Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



PA032332 Havana PRELA in English 2235 GMT 3 Aug 83 -- FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Havana, Aug 4 [Date as received] (PL) -- Cuba announced its support
to withdraw its 200 military advisors in Nicaragua as long as it forms part
of the general solutions to the Central American conflicts, with the
approval of the Sandinista Government, engaging all the sides involved.

This was expressed by Cuban President Fidel Castro in a long talk held with
U.S. journalists during a reception on July 28 to celebrate the thirtieth
anniversary of the attack on the Moncada garrison, in Santiago de Cuba.

The head of state warned that his government could not decide on these
matters because "we are not directly involved." "I think -- he said -- that
the decisions and the concessions would have to be made by those directly
involved in the conflict."

Fidel Castro insisted that Cuba cannot adopt unilateral decisions on the
withdrawal of the advisors, some of them being military school professors.
"We cannot make concessions; the ones who could discuss this are the
Nicaraguans. But if they reach an agreement with the United States on the
withdrawal of all the advisors in Central America, we would support it," he
added. He voiced that if an agreement is reached on this issue, with the
Nicaraguans' support, "we would support it a hundred percent."

The Cuban top leader pointed out that the declarations of the Sandinista
Government on the topic expressed that any kind of topic could be analyzed,
on arms, advisors, but on an equitative and honorable basis, without
unilateral conditions. He highlighted that any kind of political solution
in the region has to include a negotiated political solution in El
Salvador; if not, there would not be an honorable solution for one of the
sides, for Nicaragua's or El Salvador's friends. Fidel Castro said that the
key to this is the U.S. disposition to support a negotiated solution. If
the United States sincerely backs the idea of a negotiated political
solution, it would surely be reached.

The Cuban President expressed his support to the negotiations carried out
by the Contadora Group (Columbia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela) in Central
America and warned that the reach any kind of agreement on the Salvadoran
conflict, it would be necessary to gather representatives from the
country's revolutionaries, its government, and its army. In El Salvador,
like in Honduras, those who really rule are the military, supported by the
United States, he pointed out.

Fidel Castro said that his country cannot engage itself to give a military
reply to the United States if it persists in its armed aggressions against
Central America, but it would bring a reaction from all Latin America -- he
highlighted. "Cuba cannot speak in terms of a power, and will not try to
equal its forces to the U.S. ones," he added. "We would try to express our
solidarity through all possible means," highlighted the Cuban leader.

The intention to crush the Nicaraguan revolution and the Salvadoran
revolutionary movement by force would spread that conflict throughout
Central America. It would be like a cancer in the area, pointed out Fidel
Castro. "I think -- he added -- that it would create a serious conflict
between the Latin American people and the United States."

In the case that Honduras directly attacks Nicaragua, Cuba has not made a
decision on it. "We have to wait for the events and then make the
decisions," he said.

"If Cuba is attacked, we will resist, there is no problem. We are ready to
resist attacks, to resist an attrition war, bombing, and we are ready to
face the worst, which would be an invasion. We are even ready to struggle
under an occupied country."

"The United States would not only have to face our armed forces, our
conventional means, it would have to face our most powerful means, the

Fidel Castro said that he does not believe that the Central American
conflict endangers world peace more than the placing of 572 middle-range
nuclear missiles in Western Europe, as was suggested by several reporters
attending the reception.

He also pointed out the way in which the Western press has handled the
presence of the Cuban advisors in Nicaragua, adding that it was an example
of the distortion of information, for they have mentioned amounts around
three to seven thousand advisors, when we really have 200. "We do have in
Nicaragua more than 2,000 teachers, of whom at least 50 percent are women.
We have 500 doctors in Nicaragua and also constructors who are helping