Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Feb. 23, 1960


(Editor's Note--E)  Havana, Union Radio, in Spanish to Cuba, Feb. 20, at
2148 GMT carried a speech by Fidel Castro at an INAV ceremony in which
Castro stresses that in building houses the revolution not only solves the
housing problem but also the problem of gambling.  Castro then explains at
great length the savings inherent in the housing plan.  He admits that the
revenue of the Housing Institute is not adequate at present to cover
housing requirements, and says that revenue from other sources must be

Castro hails the work of Pastorita Nunez and other INAV officials in the
accomplishments of the past year, and hopes for even greater successes in
the future.  Castro concludes with a denunciation of those who slander the
revolution, saying that he is absolutely sure that the people will not be
deceived, that there will be no compromise because the will of the people
is an indestructible force.

Turning to U.S. promises to the measures to prevent these raids, he said:
Private planes fly relatively slowly.  They are not supersonic planes, but
they fly between two bases without being discovered.  These things are a
shame for the North Americans.  I have no proof that the authorities
consent to these things, but I can say that if the U.S. does not want them
to take place, if the U.S. had mobilized hundreds of agents to prevent them
as it says--and still cannot prevent them, it is a sign that some service
is functioning very poorly over there.

Castro concluded his remarks on the plane incident by inviting U.S.
"experts" to come to Cuba where proof of the statements he had made would
be presented.  It has been proven where the planes come from, he said.  The
proof the authorities wanted are here.  The measures are up to them.

At this point an announcer interrupted with a message said to be from U.S.
evangelists in Cuba condemning the plan incident and asserting that the
U.S. people look with favor on Cuba's economic efforts.

Asked for his personal impressions of Mikoyan, Castro spoke of the Soviet
official enthusiastically, stressing Mikoyan's tact and describing him as a
person of character, untainted by hypocrisy.  As for the Soviet-Cuban
agreement, he described it as beneficial for Cuba and brushed aside a
reporter's remark that Cuba was to be paid only 20 percent in dollars with
the assertion:  I wish we could make 100 agreements like this one.  That
would settle all our reserve and monetary problems.  He pointed out further
that although Cuba had extensive trade with the U.S., the balance of
payments had been heavily against Cuba over a 10-year period.  The
agreement with Russia, he said, gives Cuba a favourable balance of some 60
million dollars in five years.

In reply to a question as to whether Cuba would import oil-drilling
machinery from the USSR, Castro said:  The oil program was already being
carried out before the agreement with the USSR.  Now, of course, we can
count on these resources and be sure that the program can be implemented.
He added that Cuba hopes to process some iron ore, particularly hematite,
and said that the country's immediate coal should be to satisfy its own
requirements in steel production.  He also said that Cuba planned to build
both a refinery and a steel mill, once the amount of raw material available
had been determined.

Turning to the sugar trade with the United States, Castro pointed out that
it was that country and not Cuba which had developed the quota system.  He
said that if the quota were eliminated, Cuba would compete freely on the
U.S. market and might fare better.  Asserting that there could be no valid
criticism of the sale of sugar to the USSR, he pointed out that the sugar
had not been taken from the U.S. quota but had been sold over and above the
sugar earmarked for the United States.

Castro dismissed the idea that the USSR would resell the sugar on the world
market, noting that the Soviet-Cuban agreement stipulated that this would
not be done.  However, he added, this was the most debated point in the
agreement.  In reply to a reporter's question, he said that the agreement
provided the USSR with the position of most favored nation with the
exception of the United States, Cuba, he said, would get
most-favored-nation treatment with the USSR, with the exception of those
countries which had special advantage with the Soviet Union.

Castro next replied to a series of internal economic questions.  among
other things he explained that the duration of restrictions on imports
would be dependent on the development of the economy, pointing out that it
was necessary to have a surplus of reserves.  He also dismissed a rumor
that it had been planned to ration gasoline and applauded a reported
initiative by industrialists to invest 20 percent of their profits in new
industries, schools, and other projects.

In reply to a question concerning Venezuelan President Betancourt's recent
criticism of Cuban-U.S. differences and the Cuban-Soviet agreement, Castro
said that he did not have the text of Betancourt's statements, but did not
accept the dispatches he had read as criticism.  He added that Cuba had
good relations with the Venezuelan Government.

Asked about the Cuban merchant marine, Castro said that Cuba already had
vessels, but was going to continue to develop the merchant marine.
[Unreadable text], he said, we will not build ships; we will get them for

In reply to a question about Cuban planes, he said:  We do not have them.
Nothing was said about arms in the talks with Mikoyan.  But we reserve the
right to buy the arms we need.

The interview ended at 0657 GMT.