Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA262036 Panama City Domestic Service in Spanish 1856 GMT 26 Jul 83

[Text of letter sent by Cuban President Fidel Castro to Panamanian
President Ricardo de la Espriella; released by the Panamanian Presidency's
General Directorate of Information; date of letter not given -- read by
Jose Hernandez]

[Text] Your Excellency Ricardo de la Espriella, president of Panama.

Your Excellency, Mr President: I have the pleasure of replying to the
letter sent by you and the other presidents who make up the Contadora Group
when you sent me the Cancun Declaration. Thank you for sending me your
esteemed 17 July letter and the accompanying declaration that you signed on
that date in Cancun.

On addressing me as president of the Cuban Council of State, you have
stressed our position as a Latin American country, closely identified with
your own culture and traditions. We feel that those historical links give
us a permanent obligation toward everything that is the concern of that
which Jose Marti called our America.

In this sense, the profound crisis currently being experienced by Central
America and the worsening of the conflicts in that area which led you to
meet in Cancun in search of concerted agreements that will make possible
the guaranteeing of regional peace have also been the constant concern of
Cuba in these recent dramatic years.

We are sincere advocates of having confrontation replaced by dialogue. We
have given our unreserved support to a negotiated solution with the
participation of all the representative forces in the war that is affecting
El Salvador, and we have joined the efforts of those who feel it is urgent
that regional and bilateral negotiations be carried out to solve the
conflicts taking place in the Central American area, where the threat of
aggression against Nicaragua with the support or the intervention of
factors alien to the region has increasingly become more sinister.

In the exercise of that political position, Cuba has given full support to
the Contadora Group's efforts. We consider the declaration that you issued
on 17 July in Cancun as an important effort to resolve the problems that
affect Central America and that concern all Latin America and the
Caribbean, and which due to their possible dangerous repercussions have
become an international concern.

On behalf of Cuba, I salute and share the objective reflected by the
document, and I agree with you that if one does not want to accept the
alternative of having the factors that could lead to more dangerous armed
confrontations increase, one must resolutely strengthen the path of
political understanding by contributing constructive solutions. I endorse
the idea, which you reiterate, that the use of force does not solve, but
only worsens the underlying tensions.

This is why I confirm that Cuba can be counted on for negotiated solutions
that are based on the principles of nonintervention, self-determination,
equal sovereignty of states, cooperation for economic and social
development, and the peaceful solution of controversies, solutions which
must be the free and authentic expression of the people's will.

Messrs Presidents, Cuba attributes exceptional importance to the public
position adopted by the Nicaraguan FSLN National Directorate regarding the
Cancun Declaration. We salute the Nicaraguan gesture of accepting that the
negotiations promoted by the Contadora Group, which the FSLN and the
Government Junta have supported from the beginning, begin multilaterally,
thus changing Nicaragua's position that the negotiations be preceded by
bilateral solutions of some problems that so demand it.

We also view as a worthy contribution the fact that Nicaragua not only has
listed the six basic points which, in the framework of Contadora, could
permit beginning on the sure path to solutions acceptable to all, but that
it also expressed the decision to discuss, in the measure that advances are
made toward the solution of those points, other problems that are also
included in the Contadora Group's agenda.

As far as Cuba is concerned, I can assure Messrs Presidents that any
solution that is acceptable to Nicaragua, to the Salvadoran revolutionary
forces, and to those who in Central America are making efforts to take a
definite path to national independence and democratic transformations, will
be accepted and supported by our country.

The commitments that Cuba is willing to assume do not have any other limit
than the decisions of the governments and peoples of Central-America to
whom its solidarity is committed. For this it will be necessary that the
respective commitments be assumed by those about whom Simon Bolivar said
150 years ago that they seemed to be destined by providence to plague
America with misery in the name of liberty.

Cuba is willing to cooperate with everything that contributes to an
honorable peace, to the necessary social and economic progress, and to the
freedom of our peoples.

On expressing my support for the noble objectives of the Cancun Declaration
and the efforts of the Contadora Group that you have inspired, I remain at
your service, Messrs Presidents, to contribute to any initiative in which
the presence and action of Cuba may be useful.


Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, president of the Cuban Councils of State and