Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


(Editor's Note--E) Prime Minister Fidel Castro appeared on a nationwide
television and radio network program "Telemudo" on Mar. 28 at 0222 GMT to
which commentator Pardo Llado had had been invited but declined to take
part as a member of the panel because it concerned his feud with
commentator Conte Aguero on the topic of communism and the Cuban
government, and, he said, he did not wish to appear to be drawing the Prime
Minister into the argument. A summary of Fidel Castro's reply to a question
this topic posed by Mario Cuchilan, a member of the panel, follows:

I believe this question implies a deep analysis of the problem. It is not a
simple question that can be answered in a few words. I believe this
discussion has done harm. It is a matter that is hurting the revolution and
must be analyzed. Positions must be judged in the light of the interests of
the revolution. During the middle of the week I became aware of the problem
when Conte Aguero said in a broadcast something to the effect that among
the public who applauded his letter to the Prime Minister were members of
the rebel army and then [Unreadable text] that the TV cameras not be turned
on them for obvious reasons.

I am a very close friend of the rebels. We were together for a long period.
In all that time Conte Aguero never turned up. A rebel was never seen with
Conte Aguero in all that time. It does not seem natural to hear of a rebel
with Conte Aguero on a program. It was like being stabbed to hear that
there were rebels but they must not be shown by the TV camera, as though
the government would take reprisals against them.

Conte Aguero made this charge against a government headed by a Premier
whom he, again and again, claimed as a friend. I told myself: A
revolutionary does not talk like that. A man who calls himself a friend
does not talk like that. That is the way an enemy talks. That is the way
DIARIO DE LA MARINA talks. It is the way a counterrevolutionary acts.

I wish Conte Aguero had shown more sense and not been such an ingrate. I
wish I had not the obligation of severely judging a man who, on occasion,
was our friend. But, when he acts as he has, I can have no consideration
for him. He cannot have done what he did mistakenly.

This is a case of bad faith. I conclude that Conte Aguero knew quite well
what he was doing and that it was premeditated and the harm to the
revolution was a result of his conscious act. Enemies of the revolution are
fully aware of the service Conte Aguero has done them. I am sure he
considered the benefits he may reap from those services to the enemies of
the revolution. I am going to prove this.

Those in the service of the big interests can take this or that group of
data and make them meet their own needs, escaping the fact of the
revolution which is that the revolution has done many things.  The
revolution's enemies try to turn the people's attention away from its
accomplishments, from its realities.  But we are not building theory; we
are building reality.  We are doing what all revolutions have done since
the beginning.  We are forging a reality.  This reality is too strong for
the enemies of the revolution and they try to turn the attention of the
people from it.

I knew Conte Aguero at the university. He seemed intelligent. He spoke
well. Later he turned to public life. I was nobody then. I kept a good
opinion of him, I did not have any more relations with him until July 26. I
though he could help us by speaking for us. I though if I sought him out
and invited him to join the action he would accept. When I went to look for
him, he was not there. He was speaking from Havana, not Oriente. After this
incident came the Moncada evens and murders. I think he made a farewell
speech for those who had died. We were grateful for this.

This of course identified him with us, Castro said, adding that later,
after the Moncada trial and when we were in prison, he became our defender.
A friendship developed and in many ways, Castro said, he expressed his
gratitude. He declared that he had not betrayed that gratitude but on the
contrary had maintained it even years after our political identification
had long disappeared. But I no longer can maintain my gratitude; the damage
done the revolution is too great.

Castro recalled that on leaving prison he observed that Conte no longer
thought like us. Castro said he was invited to speak on a TV program and
also to the Ortodoxo Party but in each instance only others were permitted
to speak; all Castro was permitted to do was walk the street; and he
finally determined that he would not return until the overthrow of the

By that time, the Premier said, Luis Conte was completely opposed to
Castro's ideas, was against revolutionary opposition, and was of those who
wanted to accept the old situation.

Castro read from a letter which he said Conte had written to him urging
that the rebellion be halted. This man, the Premier declared, was
incapable of seeing the potential power of the people. We saw this
potential. Today attempts are being made to sow doubts about the success of
the revolution but we are veterans in this battle.

We achieved victory after Luis Conte had been preaching that we could not
win, Castro continued. We arrived in Havana and we found him. Did we treat
him badly? No, we did not reject him. Everywhere we went he appeared. He
even took credit for my speeches. But we treated him generously and well.

Luis Conte, Castro said, turned to writing a biography "about a person
still living and occupying the post of Premier." He did not even consult
the Premier to make certain that everything was accurate. Castro then read
a quotation attributed to him and commented that it had been written by him
when he was inexperienced and a young member of the Ortodoxo Party. Castro
said a written work can be misinterpreted and that his first reaction was
sorrow that it had been published. There was no reason for such a book.
Conte, the Premier declared, reproduced a page allegedly written by Castro
in a book by Marti. "I never used these phrases," Castro asserted.

The Premier declared that what Luis Conte has done has been done
deliberately and that Conte has created the controversy regarding
communism. Conte, he continued, spoke at the funeral of a communist. This,
Castro declared, was before Conte began his anticommunist campaign.

Who would have thought that this Luis Conte would do what he has done?
Castro asked, adding that he could have destroyed Conte time and again but
did not do so out of consideration. Now he has done this damage.

The day after the La Coubre explosion, Castro declared, Luis Conte walked
with us along the procession route and attempted to join us on the platform
but was prevented from doing so.  He already was preparing his campaign.
Those who in good faith were taken in by him should meditate on all these

Castro than outlined some of the benefits of the revolution. Despite every
weapon being used against us, he said, the great majority of the people
still are with the government. From the very beginning, the Premier
declared, enemies of the revolution have been calling it communist. What do
they want? he asked. Do they want the government to persecute communists,
to organize repressive measures against communist? Do they want us to
become Bastistas, Falangists, or Nazis?

What they want is to use the pretext of communism to create international
problems, to prepare the way for aggression and to do to us that which was
done in Guatemala. They want to divide the people and thereby weaken the
revolution. But we will not sit back with arms folded and let
counterrevolutionaries work. We know how to act.

Castro repeated his declaration of Sunday that "street by street, block by
block" Cubans stand ready to defend the nation. We are against the Batistas
and the bases used by pilots for their aggressive flights. Enemies of the
revolution, Castro declared, do not want us to do anything; they are
against our lowering rents, building houses, setting up cooperatives
converting fortresses into schools and developing industries.

The Premier asserted that from the very beginning the revolution has
maintained one line of conduct and that documents, manifestos and other
writings prove this. He noted that electric and telephone enterprises as
yet have not been nationalized and promised that this will be done because
public services must be nationalized. He also pledged that rental contracts
between tenants and landlords will be converted into sales contracts under
which tenants will become owners of housing quarters under a long-term
amortization plan.

He promised that if "foreign forces" should land in Cuba they would be
repelled in a war unparalleled in fierceness.

We have been called communists by the American press, by the State
Department, and by Mr. Herter, Castro declared, and then cited a cable
attributing to Secretary Herter a statement to the effect that there are
communist sympathizers in high positions in the Cuban government and that
some actions of that government appear to follow a communist pattern.

Rio Treaty Repudiated

Castro continued that by such a statement Herter was seeking to invoke the
Rio de Janeiro treaty concerning communist governments among the Latin
American nations and is threatening Cuba. "But," Castro asserted, "we do
not feel bound by this treaty, because the revolution did not sign this
treaty." He repeated: "We do not feel bound by this Rio de Janeiro treaty."

People, he continued, should know how to read the statements by officials
of a country which has "broad experience in intervention in other
countries," and they will recall all the declarations at the time of the
intervention in Nicaragua.

Castro reiterated that attempts are being made to frighten the Cuban people
but Cuba has a force of half a million Cuban men ready to fight. He said he
was talking to the people in this way because a coalition is threatened
against us.

Cuba, the Premier continued, has been accused of being intransigent, yet
there have been more than 40 air raids against us. We have experienced
bombings and fires. We are the patient ones. Cuba has been pictured as
intractable;l all the blame has been cast on us.

Then Ambassador Bonsal arrived. He is always welcome. But with his arrival
there were other incidents, in no way friendly ones. We have faced a
campaign of personal defamation in the press in his country. We need
helicopters but his government forbids them being sent because they can be
used for military purposes. Is this friendly? Is it friendly to talk of
patient and tolerant policy when one attack follows another, including

Welcome, Mr. Bonsal, but more is needed. Herter must change his policy.
When they want to talk on a friendly basis "we are ready to begin with the
discussion of a bilateral trade treaty."

The revolution, Castro concluded, is ready to do what is necessary to solve
Cuba's problems, always serving in the interest of the people. This the
people must realize so that they will not play the game of their enemies.