Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Paris in Spanish to Latin America 0103 GMT 17 October 1962--E

(Text) The director of the Spanish-language broadcasts of the French Radio
and Television Association, Andre Camp, recently visited several Latin
American countries, including Cuba. On this occasion Cuban Premier Fidel
Castro granted the following interview for our broadcasts.

Andre Camp: While in Havana a week ago at the invitation of ICAP-- the
Cuban Institute for Friendship Among Nations--as director of the
Spanish-language casts of the French Radio and Television Association, I
had an opportunity to interview Dr. Fidel Castro, premier of the Cuban

At a time when the great Caribbean island arouses the ardent interest of
the entire world, it was of the utmost importance for a French reporter to
be able to ask the leader of the Cuban revolution some questions about
French influence on his political thought and about the present and future
relations between Cuba, France, and the European Common Market. It is not
necessary to add that this interview does not represent a stand, but simply
an exceptional document which the French Radio and Television Association
offers its Spanish-speaking listeners.

Dr. Fidel Castro, among the philosophical influences which helped you
crystallize your political thought, Jose Marti is of course mentioned. You
yourself have spoken of Karl Marx, but there also has been reference to the
French writers and thinkers who prepared the French Revolution--
particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If this is so, would you care to state
what you took from the French thinkers, philosophers, and encyclopedists of
the 18th Century?

Castro: The historical experience of humanity and all the previous
revolutions have influenced all revolutions to a greater or lesser degree.
Naturally, contemporary revolution is not the same as 18th Century
Revolution. The French Revolution, for example, had a very great influence
on all the struggles for independence in Latin America. It was the thought
which definitely influenced the fighters who opposed colonial power in the
past century and succeeded in obtaining the independence of the American
nations. However, the influence of the French Revolution lasted the entire
century, and of necessity its ideas and the role it played have even
influenced our times.

In school, one of the episodes of human history we all read most avidly was
the French Revolution. I think that was the case for all children. All
children have a bit of the revolutionary in them. We the same as the rest.
Particularly in adolescence it was an episode which interested us
extraordinarily. For example, one of my favorite reading subjects was the
history of the French Revolution.

The ideas of the French philosophers and of the French encyclopedists
inspired the constitutions of all our countries--that is, the liberal and
democratic constitutions of our countries. Naturally, as our Latin American
and our countries had to deal constantly with reactionary forms of
government, as our countries also endured feudal conditions, as, for
example, the peasantry of Latin America lived under the same conditions as
the French peasants at the time of the 1789 revolution, as our people had
to deal directly with military dictatorship, with tyrannical and
reactionary governments serving the most obscurantist ideas, at the service
of the most exploiting interests--that is, at the service of large
estate-owners, of the feudal latifundio which exists in many countries in
America--and as our people had to fight for these freedoms against these
reactionary governments, the political thought of the French Revolution at
that stage of the struggle had a great influence.

For example, when we faced the 10 March coup d'etat--and the suppression of
the political rights of the masses and of the civic rights--during the
first phase of the struggle against that government of force, that
reactionary military government, naturally many of the principles defended
by the French encyclopedists were principles often repeated by the
political and revolutionary leaders.

I shall not say that at this point they can basically influence the thought
of a socialist revolution, but they greatly influenced an entire phase of
this struggle, when it was a matter of winning political power--the
struggle for the overthrow of the tyrannical government which maintained a
social system based on exploitation.

I should also like to say that our admiration for the French
revolutionaries and all those thinkers is the admiration which every
revolutionary must have for revolutionaries. It was they who set the
example of a revolution which brought great benefits to humanity--of a
revolution which delivered nations from feudal chains, from completely
outmoded social systems; a revolution which represented a big step ahead
for humanity, which liberated social forces that, when developed, made
possible the extraordinary development and progress of humanity. At the
same time, they were creating conditions which in time would require new
social changes.

Today many reactionaries seek to invoke the thought of the revolutionaries
of two centuries ago, while at the same time representing the same
interests of those reactionaries who persecuted those ideas two centuries
ago. During their time all those thinkers were persecuted by the ruling
classes by the reactionary classes, with the same hatred and the same
determination as the reactionaries of the world persecute socialist ideas
today. The role played by the monopolies and the big bourgeoisie is the
role which the nobles and the reactionaries played in those days. Thus, in
our opinion, the revolutionaries had a considerable influence in the
history of humanity and will always be among the pioneers of human society.

Today, revolutionary thought belongs to a new era--to a thought which tends
toward the solution of the social problems of our times. That is why the
fundamental influence in a socialist revolution is not the influence of the
encyclopedists, but rather that of the founders of Marxism-- Marx, Engles,
and Lenin.

I can tell you more about the French revolutionaries. French history
contributed considerably to illuminate modern revolutionary thought. For
example, one of the books I read most avidly is 18 Brumaire of Karl Marx
and the Civil Wars of France. It was in France that the first clashes took
place between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The first classic
conflicts began in the middle of the last century in France. It was in
France that the first proletarian revolution took place, the first
proletarian government. France is the country in which the revolutionaries
learned what a victorious counterrevolution is--of the bloodshed it costs,
of the pitiless repression it adopts against the workers.

It was also in France where they learned to overcome their errors; they
expanded their viewpoints and conceived new tactics. Thus, France, the
history of France, and the struggles of the workers if France also
illuminated the thought of contemporary revolutionaries. Humanity owes
France a great debt. That is why we are interested in France of today, in
French history, and in France's future.

Andre Camp: Cuba belongs to the socialist world, and France does not. What
do you think of peaceful coexistence? Furthermore, do you believe
cooperation with France is possible, and in which aspects?

Castro: Well, first of all I can tell you that France does not have a
socialist government, but there are many socialists in France. A large
population of France is socialist.

Now, what do we think of peaceful coexistence? The problem of peaceful
existence is something which must interest all nations and all governments.
In the first place, in view of the rate of development of the weapons, war
is the most absurd and the most inconceivable solution one can imagine.
Everyone is interested in peace. The highly industrialized countries are
interested in it because they must defend their people from destruction;
they must defend their gains, the great progress made in science and
technology by these people, and their living standard.

But for underdeveloped countries like ours, for countries which are last in
line--and we are last in line, because the disproportionate development of
the economy of other countries took place in inverse proportion to the
development of the nations which were exploited by colonialism and by
imperialism--(as heard--Ed.).

However, this phenomenon created such inequality and such differences that,
abandoned to their own resources, the underdeveloped countries of the world
would require dozens of years to improve their living standards
imperceptible. Therefore, the basic hope of the economically underdeveloped
countries lies in the existence if peace in the world which will make
possible the rapid economic development of all backward countries with the
assistance of the highly industrialized countries.

The hope of all underdeveloped nations lies in attaining disarmament and
peace. The hundreds of thousands and the millions spent on weapons each
year would be more sufficient, if invested in industries, in machinery, and
in mans of production in order to promote not only a higher living standard
in the industrialized countries, but also the rapid development of the
economy of the underdeveloped countries. That is why peach is of
extraordinary interest to everyone in the world. Peace and disarmament
would mean to deliver humanity from war, from the danger of a devastating
war. For the underdeveloped nations, for us, peace and disarmament is
linked with the hope of obtaining the help which our nations need for our
development. That is why I believe that disarmament and peace, as well as
peaceful coexistence, which are of universal interest, and of double
interest to us.

As for possible cooperation with France I must ask: In what aspect? We have
always been prepared first of all to develop friendship with all nations,
to develop trade and cultural exchanges with all countries. Our policy has
not been one of estrangement with respect to any country. Regardless of its
system of government, we have desired to improve relations. We have been
the victim of attacks by the United States, by the pressure exerted by the
U.S. Government upon other countries against us in an attempt to render
trade more difficult, in an attempt to render our relations with other
countries more difficult.

We have some trade relations with France, and these relations can be
improved. Trade can be increased, because France produces items of
magnificent quality which are of interest to us. We also produce some
things which are of interest to the French.

As you know, matters concerning the Common Market are now under discussion.
The countries of Latin America are very much concerned about all this. They
feel that the doors to many of their basic products are being closed, We,
however, do not have this concern because, fortunately, we have a very
large and unlimited market in which sales are assured for as much sugar as
we can produce, for as many minerals as we can produce, and for a much
merchandise we can produce. We do not have this concern, and that is one of
the advantages of trade relations with all countries-- one of the
principles which the Cuban revolution defends. Other countries would not
have the problem had they known how to break the ties, chains, and
prohibitions established by the United States.

Never have we had fewer problems about selling than now. Selling always
used to be a headache, but today there is no headache about selling. There
is an assured market for everything we can produce. We are proof of the
advantage of trade with everyone. We continue to defend this principle:
Trade with the countries of the socialist camp, and trade with all the
countries of world.

Andre Camp: Thank you, Dr. Fidel Castro.