Live

Watch CBSN Live

Transcript: Vicki Huddleston talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"

CBS NEWS - WASHINGTON BUREAU

INTELLIGENCE MATTERS - VICKI HUDDLESTON

INTERVIEW WITH VICKI HUDDLESTON

CORRESPONDENT: MICHAEL MORELL

PRODUCER: OLIVIA GAZIS

MEDIA ID: IMHUDDLESTON.MP3

MICHAEL MORELL:

Vicki, welcome to the show. It is great to have you on Intelligence Matters.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

I'm delighted to be here. Thank you, Michael.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So, Vicki, I want our listeners to know that in every job that you had in government, you were a great partner to the C.I.A. And I want people to know that your book, Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat's Chronicle of Our Long Struggle With Castro's Cuba, is absolutely terrific.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Wow, thank you.

MICHAEL MORELL:

And people should get on Amazon and order it. It's a great read I think for anybody interested in the State Department, anybody interested in diplomacy, and certainly anybody interested in Cuba. I'd love to start, Vicki, by taking you back to Havana when you led the U.S. intersection there, now the U.S. Embassy. And at one point, the intelligence community was absolutely convinced that someone was getting into the intersection at night. Can you tell us that story?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

I'd love to, because I always think of this as the spidey or the Spider Man story. So there were these leaks that were happening continually of information, and it appeared to be coming out of Havana where these leaks were. But they were leaks of information, of highly sensitive material. Not just on Cuba, but on other countries in the world, most notably Russia. And the intelligence community present in Havana had been told, "You have to have somebody stay in your offices every night."

MICHAEL MORELL:

Because they thought somebody from the Cuban Intelligence Service might be breaking in.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Was getting in. And I said to the chief of the intelligence community, "That's not possible. Look. It's a glass building. There's Marines. You have a huge, safe door. It's not possible." And he looks at me sort of sheepishly like, "Mmmm, you're right." But he said, "My bosses are not buying this." So every night people would sleep there. And the intelligence community would send down people to do this on temporary duty. And what--

MICHAEL MORELL:

To be the sleepers, to sleep there?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

To be the sleepers, I love it. So one of the people they sent went to this hotel, the Riviera Hotel. And I think people liked to stay there because it was inexpensive, but it was like the place most surveilled by Cuban intelligence. You would walk in there, once I stayed there. Every other person in the hotel had on a white guayabera and was smoking a cigarette and looking at you in a strange way.

And one of the sleepers was not, I guess she got psyched out, and she didn't come to work that evening to sleep. And we found her in a bathtub, kind of had completely lost it because of all the--

MICHAEL MORELL:

Stress was too much for her.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

--Cuban security and the stress. And probably she had been sent to this easy duty in which, you know, you sleep through. And so we sent her home. And I said to the chief of the section, "Well, I think this is enough." He said, "Oh no." I said, "But, you know, there's no spidey here." But it still continued until Ana Belen Montes, the most senior government spy that we've ever found was discovered--

MICHAEL MORELL:

Working for the Cubans.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

To be working for the Cubans. Never paid. Just did it, because she felt that U.S. policy was wrong, and she decided to do something, which unfortunately was betraying her country. And that was where the leaks were coming from.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So she was the one in there.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

But she wasn't, she was in Washington at the N.S.A., National Security Agency, and of course, nobody was getting into the intelligence community's offices in Havana.

MICHAEL MORELL:

We were looking in the wrong place. How about that.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Yeah. Which anybody would have realized I think, had the top bosses come down. They would have seen it was impossible.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Yeah, great story. Okay, Vicki, your career.

You started in the Peace Corps, had State Department assignments all over Africa, some in Latin America. Had senior assignments at State related to both areas, and even served a stint as a senior officer of the Department of Defense. Outside of your service in Cuba, which I imagine is kinda special, special enough to write a book about it, what was your other favorite jobs in your career?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Ethiopia, which was, I was a charge in Ethiopia during a period when there wasn't an ambassador there. It had been right after Ethiopia had really their first democratic elections, but the opposition cried foul. Things were very tense, and there were street riots. And for me, it was a really exciting time, because I had the opportunity to work with the European ambassadors and the European Union and craft a compromise between the Ethiopian government and the opposition, which lasted for about six months. And then everything fell apart again.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Yeah. May I ask you a question, Vicki, about the State Department itself? It had a rough go of it with Secretary Tillerson. I still don't understand what happened there. How do you think Mike Pompeo is doing at repairing some of that damage? What do you hear from your kind of network on how Mike is doing?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Well, let me just say first about Tillerson that I agree with you. It's hard to fathom what happened, because he was a very experienced man in a very high position. He had been all over the world. So why didn't he understand and appreciate better what the State Department was trying to do? In any case, he didn't. He allowed 40% of the senior service to quit or be fired. He curtailed employment of families, which is extremely important.

So it really demoralized the institution. The present secretary is doing better. We're hiring again. There's entry classes. There are not mass resignations, although we had a resignation not long ago from the Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, who was actually I believe a political appointee.

So, and I see that a lot of foreign service officers, or not a lot, quite a few, are being confirmed for ambassadorial positions. But the question is, how much can you make up in a brief time? And I would say he's on the right track, but the State Department I think is still in a position in which it's been severely weakened by Tillerson. And it's still weak because essentially you have a president that calls the shots. And the president announces those publicly and by tweet and then maybe a few days later contradicts it.

And also, it seems to me that we're at a time where the idea of a liberal international order that obeys or pushes the United States, the international laws, international institutions, that's no longer seemingly the mission of the State Department. So substantively, I believe they're weakened as well.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Vicki, I want to switch gears a little bit and take a deep dive on Cuba. And maybe the place to start is with Fidel Castro himself. You've met him, of course. Can you tell us the first time you met him? Can you tell us about that?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Yes. It's a time I'll never forget. I had gone down to Cuba with a delegation from the State Department. The delegation was led by the Africa Bureau, because they were going to Cuba to celebrate the fact that Cuba had removed from Angola 50,000 troops. It's hard to imagine this little island with 50,000 troops, plus its equipment, tanks, MiGs, the whole thing.

The Soviet Union actually had done the transport for the Cubans in both directions. This agreement behind the scene was essentially negotiated by Chester Crocker, who was the Assistant Secretary of Africa for President Ronald Reagan. So it was a Republican administration initiative to essentially remove Cuba's presence from Africa.

And at that time, that was the number one issue. If we can get Cuba out of Africa, maybe we can normalize relations. So by this time for the celebration, because it took several years to remove all the troops, it was H.W. Bush. So it was his administration that I went down for, along with the Africa delegation. And there's a large treaty signing.

Castro is there. And believe it or not, he has on a bullet-proof vest. And, you know, here it is with, like, 200 diplomats. And so I didn't see any danger for him, but I think maybe it was vanity, you know. He's bigger already than most Cubans, but this made him even bigger.

And he liked to be the main presence in the room. So after the signing of the treaties, in which he was not the center of attention, he headed for me, I think because he wanted to reclaim his rightful place as the most important person in the room.

MICHAEL MORELL:

And you're the senior American here.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

I'm the senior, well, I'm the senior Cuban American. I'm the person in charge of Cuban Affairs, because I'm the director of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State. Most senior person in the room was actually the head of delegation from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa.

Anyway, so Fidel gets over to our delegation. He kind of blows off the senior person who's the Africa person, comes up to me, and he says in a very loud voice, "Who are you? Someone's spouse?" And I am so insulted, because I know he knows who I am. I've been to Cuba before. I had just been promoted from the deputy to the director of Cuban Affairs. So I stand up tall, and I'm not very tall, about 5'5". And I say, "No, I'm the director of Cuban Affairs." And Castro sort of gets this smirk. He looks around. All the guests are quiet. And he says, "Oh, I thought I was." And "I thought I was director of Cuban Affairs."

MICHAEL MORELL:

That's great. So you say, Vicki, you say something in your book that is really, really interesting, I think. You say, "there's a contradiction that haunts our relationship with Cuba." Can you tell our listeners what you mean by that?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Well, our policy, which for the most part, with some exceptions, briefly with Carter, briefly with Clinton, and most notably with President Obama, which went on for two years, his opening, we have had a punitive policy against Cuba. The results of this punitive policy, other than the fact that it's obviously failed for 58 years because Cuba's leadership and government has not changed in the least, is that it gives Cuba a threat.

The United States becomes a threat. It gives the leaders of Cuba, most notably at that time, Fidel Castro, an excuse to clamp down politically, and it also provides an excuse and has for a very long time, for the many economic ills of Cuba. Because this is not an efficient economic system. So if you have a threat from the most powerful country in the world, that's one reason you can explain why the economy isn't working.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So I agree with you, I mean, I agree with you 100%. So that brings us to why the policy is what it has been, right? And that's domestic politics here. Can you talk about that? And I think you talk about it a little bit in your book as, "America being entangled in a Cuban family feud," is the way you put it, which is fascinating to me.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Which really is the case. When Cubans left Cuba, almost, well, a significant portion focus the Cuban intelligence, intelligentsia, the professional class, the landowners left Cuba. A massive, massive migration over, say, five years initially, to the United States. So Castro really turned over completely the society.

So these Cuban Americans mostly ended up in the Florida area and became Americans. And they became prosperous and successful. And the first thing they did that was notable in U.S.-Cuban relations is they formed a Cuban-American National Association. And it was led by a very charismatic Cuban who was sort of the mirror opposite of Fidel Castro, Jorge Mas Canosa. And they were extremely effective in demanding that the U.S. policy punish Cuba. And the interesting thing is, every president, beginning with Kennedy, because Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would probably have changed the policy toward Cuba. He was talking about it.

And every president has to some degree during his tenure tried to open. And every time, Cuban-Americans have successfully helped to end that opening. So first example was when the Soviet Union fell. That evening I was telling you about and the Cubans had returned the 50,000 troops to Cuba, Fidel and I had a subsequent conversation, in which he's saying, "How long are you going to maintain this embargo? This is hurting Cuban children. We can't even buy an aspirin."

He was exaggerating, but he was very concerned, because just at that moment, as the Soviet Union is withdrawing $5 billion annually in subsidy, as Soviet troops are leaving the country, so they no longer have that little cushion of security, he's hoping that at least the United States won't tighten the embargo. After all, he's done what the Reagan and Bush administrations wanted him to do, and lived up to their agreement and withdrew his troops.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Has the demographic change in the Cuban-American community dampened the political pressure any? Or is it what it always has been?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Well, one would have thought, in this case, the reward, the one I was talking about when the Soviet Union collapsed, the reward was for Castro, we tightened the embargo. That was the first legislation, the Cuba Democracy Act, which prevented U.S. subsidiaries from trading with Cuba.

And since those subsidiaries had been selling food and medicine to Cuba, it contributed to the suffering of the Cuban people during the special period and time of peace. And it was true suffering. Cuban American opinion began to change, with more and more Cubans coming since the initial migration, both in the '80s and then in '94, another mass migration. Cubans began to be in favor of some kind of engagement.

By the time President Obama in 2015 decided to go toward an opening, the majority of Cuban Americans were in favor of engagement. But the most powerful Cuban Americans, and those are generally Republican, did not. So here you have Obama with his opening, more Americans coming down, more trade, more investment. Cubans are delighted. I mean, the Cubans in the street are getting money from tourism, from opening their homes and renting their rooms. There's really a feeling of hope.

And then President Trump, who initially didn't have much to say on Cuba and had previously sent his staff some years before his candidacy to Cuba to look at the possibility of a Hotel Trump or Trump Havana, suddenly changes his position at the behest of conservative Cuban Americans, and says, "Okay, I'm going to turn back the Obama initiative," and when he gets in office, he does. He cancels Obama's national security directive, indicating that U.S. government agencies should cooperate with Cuba.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So Vicki, when you were the U.S. principal officer-- in Havana, the Elian Gonzalez issue exploded on the TV screens of America. Walk us through what that was like from your perspective.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

It was amazing. It truly was amazing. I remember, let's say, about a week after-- Elian, the Elian saga began, you might say, I was coming to work.

MICHAEL MORELL:

And we should just very quickly tell people what it was, 'cause maybe not everybody knows.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Yes. Well, here is this little, darling, cute Cuban boy. He's five years old. He gets in a boat with 11 people, including his mother and her boyfriend. The boat sinks about 35 miles off of the Coast of Florida. His mother and her boyfriend tie him to an inner tube. They both drown, as does everyone else, other than Elian and another couple that end up far separated from Elian but wash up on the Florida shores subsequently.

So two fishermen are out on Thanksgiving Day, and they see bobbing along something it looks like in an inner tube. And as they get closer, they realize that there is a child tied to this inner tube. One man dives overboard, gets the child, calls the Coast Guard, and Elian arrives in the United States. His relatives are informed, and at first they say, they're going to return him, because his father calls. Immediately, Elian calls his father, or a call is arranged.

MICHAEL MORELL:

And his father's back in Cuba.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

And his father is in Cardenas, Cuba. He works in a little restaurant that caters basically to Cubans, but also tourists on a budget. And his whole family, I mean, it is his, it's the father's family, not the mother's family, are there in Havana. And he says, you know, "Keep Elian for me. I'm coming. I'll pick him up."

Well, the Cuban American National Association is now headed by Jorge Mas Canosa's son, Jorge Mas Santos. And this is his chance to prove that he's just as tough as his father. He can keep this harsh policy toward Cuba. And the Cuban American National Association is not at all happy with Clinton, who has been trying to open up toward Cuba. This is 1999. It's just at the end of Clinton's tenure, and he's restarted people-to-people travel, things like that.

And so the Cuban American National Association makes this into a huge deal. They're joined by all sorts of Cuban exile groups, and they demand that Elian stay in the United States. And the, President Clinton makes the decision along with Janet Reno, that the child should be returned to his family. This is international law. If one parent is living, then the child returns to the parent, as long as they're not abusive.

And we had Immigration and Naturalization interview the family twice. And it was clear that he was a good father, that he had extended family, and that would be presumably the right place for the child. But the Cuban Americans, it was like Elian was a little piece of Cuba. He kind of represented to them everything they had lost.

In addition, many Cubans were Peter Pan. That was a group of Cuban children that the Catholic Church had helped send to the United States, because their parents were afraid they might be sent to the Soviet Union to be indoctrinated. So there were just all sorts of emotional things going on. But Clinton decides to send him back. But every time he's ready to send him back, there's a huge crowd around where Elian's staying with his uncle and a young lady, Marisleysis, who was helping to take care of him. And the saga just goes on and on.

Janet Reno postpones his return, postpones it again, hopes for a settlement. The U.S. Congress makes an initiative. They're gonna either make him a citizen or a permanent resident. At that point, Elian's grandmothers come to the States and see him, and it's not a very good meeting, but it derails that effort. In the end, Janet Reno, Justice and Immigration raid the house where Elian's staying. And, of course, there's the famous picture of, you know, this fully armored agent with a long gun, you know, standing there looking at this frightened child in the arms of one of the fishermen (LAUGH) who had actually rescued him.

But then I like to say, there was the subsequent picture, photograph, of Elian in the arms of his father Juan Miguel. And, you know, it was clearly the right place for the child to be, for a six-year-old child. But it was heart-wrenching for the Cuban Americans, and they got retaliation. So Clinton had gotten about 30% of Cuban American votes in his reelection. Al Gore got 18%. Now, if you recall, Florida was in dispute. If Florida had gone to Gore, he would have won.

MICHAEL MORELL:

If he got those, if he got 40% rather than 18%, he might have won Florida. (LAUGH)

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Yes, or if he got his 20%. I mean, I think Florida was like 500 votes.

MICHAEL MORELL:

And you believe that was because of sending Elian back--

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Oh, it was, because the Cuban organizations had El voto castigo, the punishment vote, and that was the punishment.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Fascinating. Vicki, one more issue from your time in Havana I want to talk to you about, and that's the visit of former President Carter and the attempts by our current national security advisor, John Bolton, to sabotage that trip. What happened?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

You know, that was the first indication that a certain faction within the Bush administration were extremely unhappy with how Cuba policy had gone. What had happened is when President Bush became president, the policy didn't change, much to my delight. And I tried to keep it that way. And as a result, Cuba was buying more agricultural goods than ever before. More Americans were coming down.

I mean, there were like 2,000 Americans came in just the month of January. And more than that, Cuba, Fidel Castro personally, were helpful with the security of the unlawful combatants at Guantanamo base. Everybody expected that Castro would denounce that. Instead, he said, "Oh, the Americans will do what they want," and he cooperated with us on land and sea security for the placement of the unlawful combatants.

Which is, you know, you might think about is pretty amazing, because there's probably very few countries in the world (LAUGH) who would have been even willing to accept that. In any case, the Cuban Americans were, well, they were very worried about that, because they were sure some kinda deal had been made with the administration. It hadn't. But they were demanding a return to a harsher policy.

And by May 20, which is the Cuban Independence Day, 100th independence then in 2002, of Cuban independence, Bush gave a speech to the Cuban Americans in Florida. This is George W. Bush, and it was sort of a carrot and stick speech that if Cuba does, has elections free and fair, international observation, then we might consider certain modification.

Well, this enraged Congressman Diaz-Balart. His father who's very prominent, now deceased, in the Cuban American community. And at that point, Bush backed away from not changing the previous Clinton policy and began to change it. And that's when the Bush administration began to tighten up on the embargo. The rhetoric went up. And they formed eventually the Commission For a Free Cuba.

And, of course, what you saw immediately in response, Cuba begins to clamp down on their dissidents. On the eve of our invasion of Iraq, Castro throws 75 dissidents in jail for terms like 20 years, many of whom I had known, was friends with. Because there's no longer any advantage for Cuba to remain engaged with the United States. And that actually is what we're beginning to see right now once again with the Trump administration.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

So the reason the background's important is that, so John Bolton is pushing hard for President Bush to change his policy, and he is a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department. So Carter gets all these briefings from the C.I.A., from the State Department. Nobody mentions anything about W.M.D., weapons of mass destruction. But one week before Carter goes to Cuba, John Bolton goes to American Enterprise Institute--

MICHAEL MORELL:

And John at this point is at the State Department?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

He's at the State Department. He's Deputy Undersecretary of State. And his job is basically overseeing assistance in the political military affairs. And he tells his audience that, "Cuba is sharing chemical weapons with rogue countries." And it's completely untrue. Carter is absolutely furious. He said, "Nobody briefed me on this, nobody mentioned it." So as soon as Carter gets to--

MICHAEL MORELL:

Was it chemical weapons or biological? It was--

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

You're right, it was biological.

MICHAEL MORELL:

It was biological.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Yeah, biological weapons. Carter goes to the lab, talks to the Cuban scientists. They assure him they've always followed the protocols. And, in fact, when I was briefed before I went to Cuba, I was briefed that Cuba was not manufacturing biological weapons and was not acting in a rogue way.

But this, Bolton clearly did it do undermine Carter's visit, which was too bad, because that got everyone looking at this issue, which was a false issue. When what Carter actually did, which was so important and it annoyed Castro no end is, in front of Castro at the University of Havana, in a speech that was televised and-- on the radio so that every Cuban could hear it, Carter called for Fidel Castro to allow a referendum on the Cuban Constitution. Because there had been this human rights activist, Oswaldo Paya, Project Varela, who had gotten over 11,000 signatures asking that there be a referendum on the Cuban Constitution. And that was really the important issue. But a lot of it was overlooked because of Bolton's accusations.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Yeah. I can tell you there was a huge clash between Bolton and the intelligence community over that issue--

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Oh, (LAUGH) I bet there was.

MICHAEL MORELL:

--because we didn't have any evidence of the Cubans being involved in biological weapons either. I want to ask about Cuba's relationship with Venezuela, given where we are today with Venezuela, and the support that the Cubans have given over the years to the Chavez government and now the Maduro government. What's Cuba's interest there? Why did they do it? What do you expect them to do now, given where we are with what's going on in Venezuela?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Well, I think we're in a very difficult and serious place right now, which could very well lead on to confrontation with Cuba and I think definitely will lead on to confrontation with Venezuela. But the good thing about Venezuela is, we have the support of many Latin American governments.

So Cuba has always supported leftist governments in Latin America, notably Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and most recently Venezuela. Venezuela has provided Cuba with subsidized oil. Very cheap oil, which is enough for its internal use, plus allows them to sell some abroad, which brings foreign exchange to Cuba. So it's a really important ally. Chavez was close to Fidel Castro, and that relationship also has endured through Raul Castro, and now the new president of Cuba, Diaz-Canel.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So you said, you know, that you could see this possibly leading to conflict of some sort between the United States and Cuba. How would that play out?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Right now the critics of Cuba who want a harsher policy, which is actually being put in place. We can talk about it a little bit. One of the issues they're pointing to is the fact that Cuba has advisors, lots of doctors of course. In exchange for the oil, Cuba sent doctors to Venezuela, but it also has advisors in Venezuela of all sorts and stripes.

And also, Cuba's relationship with Venezuela has facilitated a greater presence of Russia and Venezuela. So as we push with other Latin Americans to see Maduro step down, you have the Cubans, you have the Russians, you know, advising him not to step down. And I don't see that the administration at this point is trying to arrange a soft landing, which actually is the only way out. Because the only way Maduro is going to be overthrown, it's not going to be like the people rise up. It's when the military turns against him. But in order to get this, they have to be assured of some kind of soft landing.

MICHAEL MORELL:

So Vicki, President Obama made a very significant opening. President Trump has stepped back from that, and you just mentioned the policies getting harsher. Where do you see the relationship going forward?

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

I believe, and I think most Cuba watchers and experts on Cuba believe the policy is now regime change for Cuba as well as of course, other countries in the world such as, well, not just Venezuela, but Iran. As you mentioned, and we chatted about, John Bolton is absolutely opposed to Cuba and was in the Bush administration spearheading a tougher policy toward Cuba. Now that John Bolton's at the National Security Council, he's doing the same.

He went recently in the early January to Freedom House in Miami, and he gave a speech in which he essentially outlined a new Trump policy toward Cuba. Trump had canceled Obama's policy, but he hadn't rolled it back very far. You know, Americans are still going down, although they were restricted on where they could stay. Trade investment had slowed, but in Bolton's speech, he indicated that there would be harsher measures coming.

Now Secretary of State Pompeo, instead of recommending the waiver of what we call Title Three, which is a provision of Helms-Burton or the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act as the second tightening of the embargo that was passed in 1996 against Cuba, he waived it for only 45 days. The president waived for only 45 days at the Secretary of State's recommendation. And now they're reviewing whether they'll let it go into effect.

Since the law was passed, every president has waived it twice a year, because we're so concerned about the extraterritorial reach of allowing Americans and Cuban Americans who were Cubans at the time of the taking to sue foreign companies that are operating on expropriated property. So the courts could be filled with lawsuits against companies, such as Melia or other companies working in the production of sugar cane, say, in Cuba. Anyone who is operating a business that might have been on property expropriated from private Cuban citizens or American citizens.

The most damaging part of this is that it's going to make companies that are considering investment in Cuba hesitate and probably not invest. And the end result of this is not only a harsher policy, but Cubans are already in an increasingly precarious situation. Medicines are scarce. Even food is scarce. But the thing that it does more than anything else, it will continue to push Cuba in the direction of Russia and China.

And already, according to a friend of mine who was just there a few months ago, Russians are all over. It's like Russia has come back to the hemisphere. The policy originated in the Cold War, and it's now returned to something similar or is returning, should this provision go into effect, to the Cold War once again.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Vicki, thank you so much for joining us. I just got a big education on Cuba. I think our listeners did too. It was great to have you on the show.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Well, thank you, Michael. I really enjoyed it, and I, you know, I just, I feel so strongly about Cuba, and I feel so strongly that engagement worked. Human rights were getting better. Cubans were having an opportunity to create their own businesses, earn some money, travel more. And now it's as if everything's been turned, with the hope that somehow by hurting the Cuban people more, they'll rise up and overturn the Cuban government, which didn't happen for--

MICHAEL MORELL:

The direct opposite, right, (LAUGH) direct opposite. It sustains the government. It sustains it--

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

It sustains and pushes them into the arms of our competitors.

MICHAEL MORELL:

Thank you so much.

VICKI HUDDLESTON:

Thank you, Michael.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

View CBS News In