Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1700 GMT 24 Oct 74 F

[Text] Paris--Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro has reiterated the need for
the underdeveloped countries to remain united with regard to raw materials
and exhorted the petroleum-producing countries to work out a policy
vis-a-vis the Third World. In an exclusive interview with L'HUMANITE, organ
of the French Communist Party, the Cuban leader termed as "just" the policy
of striving to obtain better prices for raw materials, particularly
petroleum, but he cautioned: It is necessary for the financial surpluses of
the petroleum countries to be mobilized in the direction of the bloc of
underdeveloped countries.

Fidel Castro said it could not be overlooked that many poor countries lack
petroleum resources and are short of the financial means for coping with
the [price] increases. The question is quite serious, he added, and went
on: The underdeveloped world faces the risk of being divided in the measure
that the imperialist countries' aim to obtain lower petroleum prices is
echoed in many poor countries. In the view of the Cuban prime minister,
those attempts to divide the Third World must be countered with mutual
support in the struggle to defend raw materials and with the petroleum
producers' economic policy toward the underdeveloped countries.

Elsewhere in the interview highlighted today by L'HUMANITE, Fidel Castro
stated that the growth of Cuba's economy would be over 6 percent, despite
the international situation and difficulties in acquiring certain raw
materials. Since 1970 the economy has grown at a good pace. "We can assert
that between that year and 1980 our production will double," he continued,
adding that 1980 will be marked by great quantitative and qualitative

The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba disclosed that, despite
two consecutive years of drought, Cuban farm production had not dropped,
and there have even been increases in some products--sugar and milk, for
instance. He said the drought would effect the 1974-75 harvest, but not in
a catastrophic way. "In 1975 we will see the effects of that drought, and
were it not for this we would have raised sugar production substantially.
But production will be satisfactory in any case."

Continued Fidel: "By 1980, 80 percent of our sugar harvesting will have
been mechanized. At present we employ 350,000 workers cutting cane. In 1980
we will need 50,000."

Asked about a future Latin American integration, the Cuban prime minister
answered: In tomorrow's world, no isolated small country will have any
future. It can be said that unity of the Latin American countries is the
condition for the coexistence of their peoples and their independence.
Latin American should unite; it must unite or it will be subjugated. The
goal to seek is our own regional organization whose fundamental objectives
would be to struggle for our people's unification and economic-political
integration. Naturally, the road is not easy. The Latin American political
system is very heterogeneous. Overall, the oligarchy has governed Latin
America for its own egotistical interests. At present integrationist ideas
have great impact in Latin America--on public opinion and on the mentality
of the Latin American people.

"In these countries," Fidel Castro added, "awareness of the exploitation of
which they have been victim is growing. Awareness of defending natural
resources also is mounting, and I would every say that anti-imperialist
awareness is growing. The efforts of all the progressive forces, all the
national forces, and all who favor national independence who arise in Latin
America, must be coordinated."

Further on, the Cuban leader underscored the positive role being played by
the armed forces in countries like Peru and Panama, saying: Their armed
forces realized that they could not act as gendarmes of imperialism against
their people, and they joined the general political movement. That
phenomenon might possibly arise in other countries.

On a long-term basis, Fidel said, he felt optimistic with regard to the
unification of Latin America into a single great community.

Referring to the anti-Cuban blockade imposed by the United States, Fidel
Castro said that Washington is suffering a defeat of its isolationist
policy. By means of the CIA, he said, that country subversively intervened
or is intervening into all Latin American countries. As was shamefully
demonstrated in the case of Chile.

In those circumstances, he said, it is absurd for the United States to
argue that Cuba should remain isolated because it constitutes a subversive
danger. The United States is on the brink of a defeat, in that the Latin
American countries are going to end the isolation of Cuba, and the United
States is running the risk of becoming isolated itself.

Fidel Castro reiterated that with regard to bilateral relations, there can
be no dialog or negotiation with the United States so long as that country
does not unconditionally lift the blockade. Once that requirement is met,
there would be many other problems to discuss, among them the Caimanera
[Guantanamo] Naval Base. "Later, we must see whether the United States will
try to impose anything--for instance, anything that might limit, even in
the slightest way, our country's sovereignty. We will not admit any
condition. For a negotiation to get anywhere, for our relations with the
United States to improve, it is essential for them to start by
comprehending that present-day Cuba is not the Cuba of the past; that today
Cuba is a country that is absolutely free, a country that does not and will
not accept any condition that might infringe upon its dignity and political
sovereignty even in the slightest way."

As for French-Cuban state relations, Fidel Castro asserted that in recent
years they have developed in the economic field, and there is an
unacceptable and positive policy for developing those economic bonds even
further in the future. The prime minister added that "for years France has
characterized itself, among the Western European countries, by its
increased independence from the United States, "and this favored bonds
between our two countries."

"Our relations have reached a satisfactory level and logically our economic
interests could favor expanding those relations," the prime minister said,
"and we are willing to work toward that. But of course we naturally place
political principles above any economic-type interests."