Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Budapest NEPSZABADSAG in Hungarian 7 Jun 72 p 2 A

[Unattributed report: "We Will Continue Expanding Our Cooperation,' the
Cuban Premier said at a Press Conference in the Academy's Congress Hall"]

[Text] At a press conference held late Monday, Fidel Castro met with
representatives of the Hungarian and foreign press in the Congress Hall of
the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Under the Secretary of State Dr. Peter
Varkonyi, chairman of the Council of Ministers Information Bureau, greeted
the Cuban party's first secretary, who then answered journalists questions.

Positive and Useful Impression

Dealing with his visit in Hungary, he stressed that he received positive
and useful impressions. The Cuban delegation was very favorably impressed
by its discussions with Hungarian leaders and the cordial, fraternal and
friendly talks. He added: It was accorded the same fraternal welcome by the
Hungarian people in general. The chairman of the Cuban Revolutionary
Government said that his meeting with Janos Kadar, with whom he conferred
in a cordial atmosphere not only in a political sense, but personally as
well, was of particularly outstanding significance. He spoke with
appreciation of the results that have been attained by the Hungarian
working people in socialist construction. These results must be appreciated
all the more since, in the course of building a new society, they had
constantly to struggle against imperialist attempts to isolate Hungary and
discredit the socialist revolution. We have experienced all this ourselves,
Castro noted, and, therefore, we can doubly appreciate the magnificent
successes of the Hungarian working people in their self-sacrificing
struggle despite all difficulties. Hungary is not rich in raw materials and
minerals, he said. Nevertheless, your industrious people have successfully
accomplished the most important tasks of the country's construction. Thus,
you have won this struggle, and we feel that we must pursue the same path.
We are optimists: we are confident that we, too, will succeed in this.

Dwelling on Hungarian-Cuban trade relations, he noted that our economic
cooperation has been developing in an appropriate direction from the
beginning. The task now is for both sides to continue studying
possibilities for expanding mutual economic cooperation. Since both sides
are prepared to do so, we are convinced that our cooperation can be further
broadened and expanded in the coming years.

Cuba's Current Tasks

Speaking of Cuba's current tasks, he reminded those present that Cuba had
no substantial natural resources--oil, coal or hydroelectric power--and
that its situation depended mainly on agricultural results [before the
revolution]. Industry had not been developed, sugar cane and tourism
provided the major part of the gross national product, and approximately 90
percent of the sugar output was exported. The blockade imposed by the
United States following the victory of the Cuban revolution caused great
economic difficulties for the country.

However, noteworthy measures aimed at economic development were implemented
after the victory of the revolution. Certain branches of mining, commercial
shipping and ocean fishing began to be developed. A road system was
constructed, water reservoirs built and, following lengthly
experimentation, the mechanization of sugar can production was brought

Considerable results have been attained in public education. This is
illustrated by the fact that 2,000 more doctors are now practicing in Cuban
than before the victory.

Fidel Castro then dealt with Cuban foreign policy and its relation with
some capitalist countries. There has been a revolution in Cuba. The United
States imposed a blockade on the country and committed aggressive acts
against it and forced its satellites to sever their relations with Cuba.
For instance, when Cuba recognized the GDR after the victory of the
revolution, the FRG severed diplomatic relations with us. Cuba supported
the Algerian revolution; in response, France curtailed its relations with

Cuba has refused and will continue to refuse to fulfill the U.S. demand to
sever relations with the Soviet Union and the rest of the socialist
countries and to stop supporting the Latin American revolutionary

On the Situation in Latin America

We are a part of Latin America and the problems of this continent--which
are also our own problems--concern us as well. We support those struggling
against imperialism in Latin America. We support the political movements
defending national interests from imperialism. We will make no concessions
to the United States. If the United States pursued a more realistic policy,
Cuba would not object to the establishment-- contrary to the past--of
relations between the two countries.

He noted with regard to relations with capitalist countries that Cuba's
trade relations are expanding with Japan and a few European capitalist

Regarding reciprocal aid between Chile and Cuba, he said that this was
demonstrated in several different ways, such as, for instance, on Chile's
side in the resumption of diplomatic and trade relations and in supporting
Cuba in international organizations. Cuba, too, supports Chile in every
respect. This is a genuine revolutionary solidarity between our countries,
he said.

What about the present status and prospects for the Latin American
revolutionary forces, asked a NEPSZABADSAG staffer? Fidel Castro replied:
For a long time, the United States has had a strong influence on Latin
America, and when the Cuban people began their revolutionary struggle, the
country was almost totally under American influence economically,
politically, culturally and in other respects as well.

The films shown in Latin American and Cuba were produced in the United
States. The information provided by almost all radio and television
stations was in line with American interests. The mass circulation
periodicals and dailies were controlled by Yankee monopolies and the mass
media disseminated the ideology of imperialism. The most important natural
resources--copper, oil and iron--and almost all power resources and the
various power supply systems were concentrated in U.S. hands. The United
States wielded a very strong influence on the Latin American countries also
by the granting of loans and credits and the controlling of various
inventions and technological processes.

However, the victory of the Cuban revolution has brought a radical change
in the life of the entire continent. The success of the uprising gave the
U.S. leaders something to think about, and they soon worked out an
anti-Cuba campaign. Their first step was to stop buying sugar. They
resorted to this to bring Cuba to its knees.

However, there have been great changes in the mentality of the Latin
American peoples since 1959 and more and more they began seeing things
differently. Their awakening was due partly to the fact that Latin America
is over $20 billion in debt, while the profits of monopolies amount to
astronomical figures.

The Revolution Cannot Be Halted!

Social differences are increasing, as are unemployment, illiteracy, disease
and epidemics. All this has necessarily opened the eyes of even those among
whom the notion of a revolution was less popular before. The revolutionary
ideal has reached even strata like professional soldiers or religious
masses, for instance, which have also been taken with the idea of a
revolution. I will cite only one example: 2,000 Catholic priests
participated in the Latin American movements under the slogan "Priests for
socialism!" This movement later spread to all countries of the continent.

Of course, the struggle for freedom can assume various forms. It can be an
armed struggle or a partisan struggle in the provinces and cities, or it
can assume forms as in Chile, where the progressive forces join in an
alliance and win an election victory.

Still, we can by no means labor under the delusion that the liberation of
the Latin American peoples is imminent. There have been setbacks and
failures, too, in the process of the revolutionary movement. A good example
is Bolivia, where various reforms have been initiated but where imperialism
has prevented an extensive unfolding of the movement. Imperialist influence
is still very strongly felt, and we cannot expect the impending liberation
of the Latin American peoples signs indicate that this can be accomplished
only over a longer period. It is certain, however, that the revolution of
the Latin American peoples is an inevitable process that can in no way be
prevented by the United States.

Replying to a question of whether any change can be expected in the
anti-Cuban policy of the United States, Fidel Castro pointed out: The OAS
recently discussed the Peruvian proposal that it should be the sovereign
right of every American state to decide whether or not to establish
relations with Cuba. The United States has no moral basis whatsoever,
except for might and power, to oppose this. He added: Cuba symbolizes the
unfurled banner of the struggle for liberty on the continent. It is a
symbol the imperialists try to destroy by all means at their disposal. They
must realize, however, that Cuba remains faithful to its principles and
firmly persists in its positions, Fidel Castro concluded.