Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Source:  Transcript of Telemundo Pregunta (TV World Questions and Answers),
20 January 1960

Guest:  Dr Fidel Castro, Prime Minister, Revolutionary Government.

News Panelists:  Dr Carlos Robreno, Mr Guttierrez Cordovi and Mr.
Benjamin de la Vega.

Moderator:  Alfredo Nunez Pascual.

Nunez: And a very good evening to you all.  This is the moment the
people of Cuba and we here at Telemundo have been waiting for so long.  The
Prime Minister of the government, Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, is appearing here
with us tonight on this program; tremendous expectation has been generated
all over the country and abroad in connection with his presentation here
tonight; the studio audience includes members of the cabinet, his
Excellency, the President of the Republic, and foreign dignitaries; for
example we have the former world heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis
here, who came especially to attend this program; we also have Bruck M.
here, from the United States, who is an expert in the art of personal
defense and in anything and everything connected with the improvement of
youth based on a healthy body; we also have a series of personalities here
whom you will perhaps get a glimpse of during the program.

I would also like to point to especially that our "TV World
Questions and Answers" program is today being telecast by all of the
television and radio stations of the Republic.  If you will allow me, I
would like to read off the list of stations that are connected with us here
tonight: CMQ-TV, Channel 6; Channel 4, Channel 7, Channel 10, CMQ Radio;
Radio Progress; Radio Carcia Serre; Radio Sales; Radio Alverez; the Havana
Radio Chain; Radio Levin; Radio Mambi; the Eastern Radio Chain; Radio La
Calle; Radio Rebel; Union Radio, Channel 12; the Western Circuit of the
Pinar del Rio radio broadcasting system -- a total of 50 radio and
television stations all over the country.  (Applause)

We know that Cuba is anxiously awaiting the words of Dr Fidel
Castro and I will therefore not take up anymore time than is necessary
tonight.  We want to thank him for accepting our invitation, in the name of
TV World, the union of TV World employees, the newspapermen who appear on
this panel, and myself.  And I would like to ask Comrade Gutierrez Cordovi
to start the questions.

Cordovi: Major Castro, the attention of Cuba is today focused on
the economic portion of the beginning harvest.  Today, we already have 60
sugar refineries, milling sugar; last year, as of this same date, we only
had 23; and we had not yet issued any harvest regulation; there are some
people who think that this means that we are going to have a free harvest
in Cuba this year, whereas there are other people who think that we are
going to work under a decree regulating the harvest.  Could you tell us
something about this?

Dr Castro: All right, in effect, we are working on this decree and
we are going to regulate the harvest; we are going to set a production
ceiling.  In other words, we are going to produce a volume of sugar which
will be somewhat more than five and a half million tons of sugar.  This is
the estimate which we have arrived at, provided of course we find that the
prevailing circumstances make this figure realistic and advisable; but
there might be a slight variation in the final volume.  But the minimum
amount at least will be five and a half million tons.  As far as the future
is concerned, only the circumstances will tell.  As I understand it, the
situation on the international market is favorable; we have sold enough
sugar and we are selling sugar and we think we can sell enough sugar in the
months to come.  I am quite optimistic in this respect and I hope that the
country will next year earn more foreign currency from the sugar harvest,
more than we received last year, as a result of the drop in prices on the
world market and the large sugar beet output in Europe; last year, we
received 80 million dollars less in terms of sugar sales.  This year there
is every reason to be optimistic and to think that we are going to get more
dollars than we got last year.  This is what I can tell you about the sugar
situation; in this respect, the Revolutionary Government has the advantage
that our sugar policy of today is no longer dictated by minority interests
within the industry, in other words, the sugar policy is not influenced by
the same circumstances that influenced it in the past; in the past, many
steps were taken in accordance with certain interests; the sugar policy was
managed by a group of big sugar magnates who always tried to do what was
best for them and not what was best for the nation.  Now, we had to work
with a sugar policy which we inherited from the year 1952; you remember
that the first big mistake that was made at that time was the announcement
that a ceiling was going to be put on the 1953 output and consequently
there was also talk of certain limitations in 1952; and so everybody milled
sugar, down to the very last stalk and then we had this tremendous tonnage
figure and this led to the restrictive policy whose result, as far as Cuba
was concerned, led to the gradual loss of its markets; in other words,
other sugar-growing areas were developed at our expense.  Of course, today
Cuba is not in the same position in which it was then, when it comes to
fighting on the world market.

You must understand that if we -- for example, right now -- had
500 million dollars in reserve, the way we did in 1952, when sugar prices
were good, then we would be in a position to fight and we could even try to
recover our lost markets.  Now we do not have this advantage because the
struggle, at any given moment, may be a price struggle; those prices can
influence the foreign currency income, that is to say, we have to fight
this and we have to fight for our market, but of course we are not in the
same situation that we were in back in 1952 -- and we are in a rather
difficult condition now to fight the kind of fight we fought at that time.

However, I nevertheless believe that if we do not fight the sugar
battle in this new era of our fatherland -- then when are we going to fight
it?  Never before in the history of our country have we had as many
advantages as we have today: we have a government that does not defend the
interests of small groups or minorities; we have a sugar policy that is
governed by the interests of the nation and not by the interests of a group
of big sugar tycoons.  In addition the people are ready to fight for this.
And I believe that we, who are quite aware of this sugar situation, we
must, in this new era, do everything necessary to recover our markets
because Cuba has natural advantages which are very important in the
production of sugar, even though so far we have had an extensive type of
production, not an intensive type, without the extensive use of fertilizer;
this has kept our sugar output at a technical level that is inferior to
that of other areas in the world.  But Cuba does have tremendous natural
advantages so that there is no justification for the fact that Cuba has
been losing sugar markets, especially since we could have utilized these
advantages to defend this market and to become the real king of sugar in
the world.  And this is the battle we must fight.  Sooner or later, we are
going to have to fight this battle, we are going to have to make sacrifices
and that may be necessary to recover our control over the sugar market.

The policy under the London Agreement likewise was a restrictive
policy.  We must go to London with a more determined posture, with greater
determination to defend the Cuban sugar quotas and the participation of
Cuba in this industry.  Last year, we ran into some restrictions.  We hope
that our quota on the world market will be raised in view of the situation
on the market today.

Now, this is a very delicate topic which has to be handled very
carefully; and so, that I can tell you now is that we are going to pursue
the kind of sugar policy that would be good for the country and at the
right moment we will take the measures that may be necessary in this
connection.  In other words, we are today in a situation where we have a
free hand to implement a sugar policy that will benefit us and we will do
what is best for the country within the circumstances.

Cordovi: Thank you very much, Dr Castro.

Dr Castro: You cannot talk about a free harvest right now; this
would be the wrong kind of policy because it could even influence sugar

Cordovi: Yes, the market has already been sufficiently influenced
because, as some people say and estimate, Cuba still has a tremendous
surplus from last year and this can have an unfavorable effect on the
market; because of this, there is tremendous expectation on the world
markets concerning the volume of the Cuban sugar harvest, so that this can
then be tied in...

Dr Castro: ... who is going to cut sugar production?

Cordovi: No, no, no, no; I did not say that anybody was going to
cut anything.

Dr Castro: But, when you first started out, is that not what you

Cordovi: No; not on the foreign markets.  They are still waiting
to find out the volume...

Dr Castro: But, is the sugar output going to drop or is it not
going to drop as a result of the agrarian reform?  What is the thinking on
the world market in this respect?  Are they going to recognize, at last,
that we can produce all of the sugar we may want to produce?

Cordovi: On that, I have no information at all.

Dr Castro: All right, when we began to talk about agrarian reform,
we received a lot of telegrams and the most frequently used argument was
that the agrarian reform would result in a drop in our sugar output, in
other words, that Cuba might possibly not be able to produce her quota.
Now, it is rather odd that the arguments which are used today are so
different from those that were used in the past; at that time you remember
that when we talked about the agrarian reform, nobody was talking about
reducing our quota; everybody said that the agrarian reform would ruin the
country and that we would bee unable to meet our quota.  Why are people
arguing today that they are going to cut our quota?  This means, first of
all, that the lies which people used to spread about the agrarian reform
are now being smashed by reality.  The reality is that we can indeed
produce all of the sugar we want to produce today and of course this
explains all of the big expectations because we can produce each year -- if
we want to do so, if it it suits us - we can produce more sugar each year;
that is the reality.  Our sugar refineries will definitely work 3 months,
maybe three and a half months; and we are going to have to produce, for
example, I think, there are already some installations that are doing this,
we are going to develop a program for this production program, on the basis
of dehydrated sugar cane juice and we are going to mill more cane and we
are going to have more jobs open at the refineries, but we are and we will
be increasingly capable of producing all the sugar we want to produce.  And
as we increase and improve the technical facilities of our production
effort, we are going to need less sugar cane areas than the areas we are
using now because, if one caballeria now gives us 35,000 or maybe 40,000
arrobas, we can certainly raise this figure to 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 or
even 80,000, in accordance with the crop preparation; we are going to have
more areas available, more than we have planted to sugar cane today.  And I
can also tell you that if we want to plant 10,000 to 20,000 or 30,000
caballeries of sugar cane more, we can certainly do all this planting; we
have the tractors working day and night, 24 hours a day, and we have more
than 2,000 tractors at work right now; and we can plant pangola, we can
plant rice and we can plant sugar cane.

This is the situation such as it really is and this is why there
are all of these expectations because, in the final analysis, this
expectation is recognition of the fact that the agrarian reform has been a
tremendous success in Cuba.  If what they said about the agrarian reform
were true and if production had dropped as a result of the agrarian reform,
then they would be saying that there are no problems in Cuba today because
we had planted a little more sugar last year, a little more than we needed,
and that we might reach our objectives, but there would then be no reason
to worry or our production during the years after the agrarian reform, if
the output were to drop, as they say.

But this expectation and this preoccupation is recognition of the
triumph of the agrarian reform.

At this point it might be a good idea to recall some other
arguments.  What was it they said in the beginning?  In the beginning they
said that the production units would be destroyed, that we would create
tiny plantations in the process of redistributing the land and that these
would be small and individual plots, without the necessary technical
support and that production would drop.  But what did we do?  We
established the cooperatives, that is to say, wherever we had a landowner,
a tenant farmer, a sharecropped, with a small piece of land, let us say 2
or 5 caballerias, in other words, the fellow who had to pay rent and who
did not own the land -- well, we gave him ownership of the land.  What did
we do with the big estates and plantations?  We set up cooperatives
because, if we are going to plant 100 caballerias of rice, the only correct
way to plant this rice is with big machinery and with large amounts of
fertilizer; we were not going to let each farmer struggle along by himself;
we had to set up cooperatives because the cooperative is the thing that
preserves the production unit, that is to say, far from destroying the
production unit, we established a cooperative there and we gave it more
technical equipment and facilities and on the big estates we established
cooperatives, we did not destroy the production unit either.  And what do
they say now?  Now they come along with other lies, lies to the effect that
we are not giving the farmers possession of the land.  First of all, this
year we though of handing out more than 100,000 land titles, not 200,000,
as was announced, because this is a tremendous effort; but this year we are
going to try to hand out the major portion of the titles to all of the
small growers, sharecroppers, tenant farmers, the small farm owners, etc,
and the number of titles thus passed out will increase day after day; we
are already beginning to distribute the land to the peasants, and we are
going to publish, starting next week, a list of any titles that have been
handled over.  And the peasants who do not have land on the big estates are
going to have cooperatives established for them where the peasants will be
the masters of the land.  That cooperative land will not belong to the
state; that land will belong to the peasants; only where we had a
corporation or a company, owned by people who lived abroad -- something
that was supposed to have been correct and good -- the such and such
company, whose stockholders never even visited Cuba but who still owned the
land -- now when we recover that land through the agrarian reform and when
we give it to the peasants who are going to live there, peasants who are
going to be the masters of that land and the masters of that production
output, masters of the land that they are getting free of charge, because
they are only going to have to pay for the equipment and installations and
the fertilizer, in other words, the expenditures that keep coming up
there-- now when we do this for the Cuban peasants and when we establish
them on the land, on the land where they are going to live and work, and
when they get all this, then this is supposed to be bad!  That is supposed
to be tantamount to deceiving the peasants.  This is the little argument
which the counterrevolutionaries use in order to confuse everybody.  What
they really would like us to do is to destroy the production units or to
refrain from setting up any new production units so that we would really
have an agricultural crisis in the country; but this is not what is
happening and we can say with tremendous satisfaction that this is the
first agrarian reform in the world, the first one indeed, and anybody who
is not convinced ought to go the history books and study history, the
history of all the agrarian reforms and he will see that this is indeed the
first agrarian reform in the world which has managed to increase the
output.  This honor they cannot take away from the Cuban revolution, the
fact that this was the first agrarian reform in the world that began to
increase the output, because, as the expert from the FAO put it, this was a
reform, an agrarian reform that ordered from above, in other words, that
this is due to the fact that orders were issued to implement an agrarian
reform; but for the big landowners this is disorder, for him this is
unwelcome because we send 20 bulldozers to plow land which had been
abandoned and we are doing this to give work to peasants who have been
dying of starvation -- and that is supposed to be disorder.  But everybody
remembers that here, toward the end of the war, and at the beginning of
last year, as a result of impatience, the legitimate impatience to own
land, some lands were occupied in a disorganized manner; and so we put out
a law depriving those who simply occupied the land, without any specific
authorization, depriving them of the benefits of the agrarian reform.  That
is to say, when were able to observe some symptoms of disorder in the rural
areas, we immediately took the necessary measures; in other countries, the
peasants took over the land in a disorganized manner and this of course
immediately produced a drop in the output.  But, thanks to the cooperation
of the peasants, we were able to persuade them that this was a mistake and
that the land could not be distributed in disorganized manner, that the
only way to distribute the land fairly was to do it in an organized
fashion, because otherwise some people would get better land and other
people would get worse land, and then agricultural output would drop; these
arguments -- that is all they are, just arguments -- were then heeded by
the peasants and we did not have a single case of uncontrolled land
distribution.  In other words, the first thing we did under the agrarian
reform was to create a national consciousness to the effect that the
agrarian reform was an inexorable measure.  Furthermore, we asked the
people to make a contribution, we began to collect tractors.  In other
words, we began the agrarian reform by collecting tractors, as you will
see, if you travel around the province of Havana, anywhere, you will find
that there are no tractors anywhere; all of the available agricultural
equipment has been acquired; all of it; now there might be a little tractor
here and there that is of no use, but as far as available agricultural
equipment is concerned, we have acquired it.  And this is how we began to
launch the agrarian reform, by educating the peasants, by creating a
national awareness of the need for this and by rounding up the equipment;
after we had rounded up all the equipment, we got down to some serious
work.  If you go to some of the provinces of Cuba, you will be amazed to
see fantastic amounts of weeds and jungles and completely barren land which
we have now placed in production because all you have to do is see the
agrarian reform from a plane, fly over the land, if you travel by highway
you cannot see the agrarian reform too well, you can see it much better
from the air, these vast zones, particularly in the province of Oriente,
because you have to realize that we have cleared and planted areas of 500,
600, and even 700 caballerias and this land is producing now; we have
harvested the first harvest here in our agrarian reform which began in the
middle of last year.  We have gathered in the first harvest this time.

In other words, we had an orderly agrarian reform and this is why
this was the first agrarian reform in the world which started off with an
increase in the output.  With the help of the measures we have taken, we
managed to divide the land on the big production units, in other words, the
big estates and plantations; if we had not done this, then agriculture
might have been ruined.  Yes, but what we did was to acquire more equipment
than there used to be around, we imported more equipment and then we
maintained the large production units and we created new large production
units.  This is what we did and they still kept using their arguments
because they continued to pursue their objectives and they continue to
hound our revolutionary measures with new arguments.  But the facts proved
us right now has the kind of sugar production potential that we have here
in Cuba.  We have unlimited possibilities for producing sugar.  And we are
going to utilize these advantages as the circumstances require because Cuba
is the Number One sugar producer, the champion sugar producing country, and
we must hold this position and we must sell lots of sugar and we must sell
sugar to the whole world, without having to ask anybody's permission to
sell sugar.  (Applause)

Nunez: Comrade Carlos Robreno.

Robreno: Mr Prime Minister, a few months ago, when you did not
show up at the "TV World" program, perhaps because you were so busy, we did
not have an opportunity to interview you.

Dr Castro: Well, that was because of scheduling problems.

Robreno: Precisely.  But I remember all of the details of your
initial appearances on our program and all of the kinds words you said to
me on those occasions and I want to thank you very much; I also remembered
that I asked you about the Armed Institute which would have to defend the
sovereignty and the security of the nation and there was a discussion on
two topics: the political army, mandatory military service, which you
rejected because at that time you did not think that militia forces would
be necessary.  But right now, I think that they would be.  Why is the
creation of a militia force now considered advisable?

Dr Castro: Well, there is one very simple reason.  This is the
obvious international conspiracy against Cuba, the increasingly insolent
threats against our sovereignty, plans being hatches by the enemies of the
revolution, by the monopolies, by the war criminals, by the international
oligarchies, in other words, all those who want to encircle Cuba, to
encircle us and is possible to destroy us.  I want you, Robreno, and
anybody else, any other Cuban, to be sure that we are taking the necessary
measures to defend the sovereignty of the country because right now the
defense of the revolution and the defense of our sovereignty is one and the
same thing; today they are not only threatening the revolution but, in
order to destroy the revolution, they are threatening our sovereignty.  You
know perfectly well on the basis of your experience during the difficult
years of our country in the past, because I have often seen you describe
episodes, including those dating back to the Machedo era, you lived through
all of this, you know that, nationally speaking, the revolution is too
powerful for anybody to threaten it.  In other words, the interests of the
big landowners, the war criminals, all of those elements who for one reason
or another are lined up against the revolution, they had neither the
strength nor the hope of ever being strong enough to destroy the
revolution.  All of the efforts that they have made to deceive the people,
to confuse the people, all of the weapons they have used, the very worst of
weapons, the worst of intrigues, all of the worst slander they have used,
the worst lies -- we have lived through all of this in each and every one
of the episodes of the revolution.

You remember something that happened quite recently, all of the
vicious rumors that sprang up in connection with the disappearance of
Comrad Camilo Cienfuegos.  In spite of all the subtle lies, they were
unable to shake the confidence of the people in their destiny.  The only
hope which the enemies of our revolution have is abroad, in other words, to
mobilize foreign forces and foreign resources.  In other words, the hope of
all of the counterrevolutions throughout the world, the hope of all of the
counterrevolutionaries, is to destroy the National Revolution with the help
of foreign forces.  And if you look at all the great revolutions in
history, you will see that the revolutionary forces never had enough
strength of their own to destroy the revolution; they always had to seek
support from abroad.

Robreno: May I say something at this point, Doctor?  But this
reaction was always based on foreign forces in continental nations.  But on
an island, history always also shows that this is very difficult to do on
an island and we do live in Cuba, in other words, an island; down through
our revolutionary history we have seen that a large-scale invasion is not
possible; why was England able to stand up; neither Hitler nor Napoleon
were able to invade England.  Because on an island, this sort of thing is
much more difficult, when the people are against the counterrevolution.

Dr Castro: All right, but the fact that it would be geographically
more difficult to get here does not mean that they are going to try this.
You each an island by sea, but you can also reach it by air.

Robreno: But then you have to get out again.

Dr Castro: All right, I see what you mean.  But try to visualize
this case; I have not heard anybody say that after the world war a single
aircraft flew over Great Britain and bombed it; I have not heard anybody in
any country of the world in peacetime say that aircraft coming from foreign
territory have flown over that country in order to drop incedary bombs and
agents and explosives and to attack a nation that is at peace and that is
not at war with anybody.  You know that we are an island and nevertheless
this does not protect us against constant attacks on our peasants as they
try to cut the cane in the cane fields, something that happens almost
daily.  (Applause) And, furthermore, Robreno, an island would not be in any
worse position, if we have a just cause, which we do.

Robreno: That is the secret, doctor: the just cause and the
support of the people.

Dr Castro: All right, but even if we assume that a people has a
just cause, did this ever present any aggressions from being launched
against the people, anytime in history?

Robreno: Man, aggressions, yes; always; but not...

Dr Castro: No, it did not prevent these aggressions.  We did have
a just cause and we won but we won with what resources?  Nobody gave us any
base of operations anywhere; the police persecuted us tenaciously.  I was a
prisoner in Mexico for 40 days, mixed with all kinds of prison types, at
Miguel Chuz, when I was there in 1956.  I remember that I was put in a cell
in a Mexican prison, we had lost a good portion of our weapons and a good
portion of the hope of ever winning; we were left without anything.  Now,
you try to figure out the advantageous position of the
counterrevolutionaries in various countries, such as in Guatemala, Santa
Domingo, and Florida; they have airfields and aircraft and mercenary pilots
and money and millions of dollars from big monopolies in a whole series of
these countries.  This is the money which the war criminals, the
oligarchies, and the enemies of our revolution stole; and they are
supported by the constant statements made by United States government
officials and by the press campaigns against us.  Who supported us when we
were in that situation?  Nobody!  In other words, nobody supported us with
a declaration, nobody gave us a base to use, nobody gave us weapons; nobody
gave us resources.  In spite of this, we arrived here in a little boat.
The interests which are against our revolution have been supported and are
getting support for mobilizing not just one boat but many boats.

Now, you mention Great Britain; but I would rather talk to you
about Santo Domingo and Haiti; these were two islands and, even though they
are islands, this did not prevent United States Marines from landing in
Haiti and Santo Domingo.  (Applause)

Robreno: Well, that was a powerful foreign nation, it was not just
counterrevolutionaries; these were the marines from the second or even
first nation in the world.

Dr Castro: Yes.

Robreno: Now, that is different, doctor.

Dr Castro: Is that what you think?

Robreno: Eh?

Dr Castro: What do you think the inhabitants of those islands
should have done when they invaded those countries?

Robreno: Fight unto death!

Dr Castro: What do you think we should do?

Robreno: No; I do not believe that, I am sure that they will do

Dr Castro: What do you think that we should do?

Robreno: No.  I am sure that here we would fight until death.

Dr Castro: Fight until death.  And what does it take to fight
until death?  You have to be prepared to fight until death.

Robreno: No; I am not against the militia, doctor.  I asked you...

Dr Castro: And that is the reason why we want these worker and
student militia forces.

Robreno: Precisely...  (Applause) A few days ago, a report was
published to the effect that "the Dominican voice" in Santo Domingo stopped
its slander campaign against Cuba.  Do you believe that this is a strategy
move on the part of Trujillo or that he is already tired?

Dr Castro: What do you think of that?

Robreno: Well, I do not know whether this is just a strategy move,
I would like to ask you.  Is this a part of his strategy...  (Several
voices are heard at this point) or is he following orders issued abroad?

Dr Castro: Well, ...

Robreno: This is what you would want me to say, that he is
following foreign orders?

Dr Castro: No; I would like to know your opinion, I would like to
hear the opinion of the other newsmen because this is a very important
point for everybody.  But this is not the only odd thing here; the strange
thing is that even they say that one must not attack the revolutionary
government because it is building houses for the peasants, because it
distributes land, and because Trujillo was the man who launched the policy
of land distribution and housing construction in Santo Domingo.  That is
what they say.  Now, look, there is no doubt at all that there are certain
movements in this hemisphere.  You know that they are attacking us and that
they are launching a campaign against us, on the basis of what we are
producing here, that we are creating a firm foundation here, that this is
supposed to be a base for rockets, in Camaguey, when we were actually only
building the school city there; and so they have come up with all kinds of
accusations to the effect that this movement is infiltrated by Communists,
that we are creating a Communist republic in the Caribbean, that we are
dividing the continent, etc, a whole series of accusations which coincide
with a number of unusual movements and circumstances in this continent.

This is not the right moment but I have a little report here, I
have a little report which is very well guarded, and which is certainly
very interesting because I see from it that there are certain movements
going on in certain foreign offices, certain foreign offices which, when
the right time comes, I will reveal, backed up by documents.  In other
words, certain foreign offices are taking certain steps along certain lines
and I can only tell you this: here, any plan of aggression against any
country, any maneuver against a country, requires preparation.  Nobody
could possible believe that we are going to stand by and do nothing;
whenever we think that there is any imminent danger, any risk or any
circumstance that so requires it, we will reveal everything we know because
it is our obligation to foil any maneuvers that are being hatched against
Cuba by certain foreign offices.  But no one forget that we are a small
nation in the midst of this continent, surrounded by interests and
oligarchies which are the same that keep talking about democracy and that
keep lying to the people, because they are minority governments which
control the money, the newspapers, the news media, they control everything,
just as they used to control everything in Cuba; and when we make an
agrarian reform here, there are many big landowners in Latin America who
worry about the agrarian reform; when adopting revolutionary measures of
any kind here, there are many interests that get all worked up about this
all over the continent.  In reality, how many governments are there which
are in the same position as Cuba is in today, and how many are able to
maintain a strong posture in defense of their interests and the interests
of their people?

We are just one little nation, we can count on the sympathy and
solidarity of the other peoples of the continent; but these peoples
certainly are very poorly informed about Cuba; everybody tries to confuse
them because this entire campaign against us is not just for sport; all of
these magazines and periodicals, which print all this horror stuff, things
that you cannot even imagine, all of these magazines are controlled by the
monopolies and big interests and they are not doing this for a hobby; all
of this propaganda has a very specific strategic purpose within the
over-all plans against Cuba: the purpose of depriving us of the sympathy of
the peoples in order to create conditions favorable to an aggression
against our company.  I said this in the past, in connection with
"Operation Truth" and I say it again: they are trying to encircle Cuba with
a curtain of slander in order to justify their subsequent acts of

In other words, we are a small nation.  To what extent can we
influence the other governments of the continent?  Well, very little.
There are others who exercise much more influence than we do, there are
other people who influence others much more than we do; that they do this
with all kinds of offers, such as: "I am going to give you more sugar; and
I am going to give more sugar to you, over there; and I am going to give
you more sugar out of the amount which are going to take away from Cuba";
many times they make no offers at all; many times these other countries
spontaneously want to split up our quota.  In other words, there are many
ways in which they can try to isolate our country.  Right now we are a
people fighting alone -- and we must all understand this.  A small nation
of 6 million inhabitants whose reserves they have been robbing, whom they
exploited miserably for 50 years, from whom they extracted a billion
dollars in the last 10 years; in these conditions of economic poverty, in
which they left us, we must promote a national program of national
liberation, against the interests that want to keep us subjugated,
interests that wanted to put us under the control of the same policy that
they have been pursuing all the time, continuing to plunder us, continuing
to force concessions upon us, continuing to betray the interests of the
country to the foreigners.  But we are now recovering the land of our
country, we are doing things that have never been done before, we are
defending the interests of the Cubans, we are establishing definitive norms
of honesty and public administration, we are defending the interests of the
peasants and the workers and our people, above all the interests of those
who have lived here in misery and poverty and without any culture.  We are
doing unheard of things and we do them simply because we have to, but they
are bitter because of the effort the Cuban people are making today and this
is why they are trying to force us to fail in every way they can.

Now, whom can we count on in all this?  We can count on the
solidarity of the peoples who are situations similar to the Cuban situation
although unfortunately they have very little influence on continental
policy.  And so we must start with the basic fact that we are a people
fighting alone on this continent, where there are extremely powerful
interests that decisively influence the policy of other governments,
interests that decisively influence the policy of other governments and we
just one little nation, alone here.

Now, don't you think that it would be irresponsible on the part of
the Cubans to neglect something as essential as national defense in view of
this truth, in view of the fact that it is becoming each day more apparent
that the attacks against Cuba are being repeated and continue, in view of
the declarations by senators and vice presidents, such as Nixon, in view of
a situation in which the United States State Department repeats its charges
against us in its official notes, in view of a situation of hostility, a
policy of hostility and a campaign of hostility against Cuba?

For example, in the very beginning we entertained the hope that it
would not be necessary to mobilize or train anybody.  But reality shows
that this preparation is becoming more and more necessary each day and that
aggressions against our country are repeated day after day.  And so they
are burning the sugar cane from aircraft here.  All of this tells us just
one thing: we have to defend ourselves.

What was the worst crime committed by the French leaders during
the recent world war?  What was the task of the Fifth Column in France?
What was the task of the reactionary forces in France?  The task of the
reactionary forces in France was to weaken national defense, that is to
say, to keep saying that there was no danger; and they also brought up the
topic of Communism and they launched a campaign against Communism.

Robreno: The Popular Front was not one of the causes that weakened
French defense?

Dr Castro: They organized and carried out all campaigns that
tended to downgrade the danger that was being debated in France.  In your
opinion, why was France not defended?  Or do you think that France was not
betrayed in the last war?  Do you think that there was no conformist and
pacifist tendency in that country that was the cause of lack of French
preparedness in resisting the Germans?  The French people were not prepared
and the leaders did not prepare the French people to defend their country
because France, when she was prepared, as during the revolution, because
everybody remembers the 1891 or 1892 years; no, 1791 or 1792, when the
revolution in France was attacked from abroad by the nobility and the big
landowners, by the dukes and the counts, everybody remembers that these
people fled to England and to Austria and to Germany and Spain and Italy;
and there they tried to get the governments of those countries and the
aristocracy of those countries to take action and they preached a crusade
against France and they said that the example of France could very easily
spread to those countries and they said that it was necessary to destroy
the French revolution so that the same thing would not happen in those
other countries which were still controlled by the aristocracy; they
mobilized the armies of those countries against France but the people of
Paris resisted.  This is why Thiers, one of the historians of the French
Revolution, said something which I read many years ago but which I cannot
forget; he said that a people in revolution is stronger than its neighbors
together.  (Applause) The France of 1940 was not the France of 1792; the
France of 1792 resisted heroically and the France of 1940 did not resist.
But you cannot blame the French people who later on demonstrated their
valor in the Maqui against the German occupation forces; the blame lies
with the leaders who neglected national defense in France.

And we, the leaders of the Cuban revolution, can now say that we
are prepared to die side by side with our people.  (Applause) This is a
very old determination on our part and this is an attitude which at the
same time is also the attitude of the people and when the leaders of a
country are prepared to die with the people when the people will be
prepared to die with the leaders.  (Applause) And I say that this is one
thing which they will always be able to say about us; but the one thing
which they will never be able to say is that we left the country, that we
abandoned the people, that we left the people without any preparation for

Our greatest desire is that there be no need for this sort of
thing.  And your words demonstrate this because I told you: I do not
believe that it will be necessary, as a matter of fact, I did not think so.
Then, when they planted bombs in Havana and when they began to plant bombs
in the sugar refineries, such as the Niagara plantation, the Punte Alegre
plantation, and when we had a number of dead and about 40 injured in
Havana, it was we who mobilized the people, as you remember; we then held a
protest demonstration in front of the palace and we decided, in view of
this aggression, since they were bombing us, that we had to prepare
ourselves; we decided that we had to fight back.  At least we had to create
a spirit of resistance in everyone and this is truly a moving thing, one of
the most impressive things to anybody who visits Cuba: the spectacle of
seeing men and women and children, all preparing themselves for self
defense.  This is the thing that creates the consciousness of the need for
defending the country and this is what creates the fighting spirit among
the people.

I sincerely believe -- and I must tell the whole people that it is
our duty to orient the people and to lead the country correctly; we believe
that we must prepare ourselves and we must have a militia.  And here is the
best proof: who puts out the fire at the refinery?  Does the refinery owner
put it out?  No!  And so far we have not received any congratulations from
the owners of the plantations and refineries when one of those little
aircraft comes over and gets shot down.  Look, I have the proof here, for
example, when the aircraft come and drop their incendiary bombs, who puts
out the fire?  The peasant patrols.  Thanks to the peasant patrols we can
be sure that we will have a harvest.  What are they trying to do by burning
the sugar cane?  Well, they want to stir things up and ruin the country.
They want to deprive us of our basic product and of our most important
source of foreign currency, in other words, sugar.  Do you think that, if
it were not for the peasant patrols, we could have a harvest?  When they
burn and when they drop incendiary bombs at 20 different points, look at
that alone, let me explain, this is part of one of those bombing campaigns
in the zone of Las Villas, and we have some parts of these incendiary bombs
which were picked up and I am going to read you a report from the commander
there, Major Rodriquez Puerta, who is the military commander of the
province.  This report is dated 20 January 1960: I am sending you a piece
of what the little aircraft dropped for the purpose of setting fire to the
sugar cane.  They burned a total of 11,800 arrobas.  Everything will be
milled by the nearby refineries.  I want to point out that the rapid action
of the peasants in the zone prevented the fire from spreading further; as
soon as they saw the aircraft drop the incendiary bomb, they came running
to the place where it had dropped and they prevented the first from
spreading; in some cases they put the fire out right away.  We have 17
refineries that are operating in this province and tomorrow 3 more will
begin operating.  Signed: Major Armando Rodriguez Puerta.

Robreno: What make were those bombs?

Dr Castro: All right, look here, here is what it says: "Bristol,
Navy, here you are...  (he holds it up to the camera) -- here it is in
English but I have it in Spanish too (Applause).  Here is what it says: Red
signal flare, 500 candle power, time: 2 minutes; use only when aircraft or
ship is spotted (but they forgot to add: to burn sugar cane on the island
of Cuba.)  Instructions: Rip tape of tip, rub tip forcefully around signal
head.  Caution: always make sure that the air does not blow toward you."
This is what is says, and then again you have Bristol, Navy, made in the
United States.  This is what they dropped in these cases; this one did not
burn and it was picked up intact.  And this is the kind of little
incendiary bombs that burn for 2 minutes and that they drop on the cane

I believe that Cuba is presenting a unique fact to the world.  I
do not know of any country that produces tin, cotton, or any other product
that they are bombing with incendiary bombs.  And those aircraft come from
the United States because nobody could possibly believe that any of these
aircraft could come from Yucatan, from Mexico; those little aircraft do not
have that kind of radius and they certainly could not reach the province of
Havana from Santo Domingo, for instance.  In other words, those aircraft,
including the aircraft that came over in that case, when the magazine
Bohemia published a photograph of this aircraft as it "appeared" overhead
-- that aircraft took off very calmly from an airfield in Florida, and it
did not appear until Bohemia published a photograph of the aircraft and
then it suddenly appeared and everybody said that measures would be taken
later on.  Recently, in the Kuchilan section, I saw a photograph of other
aircraft that came over, with their license number, all of them for
missions of this type, and I have no news to the effect that they have
confiscated those aircraft nor that they are paying any attention to them
at all.  Those aircraft come from the United States; and those are the
aircraft with which they try to destroy our sugar crop.

Robreno: Doctor -- could this not be the subject of a protest in
the OAS?

Dr Castro: All right, it can be the object of a protest even in
the United Nations.

Robreno: All right, in the United Nations likewise.

Dr Castro: But of course I believe that these are steps that
should be taken at the right moment.  Because this is really nothing.  They
are just beginning.  I believe this quite sincerely because there is
evidence to the effect that they continue to threaten to deprive us of our
quota and you can find this in all of the international cables, they are
hurling greater threats against Cuba each day, the threat of cutting sugar
prices -- but now they call it a subsidy; they use the term subsidy to
denote the difference in the price between the world market price and the
American market price; as you know, there are two different prices and this
is a consequence of the United States sugar policy which is intended to
protect the interests of the sugar producers in the United States; they
cannot produce at world prices; so they have to subsidize sugar production
in the United States because they cannot produce at world prices.  As a
result of this policy of quotas and prices, we did not sell our sugar on
the world market during the war because we were the chief supplier of sugar
for the United States market at that time; but prices were higher on the
world market and even so we sold on the United States market where we got a
smaller price precisely because there was a sugar shortage in the United
States at that time; in other words we often made sacrifices but we
supplied the people of the United States every time there was a war and we
supplied them with enough sugar and when the war was over they launched a
new policy, such as they did after World War I and this caused a real
collapse in our sugar industry here because prices dropped extraordinarily;
as a result of this, the major portion of most of our sugar refineries fell
into the hands of the United States banks; after the war, they always come
along with their policy of taking quotas away from us and now they say once
again that they are going to cut our quota but in reality they have always
been cutting it.  The history of sugar in Cuba is the history of having our
quotas cut every time; in other words, they deprived us of the rights we
had earned by virtue of the fact that we supplied the American market
during difficult times; when they could not get sugar anywhere else, they
could always be sure that they could get enough sugar from Cuba and after
the danger had passed they began to deprive us of the advantages which we
had obtained when times were difficult.  Each amendment of the sugar law
meant a further cut in our quotas.  Now this is an old policy, it is not a
new policy.  For example, they now call the price difference a subsidy;
this is indeed a subsidy for their own domestic producers.  If, for
example, we were able to compete, if, for example, there were a free
competitive market, then we could certainly offer better prices than
anybody else because of our proximity and our natural advantages in sugar
production.  That system is a system designed to protect sugar cane
interests in the United States; it is not a system of helping or
subsidizing Cuba.  They have invented this subsidy thing to threaten us and
to cut our national income.  And this is one of the threats they are making

The other threat is that this is supposed to be a Communist regime
here and that we are only 90 miles from the United States; this is the one
statement that they emphasized most strongly.  I would like to take up the
problem of the postscripts next, this entire problem, possibly...

Robreno: One moment, doctor, this is not a long-hair question...

Dr Castro: You can grow all of the long hair you want to grow
(laughter and applause).

Robreno: I have one little question here...

Dr Castro: I am not going to get up and I am not going to leave
the program because of that.

Robreno: Perhaps your answer might solve the problem between the
tenants who do not pay their rent and the owners who do not rent out their
apartments.  Do you think perhaps the urban reform is working or perhaps it
is not?

Dr Castro: What urban reform?

Robreno: The one they have just announced.  I do not have a house
and this does not worry me.  But I have heard other people talk about it.

Dr Castro: All right, you know why you heard all of this talk --
because people are spreading rumors again to cause concern and worry. We
have not been studying any new measure of an urban character, that is to
say, nobody has been talking about this at all; for example, you might look
at the pamphlet La Historia me Absolvera [History Will Absolve Me]; there
is one part in the pamphlet that discusses the problem of housing; in that
portion I said that if the peasant can aspire to be the master of his own
piece of land, then it would be certainly ideal, in the city, for every
tenant to own his own home.  Now they take these statements which I made
during the revolutionary period, in connection with the sentencing of Mr.
Hubert Matos; and so I had to review all of my statements during the
revolutionary period; and I did find statements discussing measures that
would tend to turn our tenants into the owners of their homes; perhaps that
is what they based their statements on, perhaps that is what gave them an
opportunity to cause trouble and to get people to worry about that rumor.
I have also heard a number of questions on the urban reform but nobody has
discussed measures such as this, nobody has been talking about new
legislation along these lines; of course, this does not mean that we would
not come out with any new legislation if the circumstances would require
new legislation on housing.  Right now, we are satisfied with the advances
we have achieved, with the benefits that have been given to the people
through the reduction of rents, through the reduction of payments and the
construction of additional housing and the application of the abandoned
housing unit law; the purpose of this of course was to solve the housing
shortage.  We are not contemplating any measures of this kind but we will
not renounce such measures if the circumstances should require us to take
action and if the interests of the country should require us to promulgate
new laws on the housing problem.  The revolution is of course a process in
itself and we must act in accordance with the necessities of the country.
Now I am not trying to confuse anybody in saying this.  In other words, we
have not been contemplating any new measures on this, for the moment.

Robreno: Yes, in other words, the same thing will happen as in the
case of the militia -- if it should become necessary, in other words, if a
requirement should arise for a reform.

99       Dr Castro:  What do you think of the Pastorita plan, eh?  What do
you think of the INAV plan?

Robreno: The INAV plan?  Well, if I don't play the lottery, then I
would say it is all right (laughter and applause).

Dr Castro: No, Robreno, but to get a house from the Savings and
Housing Institute, you do not have to play the lottery; besides, these are
not lottery tickets they are shares or stocks.

Robreno: They are shares, yes, I want to correct that, they are

Dr Castro: All right.  And furthermore, we are not taking
anybody's money.

Robreno: No, no; that's not at all what I said.

Dr Castro: All right, calm down.  But try to figure out the
advantage of this.  This is a real savings system; and you must remember
that many people predicted that the INAV would fail.

Robreno: Yes, that is true.

Dr Castro: But you probably don't remember that a certain
political personality, whose name I do not want to mention now, was
questioned on a television panel by one of the newsmen, I do not recall
whether it was on this panel, I think it was at CMQ...

Robreno: I was not on the CMQ program.

Dr Castro: All right, you should have seen that fellow on

Robreno: Yes, I did see him.

Dr Castro: Well, they asked him about the INAV problem and he just
laughed but he did not give a reply, he just laughed and that is a shame.
I remember that very well.  But I was sure that the INAV would be a success
just like all of the other achievements of the revolution would be a

Robreno: All right, but Doctor, has there not been a reform here?
They did come up with a second bonus.

Dr Castro: No.

Robreno: There was no second bonus then?

Dr Castro: On the contrary, what they did was that we had a
thousand prices of one peso and then we had 500, no; we had a thousand
prices of half a peso and then the rest was set aside for ten housing units
every week.  No, we did not change this at all.

Robreno: All right, Doctor, the public likes to take a chance with
a peso but it did not like winning half pesos and as the second prize, they
had these houses and this is why the public ...

Dr Castro: The second prize has not been changed.

Robreno: Is that right?

Dr Castro: No; that is the same as before.

Robreno: I am not too familiar with the plan, as I said before.  I
do not know whether it has been changed but, before, there was only one
first prize.

Dr Castro: One first prize of a hundred thousand.

Robreno: And the others were really very small prizes.

Dr Castro: But the number of prizes has not been increased.

Robreno: But they have set up only one second prize and the people
are going to try to look at those houses and see if anybody likes those

Dr Castro: No; we distributed 10 houses.

Robreno: Yes, 10 houses, if not everybody goes after those 10
houses, if not everybody hopes to get one of those houses, because this is
a big prize, this is not just half a peso.  People like to take a chance
and they like the idea of having a chance of getting a hundred thousand
pesos for just one peso.

Dr Castro: All right, I believe that this is true; if this were
not the sort of thing that the people like, then we would not have
established the INAV.  You understand?  (Applause) It would have been
better if nobody played this game; after all, gambling is damaging to the
character because then the individual does not try to improve himself
through work or study but only through luck.  I was able to see the point
up to which the mentality of the Cuban gambler was influenced during the
war and I saw it during the revolution and I saw this under all
circumstances, when people thought that they could get something for
nothing by merely taking a chance; they would do a few things and then they
would leave the rest to chance.  In other words, the Cuban were gambling on
everything and they were always gambling.  I believe that gambling came
over with the first Spaniard whoever sat foot on our soil.

Robreno: Before that, the Siboney Indians would gamble.

Dr Castro: No, the Siboney Indians played ball, isn't that right?
The Siboney Indians engaged in healthy sports and they played ball; I do
not have any information to the effect that they were gamblers.  Gambling
came over from Europe; all of these lotteries came over with the so-called
civilization; and that civilization also brought slavery and it brought
special privileges and all kinds of other injustices.  Now what did they do
with this popular gambling mentality during the republic?  They developed
it further.

Robreno: Doctor, you know that there used to be a slogan put out
by the National Lottery which said: "Nobody ever gets rich from work; take
a chance on the National Lottery."  That was said quite officially in a
lottery advertisement.

Dr Castro: When?

Robreno: In some of the past regimes we have had.

Dr Castro: How?

Robreno: Well, it said: "Nobody ever got rich from working -- play
in the National Lottery."

Dr Castro: Is that what it said?

Robreno: Yes sir.

Dr Castro: Ah, well, how about that (laughter).  Look here,
Robreno, this is true and you know it very well.  I have had my discussions
with you but I don't want you to think that I have a low opinion of you.
We had these discussions because we have a system of free discussion here.
Has anybody prosecuted you?

Robreno: No sir.

Dr Castro: Has anybody bothered you?

Robreno: No sir.

Dr Castro: Have you noticed the slighted inconvenience to you
because of the things you have said?

Robreno: No sir.

Dr Castro: Nothing of the kind.

Robreno: Furthermore, I am not going to leave Cuba!  (Laughter and

Dr Castro: All right, then, you know very well that they were
promoting gambling here all the time along with other vices; but gambling
was a vice that not only damaged the people economically, it also damaged
the character; and I want you to believe me when I say that Cubans had
become accustomed to gambling and they were not doing anymore planning for
the future, they would just figure the odds.  I am by nature fortunately
against any kind of gambling but I understand the influence which it can
have over people; I was able to see all this when they opened the race

Robreno: Ah, now you are talking about horse racing.  And they
gave you a ticket on the horse that won.

Dr Castro: Yes, they gave me a ticket on the worst horse
(laughter).  Now listen to me, they gave me, well -- I don't want to say
that it was the worst horse -- it turned out to be the best -- but they did
not give me the ticket before I got there, nothing of the kind; I got that
ticket from a worker there who said to me: "Look here, I am going to give
you this in return for the agrarian reform" and he gave me the ticket and
then the race began and the horse happened to win, that is, the horse on
which the worker had bet; and it paid off, I believe, at odds of 20 to 2;
that horse might have been a bolt of lightning.

Robreno: He won by a nose, eh?

Dr Castro: He won by a nose, by a long nose.  But, listen to me,
you can be sure that if I were not so strongly against gambling I might
perhaps have returned some other day.

Robreno: But now you are never going to go back to the race track,
is that it, Doctor?

Dr Castro: I don't think everybody who comes there for the first
time gets a ticket for free and gets to win; I think this was just a lucky
accident and I can only credit the agrarian reform with my winnings this
time.  (Applause)

Robreno: The same thing happened with Cuban sugar.

Dr Castro: That was one of those things that happened and are
symptomatic of the agrarian reform.

Robreno: And the same thing happened in the case of Cuban sugar --
they were in last place and they still happened to win the world series.

Dr Castro: Yes, the same thing happened in baseball.  We were able
to win the series here.

Robreno: Now, doctor, if I were to buy a ticket someday, I would
like to have you come along and pick out one for me.

Dr Castro: You go ahead and buy a "26" and you will see what luck
you have.  (Laughter and applause) But, look here, Robreno: I will explain
the advantages of these lottery tickets to you.  The best feature of this
is first of all that you do not lose the money you spend on these lottery
tickets; we don't want you to be thinking of the price you are going to
win; the important thing is that you participate and I will explain to you
what I mean later on.  The advantage is that the money which you invest in
these tickets earns interest, but that is not all; if later on you pay the
mortgage on an INAV house and if you pay with a bond which you have had for
more than 5 years, there will be a 10% reduction in the price; if you pay
with a bond that you have had for 10 years, there will be a 20% reduction;
and if you pay with a bond that you have had for more than 15 years, there
will be a 30% reduction; and if you pay with a bond that you have had more
than 20 years, there will be a 40% reduction in what you have to pay for
the house, in terms of receipts.  In other words, you are getting more for
your money, you are getting more than you paid in, because if you pay with
money, there is no reduction but if you pay with an INAV bond, then there
is a reduction.

Now, you can figure out the advantages of this which you can
derive but basically everything depends on your income.  And I know that
newsmen don't make much; now that is a disadvantage in most cases but in
the connection here, with respect to the INAV, it may be a good thing,
because, if you make less than 100 pesos, the INAV does not collect any
interest on the value of the house and you have up to 30 years to pay for
it; if you make between 100 and 150 pesos, they do not collect any interest
either and you have up to 25 years to pay.

Robreno: Doctor, if it takes me 20 years to pay, you are not going
to collect even half of the costs.  Do you think that I am going to live
another 30 years?

Dr Castro: But, your grandchildren will take over the payments...

Robreno: Ah, well that's all right.

Dr Castro: Furthermore, this contingency is properly provided for
because there is a life insurance policy on which you pay and if you have
some kind of accident, if the head of the family has an accident, if he
dies or if he is disabled, this insurance enables his family to own the
house outright, without having to pay any more -- if he is disabled.  So,
in other words, the payments include this life insurance.  And of course,
there are interest payments.  The interest is 2% if a fellow makes more
than 150 pesos and up to 250 pesos; it is 3% if he makes 250 pesos; if he
makes between 350 and 450, the interest is 4% etc, and up to 5%; now you
have got to admit that this is really a very good plan.  And one of the
advantages is that anybody who holds such bonds is not likely to take out
what he has thus invested.  This is money that earns interest and this
furthermore enables you to pay for your home at a considerable reduction
which may be 20 or even 40%, depending upon the value.  In other words,
these bonds will be worth more than money and so, there may be a hundred
thousand or even 120,000 people who will have their own homes within 6 or 7
or 10 years and these bonds will be in great demand.  When the demand goes
up, the value of the bonds goes up, but not the premium.  In other words,
we have a system which tends to discourage the gambler and to promote the
saver.  In other words, this year, the first year, we recovered 40% and
what are we going to do then?  Well, during the first year the figure will
be 10%, during the 2nd year it will be 20%, during the 3rd year it will be
30%, etc, and it will be to everybody's advantage to hold on to his bonds
because they will be worth one peso for every 10 centavos, if you hold on
to them for 3 years or 4 years, etc, then it might be worth 100 or 110, in
other words, this is the system the [Unreadable text] uses to discourage
the gambler.  We established this system because you cannot eliminate the
gambling habit overnight.  If we had suppressed gambling by force, then it
would not have continued illegally because people who are inveterate
gamblers simply cannot live without gambling and they play anywhere and
they gamble anywhere, wherever they might happen to be, in cars or on
street corners and they will take their changes wherever they can.  These
people have to be treated like drug addicts, right?  (Laughter) I want to
make sure that everybody understands me when I say that these people are
going to have to be treated like drug addicts.  When a drug addict goes to
a hospital for treatment, they do not immediately take him off the drug;
they withdraw the drug gradually and they cut down the dose which he
consumes and the vice disappears only after long treatment.  And the same
is true of gambling.  The moment will come when we have issued a hundred
thousand bonds that the prizes will still be the same.  And then we will
have 150,000 bonds but the prizes will still be the same, and the savings
will keep going up.  And then there will come a moment when the people will
buy bonds just to save, not to gamble; and eventually there will be no more
prizes and instead of the prizes the people will draw higher interest on
the bonds and the bond holders will derive even greater advantages from

Robreno: You have convinced me, Doctor and I will hold off
gambling, especially until such time as I find out that the urban reform
does not work; but by that time I will have my house.

Dr Castro: I do not redeem any pledges (Applause).

Nunez: Before giving the floor to Comrade Benjamin de la Vega...

Dr Castro: You really ought to take a look at the house which the
INAV can give you and see whether you like it; you might even pick one in
the new city.  Have you seen the new city?

Robreno: No.

Dr Castro: All right, you have never been there?  You know, it is
one thing to look at it as you drive by on the highway; but, as you know,
there is a hill in between and you don't see the rest of the housing.  It
is really very impressive to go in there and take a look around.  This is
really impressive; the buildings are not big, as yet; I think it will take
another 6 or 7 months to finish this first development; it will have its
own schools and nurseries and its own shopping centers; it will be an
efficiently organized city of its own because our cities now are not
efficiently organized; no city in Cuba is efficiently organized; we do not
have enough stores for a number of Cuban families now and we do not have
enough schools and parks and we do not have enough other facilities for a
certain number of families, that is to say, our cities have not been built
on the basis of statistics; they just built one house next to the other and
they built one store next to the other.  There are areas which do not have
stores and there are areas which do not have schools -- but over there,
everything is built efficiently; there will be no families that will have
to break up when they want to get some recreation to go to the club because
the clubs of the Eastern Havana Neighborhood Association will be right
there, with their swimming pools and theaters; everything will be
distributed efficiently and statistically, according to the number of
inhabitants.  You, for example, can fly over Havana in a helicopter and you
will see a very depressing spectacle.  Havana is a city without parks and
grass, it is just a vast conglomeration of houses; Havana is a city that
was built without any consideration of the geographic situation; factories
were built without any consideration of atmospheric conditions and air
currents.  We can all be affected by air pollution from the factories; we
do not have enough oxygen.

Robreno: And what about overhead wires, Doctor?  Why does the
revolution not put the overhead wires underground?

Dr Castro: The overhead wire?  You mean, bury them?

Robreno: Yes, bury all of the telephone and electric power cables.

Dr Castro: All right, I think that this is something indispensable
but the only thing is that we have economically so far been unable to do
this efficiently and so far of course this was under the control of a
company that never had any interest in doing this.  Who knows how many
lives were lost as a result of people running into those utility poles; we
don't even know how many accidents have been caused by this because we do
not have any statistics.  The monopolies do not count the dead; all they
count is the millions of pesos they make in profits (applause).

Robreno: Doctor, there was one mayor of Havana who forced them to
do this.  Miguel Mariano Gomez forced them to do this in a large part of
Havana, all of Caliano, all the way up to the pier, he forced them to cut
the utility poles down.  Now, this could have been continued.

Dr Castro: This policy should have been continued even then; but
this is what we are doing in the new city now.  There, all of the cables
and wires are underground.  I would certainly urge everybody to go over
there on Sunday afternoon and take a look at this spectacular development
which is taking shape there.  Even the engineers who work on this told me
that they are impressed by all this.  Now they are going to continue with
the school unit and it will be completed on schedule likewise.  We are
highly satisfied with the progress of the INAV and we urge you sincerely to
take a look at this situation, you and all citizens, so that you will be
able to see for yourselves that it is worth-while to hold on those bonds.
In other words, regardless of whether you buy them or not, I think that it
is certainly correct for anybody to buy these bonds with the intention of
saving because these savings help us solve the housing problem and you get
tremendous benefits in this way.  Now, what were we talking about?  Eh?

Robreno: We were talking about bonds; the last thing was...

Dr Castro: Yes, how are they going to redeem those bonds?

Robreno: It was you who asked me whether I liked the INAV plan and
the first urban reform; I was inquiring about the urban reform and you said
that for the time being, there was not...

Dr Castro: No.

Robreno: This is supposed to be some kind of relief for the
tenants and the owners.  We are going to see whether the tenants now pay
the rent and whether the owners are going to rent out their homes; these
are two problems here.

Dr Castro: This is a problem indeed, a question of the state of

Robreno: The state of mind of not paying, that is one thing...

Dr Castro: Now, I don't want you to blame the revolution for this.

Robreno: No, no.

Dr Castro: The situation is changing; in the past, the people very
often could not pay and so they developed the habit of not paying; but now
we are going to see if we cannot get the tenants and the owners together,
particularly in those cases, where we have families that have perhaps just
one house, in some of these cases, we are going to see whether...

Robreno: And you are going to see to it that the owners rent their
houses out, no?

Dr Castro: Well, as far as the owners are concerned, I am not
going to give the owners any advice.  In many cases, they just put a few
chairs in those old apartments and they they advertise them as furnished
apartments.  This has been done in a number of cases; others have shut
their apartments down; in some cases, these people believe in the story
that the counterrevolution will come back and that the revolution will
disappear and then of course they would rent their apartments out again.
Well, before that happens, they are going to be many more revolutionary
laws (applause).  The law on housing control, for instance, because this
policy does produce opposition.  I have heard many instances of people who
do not want to rent out their space; I have heard many complaints about
people who do not want to pay; but in reality the thing that produces much
excitement and irritation in people and the thing that causes all of this
dissatisfaction, I believe that the thing that does all this is a policy
which is indeed correct, a policy of lowering apartment rents; all right
then we are going to rent the apartments if that is what they want.  But
right now, there are lots of apartments that are not earning anything for
anybody; nobody lives there and the space is not rented out to anybody; and
it is certainly wishful thinking that the counterrevolution will come and
that these apartments can be rented without at a higher price.  The truth
is that this is something that nobody expects.

Nunez: Robreno's turn is over now and Benjamin de la Vega now has
the floor; but before that, I would like to announce that this program is
also being relayed by the Voice of the Indian and by the Agramente Chain,
from Camaguey; we also have the honor of having with us tonight in this
studio Miguel Otero Silva, a Venezuelan intellectual, managing editor of
Nacional [The Citizen], of Caracas, who came here accompanied by Comrade
Pardo Llada and Nicolas Guillen, the great Cuban poet (applause); in a
minute I will ask Comrade Benjamin de la Vega to start his questions.
Comrade Benjamin de la Vega, as you remember, has interviewed Dr Fidel
Castro on other occasions.  He was the Cuban newsman who interviewed Dr
Fidel Castro in Mexico, when he was finishing up the preparations for the
"Granma" expedition; for this, he won a newspaper prize (applause).

De la Vega: Dr Castro...

Dr Castro: Did you win a prize?

De la Vega: Yes, I won third prize..

Dr Castro: When?

De la Vega: Well, it was in 1956, 1956 or 1957, that is.

Dr Castro: No, it must have been in 1957 because that was at the
end of...

De la Vega: Yes it was in 1957.

Dr Castro: Do you remember whether you really wanted to win a
prize?  At any rate, they did not give you first prize for this interview
(laughter).  That was rather important, that interview, because I gave the
exact day on which we would start the war; I was off by only one day, one
day in advance, not one day afterward.

De la Vega: Yes, it was 14 days after that interview.

Dr Castro: No, it was 13 days afterward, 13 days after the
interview was published.

De la Vega: All right, Dr.  Castro, let us talk about a rather
important issue right here.  In the last few days, two letters from Rebel
Army officers have been published and these officers resigned their
commission; they are Lt Artime and Major Mitchell of the Air Force.
However, today, there is a telegram, I don't know from what news agency,
from San Jose de Costa Rica, to the effect that an Air Force captain, who
according to the cable, is the commander of our parachute units, Major
Manuel Soto...

Dr Castro: He is an Argentine, is he not?

De la Vega: Manuel Rojo, Manuel Rojo...

Dr Castro: Che Rojo...

De la Vega: Ah yes, they call him Che Rojo.

Dr Castro: Yes, but he is not the Che Rojo in that little
counterrevolutionary story (laughter).

De la Vega: All right, according to the cable, this gentleman
resigned his commission and went to the United States.  We would like to

Dr Castro: Look here, my boy, let me explain something to you
because you have to think very thoroughly about all of those problems of
the revolution.  There will come the time when the philosophers and the
writers will begin to record the history of the revolution and they will
draw their conclusions, etc, etc.  You have read the history of prior
revolutions and I think that your account of this revolution will be a part
of the general history of what newsmen in the future will have to study
when they go to journalism school.  I think that will of course draw many
interesting conclusion from the revolution.  I am sure you remember the
Spanish psychologist M. Lopez; there is a chapter on the psychology of
revolutionary conduct; Gustavo Ledon wrote his book on the psychology of
the masses and it contains many conclusions on the French Revolution; in
other words all historians have tried to draw conclusions from the
revolution.  You have the case of the French Revolution where they were
numerous cases of men who started out with the revolution -- isn't that
right?  You remember some heroes such as Dumurie who was the commander of
the French armies that defeated the first invasions of France and who later
on became a traitor and went over to the enemies of France.  In other
words, in each of those cases you have a multitude of examples of men who
started out with the revolution and then left it.  This happens above all
when the revolution turns into a really revolutionary event.

So long as it is not a really revolutionary event, everybody
believes that he is a militant of the revolution and a soldier of the
revolution.  All you have to do is remember the first few days of last
year.  In January of last year, everybody here was a revolutionary; the
most unlikely people were revolutionaries.  As you looked at these people
you would ask yourself: but did this man really renounced all of his
property and all of his things and privileges and did he change his way of
thinking and has he really become a revolutionary?  All right, to put it
very simply, there are people who did become revolutionaries and who have
not been thinking along these lines in the past; but there are also many
people who acted like revolutionaries in those first few moments but who
were not revolutionaries at all.  And then there is another fact: a
revolution picks up many highly dissimilar elements, in other words, a
heterogeneous situation, and it also picks up a lot of imposters.  We never
believed that every single member of the revolution was a man of justice, a
man conscious of his duty, a man fully aware of what a revolution is.  We
always knew that a revolution is a process, a social phenomenon, and there
is a whole group of elements who are going to leave the revolution sometime
along the way.

There might even be gangsters in the revolution.  And the
revolution may have immoral supporters; many of these people got in.  It is
therefore not strange that this revolution likewise has men who do things
like that.  You get a lot of people involved in the revolution and of
course some of them are just waste and they are then eliminated.  But I
believe that anybody who is not a true revolutionary, anybody who is a
gangster or who is immoral and ambitious -- all of those fellows fall by
the wayside; in reality, we have had very few deserters in this revolution;
the revolution has had a few deserters; in one year, we might have had 9 or
10 or maybe 12 cases of desertion.  And of course you know what the prior
history of those people was.  The first was a Mexican, a fellow who was
arrested when the war began.  But he was able to get away later on.

That of course was not the only case.  And of course we still run
into persons who were squealers all that time who suddenly turned up on our
side when it was all over.  These are fellow who did nothing all along but
who came out of hiding during the very first few moments when some of the
military facilities surrendered.  And then everybody put on a uniform,
everybody picked up a rifle and every now and then we still have occasion
to eliminate some of those individuals because we discovered their prior
history and record -- after many months.  And that Mexican, who was
arrested and then escaped, well, he was conspiring all the time because
when he figures out that he was going to be discovered he went to the
United States and told his story there.

And so, these people have betrayed the revolution, either because
they had no revolutionary ethical principles or because they had no
revolutionary consciousness or because they were ambitious; and there are
others who were just scum; let me put it somewhat differently, they were
just faking their interest in the revolution.  A lot of them tried to pass
themselves off as Rebel commanders even though they had never commanded
anything; when things got hot, they simply went to one of the embassies and
then they went abroad and then they said: "Major So and So has made a
statement to the effect that the regime in Cuba is Communist, that he left
the government because it is Communist, and so forth, etc; these are
statements which the enemies of the revolution love to quote.  These
individuals went abroad and they claim to have been officers even though
they had been nothing of the kind.  You mentioned to me the case of an
individual whom I knew personally.  That fellow whom they called Che Rojo.
That gentleman had gone to the Sierra Maestra in connection with the story
about that plane there.  I remember that when I was in Venezuela I met
people who were very disgusted, especially all of the Spanish republicans:
and they were wondering what I was doing with this fellow who had fought
for Franco in the [Civil] War?  One of the complaints I heard most
frequently from the Spanish republicans in Venezuela was a complaint about
this fellow Che Rojo who was a Franco supporter and who had fought with
Franco and they really hated him; they said that he assassinated people in
Spain; and I am sure that these republicans who now live in Venezuela have
many facts to back up this information.  Now, any of those Spanish
republicans in Venezuela could send up a report on that gentleman, on Che
Rojo, but this fellow did really render us a service and that counts for a
lot under those circumstances.  You cannot simply drop a man who has served

Perhaps we were a little bit too lenient in not eliminating him.
Now, what about this paratroop commander?  What paratroop commander?  If
there were any paratroopers right here in the middle of the province, I
certainly didn't see any.  That fellow had been a parachutist, I think in
Korea, perhaps, or somewhere else, I don't know where; and he liked to put
on exhibitions of jumps.  He would put on his show and I think the last
time he jumped he broke a leg (laughter).  Of course, he was the type of
fellow who likes to plot and conspire, a fellow discredited by his prior
history, a fellow you automatically did not trust.  Well, perhaps he did
not feel too good, the way things were going right now, and he did what
people of his kind usually do.  And now I am going to tell you something
about the case of Artime.  Who is this fellow Artime?

Artime was a fellow who appeared in the Sierra Maestra on 28
December 1958; he was sent in by the Catholic group.  Actually, it was not
the Catholic group but rather Father Llorente who sent him from the
Catholic group; now, this has nothing to do with what Artime did; I am
simply explaining this and I know that this has nothing to do with Father
Llorente, who is the leader of the Catholic Association; this has nothing
to do with Artime; but he had sent him in a group of men who, in those
days, wanted to join the revolution; they sent that group to the Sierra
Maestra and they arrived there on 28 December.  He did not say this in the
little note he sent along; he mentioned a heroic veteran of the war and of
revolutions, etc, etc, and he arrived on 28 December.  Now, this fellow did
not carry a rifle nor did he ever fire a shot, nor did he do anything at
all; as everybody knows, we had already pushed all the way up to Palme
Soriane on 28 December, we had pushed from Jiguani, all the way to Palme
Soriane and we were moving by car along the central highway.  We had
occupied all of the towns between the Cautillo River, to a point a few
kilometers from Bayamo, up to the vicinity of Santiago de Cuba.  We had the
army surrounded at that time; there were 14,000 soldiers surrounded in
Oriente; they did not make any move; they did not move out of their
quarters or barracks; the territory was entirely ours.  These were the
circumstances when that gentleman arrived there; he did not fight, he did
not fire a single shot, he did nothing; he simply turned up and introduced
himself at Lt.  Artime.  But nobody knows what that lieutenant did; nobody
knows what he was supposed to do there.  That is the truth.  It seem that
he simply made himself a lieutenant, on that front; never in my life have I
seen anything like it, anything like what Lt Artime did; but thee are the
things that happened during the very first moments of the revolution.

He was a lieutenant, he was with a group of commandos, and he went
there, into the Sierra Maestra.  The first time I saw him, I talked to him
and we discussed the agrarian law and he made a very favorable impression
on me; he was quite enthusiastic about the idea.  And he went to work there
and guess what the first thing was that he did?  He began to mistreat the
peasants.  He rounded up a lot of peasants in the lower mountain range, in
a place called La Sierrita; he rounded up, by force, some of hte small farm
owners there in order to set up a cooperative something which we never did;
we never did that with the small farm owners; we gave him the property but
that is not all; he began to carry out a terrible policy there; he told
these farmers some of the things that should never have been said; he told
them that they were not the owners of the land, that the most stupid policy
would be to give a group of farmers, who have on caballeria, each, some
more land, perhaps one or one and a half or two caballerias of land; but
we, instead, gave them the titles to the land; we helped them to get good
prices and we gave them supplies, etc; we never did anything by force.

And so he set himself up there, in a certain zone, and we assigned
him a more important mission; and then, without ever having discussed
anything with any of our command centers, without ever having said a word
to any of us or without ever having expressed the slightest objection to
any of us in connection with the problem in Camaguey, he suddenly
disappeared without accounting for hte funds which were based on an
allocation of 5,000 pesos from the Ministry of Agriculture; he did not
account for this money to anybody, nor any other funds with which he
ascended.  During the first few days, we were worried that something might
have happened to that boy.  Maybe he had been captured, but when we made
some inquiries, the family did not seem to be worried; they did not know
anything but then, after 8 or 10 days, we began to hear rumors to the
effect that he had gone into exile or something like that; nobody knew what
his problem could have been.  Perhaps he embezzled the money and he did not
want to have to account for these funds to anybody and so he just vanished
and then he sent that letter dated 29 October.  When was that letter
published?  That is what I want to talk about.  It was published 3 months
later, along with a letter from Mitchell and, I think I have a copy here,
some rather interesting things came up on that subject; these are things
that everybody should know about, the connection between these gentlemen
and a certain policy, certain embassies; fortunately, we are able to get
our hands on one of those important documents; we were able to get
documents of all kinds and they may be just as valuable as that letter of
16 December 1969 which was taken from a sister-in-law of Mr. Pedro Luis
Diaz Lanz.  When she was arrested, this letter was found on her; this
letter is very interesting because of the information which it contains and
I am going to read it here because it will explain certain things, such as
what happened to Mr. O'Farrill who, as everybody knows, was involved in the
Trujillo conspiracy; he very patriotically went to the United States and
made the previously-mentioned statement.  Here is what the letter says:

18 December 1959.  Dear Billy -- this is the cover name of Diaz
Lanz' brother -- I have already sent you another letter but in the meantime
a number of things have happened:

1. Spanish and American embassies.
2. Jorge -- I don't know whether this is a capital [Unreadable
text] a capital Z here -- I presume this is Jorge Zayas.
3. The priests.
4. Mitchell, that is Mr. Mitchell.
5. The periodical.
6. So-and-So.
7. ...
8. Summary of newspaper dispatches.
9, 10, 11, and 12, etc.

1. They have sent me to look around; the Spanish Embassy had been
talking about me in this connection; they sent me to look around and they
had mentioned my name at the Spanish Embassy.  I went there and my job was
to get the Catholics, whom they were holding there out through the American
Embassy.  They are Artime and another fellow, with important records and
documents.  I then placed myself at their disposition.  I agreed, but then
I believe that this can be handled through Guantanamo, yes, Guantanamo, I
think that is the base there.  But right now I do not know.  They either
have come out or they will come out.  I would have told your sister-in-law
that on the telephone when I called her but I assumed that you already know
about this.  But right now, we do not know exactly how this will turn out.
At any rate, I am working with them right now.  The embassies, that is, the
Spanish and American embassies.  I am working with them to get everything
they need and our plan is certainly worth-while.  Both of them are very
helpful and they are going to do anything they can for me.

2. Jorge was quite delighted with you and with your certainty that
everything would come off all right.  All of this was communicated to the
group at the meeting which was held in the home of our comrades -- I don't
want to give any names here; we met there several times and then we met in
a couple of other places.

3. Yesterday, the newspapers carried the story of O'Farrill and
Aguirra; the radio also had a story on that; there was a big uproar in this
connection and there is a lot of talk about this.  Everybody is quite
touche.  I thought that Ramon, after all he had told me, would already have
taken off.

4. As far as Mitchell is concerned we have a very serious problem.
I told you that it was going to be you or that you would send somebody else
very discretely so that the whole thing could come off properly.  They saw
him with Pedro Luis and you know that that fellow is really being watched
closely.  He was quite peeved because he thought that that plan was a real
good one.  He had a B-26; they had 50 of them; and then they made their
bombing runs here and there have been two score or more victims, a lady
living with Mr Diaz Lanz who, in turn, is in cahoots with Trujillo and all
of the other war criminals; that is the type of element you deal with here.
That would have been a tremendous thing; and that is why he is like a caged
lion.  Tonight we have to go to one of the embassies for a short time; it
remains to be seen what they will do; we are dealing here with another
patriotic fellow, the fellow who took charge of the pilots; one of the
first things this gentleman did was to take over the pilots; everybody has
his own past history and he was in cahoots with the car criminals and with
the men who are bombing the country.  You have to trust some of the people
here, you simply have to.  This is a letter which I am now going to read a
few paragraphs from because it is quite interesting and it shows us how
these war criminals have teemed up with the big landowners and the
embassies and the reactionaries, that is, with the traitors; we will see
how they are manipulating this whole thing; these documents are very
valuable because they tell us a lot about what these people have in mind;
and there is no doubt that all of these documents are absolutely authentic.

5. I already have a print shop setup for our little newspaper in a
convent and I think you know that.  We have the format all set up and the
priests and the sisters alternate in operating the printing machine.  I
have to read this because it is my duty to do so even though it is painful;
it would be even more painful however to say nothing about this.  Of
course, this does not mean that all of the sisters and all of the priests
are to be blamed in this connection.  I know that there are many good
particularly in the most humble orders, who work for welfare and who work
in the hospitals; and then there are the Oblate Sisters who are negroes and
who teach; there are good little sisters in many places and they work hard
and they are humble and they are revolutionaries; they feel with the
revolution and they sympathize with the revolution; I am making these
clarifying statements here because there are also many priests who are
revolutionaries and who are for the revolution; but of course there are
also some real had priests like Father O'Farrill and others; but I have to
read this because it is my duty and because the people must be informed on
all of these things.  (Applause)

How many copies of the paper are we going to run off?  Whatever we
do we have to do it very quickly.  They have given me all of the necessary
tools and the printer's ink and the paper and so on; the little machine
does not make any noise; I also have my portable typewriter and I am set up
in a place that not even you could imaging that it looks like.

6. This detail is not very important.

7. [No text]

8. We just had some more firing here on one of those airplanes;
everybody just started firing away at it from all directions.  This was
more of an accident; an aircraft came over at night.  But: "I am sending
you the furniture."  This is not important.  But there is something that is
important here.  This has to do with the prisoners who are members of our
organization on the Island of Pines and at La Cabana, including pilots;
that is to say, all of them are war criminals who have been punished by the
revolution and they are on the Island of Pines and at La Cabana; they are
all in chains there; I managed to get a large quantity of medicines from
which which I want to have sent over.  And then I went to see -- here he
has a name which I don't want to give because there are some other people
with the same name -- and they gave me everything I asked for and
everything I needed.  I also saw "so and so" and we got some more vitamins
and I talked to Balbino, your sister-in-law knows who he is; we are
preparing 500 jars of sugar; 500 jars, in other words, for these war
criminals.  These are jars containing sugar and powdered milk for them, for
Easter.  We are prohibited from giving alms or donations in the churches.
I am not so sure about this but I have been told that they even find people
for this but we have already managed to get our hands on some soap and so
on.  Other have gotten some milk and sugar and coffee for us, etc; we hid
the stuff at the Dominican Monastery and at the Sacred Heart Convent; we
are doing all right.  Alpizar, the doctor, could not afford an attorney; it
would have cost him 2,500 pesos to get Aramis Toboado who says he is
available if the price is right -- now that fellow is quite cynical, it
says here (laughter); I do not know how that family got the idea of hiring
that fellow as a defense attorney; but they are quite desperate because
they don't have the money and they don't have a lawyer.  Then Balbino gave
me the money for the Sunday masses and, with some other money we had, we
managed to scrape together 200 pesos but we still need another 300 pesos; I
don't know whether he is going to try to find some laboratory; after all,
he is a doctor and he is taking this request in his name; but we will see
if they can help him; today they have asked me to pick up and hide a case
with 400 rounds of ammunition of all kinds, including .45's, as well as
submachine guns and pistols and 6 cases of dynamite.  We are keeping the
stuff in one of the churches, but tell me if this is a good idea; tell me
if I ought to hand the stuff out or if I ought to keep it.  Right now I am
quite worried about this and so are the sisters.  Besides, the stuff is not
doing anybody any good right now where it is.  Etc.  The rest is not
important, the rest of the letter does not really have anything important
but it is quite authentic and I have made a copy available to the church
hierarchy, the archbishop, so that he can see for himself what this is all
about; we have not registered any church and we have not registered any
convent but it is my obligation to reveal all of these facts to the people
and to make a copy of the document available to the church hierarchy.

I think that these letters reveal quite a bit, these letters from
Mitchell and Artime, all of these documents; these gentlemen are at the
Spanish Embassy; some of these gentlemen are in contact with the war
criminals and they are all in this together; that is what they call the
counterrevolution; that is what is called the "reaction."  This is a
consequence of the fact that no revolution in the world is every fought
without that sort of thing and everybody knows it.  All of these interests
and all of these forces are involved in this campaign but we haven't seen
anything yet; there are lots of things they can try to do to us, they can
try to wipe us out physically and they can try to carry out their plans,
that ALFA group; I want to make this quite clear to our poor farmers in the
mountains, this is Plan A, a plan hatched by all of those
counterrevolutionaries; they are trying to stir up all of these war
criminals and they are putting out their own magazine.  Avance [Advance];
and this gentleman is only trying to incite people to crime; but he must
keep in mind that when we were fighting against tyranny, nobody helped us,
nobody gave us weapons; we had to hide out in the university and in
apartments, wherever we could, to train 50 men or 100 men; we could not
give them any firing practice in handling the M-1 or the light machine gun;
and there we have 30,000 or 40,000 men who belonged to the old army, to the
old police, all of those gentlemen who had been picked out of power, men
trained in the use of machine guns and small arms and all kinds of other
weapons.  This is a very important factor, these 30,000 or 40,000 men.  If
the revolution had had 30,000 or 40,000 trained and prepared men, well, you
figure out for yourself what the advantage would have been in our side;
this of course is a factor which is somewhat checked by the vigilance of
the people; but these elements are always being stirred up and they are
being told that they should ask for arms to be issued to them; all of these
are factors on which the counterrevolution counts; it hopes to get not only
money but also support from the embassies and from the senators, from
international propaganda against Cuba and against the revolutionary
government, it hopes to get support through slander and lies because you
have to take a look at what they are writing here.

Fidel Castro launched religious persecution.  Attacks on churches
and assaults on priests.  They put over the educational reform law.
Private cemetery.  Washington is very well informed on Fidel Castro's
special cemetery.  According to statistics, Fidel Castro and his regime
have so far killed 15,000 people, 15,000 people in less than one year; this
of course includes those who were assassinated by the councils of war,
those who were assassinated under a safe-conduct.  These are the latest
American statistics.  Here in the Pentagon they have everything at the
Pentagon in Washington, in the Senate, here in the Pentagon, they have the
names and the number and now they say that there are supposed to be 20,000
corpses.  And so they want to destroy us physically and morally; they want
to discredit us; there is not the slightest doubt about that; the basic
plan hatched by these gentlemen is the plan for physical destruction; they
plan everything quite calmly because they think that they can prepare the
way for their attack; but I want to tell you that the problem of the Cuban
revolution is a difficult problem for hte enemies of that revolution
because even though they have tremendous resources and great strength even
though they have weapons, they still are going to find this a tough nut to
crack, the Cuban people is going to be a tough nut to crack (applause).  We
have the men who are prepared to fight this battle without hesitation.

We are very much aware of all these problems; none of this
surprises us; we understand everything here; we understand this because
this is part of the philosophy of history, it is a substantial part of all
of the revolutionary phenomena in history; only history teaches us to
understand all of these things and we look upon all of these things from a
historical viewpoint, with philosophical understanding; we are quite aware
that this is a big struggle and that they will try to wipe us all off the
face of hte earth; but we will fight hard to win and we will emerge
victorious.  So, that is the situation.  And these gentlemen will find out
that they have bitten off more than they can chew.  All of this is
contained in this letter but of course they are not going to publish it
right now.  Here are the newspapers which published the first letter from
O'Farrill and they published it 3 months later, yes, 3 months later, in a
counterrevolutionary type of campaign, quite open and provocative even
though they are no longer in power; but this gentleman could not leave and
get out.  This gentleman launched a provocative campaign, this gentleman
from the periodical Avance; I think this is something we have to take up
here likewise so that we can see what he is doing, step by step, so that we
can see what this counterrevolutionary conspiracy process really is like;
and these are the letters and the individuals who write and send those
letters; now, I ask you, why are they sending out these underground
newspapers, if they cannot publish this information?  And if they publish
it, why do they have underground newspapers?  This is all quite unusual, we
are wondering what these underground people are going to do; but we never
publish anything, no statements, no accusations, nothing of the sort that
they have been publishing.

Nunoz: De la Vega.

De la Vega: Major Castro, you mentioned the Spanish Embassy.  A
few weeks ago, the church hierarchy of the Spanish orders here in Cuba got
together with the Spanish Embassy and gave the France regime a vote of
confidence.  What is your opinion of this visit?

Dr Castro: Well, let the people judge, let the people judge this,
let the people form their opinion.

De la Vega: Do you believe that there is a split in the church
hierarchy here in Cuba?

Dr Castro: Well, I am not very much concerned with finding out
what the situation in the church hierarchy is; but there is no denying, at
least, I believe, that this sort of thing inevitably does come up.  This is
really a topic which I don't want to go into right now but we have had
diplomatic relations with that country and of course we have preserved all
of the necessary conventions and all of the various diplomatic formalities.
I, in particular, whenever I went to any diplomatic reception and whenever
the Spanish Ambassador turned up, I welcomed him courteously, like all of
the other ambassadors; now, I don't know whether this was just done out of
an attitude of diplomatic approach on our part, or whether it was just
plain courtesy -- in spite of the fact that all of these
counterrevolutionary activities were going on.  Talking about the case of
Artime, now, this case is quite different from the problem of the Spanish
priests who came here or who made a statement in support of France.  I do
not know what the situation of those priests in Spain is; I do not know
whether the embassy had asked them to make this declaration; but these
church problems are not my problems; these church problems are none of my
business.  But I venture to express the opinion that these things do create
discontents and splits.  But these are not our problems; but it is my job
to judge everything that may be counterrevolutionary, everything that may
be contrary to the interests of the nation, contrary to the interests of
Cuba and the revolutionary government; it is not up to me to judge the
attitude of others with respect to other regimes; much less am I concerned
with church affairs; this is why I believe that the people should form
their own opinions on these things and I am quite sure that the people will
not find these attitudes very nice.

De la Vega: I have another question, Dr Castro, which I believe is
of interest here.  I would like to ask you how the battle of foreign
currency is going.  There are rumors to the effect that there is going to
be a currency devaluation.  It would be quite interesting if you could tell
us a few things about that.

Dr Castro: Well, I believe that Che is fighting a battle for
foreign currency that is as important as the battle of Santa Clara.
(Applause) You know, he is making a tremendous effort here to defend our
currency and I hope that he will emerge victorious from this effort; he is
doing a fine job controlling all of the resources of the nation in order to
make only the most necessary foreign currency expenditures, in spite of all
of the circumstances which have come up; in the sugar industry alone, we
have failed to receive 80 million dollars and even though there was a loss
of 70 or 80 million in foreign currency every year, this year the foreign
currency reserve dropped only 29 million and if we keep in mind the prior
expenses, if we take into account all of the money that we did not get in
the sugar industry field, then we can say that we still managed to save
foreign currency this year because we spent 100 million or so less; we
spent 100 million or so less in foreign currency than last year and the
years before that; in other words, we made a tremendous effort and as a
result of this effort we were able to save 70 million in foreign currency,
the amount we were going to be short, and so we have a favorable balance,
in other words, a balance of 50 million dollars or something like that.  At
the end of the year, we always run into the most difficult foreign currency
situation.  Consequently, the bank does not get an equal amount in terms of
revenues throughout all of the months of the year and sometimes the
expenditures are higher.  At that moment we were collecting foreign
currency at the rate of one million per day.  We were getting this money in
at the rate of one million a day (applause); things are looking up again
and according to the policy which we pursue here, a policy of maximum
savings of foreign currency, we will have enough to invest in raw
materials; we can invest this in raw materials and in agricultural
machinery and in factories; and so we are going to win the battle of

De la Vega: What is the amount right now, Doctor?

Dr Castro: Fifty million or so, may 52, maybe 53, or 54 or
something like that.

Robreno: Doctor, may I say something more about currency?

Dr Castro: Yes.

Robreno: In our commercial treaties with various Latin American
nations, is the payment of these goods handled reciprocally in dollars?  Do
we pay in dollars and do they pay us in dollars likewise?

Dr Castro: Payment is usually made in dollars.

Robreno: And there are no countries from which we import more than
we export and, in other words, can we stop losing out in this exchange of
foreign currency?

Dr Castro: Yes, there are countries with which, for example, we
exchange petroleum; for instance, when we buy 25 or 30 million dollars
worth of petroleum, the only other thing to do, if we could do anything at
all, or in other words, but these things do come up and we have to try to
level off our own balance and we have to buy petroleum from those countries
that will buy sugar from us; we have to try to develop our trade with those
countries that will buy from us, in return for us buying from them; we have
also countries that buy more from us than we buy from them.  Take the case
of Japan, for example.

Robreno: No, I was talking about Latin American nations, nothing

Dr Castro: Yes, there are some cases, but our commerce with the
Latin American nations primarily involves the petroleum trade with
Venezuela and that volume, well, here, we have an unfavorable balance of
trade because we buy more than we sell and right now we are trying to sell
-- we were also discussing the sale of steel bars, by the way -- right now
we are trying to sell various things but in reality the balance of trade is
unfavorable; we must of course try to balance our trade here along these
lines.  We do have possibilities in international trade.  Here is where we
must defend our position and expand trade with all of the other countries
so that we can purchase the raw materials we need from those countries,
fuel, machinery, etc and these countries, in turn, will buy sugar and
tobacco and minerals from us.  You know that this year we have sold
virtually all of our tobacco and in some cases it is advisable to use the
system of selling this tobacco to just a few customers and then buying
machinery from them.

Robreno: In the future treaties with the Afro-Asian countries,
will it be necessary to do a lot of studying of...?

Dr Castro: We also have to study the possibility of using any
currency because there are countries that operate on the basis of hard
currency, dollars or pounds sterling; and we have to try to look for
customers in those countries that have neither dollars nor pounds sterling,
in other words, countries that could trade with us, countries that could
barter their products with ours, because in general, many of these
countries produce articles which we do not produce; we produce different
items and sometimes a third country produces something that we might want
and it sells those items to one country and what other country then sells
the stuff to us and we then sell what we have to the third country
involved.  In other words, we have to develop commerce with all means at
our command so that we can turn our products into foreign currency, so that
we can turn our sugar and our tobacco into foreign currency, so that we can
turn our iron into foreign currency; we must exploit our national resources
to the maximum; and we must exchange them for machinery and fuel and raw
materials and for some food items which we do not produce here.

Robreno: Do you believe that the policy of bartering is advisable?

Dr Castro: Well, policy in general, any kind of policy, is a kind
of barter.  What happens is that one fellow sells some products and the
other one buys them; now, money is an instrument of exchange but you can
also exchange articles for money and then you take this money and you
exchange it for other articles; this is done for instance in connection
with the corn harvest.  One fellow sells his corn for money and with that
money he buys coffee or meat and fats, clothing and shoes, in other words,
he exchanges his corn for the other articles and then, in certain cases, it
is advisable to barter some of these things.

Nunez: Dr Castro...

Dr Castro: That is a very complicated problem because not all
countries have the same economy; not all countries have the same needs; not
all countries have the same facilities; we are better off in this respect
because the interest of the nation predominates above all.  We do not have
any minority group interests predominating here, any minority groups that
decide the policy of the country.  Our policy here is considered from all
angles and we want to develop our trade with all of the other countries to
the maximum extent; we are an underdeveloped country; we must obtain raw
materials; we still do not have any fuel; we have to spend more than 60
million dollars on fuel; we have to obtain machinery for industrialization.
If we can produce sugar now, if we can produce tobacco and minerals, then
we have to convert those articles into machinery; the problem of foreign
currency is closely tied in with our need for developing our industry; but
that is not all, we also need fuel and raw materials for a number of
industries; and we also have to build the necessary factories for this.
And so we have to convert our resources into machinery for
industrialization.  We are an underdeveloped country.  What do we have?
Sugar, tobacco, minerals; we are going to sell all that, we are going to
sell this to countries which need these items and which, in return, will
give us machinery, raw materials, and the fuel we need.  This policy is
what we must pursue and we are lucky that we can pursue it because, in the
past, as you know, we had to ask for permission as to what we could trade
in; today we are a free country and we can trade (applause)...  Of course,
all of this has its price; this does cost something, regardless of whether
it involves a free country, a sovereign country, or a subjugated country.
The subjugated countries might have what we had -- lack of culture,
starvation, misery, underdevelopment, poor farm laborers without land,
illiterate children, sick people without hospitals, unemployment, in other
words, a shortage of everything; these are the consequences in a subjugated
country, in a colonialized country.  Now, a free country can aspire to have
land for its peasants, jobs for everybody, culture for everybody, work, a
higher standard of living, etc, it can achieve this higher standard of
living gradually, but this costs something; it has its price.  The price
that we must pay is expressed in terms of our problems, in terms of the
threats and inconveniences which we must face up to in order to be a free

Robreno: In connection with the underdeveloped countries, do you
believe that the Congress of those underdeveloped countries, which they are
now preparing, will be attended by all Latin American nations -- and that
some of them might not perhaps want to have their participation approved by

Dr Castro: Well, this will be the moment of truth; this will be
the moment of truth for many governments in Latin America because I believe
that it is in the highest interests of these countries to get together here
in a congress of underdeveloped countries.  A congress of underdeveloped
countries might consists of as many as 50 countries -- and 50 countries do
add up to a considerable force; 50 countries constitute a considerable
representation throughout the world.  In other words, if all of us
underdeveloped countries have the same problems which require higher prices
for our products, in other words, if we all require economic development,
if this applies to Asia and Africa and Latin America as well, then we all
have the same problems because we are underdeveloped countries and because
we have a poor economy, a deficient economy, without capital, without
resources, without reserves -- and if this congress of underdeveloped
countries gets together and states our problems, if it adopts a strong
agreement on the defense of our interests, if we all get together to
promote similar aspirations -- well, that will be undoubtedly an advantage
to all of the underdeveloped peoples; if we do not do this, we will just
continue the way we have been, without anybody listening to us, without
anybody listening to the clamor of those peoples.  In other words, a
conference of underdeveloped countries is a conference which should be
attended by every Latin American country; no people, no underdeveloped
country, no under-industrialized country should be absent from that
conference.  The word "underdeveloped" is a little derogatory, is it not?
But then you also have the term "underindustrialized."  There are countries
which have a culture and they are quite justified in thinking that they are
developed countries because they have a culture of their own, an old
culture; but they may not be industrialized countries and this is why we
can call them nonindustrialized countries.  This conference is in the
interests of all countries and it would be a moment of truth for all of
those governments that feel that they have enough self-determination, that
feel that they have enough self-determination of their own to attend this
congress of underdeveloped countries.

Robreno: Perhaps, however, some of them might not attend.

Dr Castro: All right, I do have my doubts that some of them will
come.  Of course, some of them have a rather timid policy; some of them
have a vacillating policy, a very fearful policy; but I still hope that a
number of Latin American countries will attend this congress of
underdeveloped countries, along with several African and Asian countries.
In other words, I do hope that this congress will be held and that it will
be attended by properly representative groups because I am sure that
everybody wants to know that there are many peoples in the world that are
free, that are sovereign, that are conscious of their problems, -- and they
include Cuba -- and we could certainly be the hosts for that congress
because we are a free people and a sovereign people; we could certainly
issue an appeal to the other underdeveloped peoples to hold our conference
here; we could discuss this issue and we could try to develop better trade
between ourselves; we could state common issues and problems because that
would be an organization, a congress, that would be conducted on the level
of the United Nations, in other words, all of these are peoples that are
represented in the United Nations.

Robreno: In other words, you more or less think that...

Dr Castro: All right, I was thinking primarily of the month of
June; but it might be postponed for a few months.  Everything now depends
on the report which Dr Roa brings back from his trip to Europe and Asia.

Robreno: And this is going to come off with a simple formal
invitation or with some kind of propaganda campaign?

Dr Castro: All right, we are working on this and we are going to
send out the invitations.  The congress will be guaranteed here and I
believe that it will be a big event.  This will be the first time in the
history of the world that we are going to have a congress on that level in
which countries from three continents will participate, in other words,
underdeveloped countries from three continents.  This would be an event of
extraordinary importance to Cuba, both in terms of support for Cuba which
would thus be united with other peoples in circumstances of equality, and
it would also be good for the development of all of those people together,
I believe that this is a movement that will have the sympathy of ...

Robreno: You said three continents, Africa, Asia, and America.
What about Europe?  Will there be no country from Europe?

Dr Castro: Well, Europe might also be represented.

Robreno: Likewise, in other words, because they ought to have
underdeveloped countries there, too, especially in the eastern part.

Dr Castro: In general, they do have some countries there which do
not have the same industrial development level as the other countries.

Nunez: Dr.  Castro, in connection with the reference you made to
the dollar currency policy: at the end of last week, the Chamber of
Commerce submitted a memorandum and we had an interview with Major Dr
Ernesto Guarrevara; we asked him a number of questions in connection with a
more flexible policy here, first of all, to the effect that the 90-day
period, which has been granted as the term for foreign currency export
authorization, be extended to 180 days since on many occasions the
materials or machinery and equipment which we order are put in production
at the same moment when the order is placed, that is, the purchase order;
and many times, the production effort alone takes more than 3 months.  We
also were told about the case of industries which require raw materials
that have to be bought with dollars and we were told that it would be quite
convenient to establish a system of priorities for these imports and for
these articles likewise; in other words, this would be for those priority
items, not the consumer goods, which can not yet be obtained in Cuba.  What
do you think of that?

Dr Castro: All right, as I see it, we have to figure out some
formulas for a solution to these problems, within this policy of foreign
currency savings, this policy of correctly investing our resources.  Is
that right?  I believe that this is quite logical and this is actually what
we have been saying all along.  Isn't that right?  In other words, we must
try to keep everything going smoothly, we must now slow any of our projects
down, all of this must of course be coordinated with the expenditures we
are going to make and the expenditures we have already made; in other
words, the issue here is the term of the license as such and I believe that
this is a problem which can be solved.  The entire policy which we are
pursuing here requires a number of norms and standards and certain
readjustments.  Right?  Of course, in this problem of foreign currency, we
had no alternative; we could only implement the policy which we are now
pursuing because we had no choice.  If we had been able to choose between
one policy or another, if we had had the 500 million which we did have in
1952, then we

would have had more freedom of action; we would not have had to have to
restrictions at all; we could have oriented our foreign currency
expenditures much more effectively, more toward agricultural equipment and
not so much toward automobiles.  Finally, this economic policy has never
been correctly oriented in the past; and because of this we have to pursue
a policy of forced savings; the figure involved here is 70 million, as you
know.  All of this had been accumulating during the war, when the
originally high sugar prices dropped from 500 down to 70; a good portion of
this money was in the banks or in the private accounts of these gentlemen
who were running the country; and this is why I believe that all of these
details today force the president of the bank to try to adjust all of this
and coordinate everything; this is why you can find Conrade Guevara in his
office, at all hours of the day and night, working real hard to solve all
of those problems.

De la Vega: Dr Castro...

Nunez: I beg your pardon, I would also like to refer to another
answer you have given here with respect to this manner of establishing
trade with solf-currency countries, in other words, currency that is not
like the dollar; right now, a number of Latin American countries are
meeting in an effort to set up what they call, not so much a common market
but rather a regional market, so that they can trade in this framework; let
me see if I can explain what I mean here, the way you put it before. Cuba,
for example, sells sugar to country A and has to buy a certain raw material
or a certain type of machinery from country B; then Cuba does not get paid
in dollars from country A but exchanges or barters those items with country
A; then it has to make some sale to country B, from which we want to
obtain ...

Dr Castro: This is a triangle; I can explain it something like
this, because if not...

Nunez: It is a triangle, precisely. Cuba gets this in the form of
a barter.

Dr Castro: No, this is a barter, an exchange, it is almost the
same as if we were to pay; we use the money of that country which in turn
has to pay that money to the other country.

Nunez: Precisely. If that the policy you are contemplating?

Dr Castro: Of course, if it is a correct policy.

Nunez: Perfectly! Comrade Gutierrez Cordovi. Ah! I beg your

De la Vega: I have a little question here, a very short one,
Doctor. In connection with import restrictions...

Dr Castro: This is going to be a short question but a long answer.

De la Vega: No, I believe it is going to be very short. There are
rumors to the effect that gasoline is going to be rationed. Is there
anything to this?

Dr Castro: No, we certainly have not been thinking of anything of
the kind. Nobody has been thinking of that. So far, I don't know anything
about this; look here, here is the Minister of Commerce; you didn't think
of anything of that kind did you? No, he did not think of this at all; all
we did was to recommend that everybody buy small cars and this would also
be a saving, would it not? At most -- but, no -- this measure, well nobody
has thought of anything of the kind. On the contrary, what we are thinking
of doing is to continue our petroleum prospecting and to set up a petroleum
program to the maximum extent in order to see if we really once and for all
solve our fuel problem; this is one of the big problems of our country.

De la Vega: What is the output of the Jatibonico well?

Dr Castro: I don't have the latest information on that.

De la Vega: There have been rumors to the effect that there has
been an accident at that well. Do you know of anything about that?

Dr Castro: No, I have no information.

Numez: Comrade Cutierrez Cordovi.

Cordovi: Well, I would like to move on from economics to something
that has to do with revolutionary policy.

Dr Castro: What kind of policy?

Cordovi: Dr Castro, before leaving the editorial offices of El
Mundo a UPI cable arrived there, and I think it is very interesting.

Dr Castro: What does it say?

Cordovi: It says that Dr Nunez Protuondo declared that those who
run the Dominican Republic have neither the intentions nor the means of
launching a big enterprise in order to put an end to the tragic situation
in Cuba. This is interpreted as a rupture of the bonds between the enemies
of Castro and Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo; although it does not
mention his name anywhere...

Dr Castro: Well, that's a shame.

Cordovi: The former diplomat refers to what he calls the Trinidad
disaster, that is to say, the group of men who arrived in Cuba from the
Dominican Republic; they fell into a trap that had been laid by the Cuban
authorities and they are now being tried in court. In spite of the Trinidad
disaster, which was staged in spite of my express opposition because it
seemed obvious to me that this was a trap -- says Nunez Portuondo -- I
continued to give my moral support to those who stated emphatically that
they were materially and spiritually sufficiently well equipped to launch
and carry through this big undertaking in order to put an end to the tragic
Cuban situation. On Dominican aid, he says the following: I patiently
waited for one year without hearing any more from the radio transmitters
that were rather doubtful in terms of their effectiveness, anyway. However,
he failed to say that "the Dominican Voice," which made these broadcasts,
at the end of the week, at the end of last week, announced that it had
suspended its anti-Fidelista programs in response to a petition from the
Dominican Confederation of Workers. When I have become convinced completely
that there was neither the intention nor the means, on the part of those
who run the Dominican Republic, to carry out the activities they promised,
even under the most favorable conditions, I even withdrew my moral support
from them without any further comment because this was just a waste of
time. I cannot continue to give my moral support to an undertaking which, I
have became convinced, will not be carried through and because of this, in
compliance with an obligation, I decided to make public today -- as I am
doing right now -- the fact that I believe that there is no possibility
whatever for a movement which, instead of increasing its potential, keeps
losing strength day after day, both inside and outside the island. The only
means for proving that I have made a mistake would be to launch the action
before the end of the Cuban sugar harvest which is supposed to earn the
Castro regime more than 600 million dollars. This is a statement by a
former diplomat who is considered the spokesman for many Cubans living in

Dr Castro: All right, that cable is very interesting; it is an
interesting cable because it gives us an idea of a real disagreement here.
The thing that tends to create a little bit of confusion in this problem is
the fact that they have also made a number of statements in Guatemala; but
this is actually a mixture of realities and smokescreens; that is what is
happening right now here and there is undoubtedly going to be some kind of
shift toward Guatemala.  Of course, in this sort of thing you cannot speak
on the basis of conjecture because these are problems that must be analyzed
very thoroughly; you have to have specific data and information if you are
going to come up with a correct judgement; nevertheless, this cable does
indicate a positive disagreement because of the way in which it has been
written.  It also indicates that many people like Nunez Portuondo and those
gentlemen who are over there in Santo Domingo are going to find themselves
in a very difficult situation.  This is just another one of those maneuvers
of those gentlemen over there and I think that we all ought to be very
careful about this but it is particularly valuable since it comes from the
mouth of one of the leaders of that conspiracy, because Nunez Portuondo was
indeed a part of it.  You will remember that this gentleman was aspiring to
become president and that others also hoped to become president, such as
Arturito Hernandez Tellaheche and Cainas Milanes; everybody was hoping to
become president here; they had disagreements even then; but this cable is
a denunciation, a recognition that they have been preparing an armed force
to invade Cuba; it is really amazing that one of these gentlemen should
make the statement that he just made and that he should even bring up the
Cuban harvest figure in this connection.  This is why they are so careful
to burn our sugar cane fields because they do not want the Republic to
produce enough sugar; that is the only statement that I would like to
correct in this connection: we are going to produce a harvest of hundreds
of millions of dollars and there is nothing they can do about it; let them
urge people to get in a boat and come over here.  Why not?  And if they do
not have a boat, we will lend them one.  Do you understand?  If they do not
have a boat, we will loan them one, but it will not do them any good and
they can urge these people to get in a boat and come over here all they
want -- because they know what awaits them here.

Robrano: Doctor, certainly, before hearing this cable from Nunez
Portuondo, which I have just heard here, I asked you a question with
respect to Trujillo's inactivity and now we have had this statement from
Nunez Portuondo.  Don't you think that all of this is part of a political
maneuver designed by somebody who pulls the strings from far away?

Dr Castro: Well, we have to avoid jumping to the wrong conclusions
here; there is also talk here of a certain politician who supposedly pulls
certain strings, a certain politician who is pulling certain strings, and
there are certain formulas involved here which amount to a maneuver to
destroy and wipe out the Cuban revolutionary government and, in the
process, also to defeat the government of Santo Domingo and the government
of Nicaragua, by way of compensation -- do you understand?  These formulas
have been discussed in certain foreign offices which pull certain strings.
Do you understand?  Now, this might have been known to certain people and
it might have produced certain affects, and you have a rather uncertain
policy here, all of these policies that are supposed to lead to the same
errors because the only policy is that in any way reliable, the only policy
being pursued by certain foreign offices that are pulling certain strings
is to leave the Republic of Cuba in peace.  Do you understand what I mean?
And we are going to continue to make our effort and we are getting a better
understanding of what is going on; Cuba is very simply satisfying its most
just aspirations; Cuba is making a heroic effort to move forward; the best
policy, the only policy that would not be wrong, would be a policy that
would respect the rights of Cuba and that would respect the sovereignty of
Cuba.  Any other policy is the wrong kind of policy and it is full of
contradictions and it is going to fail.  I believe that all of these
strings are going to become all tangled up.

Nunez: All right, Doctor, now I would like to move on from this
counterrevolutionary topic to another topic, concerning the commission of
the National Association of Industrialists of 3, which recently visited Dr
Cuevara at the National Bank.

Dr Castro: What impression did you have of them?  Good?  Eh?

Cordovi: Good, in other words, they were discussing questions of

Dr Castro: That is odd.  Everybody who goes to see Comrade Guevara
comes away tremendously impressed and delighted with him.

Cordovi: All right, as a consequence of this interview, a number
of rumors have been spread, one of them to the effect that the
revolutionary government proposes to put the heavy industry under
government control.

Dr Castro: What heavy industry?

Cordovi: That is what I am asking myself.  What is this heavy

Dr Castro: You mean we have a heavy industry here?

Cordovi: Yes, perhaps they might set up a light industry here but
in Cuba we could not have a heavy industry.

Dr Castro: There are many heavy people around here I would say but
heavy industry, well I wouldn't know about that.

Cordovi: Well, even so, they were talking about...

Dr Castro: Why are they talking about industries that do not
exist.  The state will of course promote some industries, above all the
most expensive industries, in terms of cost.  We are not going to do what
they did in the old days.  In the old days, a private individual would
supply 100,000 pesos and then the government would give him 10 million
pesos so that he could pay for all the expenses.  Now, that was the way
they did it in those days; but if we want to establish an industry that
would cost 20 million dollars here, we are not going to pick out some
fellow and make him a millionaire; if this money has been mobilized through
public credit, then that industry will be handled through the state because
it will belong to the state.  Of course, you cannot put any industry under
government control that does not exist; but at any rate, we are going to
promote the establishment of a metallurgical industry and a heavy industry.

Cordovi: Doctor, now, this would be done under the sponsorship of
the government exclusively or would private enterprise have an opportunity
to participate in establishing industries of this type?

Dr Castro: All right, it depends on the type of industry you are
talking about.  And I believe that if we are not going to have the capital
necessary to set up an industry of this magnitude, we ought to invest the
capital we have in other types of industries that will be less expensive.
In other words, the problem of private capital will be solved in that this
private capital will be invested in certain industrial areas which will be
within the reach of the economic possibilities of private capital and then
we are going to promote the more expensive investments; right now, we have
the case of the workers who are going to give, this year, something like 40
million pesos, maybe 40 or 45 million pesos, at 4%, on 24 February; the CTC
will deliver to us all of the documents from all of these employment
centers throughout the republic, with a 4% contribution, that is to say, 4%
of all of the incomes, possibly also including some government sectors,
some government employees, who will make their 4% contribution and we are
certainly going to have possibly more than 40 million pesos.  Now, we are
going to use these 40 million pesos, which is our capital, based on the
contribution of the workers, and we can then develop certain industries
with this money; we can set up a program for 40 or 45 million pesos, based
only on the contributions of the workers who will put in 4%; now, then we
will have this capital and we will be able to...

An Unidentified Voice: The Ambassador of Spain...

Ambassador: If you please...

Dr Castro: What is it you want?

Ambassador: Mr. Moderator...

Nunez: Yes, what is it?

Ambassador: I have come to ask permission to use the cameras and
the screen of this television program ...

Dr Castro: I believe that you should also ask permission from the
Prime Minister of the Republic.

Ambassador: Yes, I ask the Prime Minister also for permission but
I first of all ask the moderator because I believe that the Prime Minister,
being a democrat, here accepts the authority of the moderator.

Nunex: The Prime Minister...

Dr Castro: If they allow people to do that sort of thing in Spain,
Mr. Ambassador, then I will allow you to do it here in Cuba too.

Ambassador: In Spain they do not allow anybody to [Unreadable
text] anybody.

Dr Castro: One moment...

Ambassador: If you please...

Dr Castro: I refuse categorically and I believe it is a shame that
you are not in Spain...

Nunez: One moment, Mr...

Dr Castro: But you are in the Republic of Cuba and you have to
respect as (voices and shouts).

Ambassador: Because I have been slandered...  I have been
slandered...  (voices and shouts).

Unidentified Voice: He seems to be lacking in respect...  (voices
and shouts of repudiation).

Major Almeida: Gentlemen, would you please take it easy.

Nunez: One moment, one moment -- let me see (shouts and voices).

Major Almeida: Gentlemen, please, won't you take it easy (voices;
what a bum!)  (more shouting and whistling: throw the bum out)..  Three
cheers for Fidel: (the audio and the video portions of the program went off
the air for a few moments at that point but the audio portion then returned
with the 26 July anthem).

Nunez: We regret, we very much regret this interruption which has
just taken place here and which the cameras perhaps did not pick up; you
were only able to hear this on the radio: at first, Dr Fidel Castro seemed
to accede to the request of the ambassador from Spain but later on,
considering the way in which this request was presented, according to Dr
Castro, he did not think that he should speak up especially since he was
not invited tonight; Dr Castro has the final word here and he did not want
the ambassador to speak.  The ambassador then left the studio accompanies
by Rebel Army officers and the commander in chief of the army himself.  We
followed him to the exit and we not return our cameras and microphones to
Dr Fidel Castro.

Dr Castro: All right, as I said before, you learn a lot in a
revolution because in reality all of us and the entire Cuban people are
witnesses and so are the visiting foreigners; the illustrious foreign
visitors whom we have here, they are witnesses, the diplomatic
representatives; finally, I believe that there have been few occasions when
we have witnesses an incident such as this one; this is all very unusual;
this gentleman who came here, into the studio, making a big scandal
wherever he went, shouting: "Let me through!  Let me through!" or "If you
please, if you please."  Well, he came here but he did not come courteously
to ask for clarification or to make a clarifying statement; he did not
address himself to the person being interviewed who is also a citizen and
who has certain rights here, who has the same right to respect as any other
citizen and who, furthermore, happens to be the Prime Minister of the
nation and without the slightest consideration and the least respect, he
forced his way in and he came to this studio to make a statement.  Who told
him that he could do this, this Marquis of Fellisco (laughter), this
Falengist, who told him that he has any rights here, that he can be so
disrespectful and so crude; who told this gentleman that he could do this
in Cuba where we have a democratic spirit; in Cuba, where the Prime
Minister is not surrounded by a Moorish Guard (tremendous applause) (shouts
of, Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!).  Who gives him the right to interrupt this
program, to abuse his status as ambassador, which does include certain
perorogatives; but this does not give him the right to show disrespect
towards the authority of another country, especially not when he is a
representative of a tyranny which has been oppressing the Spanish people
for 20 years (applause) and I am asking myself whether he could do this
sort of thing in Spain, whether he could bust into a studio and question
the chief of state in Spain, Generalissimo Francisco Franco (the audience:
throw the bum out!).  I wonder whether he can behave in this insolent
manner over there; he has caused tremendous indignation here; it is a shame
that he is a diplomat.  He has caused more than indignation here; he has
caused astonishment; do they by change have any new diplomatic standards
now?  Well, these must be the diplomatic standards of fascism.  All he
needed now was a blackjack or a bludgeon (down with the bandit! down with
the bandit!).  This episode very clearly demonstrates, more than anything
else, it demonstrates the hatred of fascism and international reaction
toward the Cuban revolution.  (Tremendous applause)

The aggressive hatred, the aggressive hatred of fascism and of
international reaction toward Cuba which has reached a point where they
think they can perpetrate a barbarian act such as this one, unprecedented
in the annals of diplomacy.  And he was able to leave here not because of
his diplomatic status but because of the calmness of the Cubans, the common
sense of the Cubans, the civilized spirit of the Cubans who know how to
behave themselves properly under such circumstances (applause).  And I want
it understood, as of now, that after getting a talking to from the
President of the Republic, who is here tonight, I want to make it
understood that this ambassador will leave the country within 24 hours

Dr Dorticos: It is quite clear that, in view of an event such as
this one, in view of this insult to the dignity of the nation to our
patriotic sentiments, the only decision is to do what our Prime Minister
has just announced.  Let everyone know that this is an official decision of
our government (applause).

Dr Castro: And furthermore, furthermore, we are not in Spain and
Cuba has not been a Spanish colony in a long, long time.  (Applause) And
neither is it a colony of any other country (applause) -- but now, in spite
of this interruption, in spite of this deplorable incident -- although it
was a very instructive incident, at that -- we are going to continue our
news interview.  (Applause)

Nunez: We would like to inform our television audience that the
2nd National Front of Escambray wishes to declare the ambassador of the
dictatorship persona non grata.  Signed: Gutierrez Menoyo, Major Armando
Fleites, Arsenio Sargents, and others who are present here tonight in this
studio.  (Applause) I beg your pardon, Lazaro Aciencio, I didn't mean to
leave you out; I just don't happen to have my glasses with me and that's
why I couldn't read that name.  The Revolutionary Directorate is also
present here tonight and it joins the statement by the 2nd National Front
of Escambray.  (Applause) Major More has communicated this decision to us.
Now, who was doing the interviewing; Gutierrez Cordovi?

Cordovi: Yes, I was talking to the Prime Minister, we were talking
about the industrialization plan for the country, the contribution to be
made by the workers; this volume of contribution will be used for the
creation of industries; all of this will be part of a methodical plan, a
very well worked out plan and that, I think, was the point at which we have
arrived; if I may expand on this, I would like to find out whether it is
possible to indicate which industry or which groups of industries have been
studied under this plan and I would like to know whether we could announce
that this will be launched very soon, in other words, will this entire
industrialization plan be launched very soon?

Dr Castro: Well, they are working on this over at the Ministry of
Economy, and the National Bank and other agencies are also helping prepare
an industrialization project.  This project will be carried out on the
basis of our possibilities during the years to come; now, within these
projects there would be room for private investments, in those industries
which we do not yet have today, especially the more expensive industries,
because the most expensive industries, because of the amount of capital
that is required, of course, these industries would be financed with the
public capital, by the state, and so there would be ample participation by
private capital in all of these industries in which private capital may
have experience, and of course this applies also provided private capital
has sufficient resources for this purpose.  And so, they will determine
their own programs and they will be advised on certain types of investments
whereas the state will promote the more expensive investments.  This is the
proposal as far as it goes.

Cordovi: In other words, this means that a lot of people don't
have to be frightened anymore because...

Dr Castro: I don't know whether there is any remedy for helping
them get rid of their fear, those people...

Cordovi: In other words, that the government will not permit free
private initiative for the establishment of industries but that they are
going to have to give everything to the state and that there would then be
no free enterprise for investment in industry...

Dr Castro: We have a whole series of industries that are improving
and that are developing and investments are constantly being made in them.
They are purchasing machinery, they go to the National Bank for loans, and
new industries are being developed all the time.  They are working at this
all the time and these industrialists in many industries have sold more
this year than ever before and they are producing more than ever before.
It is also certain that there is a series of factories that had been closed
down in the old days and one of the objectives of our industrial plans is
to reopen all of these factories, to get them to produce, in other words,
one of the things we are going to do is to see to it that they have
machinery that can produce goods; we are going to get them going because
this capital that is invested there is not yielding any profit and we are
certainly going to get all these factories going again and along with this
-- because there are many industries that have not only been operating
perfectly well but that have also increased their output and improved their
machinery -- there are industries, various industries, which are
establishing themselves now, while others are expanding.  But there is no
reason whatever for any preoccupation in this respect.  We have just begun
to establish an industry which is supposed to produce -- I think --
mayonnaise; many of these industries are going to supply articles which we
are not importing and many of these imports are getting more and more
expensive and so many people have taken the initiative in producing these
articles here, in the country; of course, we are going to have to work hard
in order to produce the best possible quality, to turn out high-quality
items and to keep our prices at the right level; we do not know as yet what
measures we are going to take to protect our national industry; we must
make sure that these industries will not turn out poor-quality articles
simply because they don't have the necessary experience as yet.  In other
words, we must demand that they improve their operations and that they
produce top-quality goods at the right price so that we won't have to
import these items anymore.  Right now, our industry has the kind of
protection which it has never had before; the industrialists have really
received effective protection from the state, the kind they never had
before; in the old days, our industries were unable to prosper because of
foreign competition.  Our policy right now is to create jobs and to defend
our own national industry and this policy certainly has offered protection
to our national industries.  Just go out and ask any industrialist and your
will see that he has sold more.  For example, I have some statistical data
here; look at this: for example, coffee consumption: 1951, 62,830,000 lbs;
1952, 64 million lbs; 1953, 63 million lbs; 1954, 63 million lbs; 1955, 62
million lbs; 1956, 61 million; 1957, 61 million; 1958, 59 million lbs, and
1959, 65,708,675 lbs of coffee, more than ever before.  Here are some
figures on beer consumption in liters: in 1954 from January to November,
108,102,398 liters.  In 1955: 105,000,000 liters; in other words, we
consumed less in 1955 than we did in 1954, in 1956, the figure was 110
million liters; 1957, 116 million, 1958, 111,742,032 liters.  In 1959, last
year, the first year of the revolution, 138,989,763 liters; in other words,
we consumed 22 million liters more than we consumed during any of the prior
years.  And we have had an increase in the consumption volume not only as a
result of this policy, as a result of the campaign to consume only domestic
products, but also because there has been an increase in family income.

In salaries, for example, in wages, throughout the republic, the
total, from January to November, that is, income in terms of daily and
hourly wages throughout the republic, was as follows: from January to
November, 1952, 661 million pesos; 1953, 565 million pesos; I am not going
to give the exact peso figures here; 1954, 557 million pesos in wages
throughout the republic; 1955, 568 million; 1956, 603 million; 1957, 655
million; 1958, 658 million; 1959, the total wages paid out between January
and November amounted to 815, 647,100 pesos; in other words, almost 200
million pesos more than last year, when we had the highest figure ever.
How did this happen.  Well, I can explain it to you.  The highest year
before that year was 1952, with 661,031,800 pesos from January to November.
Why?  Because we had a record harvest, a record harvest of 7,011,637 tons,
with an average figure of 4.87, that is to say, with a record harvest of
7,011,637 tons at a price of 4.87; the salaries and wages paid out between
January and November came to 661 million; in 1959, we had a harvest of
5,788,154 tons at 4.07; in other words, with almost one centavo less per
pound, the people received 200 million pesos more in wages and salaries.  I
believe that this is really extraordinary.  We have to analyze these data
to find out how it was possible for the people to get 200 million pesos
more last year, when the price was 4.07; in other words, we spent 200
million more pesos even though we produced almost 2 million [tons] less or
at least one million tons less, at a much lower price; and we hardly lost
any foreign currency from our reserve; and many articles are much cheaper
because I have to add here the increase in incomes by 200 million; the
families were also able to save on rents, for example and there were price
cuts on some items so that the figure actually might come to as many as 300
million pesos more in terms of popular purchasing power, even though we
produced less sugar and even though sugar prices were lower; nevertheless,
we hardly lost any of our foreign currency reserve.  Now what does that
prove?  It proves that the effect made by the people and by the government
this year has been most effective and we were able to satisfy this increase
in the consumer demand through an increase in production; this very clearly
demonstrates to us the problem of increasing our production, as the best
way of meeting the increase in the purchasing power of the people.  This
means that all factories have sold more; it means that there are factories
that are working 24 hours a day; it means that tens of thousands of persons
have found jobs in the cities and in the rural areas; and this increase in
purchasing capacity opens up possibilities for our own national industry,
even though these figures are not yet influencing the increase in the
income which we are going to see as a result of the rise in the income
level of the peasants, as the agrarian reform makes progress and as the
peasants have more income in terms of wages and hourly wages; this will
increase likewise.  To this we must add the government revenues, talking
here only in terms of public works, during the last 6 months, when we did
construction work worth about 100 million pesos; and this, generally, is
what the revolution has been able to do, all of this it has been able to
do; sometimes people complain that they are not allowed to enter the studio
and now many of you are talking over there and I would like to ask you to
be silent because I can't shout all the time.  I hope that nobody will
imitate the Spanish ambassador here; I hope you will all stay but I hope
you will not talk.  These data speak for themselves.  We have been able to
increase incomes even under the worst economic conditions.  I believe that
this is the public works plan.  Here, for example, I have the public works
plan which of course, during the first few months at the beginning of the
year, meant that we would have to confront a problem, the problem of
adjusting public works expenditures because the maximum expenditures are
made in the second half of the year; of course, the harvest begins in this
first half of the year and we have budgets in this first half that are not
as high as those in the second half.  Here we have the public works
program, for the first half of the year, and we have a figure of
57,870,699.52 pesos; I would like to explain this to everybody in the
interior and to the people here in Havana, I would like to explain that we
cannot maintain our public works expenditures during this first half, we
cannot maintain the same pace as during the slack season; we cannot spend,
during this first half of the year, the same amounts of money that we spent
during the second half and this of course means that certain systems, which
have been established in many construction projects lasting 2 weeks or so,
in other words, there will have to be some personnel reduction and this
will be inevitable in some of those projects.  We are always trying to find
formulas to ease this situation but of course, we must keep in mind that we
have had the following employment figures in our public works program:

In May, we had 23,740 workers in public works; in June, the figure
was 35,145; in July -- 43,244; in August -- 57,374; September -- 66,668;
October -- 71,000 workers; that was the highest number; then the figures
began to drop to 62,000, 50,000 in December, and this semester it will be
cut down approximately to 40,000 workers; but this is still much more than
we ever had in public works; but it is impossible to keep this figure at
the 71,000 level because we do not have sufficient resources for this.  We
have made an extraordinary effort in public works and I want to make this
quite clear because this is a very tiring job for the Ministry of Public
Works; they have to keep making these readjustments out of strict
necessity.  Our greatest desire would be to maintain the highest possible
level in public works but, even though we may want to maintain all of this
employment during the slack season, the country's economy cannot sustain
maximum employment during the slack season; this gets to be very expensive;
during these 6 months we are going to employ about 40,000 workers and this
will cost us 57,870,699.52 pesos.  Our public works program this half year
is much greater than any one we have had in the past; but in the second
half we are going to increase this and this is what I want to explain to
the people, to all of the people in the interior of the republic, because
the works projects have been distributed aquitably throughout the island,
in accordance with our needs; and I want to explain this to everybody; I
want you to understand that we cannot keep up this operation at the same
rate this half year and that we have to make our investments in a rather
economic fashion and on the basic of priorities, in other words, we have to
tackle the most important projects first; this is so because work not only
creates jobs but also costs money and it takes a sacrifice to invest money
in this; and so we have to get the greatest benefit out of out investments.
This means that the figure I gave before, the 200 million increase, is not
included in the public salaries.  These private industry wages and salaries
indeed added up to a rather considerable amount and this was achieved at a
time when sugar prices had dropped, when we received less foreign currency,
when our reserves were at their lowest.  This should illustrate to the
people the effort which we are making here; at the same time I want to make
sure that everybody will understand this because everybody must understand
the tremendous effort which the various government agencies are making
here, especially the Department of Public Works; I want everybody to
understand the reasons for all this, the reasons for any drop in the
employment levels, and I also want you to know that there will come a time
when these employment levels will go up again.  This should only
demonstrate further something I said before, in other words, that
industrial sales incomes have been at a record high, that is to say, the
income of the commercial establishments.  But the enemies of the revolution
and the international cables of course have nothing to say about that,
nothing at all.  All they keep saying is that this is a Communist republic
and that we are agents of the Kremlin and that this is a base 90 miles from
the United States.  That is all; they keep repeating this quite stupidly
because that is what they want the people to know over there and while we
build houses, schools, while we open up beaches and plant new crops -- they
tell the world that this is supposed to be communism.  And so they are
producing the exact opposite effect; we have an honest administration here
and the republic is satisfied aspirations which it has never achieved
before -- but they give us absolutely no recognition for the tremendous
achievements of this revolution in all respects; these are long standing
aspirations, legitimate aspirations, including the aspiration to feel free,
including the aspiration of having the country to the master of its
destiny, of becoming a country that feels sovereign.  The people have
always fought for sovereignty, they have fought tremendous struggles, the
people have fought for their sovereignty and sovereignty is the first thing
that the revolution has reasserted through a series of social-type measures
to the benefit of the people; but these things they never emphasize when
they talk about us.  They do not talk about the schools and the school
cities, they do not talk about the fortresses which we have converted into
classrooms, as we did in Camaguey, as we are doing in Santiago de Cuba, and
in Holguin, and in Santiago de Cuba as I said before, in 20 days the
Ministry of Public Works, in 20 days, from the 8th to the 28th, when they
started putting up the wall, we are going to be able to say that this
facility was completed; the Moncada fortress has thus been converted into a
formidable education center and on 24 February (applause) -- on 24 February
we will dedicate a classroom and all the training material and 10 school
buses; this is the first public center that will have a bus in the Republic
of Cuba (applause) -- a school center; this means a savings of many
millions of pesos because finding places for 1,500 boys means millions of
pesos; and so, we are turning the military barracks into schools and we are
turning them over to the Ministry of Education, we are turning over
facilities worth more than 50 or 60 or 70 million; and that is the value of
the land alone, the real estate of this military reservation.  How much
would that land have cost in the old days, per sq meter?  How much would
the Moncada military reservation have cost in the old days?  Are we moving
the soldiers to the reforestation areas where they can do some work; we are
putting up some modest facilities there and we are turning over the
military reservations and barracks in Moncada, in Holguin, and in Camaguey
and other places over to education; and we are going to include Pinar del
Rio.  This year, perhaps, we are going to turn over six installations worth
perhaps more than a hundred million pesos, for the land and the buildings;
we are going to save more than a hundred million pesos, in other words,
money which the nation will not have to spend; these former military
reservations have athletic fields and libraries; they have hospital
facilities and so on; and the military barracks a few miles from Holguin,
which has been turned into a school, we are going to have a bus there to
pick up the kinds in the morning and take them home in the evening; and on
Saturdays and Sundays they are going to take the kids to the beaches; but
they will not only carry the kids to school; in the summer, when they don't
go to school, they can take the kids to the beaches and on trips to various
places; these are entirely new benefits which the kids never enjoyed before
in the public schools; in the old days, the kids lived in homes that were
crumbling.  And they went to schools in buildings that crumbled.  Over and
over again the newspapers would carry stories to the effect that parents
were urgently demanding that this or that school house be repaired before
it fell down and that the kids might get killed there; today, all of those
kids are going to have the same benefits in those newly converted
educational centers that used to be reserved only for students in private
colleges, the opportunity to go to the beach, to go on picnics, to have a
bus of their own, all of these things.  And so you have to analyze not only
the work that has been done, the money that has been invested, but also the
benefits that have been achieved without any expenditures; this is possible
because we simply turned military barracks into schools -- but nobody ever
talks about that! and likewise they do not talk about the thousand teachers
whom we are recruiting, the reforestation program, the efforts of the
tourist industry institute, the motion picture industry institute, in other
words, all of the aspects of this tremendous effort on which a group of
comrades is working with feverish enthusiasm, not overlooking of course the
magnificent job eging done by the commissioners of Havana who this year, I
believe, created 28 or maybe even 32 school centers of the very highest
quality and who distributed these facilities in the poorest sections of
town, along with athletic facilities; nobody talks about that.  In other
words, they downgrade our fatherland and our revolution and they try to
prevent us from doing what we have been doing, they try to prevent us from
doing what we are doing; they act as if what we are doing is not just and
necessary for our country; they act as if this is not the very thing that
the people of Cuba have always wanted from the very first moment they
decided to build a fatherland of their own, a tremendous effort which cost
blood and lives of many generations; and now at last the nation an enjoy
all of these privileges; I believe that our people and the present
generation must continue this tremendous effort because this is the mission
of this generation and because this generation must fight this struggle.
Others fought and died to get us to the point where we are now and the
present generation must fight and make the necessary sacrifices in order to
defend what we have achieved.  We must always work in a spirit of service
to the country and even though the situation may be difficult, even though
we face many enemies abroad and some enemies at home, powerful and well
supported enemies, we must keep on what we are doing and we must set up a
common front; this is our truth, the truth with which we can defeat all of
these lies that they are spreading about Cuba and our revolution.

But because this is such a difficult undertaking we can say that
it is worth all the more.  We can at least feel the satisfaction that
destiny has placed our current generation in this position, that our people
have a tough task ahead, a tough trial, and we can be satisfied that the
present generation will cover itself with legitimate glory; I believe that
we have committed ourselves, I believe that we have done what Mariano
Grajalos said we ought to do -- "commit yourself" -- and we have committed
ourselves to this task without complaint and without bitterness even though
it is a difficult task and we will reap our legitimate harvest of glory --
that we can all be sure of.  (Applause)

Nunez: Before continuing with the interview, we would like to
receive two messages of support which we have here, one from the "TV World"
labor union and the other from the Independent Front of Free Broadcasting
Stations, both of which support the expulsion of the Spanish ambassador
(Applause) and then we have others also: "We are here, three Mexican
professors, Dr Manual Hegueras, coordinator of the Cardiology Institute of
Mexico; Dr Manuel Barquin, director of the Race Hospital; attorney Jorge
Luna, professor at the National University of Mexico; and, as Mexicans and
free men, we want to express our revulsion at the attitude of that
gentleman whom our Mexican government never recognized, while at the same
time opening its arms wide to our brothers in Cuba."  (Applause) David
Salvador Conrado Becquer would like to make a few statements.  (Applause)

Becquer: Comrade David Salvador has just called me at this very
moment; he happens to be sick; in the name of the revolutionary CTS he
wants to censure the impertinence of that man and express his solidarity
with the revolutionary government; tomorrow we are going to have a parade
of all the workers to repudiate the attitude of that gentleman.  (Applause)
Even though he is sick, he is at this very moment preparing a number of
statements for the people of Cuba, condemning the insolent attitude of the
ambassador of Spain.  (Applause)

Nunez: Somebody is raising their hand back there...

Robreno: The American guests also would like to ...

Nunez: The invited American guests would like to make some
statements, Mr. Prime Minister, can we...

Dr Castro: Let them leave their statements to the end of the

Nunez: We are going to postpone these statements to the end of the

Dr Castro: I believe that there are some things that we still have
to cover.

Nunez: Yes, there are some things we have to talk about, Mr. Prime
Minister; no, we are not going to have these statements now; we are going
to have them at the end of the interview.  The next speaker is Carlos

Robreno: Doctor, in view of the insolent attitude of the Marquis
of Commillas and Vellisos..  (laughter), who entered here with the same air
as the captains general used to enter the Square of Arms, men such as
Balmaseda, Concha, Tacon, and Weyler, all of whom we remember rather
unpleasantly, all of us Cubans, I would like to say that he forced the
Cuban government to adopt a dignified attitude and to withdraw his passport
because he does not how to be a diplomat.  This means, in international
language, a rupture of diplomatic relations.  Are you going to recall the
Cuban ambassador from there?  Dr Castro: Yes, you mean Dr Miro Cardona.
I am of the opinion and I hope that the government shares my opinion, that
we should send a cable tonight to the Cuban ambassador in Spain,
instructing him to return to our country.  (Applause)

Robreno: Doctor, does this mean all embassy personnel or only the

Dr Castro: Well, we are going to withdraw the ambassador right
away and then we will try to figure out what to do next because the very
first thing we have to do is to recall our ambassador; there is nothing
else to do.  But actually, we would not be losing anything if relations
were to be severed.  After all, it was they who provoked this incident,
quite definitely.  I can find myself here to reading a letter which I want
to make available to anyone so that he can inspect it; I want to make this
available here to all of the newsmen and the church hierarchy can take a
look at it too; and I would have made it available to that gentleman over
there if he had handled himself properly.  In other words, if he had come
here with the right kind of behavior, nobody would have denied him the
right to reply or to question.  But this was highly unusual and incredible,
this violent and disrespectful interruption; I had every intention of
discussing this and I certainly would not have avoided a discussion with
the ambassador of Spain anywhere.  (Applause) But what happened here was
more a question of basic propriety on the part of that gentleman and the
way in which he arrived; after all, all I did was to tell him to ask for
permission from the person being interviewed also; and he replied very
insolently that this was an unacceptable question on the basis of all of
his concepts.  And so, let them do what they think necessary, let them
summon our ambassador.  I hope they send us their fleet to invade Cuba

Robreno: That fleet was sunk in Santiago many years ago.

Dr Castro: What a shame!  But these are nothing but the
expressions of fascism; that is all he brought over to us, here; maybe he
was so bold because of the visit of these visiting dignitaries from Spain
just recently.  Nobody knows.

Cordovi: Doctor, we were talking about the postscript; earlier,
you announced that you were going to talk about that famous postscript?

Dr Castro: All right, I imagine that this problem of the
postscripts could be on the agenda; I suppose we can discuss this here now.

Robreno: Doctor, you said the other day in a radio broadcast by
Pardo Llada that you would not get into this because it was a question of
enterprises and workers.  Do you still hold to this neutral position?

Dr Castro: All right: I have always done what I could to solve
problems.  What I said was that I was not in a mood for once again
directing an appeal to the workers, asking them to change their attitude
because this is something which I have done repeatedly in connection with
various problems.  I remember the Dubois case here.  The workers started a
boycott; they did not want to take care of the housing units and I think
this was something quite spontaneous; I talked to them and I asked them to
stop the boycott, which was entirely spontaneous.  And then there was
another problem that came up and I intervened, and whenever a problem of
this kind came up, I intervened.  Of course, this problem is coming up once
again.  I asked myself when I want to ask the newsmen here whether I always
have to do this sort of thing or whether perhaps somebody else could do it;
it is obvious that this incident has been provoked; this incident has been
provoked and there has been a whole series of circumstances that gave rise
to this incident and to this attitude on the part of the workers.  You an
ask the government to adopt always the same attitude toward problems of
this kind; but not the slightest effort was made to avoid incidents of this
kind.  For example, we have a cable here which was published earlier.  At
the beginning of this month, we learned that underground manifestos were
being published, in other words, these were clandestine activities because
of their nature, because of their criminal character, because of their
criminal character which springs from the fact that this is a premeditated
campaign of provocation, in other words, this is how the enemies of the
revolution try to stir up trouble; cables represent an interrupted campaign
which has found an echo, without any reply, without any clarifications;
they are now publishing the most unlikely fables and stories quite calmly,
as if the interests of the country and the government and the revolution
were not at all involved here; only a blind person would fail to understand
that the destiny of the country is at stake right now; and you simply do
not gamble with the destiny of a government; you do not gamble with the
destiny of a country; because the revolution and the country is one and the
same thing and the destruction of the revolution is the destruction of the
country.  The cable by Munez Portuondo, which was read here, is of course a
rather confused thing; all of these things are planned here; they burn the
sugar cane fields, they send their aircraft over in order to destroy our
economy; all of this is quite visible; I believe that one of their aircraft
flew over Las Villas or Matanzas tonight, maybe even the zone of Zorrilla;
this is the latest aerial invasion, gentlemen.  Now, all of this is quite
evident.  On the one hand, the workers, students, and people are training;
they march on Saturdays and Sundays; they prepare themselves and they are
full of patriotic sentiment; they are preparing themselves for any
contingency; but while this is going on they are launching this campaign
publicly and daily, without the slightest reply, in other words, we also
have to understand the state of mind of the worker, the worker who goes out
on Saturdays and Sundays to get some training and who then has to go back
on Monday to cope with a situation that might be straight from Mr Smathers
or Mr Nixon or Mr So and So, something that is directed against our
country; a few days ago, I heard that the college of newsmen agreed to
reply to these declarations because nobody had said anything about this
before; let me read you the cable now, in connection with this first
incident: "Washington, 15 January, UIP.  Representative H. Allen Smith said
today in Congress that the Cuban Prime Minister, Fidel Castro, is taking
Cuba down the road to Communism.  He added that the United States must
prevent our government from giving the Soviet Union a base on the island
but he did not outline any specific steps which the United States in his
opinion should take in order to prevent Russia from getting a base near the
coast of the United States.  The legislator expressed his fears about
Castro in a declaration which the Congressional Record printed and which
concluded with the following words: 'We must not fool ourselves; Fidel
Castro is the Achilles heel of our national security.  We cannot permit
Moscow to gain a foothold so near our shores.' He also announced that
Castro intends to cause discontent and trigger revolts among his neighbors
in the Caribbean.  Castro is going against the principles of Western
Hemisphere unity.  The representative recalled that in the beginning many
Americans had felt sympathy for the 26 July Movement and for Fidel Castro.
More than that, Castro had demonstrated that he had leadership qualities
and that he was an intelligent and nice fellow.  But -- he continued -- the
more the Americans learned about the Cuban revolution, the more they became
alarmed about the growing Communist infiltration.  The United States must
make sure that Cuba will not become a Soviet bulwark in our immediate
proximity.  Allen says that Castro himself might not be a Communist but
there are Communists in the army, in the labor unions, in public
communications, and in education.  He also complains about the Communist
tendency of Fidel's brother, Raul, and Ernesto Guevara, the Number 3 man of
the Revolution.  Allen called Guevara a promoter of the dictatorship.  The
situation is clear for anyone who wishes to see it, said Allen, Cuba is
well on the road to Communist domination.  A good thing to keep in mind is
that anti-American, antidemocratic, and antifreedom forces are now on the
loose in Cuba.  We are afraid that this beautiful tropical island might
fall under the open or concealed control of the Kremlin.  This the United
States could never permit."  It seems that they are contradicting
themselves, they are discarding their own theory and thesis, their own
assumption, their own ridiculous assumption about the rocket base but this
is not the only cable.  Here is another one:

"Smathers asks that the sugar quota be cut back.  He proposed that
the United States subsidy of 150 million be retained.  Serious accusation,
Smathers."  And the next thing is really quite stupid.  I seem to have lost
the paper; here it is -- New York: "Why do we not offer Cuba the same
political status as Puerto Rico?"  (Laughter) Presumably, presumably this
offer would be based on the same privileges and responsibilities as in the
case of Puerto Rico, says William Matthews.  Now, this is not Herbert
Matthews, this is not the Matthews who was in the Sierra Maestra; this is a
fellow by the name of William Matthews, the editor of the Arizona Daily
Star and he wrote this in a letter to the New York Times.  Newsman Matthews
then has this to say: "For anybody who knows Cuba, such an offer would have
tremendous repercussions on that unfortunate island.  This would raise
tremendous hopes among the suppressed masses -- the offer of giving them
the same status as Puerto Rico.  It would really be relatively easy to do
this, it would be relatively easy to make good on this offer in view of the
present current in the Communist revolution in Cuba."  And the editor and
publisher of the Arizona Daily Star adds: "A purely defensive policy rarely
ever wins anything.  The moment has come for the United States to take the
diplomatic offensive."

Now, let's see what kind of diplomacy that is: "Matthews
concluded: "Certainly, no government in the United States could or should
permit a communist People's Democracy to be established only 90 miles from
our country."  Now, these people must have fabricated their own criteria
here; they tell us that we are Communists in a country where the people
live the way they do here, a life of guarantees and security and freedoms,
where the people for the first time feel secure, where the people for the
first time feel free.  Those gentlemen consider us a people's republic, a
Communist republic, on the basis of what we have done and what we are doing
and all of the work we are accomplishing; now, this is something that we
cannot permit; we can certainly not allow them to turn us into another
Puerto Rico; furthermore, this is an insult; and our people is not prepared
to take that sort of insult no matter from what imbecile or ignoramus or
idiot it may come; they simply cannot make statements like that about our
country.  Over here, nobody would ever dream of saying: Let us turn the
United States into a colony; nobody would ever think of saying that Florida
ought to be returned to Spain.  We would think that this would be crazy;
this would be insolent; it would be an offense and it would be
disrespectful to the American nation.  We have respect for the American
nation, we have respect for the American citizen; we have respect for the
people of the United States.  By the way, don't we have some distinguished
visitors here?  Yes, here we have Joe Louis who honors us with his visit

Joe Louis: ...(he says something in English)

Nunez: He says that he wants to congratulate the Prime Minister
and the army for the protection they gave the Spanish ambassador.
(Laughter and applause) He says that he is having a marvelous time in Cuba
and that he wants to return to this extraordinary country.  (Applause) Mr
Lander, do you want to say something?  Do you speak Spanish?

Mr Lander: No, I speak very little Spanish; but I would like to
congratulate the Prime Minister for all of the great things here; simply
magnificent.  Mr Prime Minister, there are other people here who feel the
way I do, for you.  Many thanks.  (Applause)

Nunez: All right, let us continue the interview; but first, let me
read some statements from the Executive Committee of the House of Culture.
Here is what it says: "Executive Committee of the House of Culture
indignantly rejects the provocation by the Franco ambassador; interpreting
the feelings of the Spaniards and anti-Franco people living here in
glorious Cuba, we hail the decision of the revolutionary government to
expel a man who represents crime and hunger in Spain."  (Applause) And now
before we go any further, the UNRA (Union Nacional Revolucionario de
Abogodos -- National Union of Revolutionary Attorneys) expresses its
repudiation of the attitude of the Franco ambassador and his violent
outburst in the TV World television studio and it supports the official
resolution of the revolutionary government, declaring him persona non
grata.  Dr Andres Silva, Dr Guillermo Monero, Dr Alberto Salas M., Dr
Benigno Echevarria, Dr Ruben Daria Bicet, Dr Jose Miguel Perez Nami, Dr
Sylvia Jiminez, and other members of the Executive Committee of the UNRA.
Dr Castro...

Dr Castro: All right, let's go on, eh?

Nunez: Yes, let's go on, but we do have other statements here.

Dr Castro: Well, as soon as we have finished our interview, you
can read them.  This is why I want to tell you that all of these are
insults to our country.  I believe that any Cuban who loves his fatherland,
anybody was has Cuba as his fatherland, is bound to feel offended by these
insults because that is what they are, insults; I believe that any Cuban
who feels insulted and offended has to react in this way; if they call us
an unfortunate nation, that is an insult; they are completely misinformed
on the problems of our country; they are absolutely ignorant about the
problems of our country, otherwise they would not even suggest offering us
this "status quo."  All right, now, what about the Cuban people?  What
about the sovereignty of the Cuban people?  What about the sense of shame
and outrage of the Cuban people?  What about the right of the Cuban people?
We do not tell any other people what to do.  And we don't want anybody else
to tell us what to do.  It is deplorable that anybody should try to do
this, that anybody should be so wrong; above all, it is deplorable that
they fail to understand what our mood here is and what the state of mind of
our people is.  They have to realize that they must reckon with our people,
in all of this.  They ought to know that we are not interested in their
"status quo" and that we are going to fight for the freedom and sovereignty
of our country, to the very last Cuban!  (Applause) There seems to be some
kind of lack of understanding, complete lack of understanding; but this is
not the fault of the people of Cuba nor of the Cuban revolution.  Who is
responsible for this ignorance and this stupidity and this way of thinking,
in general?  Or could this be the product of all of this propaganda which
they have been making?  All of the lies they have been spreading about our
country?  Have they come to believe that we would be satisfied with their
offer of the status quo?  Now, they are going to try to blame us for this,
they are going to try to blame us for this lack of understanding and this
ignorance of our problems; they think that they can mistreat us as a nation
or that we are incapable as a people.  In other words, this is the old
theory to the effect that the Latin American peoples are incapable of
governing themselves.  Or that they have to be governed with a mercenary
army or by force or by some other means.  But they know nothing at all
about the great truth of a people in revolution; this is not the way to win
friends and influence people in Cuba; the way to win friends is not by
cutting our quotas and cutting off our credit; the friendship of our people
can be won only with good manners and with a policy of sincere friendship.
They made a mistake when they tried to spread fear in Cuba, fear of the
government; they made a mistake when they insulted the whole nation and
when they slandered the country; this is a bad mistake which they made
here; instead, they should have pursued a policy of friendship.  Do you
think that that ambassador could ever win the friendship of our nation,
acting the way he did?  Do you think he could?  If they want our friendship
they will have to act differently and they will have to show respect toward
our country; they will have to behave vastly differently; we are not
responsible for this complete ignorance; and we are not responsible for any
other problems.

Robreno: Doctor, don't you think that the Cuban people need this
sort of thing, don't you think they should have a cable such as this one
read to them?

Dr Castro: Well, I don't know, but you have to keep in mind
something I mentioned before, to the effect that we have 50,000 or maybe
40,000 or 30,000 people who used to belong to the armed forces in the past.
All of these notes, all of these declarations by Smathers, all of this is
just part of a plan, the plan to stir up trouble here; there are many
people here who were completely oriented toward the north and who felt
emboldened to do something along these lines.  And I ask myself whether
that ambassador from Spain would have behaved the way he did today, a year
ago.  Do you think so?  That gentleman certainly acted very bold because of
everything that has been going on; this is an example of the psychological
and mental state of these individuals; they try to confuse everybody.  But
we must defend ourselves against these attacks and I want to explain this
reaction.  We have some cases here, for example, we have the case of the
magazine Avance.  It would seem that this particular periodical has been
hatching something from the very first day onward, something that included
an unheard of provocation, something that we could not possible tolerate;
this even included criminal activities for which we could have hauled them
before a revolutionary tribunal and something for which we could have
charged them.  But this is a very delicate problem, this problem of the
press; we know that there are people both in the SIP and in all those
organizations who are hatching plans against Cuba; they are trying to turn
that gentleman into a martyr and hero.  A fine hero he is!  I will show you
what kind of hero those people have, the kind of fellow that want to defend
in the SIP; they try to picture him as the prototype of the freedom-loving
defender of freedom of the press; but actually they have picked out the
worst possible candidate, yes, the worst possible candidate.  But all of
this is an old plan that is now being warmed over; this takes us back to
Gainze Paz; the SIP and all of those men apportioned him a delegate of the
SIP -- although there are many respectable men in that group -- and they
wanted him to be the representative here and now they come with a plan for
provocation which culminated in a situation in which that fellow himself
went and tried to pull it off -- and we have the proof in these documents

Now, there are certain things here -- because when we see that a
problem arises we must get to the root of the problem, we must get to the
moral portion of the issue, because so that no one will oppose the idea of
having institutions flourish in this country, institutions which earn
prestige and carry out a great social function; here nobody can say that
anybody is subjected to the slightest mistreatment; here nobody gets any
dirty looks in the streets, you don't run into any police who give him
dirty looks, nobody at all, nobody gets into trouble because of his
opinions and attitudes and conduct -- except when he engages in criminal
activities.  And this is a quite obvious fact.  There has not been a single
case which anybody could fight as an example, in spite of all of the booby
traps they have tried to lay for us here.  And now we can have a free press
and a completely clean press, a press that is entirely pure and completely
honest.  I would like to invite the newsmen to engage in a competition here
to see who does more to promote this press here, with his criteria and all
of these things, just like Robreno, for instance, who is one of our newsmen
here, a newsman who can write freely what he wants; and I have always
answered his questions; but he was always able to write everything he
wanted in complete freedom and nobody has ever bothered him, and certainly
nobody was offended by what he wrote.  The only thing that worries me --
the only thing that worries any Cuban -- is anything that could lead to
bloodshed here.  We must never forget that all of the plans of the
counterrevolutionaries are aimed at eliminating the leaders of the
revolution here.  They shoot to kill -- you understand what I mean?  They
are getting ready to destroy us, because for us this is a matter of life
and death; they have tried to make things very easy for themselves; they
have tried to stir up all of the evil elements we have in the country; and
they have stirred them up primarily in an effort to try to get them to
eliminate all of us; now, I don't go around with much of an escort; I walk
around the streets and I see what goes on; I go to the theater and to the
stadium; actually, I would be quite easy to attack; and all of these plans
include this kind of situation; all of these campaigns are part of a big
plan and we must keep an eye on them, we must be prepared for the maneuvers
and the efforts that they are making to destroy all of us.  And they have
been able to do all these things with impunity.  Now, I want you to tell me
whether I am telling the truth or not.  I believe that we can accomplish
great things here, not only by setting up free institutions but also by
promoting institutions that will have tremendous prestige; it is not just
enough to set something up, you have also a moral duty to promote it and to
bring it along; I believe that all of us must tackle this problem and
promote this aspiration; we must see the truth because you do not get
anywhere with lies.  And the case of that magazine Avance is a prototype, a
classical instance of continental lies.  I would like to analyze this case
and I would like to say that it is part of a whole chain of cases defined
to promote the kind of environment in which that sort of incident could
happen, an environment in which the revolutionary government had no
participation at all.

I could for example mention the case of that gentleman who
promotes all of these scandals, this continental show, and who is involved
in that case of the magazine Avance, where that fellow went on this
mission; and we have the editorial here which says that he went, that he
tried to carry out this mission, and then he went into exile; but nobody
tried to kill him, nobody arrested him, nobody persecuted him; he sneaked
in and then he sneaked out again.  Other newsmen, working for other
periodicals, have discussed this situation, they have tried to pin him down
on this; this gentleman actually outwitted himself, in doing what he did;
and so did the other fellow who went into exile even though nobody was
looking for him, even though nobody was after him, simply because he was a
part of this big show; he really outsmarted himself by shutting the
newspaper down all by himself and going into exile; and so he went to Miami
and we know the rest of the story; and so Dubois and Gainze Paz and the SIP
counterrevolution and the war criminals, they all went there, they are all
together there now.

Robreno: The SIP announced that a shore commission will come to
visit you.  Do you have any official notice as to these visits?

Dr Castro: I think I read something about this in the newspapers;
but I have had no official information; if they want to, they can come;
they an talk to the newsmen here, they can see what goes on in Cuba, and
they can visit the cooperatives.

Robreno: And can they also talk to the Prime Minister?

Dr Castro: I am the kind of person who receives other people if
they want to see him and talk to them; of course they can talk to me!

Robreno: I would like to get something clarified here...

Dr Castro: No, it doesn't matter whether it is the SIP, not even
if it is the SIP.

Robreno: In other words, any commission that comes.

Dr Castro: I will receive them as visitors to this country, if
they want to talk to me (several people talk at the same time).  Of course,
I will talk to any body who wants to talk to me, I don't care whether it is
the SIP; if they come to talk to me, I will talk to them.  Now, one thing I
am not going to do is to report to them on the problems of Cuba; I will not
give them an account of the problems of Cuba; this is very clear of course
and it always has been; when the SIP sent me some evidence on subsidies
paid to the newspapers during the tyranny.  I refused to look at the stuff
and I said that this is a Cuban problem now and that we were going to solve
this problem here; I am not interested in getting anything from a news
organization over there; I would not even accept this sort of thing if it
were from a newspapermen's organization as such; the newsman is the very
heart of the newspaper and the owner is just the owner and that is all, the
stockholder, but the fellow who makes the newspaper is the newsman and the
fellow who gets the news is the newsman, he is the worker, he is the fellow
in the shop, who does the work -- but the fellow who has a lot of money can
buy a newspaper, even if he doesn't know how to read or write.  He does
nothing for the newspaper; the newspaper is made by the newsman and it is
made in the print shop.  That over there is an association of newspaper
publishers and owners and they are of course very closely tied in with the
other big operators and business owners in various countries.

I will receive them but I will not account to them for our
problems in Cuba; if they want to come and visit us, they can do so, they
can talk to us and we can exchange ideas.  If they come, I will receive
them, but I will not report to them on the problems of Cuba; if they want
to find out what goes on in Cuba, if they want to know the truth about
Cuba, like tourists, for example, then they can talk with the newsmen, they
can talk with the owners of the newspapers, they can talk with anybody they
want to talk to; they have the right to do so; we have no Iron Curtain
here; we have nothing of the sort; it is they who put the Iron Curtain
around us so that nobody will be able to come and visit us; this is all
very strange; our doors are open to anyone who wants to visit us and I
don't know why they want to put an Iron Curtain around us by force.  And
so, they can come to Cuba, they can write and speak freely, they can send
cables, they can talk on the telephones; we have liberty here, we have
freedom, we have almost enough freedom to conspire here; I say almost,
because some people have been conspiring here without anybody bothering

But, that is enough of that; the case of the magazine Avance is a
classical case; it is the problem of that gentleman who came by himself and
who then left, putting on a show of his own; and this is why we must
analyze this problem of this newspaper very carefully.  We are going to
review this newspaper through the process which began on 10 March because
that newspaper was with the government until 10 March and after 10 March it
switched to the other side; that is what happens t newspapers when they
switch sides; they serve one government for 7 years and then when the
situation changes they say that it was a government of assassins and
thieves; of course, that is always the way it is in the beginning; we have
a newsman here who, in the very beginning asked: When are we going to start
handing out money.  Who was that again?

Robreno: You mean me?

Dr Castro: No, the other newsman.

Cordovi: You mean he asked: when are they going to start handing
out money?

Dr Castro: Yes, when we are going to start distributing money.
Well that was one of the things I told him.  Now let us see that newspaper,
let us see what it writes on 10 March; let us see what El Momento Nacional
[The Nation Now] had to say on 20 March; let me reach a paragraph to you
here: "Former President Batista not only has a revolutionary origin; he
strange from the chaos that followed the defeat of a regime that was
unanimously rejected and he came to the country through the constituent
assembly and through impartial elections, in other words, he was fully able
to enjoy his political success."

On 27 March 1952, the paper wrote this: "Cuba and the United
States -- provided the United States recognizes the Batista government --
the government of the United States has recognized the regime of Central
Batista.  One can that the recognition of the government of General Batista
by the government in Washington should be considered as a demonstration of
the fact that this attitude is appreciated also outside of Cuba as being
the most convenient attitude in keeping with the higher interests of the

On 7 April 1952 it wrote the following: "The statutes -- and this
is another editorial -- the most outstanding feature of the national
situation today is the new constitutional statute.  Its articles contain
all of the human rights expressed in the constitution.  The citizens are
extremely gratified about this since they had fought so hard to win all of
these rights.  This statute is now in effect and must be considered as the
touchstone for the development of the ultimate objectives of the new

On 24 April 1952, it wrote: "Let us not fall into a trap.  The
first demonstrations against the revolutionary spirit.  But there remains
the fact that it is now possible to settle some of the things that must be
settled, some of the things that must be avoided.  If the country is
demonstrating its readiness, if the country is demonstrating its
preparedness to cooperate with the government of General Batista in the job
of putting the nation in order and on the right track, which is documented
by the fact that the most representative sectors of industry and labor are
getting together in the consultative council -- then no minority group and
certainly not any of those that have decisive and antidemocratic slogans
should ever be in a position to maintain that this new statute is an
obstacle on the road that must end in the restoration of the nation, in the
manner conceived by the people, on the basis of the prior record of those
who promoted the constitution in 1940 under General Batista."

On 21 August 1952 it wrote the following: "The newspapers and the
labor unions.  We have now had the first case of aggression here; I do not
know whether the one at the University of Aire had already taken place; but
then came the attempt on the life of Mario Kuchilan; they kidnaped him from
his home, they beat him and left him unconscious, and then they marched on
his home; after that, the newsman proposed a shutdown of 72 hours; and then
came the editorial 'The newspapers and labor unionism.' In connection with
the unspeakable attack, of which Mr Mario Kuchilan, of Prese Libre [Free
Press] had been a victim, the provincal college of newsmen of Havana
proposed a shutdown of all newspapers if the criminals were not discovered
and arrested within 72 hours.  On that occasion, and last October, we
disagreed with this idea because we considered it completely at variance
with the function of the newspapers; instead, we suggested a protest
through which the national press could express its spirit of solidarity.  A
voluntary shutdown of newspapers would really not have any value at all."
This is especially true when a newspaper man was almost killed and when he
was beaten up severely by the cops of the tyranny.

"The government and the press."  This came a few days later.  "At
the conclusion of last night's celebration at the palace, in which the
nation settled its debt with the founders, the President of the Republic,
General Batista, spoke to the country; he delivered an address which he
called a political address, political inasmuch as he expressed his concern
for public affairs in general, not just party activities.  This speech, in
effect, was a ratification of opinions expressed earlier by General Batista
when he took over the administration on 10 March; however he now explained
these points in the light of the latest events, including primarily the
question of freedom of expression.  Referring to the proposal for a
newspaper strike, which some people had made, General Batista placed the
press in its proper perspective; he pointed out that this idea is actually
contradictory to the function and the mission of the press which must make
itself heard, such as it has made itself heard in the past, with dignity
and completeness, certainly not with silence.  Nobody could say that the
president here expressed an old idea which somehow might downgrade
newspaper ethics; we expressed our disagreement with the strike plan which
actually was tantamount to a renunciation, a desertion, or a surrender, as
it were; it meant that we would voluntarily abandon the public forum in
which the press is active, particularly at a moment such as this one, when
we believe it necessary to fight a battle for freedom of expression.  While
the president's speech had national significance, in that he reasserted
respect for freedom of expression by the revolutionary government, it is no
less true that General Batista spontaneously recalled that nobody had
gotten excited when the revolutionary regime of 10 March set itself its own
limitations: the constitutional law."

Now comes the first commemoration of 10 March, that is to say we
an see now what that gentleman, who wrote about all those horrors during
the year of the revolution, is going to write now, one year after the event
of 10 March.  Here is what he says: "In the speech made yesterday -- and
this is an editorial comment -- by the President of the Republic, General
Batista, in commemoration of 10 March, there are some aspects which must be
emphasized because they clarify issues on which public opinion must be
informed.  For example, the Batista government recalled that it learned how
to win and lose calmly, because even defeat is a victory if it is
accompanied by decorum.  The events in history certainly corroborate the
statements of the president, that is, the elections to the constituent
assembly and the elections that brought Dr Grau to power; nobody could
possibly assume that General Batista would have done anything that could
have risked national tranquility; from that moment on, he was filled with
the democratic spirit that has always inspired his public activities.
Looking over the record of the past year, since General Batista took over,
it was absolutely necessary to make reference to some obvious and
unjustified evils which explain the reason for the existence of the 10
March Movement and which therefore spell out the objectives of the
revolution: decency in government, rule of law and order, followed by an
announcement that there is no time to be lost and that the government will
continue to counteract adverse propaganda, emphasizing that salaries and
wages would not be reduced, contrary to the rumors that have been
circulating, and that no teachers would be fired.  The president pointed
out two concrete facts expressing the attitude and the political criterion
of those who believe that they have the consensus of the country: the
attempt on the newsman's life and the recently simulated burning of
ballots.  But it must nevertheless be emphasized that yesterday's event,
celebrating the triumph of a revolution, marked a break with custom which
had been so faithfully followed by all governments: instead of a military
parade through the streets of the city, we had a parade of agricultural
machinery, in other words, equipment intended to increase production within
the development plan announced by General Batista.  This is not an attempt
to advertise loudly the agrarian reform in a public square -- a reform
which for many means the enjoyment of goods obtained from others; instead,
this involves the intensification of fruit cultivation through effective
aid to the farmers it implies the construction of the necessary roads and
highways, a purpose for which the neighborhood road agencies and the urban
works and transport agencies have been set up.  All of this is intended to
link the consumer centers with the farming areas.  We can summarize all of
the statements made yesterday by saying that the essential foundation for
the objectives of the 10 March Movement, as spelled out by General Batista,
consists of the peaceful restoration of the life of our institutions, under
a democratic regime, in other words, an effort in which every Cuban must

Now, comes the Moncada event.  Here is the 1 August 1953 headline:
Fidel Castro and 7 other fugitives caught.  And then there is a photo
showing me: Fidel Castro, captured today.  Well, that was on 11 March 1954,
after 6 months of censorship; this of course presupposes a protest, a
declaration following the assassinations at Moncada, a declaration on the
70 or so crimes committed there; everybody remembers that these men were
tortured there, that their eyes were gouged out, that all kinds of horrors
were committed on them, and that they were finally shot and buried in 20
different placed when were then kept secret; nobody could even talk about
them; we learned about these events only through leaflets which were passed
along.  We learned about those crimes after 6 months of torture; during all
this time, the press of the country had been muzzled; and then came that
gentleman with the "national slogan" -- 11 March 1954 -- second
anniversary.  The celebration of the second anniversary of the 10 March
Movement, an important date to the national, has been entered with bold
strokes in the history of the nation; this celebration was underscored by
the President of the Republic, General Batista, with the emphatic statement
to the effect that the elections planned for November of this year would be
held.  In this respect, there is no hesitation in the government centers,
nor does there seem to be any circumstance that might divert General
Batista from the objective which was outlined on 10 March 1952.  In
reviewing the activities of the regime which he heads, General Batista
listed many, many achievements, many accomplishments in public works and in
social welfare improvements.  Everybody knew that, at that time, there were
many contractors who became millionaires because they managed to get their
hands on 400 million pesos which the Minister of Recovery had earmarked for
farms and other property.  In this connection, we can detect a well-known
characteristic of General Batista: his constructive impulses.  It is not
strange that the people should have gotten wind of all this, in spite of
all of the political maneuvers."  Second anniversary of the 10 March

On 5 May 1954: "Statements by the president.  With respect to the
political issues, the president of the republic has just confirmed that the
government is determined to hold elections under this coming 1 November --
elections whose result will be complied with by the men in power and by
General Batista himself.  No one should have any doubts about this
confirmation which the president has just given.  General Batista is fully
aware of the value of his words and the country has borne witness to his
way of carrying out his promises on two historic occasions.  In sticking to
the election date, the president now has shown that he is prepared to keep
the promise made on 10 March: to call the people together so that they will
express their will through the ballot boxes."

On 1 November 1954: The 1 November elections.  Headline:
"Elections Held Normally -- Long Lines in Front of Polling places -- Many
Women," etc.

Tuesday, 2 November 1954, after those scandalous unilateral
elections.  "Elections Are Over.  Yesterday's elections undoubtedly
encouraging.  It only confirmed what we have said so many times in this
column: the people of Cuba desperately want peace and quiet.  And so, the
citizenry could not possibly abstain from this voting because that would
not have led anywhere; instead, by casting their votes, the citizens had an
opportunity to restore institutional government.  It is obvious that, for
the followers of General Batista, the 10 march Movement has been fully
justified in terms of history and the people have therefore
enthusiastically expressed their support once again for that movement by
voting for it."

Next, we have 10 February 1955, with a picture story.  Here is
what it says: "This picture story offers two views of the banquet in honor
of Dr Justo Garcie Rayneri last night.  He was honored for his achievements
as interim mayor of Havana, minister without portfolio, and chairman of the
consultative council.  The top photo shows the president of the republic,
Dr Andres Domingo y Morales del Castillo, the vice president of the
republic, Dr Andres Domingo y Morales del Castillo, the vice
president-elect of the republic, Dr Rafael Guas Inclen, Monsig Manuel
Cardenal Arteega, Bishop of Havana, the President of the Senate, Dr Anselmo
Alliegro, and Mr Justo Luis del Pozo, and Mr Jorge Zayas."  These and other
dignataries had gathered at this dinner honoring the extraordinary services
of the interim mayor.

Wednesday, 23 February, on the eve of the inauguration of the new
administration on the basis of the fraudulent vote of 1 November 1954.
Here we have two photos of those gentlemen and here is what the caption
says: "In the morning of 24 February, we celebrate another anniversary of
the heroic date marking the beginning of this liberation era and at 1200,
the president and vice president of the republic, Major General Fulgencio
Batista Caldivar and Dr Guas Inclan, respectively, will be inaugurated to
their respective offices to which they were elected in the 1 November
elections.  The public career of General Batista already includes more than
four tremendous successes; the Cuban people know very well that he came to
us on 4 September 1933 to create order out of chaos and to save the country
from a great agony.  Later on, he took off his military uniform and became
president of the republic on the basis of a popular vote; after 4 years of
constitutional government, he presided over exemplary elections in which he
left the helm of the country until 10 March 1952 when he once again led a
revolutionary movement, a new movement, which enabled him to take the
nation's destiny into his hands.  Shortly afterward, he proposed reviving
the political life of the country and once again he left the highest office
to submit to a popular vote.  Tomorrow, as a result of these elections
General Batista will be inaugurated as president of the republic for a term
of 4 years.  He will be accompanied in this term of office by Vice
President Dr Rafael Guas Inclan, a very famous political leader who
acquired great experience in high office and who earned the respect and
consideration of the citizens because of his human qualities, his capacity,
and his honesty.  The country expects that the administration under the
leadership of these men will bring us a period of tranquility and
constitutional order; the entire nation fervently hopes for this so that
Cuba will once again march on to ever higher achievements in the political,
economic, and social areas."

On 25 February 1955: "New government.  The circumstances this year
-- the year of the anniversary of the pledge of Baire -- undoubtedly
contributed to making this patriotic celebration pregnant with great hopes.
And whenever a people has hope, then it can only feel jubilant.  The
restoration of the constitution of 1940 signifies the full return of the
nation to a democratic system which is adopted freely and this is one of
the glorious achievements of General Batista."  All of this, after the
first crimes had been committed, before a whole series of more crimes And
this was only the beginning of a long series, an endless series of crimes
that were now being prepared through this sermon as it were.  Do you
understand?  These were the conditions which were prepared by men such as
Ventura and criminals like them.

Monday, 27 June 1955: "The slogan of the moment"-- here is what
that gentleman wrote now, the same gentleman who had written an editorial
during the year of the revolutionary government asking for the elections
and talking about the elections in 1955, after 3 years of Batista tyranny,
after 11 years of all kinds of crimes and after millions had been plundered
from the nation, there is what he wrote: "The president of the republic,
General Batista, in one of his speeches on Saturday, emphasized that this
was not a moment for politics but rather a moment for building; he made
these speeches while visiting various towns in the province of Matanzas,
towns that had benefitted from certain projects.  He told the cheering
crowds that this was not the right moment for playing politics.  This, by
the way, is what the editorial in Avance says.  This was not really a
moment for politics because Cuba is beset by many problems which cannot be
solved by political means; this is so, even though they do require a
struggle, even though they do imply debates and disagreements among those
who must assume authority.  However, there are those who think that all you
have to do is talk politics and play politics, especially in opposition
circles; some people even place their hopes in contradictions within
government circles, circles which disagree with the chief of state; but
these political preoccupations are only liable to upset the rhythm of work
which General Batista has established in his government."  The statement
that the moment is not ripe for politics is not just an empty phrase; this
is what the periodical Avance said in its 27 June 1955 editorial, at a time
when Mr Batista had a record of 14 years of plunder and assassination to
look back on here.  The statement that the moment is not ripe for politics
is not just a phrase; it summarizes and expresses a state of public opinion
which is widespread and which cannot be eliminated by any kind of sermon.
The moment is not ripe for politics -- it goes on here -- not because the
president of the republic says so, in a clear view of the country's
necessities but because a state of public opinion says so, in effect, in
other words, it is obvious that this is not the right time for political
battles and for diverting strength and energy to the political arena; this
is only likely to upset the peace of the nation and the tranquility of our
homes.  The country undoubtedly resists the entire adventure which is full
of risks without offering any chance of solving any problems -- in spite of
all of the sermons that may be made in the name of public liberties,
because of the man in the street, the man who works for the well-being of
his family, is only concerned with the dignity of his work, the guarantees
that are offered him by the laws as a man and a citizen entitled to the
enjoyment of his rights; that man in the street who works hard will not
forget his duty to respect the rights of his neighbor.  This is certainly a
time for hard work.  The time for politics will come but, until such time
as it does come, we must make sure that the country will recover through
its constructive and productive effort."  Now, calling 14 years of plunder
and robbery a constructive and productive effort, calling the crimes and
the censorship that has been established, calling that a constructive
effort, and all of the horrors which have been perpetrated against our
fatherland, through confessions such as the La Noa concession, in other
words, shameful concessions made by the dictatorship -- and then they said
that this was not the time for politics, that this was the time for
building and that public opinion did not want to engage in politics.  Now
that gentleman a few days ago wrote an article asking for elections.

Saturday, 1 December 1956, the time of the landing: "Pursuit of
attackers continues.  In response to the attack on Santiago de Cuba by
those boys, we took strong action in order to safeguard the tranquility of
the citizens, in keeping with the desires of President Batista, said the
naval commander at Santiago de Cuba."  At that time we already had the
corpses of the very first dead comrades to look at.  And then came the
landing.  Do we have another periodical here?  All right, even if everybody
had been wiped out, they would have preached the same thing.  But then came
15 January 1957 and after that came 17 January, with the attack on La
Plata; there were just 18 of us, that is all that was left; and then
President Batista celebrated his name-day: "Tomorrow, the President of the
Republic, Major General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar celebrates the
anniversary of his name day; he spent the day surrounded by the love of his
family and by messages from friends and admirers.  And so, Avance sent him
a very respectful and cordial message of felicitation; at the same time it
expressed the hope that the moderating power which the constitution had
placed in the hands of the chief executive of the nation would once again
as so many other times in the past, under this command, promote the
peaceful and harmonious coexistence of all Cubans."  In those days, more
than 30 comrades of our had been assassinated, that is to say, out of those
who landed; and then came the killing of December, during that tragic night
in the zone of Holguin, when they killed, I think, 20; and so 26 citizens
had been killed and "it pleased the periodical to congratulate the
president and express its hope for harmonious coexistence."

On 5 March 1957: "What the Nation Wants."  Supposing that we had
not existed, supposing that we did not amount to anything, then, Avance
during its duty in the service of society and interpreting the situation,
came out with the statement that Cuba demands and wants peace.  The horrors
of the civil war and the fratricidal and intermittent struggle are evils
which the citizenry wants to eradicate because, among other things, they
constitute powerful obstacles to national reconciliation, it undermines the
historical significance and true reality of the 10 March revolutionary
movement and fails to take into account the need for maintaining and
improving unity and stability among the military organizations and the high
commands because they constitute an essential nucleus that supports and
guarantees the interests and rights of the public and of the private
individual alike through vigilance and through prevention of disorder and
anarchy.  May the unfortunate day, when those instruments of defense are
torn down, never come."  The instruments which had been used up to that
moment in order to perpetrate all of those horribly bloods that had been
unleased from Moncada all the way to the Christmas killing, not counting
all of the crimes committed here, those instruments were just getting
underway.  And so the year ended and there was more censorship, but that
didn't matter, because the gentleman had another name-day celebration and
then they said the same thing again; this was 15 January 1958 and they
wished him well.  And then came 13 march, the attack on the palace and all
the men who were assassinated there, those from Goicuria and those from
Cienfuegos and then we have another statement here: "President Batista
celebrates name-day anniversary.  Tomorrow the President of the Republic,
Major General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar will celebrate his name-day
surrounded by the love of his family and messages from his friends ad
admirers.  With this in mind, Avance would like to express the hope that
the moderating power which the constitution has placed in his hands as the
chief executive of the nation will help, as it has on other occasions,
provide a harmonious solution to the nation's problems, under his

For a period of 7 years, that magazine never once protested
against anyone of the assassinations, against anyone of the robberies and
attacks and abuses and massacres and censorships and all of the other
crimes committed against the people; and then came 1 January, the day the
newspaper Avance was one of the first to launch the counterrevolutionary
campaign which spread from here.  Now, why did the periodical Avance follow
this policy?  What is the reason for that?  And this is what the press must
ask themselves what this means.  Well, here are the reasons:

Beginning on 12 August 1955, for example, only one government
agency out of several such agencies supplied the periodical Avance with the
following amounts: Ministry of Commerce, 5 items, total 603.37 pesos;
Ministry of Communications, 7 items; National Lottery, now the INAV, 5
items; Ministry of Agriculture: "propaganda expenditures" Jorge Zayas and
two other persons; Ministry of Government, 2 items; Ministry of Public
Works, 7 items; Ministry of Education, 11 items; Office of the Prime
Minister, 1 item from Jorge Zayas in the amount of 50 pesos; another
agency, the Havana Tobacco Defense Commission: "12 August 1955, pay to the
order of Jorge Zayas Menendez the amount of 177.21 pesos."  Here are the
two checks which were cashed here between 12 August 1955 and 19 December
1958, from 12 August 1955 until December 1958, by just one agency, in other
words, from 12 August 1955 until December 1958, above and beyond all of the
blood and tortures and all of the horrors that had been perpetrated here in
our country.  This is just one of it all, one tiny part.  And here are
those checks: "Pay to the order of the managing editor of the daily Avance,
as of 3 September 1955, the amount of 5,000 pesos a month from the palace,
from the palace, in other words, the amount of 5,000 persons a month as of
3 September 1955, that was after the Moncada massacre and after a series of
other crimes all the way to 18 November 1958 -- the only time they missed
was the last month, the month of December; that was 5,000 pesos from the
palace, 5,000 pesos to the managing editor of the periodical Avance, in
other words, from 3 September 1955 until November 1958, making a total of
25,000 pesos in 1955, from August to December; a total of 60,000 pesos from
January to December 1956; a total of 60,000 pesos from January to December
1967; a total of 55,000 pesos from January to November 1958, making a grand
total of 200,000 pesos during the bloodiest years of the tyranny, when
students and young people were assassinated in Havana, when they were
assassinating not only men and women, such as our comrades in the Sierra
Maestra who were surprised in apartments and who were assassinated.  The
gentleman who wrote the articles in defense of that regime was completely
indifferent to all of that; he was paid with blood-soaked money and he was
quite insensitive to the tragedy through which our country was living; he
got this amount of 5,000 pesos a month from one of the government agencies
and it was logical therefore that he should come out with photographs and
captions such as this one: let me see now, I have something here which the
owners of the periodical Avance are responsible for.  Do you remember that
photo?  Who took it?

Unidentified voices: Armando Hernendez.

Dr Castro: All right, Dr Armando Hernendez whose feet they burned;
another newsman whose feet they burned; and this photo showing the family
of another newsman whose feet they burned; and here we has these
photographs in the files with the letter, the letter from the owners of
Avance, which says the following verbatim: "These photos are not to be
published in order to please the minister."  So that was the freedom and
the honesty of that champion of the press, that champion of freedom.  And
here is what the photo caption says: "This other photo shows Armando
Hernandez, a newsman who was beaten and tortured and whose foot soles were
burned for a number of days, a defenseless man who could not get a hearing
in any court -- nobody would ever hear his protest."  And here I have a
photo which says: "This photo is not to be published in order to please the
minister; not to be released over television."  "This photo is not to be
published in order to please the minister, Morales del Castillo."  And here
again you have the letter from the files.  If the people from SIP want to
know what kind of a champion of their liberties they have here, I will let
them take a look at the photos.  But this problem has to be resolved here.
I believe that these are the problems which constitute the foundation of
the entire issue involving what they call the state of lack of discipline,
the generation of this state of crisis which has been produced here
because, to tell you quite honestly, during the very first days, I had a
lot of work and I had no time for all these things, even though this was a
flagrant crime of enrichment, people who got rich with money that belonged
to the republic, a product of the subversion of bribery through which
certain people were paid in order to conceal crime and torture.  Do you
understand what I mean?

And now comes the revolution which put an end to all this and then
came the campaign by that newspaper which, during the first year,
characterized by an attack upon the revolution.  But then came the month of
December and they began to talk about an expedition that is supposed to
come over and the month of December went and they though that the great
counterrevolution would come at the beginning of the coming year; this is
spite of the fact that we had a very peaceful year, peaceful Christmas, the
happiest Christmas the people had ever had, without problems of any kind;
and there was not even talk of any revolution; I did not even go on
television at that time and we were all very busy with our jobs.  The
people now concentrated on enjoying one of the best Christmases it ever had
and this was quite logical because income had gone up 300 million pesos and
there were many more jobs on the farms; and this tremendous economic
improvement meant that the people could buy more sweets and more toys; and
so everything was extremely happy and this happiness made Christmas a
victory of the people; everybody could see that there was happiness and
satisfaction and tranquility among the people; but those happy days had not
even ended before they began to launch their most insolent and brazen
counterrevolutionary attacks; this began on 2 January.  "Relatives of
political prisoners launch protest on Island of Pines."  The war criminals,
these war criminals are now suddenly called: "political prisoners."  And
they mentioned that visits by relatives were suspended for 3 months, on the
Island of Pines.  And I have a letter here, actually a forged letter, which
was supposed to describe the situation of these war criminals there; this
was a rather difficult situation for the government because we had an
increase in the number of those criminals, men who were now being punished
for all of the tortures and the beatings they had administered or ordered;
of course, many of whom had left, but some of them were caught and punished
and then began this campaign in support of those war criminals; this came
precisely at the moment when they and their families were beginning to hope
for an invasion that would liberate them, when they were beginning to hope
for a counterrevolution; this was supposed to be launched through a phase
of insults to the rebels, a phase of lack of discipline; they did this
because they know that the rebels would not beat them up; they did this
because they knew that a rebel does not go around mistreating other people;
but they, the other side, maintained discipline in the prisons by means of
beatings; they had their jailers there who would administer a beating
whenever they thought somebody did something wrong; that is how they
maintained discipline.  And then, in view of all this, they organized a
demonstration by the families of the war criminals on the Island of Pines,
shouting: "Long live Ventura," "Long live Carratala," "Long live Batista,"
and they know they could get away with this because the situation had
changed, they would not be persecuted for this, they would not beaten up
for this demonstration.  So they confronted the revolutionary government
with a situation in which the government actually found itself powerless to
act against this lack of discipline and all of these counterrevolutionary
acts; this demonstration was launched simultaneously in the prison and out
in the streets.  When we were informed on this, we got together with some
of those war criminals were getting visits from their relatives every week
on Saturday and Sunday; everybody knows that prisoners, political
prisoners, revolutionaries, were not allowed any Saturday or Sunday visits;
they could only get one visit a month.  And so they can see their families
every week; and there are even cases of war criminals who were allowed not
only to receive their wives but also their girl friends.  Now, what is this
a consequence of?  It is naturally a consequence of the spirit through
which we demonstrated that we could keep those prisoners on the Island of
Pines and still allow them the privilege of seeing their family members
regularly.  But the problem is really this: how do they respond to this?
Well, they respond to this through acts exhibiting a lack of discipline,
through insults against the rebels, by supplying information for the
counterrevolutionary campaign.  And what is the revolutionary government
going to do now?  We are not going to put them in solitary and we are not
going to beat them; the revolutionary government does not do that sort of
thing; but nevertheless it is necessary to have respect there, respect for
revolutionary authority; and they must not be permitted to insult the
rebels and to offend them; and so we established measures of internal
discipline, we suspended Saturday and Sunday visits and we set up a system
of monthly visits.  We closed down the family wing of the prison; we did
this because they did not conduct them selves properly, they did not
exhibit any respect for the authorities; the revolutionary government is
not going to torture anybody, it is not going to beat anybody up; but we
did have to take disciplinary measures.  We did have to make them respect
the authorities there; but right away the families of the war criminals,
the families of the political prisoners, began to launch a campaign under
all kinds of pretexts.  This campaign is now launched in support of those
who tortured their prisoners, in the old days, those who would take their
prisoners out and shoot them; those who would leave widows dressed in black
and fatherless children.  But we want them to know that they now live under
a revolutionary regime which does not support such drastic measures,
measures that were used in the past; so, the continue their campaign.  Why?
In order to depict the revolutionary government as being cruel and inhuman.
In other words, they do this in an effort to promote campaigns in response
to situations in which the government has responded only in the most humane
manner it possibly could, simply trying to restore respect, without beating
or mistreating anybody; in other words, the government tackled the problem
in the most humane way possible; of course, we have a rather large prison
population there and we do not have enough prison space; we have to make a
tremendous effort to maintain the best possible health conditions there.
Under these conditions, we must make an effort to give them good food, that
is very important, because we do not hate anybody.  But on 2 January they
began this letter-writing campaign from the political prisoners; some of
these letters even hinted that the Prime Minister had gone there to stir up
the ordinary prisoners against the political prisoners.  And so they tried
to spread the lie that the Prime Minister had gone there to stir up the
prisoners.  But when I went to visit the Island of Pines and when I visited
the cell where I had been hold prisoner, I got the prisoners together and
tried to explain to them the problem of cutting their sentences; I
explained this situation to all of the prisoners and I told them that we
could not set them free; many of the ordinary prisoners there had been on
our side; and they thought that now that the revolution had been victorious
they would be set free on the basis of a law; and I went there to explain
to them that we are not against anybody; we are quite aware that they lived
in terror there under their jailers, under the tyranny, and we are aware of
the crimes that were committed there against the.  And so I had to explain
to them precisely why we could not set them free; this is very difficult to
explain and I had to go into an explanation of the entire concept of crime
to them, the consequences of social causes and environmental factors; many
of them had never gone to school and I had to explain to them how hard we
are fighting in order to eliminate the causes here, because these causes
really have not yet disappeared completely; but we therefore could not set
them free if they were going to fill the jails once again; and I did not
say a single word about cutting their sentences because that would only
create another problem in the prison; this could only stir up more trouble;
I remember one little incident that happened there, as I was about to
leave; one of the prisoners followed me and said: "Fidel, we are already
free, we are already free."  In other words, even those prisoners over
there had the feeling that they were free; then they launches this campaign
of propaganda lies, this evil campaign, calling the ordinary prisoners
"political prisoners," calling the government cruel, trying to stir up
sympathy for these poor and unfortunate war criminals; and that newspaper,
that newspaper and other newspapers, then began to carry this story, the
same newspaper and other newspapers which did not print any news about the
men who were assassinated at Moncada, the victims of Cienfuegos and
Goicuria, newspapers which never denounced the crimes of Moncada; this,
even though everybody knew about these crimes and these horrors that were
being perpetrated against us; and still they would not write anything about
it.  But now, in the year of the triumph of the revolution, these
gentlemen, who did so much to justify those massacres and to confuse the
people, these gentlemen are now launching a campaign in support of the
political prisoners, those shameful men who are there because of the
assassinations they are guilty of.  We condemned them not because they were
Batista men but because they were assassins.  And so, on 2 January the
began the year with this campaign; it continued with the open letter from
Father Jose R. O'Farrill; this actually was an old letter which had been
around for many days.  It is dated 8 January 1960; and then came the
declaration on the 11th: "In Cuba there is freedom of the press if you dare
use it," said Jorge Zayas on CBS in an interview for the Sunday News.  The
managing editor repeated that elections constitute the only solution to
Cuba's current problems.  The 26 July Movement is supposed to be
infiltrated with Communist elements; and so this gentleman had been silent
throughout the entire month of December because he thought that the
invasion would come; but I knew what the consequences of an invasion here
would be, I knew that this meant bloodshed and that we would have to punish
those men here severely in our revolutionary courts.  And then came the
14th -- because all of this goes step by step -- and they published
something that is really quite unusual because it is a commentary that
actually honors us; in place of the editorial, they published a commentary
by the periodical El Salvador which I am going to read; it is entitled "A
Heroic Figure."  This is the daily La Prensa Grafica [The Graphic Press],
of San Salvador; this is what it says: "The Republic of El Salvador
comments editorially on the attitude of the managing editor of Avance, Mr
Jorge Zayas Menendez, in defense of freedom of the press; and it points out
that this was accomplished at the risk of his life.  Here is what the
editorial in La Prensa Grafica says: "No dictator anywhere an, for any
length of time, conceal his hatred of freedom of expression and freedom of
the press.  Fidel Castro in Cuba is no exception.  Freedom amid fear is
what the worthy press of Cuba is now going through.  Such dailies as Avance
and Diario de la Marina [Navy Daily] have been his by broadsides from
Castro on television and in public squares.  He has called them
counterrevolutionaries; he has called them candidates for the confiscation
of their printing plants and the execution of their managers and editors.
The managing editor of Avance, Jorge Zayas, is among the most outstanding
men fighting for the dignity of Cuba today.  His valid criticisms of the
dictatorship have turned him into the favorite target of Castro's wrath.
Not a day passes without Zasas getting a threat or a warning.  Castro is
aware of the power and the potential of the denunciations coming from this
newspaperman.  We have just had a demonstration of the paridy of justice to
which the dictator subjected the correspondent of a United States daily.
That correspondent was set free as a result of the firm attitude of Jorge
Zayas and also because of the reaction which this incident caused in the
inter-American press association and the association of United States
newspaper publishers."  Well, the gentlemen over there must be asleep!

"The managing editor of Avance quite obviously is running a great
personnal risk in the campaign of fear and threat which today weighs
heavily on the press in Cuba.  This is why the press in the United States
has called Jorge Zayas a heroic figure, a figure in the nature of Jose
Marti Batista president, a figure very much like Jose Marti, who carried
his own slogan through the supreme sacrifice: 'To die for the fatherland is
to live.' And Jorge Zayas knows that every story, every article, every
editorial of his condemning the attacks from Castro can only unleash the
fury of the dictator who has shot many people for much less than that.  The
heroic figure of the managing editor of Avance is an example of the dignity
of the continental press.  It is an example..."  Now, let me see, where are
these papers, yes, here is what it says, "the heroic figure of Jorge Zayas,
this heroic figure..."  (laughter and applause)..."this heroic figure of
the managing editor of Avance is an example of the dignity of the
continental press."

"This is an example of the dignity of the continental press.  And
newsmen throughout the continent must express their moral support for the
men who are fighting for freedom of the press while they are at the same
time fighting for the freedom of Cuba.  Jorge Zayas should not feet that
the is alone."

In reality, the heroic figure of the men who spoke not one word of
protest against 18 years of plunder, not a single word of criticism in
response to the assassination of 20,000 Cubans, not counting all of those
who were assassinated after 1934, when Pedraza and his hordes descended
upon these people at 2100 at night and assassinated men in the streets and
broke strikes through terror and maintained this system of castor-oil
treatment of newsmen and men of thought, the hordes that attacked the
University of Aire and that committed so many misdeeds, that heroic figure
who did not have a single word of criticism, that example of dignity of the
continental press!  Now really we had imagined many things, many absurd and
incredible things; but one thing we never imagined -- not even in our worst
moments, in a prison cell, after we had suffered a reverse, or even outside
the prisons, abroad, in exile, or perhaps in a jail in Mexico, when we were
fighting in the mountains, fighting against everything, even loss of faith
among so many people, when we struggled through 25 months of hard work --
one thing we never imagined was this, this sort of thing; today, this same
newspaper belonging to that gentleman who collected so many hundreds of
thousands of blood-soaked pesos, who now supposedly looks like Marti, while
our people were being assassinated for much less than that, he now says
that we supposedly killed may, he said this in an editorial in a newspaper,
in the year of the revolution, but he says nothing about all the money that
was taken from others, nor has he anything to say about all of the
counterrevolutionary activities, about assassination, about the physical
elimination of our men, about terror, bout the burning of sugar cane, about
the invasion of the country by foreign mercenary forces.  What gentleman,
who was never in the slightest degree bothered because of his activities,
that gentleman who is free to publish his stories, that gentleman who is
supposed to look like Marti, that gentleman who risks nothing of any kind,
who had nothing to say about the attacks and the crimes and the plunder in
the past; now this gentleman writes that this is just another step taken by
the government in an effort to deprive the press of the freedom which it
obtained at the beginning of last year, when Dr Castro, in his speech at
the Shell Company offices, announced that censorship would not under any
circumstances whatever be instituted; he implied however that he would use
other methods which we have now had an opportunity to observe since then,
such as coercion of announcers, slander, cancellation of official dispatch
contracts with independent newspapers, jailing and expulsion of foreign
correspondents, withdrawal of privilege in the distribution of news,
threats of confiscation and execution, and modification of the constitution
so as to authorize sentences between 6 and even 18 [sic] for newspapers
which publish revolutionary news; in spite of all this, the only
alternative I have is to address myself to the Prime Minister, as I am
doing now, in order to ask him to do his duty to the fullest extent in this
respect and to get the "information" or authorities to comply with the laws
of the republic.  If Prime Minister Fidel Castro does not disavow the
newsmen and the "information" workers because of their unjustified attitude
and if he does not use the broad faculties which he has in order to assure
compliance with the laws of the republic and in order to insure
implementation of rights, and if he does not reply to this petition of mine
-- that is the same gentleman who, in the past, had neither the shame nor
the sense of propriety and honesty to make positions of this kind, a
gentleman whose checks we have here, with all of the money he got, a
gentleman whose editorials and whose statements in support of that tyranny
we have here today -- and if he does not disavow the newsmen and the
information establishment workers because of their unjustified attitude and
if he does not use the broad faculties which he has to insure respect for
rights and to assure compliance with the laws of the republic and if he
does not respond to this petition of mine, then I will indeed believe that
it is impossible to exercise freedom of expression and thought in Cuba
under the guarantees necessary for this.  Avance, and this is almost
unnecessary to state here, refuses to accept the additional postscripts in
any what whatever; in the meantime, in order to fill up the space which we
used to devote to the full cable and dispatch coverage of news for our
readers, I have decided today to publish various letters which our readers
will find on the front page; I have been thinking about publishing these
letters for several days.  These letters include the following:
"resignation by Air Force Major and Lieutenant, Air Group 22, "Ciro
Redondo."  This is actually fresh news even though it occurred some months
ago.  "The former went into exile, but he was very firm in stating that he
would not join the counterrevolution.  The latter emphasized Communist
infiltration of this government.  Both sent letters to the Prime Minister."
Yes, this is true; I did get their letters; but I am not going to
correspond with them; they send me a letter but they send a copy to the
newspapers -- and what does that gentleman do on the very same day?  He
asks me to disavow our own information people and then he publishes a
letter from deserters and counterrevolutionaries.  And here is what it says
in the letter, on page 6, Column 1, -- that newspaper was very small at
that time; here is what it says, among other things: "This is the moment to
produce from our throats that shout of anxiety and heroism which comes from
the air in the Sierra Maestra, so as to launch the promise of a glorious
future for Cuba, that shout that springs from a tragic mountain of dead,
that shout which rises from the pools of blood spilled for a great Cuban
cause, that shout which springs from the tears of widows and orphans, that
shout which rises from graves, from a people fighting to stand erect, a
strong people of martyrs, in order to hail these people, to turn his face,
to cast a vertive glance from his empty eyes and to say: "Let's have a
little revolution here."  (Laughter) And so he issues an appeal and he
publishes it on the same day that he makes it and he demands that I
intervene and that I disavow these information people; all that, from a
gentleman who has not yet had his paper expropriated, who has plundered
miserably, who has paid for his silence and who was paid for those
editorials, who actually engaged in a criminal effort and who has the nerve
to issue this appeal, stating that it is necessary to disavow those
workers, the workers who are now being trained, the newsmen who are now
being trained; and so he publishes letters which appeared here 2 or 3
months ago and he says that this is fresh news.  These are the
circumstances under which he prepared these lies and this farce, this
spectacle, this show which is now playing all over the continent, and he is
the star; and because he is supposed to be the star he thinks he can judge
the people of Cuba; what do these men know about dignity of the press and
freedom of expression; I think that this is the time to go to the root of
the problem.  Who says that a government has to follow the orientations and
demands from a man of that moral standing, assuming that he had any ethics
at all?  And then he goes running to the embassy, even though nobody has
made any trouble for him; and everybody knows that this is just a part of a
plan of provocation, a plan to apply pressure and this was provoked to the
maximum.  This is why we must go to the very root of this; this is why we
must discuss all of this with the newspaper publishers; but this must also
be discussed by the workers; this has to be discussed so that we may get to
the root of these evils and so that we may have a purge of those who were
responsible for cooperating with the tyranny; we have to look for all of
those checks and all of those bribes and we have to look for all of these
subsidies and we have to purify our national press, here, not in the SIP
nor anywhere else.  (Applause) We have to cleanse the national press of all
of this responsibility for the past and of all kinds of mercenary
journalism; we must eliminate those who are morally not fit for this job,
we must clean out national journalism so that we may have a clean
institution flourishing, so that freedom of the press may flourish, side by
side with the honor of the press and with a legitimate press and an honored
press, and a true press, not a mercenary press which will sell out to the
highest bidder, because that is not freedom of the press; that is freedom
to sell yourself to the highest bidder; and we have to get to the bottom of
this and find the root of it all; we must get at the truth and we must do
away with lies, even though all of this may have deep roots in the past;
and this is not a matter of newspaper discipline or the violation thereof;
the state is much more important than a newspaper because the state
represents the revolutionary interests for the nation; the state is much
more important than a newspaper and if they want to talk about discipline,
then let them not openly undermine this discipline by talking about the
return of the criminals and the return of the wrong-doers and the return of
the enemies of the republic; they are actually trying in this way to
undermine the authority of the revolutionary government of the nation;
although it is true that the authority of a newspaper or of a newspaper
publisher is important, there is one thing that is much more important from
all aspects and that is the authority of the government, a government which
they have tried to undermine.  (Applause)

And he who makes demands must also know how to meet his
obligations and if he wants to promote ethics, then he must seek these
ethics with facts; they have talked a lot and they have published much but
none of this has gone to the root of the thing, which is the purification
from these responsibilities for cooperation with they tyranny; now, we must
find a harmonious solution for this problem on ethical foundations; we
cannot continue with this burden of crimes and past mistakes; it is wrong
to expect a worker to defend his father land and then at the same time go
right ahead and print all of the crimes that are being perpetrated against
the fatherland, all of the accusations and slander and all of the plans
that are being hatched to exterminate that very worker and to exterminate
the country with him.  Let us all look for the root of these evils, let us
get to the bottom of this, let us purify this situation and then we will
have a harmonious solution -- and we will do everything we can to help in
this; but the truth has not yet been spoken on this, the word of ethics has
not yet been spoken.  Let them tell the truth and all the people will help
find a solution to this!  (Tremendous applause)

Nunex: Mr. Prime Minister, I have hundred of support telegrams
here from all over the country, that are just coming in, they have just
been put on the table here.  I believe that they ought to be read for the
information of the people of Cuba.  Do you think that is a good idea?

Dr Castro: You mean those hundreds of telegrams?

Nunez: No, No, I will read them very quickly.

Dr Castro: But there are hundreds of telegrams...

Nunez: All right, the National College of Radio Announcers and the
Inter-American Association of Radio Announcers applauds the attitude of the
revolutionary government and repudiates the crude attitude of the
ambassador from Spain. [Unreadable text] that the 5th National Congress of
Radio Announcers agreed to issue this statement and that this was ratified
later on and supported by the college of Newsmen and by the Graphic Arts
Labor Union.  "The editorial staff and the employees of the newspaper El
Mundo, that is to say, the revolutionary women of Cuba, fighting resolutely
for a free Cuba energetically reject the indecent action of the ambassador
of Spain.  The members of the staff of El Mundo on television, the
newscasters and the printers and the other news personnel of TV World:
signed by Juan Miro, president; Rolando Menendez, secretary, Orlando Reyes,
delegate; and Armando Sontulio, supernumerary delegate.  Diego Trinidad,
president of the Trinidad and Brother Cigar Company: we congratulate the
Prime Minister, Dr Fidel Castro, and the President of the Republic, for the
dignified attitude which they adopted toward the insolent interruption by
the ambassador from the Franco regime, Manuel Carranza; 26 July Provincial
official, barber shop and beauty shop sector of Pinar del Rio, Julian
Vasquez, president of the College of Barbers and Beauty Shop Operators of
Pinar del Rio; the provincial labor union of the fertilizer industry of
Pinar del Rio, executive committee; Lorenzo Jamerson, Duron, secretary
general of the petroleum worker union of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba; Andres
Orto Pares, municipal commissioner of Pinar del Rio, Jesus Prieto Garcia
from Havana: the people of Cuba have always been free, likewise supports
the measure against the Spanish ambassador and the rupture of relations
with Spain, since he is a Cuban who is proud of our revolutionary
government and its basic principles and since he applauds with all his
heart the decision to expel the unworthy diplomatic representative of the
Falangist dictatorship which unfortunately has been subjugating noble Spain
for 23 years now.  Nicolas Hernandez Perez, Luis M. Portas of Havana,
Committee of the Spanish Republican Army in Havana, then next, the
Governing Board of the Provincial College of Newsmen of Havana, gathering
this morning in extraordinary session, supports the attitude of the
government, as expressed by President Osvaldo Dorticos and Prime Minister
Fidel Castro, with respect to the insolent conduct of the ambassador of the
Spanish Franco tyranny in Cuba, Juan Lojendio.  This governing board of the
Provincial College of Newsmen of Havana also restates its firm attitude
with respect to the clarifying statements at the end of news reports,
articles, and editorials slandering the Cuban revolution and the leaders of
that revolution; similar solidarity is expressed by the National College of
Newsmen, the National Federation of the Graphic Arts, and the Havana
Reporters' Association.  For the governing board: Carlos M. Varela, Signed:
Baldomero Alvarez Rios, dean; Manuel de J. Zamora, Francisco Ardurs, Tirso
Martinez, Villar Guardia, Salvador Guillen, Alfredo Vines, Juan E. Friguls,
Pedro C. Jose Fernandez, from Pinar del Rio, of the DR [Revolutionary
Directorate]; Jose Morales, of the DR from Pinar del Rio; Jorge Millan, DR,
Pinar del Rio; Guillermo Macia, DR, Pinar del Rio; Antonio Garzan, of
Tropical Bar, Pinar del Rio; Orlando Triana, DR, Pinar del Rio; Ramon
Pineiro, DR, Pinar del Rio; Bernardo Vento, DR, Pinar del Rio; Jesus Mora,
DR; Pinar del Rio; Alberto Martinez, militant of the DR, Pinar del Rio;
Revolutionary Directorte; Jose M. Pinell, assistant city coordinator, DR,
Pinar del Rio; Roberto P. Garcia, treasurer, DR; Alan Roboino, Pinar del
Rio, tactical forces of the west, squadron No 1, Julio Alonso Albiza, DR,
Pinar del Rio; tactical forces of the west, squadron No 1, To the President
of the Republic and to the Prime Minister: the National College of
Telegraphers energetically rejects the attitude of the ambassador of Spain
and completely supports the proposal of David Salvador, that is, that Cuba
must remain free and revolutionary.  Pedro P., national chairman.  We
criticize the attitude, managers and employees of the Tosca Garden,
National Executive Board of the Revolutionary Group "Free Fatherland"
supports the patriotic attitude.  Ruiloba, Carmen Estevez, Rodrigo Diez,
Enrique Morejon from Pinar del Rio, a group of republican women supports
and congratulates Dr Castro for his action toward the blood-drenched lackey
of the government of Spain, a group of women from Havana, Guillermo La from
Pinar del Rio, the executive committee of the Progressive Union Club of
Santa Clara: we congratulate the Prime Minister and the President of the
Republic for the dignified attitude they adopted toward the insulting
interruption by the Spanish ambassador.  Signed: Trinidad and Brother, Inc.
Delegate of the employee section of the Brillante Restaurant, Havana,
Josefina Isabela: Spanish ambassador's attitude incorrect, Havana..
Workers of the periodical Informacion [Information]: We protest the
insolent attitude of the ambassador of Spain on this television program.
Long live free Cuba.  The shop committee.  Employees of the first American
Table Company: We strongly support the revolutionary government which gave
the representative of Spain in Cuba 24 hours to leave Cuba because of his
insolent and irresponsible conduct before the Cuban people.  Today we
support our revolutionary government more strongly than ever before against
those who oppose our complete sovereignty and independence.  Friendship
with all peoples, subjugation to no one, long live free Cuba.  And here are
more telegrams, the printers of Avance Libre [Free Advance] applaud the
expulsion of the Spanish ambassador (applause).  Catalina Roca, Jose A.
Cheng, FF, Joaquin Serra, Jose Puente, Manuel Ossario, Manuel Villacorrea,
Manuel Marco, Elias Ardilla, Jose Almagro, Jose Garcia, Manuel P. Jose
Villacuesto, Evaristo Guerrero Facciolo, of Regla, United Revolutionary
Youth Committee, Revolutionary Women's Unit, 26 July Student Section,
Camaguey, Domingo Geno, and the Public Works employees of the Metropolitan
District.  That ends the reading of those telegrams.  Would you like to add
anything, Mr. Prime Minister?

Dr Castro: Well, see you next time.

Nunez: Yes, next time.  And that's a promise; and so we conclude
another program and we close out another broadcast of "TV World Questions
and Answers"; we now sign off until tomorrow at 1230 when we will once
again be on the air with "The World in Television."  Many thanks to all.