Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19660206
-YEAR-
1966
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
INTERVIEW
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CASTRO STATEMENT ON CUBAN-CPR RELATIONS
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA PRENSA LATINA
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19660207
-TEXT-
CASTRO STATEMENT ON CUBAN-CPR RELATIONS

Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 1415 GMT 6 February 1966--E (FOR OFFICIAL
USE ONLY)

(Text) Havana--We now give the statement made by Maj. Fidel Castro, first
secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Prime Minister of the
revolutionary government, in reply to statements made by the Government of
the People's Republic of China on trade relations with China:

In connection with my statements in the 2 January speech and subsequent
statements from the Cuban Foreign Trade Ministry the Chinese Government has
made two statements in an effort to justify its conduct in the matter of
trade relations with Cuba. These statements by the Chinese Government, put
in the mouth of a supposed official of that country's Foreign Trade
Ministry, are extremely deceptive.

Nobody will believe that in China a simple, unknown official in the Foreign
Trade Ministry can make statements calling a liar the prime minister of a
socialist state with which formal diplomatic relations are maintained and,
by virtue of their political content and disrespectful form, involving the
possibility of seriously affecting relations between two countries like
Cuba and China.

Two things must be stated before anything else: first, this manner of
proceeding is very hypocritical, because such statements can only come from
the highest echelons of the Chinese Government; second, as well as being
dishonest, this method reveals a feeling of contempt for other peoples, for
it is tantamount to saying that the statement of the prime minister of a
small state, even though the matter being discussed seriously affects that
state, deserve a reply only from some anonymous, lesser official of China's
Foreign Trade Ministry.

We will not make use of such hypocritical, contemptuous procedures because
we are no accustomed to it; nor do we distinguish between big nations and
small nations in matters pertaining to the defense of our country's dignity
or to the respect we owe others, regardless of what consequences may ensue.

This conduct of the Chinese Government goes beyond the limits of a
discussion based strictly on figures and data related to trade. Now that
this point has been reached, it is almost idle to argue about these figures
and data. Nevertheless we must not leave unanswered the statements and
conclusions in that field which the Chinese Government is trying to defend.

On 2 January I did not wish to judge, define, or qualify the measures of an
economic nature; adopted by the Chinese Government, even though I had more
than enough basis for doing so. I confined myself to stating that there
would be a sudden, unexpected reduction of imports from China. I set forth
the reasons invoked for this by the Chinese Government, and the
consequences that this had for our country in the immediate present. I said
textually:

"There is one product that will be a problem to us this year for reasons
beyond our control, and that product is rice. I am going to explain the
reasons why we will have less rice, basing my statements on this report
from our Foreign Trade Ministry in connection with trade with the Chinese
People's Republic. It says:

"'For the year 1966 our policy on trade with China we oriented toward
continuing the increase in the volume of trade, thereby continuing the
trend of the last few years. Exports planned for 1966 came to 110 million
and imports to 140 million. These sums, compared with preceding years,
called for increases sugar deliveries by us and increases rice deliveries
by the other party.

"'In mid-November our delegation, headed by the director of our ministry,
Comrade Ismael Bello, arrived in Peking to discuss the 1966 trade protocol
to be signed in Havana. After several interviews with the Chinese officials
the latter officially set forth the following:

"'Sugar: The Chinese cannot accept the 800,000 tons of sugar offered for
the following reasons:

"'A--They had a big crop this year.

"'B--In 1961 the USSR loaned them 500,000 tons of sugar, repayable in the
same product. This year they have finished paying back that sugar to the
USSR, using some of the sugar they bought from Cuba.

"'C--The Chinese people currently do not require coupons for purchases of
sugar since there is enough to meet the demand.

"'The amount of rice supplied Cuba in 1965, 250,000 tons, was an exception,
in response to the request addressed to the Chinese ambassador by Prime
Minister Fidel Castro.

"'Even though they had a good crop, for 1966 they see no prospect for an
amount greater than 135,000 metric tons, the 1964 figure, for the following
reasons:

"'B--(as received) The aid they have to give Vietnam.

"'C--A deficit in the production of other grains that obliges them to
import for the capitalist areas; as a result, they have to use certain
quantities of rice to obtain foreign currency for this purpose.

"'When our delegation brought up the question of using the remainder of the
10 million from the 1960 credit to partially finance the unfavorable trade
balance that would occur in 1966 according to our export and import
figures, the Chinese delegates replied:

"'Use of the economic credit was not in their competence but must be
brought up at government level, but as for the products and quantities they
could furnish us, their offers were a maximum and hence final. They said
that in this way the volume of trade would more or less attain the 1964
level, since it would be balanced trade.

"'Commercial implications of this; says the foreign trade report.

"'Although the Chinese speak of brining our trade to the 1964 level by not
allowing an imbalance as in previous years, actually it is only our exports
that are brought to the 1964 level, while the value of our imports will
drop to a level below that of any year of trade form 1961 to 1965, since
1961 when our trade was established, as customary among socialist
countries, by means of yearly trade protocols.'"

The Chinese side has not been able either to refute or to conceal any of
the essential points of all the questions presented. They have limited
themselves exclusively to the discussion of a single--point whether it is
true or not that the volume of exports that Cuba will receive from China in
1966 will be larger or smaller than in previous years. They have been
unable to deny that the exports offered by Cuba, including the 800,000 tons
of sugar, would amount to 110 million pesos and that Cuban needs were
estimated at 140 million pesos.

They have been unable to deny that the Chinese Government rejected the
offer of 800,000 tons of sugar and the arguments used to justify that
refusal, that is, that:

1--They had had a large harvest this year;

2--That USSR lent them 500,000 tons of sugar in 1961 to be repaid with the
same product and this year they finished repaying the sugar to the USSR
using part of the sugar they bought from Cuba for that purpose; and

3--The Chinese people currently do not require ration coupons to purchase
sugar, since sufficient quantities of it exist to satisfy the demand.

They have been unable to deny that they agreed to turn over to Cuba in 1966
only 135,000 metric tons of rice, that is, 115,000 tons less than the
previous year and 145,000 tons less than our needs. They have not been able
to justify the arguments used to the effect, namely, that in spite of
having had a good harvest, they saw no possibility in 1966 for exporting
larger quantities than in 1964, when the amount was 135,000 tons, for the
following reasons:

1--The need to set up reserves in case of an attack by the Yankee
imperialists;

2--The aid they have to give Vietnam;

3--A deficit in the production of other grains which forces them to import
from the capitalist area; they must, therefore, export some quantities of
rice to obtain exchange for that purpose.

They have been unable to deny that when our delegation proposed to use the
10 millions in credit finance in part the resulting imbalance, the Chinese
side replied that the matter should be proposed at government level but
that as far as the products and quantities that could be turned over, the
Chinese offer was the maximum to be expected and therefore definite. They
have not been able to deny that the Cuban delegation was informed,
moreover--a thing that has not happened in any previous year--that the
trade deal would be balanced, and this in commercial terms means that no
credit whatsoever can be expected.

Essentially, they have not been able to deny that the Chinese side
presented in a clear and precise manner the following four points:

1--Our export of sugar, which is fundamentally the product what which we
pay for our imports, would be limited to only 600,000 tons;

2--The quantities of products offers to us were the maximum and definite;

3--The imbalance would terminate this year;

4--The rice, the traditional and considerable product of Cuban consumption,
would be cut back to almost half the amount of the previous year.

They have not been able to deny that these points were made to the Cuban
side in an absolutely surprising manner toward the end of 1965 and that our
government had received no indication at all that this was to be the new
trade policy of the Chinese Government toward Cuba.

Not being able to deny any of these essential points, I repeat, they have
limited themselves exclusively to the discussion of a secondary point, that
is, whether or not it is true that the volume of exports that Cuba will get
from China in 1966 will be greater or smaller than in previous years, that
is, since 1961. What they did in an attempt to refute this in the 9 January
declaration was to speak of total trade volume and, without offering any
other date, to state that the information of the Cuba Mincex read by me on
2 January, to the effect that the imports would be lower than any of those
years, was false. Nevertheless, the Cuban Foreign Trade Ministry on 12
January supplied the following figures regarding the Cuban imports from
China:

1961, 98.6 million; 1962, 89.8 million; 1963, 90.8 million; 1964, 109.3
million; 1965, 128.9 million; 1966, 85.0 million.

It is new statement of 30 December, the Chinese Government, again avoiding
the essential points and insisting on the point relating to the comparison
with previous years, tried to criticize the method used by the Cuban
Mincex, claiming that it used three categories of figures. In its turn,
basing itself, it says, on the lists of the protocols, the Chinese
Government declares that the Chinese exports to Cuba were: 1961, 108.00;
1962, 62.00; 1963, 77.61; 1964, 95.11; 1965, 127.00; 1966, (84.50).

Very well, let us see how the Cuban Mincex arrived at its figures. For the
years 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964 it took the most accurate data that could
exist, which consists of the physical goods that really entered and left
the country, inasmuch as if often happens that the figures agreed upon in
the protocols vary considerably during the course of their execution. With
regard to 1965, during the month of December, which is when the Mincex made
its report, it was from all points of view impossible to use the same
method, based on the totality of the goods that entered and left, because
among other things, the year had not ended and because a certain amount of
time is needed to receive, confirm, and process the data. In this case, for
the aforementioned year, the ministry was obliged to use the figures
contained in the protocol, even though they, as has been noted could vary
considerably from reality.

Similarly, with regard to 1966, which is beginning, the ministry could only
count the figures of the goods offered by China as being maximum and
conclusive during the negotiations. Did not the Chinese Government also
take these figures for 1966 as the basis for its comparison? Then the
Chinese Government used different categories of data, too, one for the
years 1961-1965--the protocol lists--and another for the year 1966--the
Chinese offers in the negotiations.

There is only one substantial difference; between the data supplied by the
Cuban and the Chinese foreign trade ministries. It is that the data used by
Cuba during the years 1961-1964, which covered two-thirds of the six-year
period being analyzed and which can really express the rhythm of the
development of the exchange between the two countries is based precisely on
the goods that have arrived in or have departed physically from the
country, while the data of the Chinese Government, in absolute disregard of
the reality, bases itself on the capricious view that the lists of goods
protocolized on paper are more reliable than the goods that actually
arrived in one or the other country. Such good occasionally surpass the
protocol amounts, as happened in 1962 when, 62 millions having been agreed
upon, 89.8 millions were received, which is what really counts and what we
have used in our figures. Other years, such as 1961, with 108 millions
having been agreed upon, 98.6 millions in imports reached Cuba, which is
what counts and what we have used.

On the other hand, there could be no possibility that during 1966 the goods
to be received would surpass the figures agreed upon because the Chinese
party declared categorically--which had not occurred in any previous
year--that the amounts offered would be the maximum and conclusive.

The use by China of the argument of categories is performed with evident
bad faith to confuse inexpert persons, to conceal the weakness of its
position, and to make it seem that the Cuban Mincex is playing with figures
in an irresponsible manner.

In my 2 January speech I also said; "Taking into account the fact that per
capita consumption of rice was very high in the CPR and the consumption of
sugar very low, and taking into account, by myself, that in China, unlike
Cuba, sugar is priced to the population four or five times higher than
rice, while in Cuba the price of rice was two or three times higher than
that of sugar, I though it could be mutually convenient to both countries
to have greater exchange of sugar for rice. Therefore, I made the
proposal--which in my opinion was highly beneficial to that country and
also to outs--that we were willing to deliver two tons of sugar for each
ton of rice sent us by China.

"I made this proposal considering a series of circumstances--as I
said--among other, the principle of the international division of work, the
fact that we are a country that has traditionally cultivated sugarcane and
we are sugar producers; that we are a country which knows how to cultivate
sugarcane and which can be capable of obtaining very high sugar yields per
hectare of sugarcane, that is not our situation with rice, in relation to
which we do not have the same experience nor the large quantities of water,
nor large rivers, nor large areas with optimum conditions for the
cultivation of rive, nor do we know the best techniques, nor do we have the
best varieties of seed, as happens, on the other hand, with sugarcane."

Further on, I said: "And it must be said that on that occasion the response
was more than we expected. They accepted the proposal and even proposes
that the exchange not be made in the manner we said, but that we continue
to pay the same price for the rice."

In this regard, what do they deny? They deny that it was true that the
exchange offered was one for one, but was, rather, three for two. In this
regard, the Cuban Mincex explained with complete clarity:

"In October 1964 preliminary talks were initiated in Havana to be followed
in Peking later by those dealing with the trade protocol for 1965. The
Chinese party had already agreed to send us that year 150,000 tons of rice,
which constituted a slight increase over the figure of 1964, 135,000 tons.
Therefore, Cuba could receive in 1965, 150,000 tons of rice which, at a
price fluctuating between 145 and 150 pesos per ton depending on the
variety of rice, would be exchange for an equivalent of approximately
165,000 tons of sugar according to the stipulated price of 6.11 centavos
per pound.

"It was on that occasion that the Premier of the Cuban Revolutionary
Government proposed increasing the trade of rice for sugar, exchanging
annually--as the Chinese foreign trade office admits, according to the NCNA
text--370,000 tons of sugar for 250,000 tons of rice, that is, instead of
150,000 tons, China would deliver 250,000 tons of rice, and, instead of
165,000 tons of sugar, Cuba could deliver 370,000 tons. Arithmetically
speaking, Cuba would deliver approximately 205,000 tons more of sugar, and,
if the arithmetic is not mistaken, this represents a ratio of almost
exactly two for one. Therefore, the statement by the premier that the Cuban
proposal involved an increase in the exchange of sugar for rice at the rate
of two tons of sugar for each tone of rice is strictly correct"

The Chinese Government replied to these irrefutable arguments and data by
saying that "the Ministry of Foreign Trade made a great effort and produced
some strange figures to prove that what Prime Minister Fidel Castro has
said about the exchange of two tons of Cuban sugar for one ton of Chinese
rice was strictly true."

Evidently, a simple arithmetic problems is a great effort for the Chinese
Government and the figures that do not suit them they consider strange
figures. The error of the Chinese Government is that it analyzes figures
without bearing in mind at all that it had been agreed that the first
150,000 tons of rice were to be sold for the equivalent price of
approximately 165,000 tons of sugar, that is, at the rate of 1.1 for
one-the rate established when I proposed to increase the sugar quota from
165,000 to 370,000 tons, that is, 205,000 tons more sugar in exchange for
100,000 additional tons of rice, at the rate of two for one. This, added to
the amount already agreed upon at another price, would make a total of
250,000 tons of rice for Cuba.

They simply limit themselves to comparing the total figures. However,
whatever the criterion they used to analyze the figures, the fact remains
that they would receive 205,000 tons more sugar by shipping us only 100,000
additional tons of rice. Can they deny that this arrangement would have
been most advantageous to the Chinese people? However, the essential point
of all this is that they have had to admit the following?

1--The Cuban Government proposed at the end of 1964 a special rate of
exchange of sugar for rice;

2--The Cuban proposal was conceived in terms of exchanging larger
quantities of sugar for rice, contrary to what had been agreed upon in
other exchanges;

3--As a result of this proposal, they agreed to hand over 250,000 tons of
rice;

4--As I said on 2 January, they had agreed to turn over the requested
amount of rice but had refused to pay a higher price than the one agreed
upon for the sugar.

How did the Cuban Government interpret the Chinese reply? This is an
important question. When China agreed to increase its rice exports to Cuba
to 250,000 tons, we had to consider this an affirmative reply to our
proposal, in which we clearly indicated our annual need of the product so
important for national consumption. The Chinese refusal to accept a greater
price in sugar in return seemed to us consistent with the spirit of
collaboration that had always guided the Chinese Government in its
relations with us and was never considered a refusal of the pledge to
supply us with the minimum amount requested.

The interpretation that the Chinese Government has now given this
question-- a favor for one year and something absolutely not proposed by
us--reveals an ambiguous conduct of procedure and constitutes a betrayal of
Cuba's good faith. We never though that the Chinese Government--as though
hiding a dagger--reserved the right, absolutely unilaterally and without
any kind of warning or previous discussion, to interpret the scope of its
pledge precisely at a time when out country was not in a position nor had
the means of acquiring the rice in other markets.

In connection with the rationing we have force to establish, as a result of
the drastic and unexpected cut in the exports of rice to Cuba by the
Chinese Government, the latter said the following in its last statement: "
. . . Cuba began to ration rice in 1962 with a monthly quota of six pounds
per capita. The total amount of rice exported by the country to Cuba in
that same years was 120,000 tons. In the following two years--1963 and
1964--our country exported 135,000 tons of rice yearly to Cuba and the per
capita quota of the product for the Cuban population remained unchanged.
Our exports of rice to Cuba were almost doubled in 1965, but the per capita
quote for the Cuban people was not increased. According to the figures
discussed by both parties in the preliminary talks, the export of Chinese
rice to Cuba in 1966 will be lower than in 1965. However, in spite of all,
it will be higher than in 1962 and equal to the exports in 1963 and 1964.
In view of these facts, how can on arbitrarily connect the reduction in the
Chinese rice export quota to Cuba with the problem of trade between China
and Cuba?"

We cannot but consider this argument cynical. The Chinese Government cannot
ignore that in the years 1962, 1963, and 1964 Cuba supplies itself from
other markets also; that in many of these possible suppliers, we
encountered growing difficulties of a political nature as a result of the
Yankee blockade; that no Latin America country, save Mexico, trades with
Cuba; and that those which had not broken off trade, such as Uruguay and
others, did so after the OAS agreement decreed the Yankee imperialism in
the consultative meeting held in Washington in July 1964, in which measures
were taken against Cuba under the accusation of it having sent weapons to
the Venezuelan revolutionaries, and, consequently, those countries were
obliged to break off diplomatic, consular, and trade relations with our
country.

Moreover, to supply ourselves with rice form the few possible places, our
purchasing power is limited by the prices of sugar on the so-called world
market. The government of China cannot ignore the sugar prices in the years
it mentions. According to average spot prices in London, they were: 1962,
2.89 centavos per pound, FOB; 1963, 8.50; 1964, 5.88, and 1965, 2.15 per
pound; with the average prices during the last five months of 1965 having
been the following: August, 1.87; September, 1.93; October, 2.08; November,
1.85; and December, 2.04.

If, during the month of December of this same year in which the prices have
been so poor, our Mincex receives the surprising news that the Chinese
Government will send 115,000 fewer tons of rice than the previous year and
145,000 tons less than are needed, how can the Cuban Government avoid
reducing the quote for the population in 1966? How can the Chinese
Government attempt to ignore these realities and declare, without blushing,
that "if the Cuban party had sincerely wished--for reasons of difficulties
(few words indistinct) with foreign countries--our country to export more
rice to Cuba in 1966, it could have brought up the matter in negotiations
on the highest level, as it did in the past."

Naturally, the (Cuban) Government had--as I will explain later--abundant
reasons to do that. But before getting to that point, we want to ask what
could the Chinese people think of the Cuban Government, knowing their sugar
needs total 600,000 tons, (few words indistinct) we replied that we
intended to reduce delivery to 300,000 because we had to sell the reserve
to obtain foreign exchange with which to obtain various articles. However,
despite the fact that Cuba has suffered the most severe drought of the last
60 years, that its production will not be the same, but rather lower than
the previous year, that sugar on the world market has reached the lowest
price in recent decades, and that Yankee imperialism has strengthened the
blockade against us--despite all this, instead of reduction of 300,000 we
proposed sending 800,000.

With less sugar, we offered more; you, with more rive, offered less. For
our part, in the middle of a drought, the blockage, and low prices, we
offered to increase deliveries of our main trade article; you, while
acknowledging that you had good crops, cut rice deliveries to us by almost
60 percent.

The representatives of the Chinese Government, in addition, alleged a need
to build up rice stocks to as to be prepared in case of Yankee aggression.
Does not Cuba run an equal or greater risk of Yankee aggression than the
Chinese People's Republic? And in case of aggression, how could a bit of
food reach our shores, thousands of miles from any country of the socialist
camp? By what means, across what frontier, could Cuba be supplied?

According to the Chinese Government's concept of international obligations,
it is obvious that a country like ours, weaker militarily, more vulnerable
to aggression, has no right to think of stocks, has no right even to
maintain a modest ration of food supplies that it had been obliged to
establish because of the blockade imposed by the Yankee imperialists.

We do not blame the Chinese Government alone for the cut in that quota. The
responsibilities lies, first of all, with the Yankee imperialists who
established the economic blockade against use, and then the Chinese
Government for having in fact joined in that blockade, and every year this
or that difference of opinion arises in them, but Prime Minister Fidel
Castro had never before proceeded in this way. Then why he suddenly take
this extraordinary step on the eve of the Havana solidarity conference of
the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America? This is food for thought.

In its statement of 30 January 1966 the Chinese Government insists with
even greater guile: "We have carefully studied the reply from the Cuban
Foreign Trade Ministry and we consider that it has not answered the central
question I put in my statements of 8 January, to wit, the question of why
Prime Minister Fidel Castro, on the eve of the solidarity conference of the
peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, unexpectedly, unilaterally, and
in a manner not in keeping with the facts, made known the content of the
preliminary negotiations on trade for 1966 between China and Cuba while
those negotiations were in progress and circumstances were such that the
Cuban Government could perfectly well approach the Chinese Government with
any different ideas or request it might have."

At the end of this statement it repeats, with the most venomous intent, the
same insinuating, subtle, cynical idea: "If really, because of
difficulties, in its relations with foreign countries, the Cuban side had
wished sincerely for our country to export more rice to Cuba in 1966, it
could perfectly well have set forth the matter in negotiations at a higher
level, as it did in the past. But at a time when the preliminary
negotiations between the delegations of our two countries' foreign trade
ministries were still going on, the Cuban side unilaterally made public,
and in a manner not in keeping with the facts, the content of the
negotiations and it laid on China the blame for reducing the rice ration
for the inhabitants of Cuba. This forces us to suspect that in acting in
this way the Cuban side is pursuing some other objective."

It insists on the same idea three times. It talks as if relations between
our two countries at that moment were exactly the same as in previous
years, as if our relations were continuing in the greatest harmony, as if
serious matters that gravely disturbed those relations had never taken
place prior to the negotiations of December 1965, and as if, as a result,
the Cuban Government's position was illogical, odd, abnormal, suspicious, a
problem created in the most artificial manner with hidden intent in mind.
And who knows what hidden intent! It tries to sow doubts with the worst
kind of venom in an insinuating, sly, subtle way.

This argument has been used with the greatest ill-faith, because the
Chinese Government has sought to make use of the fact that certain matters
were not public knowledge in order to deceive and sow confusion. This is
even more repulsive if one takes into account the fact that the Government
of Cuba did not want to take the painful step of revealing these matters.
In my 2 January speech I confined myself strictly to speaking of the
difficulties that arose in regard to trade, without qualifying China's
conduct, without going further into the problem, because it was extremely
painful and disagreeable to have to divulge other more serious matters that
had occurred previously and which explained quite clearly and true motives
of China's conduct.

At the same time the Chinese Government talks as if 2 January had something
to do with the Tricontinental Conference, as if it were not the celebration
of our national holiday, for the rebel army victory in 1959, the date when
we meet with the people at mass gatherings every year to discuss the
country's fundamental problems. It seeks to completely ignore the nature of
that date and the fact that fresh difficulties, which would begin to make
themselves felt immediately, would have to be explained to the people. This
had absolutely nothing to do with the Tricontinental Conference.

We, however, can say that precisely on the eve of this solidarity
conference of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America the Chinese
Government committed a criminal act of economic aggression against our
country, in a year of serious difficulties with the climate, extraordinary
low prices on the world market for our chief export product, and a rigorous
imperialist economic blockade that hampers or prevents trade with many
countries. The Chinese Government could not have chosen a more timely or
more suitable moment to deal our people a telling blow, and what is even
more serious, just before the conference of solidarity among the peoples of
the three continents. This does deserve serious thought.

What we are going to say now we could have said on 2 January, and thereby
have explained the motive behind the Chinese Government's conduct. However
we did not do so. It is the Chinese Government, with its perfidy,
hypocrisy, malevolent insinuations, and disdain for our small country, that
forces us to do so.

Three months before the start of the trade talks, 14 September 1965, at 10
o'clock in the morning, the President of the republic, Comrade Osvaldo
Dorticos Torrado, and I, in my position as Prime Minister, summoned the
charge d'affaires of the Chinese People's republic to discuss questions
which in our opinion were extremely serious.

Even though the Chinese Government was perfectly aware--because the
Government of Cuba had stated it, even publicly--of our stand on the
distribution of propaganda material in our country on matters of a
political nature, particularly matters that tend to deepen the differences
among socialist peoples and states, the representative of Cuba of the
Chinese Government had completely disregarded our injunctions, ignoring our
government's exclusive prerogatives as head of a sovereign country.

This stand of the Government of Cuba had been very clearly set forth on 13
March 1965 at the university terraces, at which time we also clearly stated
our opinion on the split in the socialist camp and the imperialist
aggression in Vietnam. On what occasion we stated unequivocally:

"We small countries, which do not rest on the strength of armies of
millions of men, which do not rest on the strength of atomic might, we
small countries like Vietnam and Cuba have enough instinct to see cooly and
understand that nobody more than we, in special situations--here 90 miles
from the Yankee empire, and there being attacked by Yankee planes--are
affected by these splits and this discord that weaken the strength of the
socialist camp.

"It is not a question here of analyzing in the field of theory, in the
field of philosophy, the matters in dispute, but of keeping in mind the
great truth that when confronted with an attacking enemy, and with an
increasingly aggressive enemy, disunion has no reason for existence,
disunion is senseless, disunion had no motive. In any epoch of history, in
any period of mankind, since the first revolutionary appeared in the work
from the time revolutions arose as social phenomena in which the masses
acted instinctively, to the time revolutions became conscious, became tasks
and phenomena fully understood by the people--something that occurs when
Marxism appears--disunion, in the face of the enemy, was never proper
strategy, it was never revolutionary strategy, it was never intelligent
strategy.

"In this revolutionary process of all of us from the start have been
trained in the idea that everything which divided weakened, that everything
which disunited was bad for our people and good for imperialism. And the
masses of our people understood from the first the need for unity, and
unity became an essential matter for the revolution, unity became a clamor
of the masses, unity became a watch-word for all the people. And we ask
whether the imperialists have disappeared, we ask whether the imperialists
are not attacking North Vietnam, we ask whether men and women are not dying
over there?

"And whom are they going to show, whom are they going to convince, that
disunion is advisable, that disunion is useful? Perchance the imperialist
advance over there is not seen? Perchance they do not see the tactics the
imperialists follow over there to crush the revolutionary movement in South
Vietnam, by first making air raids on North Vietnam on the pretext of
retaliation, then claiming the right to attack whenever it suits them, and
continuing with the use of masses of planes against the fighters in South
Vietnam?

"The imperialists reserve for themselves the right to wage this kind of air
warfare with the minimum of sacrifice, bombing with hundreds of planes and
then taking the luxury of going to rescue the pilots of the downed planes
by helicopter. (Really), the imperialists want a very comfortable kind of
war.

"Indubitably the imperialists want a kind of war which will cost them only
industrial-losses! That is, 'so many planes lost.' Indubitably the people
of South Vietnam and the people of North Vietnam are suffering all of this!
And they are suffering it in their own flesh, because those denying there
are men and women, both in the south and in the north, victims of Yankee
machinegun fire, victims of Yankee bombings.

"The imperialists have not the slightest hesitation of declaring that they
propose to continue doing all this because even the attacks on North
Vietnam have succeeded in overcoming the division with the socialist family
and who can doubt that this division encourages the imperialists? Who can
doubt that a united front against the imperialist enemy would have made
them hesitate, would have made them think carefully before launching their
adventurous attacks and their increasingly brazen intervention in the part
of the world? Can anyone be convinced of this? With what argument? With
what logic?

"Who are those who benefit? The imperialists! Who are the victims? The
Vietnamese! Who suffers? The prestige of socialism, the prestige of the
international communist movement, the international revolutionary movement!
And this must really pain us because for us the liberation movement is not
a demogogic phrase, but a call to action which we have always felt.

"We are a small country which does not aspired to become the center of the
world; we are small people who do not aspire to become the revolutionary
center of the world. And when we talk of these problems we speak with
absolute sincerity. We speak with absolute unselfishness and we speak as
people who did not win revolutionary power in any bourgeois elections, but
in armed combat. We speak in the name of a people who for six years
unshakably resisted, without vacillation, the snared and the threats of
imperialism!

"We speak in the name of the people who did not hesitate--for the sake of
the strength of the revolutionary movement, for the sake of the socialist
camp, for the sake of their own firm determination to defend the resolution
against the imperialists--to risk the dangers of thermonuclear war, the
nuclear attack against us, when in our country and in our territory--with
full and absolute right, which we have not renounced and in an absolutely
legitimate action, of which we shall never repent--we agreed to the
installation of strategic thermonuclear missiles on our territory!
Moreover, not only did we agree to having them brought in, we disagreed
with their removal! I believe that this is a secret to no one.

"We are a nation and a people--on whose behalf we speak--which do not
receive Yankee credits nor food for peace and which do not have the
slightest link with the imperialists; that is, in the field of
revolutionary conviction and sincerity no one has taught us--no one has
taught us--just as no one taught our liberators of 1895 and 1868 the road
of independence and dignity. We are the people of the second Havana
declaration, which we did not copy from any document, but which was the
pure expression of the profoundly revolutionary and highly internationalist
spirit of our people.

"Since that has been the feeling and the thought of our revolution,
demonstrated on every occasion on which it has been necessary and
demonstrated without any kind of vacillation, without contradictions of any
kind, that is why we have the right to ask--as many other peoples must ask
themselves--who profits by this discord if not our enemies? Therefore, we
have the complete and absolute right--which I do not think anyone will dare
to question--to proscribe from our country and from the midst of our people
such discord and such Byzantine battles.

"And it is well for it to be known that here the propaganda is made by our
party! That here, the orientation is drafted by our party! That here, that
is a question that falls under our jurisdiction! and that if we do not want
the apple of discord to come here because we do not feel like it, no one
can smuggle to us the apple of discord! That our enemies, our enemies, our
only enemies are the Yankee imperialists! Our only unsurmountable
contradictions is with Yankee imperialism! The only adversary against which
we are willing to break alliances is imperialism!

"Our position is one: We are in favor of giving Vietnam all the aid that
may be necessary! We are in favor of that aid being in weapons and in men!
We are in favor of the socialist camp running the risks that may be
necessary for Vietnam!

"We are well aware that in the case of any serious international
complications we will be one of the first targets of imperialism, but that
doe not now nor has it ever concerned us. That is, in all frankness and
with all sincerity, our reasoned, dispassionate position emanated from the
right to think, emanated from the right to reason, and emanated from our
very legitimate and inviolable right to adopt the measures and act in the
way that we deem most just and most revolutionary without anyone thinking
that they can give us lessons in being revolutionaries.

"I hope that the mistake will not be made of understanding, of failing to
realize the idiosyncrasy of our people; because heaps of mistakes of this
kind have been committed by Yankee imperialism, one of whose
characteristics is contempt for others, contempt for and underestimation of
small peoples. This imperialism has committed great, huge mistakes in
underestimating our revolutionary people; it would be deplorable if others
should commit similar mistakes. Our sincere policy has been and is to
unite, because we are not and never shall be satellites of anyone!

"Great are the dangers which lie in wait for us, but these are not to be
fought with irrelevant discord, academic verbosity. No! They are to be
opposed with revolutionary firmness, revolutionary integrity, the will to
fight. The imperialist enemy cannot be fought effectively in any part of
the world with the revolutionaries attacking one another. There must be
unity and cohesion in the revolutionary ranks. For those who did not
believe that this is the correct tactic for the international communist
movement, we tell them that for us here, on our little island, in our
territory, in the front line trench, 90 miles from the imperialists, this
is the correct tactic!"

Despite this absolutely clear position, the unmistakable expression of the
will of our people and of the policy we propose to follow, the Chinese
Government has increased the shipment and mass distribution of propaganda
material to our country, both directly from China and through its
diplomatic representatives.

One 12 September the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces reported
that a mass distribution of this material was being systematically
conducted by representatives of the Chinese Government among the officers
of the revolutionary armed forces of Cuba. This propaganda was being sent
to the general staffs of the armies, to the staffs of the various arms
administrations, to the heads of political sections, and in many cases
directly to officers of our armed forces at their homes addresses.

On occasion Chinese representatives tried to make direct contact with Cuban
officers and went so far sometime as to approach officers in an apparent
effort to influence them personally, either seeking to proselytize or
sometimes to obtain information.

A type of massive distribution of propaganda, similar to the one mentioned
in this Minfar report, was carried out among many civil functionaries of
the state, although to a less intense degree. This was a really senseless
thing which no sovereign state, no government that respects itself, will
ever tolerate; a flagrant violation of the norms of the most elemental
respect that should exist between socialist and even nonsocialist
countries. Our revolutionary state could not allow such an attempt to
influence military and administrative cadres by acts that constitute a
betrayal of the trust, friendship, and brotherhood with which our country
receives the representatives of any socialist state.

This was the reason that on 14 September we expressed our protest in the
most energetic terms to the CPR charge d'affaires--the ambassador was
absent--and our demand that such activities cease. We very clearly told the
representative of the Chinese Government that those methods and procedures
were exactly the same as the ones used by the U.S. Embassy in our country
when it attempted to meddle in the internal affairs of Cuba and impose its
will on the nation in one way or another; that our country had liberated
itself from that imperialism 90 miles from our shores and it was not
willing to permit another powerful state to come 20,000 kilometers to
impose similar practices on us; that we considered the actions of the
representatives of the Chinese Government to be in frank violation of the
sovereignty of our country and harmful to the prerogatives that pertain
exclusively to our government within our borders; and that no matter what
the cost, our government was not willing to tolerate such things.

After extensively expressing those points with an abundance of arguments
and in energetic terms, we expressed our protest against the slander
campaign against the Cuban revolution that was being carried our in some
parts of the world by elements closely linked to the Chinese Government
which, from our point of view, made more serious the Chinese
representatives' lack of compliance with the requirements made regarding
the massive distribution of propaganda dealing with typically political
matters.

Despite the warning, made in the most precise and conclusive manner, the
Chinese Government and its representatives, with the insolence of out
omnipotent and complete scorn for our country, sent more than 800 bags
containing bulletins with political propaganda material for distribution in
Cuba.

After the aforementioned interview, there arrived: in September--bulletin
No. 37, 200 copies; bulletin No. 38, 190 copies; bulletin No. 39, 3,816
copies; in October-- bulletin No. 40, 7,448 copies; bulletin No. 41, 6,816
copies; bulletin No. 42, 4,827 copies; bulletin No. 43, 10,043 copies; in
November--bulletin No. 44, 7,178 copies; bulletin No. 45, 2,671 copies;
bulletin No. 46, 2,204 copies; bulletin No. 47, 2,668 copies, in
December--bulletin No. 50, 1,522 copies; bulletin No. 51, 1,311 copies;
bulletin No. 52, 1,559 copies; in January bulletin No. 1, 1,099 copies;
bulletin No. 2, 1,1075 copies; bulletin No. 3, 1,200 copies.

The total of these bulletins delivered to Cuba from abroad since the
direct, personal warning from the President of the Republic and the Premier
of the Revolutionary Government is 58,041. Also, since that date tens of
thousands of other bulletins and material of a political nature, printed or
accumulated by the Chinese representatives in Cuba, have been distributed.

Such propaganda material has continued to be received uninterruptedly by
the armed forces general staff, the general staffs of the army corps, of
the divisions, of the arms administrations, and by the heads of political
sections.

This has happened despite the fact that CPR charge d'affaires informed us
on 14 September that he would inform the government of his country and it
would answer the objections raised. Not the slightest explanation from the
Chinese Government has arrived. It has continued to conduct its activities
and it gave is answer very obviously and very clearly when our trade
delegation arrived in China to discuss trade for 1966. It gave its answer
in the form of a brutal economic reprisal for purely political reasons.

Naturally these activities will cease. Once this has been explained, we
have the right to ask: how could the Chinese Government expect that the
Cuban Government would humbly go higher up to beg, to implore, that they
give us a credit, that they accept the 800,000 tons of sugar, that they
restore the 115,00 tons of rice, that they allow us a trade imbalance as in
previous years, when from the first moment we understood the obvious
extortionist position taken by China in the trade negotiations?

This expectation on the part of the Chinese Government can be explained
only as a display of absolute contempt toward our country; of total
ignorance of the character and sense of dignity of our people. It was not
simply a matter of more or less tons of rice, or more or less square meters
of cloth; which were also involved, but of a much more important and
fundamental questions for the peoples: whether in the world of tomorrow and
powerful nations can assume the right to blackmail, extort, pressure,
attack, and strangle small peoples; whether in the world of tomorrow, which
the revolutionaries are struggling to establish, there are to continue to
prevail the worst methods of piracy, oppression, and filibusterism which
have been established in the world since a class society has existed by
regimes of slavery, feudal regimes, absolute monarchies, the bourgeois
states, and, in the contemporary world, the imperialist states.

Fidel Castro, premier of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba.
-END-


LANIC |