Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

IPU President Replies

PA160334 Paris AFP in Spanish 0223 GMT 16 Sep 81

[Text] Caracas, 15 Sep (AFP)--IPU [Inter-Parliamentry Union] President Rafael Caldera,
a Venezuelan, has rejected the terms of a speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro, who
harshly criticized the United States, Great Britain and indirectly, Venezuela, over the
question of El Salvador, on opening the IPU Conference in Havana.

VENPRES, the Venezuelan news agency, reported tonight that Caldera, a former Venezuelan
president and an international Christian Democratic leader, said:  "I cannot fail to
express the opinion that the speech (by Castro) was improper and unprecedented."

Caldera said that the speech did not adhere to IPU customs.  "The words of the host
chief of state are generally of welcome and perhaps (?express) an opinion, but they are
delivered in a tactful tone and in generalized terms," Caldera said.

After stating that he "would not hesitate to subscribe to the major portion" of the first
part of the Cuban leader's speech, in which he discussed the status of the Third World
and the need for a new international economic order, Caldera objected to the second part,
which was political in nature.

Caldera said that Castro made assessments that can be described as nothing other than
aggressive toward several countries represented in the IPU, "which will undoubtedly lead
spokesmen of those countries to respond in the course of the general debate, in exercise
of the basic freedom of the IPU."

He added that "there was a reference to the Venezuelan Government, without naming it, and
a rather direct reference to Christian Democracy, that I consider to be unjust and
inappropriate, because while he is entitled to his own beliefs on El Salvador, I defend
the honesty and the sincerity of the position of Christian Democracy in general and of
the Venezuelan Government in particular on this subject."

He added that for this reason, he felt obliged to refrain from applauding Castro at the
end of his speech.  He merely got to his feet as a sign of respect for the host country
and the chief of state.

VENPRES indicated that during the first debates of the 68th IPU Conference being held in
the Cuban capital there will be replies from the representatives of the countries goaded
by Castro.

In Venezuela's case, the agency indicated, Deputy Oswaldo Alvarez Pay [who is also a
Christian Democrat], immediately took action to be included on the list of speakers for
the plenary session tomorrow.