Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Press Conference

Santiago Chile Radio Corporacion Network in Spanish 0033 GMT 11 Nov 71 P

[Text] Resting for a few minutes after his arrival at the residence of
Cuban Ambassador Mario Inchaustegui, regaining his strength after the
grandoise welcome given him by the Chilean people, Fidel Castro allowed the
many newsmen who were impatiently waiting outside the embassy fence to
enter for questions. In an informal talk with the press, Fidel revealed his
personality. For many newsmen this was their first opportunity to see the
leader up close, to ask him questions, and even to laugh at his witty
remarks. There were many questions. [read by announcer]

Question: With your visit, what symbol do you see, commandant, in the union
of two Latin American revolutionary processes?

Answer: Well, I think that if in 12 years they could not tear down our
revolution in Cuba, friend, not with invasions, blockades, or threats, then
they will be able to do much less to you because you began this the legal
way, while we had to use another road, other methods, another struggle. It
is in this struggle--because it is liberating, revolutionary, because it is
anti-imperialistic--where we can find the best symbol of union between both
processes. In the end, we pursue the same objective: to liberate our people
from the yoke of North American imperialism. Moreover, perhaps the best
symbol may be the reception which--you saw it--the Chilean people have
given me.

Fidel also said that he wanted to see the river because he had been told so
much about the famous Santiago River, but he never imagined that it would
be little more than a canal.

He also said: The climate has been good for me because I no longer feel the
cold I had when I left.

He was told that this is a dry mountainous climate. He answered: No wonder,
friend. I was telling Mario [the Cuban ambassador] that with 26 degrees of
heat here I was going to die of cold as over there with 36 degrees and the
usual humidity, friend, no devil could stand it.

There were also moments of hilarity when he said that he cured an earlier
cold--one he had when it was said in London that he was gravely ill--with
Chilean Pisco, matching drinks with Soviet Prime Minister Aleksey Kosygin
with whom he got soaked during 3 hours of intense rains while touring some
sugar refineries in Oriente Province.

The informal press conference would have continued but reporters had to
leave the embassy room because of the large number of correspondents who
waited in turn to talk to the Cuban leader.