Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA110141Y Havana International Service in Spanish 1800 GMT 10 Dec 77 PA

[Text]  In an interview granted to French television, Fidel Castro said
that the establishment of offices in charge of Cuban-U.S. interests in
Havana and Washington is a step forward in reducing tensions between the
two countries.  Castro said that two neighboring countries like Cuba and
the United States constantly need to discuss various matters, and this led
to an agreement to meet that need.  However, Castro reiterated that he is
not expecting a quick improvement in relations with the United States.  He
said that this is going to be a slow and difficult process.

During the interview, which was shown to the press in Paris and will be
broadcast by French TV-1 on 15 December, Castro said that Cuba has
responded to every U.S. effort to reduce tensions.  To corroborate this, he
referred to the release of some U.S. citizens who were in prison in our
country for committing common crimes and for being involved in
counterrevolutionary activities.

Fidel Castro reiterated that an indispensable condition for the start of
negotiations for the establishment of normal bilaterial relations is for
the United States to lift the economic blockade against Cuba, the
maintenance of which by all means is a discriminatory, unjust and pointless

Castro recognized President James Carter's positive role in reducing
tensions between the two countries, which had not been tried by previous
U.S. government.  Castro also referred to the Cuban-U.S. fishing agreement
and to the authorization granted to U.S. citizens to visit Cuba.

In another part of his interview, Castro referred to Ethiopia.  He said
that the Ethiopian Government is in a position to provide a just solution
to the problem of nationalities based on the principle of
self-determination.  However, he admitted that it is not going to be easy.

After recalling tat he headed the Cuban delegation that visited
Ethiopia--the first official foreign mission to visit Ethiopia after the
establishment of the revolutionary process--Castro said he saw that a deep
revolutionary process was being carried out in Ethiopia, and that a
fundamental duty of every revolutionary is to support and not attack such a

He added that in his tour of Africa he visited Somalia and that together
with other revolutionary leaders, he tried to improve Ethiopian-Somali
relations because a conflict between the two countries would only help

We felt that under no pretext could Somalia carry out military operations
against Ethiopia, especially when the revolutionary process in that country
is being attacked from all directions.  This, we consider, will put
Mogadiscio on the side of imperialism and the Arab reactionary regimes,
Fidel Castro indicated.

Castro added that Ethiopia is facing a difficult situation and that Sudan
and Arab reactionary regimes, led by Saudi Arabia, are attacking and
promoting aggression against the revolution in Ethiopia.  This, Castro
said, coincides with the ancient feud between Somalia and Ethiopia.  In
this respect, Castro said that the most elemental duty is to help Ethiopia
consolidate its revolution.  For this reason, Cuba has granted political
support and technical and material aid to this African state.  Cuba also
reserves the right to give aid and support in any necessary area, Castro

Regarding the situation in Eritrea, Fidel Castro said that when this
liberation movement appeared under the leadership of progressive people
during Haile Selassie's feudal tyranny, it played a revolutionary role.
But now, he added, this same movement has become an instrument of
imperialist reaction that is trying to liquidate the Ethiopian revolution.

Fidel Castro said that the idea of trying to disintegrate Ethiopia by
forcing it to give up its outlet to the sea and one-third of Ogaden
Province is unacceptable.  He added that an objective
revolutionary solution, based on the principle of self-determination, would
have been the creation of a confederation formed by Ethiopia, Somalia,
Djibouti and Eritrea--in other words, a union of states.

Castro told French television that it is going to be difficult to destroy
the Ethiopian revolution because that country is going to put up a
struggle to prevent its disintegration.  In the meantime, the government
is willing to find revolutionary and just solutions to the problems of the
various nationalities.

During the interview, Castro also referred to the new canal treaties signed
between Panama and the United States, which he termed a step forward and a
great victory for the Panamanian people.  However, he added, the treaties
have some clauses which limit Panama's sovereignty.  Fidel Castro added
that these are still neocolonialist and imperialist treaties, by which the
United States retains control over the Panama Canal Zone for 23 more years.
However, he said, it was very difficult for the Panamaians to obtain more
than they did.  President James Carter could not make any more concessions.

Regarding the Cuban revolution's spirit of solidarity, Castro said that the
people of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East have had proof of it.
As an example, he mentioned Cuba's contribution with arms and men to the
heroic people of Algeria during the early days of the Revolutionary Front
when it was threatened by its greedy neighbors, which wanted to split
Algeria among themselves.  Castro said that Cuba has always expressed its
solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Arab countries' just
struggle for the return of territories occupied by Israel after the 1967
war.  With regard to that war, Castro mentioned the manpower aid Cuba gave
to Syria, whose government requested military cooperation.

Castro added that the people of Guinea-Bissau had received some
military-type cooperation and arms during its struggle against Portuguese
colonialism.  The same was given to Angola after its independence when the
Angolan people had to struggle against the racist aggression from South
Africa.  Cuba gave Angola broad internationalist support to stop an action
which undoubtedly was organized with the support of the U.S. Government
when Gerald Ford was president.

Fidel Castro rejected rumors about a Cuban enterprise in Africa.  He said
that such a term was improper because it is usually connected with
economics and, he added, our country has no economic interest at all in

After reaffirming that the Cuban revolution has been characterized by a
broad internationalist spirit and of support for revolutionary and national
liberation movements, Castro said that neocolonialism in Africa is being
driven back.  Fidel Castro referred to the changes that have taken place in
the world during the past 20 years with the revolutionary processes in
Algeria, Vietnam, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Laos, Cambodia
and the many new states in Africa and Asia.

Regarding the Cuban revolutionary process, Fidel Castro said that without
committing crimes, injustices or tortures, it has been able to defend
itself.  He pointed out that the possibilities for success in Cuba for
those opposed to the revolution, socialism and communism are very slim.

After he explained to French television that the crimes against the
revolution were tried in courts, he disclosed that there were some 15,000
counterrevolutionaries in prision during the period when armed gangs
organized by the CIA appeared in different parts of the country.  He added
that at present, less than 20 percent of those counterrevolutionaries are
still in prison.

Fidel Castro expressed satisfaction over the way in which the People's
Government National Assembly process and meetings are taking place with
full participation by all the deputies.  He also mentioned that Cuba's
socialist constitution was approved by 97.7 percent of those citizens with
the right to vote.

Fidel Castro told French television that socialism gives a human being an
incredible amount of possibilities for development which never existed
before in any social system.  In socialism, the individual has the backing
of the community.  Our society, Fidel Castro said, is basically
collectivist and not individualist.  He added that the fields in which Cuba
has made more progress during the revolutionary period are in education,
public health and sports.  With regard to education, Castro said there are
880,000 students in high schools--11 times higher than the figure in
1958--and the 125,000 university students--8 times higher than the figure
in 1958.  Fidel Castro added that Cuba has 1 doctor for every 900 persons.
In sports, Cuba is in first place in Latin America because it is precisely
the revolution which creates the optimum conditions for the development of
talent, Castro concluded.