Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PM061729 Moscow PRAVDA in Russian 3 Nov 84 First Edition p 3

[Interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro by PRAVDA special
correspondents I. Biryukov and P. Gogomolov: "The Force of Friendship"]

[Text] The fraternal friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the
Soviet Union and the island of freedom have been, are, and will continue to
be the foundation of the foreign policy course of the first socialist state
in the Western Hemisphere, Comrade Fidel Castro, first secretary of the
Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, told PRAVDA's correspondents.
The USSR,he stressed, is giving Cuba all it needs for the defense of its
revolutionary gains and the accelerated development of its national
economy. This principled line was visibly reflected once again in the
long-term program signed the other day for the development of economic and
scientific-technical cooperation between the USSR and Cuba for the period
up to the year 2000.

Today the fruits of Soviet-Cuban collaboration can be seen all over the
country, F. Castro said. In Havana, the republic's capital, the joint
construction of the "Balans" cotton-spinning enterprise is nearly finished
and a major thermal power station is being constructed, the international
airport is being reconstructed, and many other national economic facilities
are being modernized on a joint basis. The textile combine, designed to
produce 80 million square meters of textiles per year, recently
commissioned in Santiago de Cuba, is a striking symbol of friendship
between the two fraternal countries In the settlement of Huragua, near the
city of Cienfuegos, construction of the country's first nuclear power
station is under way with Soviet assistance, marking a new stage in the
development of the Cuban power industry. The list of Soviet-Cuban
cooperation projects could be considerably extended.

The Cuban leader noted in particular the consistency of the USSR's course
toward comprehensive support for Cuba. The Soviet Union invariably shows
fraternal solidarity with peoples struggling for their nation and social
liberation. We have been stressing, F. Castro said, that without the
victory of Great October, the Cuban revolution, and many other historic
events that have transformed the political map of the world would have been

The unfading significance of the October socialist Revolution, F. Castro
continued, lies in the fact that it has always set unparalleled examples of
courage and heroism in defense of its gains. Having gone through the
crucible of a bloody civil war and laid the foundation for a new society.
The Soviet land was forced to enter into mortal combat with mankind's most
evil enemy -- fascism. Today the working people of the USSR have a special
responsibility to make a decisive contribution to prevent a nuclear war and
block the path of warmongers. It is perfectly natural that the peoples of
developing countries should be linking their destinies more and more
closely with the motherland of Lenin and October.

The chief result of the 25 years of the Cuban revolution, F. Castro went on
to say, is the establishment of genuine Cuban independence, the affirmation
of its people's national dignity, and the achievement of social equality
for the working people of the island of freedom. All this put together can
be characterized as the advent of a new life in Cuba. This new life
includes advanced education and public health, housing construction, and
social security. In short, all that is associated with the triumph of the
socialist way of life. There is no doubt that such considerable
transformations would have been beyond the old Cuba, doomed to backwardness
under the neocolonial yoke.

The scale of the changes is particularly apparent in the eastern part of
the republic, where with Soviet assistance work is being done to
comprehensively reconstruct the "Pedro Soto Alba" nickel plant, and a
modern nonferrous metallurgy enterprise is being jointly constructed in
Punta Gorda. Yet another major plant is being constructed in the small town
of Las Camariocas on a barter basis by a number of CEMA countries. All
this, the Cuban leader noted, is convincing confirmation of the fraternal
states' stable course toward deepening socialist integration and gradually
bringing Cuban development up the level of the European CEMA countries.

The people of the island of freedom, F. Castro said in conclusion, will
continue to make every effort to ensure an increasingly high return on the
selfless aid to the USSR and other community countries are giving Cuba.