Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Castro Opening Speech

FL291646 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1459 GMT 29 Oct 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the opening session of the 39th CEMA
meeting in Havana's Palace of Conventions -- live]

[Text] Esteemed comrade chiefs and members of delegations from CEMA
member-countries, esteemed guests, comrades: It is a great honor for Cuba
to host the 39th CEMA meeting. The presence among us of numerous chiefs of
governments of CEMA member-countries as well as other outstanding political
and govermental leaders of the socialist community denotes the profound
significance of this meeting.

The fact that the council meets outside the European area, where CEMA
emerged 35 years ago, underlines the universality of our organization,
which has been confirmed by the participation in this meeting, as full
members of observers, guests from Latin America, Asia, and Africa as well
as from prestigious economic organizations of our region.

With affection and friendship, on behalf of our people, party, and
government, I greet all delegations.

As is customary in our meetings and observing the alphabetical order of the
countries represented here, we fraternally welcome the delegation of the
People's Republic of Bulgaria, headed by Comrade Grisha Filipov, member of
the Bulgarian Communist Party Central Committee Polithuro and chairman of
the Council of Ministers; the delegation of the Hungarian People's
Republic, headed by Comrade Istvan Sarlos, member of the Hungarian
Socialist Workers Party Central Committee Polithuro and deputy premier, the
delegation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, headed by Comrade To Huu,
member of the Vietnam Communist Party Central Committee Polithuro and vice
chairman of the Council of Ministers; the delegation of the GDR, headed by
Comrade Willi Stoph, member of the German Socialist Unity Party Central
Committee Polithuro and chairman of the Council of Ministers; the
delegation of the Mongolian People's Republic, headed by Comrade Batmonh,
secretary general of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party Central
Committee and chairman of the Council of Ministers; the delegation of the
Polish People's Republic, headed by Comrade Zbigniew Messner, member of the
Polish United Workers Party Central Committee Polithuro and deputy chairman
of the Council of Ministers; the delegation of the Socialist Republic of
Romania, headed by Comrade Constantin Dascalescu, member of the Romanian
Communist Party Central Committee Political Executive Committee and
premier; the delegation of the USSR, headed by Comrade Nikolay
Aleksandrovich Tikhonov, member of the CPSU Central Committee Polithuro and
chairman of the Council of Ministers; and the delegation of the CSSR,
headed by Comrade Lubomir Strougal, member of Czechoslovak Communist Party
Central Committee Presidium and premier of the government.

As a country associated with CEMA, the delegation of the Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, headed by Comrade Borisav Srebric, vice president
of the Federal Executive Council, will participate in some of our
deliberations, and we offer to its members our fraternal greetings.

As an expression of the growing strength of socialism, as represented by
CEMA, a group of countries from Asia and Africa which to a certain degree
have proclaimed socialism as their path toward development and for the
consolidation of national independence, have also joined us here.

We convey Cuba's fraternal embrace to the delegation of the People's
Republic of Angola, headed by Comrade Lopo do Nascimiento, minister of
planning; the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, headed
by its ambassador to Cuba, Samad Azhar; the delegation of the People's
Democratic Republic of Yemen, headed by Comrade Yasin Sa'id Nu'man,
minister of fish resources; the delegation of the Lao People's Democratic
Republic, headed by Sali Vongkhamsao, member of the Lao People's
Revolutionary Party Central Committee Secretariat, vice chairman of the
Council of Ministers, and chairman of the State Planning Committee; the
delegation of the People's Republic of Mozambique, headed by Comrade
Marcelino dos Santos, member of the Frelimo Central Committee Polithuro and
Secretariat; and the delegation of Socialist Ethiopia, headed by Comrade
Gizaw Tsehay, member of the Ethiopian Workers Party Central Committee and
minister of health.

Cuba, which shares with them common struggles in other organizations, such
as the Nonaligned Movement and the Group of 77, welcomes all as brothers in
the struggle. As Latin Americans, it pleases us that the invitation to
accompany us has been accepted by Mexico, whose historic and present
importance in Latin America is unnecessary to mention. Its delegation is
headed by Mr Jorge Eduardo Navarrete, under secretary of foreign relations,
and we fraternally greet its members. Also here is Nicaragua, which comes
to our meeting amid its people's heroic struggle to defend the people's
government, won when it overthrew Somoza's tyranny, and to consolidate with
its national independence the right to determine its own destiny. With
profound feelings of sympathy and solidarity, we greet the Nicaraguan
delegation, headed by Commander Henry Ruiz, member of the FSLN National
Directorate and minister of planning. These two countries from our region
are a symbol of the relations uniting CEMA with other states in activities
of multilateral cooperation and, which in Europe, are exemplified by
similar links already existing between CEMA and the Republic of Finland.

I should express thanks, not only in the name of our peoples, but also in
the name of CEMA, for the presence of Mr Enrique Iglesias, executive
secretary of UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean,
and Mr Sebastian Alegrett, permanent secretary of the Latin American
Economic System. By inviting them to this session, CEMA intended to show
its interest in having closer relations with the countries of our America
and its representative bodies.

Esteemed heads of delegations and guests; esteemed comrades:  The 39th CEMA sess
taking place at a time of great danger for world peace, when Latin America and t
Caribbean are disturbed by threats to peace and serious dangers of armed imperia

Despite words that appear to be reassuring by the current U.S.
Administration -- and it is not yet possible to determine whether they are
due to a more realistic policy or if they are as many suspect with good
reason, just meant to calm temporarily the uneasiness of the American
people as a pre-election political maneuver -- the U.S. Administration has
not altered its warmongering course, which it is now attempting to extend
into space.

[Unreadable text] has not renounced its program of military superiority. It
has not modified the profoundly reactionary and bellicose nature of -its
foreign policy, which is evident in its fanatic and futile hope of
eradicating socialism in the world. We, the countries of the socialist
community and CEMA, cannot forget this threatening situation. A short time
ago in Moscow, the economic summit conference of our organization took
place. The statement issued by that conference was a denunciation of the
aggressive plans and policy of confrontation carried out by imperialist
circles, especially U.S. imperialism. It was also a firm response to those
threats. At the same time, it was a clear, responsible, and serene
expression of socialism's policy of peace.

CEMA's European countries, which border on NATO countries and have been
forced by the nuclear threat to place nuclear missiles on their territories
to prevent and discourage any attack, reaffirmed at the summit their desire
for peace. That disposition toward peace is unchangeable and is present in
our activities as a permanent principle.

Even though we are holding our 39th meeting here in Cuba, a few miles from
airfields, where there are hundreds of war planes which continuously carry
out aggressive maneuvers around our small island; near camps where rapid
deployment forces are located; and surrounded by seas in which aircraft
carriers, battleships, and destroyers carry out maneuvers against our
country to complement the permanent threat of the Guantanamo military base,
on illegally occupied territory, it is not the Cuban delegation's purpose
to make these problems the subject of our meeting, which is basically
dedicated to economic cooperation and development.

I only wish to state that our country is in a permanent state of alert,
that we have responded to the threats with a considerable increase in our
defensive capabilities, and that all our territory is preparing to defend
the fatherland and the revolution the last inch and the last breath, firmly
determined to exact an unpayable price on imperialism and in the end to
inflict a certain defeat if it launches an attack on Cuba.

But at the same time, we are a hardworking and unselfish people who want to
carry forward programs of economic and social development, who have placed
our country in a high position among Third World nations because of our
enormous advances in health care, education, culture, security, social
justice, and the dignity of man, and who want to enjoy and share with other
peoples in a future of progress and well-being for all humanity.

For that reason, Cuba clearly manifests its decision to work for peace.
Thus, on a worldwide scale, we associate ourselves with the Prague
Declaration in which the Warsaw Pact showed the way to peace, and we take
as our own the Soviet Union's policy of peace, ratified by the words of
Comrade Chernenko.

Here too, in our own region we will do everything we can to promote
negotiated solutions and peace agreements, We support the Contadora
measures and we applaud Nicaragua's decision to sign the Contadora
proposal, despite some of its aspects that could be unfavorable to
Nicaragua. We will assume obligations to which we are committed in the
Central American peace efforts. All other forces, including the United
States, must assume the same commitments. We will not reject any action
that favors an honorable, worthy, and mutually respectful solution to what
for 25 years has been our disagreement with successive U.S. governments,
aggravated by the current administration, because we believe that peace is
possible and that the peoples of the world will stay the hand of those who
proclaim military supremacy and aggression as their policy.

We have met here with the basic objective of promoting and improving
efforts to carry our economy forward, to build socialism in a world of
peace as a society that is technologically superior to capitalism and
leaves behind the injustices that are characteristic of capitalism, to
cooperate economically with countries that have social systems that differ
from ours, and to contribute to the development of less developed
countries, who are the main victims of the economic crisis that originated
in the capitalist system.

Thus we are dedicating ourselves to peaceful construction amid the noise of
preparation for global and local wars. We will analyze the principal
problems on the agenda of this 39th session in the presence of guests, not
all of whom share our economic and social ideas. We have nothing to hide.

Esteemed comrades: We will be guided by the successful results of the
economic summit conference, which showed our unity of purpose. At that
conference, our circumstantial weaknesses and our increasingly broad
possibilities and perspectives were examined by leaders of the socialist
community. CEMA and its Executive Committee received work recommendations
that will be fulfilled during the 39th session. We would hope that the
delegations here find, in addition to the fraternal atmosphere provided by
our people who are receiving you, the minimal material conditions that will
facilitate your work. With that spirit, I again welcome you to our country
and invite you to begin the tasks that bring us together in this 39th
session. Thank you.