Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA071552 Paris AFP in Spanish 1401 GMT 7 Aug 83

[By Alfredo Munoz-Usain and Jean-Pierre Bousquet]

[Text] Havana, 7 Aug (AFP) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro has said that he
is concerned that, despite the "extremely positive" work of the Contadora
Group, "the need" to solve the problems of El Salvador "has not been
clearly defined," adding that to forget it "would practically be a

In an exclusive interview with a small group of French journalists, he also
indicated that "unfortunately," the U.S. Government "is mistaken" and
"seems to believe" that the recent statements of Nicaragua and Cuba in
favor of negotiating peace in the region "are due to the policy of force"
of the United States.

He said that"there has been some change in Washington's rhetoric" since the
Contadora Group's Cancun declaration and the Nicaraguan and Cuban
statements about Central America, but "there has been no change in
actions," and the so-called maneuvers are "a show of force in Central

The Cuban president spoke for almost an hour with representatives of the
French news media in the Palace of the Revolution on Saturday, in a lucheon
that be held for French External Relations Minister Claude Cheysson. He
insisted that the Salvadoran revolutionaries are "the key to the problem"
of a Central American solution since "solutions on the basis of
capitulations or unilateral concessions can never be expected."

Castro, whom [French] External Relations Minister Cheysson described
earlier on his last day in Cuba as "a man whose name has been written in
history," stressed to the journalists that the world economic crisis has "a
common aspect" f or the underdeveloped and industrialized countries," he
reiterated. "If the Third World 's economic problems are not solved, the
industrialized countries' economic problems will not be solved," because
"the great majority of the underdeveloped countries cannot pay their debts"
and "the limitless market of the industrialized world is the developing
world," the Cuban president said.

Castro added: "The world economy is a ship adrift: It does not have a pilot
except for the United States, which tries to protect its own interests."
Regarding U.S. ties with its allies, he said: "The North Americans are so
powerful that (Western) governments are forced to handle their relations
(with the United States) carefully, but in all the industrialized countries
there is a deep-down resentment against that (U.S.) economic policy."

In this sense, he praised the purpose of the tour that External Relations
Minister Cheysson concluded here yesterday after visiting Brazil, Bolivia,
and Colombia: In those countries "the French delegation made efforts to
find common points in the economic interests of the Third World and
industrialized Europe," he said. As an example of common positions with
Cuba, he cited "the interest of France -- not a great power but a large
power -- and that of the EEC in general in the search for a negotiated
political solution in Central America, in preventing the complication and
worsening of the problem there, and in preventing U.S. intervention in
Central America." In this way, "we are struggling both in the interest of
the Central American peoples and of the United States," he commented.

According to the journalists, Castro renounced the benefits Cuba could
obtain from the United States by turning its back on its Salvadoran
counterparts, and used his international political influence to prevent a
"betrayal" of the Salvadoran guerrillas. They are the "essential
conditions" for a negotiated solution to the Central American crisis, he
stated emphatically.

On the Central American issue, the Contadora Group "can greatly help, and
it is making an extremely positive contribution," he said. But he admitted
that "I am worried that it does not address the Salvadoran problem. It has
not spoken. I am worried that the Contadora Group has not clearly defined
the need for a solution to the Salvadoran problem." "There is danger that,
since the U.S. Government has transferred attention to Nicaragua, the
Salvadoran problem might be forgotten," the Cuban president noted.

"We cannot even think of achieving a negotiated political solution for
Central America without achieving a negotiated political solution for El
Salvador; if we forgot about El Salvador, this would practically represent
treason against the Salvadoran people," he stressed.

Castro added that the two situations cannot be compared because the
struggle in El Salvador is "between people within the country," and in
Nicaragua there exist "border conflicts which are organized and supported
by the CIA, in a so-called covert war that is anything but covert." "Even
though (the Salvadoran guerrillas) are stronger than ever, their sense of
responsibility toward their country and Central America sincerely moves
them to seek formulas for achieving a negotiated political solution," he

Concerning Cuban military advisers in Nicaragua, he explained: "We are not
the ones who have to decide. This is Nicaragua's problem. A country which
offers collaboration to another cannot negotiate it (with third countries)
We help Angola, and we will never negotiate this collaboration.
Nevertheless, we accept that countries to which we offer our collaboration
may negotiate it (with others)." "It would be disloyal" if Cuba negotiated
it, he said. "The Salvadoran revolutionaries or the Nicaraguans may
negotiate about these problems. We do not negotiate about them. The most we
can do is give them moral support during the negotiations," he stressed.

Regarding the recently revealed proposals of Nicaragua to negotiate on a
multilateral basis, and of Cuba to support any final agreement, Castro
stated that "unfortunately the U.S. leaders reached the conclusion that
this was due to their policy of force," and this "is a big mistake."

"I am absolutely convinced that Nicaragua will never give in to a policy of
force and Cuba will never give in to a policy of force. The search for a
solution can never imply, under any circumstances, unilateral concessions
by the revolutionaries, by Nicaragua, or by Cuba," he said adamantly. He
also stated: "We have viewed with satisfaction the contacts between
(President Ronald Reagan's special envoy) Stone and the Salvadoran
revolutionaries, and the Nicaraguans. If there is a meeting between former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the Nicaraguans, very good. If there
is a meeting with the Salvadorans, even better yet."

The meeting between Richard Stone and Salvadoran revolutionary Ruben Zamora
took place in Bogota at the initiative of Colombian President Belisario
Betancur, whom Castro praised when he evaluated the Contadora Group's

Even though Castro admitted "there has been a slight change of tone in
(U.S.) rhetoric, in fact its policy remains the same" toward the region. He
considers describing as maneuvers air and naval activities and the presence
of 5,000 U.S. soldiers in Central America "an astute, subtle maneuver to
disguise what represents a deployment of forces and troops."

Castro, in an unusual theoretical statement, made a slight correction to
Marxism when he stated that this ideology classically considered
nationalism as positive; but in present times, "we must think not only in
national but in international, in world terms." "Nationalism is fine in
certain cases, but in some cases it is wrong," he asserted. "It is still a
progressive idea when a country defends its national interests against a
foreign power," but "it annoys me to see politicians entrenched behind the
banner of national interests," he added.

The subject of human rights was brought up after certain publications --
which Castro alleged are being financed by the CIA -- appeared in France,
made by Armando Valladares, a Cuban who was released at the request of
French President Francois Mitterrand after being imprisoned for 20 years.
[sentence as received] In this concern, Castro said this concept was not
appropriate regarding Valladares. "He was not a paralytic and he is not a
poet," he said. "He was a policeman for former Cuban dictator Fulgencio
Batista." Castro lastly compared him to "a collaborator of the Cuban
equivalent of the Gestapo."