Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Prague Domestic Service in Czech/Slovak 1830 GMT 18 Sep 73 L

[Interview given by Cuban Prime Minister and First Secretary of the Cuban
Communist Party Fidel Castro to the central director of Czechoslovak TV,
Jan Jalenka, during Castro's 17 September stopover in Prague; questions
recorded in Czech followed by Spanish translation, with Castro answers
recorded in Spanish fading into Czech translation]

[Text] [Question] Dear Comrade Castro, your main aim has been to attend,
and not only to attend but also to duly address the so-called nonalined
states at their conference. We followed your speech with great attention in
Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, would you please tell us your impression of
the results of conference.

[Answer] First of all, as a matter of principle, I should like to great out
dear Czechoslovak friends and convey to the Czechoslovak people fraternal
and friendly greetings.

As far as the conference is concerned, we can say that progressive views
were really predominant there; that, for the most part, the most
progressive currents were represented there. The most burning contemporary
questions were discussed, questions relating to imperialism, colonialism,
neocolonialism and racism. On all these questions the conference adopted
almost unanimous standpoints. Of course there were some rightwing current
as well, but they did not assert themselves. Progressive leading
representatives of developing countries made excellent speeches. We can say
that all the arguments, all the facts, concerning the most important
problems facing the contemporary world from the revolutionary point of
view, were echoed by the vast majority of those present despite all the
slanders, lies and campaigns spread by imperialism and its ideologists,
and, in particular, despite the current which tried to set the movement of
the nonalined countries against the socialist camp, which is of course a
reactionary tendency and which wanted to bring about "separation" and treat
the imperialists and the socialist camp in the same way. All this has its
roots in the theories of the ideologists of imperialism, who spread their
poison round the world and try to confuse people.

However, it was very satisfying to us to see that revolutionary proposals
and arguments met with extraordinary response at the conference. On behalf
of our delegation I can say that we are immensely satisfied with the
results of the conference of nonalined countries. It was a very important
meeting, directed especially at criticizing and at coordinating the
struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism and fascism.

[Question] You have landed in Czechoslovak now, Comrade Castro, after a
long journey from the DRV. You were visiting Vietnam a very short time
after the end of the Vietnamese people's terrible struggle against
imperialism. What is your impression of that country and its people?

[Answer] We went to Vietnam with great admiration for the Vietnamese
people, with admiration for the country which had wages a heroic struggle
for its independence, for its most sacred rights. And we left with yet
greater admiration: the Vietnamese nation is one of those human communities
which make an exceptional impression. Maybe you remember the Japanese
intervention into their country during World War II, the occupation of the
country, then the uprising of the Vietnamese people at the end of the war,
the setting-up of the republic of 1945. But the declaration of independence
coincided with a new French plan to colonize Vietnam. A struggle started
and lasted almost 10 years, until 1954. Then the Geneva conventions came.
The American imperialists sabotaged these agreements which recognize the
rights of Vietnam to territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The imperialists attempted to prevent elections because they knew that the
Vietnamese patriots would gain the majority in them. They introduced a
neocolonialist regime in South Vietnam, unleashing brutal repressions and
imprisoning and killing tens of thousands of patriots. The people of South
Vietnam rose up in opposition. At that time U.S. imperialism reported the
French rule in Vietnam. When political means failed, the so-called
"special" war started, but it also failed. Then, it was time for the war of
extermination aimed at completely liquidating North Vietnam. Yet, this
intention failed as well. To so-called "Vietnamization" of the war came

The Paris agreements came only a short time ago, so the Vietnamese people
rid themselves of colonialism after almost 30 years of struggle for their
independence. It is most remarkable to notice that Vietnam--a small and
poor country--has successfully fought the strongest imperialist great
power--the United States--which has so many economic and political means at
its disposal; that it has wages an admirable battle against the United
States. There are only a few examples like this recorded in the annals of

The war in Vietnam was incredibly destructive. As you know, millions of
tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, which is far more than the entire
number of bombs dropped during World War II. One can see the consequences
of this war on the ground, as well as from the air. Wherever you go by
plane you can see craters made by shell explosions. Although the patriots
have filled many of them, there are still millions left. On a small
territory of several hectares there are some 200 or 300 of these craters.
U.S. aircraft dropped antipersonnel mines, which keep exploding today under
the hands of farmers working in the ricefields. When we were coming back
from a visit to the liberated areas of South Vietnam we saw several wounded
on the way. A few minutes before, a mine had exploded under them as they
were working in the fields. Four people--including two girls after 14 or
15--were wounded. Four similar cases occurred in the same region the same

During our visit to the liberated areas of South Vietnam we admired the
high morale of the fighters and people who lived there. They work very
hard, and we got the impression that, although it may not happen at once,
the Vietnamese people will (?win).

[Question] Comrade Castro, as you know we were deeply affected last week by
news from Chile. On the one hand our people felt indignation, on the other,
it was deeply moved by the fate which affected the democratic revolution in
Chile. The military junta is raging, the overall situation if not yet quite
clear, but I am asking you, nevertheless, to express your views and
feelings, to tell us how the news affected your as a front-ranking Latin
American politician.

[Answer] The hand of the imperialists is behind the events in Chile. Ever
since the victory of the Popular Unity, they have been working and hatching
plots against its government. From the beginning they started to sabotage
the economic and political changes which were being effected by the Chilean
people. They blocked the credits of the international organizations and
they proclaimed a number of economic measures aimed against the Chilean
Government. The U.S. government sabotaged the Chilean economy but, at the
same time, it entertained broad relations with the Chilean armed forces.
The Pentagon was supplying the armed forces with arms. The world public was
aware of these facts. It knew that the imperialists, hand in hand with the
rightist elements within the Chilean society, were hatching plots against
the government of Salvador Allende.

A considerable number of high-ranking officers of the Chilean Army are
reactionary and fascist. We can say that to a certain extent they were
brought up in a Prussian spirit. They studied Nazi documents and literature
with zeal and enthusiasm. The world outlook of many of them is
conspicuously fascist. It is logical that all these elements became the
basis which the imperialists utilized for the overthrow of the Chilean
Government, which found itself in a difficult situation and could not
defend itself. True, it had the support of the people, of the working
class, but the people were unarmed. In parliament the rightist majority
frustrated all revolutionary measures and the army, which possessed arms,
was led by generals who, with a few honorable exceptions, were reationary.
All these factors were finally linked to overthrow the Chilean Government.

The events developed very dramatically. President Allende died a very
valiant death. As far as I know, when he learned of the putsch he left his
home for the presidential palace. The army then called on him to give up;
they called on him four times to give up. They first attached him with
rifles, then even with tanks, but he resisted them together with some 30
soldiers. Then came the air attack. The president resisted as long as the
strength was sufficient, until he finally died.

I do not want to talk about details, but I can say that in those hours of
combat he behaved extremely heroically. He kept the word that he gave to
the people, namely that he would only relinquish over his dead body the
power with which he had been entrusted by the people, that he would only be
taken dead out of the presidential palace.

I think that this was an exceptional example which will be motivation for
honest people throughout the continent

And what was the reaction of the Chilean people? The Chilean people were
unarmed. Terrible reprisals took place in those moments; workers were fired
at. The putschists shot a number of political
representatives--revolutionaries. But I know the Chilean people. The
Chilean people will not submit to the fascist oppressors. Workers, peasants
and students will no doubt resist; they will fight.

Reactionary coups throughout Latin American are part of the policy of the

There have been coups in Bolivia, Uruguay, and now Chile. This subversive
activity is directed by American imperialists in cooperation with the
Brazilian Government, which is playing the role of gendarme in Latin
America. Their aim is to destroy every progressive movement. At the present
time they want to isolate the Revolutionary Military Government in Peru and
the political movement in Argentina. They also want to suppress the
Panamanian people's movement, which is asserting its justified claims to
the Panama Canal. The imperialists have opened up a counter offensive, but
there is no doubt that over the past 10 years the nations of Latin America
have been realizing more and more the need for anti-imperialist resistance.
We are aware that in some places reversals can occur, that in some places
temporary concessions have to be made, but from the strategic point of view
the liberation movement in Latin America is making advances and the
imperialists will have no means of stopping it.

The heroic example of President Allende is a considerable encouragement for
us. We know that his sacrifice was not in vain. We know that the Chilean
people will know how to respond to the example given to them by their
president, an exceptional example of courage displayed by no other Latin
American leader.

[Question] Comrade Castro, allow me one final question. When you arrived by
plane you told Comrade Husak that it were merely a service stop, but
because it is Czechoslovakia, it is a service stop of great value. Esteemed
Comrade Castro, could you tell our television viewers where you see this
high quality in the relations between Czechoslovakia and Cuba?

[Answer] As for this service stop, we had in front of us a long trip of
almost 20,000 kilometers. We planned the trip and out of the various placed
where we could land we chose to land in Czechoslovakia. We would have
remained here longer. Comrade Husak invited us to stay a day to two. We
would have done so gladly, but we have been away from hone a long time. We
worked every intensively in recent days, and we think it is necessary to
return to Cuba. But I would like to say that we are extremely grateful for
the pleasant and brotherly welcome which we received here. When Comrade
Husak protested against this merely service stop, I replied that though it
was merely a service stop, it was one of great value. I want to say that
when you arrive in a country which you know, whose people you have already
met, for whom you feel great admiration and sincere brotherhood and
gratitude and true friendship, then you really feel, well, as if you had
come home.

Our relations, is reply to your question, are excellent. They have
developed since the beginning of the Cuban revolution in the help which we
received from Czechoslovakia. We do not forget that the first weapons to
arrive in our country were from you. We do not forget that these weapons
fought the counterrevolution, the aggressors at Playa Giron, together with
weapons which we received from the USSR.

The cooperation and the support that we gave each other in difficult,
critical moments, in times of struggle, strengthened our friendship even
more. We were convinced of its depth during our visit to Czechoslovakia and
during Comrade Husak's visit to Cuba. I would like to say that Comrade
Husak and the Czechoslovak delegation left a deep impression on our people.
They were welcomed with great love and we saw them off with even greater
love because their character, openess, honesty, kindness, both as people
and as revolutionaries, fully won the sympathy of our people.

I am pleased, therefore, to be able to state that our relations are of a
high standard. They are very good. But we will continue to struggle to make
them ever better.

[Announcer] Comrade Castro, I thank you very sincerely and wish you a
pleasant journey to Cuba.