Skip to main content

Due to a planned power outage, our services will be reduced on Tuesday, June 15th, starting at 8:30am PDT until the work is complete. We apologize for the inconvenience.

tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 21, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

8:00 pm
diversity than ever before here in georgia. >> it's the open door, and the next step is to -- i don't know, this way, this way, this way, this way. i think it's beautiful for these cuban people. ♪ >> and americans as well. as both countries will learn from each other, like the dancers here at the georgia ballet. robert ray, al jazeera. that is all of our time. i'm tony harris in new york. john siegenthaler is up next with more of today's news right now. >> tony, thank you. president obama and the first lady are now guests of hour at a state dinner in havana. it's one of the main events of the president's historic visit to cuba. mike viqueira joins us from havana with more on the president's busy day on the island. mike? >> reporter: good evening, to you, john.
8:01 pm
raul castro says there are profound differences between his country and the united states, and certainly those differences were on display today. amid all of the pomp, ceremony, and goodwill, castro lashed out at critics on his country's record on human rights. shaking hands for the first time on cuban soil. they talked for two hours behind closed doors, but when they emerged it was clear that the acrimony, 54 years couldn't be forgotten, even with the ceremony and goodwill. asked by an american voter why cuba has political piz -- prisoners, castro bristled. >> translator: what political prisoners? give me a name or names.
8:02 pm
give me a list, and if we have those political prisoners, they will be released before tonight ends. >> reporter: human rights groups say arrests of dissidents in cuba have increasing, though long-term prison sentences decreased. shortly before president obama arrived a protest was forcibly eliminated. >> translator: i think human rights issue should not be politicized. that is not correct. >> reporter: castro says if change is to come to cuba, it's for cuba alone to decide. president obama agrees, but on tuesday he'll meet primately with a small group of dissents. >> i have met with people who
8:03 pm
have been subject to arbitrary detention, and that's something i have to speak out on, because i hear from them directly and i know what it means for them. >> reporter: castro again called for an end to the embargo. it is a view shared by president obama. >> one of the best ways to help the cuban people succeed and improve their lives would be for the u.s. congress to lift the embargo once and for all. >> reporter: inviting american business along for the trip is designed to make it difficult for republicans to resist the opening to cuba. and the white house is providing images and photo ops along the way. even at the end of the sometimes tense press conference, the two leaders were all smiles. and in an interview with an american network after that press conference.
8:04 pm
president obama was asked whether he gave a list to raul castro of political prisoners here in cuba. president obama said he did not. he has tried to do that before. the white house believes by simply opening up to cuba and exposing them more to the international scene, particularly to american society and political thought, well, that will go a long way. and john, one more thing, white house officials says it wasn't even settled that they would take questions until the moment they sat down together and agreed to open it up to questions, something that is very rare if not unheard of here in cuba. >> mike, thank you. four of the five presidential candidates in the united states spoke today at the a-pac meeting in washington. all four told the pro-israeli group they stand with israel. john terrett is in washington. john? >> reporter: that's right, john. good evening to you. a-pac is quite simply the largest israeli-jewish lobby in
8:05 pm
the country, very, very powerful organization. when they met here this time last year, they were railing against the iran nuclear deal. 18,000 pill grams have mated here. all of the candidates in the race for the white house with the exception of bernie sanders are here, despite the fact that jews make up 3% of the united states population. donald trump came here with two black marks against his name. he had been havering on whether if he were president to move the u.s. ambassador, and he said he was neutral in the a palestinian israeli conflict, because he wanted to give the palestinians a chance to realize he was starting from a neutral position. that upset members of a-pac. he began his speech by coming out swinging on the iran deal, and not surprisingly, he slammed
8:06 pm
it, john. >> i have been in business a long time. i know deal making. and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic, for america, israel, and the whole of the middle east. [ applause ] >> the problem here is fundamental. we have rewarded the world's leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return. >> reporter: trump went on to say if he were president he would immediately meet with prime minister netenyahu of israel. he said secretary of state hillary clinton was a disaster, that she and obama have treated israel very badly. you can see what he is doing there, john, trying to link her to the iran deal. >> speaking of mrs. clinton, she spoke at this event as well. give us a summary of what he had
8:07 pm
to say. >> reporter: that's right. it gave her news coverage throughout the day. she is a clinton, and israelis appreciate that her husband helped to ratify the oswald ordeal. she turned this into a political event, attacking donald trump for saying he wished to remain neutral should he get the chance to negotiate between the israelis and palestinians. >> yes, we need steady hands not a president who says he is neutral on monday, pro-israel on tuesday, and who knows what on wednesday, because everything is negotiable. [ cheers and applause ] >> well, my friends, israel's
8:08 pm
security is none negotiable. >> reporter: as i said the only member of the race of fe white house five not to be here this year is bernie sanders, but he did release his middle east policy today. he was very harsh on the saudis and the gulf states, including qatar, owners of al jazeera. he went on to say that peace in the middle east comes under the recognition of all of israel's right to exist, and security means peace for the palestinians and ending what amounts to the occupation of the palestinian territory. and it is absurd to suggest that building more settlements is the appropriate response to unrest between the two counties. that just in within the last
8:09 pm
couple of hours from bern -- bernie sanders. the only jewish member still in the race of the five. you likely will not hear donald trump talk about his numbers out in utah that's because that state could deal him a major loss. michael shure is in salt lake city tonight, michael. >> reporter: good evening, to you, john. yes, those poll numbers have not been good to donald trump, and the people in the party trying to make sure he does not get the 50% that is required here to win all of the delegates. people in utah are really not taking to donald trump either his brand of politics or his personality. we spoke with a professor at the university of utah about just that. >> they are taken aback by his
8:10 pm
arrogance, his perceived arrogance, his pomp us energy, his general answers -- easy answers given to very complicated, difficult problems. he is seemingly ignorant to the fact that governing is not easy. governing is hard. >> reporter: the sitting governor of utah has endorsed ted cruz. you heard mitt romney, a prominent utahan working very hard to stop donald trump here. >> mormons play a big part in utah in politics. so have any mormons endorsed him? and what don't they like about donald trump? >> that's an interesting question. almost 70% of the entire state. that's a huge number obviously.
8:11 pm
and it's not just his style. it's the substance of what he brings to the conversation. when you look at the mormon church, so many go on missions in other parts of the world. they encourage immigration. the governor here may be the only republican governor who has encouraged syrian refugees to come to utah. also the mormon church and the muslim faith. very close. the mormon church has reached out to the muslim community. and you look at donald trump and his stance on different issues. you then see why the news repieced a poll today that said that donald trump is losing to both hillary clinton by two points, within the margin of error, and to bernie sanders by 11 points in this state. those are numbers that they haven't seen in utah in the longest time.
8:12 pm
if this state goes blue it will be the first time a democratic won ut it since 1964. >> speaking of the democrats, the polls seem to show that bernie sanders is running ahead of hillary clinton. what could be the reason for that? >> reporter: well, listen, i mean bernie sanders should do well. 37 delegates in play here tomorrow. it's a caucus state. a white state. here is the other thing, bernie sanders talks to the people here with a libertarian streak. that's what he talks about when you hear him in public. it's a little different than hillary clinton. there's more of involvement in terms of foreign policy. john terrett referenced the fact that bernie sanders talked today, and talked about he sees a two-state solution here. they like that message here. also they don't like the clintons in utah. you see the numbers, 2% that she is up on donald trump, 11% that
8:13 pm
bernie sanders is up on donald trump. so it is very difficult to see youth -- utahans vote for donald trump. >> michael shure thank you much. let's talk about the influence a-pac has. >> it's very power. its membership is made up of a number of people who have a lot of clout in washington, all over the united states, and oftentimes have a whole lot of money to provide in a political sense in terms of donations to political campaigns. so when you have any type of group with a captive audience, and a lot of people that are
8:14 pm
political active, you are going to give your best presentation. and bernie sanders is focusing so much on some of the states like utah and in the midwest and pacific northwest where he absolutely needs to beat hillary clinton to have a chance of winning the nomination. >> the cable channels run these speeches wall to wall now. i'm trying to compare a-pac to other powerful lobbies in america, like the nra. >> the nra you will have very much a focus from republicans. where a-pac caters to a lot of republicans, but also caters to a lot of democrats too. so you'll have this bipartisan parade going through a-pac every time the organization gets together. it's not just opening it to one party, a friendly arena for one
8:15 pm
party, it is friendly arena for both parties. >> as we mentioned, bernie sanders, the only jewish candidate in the race opted out of this convention, why? >> like i was saying before it was a pragmatic decision on his part. he really has a difficult path for the democratic nomination, as a result he is focusing all of his efforts on some of these key states. we mentioned utah, but there are others like washington state, alaska, if he is able to string a bunch of victories together and win decisively, he may be able to -- propel himself back into the game. that hard math, to be a serious challenging to hillary clinton at this moment in time, so it's going to take a number of big-time victories for him to
8:16 pm
get himself back into the game in a way where he truly is a threat to hillary clinton in a real way going into the democratic convention this summer. >> we heard about donald trump's deal-making approach, saying israel's security is nonnegotiable. do you think her experience in the middle east will help her win big support from jews in america? >> today it was an opportunity for her and ted cruz to knock donald trump a little bit askew, because ted cruz is fighting for his political life on the republican side, and hillary clinton is doing her best stepping away from bernie sanders and try to establish herself and sound like a general election candidate. this was an opportunity for her to do just that, and a result
8:17 pm
you heard her brood goals, trying to sound as presidential as she could, as opposed to number who was in a fight with bernie sanders. >> dave good to see you thanks very much. >> thanks, john. the supreme court spent the day looking at the issue of race and redistricting. the question was a virginia congressional district drawn up on the state legislature based first and foremost on race. lisa stark was in the courtroom. >> reporter: john this case involves virginia's third constructional district it stretches from richmond, down to norfolk. and it has long been primarily black. in 2010 during redistricting, the republican-controlled state legislature added more black voters to scotts district. two voters sued arguing that
8:18 pm
packing black voters into this one district reduced their possible influence in neighboring areas. this man told the justices race was clearly the rational, quote: but michael, representing a handful of washington republican congressmen argued otherwise, quote: chief justice john roberted worried, there was no real way to tell, quote: now a lower court twice found
8:19 pm
that race was the motive. they few out the congressional map and imposed their own. and that's what the republican congressmen are challenging. but do they even have a right to bring this case? because they do not live in or represent the district that's the heart of this lawsuit. their attorney argued they do have that right, because they have been harmed. at least one virginia lawmaker, ran by forbes has been forced to abandon the district he has run in for 16 years, and he is running in another district because of the math imposed by the lower court. as the justices consider this case, virginia's primary is just months away on june 14th. if the court splits along idealogical lines, 4-4, that means the lower ruling stands, and virginia voters will be
8:20 pm
voting based on the map imposed by the lower court. john? >> lisa thank you very much. coming up, u.s. marines under attack by isil. and president obama visit to cuba and the response in the cuban community.
8:21 pm
8:22 pm
the death of a u.s. marine in iraq is raising new questions about a mission designed to keep american forces away from the front lines. it comes as the u.s. is expanding its role, helping iraqi forces take on isil. jamie mcintyre is at the pentagon. >> reporter: john, the pentagon
8:23 pm
only belatedly announced the deployment of additional marines to iraq, saying it wanted to try to keep their mission under the radar for security reasons. but once a marine was killed by rocket fire, the pentagon admitted it has deployed up to 200 additional forces. at the air force base in delaware, a reminder that even as u.s. troops in iraq are only advising and assisting iraqi forces, they are still in an active combat zone, and therefore in danger every day. >> one of our outstanding united states armed service members, marine staff sergeant lewis f cardinal, of california, was killed in northern iraq as we assisted the iraqi government in dealing with isil. >> reporter: the death, the second u.s. combat fatality in the anti-isil campaign came just
8:24 pm
a day before the president arrived in cuba for a history-making meeting with cuban leader raul castro. >> it's a reminder that even as we embark on this historic visit, there are u.s. armed service members who are sacrificing each and every day on behalf of our freedom and safety. so i'm grateful to them. >> reporter: it's also a reminder that as the u.s. trying to do more to help iraqi forces, it also increases the risk to u.s. troops. he was part of a unit that quieted slipped into iraq two weeks ago. their mission was to set up an artillery base about 10 miles behind the front lines. that's where thousands of iraqi forces have begun to amass in an
8:25 pm
offensive, and where u.s. advisors are helping to plan and coordinate the eventual attack. they wanted to keep the unit under wraps until it was fully operational, and their practice fire may have given them away. >> they have been practicing with their guns, checking distances, doing -- you know, operations such as that. so you can't hide it forever. i mean it's cannons. so people are going to find out, and in this case the enemy found out. >> the pentagon says isil lobs two rockets at the base from several miles away. one landed harmlessly off of the mark, the other did not. it is just another reminder that while u.s. troops are not on the front lines, they are in the line of fire. john? >> reporter: >> jamie thanks very much.
8:26 pm
belgium authorities are asking for the public's help in finding an alleged accomplice of salah abdeslam. neave barker has more from belgium. >> reporter: new footage of the moment a man believed to be salah abdeslam was shot and injured by police. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: his capture on friday marked the end of a four-month manhunt for the last surviving suspect in the paris attacks. his arrest also given investigators new leads. police are now looking for this 24 year old. who's closely linked to salah abdeslam. his dna was reportedly found on explosives used in the paris attacks. french and belgian prosecutors say more work in needed to unravel the network.
8:27 pm
>> translator: there are other individuals who must still be found so that they can give an account of themselves. i would like to acknowledge the huge work done by all of our teams on both sides of the border, and to express my condolences to all of the victims. >> reporter: abdeslam has been held in isolation in a maximum security prison, which he has apparently been cooperating with investigators. he said the planned to blow himself up during the paris attacks but backed out. he may also have been planning more violence. the belgian lawyer hired to defend abdeslam insist the claims must be checked. he said he planned to sue the french prosecutor for alengineeredly revealing details of confidential investigations. this promises to be a fiercely fought case. police are also revealing new details about how they found
8:28 pm
him. in his brother was buried this dae before abdeslam was arrested. a small group of mourners gathered at the funeral, but the police were listening in with surveillance equipment. what they overheard here allowed them to tighten the net of salah abdeslam. it was finally a suspicious pizza delivery that gave away his exact location. he is now fighting extradition to france. he is expected to appear before a judge on wednesday when the court will order his continued detention. neave barker, al jazeera, brussels. the pentagon says north korea fired five short-range missiles off of the coast today. pyongyang's recent missile tests
8:29 pm
and satellite launch has heightened tensions in the region. coming up next, president obama in cuba, what the thawing of relations means for cuban and american businesses. and a look at the impact arizona's tough immigration policies have had on the economy there.
8:30 pm
8:31 pm
>> president obama says a new day has dawned for relations between the u.s. and cuba.
8:32 pm
but he revisited some old disputes. the met with raul castro and other officials for much of the day. mr. obama predicted the u.s. will end its embargo against cuba. and he says he also urged castro to free political prisoners. for some cuban americans the change in relations is anything but positive. andy gallagher has the story. >> reporter: inside the miami studios, these broadcasters have a unique mission. seven days a week, via short-wave radio, they transmit to the people of cuba and say theirs is a message of resistance. for ten years they have been reporting on cuba's opposition movement, and for many year,
8:33 pm
president obama's visit is a step in the wrong direction. >> what is obama is doing is not engaging raul castro, he is befriends raul castro. the only thing to do is to use the leverage president obama has to call for free elections. >> reporter: for those that came here many years ago, any move towards normalization isn't well received. >> every time raul castro takes the microphone, he reiterates that they are not going to change. >> reporter: sylvia arrived as a teenager and has spent her adult life fighting for change on the island. like many, she feels president obama's visit sends the wrong mess age. >> we're going to go there at a moment when there is more repression, when our visit will serve to empower those in power.
8:34 pm
>> reporter: there is still deep scepticism for the normalization process, but when you speak to younger cuban americans, most of whom were born in the united states, they do things very differently. >> reporter: raul is ready to embrace a new approach. >> folks of my generation tend to be a little bit more curious about what changes in policy could yield. i don't have the scars and the trauma of being in exile the way that my grandparents do. >> reporter: ultimately every cuban american in america wants better things for the island. it's how that is done that causes the most friction. president obama also focused on business initiatives in cuba. one u.s. business that is already up and running is aimed
8:35 pm
and helping farmers and boosting food production. militia chan reports. >> reporter: all revolutions start with just a few individuals -- >> if you look at the tractor, you can see it is very, very simple. >> reporter: and they start with a mission, which for these men it is to sell this tractor to as many cubans as possible. they are the first americans granted permission to build a factory in cuba. theirs is the first significant investment project by a u.s. business on the island since the cuban revolution. they hope to produce so many tractors they can start exporting them to south america. but at a cost of 8 to $10,000,
8:36 pm
it is clear whether many cuban farmers can afford the tractor. some stopped by just to window shop. >> translator: yes, there are those that can afford it. but i cannot afford it. >> reporter: clemens is hoping that international ngo's or the cuban exile community in america may be able to help. this booth is the only one at the agricultural fair from the united states. it really is breaking new ground. >> there is money to be made. this is a country of 11 million people. that's about the size, population wise of illinois where i live. so there are a lot of opportunities. >> reporter: soon it won't be just tractors. other american businesses are planning on entering the market.
8:37 pm
>> our entire foreign policy has been focused on fidel castro, where it should be focused on the 11 million cubans, and i think that's the shift we have seen over the last 12 months. >> reporter: the impact of the american embargo on ordinary cubans is tough to assess. out in the countryside, farmers best options are often dilapidated decade's-old russian imports. >> reporter: all of our machinery is old. and we need to upgrade and improve our technology in order to advance. in order to move forward, we need to make progress. >> reporter: clemens believes a prosperous cuba will arrive very soon. >> if we look at what has happened in china and vietnam, where they changed their business model, i tell everybody that cuba will move faster than either one of those for the
8:38 pm
simple reason of the cuban people. >> reporter: people may debate whether change will take a few years or a few decades, but no one questions that cuba will look very different for the next generation. and president obama pledged to continue to press cuba on the issue of freedom of speech and expression. two cuban ballet dancers talked to robert ray. >> it's beautiful. >> reporter: this man was born in cuba. he and his wife both danced in the cuban national ballet. >> open your eyes. open your eyes. >> reporter: last year the couple moved to the u.s. with their two children. he is now the artistic director for the georgia ballet. >> i feel very happy for this
8:39 pm
opportunity for my work, for my -- my dance. >> reporter: from cuba to cobb county for the rodriguez's, president obama's historic trip to cuba is being watched in all corners of the world, including here in georgia, home to the georgia ballet. >> i don't like the politic. but i think it's too much important they broke the -- the ice for both countries. is -- i don't know what happened then, but the first step is go to cuba, is beautiful. >> reporter: this is the assist important artistic director and his wife. she has been dancing since she has been nine years old in cuba, and condition believe the u.s. and her beloved island are talking. >> maybe in the future, i can come -- i can go back to cuba,
8:40 pm
and then the family can visit us here with more facilities and i would like that. >> what are you doing? here. >> reporter: breaking down political barriers has taken decades, but for the dancers here learning from a cuban is exciting and challenges as is the language barrier for some. >> i'm picking up a few things. but he is doing really well. and luckily ballet is mostly in french. so he has a really good sense of h hue -- humor too. >> it's fraught with difficulties, obviously, but to sit down at a table rather than picking up arms against each other, or getting into diplomatic spats with each other, i think will lead to the
8:41 pm
conclusion that we all want, and that's normalized relations with a country in our backyard. >> reporter: the art of ballet, being expressed with more diversity than ever before here in georgia. >> the open door, and the step is [ inaudible ] i think is beautiful for the people, for the cuban people. ♪ >> reporter: and americans as well. as both countries will learn from each other, like the dancers here at the georgia ballet. robert ray, al jazeera. now to presidential politics. arizona has some of the toughest anti-immigration laws in the country. a crackdown has reduced the number of immigrants by 40%. adam may is in phoenix.
8:42 pm
adam? >> reporter: yeah, by some estimates the tough laws here on immigration cost this state more than $100 million after there with boycotts and lost conventions and tourists. this is also one of the most divisive issues. in just the last hour, you had hillary clinton and bernie sanders speaking in friendly terms about immigration, why over the weekend, you had donald trump calling for building a wall. all of this leaves many here alienated here. donald trump's message of immigration is perhaps more polarizing in arizona than any other state. considered to have the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country. this man was a sponsor of one of
8:43 pm
a handful of controversial andy immigration bills that went into law in 2010. since then the number of undocumented workers has dropped by 40%. what do illegal immigrants contribute, which primarily would be tax money? and that's very well, because most are not well educated. they are working in jobs where they pay no federal income tax. and they pay very little state income tax. in fact about the only taxes they pay are sales tax. and even worse on the other side of the ledger is they cost a lot. we have to give their children an education, which is expensive. most don't have medical insurance, so when they go to hospitals, they wind up not paying, and that gets pushed on to the hospitals which pushes it on to everybody with insurance. when you look at
8:44 pm
social services, medical care, policing, education, and the fact that they pay virtually nothing into the treasury, it's a big drain on the economy. >> reporter: but big deeper and the effects aren't so clear. patrick owns a landscaping company. arizona passes sb1070 and other policies. how did that impact your business? >> not great. we lost some really good employees. and we had to re -- rechange the way we do our training, and development and hiring processes, and tried to increase our pay to attract more and better potential please. >> reporter: he is not alone. a report in the "wall street journal" describes numerous small businesses and farms with problems finding workers and battling shrinking profits. >> we would have stronger if we had workers from abroad in the
8:45 pm
working system. we would have to see congress fix our visa issues. it's a terrible mess. >> reporter: glen hammer is president of the arizona chamber of commerce. he is dismissive of reports showing gdp grew slower because of the laws. but he says the relationship with mexico took a hit. and current republican rhetoric isn't helping. >> mexican citizens spend $7 million every single day in the state of arizona. that's a lot of money. our largest export is mexico. our next closest is canada. so the stronger our relationship economically with mexico, the more prosperous the state will be. so our focus is on increasing trading opportunities with -- with mexico. >> reporter: back on the campaign trial in arizona -- >> we should be building more
8:46 pm
bridges, not more walls -- >> -- democrats are trying to seize on sb1070 fallout by energizing latino voters. >> isle do all of the worrying. >> reporter: ted cruz recently praised arizona laws in a debate. >> arizona put in tough laws on illegal immigration, and illegal immigrants fled the state. some of the business owners complained that the wages they had to pay went up. but what the state of arizona has seen is the dollars they are spending on welfare, prisons, education, all of those have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars. >> reporter: if arizona's policies were instituted nationwide, how would that impact a lot of the businesses? >> i think a lot of them would close their doors. >> reporter: but politicians
8:47 pm
like senator cavanaugh oftentimes win votes for speaking out. >> if the price of having, you know, 20 million people illegally who are an economic drain who are stealing our jobs, if that price is i have to pay $0.20 more for my big mac, i'll play $0.20 more for my big mac. >> reporter: and you can't talk about immigration politics in arizona without talking about sheriff joe arpaio. he is a very polarizing figure in all of this. he is famous for demanding payables from latinos. hillary clinton slammed sheriff arpaio, and on the flip side you have donald trump introduced by the sheriff, and also arpaio was in charge of security at his event on saturday. >> adam thank you. coming up next, my conversation with artist jeff
8:48 pm
8:49 pm
event on saturday.
8:50 pm
the work of artist jeff koons is unusual. tonight the american original shares the inspiration behind his thought-provoking creations. ♪ >> reporter: jeff koons work is at most of the major art institutions, making the man and his creations contempt ration classics. he is in such high demand, that his 10-foot high balloon dog sold for $58 million at auction. the genius is in his technique, but he told me he discovered his talent in a very sample way. do you remember when you were first drawn to art? >> i do. and it's kind of funny, john,
8:51 pm
because i was around three. and i remember sitting at a desk, and making a drawing, and i think it was probably like a sword fish jumping up out of the water, and i remember both of my parents coming up behind me, and saying, you know, jeff that's really -- that's kind of really special. that's really nice you can draw. and finally i had something, art that give me a sense of self. i didn't know what it was or what it could become, but art was something that gave me an identity. >> his career has been nothing short of extraordinary. his meteoric rise in the art world began in the 1980s, surrounded by people like andy warhol. take me back to the '80s and the art scene in new york. what was it like? >> i think it's like this room right now. i think this is very metaphysical work. i think my work in the '80s was
8:52 pm
very metaphysical. i was part of my own generation. i was growing up. we were all trying to think about what our shared interests are, and then going out and making these kind of gestures of what we think, you know, art should be or what it can be. >> where do you get your inspiration. >> the world around me. and, you know, john, i have thought about it a lot over the years. it's the only place you can get your inspiration is to trust in yourself, and to follow your interests. >> reporter: koons work is unique and innovative, he puts no boundaries on his creations, from a sculpture of michael jackson, toing painting colorful tulips on a canvas. for the number of critics who praise koons an equal number
8:53 pm
have criticized his work. he has been sued many times. in 1992 he lost a case over copying a photographer's image in his sculpture spring of puppies. do you read critics? do you like to read what they have to say about your work? >> i try not to be naive about -- you know, the perception of my work in the world. but you have to always try to lead people. and i always try to inform people of the context that i see the work and have the work always performing in that arena. >> reporter: pop star lady gaga interviewed koons to a younger generation. she featured him in her song "applause." ♪ one second i'm a koons fan
8:54 pm
>> how did lady gaga get a jeff koons ball on her album? >> she asked me a couple of years ago if i would be interested in creating an album cover for her. >> reporter: today koons is overseeing an exhibition in new york. his gazing balls can be seen on display in front of recreations of the world's most iconic portraits. i have to say i'm drawn to the portrait. i haven't seen it from the ball this up close with light behind it and that sort of thing. it is amazing. >> you know this is informing you that this is about you -- >> that's what you said. >> this is something that is so accessible -- it's a gazing
8:55 pm
ball. it's a lawn ornament, but it becomes so vast. it becomes the universe. >> reporter: as a young man, he revered this spanish realist. but today a whole new generation of young artists is looking up to koons as an inspiration. you had great success. what do you tell young artists? >> first of all if i can do it, they can do it. i come from a really -- you know, average background. i had a public education. at a certain point in my life i realized that i had interest in more, that i wanted to participate more as a human being within, you know, my generation, so i think i really became self educated and embraced life around me. i wanted to be part of a group. i wanted to be part of the avant-garde. then within my work, to the best of my ability to lead, to set an example, first for my children
8:56 pm
and then for the community. coming up next, president obama's historic visit to cuba in pictures. ♪ rocks to stop me from doin' what i have to do. >> suddenly heroin seems to be everywhere. >> there's no way i am willing to give up my family for a drug ever again. >> i know you all have strong opinions about the border. >> i don't believe in borders. >> our government is allowing an invasion. >> i don't really know as much as i thought i did. >> people don't just need protection, they need assistance. >> what's your message then? >> we need help now. >> oh my god... the town's out of water. >> we came up here to talk to some people who are selling fresh water... fresh water for fracking. >> we are a town that greed destroyed. >> what do we want? >> justice! >> these people have decided
8:57 pm
that today they will be arrested. >> i wanted to dance, and eventually i started leaving the gangs in the street alone. >> we're pushing the envelope with out science every day, we can save species. >> i'm walking you guys! >> all i wanted to see was her walk. it was amazing. >> these were emotions that i had been dreaming about for so long. >> getting to the heart of the matter. proud to tell your stories. al jazeera america.
8:58 pm
president obama calls his trip to cuba historic. it is for both countries, but it's not just what mr. obama says about his visit. it's what the pictures reveal. >> reporter: cuba's past and
8:59 pm
present, captured in a single image. contradictions are a fact of life in this eisland country. there are grand portraits and taxis in the shape and color of the minions out of despicable me. 90 miles away, yet a world apart. the u.s. and cuba are drawing closer again. consider president obama's visit unthinkable a few years ago, now it's almost anti-climactic. the president and first lady walk through havana, a first since calvin coolidge. it has been a long time. the trip comes with the usual pomp and pageantry, but beyond the photo ops there are the people. some remember the days before the revolution, the embargo, the bay of pigs, the cuban missile
9:00 pm
crisis. others grew up fearing, hating america. children in the u.s. were taught the same about cuba. today marks a milestone for both nations. with images like this perhaps a turn away from that hate on both sides. that's our program. thank you for watching. i'm john siegenthaler. ali velshi "on target" is next. >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight. are marijuana in america. legalization is paving the way for big business but it also exposes plenty of problems that need to be solved. americans' attitude towards illicit drug use