heard it himself.

But then again, because he was just so self-effacing, he just wouldn't have wanted the fuss and the bothering and I don't think he ever really necessarily wanted to reach this because I (INAUDIBLE) -- he'd just thought that it would be too much fuss. And that wasn't him. That was just not him at all.

FOSTER: You're very focused on the Duke of Edinburg awards scheme which people may think of it as an outward bound scheme. But actually it is more than that, isn't it? It's almost a motivational self- confidence exercise.

PRINCE EDWARD Well, it's a framework. It's a framework of activities. It was to encourage young people, and adults to get involved in non- formal activities. So (INAUDIBLE) class from learning, and of course, it empowered both adults and young people to take control of their destinies.

And it doesn't matter where in the world, that young person or that adult is, it is the same. And hence the reason why I think it spread to 130 countries. And it is doing particularly well in the states, it was a bit of a late start at that, but it is brilliant.

And what is really exciting about what's going on in happening in the states is that nearly 50 percent of the young people involved are from what we would call at risk or marginalized young people and disadvantaged young people which is brilliant because those young people can really benefit from this.

FOSTER: We should also talk about his other role, which a bigger role, arguably, his role as consort and, you know, probably the biggest influence on arguably one of the greatest reigns in British history, away from the Queen.

Can I ask how she is coping without him?

PRINCE EDWARD Well, you know, thank you for asking. And I think actually, doing remarkably well. But then, I think that yes, it was a fantastic partnership. But over the last couple of weeks, life has gotten considerably busier.

Things are beginning to opening up. There are more activities. So sort of weirdly that sort of fills any particular void, I think there are going to be other times, further on in the year, where I think that it will become a bit more poignant and a bit harder.

But at the moment, thank you very much indeed for asking, but I think everyone is in pretty good shape, really.

FOSTER: I don't want to pry too much on private matters, but this is a private matter which is also very public she'll be aware of. But that must have been a family rift, it's undeniably there, that must have been very difficult for her, too. How is she coping with that, can I ask?

PRINCE EDWARD Well, it all depends on what -- are you euphemistically referring to Harry and Meghan?

FOSTER: Yes. Yes. I mean yes, the divide between the Sussexes and the rest of the family currently.

PRINCE EDWARD You know, yes. I mean it's very sad. We have all been there before. We've all had excessive intrusions and attention in our lives. And we've all dealt with it in totally different ways.

Listen, we wish them the very best of luck. It is a really hard decision. Fantastic news about the baby. That's great. I hope they will be very happy with that. It's just -- listen, families are a families aren't they really.

FOSTER: They are. I think you're right. They do happen in all families. It's just the very public nature of this. I wonder how difficult that had been for her?

PRINCE EDWARD Listen, it's difficult for everyone. It is difficult for everyone. But as I said, that is families for you (ph).

FOSTER: We talked about how she just carries on in this remarkable way, and very inspiring way.


FOSTER: And president of the United States, currently in the United Kingdom. And the Queen as the longest serving head of state in the world, she's met so many presidents as I've said and so many heads of state around the world.

I mean I wonder what it must be an opportunity also for those heads of states to speak to someone who has been there, done that and had that experience as well?

PRINCE EDWARD When you meet some of the who's who at that level of personal experience and knowledge, -- you can say overall some people, you know, and I think most people come away wishing that they had a little bit longer.

usually the response. God, I just so would have liked to have a little bit longer, because that was fascinating.

FOSTER: They always stay private these conversations, don't they.


FOSTER: So that's -- it is almost like a high level of counseling, in many ways. And prime ministers have spoken about that.

PRINCE EDWARD And It is very, very important. That fact that -- the fact that they all say it private is something that is a bit very strange in this world. You know, if you communicate to appear almost instantly or a press conference. That fact that nothing like that happens doesn't mean that actually people really do respect the fact that this is a genuinely private, off the record, conversation.

So they really can talk about things. And get to the heart of things in a very genuine fashion because they know it is not going to come out.

FOSTER: Has she let slip tears in any way?

(CROSSTALK) PRINCE EDWARD Of course not. Of course not.

FOSTER: So you wouldn't hear anything about the maids --


PRINCE EDWARD Well, even if I did, I've forgotten about it the next day.

FOSTER: Thank you very much for speaking to me.

PRINCE EDWARD Pleasure. Thank you for your interest.


FOSTER: And John we will be back here in Windsor on Sunday when president Biden flies in for his first meeting with the Queen, John.

AVLON: Thank you Max.

And thank you all for watching. Be sure to find me on Twitter at John Avlon, our special coverage leading up to the G-7 starts with Anna Coren and Bianca Nobilo after a quick break. Be well.