Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana PRELA in Spanish 1549 GMT 15 Feb 74 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

["Abridged version" of interview with Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro in
Havana--date and place of interview not given]

[Text] Mexico City, 15 Feb-In an eight-page interview with Fidel Castro the
Mexican weekly SIEMPRE announced in today's edition that the Cuban Prime
minister has established Cuba's position vis-a-vis the forthcoming Foreign
Ministers' meeting, Latin America, and the rest of the world.

The interview, granted to Mexican newsmen Luis Suarez, is published under
the following title "The Dreamer, The Realist, The Man and The Leader
Establishes Cuba's Position vis-a-vis the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Latin
America and the Rest of the World". One of the many subtitles affirms: "We
Are in No Hurry for Relations With the United States. We Can Wait 10 or 20

Newsman Suarez was a member of the panel of judges for this year's literary
award by La Casa de Las Americas in Havana and was also special
correspondent for SIEMPRE magazine covering the visit to Cuba by General
Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Leonid Brezhnev.

The interview granted by the Cuban prime minister, in which it is pointed
out that the Chilean people will recover from the fascist coup; was made
during a long discussion the revolutionary leader held with the literary

Maj Fidel Castro said: "Brezhnev's visit had international repercussions.
It was important. Moreover, Brezhnev made important statements and
clarified a great deal about the peace policy."

The newsman asked if Cuba's position regarding the problems that might be
taken up at the Latin American Foreign Ministers' meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger--to be held in Mexico on 18
February--was the same position as that in the declaration of the Cuban
Foreign Ministry last 10 January, and the Cuban leader replied:

"It was necessary. (the Cuban Foreign Ministry statement). The declarations
of our ambassador in Mexico about relations with the United States had been
distorted. But the problem is, we are not in any kind of a hurry; we can
wait 10 years, 20 years. I say that even relations with the United States
can be awaited. As for the economic blockade, the North Americans become
more isolated each day. The blockade is increasingly losing prestige. If
the North Americans would analyze the blockade, it would really behoove
them to lift it. I do not mean that it does not hurt us; it does hurt us."

Due to the importance of the interview granted by Cuban Prime Minister
Fidel Castro to SIEMPRE magazine, PRELA here reproduces an abbreviated
version containing some of the most significant declarations:

[Question] We have read a report which says that the North American
automobile factories in Argentina have permission from the United States to
sell automobiles to Cuba.

[Answer] They have a dilemma there, right? Because if they do not sell they
are at odds with Argentine laws. And if they do sell they contribute to the
lifting of the blockade themselves. The North Americans will have to decide
between North American law and Argentine law.

[Question] And what will happen if, at the foreign ministers' meeting in
Mexico, some of the participants want to support Cuba?

[Answer] That is a matter of the principles of the governments which hold
to an independent policy.

[Question] Major Castro, you spoke the other day in the plaza about the
Latin American community, about Cuba in relation to its integration with
Latin America,, but it is understood that this is not through the OAS.

[Answer] We want to be integrated with Latin America, but the OAS is
completely prehistoric. To talk to me about the OAS is as if you were
talking about dinosaurs, the animals of that period, nobody can resurrect
the OAS: It is a dead body. Besides, the foreign ministers' meeting has
nothing to do with the OAS.

[Question] What about the rumors circulating abroad that Kissinger will
come to talk to you?

[Answer] We have never actually discussed that nor have we extended him an

Castro then referred to the "pseudoleftists" abroad who "have not had any
contact with the people" and who today criticize the Cuban revolution
without taking into account Cuba's efforts to assist other nations, while
it follows a socialist model without the ambitions of the capitalist model
of developed society.

[Question] The same people who attack the Cuban Revolution say that the
USSR is also a consumer society.

[Answer] One cannot reach such an arbitrary conclusion from contacts with
the Soviet people. The Soviet task is a hard one and they have had to spend
large amounts of money on defense. Since the Western World has had more
money, gold and economic resources, the Soviet people have had to bear the
burden of military expenses for 50 years and the Soviet Union has had to
use its resources to equal its means of defense with that of the United

[Question] I recall your speech in Algiers, where you said that there were
others who regret that the USSR, a socialist country, is a powerful nation.

[Answer] Imagine, if the USSR were not a powerful nation, the Arab
countries would already have been invaded, the oil countries would have
been occupied. Why have the Arab countries been able to stab the heart of
the Western World? Because of the USSR, the Arab countries have ripped the
pockets of the Western world. They have told them: "Your pocket or your
life," and the Western World has given its pockets. Why do you think the
very small countries have been able to do--when the present balance of
forces did not exist--what they have done? It would have taken less than 48
hours to occupy them militarily and to seize the oil deposits. What power
prevents this? It is, perhaps, world opinion? Well, world opinion means a
lot, but it was not decisive in Vietnam. It has an influence, but when the
imperialists have a conflict they solve it militarily. Power must be
imposed. Why do they not take over the Arab countries? Because of the power
of the USSR. The capitalist world is experiencing great crisis. In these
societies they wield economies as a weapon against the workers'
revolutionary spirit, and now they want the workers to sacrifice themselves
to save the capitalist system. Economics is a double-edged weapon. The
workers are not going to sacrifice themselves to save the capitalist

[Question] After 15 years of revolution, can it be said that there is
already a consolidated generation of revolutionaries in Cuba?

[Answer] A generation is emerging composed of youth who are now 15 to 20
years old.

[Question] Are there any problems of alienation, hippy attitudes?

[Answer] We do not have any of those problems with our youth. Youth improve
every day, as well as the older generation. What gathered the other day at
the Plaza de La Revolucion was a generation composed of people of all ages,
a crowd which has an incomparable political culture. It did not have it
before the revolution but now it has a respectable policy. The
intellectuals attacked it unjustly. Today, continues Fidel, the academic
results are amazing. The number of graduates today is the highest ever in
Cuba. We have a great academic system, with study and work.

[Question] By the way, what can you tell us about the intellectuals who
here or abroad have had conflicts with the revolution?

[Answer] I think that our intellectuals can answer this question better
than I. You have had contact with them during these days.... If you could
only have seen how the revolutionary attitude became evident during the
second education congress, because we believe that teachers and technicians
are also intellectuals.

What we are trying to do now is to create the largest number of schools
possible at work centers and the greatest popular participation in cultural
activities. Yes, we have had some problems. Foreign intellectuals have
waged a campaign which I believe is unjust. We are really annoyed at these
people because they waged this campaign. For some reason or other, there
are people who claim to be writers--and I am not referring to those who
waged the campaign, No. I am really referring to people who pretend to be
writers but are in fact dedicated to waging deliberate activities against
socialism. We have been victims of this campaign. We must find out whether
they were objective and honest even though they have disagreed. Later we
learned that there was no such discrepancy. I am going to say this: There
is no perfect revolution. We do not pretend that ours is a perfect
revolution. We have made mistakes, but we do not think that we have made
irreversible mistakes.

The Cuban leader continues along the same line: This country was saturated
with every vice and prejudice, which they (the United States) sowed in the
world. Because, if there is a people with great influence throughout
America, it was that country. Its influence was very great. They used their
magazines and movies. The only films we saw in Cuba were American. All the
television was reactionary, as well as all the books, all the literature,
all the radio. We had only a saturation of ideas, of prejudices, of
reactionary concepts and mass prejudices. Yet this battle, according to
some of those who criticize us, is a waste of time. But the people who met
here on the 28th and 29th were the same people who were taught so many
prejudices. This shows that revolutionary ideas are capable of attracting
the masses with more force than other ideas.

These people were not fanatics, they were not moved by fascists of racial
prejudices, by means of a chauvinist activity or an idea of superiority.
This is an aware mass, a politically educated mass. What is left today of
all the campaigns against Marxism,d which has been so anathemized and
slandered? This is the battle we won over the United States, which for more
than 50 years dominated Cuba's culture and politics.

"The ideological and political battle has been more difficult. It has been
the most difficult in Cuba. We have received considerable economic aid from
abroad--Soviet aid in order to survive. But we had to win the ideological
and political battle by really struggling against reactionary ideas,
against the egoism and adversities left us by that society. But how they
distort what is said: I said in the workers congress that we are not yet
prepared for communism. That is a clear concept. The changes here in Cuba
are oriented toward a social system: socialism. And since Marx defined
socialism, it is known that a communist society is not the same as a
socialist society. I stated that we wished to advance as quickly as
possible and have done so anticipating the mentality of the people. I cited
this as an example and 3 months after the workers congress ended it has
been brought up again. Almost all the news media simultaneously began
publishing portions of what I said, stating that we considered communism to
be utopian, as if we were renouncing communism.

The weekly SIEMPRE newsman asked if important political changes could be
anticipated in the coming years to which Castro replied: "Yes. Because the
social systems based on privileges are at present undergoing crisis; both
the developed as well as the underdeveloped countries. Humanity must begin
seeking other goals instead of those which have been the ideals of
developed capitalist societies.

"The case of Chile is widely known. What happened was clearly evident. One
could observe the fascists from the start, the bourgeois women with their
pots and pans out on the street, the disobedience of authority, an open
conspiracy in the Congress, an apolitical army which kept in the background
to direct the situation in the interior.

"It was a difficult situation, Chile could have continued within the bounds
of legality. Now I must state one truism: The Marxist principle of the
dictatorship of the proletariat is known as such, but it can be a popular
dictatorship. In brief: without a revolutionary dictatorship there can be
no revolution, no social change. Because the former social system is
maintained not only by the control of the state but because it has created
a culture, the culture of the dominating class.

[Question] Do you think that the Chilean people can recover from their

[Answer] The Chilean people who I saw are a patriotic, enthusiastic, and
hard working people. I am sure that the Chileans will not endure this
situation very long. The members of the Junta do not have sufficient cause
to maintain the terror regime they have established and I believe that the
Chileans will rise up sooner or later. I believe they must now recover from
the coup, which was very strong. The Chilean fascist dictatorship is one of
the most ferocious in the world. The dictatorship has become isolated,
because terror certainly has an objective: it may intimidate people, but
only for a short time.

In the long run, terror creates its own antidote: People can adapt to the
worst, the most incredible conditions of repression. They organize, begin
to cooperate with one another, and they become immunized to terror. There
is nothing worse for terror than to have people lose their fear, and one of
the results of the systematic application of terror is the loss of fear.
People are losing their fear in Chile. We already know that they are
moving. The dictatorship has treated Chile as an occupied country. Chile is
not Indonesia. The application of the Indonesian method to Chile is stupid
to say the least. Chile belongs to a Latin American community, is
influenced by this community, is interrelated with it, and its cultural
level is incomparably higher than that of Indonesia. Chile also has a
political culture. It is not a country which was a colony just yesterday.

In the SIEMPRE interview the Cuban Prime Minister describes Brazil as a
government which "systematically practices" an imperialist policy, which
"must blow up someday" because it grows and develops on the strength of the
appalling poverty of the masses.

Referring to counterrevolution abroad and current terrorist activities,
Castro said: "It would seem terrorists are using Mexico as the center for
their activities. All the letter bombs sent to our embassies have been
mailed from Mexico. Yes, they are operating from Mexico, but I am sure that
the Mexican Government is not at all happy with these terrorist activities.
It is a problem, but let us say that those engaged in these activities are
small groups, like bands of crows created by these people which they
themselves cannot control. The CIA no longer controls these crows. No, I do
not believe that these activities can be blamed on the CIA, but they do
belong to the 'minicadres' prepared by the CIA.

Referring to relations between Cuba and Mexico, Castro asserted: "Cuba
respects those who respect Cuba. We have given Mexico the same respect it
has given us, we have maintained good political relations with Mexico based
on mutual respect." In this regard, he added: "Other countries have treated
us according to a policy that violates international law. This is why we
have not shown them any consideration. We are simply obliged to act in a
similar fashion. If one country is respected, then the other country must
also be. We have always been willing to abide by international law.

Toward the conclusion of SIEMPRE's interview Cuba's position vis-a-vis "war
and peace" is looked at. Fidel Castro says: "Look, Brezhnev said something
in his Havana speech which is a great truth. I admit there may be people
who disagree with this point, or who do not like this or that, but the
truth Brezhnev spoke is that if today's world can enjoy peace, this is due
mostly to the socialist countries' efforts, and we can add mainly those of
the Soviet Union."

The Cuban revolutionary leader added: "It is true that the U.S. adventures
in Vietnam, to the extent that it is involved, have been so dangerous that
if the Soviets had not mounted a gigantic peace effort, the world would
have ended in a world war. But the Soviets have endured war, they have
suffered harshly from it, and they know the destructive power of modern
weapons. And we must acknowledge that they have defended peace with great
patience. Imagine, this country has been surrounded by atomic bases for 20
years. It has lived with a bomb, not with the sword of Damocles, but with
the bomb of Damocles over its head, and it has not lost its composure. It
is true that if the world has not been plunged into war with all the
aggressive maneuvers of the imperialists, this is due to Soviet policy, and
that policy has been a guarantee for the other countries.

Without Soviet power there would not be a single nonaligned country that
would open its mouth. It could not open its mouth because the imperialists
would shut it for that nation. They would occupy it militarily. They would
invade. With the present worldwide oil crisis, they would have invaded.
Therefore, here is something that is a reality: Soviet power today, in a
way, is a shield for a large part of the world, and there are many
countries which in a way are under the protection of that shield. Then
there are those who attack the Soviet Union not realizing the objective
service it is rendering to humanity. Because, what would become of the
Third World if a powerful socialist power had not developed? The
imperialists always divided the world among themselves by force, but today
they no longer do this. It is peculiar. And something else: It is odd that
the Vietnamese were able to resist and defeat the Americans. It is a fact
unprecedented in history. How would they have been able to do it? How could
they have shot down all the B-52's and all the other planes they shot down?
Of course, I am not taking any credit away from the Vietnamese.

[Question] We have seen you in Vietnam, commander.

[Answer] Because the Vietnamese, like the Cuban people, needed help. Now
the Soviet people cannot be told to make someone else's revolution. Nor can
they be blamed if there is no revolution some place. But in our desire for
peace we do not want a freezing of the social status quo in any country.
These clarifications made here are most important. Some try to make believe
that dissension and peaceful coexistence signify a freezing of the world.
But Brezhnev's worlds here are very clear. In a way, we Cubans have been at
war with all those who have made war on us. But if a policy of respect
would have been applied to us everywhere, we would have had to apply a
policy of respect as well."