Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19811116
-YEAR-
1981
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
INTERVIEW
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
FIDEL MEETS WITH NATIONAL PRESS ON RED SUNDAY
-PLACE-
HAVANA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA JUVENTUD REBELDE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19820226
-TEXT-
FIDEL MEETS WITH NATIONAL PRESS ON RED SUNDAY

Havana JUVENTUD REBELDE in Spanish 16 Nov 81 p 6

[Comments by Fidel Castro to the Cuban press, Havana, November 1981]

[Text] Fidel's Statements to the National Press After Completing His Red
Sunday Tour

Fidel: I was at the Havana Center hospital, which will be ready by the
beginning of next year. Then I toured the Havana Center pediatric unit; and
later, the El Cerro pediatric unit. I saw considerable progress in the
construction being carried out there, at the polyclinic. I toured Cuban
Steel afterwards. Nearly all the workers were at the center, where there
was a group of volunteers. Pedrito Miret, Joel Domenech, Pepin Naranjo and
another group of comrades were there; but they were working, producing,
running shifts and doing different jobs. Later, we visited the "19 de
Abril" unit.

Apparently, this is going to be a good year for vegetables, if there is no
bad weather such as we had last year; because last year the bad weather
wiped out the entire first part of the work that had been done. Apparently,
this is going to be a good year for vegetables. We visited the "Heroic
Vietnam" unit, and then paid a visit here to the Council of State offices.
But I found that they were working in my office too; from the ladders that
I noticed there, I could see that they were making some physical
adjustments.

In the morning, it started raining, drizzling, a nuisance; and the traffic
was snarled. We had to travel on part of Rancho Boyeros Avenue, and the
traffic was dreadful. Some of those who had been mobilized were soaked as
well; a few were wearing raingear. It rained in the morning, and it seemed
as if it would be a rainy day; but later it cleared up, and the weather was
wonderful in in interior part of the province.

There was considerable mobilization everywhere, but the traffic was
snarled.

Later, when I wanted to go to "19 de Abril", I left Cubana Steel, and had
to go by way of Marianao, and then take the highway leading to San Antonio
de los Banos, after entering via Bejucal, to reach "19 de Abril". I had to
make a very extensive detour, because it was impossible to get through
there.

Reporter: (Concerning the start of the sugar harvest).

Fidel: It will begin with one sugar mill, the "America" sugar mill; just
one. If this mobilization were in February, for example, all the grinding
records could have been broken. The sugar harvest must begin this very day
at the "America Libre" sugar mill. But there are several which will begin
in November, and the majority in December. We shall see whether we can make
a sugar harvest as good as last year's. All the measures have been adopted;
a great effort has been made. I am not going to say how many tons we shall
produce....

Reporter: Could it be said that this mobilization today summarizes this
entire mobilization process that has taken place recently?

Fidel: Yes, it is true; I think that this spirit has contributed to today's
mobilization. But, generally speaking, these mobilizations have by now
become traditional, they have become historical. And I remember other
occasions when it was very strong. It is quite difficult to assess
differences. What one does observe is a very aggressive state of mind.

Reporter: I meant it in the sense that I think that the bases at the
present time are....

Fidel: We must be prepared for the two battles: we must be prepared to face
an attack, and we must be prepared to face the production tasks. We must be
prepared for war and for peace! I believe that an enormous effort has been
made in that direction during the past few weeks.

What newspaper are you from?

Reporter: I am from television news. We arrived a little late....

Fidel: But it is not your fault, it is ours; because I never remember
reporters. I have great appreciation for them, but I don't remember them
when I go on a tour. When I left early, I didn't think about the reporters.
It may be a little shyness that one has on a day like this, and that I
don't want to show myself. That is why I almost never notify the reporters.

It is also becoming somewhat traditional that the reporters participate.
But I criticize myself, and I promise you that, next year, I shall let you
know early, so that you may arrive on time.

I suffer when I see the cameraman with that equipment which weighs so much.
It is a hard Red Sunday. And what other newspapers are represented here?

Reporter: GRANMA, JUVENTUD REBELDE and AIN [National News Agency].

Fidel: Were you at the "19 de Abril" plantations? They are well under way.
If there is no unusual bad weather, they should have vegetables early this
year. Because, last year, that bad weather forced them to plant everything
again, at the end of November and in December. And for that reason there
was a large accumulation of potatoes and vegetables at a certain time. What
is ideal is being able to do the planting early, so as to prolong as much
as possible the period for distribution of the vegetables. But last year
nearly all the harvests were combined.

I was worried about this hurricane which reached half the island, and then
shifted upward, and later headed northeast, passing through Camaguey. It
did some damage here. But there is no question that when those hurricanes
travel westward they do more damage, because they affect the tobacco,
vegetable and banana crops. They do tremendous damage. Those hurricanes
which appear around here in November, with heavy rainfall, do great damage
to these basic plantations. In Camaguey, they don't have this kind of
tobacco plantation, nor such extensive plantations of vegetables as Havana
does. They pass through cane-growing areas; and they do some damage to the
cane. The greatest flooding occurred at the Candido Gonzalez, Haiti and
Batalla de las Guasimas sugar mills.

But those people have a terrific spirit. They are determined to fulfill the
sugar plan in each one of those sugar mills. I have also been told that the
workers are working 24 hours there, so as not to let the start-up lag. They
also protected the engines and machines as much as possible, and the damage
in the industry was minimal, although the water penetrated some sugar
mills. And there were some towns where they traveled by boat.

They are making a great effort, because it is their intention not to reduce
the sugar production plan in those sugar mills struck by the hurricane and
the floods. But that hurricane could have done more damage there. We had it
in 1979, when even the airport was cut off, during the Conference of
Nonaligned Nations. Last year, we had a hurricane, a storm here too, which
caused dreadful damage. Imagine, it wiped out the tobacco seed beds. They
had to make new tobacco seed beds; and yet in Pinar del Rio they had a
record crop. It is to be expected that in a year such as this, the crops
will be better than those of last year. And every time the hurricanes come,
they destroy the bananas in Havana.

At least this year, thus far, we have not had any severe storms or
hurricanes here in the west. The year's rainfall was not abundant. We could
say that the rain was light, far lighter than last year, for the cane. But
the effort made in the cultivation and cleaning of cane was greater than
ever. And that offset the effects. For example, during May it did not rain
as a rule. It rained in very few locations during May. In June, it rained.
July was dry. The rain was better in August and September; but October was
quite dry. In general, the rainfall has been below the historical average;
and despite that, the cane has progressed well. I don't think that the
sugar production plans will be upset.

Reporter: The cultivation work on the cane....

Fidel: Yes, yes, this year it was better than ever; and next year it will
be even better; because this year deep cultivation was applied to 20,000
caballerias. Next year, deep cultivation will be applied to all the shoots
where the soil allows for it; deep cultivation will be applied to about
70,000 caballerias. The earth is compacted with tractors, carts, trucks and
harvesting machines; and the output is raised when it is possible to apply
deep cultivation to the cane.

At Cubana Steel they were working hard on the program for the Bayamo type
subsoil machines (they are called Bayamo-81). There are 1,000 Bayamo-81
subsoil machines, and 1,000 Mayari subsoil machines, and 1,000 chaff
turners are also being made; because where the green cane is cut by hand, a
large layer of chaff is formed, and the subsoil machines cannot penetrate.
New varieties have been planted, and it was necessary to substitute over
33,000 caballerias planted with the Barbados 4362 variety. And that was
done in 2 years. Really, no cane-producing country in the world could
eliminate the rust in the length of time it took us to eliminate the rust
from the cane: in 2 years. That is why we had to have a large spring
planting this year, on over 30,000 caballerias. Now, the cold planting will
be under the target, somewhat under the target, because nearly all the land
was used for the spring planting. And so when the rain begins, there are
some sections of the country, for example, in southern Camaguey, and some
parts of Matanzas, in nearly all the provinces there are areas wherein it
is impossible to prepare the soil in the spring; it has to be prepared in
the dry season. That is why the cold planting will be under the target.
But, in my opinion, that will not affect the supply of cane next year. With
all the cultivation that is being done to the cane, and considering the
fact that the year may possibly be a normal one, it isn't as if this were
below the historical averages. In 1983, we should have all the cane that
has been planned. Well, I would say that we shall have slightly more than
the cane that has been planned for 1983, as things are progressing,and as
work is being done in cane agriculture.

Unlike last year, the situation that we have is that the price of sugar
last year was three times higher than at present. The prices are a third.
Last year, there was the additional incentive of good prices; but this year
there is an indispensable requirement: We cannot produce one ton less than
planned. There is also an important program for saving fuel in cane
agriculture; and work is also being done in all branches of the economy to
cut fuel consumption, because there are still possibilities of cutting fuel
consumption.

Despite all the difficulties, we must proceed forward, despite the world
economic crisis and sugar prices. There may be many countries which cannot
overcome those difficulties. No one knows what is going to happen. And, at
the moment, the Yankees are not overcoming theirs. Quite the contrary: the
news arriving every day indicates a decline in the economy; they are in a
phase of recession, and the prospects do not seem very encouraging for
them.

Reporter: Commander, surely the situation that has been created in the
world, regarding solidarity with Cuba based on the imperialist threats
against our country, is noteworthy because of its intensity.

Fidel: It has been intense; it has been extensive; it has been great. And I
think that it has played a major role. It might be said that we uncovered
the Yankees' plans, based on the lies that they had been fabricating. I
didn't want to talk much about politics today; I preferred to talk about
agriculture, about Red Sunday. But since you have asked me, I think that it
is quite important that we discovered what they had been planning, and that
we have exposed it, and unmasked it, as well as putting them in an
embarrassing position. Because, on the 24th, I spoke about that article
published in the American press concerning the alleged shipment of 500-600
special troops to Nicaragua. That is a big lie, a huge lie, from top to
bottom, total, absolute. Not a single man was sent with special troops.
That was never considered.

They had obviously been fabricating this type of lie to implement their
plans, to seek among the American public and international public opinion a
justification for their aggressive action in Central America and against
Cuba. And I exposed it on the 24th; I said that it was unquestionably a
strategem, and that in this instance they had not dared to make official
statements, but had used newsmen to do that.

Nevertheless, barely 72 hours later, we learned that, although there was no
official statement from the government, but one supposedly from newsmen,
the secretary of state had begun communicating with certain governments to
inform them (important governments, of important countries), to inform them
of this: that Cuba had sent 500-600 special troops, and that they would
have to adopt measures, etc.

I didn't know that on the 24th. It may be said that, on the 24th, I guessed
their plan. But only 72 hours later we had confirmation of the fact that
Mr. Haig had communicated with certain important governments, informing
them of what the newsmen had been saying.

In other words, the newsmen did not invent anything. It was the State
Department that gave this information to the newsmen. And, the State
Department had already been directing this.

It was then that we challenged them; because in the messages to those
governments Haig claimed that he had evidence. So we said: Show the
evidence!

We have not said which governments they were, because it is they who must
say whether it is true or false that they informed certain governments. But
they did not dare to deny it. Some spokesmen have claimed that they have no
information as to whether certain governments were notified. But we do know
this, and we have said so clearly. What we are waiting for is for them to
say whether it is true or false that the notified certain governments. Of
course, they cannot deny it; nor can they prove (because it is an absolute
lie) that we have sent 500-600 men as special troops, they claim, in the
second half of September. In the second half of September, those who
arrived in Nicaragua were teachers. The teachers traveled between 16
September and 16 October. There were l2,000 teachers: 1,019 women and 981
men; the contingent of 2,000 teachers who returned at the beginning of
classes.

But we have all the rips, the names of all the teachers, where they are
from and where they were located in Nicaragua. We have all that information
here, ready to see whether they say anything.

So the challenge that we made to them has put them in an embarrassing
situation: Show the evidence! Say whether it is true or not that what
appeared in the newspaper in the words of those two newsmen was reported by
them to other important governments. Well, they cannot answer; they are
silent. But we had already caught them in other lies: the lie that we had
sent advisers to El Salvador, the lie that we were redistributing the
weapons that we received here for the country's defense, for the
Territorial Troops Militias, in Central America. Those were other lies
which we had already challenged previously. After the Inter-Parliamentary
Conference, we challenged them. And then they were "cooking" the brew; and
we discovered it, we exposed it and we demoralized them. They had to keep
their mouths shut and remain like liars, like unrealiable people; because
of the fact that they gave that information to certain governments, and now
those governments may say: "Tell me, are you kidding me?"

But they did not only give the information; they also claimed that they had
evidence. And we have asked them two things: Where is the evidence? Give
the evidence! And, secondly, is it true or not true that you informed
certain governments, accompanying the report with threats against Cuba? And
we caught them in the air with the lies; they are completely in the air.

And there are many people in the United States who realize that all this is
a lie; so, in a way, we have thwarted their maneuver.

They will continue to contrive excuses; they will continue to contrive
lies. They had all of this already devised, and planned. Now they are in
the air. In addition to which they are finding not only solidarity with
Cuba in connection with this concrete issue, but also growing resistance to
the United States' foreign policy in Europe and everywhere. People realize
that this adventurist policy could lead to a war. And what is most likely,
if it continues, if there is no resistance, if there is no denunciation, if
there is no opposition from world opinion, is that it will end in a war.

You observe the demonstrations in Europe, the universal opposition being
triggered by this policy of the United States, added to the real fact that
this administration's economic policy is a disaster. All the promises that
they made about a balanced budget have had to be abandoned. There are some
who estimate that the deficit in the United States' budget in 1982 will be
$100 billion. Inflation is continuing; the recession is continuing.
Internal contradictions have been created within the administration itself.

The one who is the very leading creator of this economic policy, who was
director of the budget and planning, Stockman, stated that this was all
nonsense and would not solve anything at all.

But that is what we said, as early as the Congress, in the Report of the
Second Congress. I stated that none of those problems would be solved, but
that they were dangerous. And later also, on other occasions, we made this
statement; and events are showing that those problems will not be solved
with the policy of fabulous weapon expenditures, and a reduction of taxes
for the rich, with the theory that this will increase investments and will
reactivate the economy. They are caught between inflation and recession.

They apparently thought that this was an easy problem. And then they had
inflation, recession and an arms race. So, they cannot solve the economic
problems, which will continue to worsen.

Hence, there is a contradiction within the United States itself, and there
is international opposition. This administration's economic policy is
already undergoing great discreditation, not only within the United States,
but also throughout the world. The United States' foreign policy is
encountering increasing resistance from the nations of the world. So,
things are not turning out as they had imagined.

We must continue working as we are working now, in both directions:
strengthening defense, coping with the economic problems, improving
efficiency and making a maximum effort to be in a position to face the
threats-of war as well as the problems of peace, without creating illusions
for ourselves, nor being over-confident.

Because I can state, on this occasion, that we have thwarted their
maneuver. That is what I can say. And we have put them in an embarrassing
situation. And they have not yet answered the challenge. Now we must be
heedful to see what new stratagem they will contrive, what new lies they
will devise. But there has been simply a great international solidarity:
All progressive people, and democratic people, all without exception,
everywhere, have expressed their intention of supporting us. They have
repeated the threats. When Haig appeared in Congress, he reiterated the
threats against Central America, against Cuba. When the representatives
asked him to tell whether or not there were plans, whether he would give
assurance that they would not carry out a policy of destabilization in
Nicaragua, he said that he would not, that he could not give that
assurance.

There are some who also think that they are attempting to intimidate
Nicaragua, and Cuba. That would be the greatest foolishness in the world.
After 23 years of threats, we could still say that they have not succeeded
in intimidating anyone here.

So they are wasting their time if they really imagine that they are going
to intimidate anyone.

But, anyway, this has been said, among other things, and many things have
been said. But when faced with the questions from the American congressmen
in the House, or I think it was the House Foreign Relations Committee, Haig
had to be unmasked.

Reporter: Recently, there were also statements from the official who deals
with Cuba.

Fidel: Yes, that official who deals with Cuba was speaking there for Costa
Rica....

Reporter: He even came into contradiction....

Fidel: Let me tell you, what each one of them says is in contradiction with
what the other says. Because Reagan made some more moderate statements on
the 10th. For the first time since he has been in the presidency, he
changed his language; he seemed less aggressive, less militaristic. That
was on the 10th. And he stated that he had no plans to send American troops
anywhere in the world. Of course, that could be subtle, "sending troops."
He could send warships; he could send aircraft, etc.

But, anyway, it must be said that Reagan's statement on the 10th was a more
moderate statement than those which he has been making.

Nevertheless, on the 12th, Haig said quite the opposite of that. With
regard to the Carribbean, Central America, Nicaragua and Cuba, he said in
Congress quite the opposite of what Reagan said. Furthermore, a certain
Enders who, I think, is undersecretary of foreign relations for Latin
America, made some warlike statements in Quito. At the same time, Frechette
spoke there. I read about them. He made some foolish remarks, and that was
all. But they also have military delegations touring Latin America; because
this entire situation coincided with the meeting of the commanders of Latin
American armies in Washington. And the United States has obviously been
attempting to seek the complicity of certain Latin American governments,
and has been nurturing the idea of using troops from Latin American armies
(troops from the Chilean Army, the Argentine Army, and others) in Central
America. It has been attempting to seek troops from South American armies
to send into Central America. That is one of the notions of these people.

And I believe that they are certainly encountering considerable resistance,
except for certain governments which also apparently feel rather honored
that the United States wants to use them for mercenary troops in Central
America. But, anyway what are they going to solve thereby? What they will
do is start a prairie fire. They will create an unsolvable problem if it
occurs to them to go seeking troops in South America to intervene in
Central America. They will create some very serious problems.

I don't think that any of that will solve the problems of Latin America nor
of Central America. Unquestionably, the only sensible and wise thing would
be to back the position held today by many countries, namely, to seek a
negotiated political solution to the problems of El Salvador and Central
America. And that is the position upheld by Mexico and France, the only
wise, sensible solution possible for that situation. It is not intervention
nor war, because nothing is resolved through that means. They will worsen
all the problems.

The only sensible position that they could assume is to back that position,
and seek a negotiated solution, a negotiated political solution, among all
sides. That is the only way. The other one means igniting the continent,
without discussion.

Thus far, they have been reluctant to support a political solution, and
want a military solution: to crush the revolutionaries to the very last
one, and eliminate them. And that is impossible. That has never happened,
and it never can happen.

Well, on this Red Sunday, you have made me talk a little about
international policy as well. I had intended to talk about production and
agriculture. But it's all right.

2909 CSO: 3010/802
-END-


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