Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Interview in Hungary

Havana PRELA in Spanish 2245 GMT 3 Jun 72 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[PRELA caveat: for magazine JUVENTUD REBELDE]

[Text] Undated--Maj Fidel Castro, in an interview granted to Hungarian
radio and television reporters in the area of Balaton on Saturday, said:
"We are taking with us very pleasant impressions of Hungary."

To a reporter's question about similarities between Cuba and Hungary--aside
from the number of inhabitants and land size--Fidel replied that one big
similarity is that both countries are building socialism and will continue
advancing toward communism. He added: "Our countries have had to struggle
hard against the imperialists. Cuba has had to bear many of the same
problems that Hungary has had, such as the enemy's attempts to encourage
subversion and to take away qualified personnel and the relentless
political and ideological propaganda against evolution.

"There are many aspects in which we are not the same, such as technical
development and the much higher level of industrialization here. The
climate is different here, and that has much influence, such as in
agriculture--Hungary grows wheat, corn and barley. In Cuba we grow
sugarcane, grass for pasture and fruit trees."

"Nevertheless, we have noticed that our people have a lot in common--their
energy and joy. We saw the Hungarian folk group, its gay, joyful music. We
also have certain characteristics in common, although we are not exactly
the same. Every one has his peculiarities, but I find certain similarities
and believe that we are pretty much alike."

Replying to a question about his current tour of European socialist
countries, the commander in chief explained that he had been invited to
visit the USSR, Bulgaria and Hungary; the latter invitation was made by a
Hungarian delegation during a visit to Cuba in November.

He had been invited to visit the other countries before and these
invitations were accepted. Later the GDR, Romanian, Polish and Czechoslovak
invitations were added.

He said: "Faced with such a situation, I had two alternatives: Either make
two trips at different times and first visit a number of countries and then
the rest of them, or make one trip and visit all of them. At the distance
between Cuba and Europe is about 8,000 kms across the Atlantic, and once in
Europe the distances are not so great, it was decided to make one trip,
even though it is a long one, so as not to have to make two long trips."

Concerning his visit to Hungary, Fidel said that he knew about this country
because of its past and present struggles, its revolutionary experience,
its battles against imperialism and its efforts to build socialism. He is
also interested in personally learning about the country.

Concerning official talks between the Hungarian and Cuban
governments--another question put by a reporter--he explained that it would
be correct in this case not to make a unilateral statement and to await the
joint communique that will be signed at the end of his visit. However, in
general, it can be said that the reception granted to the Cuban delegation
by Hungarian leaders has made a very good impression. The talks have been
extensive, friendly and interesting.

Regarding Comrade Kadar, Fidel was particularly struck by Kadar's noble,
calm, intelligent personality--features which are outstanding.

One reporter asked: "If you had the chance to take something from Hungary
back to Cuba, what would you take?" Fidel replied that he takes with him
very good impressions of many things, among them Budapest, its history, its
architecture, the country's beautiful geographic setting, and many other
things. He also commented on the beauty of the Danube River, its
extraordinary flow of waters--its vastness as a source of electricity--and
the man-made bridges that made it a formidable sight.

In the interview--which was more like a chat with reporters--Fidel referred
to their work when they thanked him for the time he had given them. He told
them he understood that their work is not easy; it is hard, always rushing,
making a split second count to take a picture. Half jokingly he said: "I
think that most of the time reporters die of heart attacks." He also
commented on the job responsibility of reporters in socialism, describing
it as important.

One of the reporters who had watched Fidel play ping pong and other sports
expressed surprise and asked Castro how he could devote time to this sort
of activity instead of relaxing during such a long and exhausting trip.
Fidel replied that physical activities are necessary to compensate for
toil. Fidel explained that because of his heavy work load he always makes
time for a little sports. He plays basketball and

Finally Fidel thanked reporters for their interest in Cuba and sent a
special greeting to the Hungarian people.