Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Views on Organization of American States

Wanguemert:  The Government, the Cuban Government, the Government of
the Revolution through some of its spokesmen some of the most distinguished
ones, has offered to bring before the OAS the problem of the dictatorships
that violate the Charter of Human Rights in America.  How far do you
believe Dr. Castro that Cuba should go on this, most noble step?

Dr. Castro:  Well, now, look here.  If you ask me how far Cuba can go,
how far Cuba should go in that matter, I would say that it should go as far
as possible.  During the visit I made to the Congress of Venezuela, I
brought up that matter, that the expulsion of Trujillo and Somoza and the
other dictator Stroessner of Paraguay should be demanded of the OAS.  I
should add that I honestly have no faith in the OAS.  I look upon it like
that organ, like that Congress that functioned here.  It decides nothing,
the whole thing is a lie, it is all fiction, it fundamentally does not fill
any role, it has perhaps intervened in some little wars as the solver of
some problems but it really has not rendered any service to the people, to
the countries of America.  Even on some occasions the democratic
governments that have been in the majority have acted lukewarm.  It has
many men of great democratic fame but generally there has been lukewarm
action by the democrats of America, of Latin America.  The OAS has not
fulfilled its destiny.  I look on the proposals with a certain skepticism,
I fear that there is more air than substance in these matters; if the
countries of Latin America are to follow a true democratic line, Cuba will
be in the forefront in that petition, because that is our logical position.
Why?  Because life in exile is a very recent experience of ours, the
sacrifices we had to make are very recent, because we have waged war alone,
even because when we were preparing the Revolution we were persecuted by
the police and were in jail even 30 or 40 days that I recall; I remember
that my comrades were tortured by foreign police, that we had to get out,
that one-half our arms had been taken away from us and that we were cruelly
persecuted.  He who remembers all of that must feel very close to the
people of America that are still in exile.  They must feel a very great
sympathy and I hereby proclaim it, without reservation, toward the
persecuted democrats who still exist in Latin America, and moreover I say
they can count on all our sympathy and all our support because we are not
now going to act lukewarmly and hypocritically because I feel in solidarity
with all the politically persecuted people of the Continent, those
persecuted by the dictatorship of Trujillo, those persecuted by Somoza and
by all dictatorships.  So I am not going to adopt half way measures.  Those
in exile can count on all our sympathy, our solidarity and our aid in the
OAS and wherever necessary, and in speaking thus I am merely expressing the
feelings of the Cuban people and if we here appeal for volunteers to
overthrow the tyrannies (interrupted by applause).  However, let no one be
frightened because of these words as these are not times for anyone to be
frightened.  So I am going to say, in order that no one may say that I am
bringing about panic: we must be prepared for everything.  The only thing
that we should fear is fear itself.

Maso:  Do you believe, Dr. Castro, that as a first step there should be
a break in diplomatic relations with those countries?

Castro:  Courtesy does not diminish courage, right?  We would sour all
the rest, for example--all the rest, if we said:  We're going to break off
relations here, and what does that lead to?  What does that do?

Maso:  Well, there's the case of Venezuela, where i understand that the
Trujillo dictatorship is cutting off the water, the electricity, because of
the inside oppression they have there, and doesn't that mean that relations
aren't worth anything, that they don't operate?

Castro:  In that case that's already a case of direct aggression, isn't
it?  I don't give much importance to the problem of relations, because that
doesn't solve anything, those are a kind of posturing, I would say, in
which we break off relations for the applause of the galleries.  Sending a
dollar so a Dominican exile can eat does more then breaking off relations.

(Confused interruptions, and Castro continues):
To finish the question of stands.  I believe that the problem of relations
has no particular importance, that's my opinion.  Now, sure, if a joint
action is feared, that has importance.  If a bloc of democratic countries
says:  Let's break relations with Trujillo, Somoza and Company.  Sure, that
has teeth (applause), and it has even more importance if they aid those
immigrants who are fighting against the dictatorship of Trujillo.  But, if
they just break relations, Trujillo goes right along.  Suppose we break off
relations here.  It doesn't make a bit of difference to him, because
actually over there, so long as he isn't bothered, it's all the same to him
to have relations or not have relations.  Trujillo has shown himself to be
so thick skinned that none of those things bother him.  So in connection
with the breaking off of relations, I say:  Join it with aid to the
immigrants, so they can fight there.  Recognition of a dominican government
in exile, or of the first dominican who rebels in Santo Domingo or in
Nicaragua or in any of those other countries, and those measures which go
beyond simple words, beyond stage posturings, beyond newspaper
headlines--well, I must say I am more partial to them than to mere words.

Maso:  And what about the other?

Castro:  The other is effective aid, recognizing a government
(laughter)--that means more effective aid--when there is an uprising, for
example suppose they had recognized us when we rose up in the Sierra
Maestra (ED -- the foregoing is equally incomprehensible in the original
Spanish).  Now, who did recognize us?  No one!  And now, we will recognize
the very first person who rises up, for sure, and right now.  And if in
addition they are up in arms and can hand on, they can count on all our
sympathy (applause).

Wanguemert:  Dr. Castro, turning back to the Dominican Republic, there
are reports that the Government of the Dominican Republic is again sending
to Cuba its elegant Ambassador, Mr. Porfirio Rubirosa.  Do you believe that
that trip has any relation with the requests for extradition made by Cuba?
Do you believe that the possibility exists that the Government of the
Dominican Republic would agree to the extradition of any of the fugitives
that at this moment are guests of Santo Domingo?

Castro:  Well, I think Trujillo is capable of anything, even of
surrendering Batista, see?  If he wants to turn him over, we will receive
him here--receive him very well.  How, if you were to ask me whether in
exchange for Batista we were prepared to alter our stand concerning
Trujillo, I would tell you no, not for one Batista nor for a thousand
Batistas.  That is flat and final.  (Applause)