Hillary Clinton gives an exclusive interview to People en Español and shares her views on El Chapo Guzmán and the future of Cuba, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. All answers here!

By Lena Hansen
October 04, 2016 06:31 PM
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton sat down with People en Español for a candid conversation. The Democratic party presidential nominee spoke about her role as a grandmother, mother and wife, and tackled issues that are essential to Hispanic voters in the United States like the need for immigration reform, the economy and her reaction to Donald Trump‘s remarks about immigrants. In the following fragment, she shares her views on Mexican druglord El Chapo Guzmán and the future of Cuba, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

1. What will you do as president to combat the very real problem of drug trafficking in countries like Mexico and how the U.S. drug consumption drives that market across our border? Will you push for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to be extradited to the U.S. and prosecuted here?

The growing availability and abuse of opiates and other drugs is alarming, and I’ve seen the very real consequences that addiction has on families almost everywhere I go on the campaign trail. Part of tackling this problem will require treating addiction like the health care issue that it is. That’s why I’ve proposed a $10 billion initiative to partner with communities across the country to tackle the epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction. My plan will empower states to invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery, and it will prioritize rehabilitation over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenses. At the same time, we must address drug trafficking and other transnational criminal activities. That means pursuing legislation to provide additional resources to law enforcement, working to increase transparency of beneficial corporation ownership and financial transactions, and closing gaps in money laundering laws. This is a difficult and complex challenge that will not be solved by building a concrete wall and pretending Mexico will pay for it.

International security cooperation is critical to keeping America safe and secure. That’s why as Secretary of State, I worked to increase cooperation with Mexico, including with the creation of an $80 million fund to support Mexican law enforcement and a new Bilateral Implementation Office. I think we are seeing the results of those efforts in the recapture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and I welcomed the news that the Mexican government agreed to extradite him to the United States for prosecution.

2. Will you continue and/or expand President Obama’s current rapprochement with the island? 

I support President Obama’s efforts toward Cuba and believe we should end the failed embargo and replace it with a smarter approach that empowers Cuban businesses, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime. I remain convinced that building stronger ties between Cubans and Americans is the best way to promote political and economic change on the island. We can’t go back to a failed policy that limits Cuban Americans’ ability to travel and support family and friends. We can’t block American businesses that could help free enterprise take root in Cuban soil—or stop American religious groups and academics and activists from establishing contacts and partnerships on the ground. If we do, no one will benefit more than Castro and the hard-liners.

3. Do you see President Maduro’s government surviving the current economic and political crisis in Venezuela for much longer?

The current situation is tragic, and I’m extremely concerned about its rapid deterioration.  Now the Venezuelan people are standing up for change, and every Venezuelan needs to know that the United States stands with them. I support the steps the administration has taken, including the imposition of sanctions, to ensure that Venezuelan government officials responsible for human rights abuses, corruption, and repression should not be welcome in the United States, nor should they be able to hide their money here. And we must continue to press the government to free opposition leaders and allow the democratic process to proceed, and use our leadership in the region to get others in the Americas to stand up for rights and values we all share.

4. How will the Clinton administration differ from previous administrations when it comes to the political status of Puerto Rico? Can Puerto Ricans expect a Clinton White House making a push for a binding referendum on this subject? 

The people of Puerto Rico have a proud and distinct heritage—and as American citizens, they are entitled to have their voices heard on the issues that affect them.  I was proud to work on behalf of Puerto Ricans as First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State. 

I have put forward a comprehensive plan to turn their Puerto Rico’s economy around and put it on a path toward stability.  It includes immediately restructuring the island’s debt. Federal officials must respect Puerto Rico’s local self-government as laws are implemented and Puerto Rico’s budget and debt are restructured. I will also work to ensure Puerto Ricans have equal access to federal assistance programs, like Medicare, Medicaid, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. And I will create the same kind of incentives for job-creating investments in underdeveloped areas that already apply in distressed communities in the United States.

And, I’ll work with advocates from all sides of the issue to answer the fundamental question of Puerto Rico’s status.  Ultimately, this decision is up to the people of Puerto Rico, and I am committed to supporting their wishes.  Any process to resolve Puerto Rico’s legal status must be fair and consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the decision should be made by majority vote.  I support any process that meets these terms, such as an up and down vote on statehood. It’s time to resolve this issue once and for all.