Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Stockholm DAGENS NYHETER in Swedish 3 Jul 75 pp 1, 12 LD

[Mats Holmherg interview with Cuban Prime Minister Castro: "'The United
States No Longer Wants To Assassinate Me'"]

[Excerpts] Havana, 2 July--For a man who has for many years been on the CIA
death list, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro looked remarkably unconcerned. He
sat on a sofa in the Swedish Embassy a few hours before Olof Palme's
departure from Cuba and when he was questioned about the CIA's repeated
attempts to assassinate him, he raised both hands to the ceiling in a
gesture of resignation:

"Good Lord," he said. "We have known all that for a long time. It seems a
little ridiculous," Fidel said, "to hear today of disclosures of new
assassination plans when here in Cuba we already knew of them.

"Yet what is now being disclosed in the United States is only a small
part," he said. "We could describe a dozen similar assassination plans and
we will also do so when the U.S. investigations are over."

But he did not believe that he ran the risk of being assassinated by the
CIA any longer.

"If there are such plans today, we at least, do not know of then," he said.
"I believe that the United States is no longer so interested in
assassinating me--and I believe that it has accepted the Cuban revolution
as a fact and that sooner or later it must come to an agreement with us.

"But no one can be absolutely certain," he said.

Raised Eyebrows

What Fidel Castro said while seated on the Swedish Embassy sofa will cause
some eyebrows to be raised in many countries which Cuba has accepted as
international allies.

One of the key phrases of Olof Palme's Latin American trip has been "a new
economic world order." It is a term which embraces small countries' rights
to control their natural resources, and in both the oil power, Venezuela,
and the potential oil power, Mexico, Olof Palme's hosts have adopted the
concept with enthusiasm.

When Fidel Castro explained his own skepticism concerning talk of "a new
economic world order" after dinner at the Swedish Embassy, he did so in a
violent attack on the world's oil-producing countries.

He believed that a new world order could not be created by the introduction
of new privileges for a new group of countries.

The Poor Are Affected

"It is insufficient to demand that all countries have control over their
own raw materials," he said. "All privileges are created at another's
expense, and today it is not the industrialized countries which are
affected by the oil countries' profits but the poor countries which do not
have oil.

"How can you compare cocoa and oil?" he asked. "What benefit is it to
countries like Sri Lanka and Tanzania that all countries control their raw
materials when all this means to them is that they must pay more for both
oil and industrial goods?

"I am not speaking for myself," ha explained. "We receive oil from the USSR
on favorable terms. But if the oil countries demand solidarity from the
Third World, they must concern themselves with the problems of the Third
World. They are, as yet, reluctant to do this.

"Where has the oil revenue gone?" he asked, and he answered the question.

"It has been deposited in the economies of the industrial world and has
been used for arms purchases. The industrialized countries will emerge from
the economic crisis stronger than ever. It will be the developing countries
which will be affected."

They Do Not Dare

Fidel Castro fell silent and he looked at the Swedish journalists with an
expression of genuine alarm.

"Do you think I am speaking too severely?" he asked worriedly. "But you
must understand that someone must talk about this. There is no one else who
dares, since all are hoping for loans from the oil countries."

And he gave those who sat next to him a comforting slap on the back.

In various Latin American countries Latin America is described today as a
changing continent, and in both Mexico and Venezuela Olof Palme listened to
the revolutionary and anti-imperialist diatribes which are increasingly
part of both these countries' official language.

Fidel Castro did not appear especially impressed by this change. He did not
mention Mexico and Venezuela at all when he was asked about the prospects
for social revolution in South America--but he did mention the military
governments of Peru and Panama.

Better Than Nothing

"No path toward revolution can be ruled out," he said, "and we are watching
the progressive regimes in Peru and Panama with great interest. It is
meaningless to discuss whether an armed struggle is necessary for
revolution--all that can be said is that a revolution must be based on real
force, whether it be in Chile or Cuba."

He smiled sadly when asked for his opinion of the governments in Venezuela
and Mexico, which, by their own assurances, are revolutionary, and he
thought for a long time before answering: "It is better than nothing."

Someone asked if it is true that Cuba is receiving economic aid from the
USSR in conflict with its own ideology and that it has its "stomach in
Moscow and its head in Peking."

Fidel Castro was obviously upset by the question.

"It was not they who contrived the Cuban revolution," he said, "it was us.
But the USSR helped us when no one else would, and we cannot forget that,
We have not compromised with either the USSR or anyone else, and who else
could have helped us? The United States?"