Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Havana PRELA  in Spanish 1606 GMT 11 Jan 75 PA--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Havana, 11 Jan--Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro has stated that it
is Cuba's moral duty to support Latin American countries which, like
Venezuela and Ecuador, oppose the U.S. foreign trade law.

The Cuban leader answered questions--for approximately 2 hours--from a
group of Mexican newsmen who are visiting the country along with the
Mexican Government friendship delegation headed by Mexican First Lady Mrs.
Maria Esther Zuno Echeverria.

Fidel Castro said that from the Cuban point of view the U.S. foreign trade
law is of absolutely "no concern," but he added:  "We have seen that some
countries have been discriminated against, for example Venezuela and
Ecuador," and have reacted angrily to this measure.

"I believe that now many other countries will have a better understanding
of the economic blockade against Cuba," Castro commented.

The Cuban prime minister added that when the United States abruptly
suspended Cuba's sugar quota, the benefits were distributed among many
Latin American countries and no one protested. "We can say that everybody
benefited from the spoils of the Cuban economy," he stated.

"Now this discrimination occurs, and many countries are indignant--and
rightly so," Castro said, From our political and moral positions we concede
them every right, and we defend the stands they may take, he added.

The Cuban leader mentioned the possibility that several Latin American
countries may call for a meeting of the OAS to discuss this discriminatory

This is a very special and unusual situation, Castro stressed. "It seems
that these governments will go to the OAS to accuse the United States of
economic aggression. In truth, this cannot fail to be interesting. It is an
absolutely new spectacle. Let us see what happens."

On this subject Fidel Castro said finally that it is Cuba's moral duty to
support these countries, and "to the extent of our strength we will support
them. In a certain sense, we have been supporting them for 15 years,
because we have combated imperialism alone for 15 years."

The Cuban leader also said that the danger of UPS, aggression against Cuba
has been reduced, "because the North Americans have received many blows
everywhere and are no longer in condition to launch warlike and aggressive
adventures anywhere they please.

Castro added that the only threat to Cuba during all these years of
revolution has come from the United States, in the form of invasions and
campaigns of sabotage, subversion and blockade.

"Of course, we have been ready for some time to defend ourselves against
U.S. aggression. If we had been weak, they would have devoured us however,
we were fortunately sufficiently strong, the Cuban prime minister said.

Later Castro added; "We cannot say that this danger no longer exists, but
we can say that at present there is less danger than there was 10 years
ago. The danger has been reduced."

Fidel Castro said that recently Cuba has enjoyed a greater degree of peace,
but that "this does not mean that we will lower our guard and become
careless, because the danger increases if we are weak. If we are
strong--and we are increasingly strong--the danger lessens, from both the
military and political standpoints."

In answer to a question by a newsman from the U.S. newspaper the Washington
POST, Castro stated; "If the United States needs sugar, we will sell it,
because we do not have any law prohibiting the sale of sugar to the United

The Cuban prime minister added that he does not see such a possibility as
real or immediate, because everything in the United States is very
complicated, and "they do not even have institutional means for changing
their own policies."

Fidel added that even though Cuba could sell the United States sugar on a
moment's notice, "we can also wait another 10 years. We are not impatient
about selling them our sugar, because Cuban sugar is sold to the very last
ten; there is always a market for it."

Fidel Castro also referred to the similarities and differences between
revolutionary processes in various parts of the world. History, he said, is
ruled by laws, and all socialist processes are based on similar principles,
but undoubtedly there are no two countries where the processes take place
in exactly the same manner. "The reason for this," Castro added, "is that
these similar laws are expressed as a function of each country's specific
realities, so that each revolution has its own characteristics which are
proper to each country."

Fidel Castro also said that "one country's solution cannot be copied as
dogma in another country. Each country must shape its own revolution,
though "the principles that rule a revolutionary process are always the
same, and there is a doctrine, which is precisely the one that first
criticized capitalism and laid the groundwork and principles for the
struggle and the revolutionary process." He then affirmed; "In other words,
there is no neosocialism. There is only one socialism; there is only one
scientific doctrine, and that is Marzism-Leninism."

The prime minister stressed that the Cuban revolution maintains very strong
links with the Soviet Union, because at the critical and decisive moments
it was the one country "that gave us its support." These ties have become
stronger with each passing year, because the Soviet Union has maintained
toward Cuba an unusually solidary and internationlist attitude," he said.

Regarding the international situation, Fidel Castro noted that the
capitalist countries--and the United States in particular--were first faced
with a serious inflation problem, and once they started fighting it, they
found themselves in the midst of an equally serious recession.

"It is a new and unique situation, because it is the first time imperialism
and capitalism have had to face the two problems--inflation and
recession--at the same time. The consumer society which they created has
begun to bear its fruits, and in the process it is disappointing many
people who are now beginning to reflect."

The Mexican journalists then asked Castro to what extent these phenomena
could affect Cuban trade relations.

The Cuban leader made it clear from the start that Cuba is perfectly
prepared to weather a world economic crisis, although he added that this
type of phenomenon always affects all countries to some extent. "But what
is undoubtedly obvious," he stressed, is that the socialist countries are
better prepared to bear the hardships of this world economic crisis."
Castro then affirmed: "A large portion of Cuban economic and financial
relations are carried on with the Soviet Union, and there is no economic
crisis in the Soviet Union.

Regarding this, the prime minister said that Cuba is well prepared to
weather an economic crisis, and he noted that "we are not hoping for an
economic crisis, because that would mean starvation and hardships, but on
the other had we will not be able to prevent it, because we all know that
the economic crises of the capitalist system are inevitable."

Asked about the institutionalization process taking place in Cuba, Fidel
Castro said Cuba wishes to establish a form of democracy superior to the
one historically established under the capitalist regimes--a socialist
democracy. Castro said that Cuba will have a new constitution, which will
set forth the final structure and basic principles of the socialist state,
and he added: "We will end what we could call the temporary character of of
the revolution and will finally have permanent institutions."

A journalist asked him if he would run as candidate in future Cuban
elections, to which the leader of the Cuban revolution replied: "I have my
post and my duties, and in a peaceable and simple way I will do whatever
the party wants me to do, whatever the party decides in the congress to be
held this year."

The prime minister added: "I would never be satisfied with an incomplete
revolution," but after many years of revolutionary work "we just want to do
our duty as efficiently as possible."

He mentioned the rise of another generation of Cubans and the fact that the
country will have "a more just, trained society, with thousands and
hundreds of thousands of men educated in the principles of the revolution."

He stressed that "a socialist process cannot be conducted by a lone
individual." In Cuba "it is conducted by a vanguard party--that is, our
party--and we do not have one-man rule but a genuine collective

The Cuban leader commented that the leader's role is important at certain
times, particularly in the early years of the revolution. "But I think," he
said, "that no single historical accomplishment which is dependent on just
one man can be of value, because once he disappears so does his work."

Still on the same subject, he stressed Lenin's role in the history of the
Soviet socialist revolution. He noted that his death, however, did not put
an end to the socialist state or evolution in the Soviet Union, although
these did encounter great difficulties.

"There is no danger of a reverse or failure of the revolution, because it
does not depend on one man," he said.

The Cuban prime minister was also asked what the aims of the Cuban
revolution are in the current continental context. He answered that the
main aims of the Cuban revolution are logically to further the revolution
in Cuba.

"We cannot extend our private revolutionary objectives to Latin America,"
he said, "because I think a revolution belongs to the people of each
nation, and no one can conduct it for them."

However, he admitted; "We are happy every time a change occurs, every time
a progressive government takes power, every time a progressive policy is

The Cuban leader said that right now the possibilities of having such
radical changes as took place in Cuba are not in order but that there is a
frankly independent feeling and a new nationalist sentiment in Latin

"This greater awareness of the need for Latin American integration is a
positive change," he remarked, "although it is not a change toward

He said that one must be realistic and that while it is true that there is
no continental perspective for having changes similar to those of the Cuban
revolution, there is now a greater feeling of independence from the United
States and more national awareness."

Fidel Castro cited as examples of this situation the process of the
Panamanian people, the political and structural changes in Peru, the great
importance of the current stand of the Venezuelan administration, the
situation of the Caribbean English-speaking countries, and Mexico's
international policy led by President Echeverria's struggle for the Charter
on the Economic Rights and Duties of States.

He noted that Cuba supports every continental anti-imperialist policy and
the search for men means of Latin American integration.

In regard to the Mexican cultural and artistic mission's visit, Fidel
Castro said that President Echeverria's wife is "truly extraordinary, very
educated and shows great receptivity to mankind and to the people's

He added that even though he has not had the honor of personally meeting
the Mexican president, he considers him "the most progressive Mexican ruler
since Cardenas (Lazaro)."

The Cuban prime minister said that President Echeverria played a brilliant
role by launching Mexico's international image.

"During the 16 years of revolution, we are happy to say, President
Echeverria is the Mexican president who has been most friendly with Cuba."
he said.