Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Interview With Castro

Budapest Domestic Service in Hungarian 1500 GMT 3 Jun 72 L

["168 Hours"--feature program]

[Excerpts] [Announcer] Here are a few details from the Gyor factory visit
of Fidel Castro who is now in our country. The experts virtually had to
maintain a relay for they found it hard to keep up with his long strides
and flood of questions. In the assembly shop he stopped at the bolt driving
machine and tried his hand at operating it. He looked closely at everything
that interested him, but refused to look at anything which did not,
although his Hungarian escorts, who are used to high-ranking guests,
invited him to follow the usual routine of factory visits.

After this brief description, I think, I need not explain why I envy my
colleague, Zsuzza Valyi, who was present at all important events during the
week of Fidel Castro's visit.

We asked Zsuzza Valyi for an interview with Castro. [Valyi interview with

[Question] Comrade Major, why have you undertaken two long journeys--one to
Chile and this one to the socialist countries--in quick succession?

[Answer] The Hungarian invitation was extended by your government
delegation in Havana last November. Since I had a few other commitments
also for the middle of the year--I received invitations to the Soviet Union
and Bulgaria--I accepted the Hungarian invitation. When two journeys are 6
months apart, they do not seem that close. However, the months slip by so
fast that the two journeys do indeed appear to be following one another
quickly. I visited Chile for a little over three weeks, but I had so many
invitations from Chilean workers in mines and factories that I fulfilled
only part of the program even with an extended stay.

Chile has a peculiar political situation: The people there are passing
through revolution in its initial stage and our exchange was very
important. In Chile everyone speaks Spanish, making matters much easier.
The present journey is truly a long one. I have not been to a socialist
country for a long time and I had the choice of dividing the visit into two
parts: to go to some now and the rest in 6 months in which case, of course,
you could have asked me why I was making three long journeys in quick

[Question] What could you tell Hungarian radio listeners about your
official negotiations with Hungarian party-government leaders?

[Answer] It may not be correct form to talk about the negotiations
unilaterally since, as you know, a closing communique is always prepared.
However, I can speak in general terms without violating the rules. First,
our delegation has had an extremely cordial welcome; second, everyone has
been very understanding; and third, we have had comprehensive discussions.
The Hungarian leaders explained to our delegation your way of life, the
progress of your revolution. We did the same. The discussions have been
very fraternal and, for me, highly instructive. We also had a chance to
talk about Cuba in detail.

Moreover, there is no conflict of view whatever between us; no problem.
Many of our circumstances and opinions are identical. Janos Kadar--that
very calm, intelligent, and cultured man--has become very friendly toward
our entire delegation. I have watched him play ping pong for hours and
could see that he was not tired from the long journey.

[Question--in Spanish] May I ask you something personal? I have also
watched you play ping pong for hours and felt sure that you were not tired
from the long journey. Do you participate in sports regularly?

[Answer] On a journey one does not get physically tired but endless
programs are fatiguing because of so many demands on one's personality.
Public relations, for instance, oblige one--if one is not indifferent, if
one is truly interested in the matter at hand, if one wants to reciprocate
every favor received--to pay a great deal of attention to people. This
tires the mind and when that happens one needs to get tired physically in
one way or another to recover.

It follows from the nature of my work that I must participate in sports.
While I was at the university I used to take part in sports regularly, but
since then I have to take out time for physical exercise--baskethall or
baseball. I like swimming best, and underwater fishing. The Cuban waters
are not like the Balaton. The corals are lovely, 40 to 60 feet deep and
there is plenty of fish. Underwater fishing is a manly sport and most
relaxing. At times I have to put problems aside to avoid their haunting me
like shadows, so I have to get away from them.

More on Interview

Budapest Domestic Service in Hungarian 1800 GMT 3 Jun 72 L

[Suzsa Valyi interview with Fidel Castro at Balatonaliga during a cruise on
Lake Balaton]

[Text] [Question] Hungary and Cuba have almost the same area and
population. What other similarities do you see?

[Answer] [recording fading into translation] The first similarly is that
both countries are building socialism and are aiming at progress toward
communism. Another is that that both countries had to fight hard for the
revolution; imperialism exerted heavy pressure on both. There were many
common problems for Hungary and Cuba, for example imperialist attempts at
subversion; it enticed experts from the country, and both countries have to
struggle against ceaseless imperialist political and theoretical
propaganda. It is difficult to find other similarities because technical
standards in Hungary are much higher and industrialization has advanced
further. The climate here is different. Your country is temperate, while we
live in the tropical zone and accordingly our agriculture is also entirely

[Question] And the people?

[Answer] I think we have many common traits especially the gaiety of the
people. Our delegation attended a performance of the State Folk Ensemble,
and we saw gay dances and heard songs similar to those of Cuba. It seems to
me that there are certain similarities also in our character, despite the
fact that some people say that Hungarians are very cold. Both countries are
not only small but neither of them is rich in natural wealth. For example,
we have no abundance of oil or other basic resources so important today.
You have at least hydraulic energy, since you live in the Danube Valley,
but we do not have even one big river. You live near the other socialist
countries, we live very far from them. To trade with the socialist
countries our ships have to travel an average of 15,000 kilometers.