Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19790930
-YEAR-
1979
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
CONFERENCE
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
PRESS CONFERENCE ON PRESENCE OF SOVIET TROOPS
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA DOMESTIC SVC
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19791001
-TEXT-
CASTRO COMMENTS TO NEWSMEN ON PRESENCE OF SOVIET TROOPS

FL301342 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0040 GMT 30 Sep 79 FL

[Press conference held by President Fidel Castro with invited U.S. newsmen
and representatives of the foreign press accredited to Cuba, on 28
September in Havana; questions in English with consecutive Spanish
translation and answers in Spanish with consecutive English translation;
questioners not identified--recorded]

[Text] [Castro] I would like to thank you all for your kindness in
participating in this conference. I am very sorry to have bothered you and
am perhaps spoiling the weekend of you journalists. I am not planning to
make an initial statement, but am willing to answer any of your questions.

[Question] Mr. President, what exactly is the Soviet brigade doing in Cuba?
Is it training Cubans or does it have a combat role?

[Answer] You are asserting that we have a Soviet brigade. I am not planning
to make clarifications on that because it is matter of principle. I do not
feel obliged whatsoever to give any type of explanation to the United
States concerning our military installations and the measures we take for
our defense. I cannot lower myself to that because I do not give the United
States any privilege concerning our country, or any jurisdiction or
authorization. We consider ourselves to be a sovereign country, as
sovereign as the United States. Any clarification I might make to the
United States in this regard would imply that we are giving up our rights
to adopt the measures we deem necessary for our defense and to have all the
installations we deem necessary. Therefore I believe this is not the
fundamental issue. You call it a brigade; we call it a training center.
That is not the fundamental problem. Our right cannot be questioned or even
discussed, and that is our position.

[Question] Mr. President, President Carter, according to reports in the
United States, will address the U.S. people on Sunday [as heard]. According
to reports, he will state that because of U.S. evidence of a Russian
"combat force in Cuba," the United States will in turn increase U.S. troops
at unspecified places in different parts of the world. What is your answer
to this?

[Answer] Listen, I am very glad that Carter will speak on Sunday. I want to
ask Carter some questions. I do not know if he will be kind enough to
answer them, but I think that he has an obligation to give an explanation
to the U.S. people. The essential question is this: How long has this
alleged brigade been in Cuba? I think that is they key to the issue, and
not whether they are greyhounds or hounds. How long? It is in this regard
that I want to make a definitive, categorical and emphatic statement.

That which you call a brigade and which we call a training center has been
in Cuba for the past 17 years. That military installation was created at
the end of the October 1962 crisis in line with the spirit of the
agreements of October 1962 and within the status quo established as a
result of the October crisis.

All successive U.S. presidents knew about this fact, this installation. The
CIA knew about the installation; President Kennedy knew about it; Johnson
knew about it; Nixon knew about it; Ford knew about it; and Carter
necessarily has to know about it. There was no public discussion about that
installation but it was not a secret. I ask Carter: Was this installation
crated in 1976 in Ford's time or was it created in 1970 in Nixon's time;
was it created in 1965 in Johnson's time or was it created at the end of
October after the October crisis? That is what I want to ask Carter. And I
want to ask if it is possible for someone to believe that this installation
could exist for 17 years without the CIA being aware of it.

This country has constantly been overflown by U-2 planes, been subjected to
constant electronic espionage and has been the target of espionage by
hundreds of CIA agents. Who are they trying to convince that no one knew
anything--that the CIA did not know, that Kennedy did not know anything,
that Johnson did not know anything, that Nixon did now know anything, that
Ford did not know anything, and that Carter did not know? I ask myself, why
have they now raised this problem about an installation that is 17 years
old? Why now? Why were the files on this not used before to create a
problem? Now an artificial problem has been created by searching for data
in files. I ask Carter this question-- I believe the journalists should ask
him--What do the U.S. intelligence files say and how is it possible that
with so many spies, so many planes and so many agents they did not learn of
the existence of that installation for 17 years? This is what Carter must
answer, and then we can ask him why he has brought up this problem now to
create this crisis. The fact that Carter's reelection is in a crisis does
not give him the right to threaten peace. I think that Carter's action
regarding this problem has been dishonest insincere and immoral, and he is
deceiving world and U.S. public opinion by making people believe that the
Cubans and the Soviets have taken a new step, an irresponsible step, that
we have created a problem and that we have changed the status quo existing
since the October 1962 crisis. I emphatically and categorically state that
this is a lie, that this is dishonest, and that this is insincere and
immoral.

[Question] Should the American public be frightened or angry by the
presence of this training center? Should they be?

[Answer] I do not see any logic or anything to be concerned about. We do
not have nuclear arms. We do not have strategic weapons. We do not
constitute the slightest threat to the United States. I think that the
United states should be concerned with the unleashing of an arms race,
failure of detente and the SALT agreement not being approved. I believe
that these factors should be of concern to U.S. public opinion.

But how can Cuba constitute a danger to the United States in any way? I
actually feel this is ridiculous. In any case, the Cuban people should be
the ones to be concerned about having a powerful neighbor armed to the
teeth with thousands of nuclear weapons, and, in addition, to a neighbor
with an irresponsible government.

[Question] Mr. President, it appears then that there is a difference of
opinion between you and President Carter about the exact nature of this
training center or combat brigade. Would you be willing, therefore, to let
a group of impartial observers such as U.S. journalists to look it over and
judge for themselves?

[Answer] Would the U.S. government allow a group of Cuban newsmen to
investigate U.S. military installations--whichever ones we decide, the
nuclear research centers and the strategic air command headquarters? That
would have to be also requested. Why should we have to subject ourselves to
any inspection? Not even during the October crisis, when peace was
threatened and not the reelection of a president, not even during the
October crisis did we agree to this. I now say that we will never agree to
the inspection of our territory. That is a principle, practically a dogma,
of our country.

[Question] Mr. President, there also appears to be a difference of opinion
not over the existence of the troops, but over their functions. I do not
believe that the State Department and President Carter have ever said that
the troops have not been here for 17 years. Therefore, the charge is that
the function and configuration of these troops have perhaps changed and now
have a function different from an earlier one.

[Answer] I would like to say the following: In the first place, there has
been absolutely no change in the functions or size of that installation.
Now, you say that they have not denied that this installation has been in
the country for 17 years. But they have not said it either, they have not
said it.

If they know it and have not said it, they are deceiving international
public opinion and the U.S. public. If they do not know, why do they not
say so? Why have they not clarified this point? Why are they trying to
present the problem as a step taken by the USSR and Cuba to create an
international crises? Why do they want it to look that way? Why does a
military installation that is 17 years old and was accepted by all U.S.
administrations have to become a problem and a crisis? Why?

[Question] Mr. President, there is also a senatorial election coming up and
I think that Senator Church has been here to visit you. He is a member of
the Foreign Relations Committee. Was he also aware of the existence of this
installation during the talks you held with him?

[Answers] I met with Church here. I talked extensively with him. He made a
good personal impression on me. We never discussed these topics at any
time. I do not know what happened to Church. I do not know if somebody
somehow deceived Church. However, I did not deceive Church at all in any
way. Whether Church knew that we had the installation or not, I do not
know, But there is no doubt that somebody has deceived Church.

[Question] Is it possible that since both you and the President of the
United States seem to be aware that the troops have been here a long time,
do you think that there would be any modifications...

[Answer--interrupting] I am not saying the troops, but the military
installation to which President Carter is referring as an alleged brigade.
I call it a military installation. You call it a brigade. We call it a
training center.

[Question] But there are troops from the Soviet Union at that facility?
Right?

[Answer] It is a military installation and I have said that in that sense I
am not going to make any explanation to the United States.

[Question] Mr. President,a because of the totally opposing points of view
in this regard and because you are both heads of state, would you consider
or propose a face-to-face meeting with President Carter to discuss this
subject?

[Answer] I would not suggest that. I have a basic sense of dignity. It is
clear that a strategy exists in the United States inspired by Brzezinski's
theories that Cuba does not exist, that Cuba is a satellite of the Soviet
Union, that Cuba has no independent policy and, consequently, that any
problem must be discussed with the Soviet Union and not with Cuba.
Therefore, it would be indignified on my part to talk about holding a
meeting with Carter. You can ask Carter about that, those of you who have
the opportunity.

[Question] Mr. President, based on this latest episode of Soviet presence
in Cuba, how would you characterize the state of current U.S.-Cuban
relations?

[Answer] I believe it is an old situation. One should not forget that for
the past 20 years we have been under constant U.S. hostility and under a
U.S. blockade. Let us not forget that against the will of our people, the
United States occupies a strip of our territory and has troops and warships
at the Guantanamo naval base. That situation has existed for 20 years now,
and, of course, five administrations have passed. Their plots against the
revolution have failed. Cuba is no more isolated than before; Cuba is less
isolated than ever. The revolution's prestige is not inferior to but much
greater than what it was ever before. The campaigns and plots of five
presidents against Cuba have been crushed. Perhaps Carter will be the
sixth. Then we would have to wait and see if we will have better luck with
a seventh U.S. president.

Since we are talking about this and I have mentioned the Guantanamo base, I
believe that Carter has neither a legal nor a moral right-- and this is the
key to the issue-- to create this problem. Rather, I believe that Carter's
legal and moral duty is to withdraw his troops and dismantle the Guantanamo
naval base because it is absolutely illegal and immoral. I believe this is
what the Unites States must do, and not make any type of demands on us
without any legal or moral basis.

[Question] Mr. President, I would like to go back to what I asked earlier
and perhaps clarify something. We have been led to believe by Washington's
reports that earlier this year U.S. intelligence sources began to observe a
change in the activities of those troops, and that by 17 August those
troops began to conduct maneuvers not far from Havana. First of all, I want
to be sure of what you said. Are we talking specifically about the same
training facility and are you saying that there is no other training center
here? Are you saying that the activities at the training center have not
changed in 17 years? and, furthermore, are you saying that these maneuvers
did not occur?

[Answer] I would like to say this--she continues to insist that I make
statements here that I do not wish to make. I can clarify the following in
deference to the questioner. The truth of the matter is that the Soviet
military personnel providing assistance to our armed forces--the personnel
are rotated-- are approximately the same in number as 17 years ago; the
functions are exactly the same as they were 17 years ago. If this
contributes to clarifying your question, I give you this answer gladly.

[Question] Mr. President, could I ask for another clarification? You said
earlier that you do not have nuclear weapons. Are you saying that you do
not have any nuclear arms, for example, the MiG-23 jets? Or nuclear-armed
submarines? Can you guarantee to us that you do not have these?

[Answer] This is known to everybody. Everybody knows that we do not have
nuclear submarines and that we do not have nuclear weapons. Everybody knows
that an agreement was reached in 1962 by the Soviet Union and the United
States on that. We are not committed to that agreement because we were not
a part to it. That is the simple truth and that is known. We have not
renounced any right. But, everybody knows that the agreement exists, that
the Soviet Union supplies us with military equipment--the only country that
could supply us that type of arms. The Soviet Union has meticulously
complied with its commitment. Yes, it has complied rigorously,
scrupulously, and meticulously with the so-called October 1962 crisis
agreements. That is what I can say about the agreements of which we were
not a part and to which we do not feel committed.

[Question] Mr. President, may I ask another question with respect to
U.S.-Cuban relations? There have been reports and rumors that you will
release a number of political prisoners, specifically, Mr. Matos. Are you
planning to do this and when? Do you think this will then have an impact on
the relations with the United States?

[Answer] First of all, this is not a matter of reports or rumors. We have
released approximately 3,000 prisoners in line with the agreements with the
Cuban community abroad, with representatives of the Cuban community abroad.
We will soon release a few hundred more. This process has not gone faster
because, as is known, the United States has been very restrictive and has
greatly hindered the issuing of visas to these citizens who want to go to
the United States. With regard to Hubert Matos, he will soon finish serving
his sentence and we will strictly comply with the laws.

[Question] Mr. President, getting back to the matter of the training
center. One of the difficulties that the North American might have had is
that they have not been able to understand what need the Cuban troops have
for training since they have had much experience. For example, you have had
more combat experience then the Soviets in the past 20 years. They do not
have much to teach you.

[Answer] That is not true. The Soviets have a great amount of accumulated
experience. It was a country that suffered 20 million dead in World War II.
They have developed an enormous amount of experience and a large number of
cadres. They have developed the military technology we use. They have much
more developed academies and they have greater military expertise than we
do, independently from the experience we gained in our war, a revolutionary
war in the Sierra Maestra, but that was a different type of war. Today war
has a different technology. Although we might have gained some experience
in recent years, that cannot be compared to military theories and military
equipment which are constantly changing and developing. I do not believe
that anyone thinks that we have more military experience than the Soviets.

[Question] Mr. President, one of the things that seem to concern certain
people in the U.S. Government is the situation regarding Cuba in Central
American and in the eastern Caribbean. There seems to be some feeling among
the U.S. public and in the U.S. Government that Cuba is gaining more
military influence in this area and is promoting revolutions there. The
Soviet troops issue seems to have caused an uproar. Would you please
comment on this?

[Answer] Seventeen years ago, even before, Soviet personnel began working
and assisting our armed forces. No one even dreamed then about the
Sandinista triumph in 1979. I cannot see the relation between one problem
and the other. I believe that no one can deny that we have been extremely
careful and extremely discreet, and that we have clearly expressed our wish
to avoid conflicts in that area. So no one can deny this.

Yes, we sympathize with the Sandinistas. We have sympathized with them for
17-20 years. We have closely followed and reported on their struggle. To
the extent we are able, we are trying to help them in the reconstruction of
their country by providing physicians, teachers, technicians and food. We
have done that much to the extent we are able.

If you had the opportunity to listen to what I said on 26 July on the
occasion of the visit by a large group of Sandinista chiefs, I called for a
joint effort among all countries to help in the reconstruction of that
country. No one can say that our statements have been radical or extremist.
To the extent we are able, we have struggled to make everybody understand
the nature of that revolution and the needs of that nation for help. We do
not oppose U.S. help in the reconstruction of Nicaragua. On the contrary,
we have publicly stated that it is duty to help reconstruct Nicaragua and
that we are very happy for the help being given to Nicaragua. I hope
Nicaragua gets the maximum help. I feel this is a moral duty of the United
States. But, it should be given without conditions. The Sandinistas have
said they are willing to accept aid from everybody without any political
conditions.

[Question] Mr. President, you have alluded to the reasons you believe,
President Carter and other U.S. leaders have raised the issue of Soviet
troops in Cuba. I wonder if you might amplify on what you think of the
motives.

[Answer] I believe the following: There has been irresponsibility and bad
management of the news in this. I believe that the determining factor in
using this information and creating this problem was the sixth nonalined
summit conference held in Havana. It is well known that the United States
made great efforts to impede the convening of the sixth summit conference,
to sabotage the sixth summit conference and to exercise influence over the
sixth summit conference. The United States maintained contacts with nearly
40 countries, trying to exercise influence by different means. We have
incontrovertible proof of this. We are keeping this proof to ourselves. We
are not going to use that information. But we know the stance of the United
States and the great concern it had regarding the sixth summit conference.

They managed to Soviet troops issue in relation to the sixth summit
conference. It is known that a few days before the sixth summit conference,
the State Department called Church and gave him this information so that he
could speak out. Now, they did not believe that this would boomerang, or
that it would even threaten the SALT agreements and become a political
disaster for the Carter administration. Perhaps they though that since the
SALT agreement is very important, this could be used to make demands on
Cuba and the Soviet Union and humiliate Cuba, hinder Cuba's work as a
leader of the nonalined movement and, at the same time, present Carter as
an energetic man who could attain victory in the international arena. It is
sort of an October microcrisis and, by the way, in a few days it will be
the month of October. Someone said that history repeats itself, once or the
first time as a tragedy and the second as a comedy. I would say that this
is truly a complete comedy. This is what I believe.

[Question] What do you think President Carter ought to do now?

[Answer] That is a very difficult question. I believe the following: I
believe that cooperation between the Soviets and Cuba began in the very
first or second year of the revolution, at the end of 1960. Following that,
all this policy of hostility against Cuba brought about the October crisis.
The measures we adopted then, the consent we gave for the installation of
arms of that type here was simply because we felt insecure in the face of
invasions at Giron and threats of direct invasion. You all know these
things. Logically we sought a strengthening of our defenses, and the
October crisis occurred.

Military cooperation has remained at the same level, in the same manner and
under the same principles of the October crisis agreements. I can assure
you there has been absolutely no change in that. What is Carter's
responsibility in this? What is even Ford's responsibility in this? What is
Nixon's responsibility in this? Well, Nixon has some. Nixon was the vice
president and he recommended the invasion at Giron. We cannot forget
history now. But, Carter has no responsibility for the situation existing
in our country. He totally inherited this situation. This situation has
been in existence for over 17 years. How could this affect Carter's
prestige? How could the Carter administration be blamed? Carter's fault is
something else. He tried to use a situation which dates back many years to
artificially create a problem, looking for several objectives which were
the ones I mentioned. There can be no other explanation. I will say
something else. You know better than I that these are Brzezinski's ideas.
We have said it before. This is Brzezinski's strategy. This is Brzezinski's
creation and Brzezinski is the one who has instilled in Carter's mind this
plan--I say this was conviction--this macabre plan, this comedy, this
hypocrisy and this falsehood.

[Question] Mr. President, we could then say that according to your
statements this training brigade....

[Answer--interrupting] No one knows what to call it--installation, brigade.
No one knows. Call it military installation, Training Center No. 12, as we
have known it for 17 years. That is the name we have known for 17 years.

[Question] That Training Center No. 12....

[Answer-interrupting] Maybe we will have to change the name. I will
probably be criticized for having revealed military secrets.

[Question] Was that training center the result of the conversations or
agreements reached by the two superpowers with respect to the October
crisis?

[Answer][ I said that it came about according to the spirit of the 1962
agreement and within the status quo established then. At the time the
fundamental issue was the nuclear missiles. The number of advisers to
remain here, which was rather small, was of no concern to anyone. This is
something new. They have invented this concern after 17 years. That is what
I am saying.

This is what Carter has to be asked. Let him tell the American people and
world public opinion all he knows. This is a situation dating back 17
years. Or is it that Cuba and the Soviet Union have taken new steps to
provoke a situation or to provoke a conflict? That is what I maintain.
Those who know me know that I do not lie.

[Question] Mr. President, at one time you described President Carter as an
honorable man and a man of God. Do you think you were wrong?

[Answer] I did not say he was a man of God. I said I had the impression
that Carter was an honest man whose upbringing was Christian. That was my
impression. After this episode...because these experiences have repeated
themselves. [sentence as heard] This has been repeated over and over again.
One day it is one thing--the MiG-23's, the crisis of the MiG-23's. Another
day it is because Cuba receives two submarines, I mean one submarine, that
is what we have received. That is the crisis of the submarines. Another
time is because the Katanguese enter into Shaba. That is the Shaba crisis.
This keeps repeating itself. Who puts all this together? Now, finally on
the eve of the sixth summit, the crisis of the Soviet military personnel in
Cuba.

This is not honest. I have the impression that Carter has not been honest
with world public opinion or American public opinion. Unless I believe, and
I do no, that Carter is a fool, a simpleton or an idiot who lets himself be
deceived so stupidly by anyone, then I must stop thinking that Carter is a
man of ethical principles. A sober-minded president does not play with
world peace for whatever reasons.

[Question] Mr. President, if President Carter is not a man of high
principles, does that mean that you will not be able to continue to deal
with him in normalizing relations between our two countries?

[Answer] Things are not that simple. I believed that there were people in
the United States who favored the improvement of relations with Cuba, and
that there were people who opposed the improvement of relations.
Unquestionably, in Carter's feelings, or among Carter's advisers, those who
have been struggling against the improvement of relations have won. It is
painful for me to say this about Carter because Carter had made friendly
gestures toward our country. We have also made them. We have made many
gestures. I have always referred to Carter with great respect. I do not
believe anything can be gained through insults or offenses.

However, a few days ago Carter attended an election rally and directed a
diatribe against Cuba, as well as a number of insults against Cuba. I have
seen how he has handled this problem. I believe there has been great
dishonesty and I feel Carter should clarify this confusion and state why he
has created this problem. I repeat, who are they going to make believe that
for 17 years the CIA with hundreds of spies, hundreds of aircraft flights,
and all types of electronic devices did not know about the military
installations we have here. They cannot make anyone believe that. If no,
ask the present CIA chief, or McCone, or one of those still alive. You are
newsman and everybody recognizes that North American newsmen are very
capable. Well, find all those people and ask them. You will come up with a
very interesting story. Ask everybody who might know something about what I
have said right here.

[Question] Mr. President, you have called on President Carter to clarify
the situation. What if he does not?

[Answer] That is his problem. I am going to say the following: This is
Carter's problem. It is not our problem. We are absolutely not at fault in
this problem. The Soviet Union is absolutely not at fault. What is to be
done? What are the intentions? Is it to humiliate, to demand? As of right
now I am saying we are not going to yield to any demand. We are not going
to be intimidated by any threat or anything.

We will always be here ready, as we have been for the past 20 years, for
everything-- ready to defend our country, to defend the rights of our
country, and to fight and die for our country. That is clear and that is
the only thing we will do.

If Carter goes crazy, that is your problem, a problem for the North
Americans and a tragedy for the entire world. But it would also be a great
tragedy for the United States. How are they going to get out of this
situation? I believe by telling the truth. If they do not tell all the
truth, the U.S. people and world public opinion should at least be told
that this problem has been artificially created. Will Carter have the
courage to admit this? If he does, I would sincerely admire him and I would
be very happy.

[Question] Mr. President, I asked you earlier about the face-to-face
meeting with Carter to discuss this situation and you said you would not
propose it. Will you consider addressing this problem before the United
Nations and, in addition, discussing the final communique of
accomplishments of the sixth summit before the United Nations?

[Answer] Regarding the first question, I would say that I am a free man and
can meet with whomever I please. I doubt Carter has the same freedom I
enjoy. I do not want to propose this. I explained the reasons why I cannot
propose that. Regarding the United Nations, even though it has not been
considered, a decision has not yet been reached on the timing and date for
my visit to the United Nations. A definitive decision has not yet been made
on this, but it should not be considered a dead issue.

[Question] Mr. President, could you tell us whether Cuba has facilities to
train troops in the People's Republic of Greneda?

[Answer] I do not want to answer that question. Properly speaking, we do
not have a training center. We have provided some modest and discreet
cooperation after the triumph of the revolution. We do not have a center as
such. There have been some Cubans there. There have been some Cubans to
give some aid and modest assistance.

[Question] Are you speaking of the military aid?

[Answer] Yes, yes.

[Question] Would this reach the point of building a training center?

[Answer] Actually, this has never been discussed, talked about or
contemplated. We gave this cooperation at the beginning after the triumph.
Now we are discussing overall cooperation with Grenada in the fields of
medicine, construction, fishing and agriculture, but only in those fields.
That is what we have talked about with them in recent months. I had the
opportunity to hold talks with Bishop and he was here during the sixth
summit. All talks have dealt with civilian cooperation.

[Question] Mr. President, could you tell us if you feel, if Cuba feels that
it needs Soviet military personnel here for defense or training purposes?

[Answer] We need them mainly for training purposes. If we can mobilize a
million men in case of war, the Soviet advisors, the Soviet personnel
amount to an insignificant number. They would be much less than one percent
of the total number of men we can mobilize.

[Question] One of the things that Mr. Brzezinski said several weeks ago
when he referred to your government as a puppet government was that Cuban
foreign policy has never been significantly different from Soviet foreign
policy. This is a question that you have been asked a number of times and
one of the answers, sometimes not from you but from other Cubans, is that
the 1962 missile crisis probably was an example of that, that perhaps the
Cubans would have maintained a stronger line than the Soviets did. Is there
any possibility that the current situation will be similar and that perhaps
you, who are so outraged by the incident, are not interested in any kind of
negotiation?

[Answer] You have spoken about many things. The first one is what
Brzezinski believes we are. We are not going to perform brain surgery to
look into Brzezinski's head and find out what he is thinking. I could ask
the following question: Why has so much attention been given to Cuba if
Cuba does not have any policy of its own? Why are they so concerned about
Cuba leading the nonalined movement? Why does Cuba today have support in
the midst of that movement? How can that be explained? We are a satellite
country.

These are old theories but I am not interested in those matters or wish to
pay attention to them. Those are merely rhetorical problems. This problem
she is talking about involves three countries, but not just three countries
since international interest are also involved. It is said this is a
microcrisis, a pseudocrisis, or whatever name you give it. Whether false or
real, it could place the SALT agreements in jeopardy. If this is true, I
believe this should be of concern to mankind in general, not only to the
United States, the Soviet Union and Cuba. What is the price that must be
paid for the SALT agreement? Must one be subjected to blackmail,
intimidation, and humiliation. On such a basis, Cuba's cooperation cannot
be counted upon. Regarding the line the Soviets will follow, you will have
to ask the Soviets. I cannot speak for them. But the Soviets have
demonstrated they are good friends of ours.

[Question] Mr. President, you have repeatedly spoken about the great
discretion with which Cubans has involved itself elsewhere in the Western
Hemispheres. [Castro interrupts] What hemisphere are you referring to, this
of America, this that the United States believes to be its private
property? Every time one hears a North American politicians, one reaches
the conclusion that they think they own Cuba and consider themselves to be
owners of America. We do not accept that thesis. All these things--the
blockade, U.S. hostility and the plans to assassinate leaders of the Cuban
revolution--are precisely due to the fact that we refuse to accept the
theory that Cuba is the private property of the United States. Concretely
speaking, what is he asking about discretion in cooperation? What does he
want to know?

[Question] What do you mean by discretion in Cuba's involving itself in the
internal affairs of other countries?

[Answer] We are not involved in the affairs of other countries. I have not
said that.

[Question] Then, what about Grenada?

[Answer] Grenada has an established legal government. Where is our
meddling? If that is meddling, then you are meddling in the affairs of 60
countries of the world at least. I do not know why it is meddling in our
case. How about your meddling in Japan? In Turkey? In Greece? In the FRG?
In England? In Spain? In Panama? In Puerto Rico? The list is endless.
[Castro sounds upset] I am not talking about hat. I am talking about
cooperating in a discreet manner, not a...but that is because we want to do
it that way. It is because it is more convenient that way. We do not want
to appear as troublemakers. We do not want to appear as creators of
problems and conflicts. That is the meaning of the word discretion. We have
been discreet and careful. We have not conducted a publicity campaign on
that.

[Question] Mr. President, back on the matter of Training Center No. 12. We
have not discussed one subject. Has there been a substantial difference in
the level and kind of armaments, particularly armored vehicles?

[Answer] In all training centers--and we have several in our country--the
equipment is renewed. What is training center going to do with a fifteenth
century harquebus? All these centers have a modern material capability and
it cannot be any other way.

[Question] Has there been an increase?

[Answer] There has been no increase. I would not call it increase. I cannot
say exactly because I am not following it that closely. I ask myself if the
equipment has been renewed, and I am sure that the equipment must be
renewed at all training centers. Are you the only ones asking the
questions?

[Question] Mr. President, is the Soviet military personnel stationed at
Training Center No. 12 the only ones being used as training personnel? Is
that Center No. 12 the only one or are there other areas where they are
stationed?

[Answer] I myself could not answer that question. We have many but I cannot
give you exact figures. That is why when you say Division No. 160, that is
conventional.

[Question] My question is this. Why is this center the target of the crisis
and not the others?

[Answer] The reason is that there is a greater number of personnel there. I
believe that is the reason. I know they are referring to that center. It is
clear that they are referring to it.

[Question] Is that the only base where the Soviet troops are stationed?

[Answer] What troops are you talking about?

[Question] I am talking about personnel. [laughter]

[Answer] You are talking about personnel. That is the only installation...
We have Soviet personnel in almost all installations, in greater or lesser
numbers. They supply the equipment. But there are not as many as you had in
Iran. I believe the United States had some 40,000 advisers there. Here
there are much, much, much less. I am not going to say because you want me
to reveal military information and I believe that I should not do the work
of the CIA. I have been asked...I was almost asked what type of tanks
Training Center No. 12 has. If that line of questioning continues, I will
be revealing military secrets doing the CIA's work.

[Question] [unheard]

[Answer] I believe he likes that center. It is a good center.

[Question] Could we say that they have good information on the quantity of
troops [stationed there]?

[Answer] Well, I do not know. You must ask them. According to them, they
are saying that they did not know that center existed for the past 17
years. I refuse to believe that. I believe it is a huge, colossal lie.

[Question] Mr. President, you also are the president of the nonalined
movement?

[Answer] Yes, and I have the dedicate great efforts to that, which is why I
cannot devote my attention exclusively to this problem. I cannot devote my
attention to Center No. 12 exclusively.

[Question] At the United Nations, some nonalined countries practically
violated some of the agreements adopted at the sixth summit connection with
Kampuchea. Do the nonalined countries plan to adopt any measures in this
respect?

[Answer] No, the nonalined countries do not adopt measures on these topics.
The nonalined countries adopt agreements by consensus, that is, when a
sufficiently large number, the overwhelming majority--not by voting half
plus one--when the overwhelming majority reaches agreement on something,
the agreements are adopted by consensus.

Regarding Kampuchea, the overwhelming majority adopted the agreement that
no one be sit. Those countries which adopted that position at the United
States, whether in favor of sitting the People's Republic of Kampuchea or
not sitting anybody--a majority of the nonalined countries--in that sense
they adopted the same position they adopted here. The group favoring Pol
Pot's regime was guilty of genocide and no one defended him--argued that
Pol Pot's regime should be represented. This was a minority.

That group joined the United States, China and others such as El Salvador,
Guatemala, Haiti--countries which are friends of the United States and
China--in all hemispheres. There were a group of nonalined countries, a
minority, which supported Pol Pot's representative. In reality, the
majority of the nonalined countries adopted the same position they adopted
here. On all these things I suppose the countries are free to act in one
way or another.

[Question] With respect to Lopez-Portillo's speech at the...

[Answer] Actually, I have only read a few reports. I do not have the text.
I do not have sufficient material. In recent days the wire agencies, above
all last night and this morning, have been mainly addressing this problem.

[Question] Why do you think repression has been intensified now in Puerto
Rico?

[Answer] I believe it is because the strength of the movement for the
independence of Puerto Rico is growing There is no time limit to this.
[Castro is referring to the press conference] How long have we been going?

[Question] Did the Soviet personnel stationed at Training Center No. 12
recently go on some type of maneuvers which would lead the U.S. Government
to reclassify them as combat troops?

[Answer] What does the U.S. Government have to do with the fact that the
personnel move around and go wherever they want to go? Logically, that
personnel must work with us and work with us in all our activities. What I
can really tell you is that the center is subordinated to our armed forces.
It is our armed forces that plan the training, maneuvers and so forth.

[Question] May I ask another question, Mr. President?

[Answer] Is it on military secrets also?

[Question] No. How do you propose that the issue of the Soviet presence be
settled? Mr. Gromyko suggested the other day that President Carter should
just drop the matter. Do you make that same suggestion?

[Answer] I believe Gromyko's suggestion is correct because the Soviets have
given a broad explanation to the North Americans. The Soviets have not
created any problem. The problem has been created by the U.S. Government.
Why should the U.S. Government create problems and others solve them? We
have enough problems of our own. Why should we solve those of the United
States? Let us see if you can help them. One more question.

[Question] We have very few opportunities to talk to you.

[Answer] I fear you might become bored and the conference lose interest. I
did not set any limits but I think that the more questions you make, the
more interest might be lost. What did you want to ask?

[Question] There have been unofficial charges made in El Salvador that your
armed forces have been training groups from that country here in Cuba.

[Answer] I think we will let the CIA do that work. I cannot do it. Not
training. Perhaps 17 years from today they will say that we had a training
center there.

[Question] Commander, why have you changed your opinion that the presidency
is in a state of crisis?

[Answer] Not the presidency. I said the reelection is in a state of crisis.

[Question] As chief of state of a country whose interest is to have good
relations with other countries, which do you consider would be better for
Cuba, a second Carter term or a new president?

[Answer] It has always been said that there would be more possibilities
with a second Carter term. I am not against Carter. Probably Carter would
be better from the point of view of improved relations in the future.
Perhaps there will be a Republican president. That is possible. It is said
that the Republican is the more warmongering party and the Democratic more
peaceful. I have also heard that the Democrats start the wars and the
Republicans make the peace. That was the case in the Korean war and other
instances. But, well, there is no dogma on this. It has also been said that
the Democrats are more flexible in economic matters and the Republicans are
supporters of protectionist laws. Now it has been proven that the
Democratic administration is more protectionist than before. It is acting
as a protectionist government. That is why it finds itself in conflict with
many Latin American countries. However, I an not on the side of the
Republicans. With respect to this Carter problem, I would sincerely be glad
if Carter has a second term. I am really sorry that Carter has been drawn
into this situation. I am really sorry. I am sorry for him and the rest. I
am sorry because there was no need for it. There was no need for it, I
repeat. There was no legal or moral base for this problem. How to get out
of this problem is a problem. But I believe that if Carter is courageous
and explains the truth, world public opinion and national opinion can be
oriented toward this question and made to understand that neither Cuba nor
the USSR have taken any steps to create a crisis. I believe that this is
the essential thing. A lady asks to make a last question.

[Question] Has this situation created a conflict of difficulties between
Cuba and the Soviet Union?

[Answer] Not at all. I do not believe it will create difficulties. Thank
you all. Did you have more questions? The truth is that you take advantage.
[Unidentified voice interrupts and says the conference has ended].
-END-


LANIC |