Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana PRELA in Spanish 1933 GMT 1 Mar 74 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Havana, 1 Mar--Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro said today that,
under present conditions, an initial effort Latin America can make is to
gather together in an organization that represents their true interests. In
the course of a lengthy news conference with 30 Argentine newsmen, the
Cuban leader said that, in his opinion, all the Latin American countries
should unite and form a "large whole" capable of confronting tomorrow's
world. We are prepared to deal with another organization, but now with the
OAS. The best that could be expected from the OAS is its disappearance,
Fidel added.

But there will be no changes in the OAS unless they occur first in its
member countries, he added. The United States and the OAS constitute a true
Trojan horse, Fidel Castro told one of the newsmen seated next to him.
Expanding on his idea about this possible organization composed only of
Latin countries, he added that Latin American nations could deal with the
United States in the United Nations or bilaterally.

Regarding the supposed U.S. authorization for some Argentine companies to
sell to Cuba, Fidel Castro said that what is being discussed is actually a
problem of sovereignty, and we know that the Argentine Government is
determined that Argentine laws be complied with. He added that if the
United States makes a favorable decision we know it will be the result of a
question of alternatives and not a policy [words indistinct] U.S. will. The
United States has never found itself in a political situation such as it
faces regarding Argentina, wherein affected companies are faced with the
alternative of accepting what the U.S. State Department says or what the
government under which is operates says. The Argentine decision to do
business with Cuba, added Castro, is a large crack in the economic blockage
imposed against Cuba by the imperialists.

Cuba hopes for economic integration--as much as possible--with Argentina
because the economies of both countries are complementary along some lines,
said Fidel Castro, accepting a cigarette from one Argentine newsman. He
said that if one takes into consideration the size of the countries, the
more than $1.2 billion in economic agreements signed between Argentina and
Cuba are the largest ever signed by Cuba other than with socialist
countries. However, it has much greater political importance because
commerce between both countries is a victory of the people against
imperialism, he added. Fidel said that Cuba will give preference to the
Argentine market when making its purchases because we always think of our
Latin American community. There is a very strong popular movement in
Argentina and a parliamentary majority which approves laws, he said.

Castro added that Argentina's encirclement is relatively important [word
indistinct] revolution may generate a greater force than all of its
neighbors pooled together. This is the case of Cuba vis-a-vis the United

When asked if he could reveal the contents of a message from Argentine
President Juan Domingo Peron, which has hand-carried by Economy Minister
Jose Ber Gelbard, who recently visited Cuba, the prime minister stated that
for protocol reasons he could state only that it was a "friendly message."

"It is not for me to disclose the contents of this message," he added.

Speaking about late Chilean President Salvador Allende, Castro said Allende
did the most that he could within the limitations he had and that he
deserves the respect of all revolutionaries.

He stated that Allende exemplarily waged one of the most heroic battles of
this continent and did not accept compromises with the enemy. He did all he
could and died for his cause. "I have always felt that Allende played his
role correctly and that he was a revolutionary." Castro added.

Regarding Brazil, Castro said it has achieved economic growth on the bases
of having surrendered its sovereignty, and the hunger, repression and
crimes against the Brazilian people.

Brazil's situation at this time is the final phase of that type of system,
he said.

Replying to several questions on the Cuban Revolution today, Castro said it
is in a period of consolidation following an initial few years of a period
of survival.

He gave statistics on the nation's development, saying that in 1971 growth
was 5 percent; in 1972, 10 percent; and last year 11.4 percent. But the
most important thing, he added, is that each time Cuban production
increases, the people benefit.

Regarding the institutionalization that has been effected, he said that the
reorganization of local government [poder local], scheduled to take place
the first half of this year in one of the provinces, will mean that leaders
of those organizations will be elected through universal, secret ballot by
all citizens.

"We must give the masses not only real but also normal participation," he

He said that by virtue of the new (?structure), both services and
industries, according to their particular characteristics, will be
administrated by the city, regional or provincial government with the
central government retaining control over the national services or
enterprises, as in the case of railways.

When asked about incentives in this stage of socialist construction, Fidel
Castro reiterated that without moral stimulus there is no revolution, but
that material incentives must operate within certain limits at the present
stage. He pointed out that the nation is now employing certain material
incentives, although it is also true that they have a meaning different
from capitalism's incentives.

In socialism, wages never have the compulsive force they have in capitalism
because in Cuba, regardless of wages, everyone counts on sure housing,
education and other benefits. Fidel Castro stated that all those who say
that the heroic guerrilla intended to do away with moral stimulants
slanders Che [Guevara]. What actually happened, he added, it that Che gave
great importance to moral stimulants. "Our youth, for example, are being
educated in a communist way," said the Cuban leader.

Referring to the energy crisis, he said that prior to the recent Middle
East crisis the United States was sympathetic to a certain increase in the
price of petroleum, which would allow it to compete more advantageously
with Western Europe and Japan. At the present time, he added, the United
States can cope internally with the petroleum shortage better than Western
Europe and Japan, although externally the contradictions within the
capitalist world are becoming more acute.

In conclusion, Fidel Castro invited the Argentine newsmen to visit Cuba for
a longer period to get to know the interior, where the revolution is
developing more intensively.