Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Mexico City, XEQQ, in Spanish to Mexico, Jan. 24, 1959, 0415 GMT--W

(Recorded interview with Raul and Fidel Castro made by Guillermo Vela
during his recent trip to Havana, from which he returned on Jan. 23.  Other
portions of this interview will be broadcast on future programs.)

(Summary)  Guillermo Vela:  Commander Raul Castro, the people of Mexico
would like to have your opinion about the recently published reports about
the trials in Cuba.  Do you believe that these reports are justified?
Should there be more compassion toward those arrested?

Raul Castro:  I will answer by making some questions.  Why do these reports
decry the justice being applied here?  Where did they get the facts that
horrors are being committed against the Cuban people?  Why were they quit
when our people were being murdered, and now they protest when the people
are applying justice?  Why are they trying to spread doubt about the
prestige of this revolution which was able to gain world opinion by its
conduct in every respect, especially the public opinion of Latin America?
What are they trying to gain by spreading this doubt and making our
prestige diminish in world opinion?  Today, naturally, this is a thing that
preoccupies us.  We do not attack anyone, we only defend ourselves and we
will continue defending ourselves.  Up to now we have carried out quite a
hard task, a difficult task, and impossible task (according to some?).  We
know that we have a hard task ahead of us, because this new generation,
which has been forging the destiny of their nation, has not considered the
victory as an assault, or looting, nor with the feeling that the fight has
ended.  They are aware that now is when the fight begins, now is when the
revolution will be made, now is when we have to be more firm, with the same
spirit of sacrifice with which we lived in the mountains, and with that
same spirit of sacrifice we have come down to the plains.  We have come
down not to enjoy our victory but to continue fighting to make total this
victory for the benefit of the entire Cuban people, and not for the benefit
of one special group."

Guillermo Vela:  "In other words, Commander Raul Castro, the trials that
you have carried out have been justified and the executions have been fully
justified.  Is that so?

Raul Castro:  "It is not that we say so, we have invited everyone to come
to witness what is being done here so that they may report to their own
nations impartially that what is happening here is a clear thing.  That is
what we want.  We want the truth to be known.  For this reason we have
opened the doors of Cuba for anyone who wants to come and see for himself."

Guillermo Vela:  And this is very true.  Complete calm prevails in Havana.
Here in Havana the children are playing in the parks, everything is calm,
the traffic is normal, the stores are open, and the schools are open.  The
Mexican newsmen and the newsmen of all the world nations who are here have
been excellently treated, with the traditional Cuban hospitality.  And now
the hero of the Cuban revolution.  Commander Fidel Castro, we have spoken
so much about the revolution with so many persons that we will take this
opportunity to hold a more human interview, and ask you about the days when
you were in Mexico.  Dr. Fidel Castro, tell us about the months that you
spend in Mexico.

Fidel Castro:  In the first place I wish to say that it will be hard to
forget Mexico because it is so closely united with preparation for our
small Odyssey, and of course we who have survived of that small group love
Mexico dearly, and always remember Mexico.  We will always remember the
Mexican landmarks, its nature, its culture, and its traditions.  The Cuban
revolution lies in Mexico.  And we have learned a lot from the Mexican
revolution, and we consider the Mexican revolution the precursor of the
Cuban revolution.  Mexico has had a real revolution, just as now Cuba has
had a real revolution.

I imagine that the Mexican people have experienced some of the things that
we are experiencing now.  I imagine the obstacles that they have found in
their way, the same islanders of which the Cuban revolution is the victim,
and their efforts against the counterrevolution, that is why I hope that
Mexico will support us and that its press does not echo the slanderous and
ill-intentioned campaign of vested interests who have been deeply wounding
our people during the recent days.

If we were unconditional servants of their interests, if we did not have
here a revolution but a common revolt, and the leaders would be willing to
receive orders from those who have been ruling our country, you may be sure
that we would not have been attacked with this virulence with which we have
been attacked.  That is why, invoking the traditional friendship of Mexico,
we ask for the solidarity of the Mexican people.

Guillermo Vela:  Many thanks, Dr. Castro.

One more question, Dr. Fidel Castro.  About the slanders about which you
have spoken and which were published in the press of all nations,
unfortunately also in the Mexican press, we can tell the Mexican people
that we are convinced that they are not true.  But we would like you to
give us a description of the trials, how were they held, and who were the
persons executed.

Fidel Castro:  I would like to talk about it at great length, to explain
the things the way they are.  Unfortunately some of the most virulent
attacks that we have received originated in some newspapers of Mexico.
They have printed cartoons in which Cuba appears to be taking a blood bath.
We are not the authors of this bath.  Cartoons which have never been drawn
against Trujillo or Batista are being printed today against us.  We have a
history in this war of having inculcated a sense of honor and humanity in
our soldiers, as was never done in any army of the world.  I can assure you
that in the two and one half years of the war we made thousands of
prisoners, and not one man has been beaten or tortured or (humiliated?).
We released them unless they wanted to join us.

After our victory not one man was dragged through the streets, a unique
case in the history of the world, because all the henchmen, who are today
under guard, generally after a revolution are dragged by the people during
the first days after the victory.  We have asked the people not to drag
these henchmen so that we may hold public trials according to law.  This is
what has been done, and still there were people who spread lies that we
were carrying out vengeance against Batista followers.

We are holding trials and executing criminals who had executed 20, 30, and
even 100 Cubans.  Twenty thousand Cubans have been tortured and murdered
during the Batista regime.  We do not have anything to hide.  We have
absolute freedom of the press and we invite all the newsmen of the world to
come and see the truth.  We have nothing to hide.  When there is no crime,
freedom of the press need not to be curtailed.  We are not afraid of the

Guillermo Vela:  Many thanks, Dr. Fidel Castro.