Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

More on Press Conference

Paris AFP in Spanish 2024 GMT 11 Nov 71 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Santiago, Chile, 11 Nov--"The people of Latin America have seized
their turn to speak out," Fidel Castro mused aloud to a group of newsmen. A
friendly and frank talk took place today between the Cuban Prime Minister
and several newsmen in the garden of the Cuban Embassy here.

Castro announced the forthcoming visit by President Salvador Allende to
Cuba. Commenting on the welcome Havana will give Allende, he said: "It will
be grand. Our people are very fond of him and will pay homage to him and
the Chilean people."

Castro then commented again on the impact of the popular welcome given him
yesterday on his arrival. "It was something extraordinary, thrilling,
something that I had never dreamed of," Fidel Castro said in an excited

"Was there concern in Cuba over your trip to Chile?" a newsmen asked.

"I am going to be frank with you," Castro replied, "because there was
indeed concern, a psychological concern, and it is natural, it is sincere,
because we know that although there are no dangers we also know that there
is always something."

He then again referred to the popular reception: "You may not believe it,
but we are formal people in Cuba," he said, "and what has happened here is
too much, it fills us with joy and has left us overwhelmed."

Fidel Castro did not allow himself to be led into topics of profound
international character. "You must not forget that I am a guest and
therefore I have to act like one," he replied.

Asked if there would be diplomatic relations between Cuba and Peru, Fidel
Castro answered: "Well, that is not really for me to answer. It is for the
Peruvian Government to answer. I told you, please leave me out of
international conflicts. We will talk about it later."

He then expressed his "strong desire" to tour all the country and speak to
Chilean workers. "I want to see everything and talk to everyone. I want to
talk to the mineworkers, the peasants, the fishermen, and the factory
workers," Castro added.

Asked if any country besides Chile had invited him, he replied: "No, as far
as I know Chile is the only one in Latin America that has invited me. Of
course, I have other invitations, but for other continents."

As Castro was saying goodbye to the newsmen with friendly handshakes,
someone remarked how young he looked.

"I am always the same," Castro said. "The trouble is that I am pictured as
something I am not, and there is the problem. I have never worried about my
image, but others say so many things about me that many wind up thinking I
am something else. This is me. Besides, if I feel something, I say it."

He concluded by telling the newsmen: "Please thank the people of Chile for
such a friendly welcome. I am sincerely moved."