Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19841115
-YEAR-
1984
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
INTERVIEW
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
NOTES TO PASO HEAD FAIL TO INFLUENCE DECISION
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA INTL SERVICE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19841120
-TEXT-
CASTRO NOTES TO PASO HEAD FAIL TO INFLUENCE DECISION

PA180004 Havana International Service in Spanish 0000 GMT 15 Nov 84

["Cuba in Sports" feature by Ivan Becerra -- recorded]

[Text] In its most recent edition, Cuban newspaper GRANMA published an
article titled: "Story of a Theft". Written by National Olympic Committee
President Manual Gonzalez Guerra, it details the manipulations of the
Executive Committee of the Pan American Sports Organization [PASO] to name
Indianapolis as the alternate site for the 1987 games.

Manual Gonzalez Guerra tells how PASO President Mario Vasquez Rana went to
Indianapolis and made secret agreements with U.S. sports leaders behind
Cuba's back. The article adds that even though Cuba had requested to be the
site of the Pan American games since 1982, Mario Vasquez Rana set in motion
a series of actions to sway the Executive Committee in favor of the U.S.
request. Manual Gonzalez Guerra stated that Mario Vasquez Rana had made too
many commitments to the city of Indianapolis to renege on the agreement he
had made behind our backs in July.

Gonzalez Guerra adds in his article, that we have filed a protest over this
injustice to our people with PASO and Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of
the International Olympic Committee. Using all channels available to us, we
will continue to protest before the world the base and premeditated plot
against us to deprive us of the right to be the venue for the games, if
Ecuador failed to host them. We felt that we were entitled to this by right
and in recognition of the sports development in the Latin American and
Caribbean nations.

"Story of a Theft" includes the texts of two personal letters sent to Mario
Vasquez Rana by Cuban President Fidel Castro, alerting Vasquez Rana to the
possibility that an injustice might be committed to favor the United States
in the selection of the games site.

The first letter reads as follows:

Dear Vasquez Rana: I am sending you a formal letter advocating that the
upcoming Pan American Games be held in Havana. I plan to write you a more
personal letter later. As fellow Mexicans [Castro lived in Mexico in exile]
and Latin Americans, we must strive to have that event held in Cuba. This
is a just aspiration. As you know, we have been requesting it and fighting
for it for many years. I know that the question of the Los Angeles Olympic
Games will be mentioned, but as you know we had nothing to do with the
problems that came up there. The United States boycotted the Moscow
Olympics. Cuban nonparticipation at the Los Angeles games would never
justify the high privilege of allowing the United States to host the next
Pan American games. The only merit the United States can allege is its
power, its arrogance, and its hostility towards Cuba in all areas.

We know that politics should not be mixed with sports. For that very
reason, we hope that Cuba is not deprived of this just right for political
reasons. No Latin American country has done more than Cuba to promote
sports in the past 25 years. In a way, we represent the honor and the hopes
of the Latin American peoples in sports matters.

I know that the United States will bring up economic questions in seeking
to host the games. I must say to you, that we are not interested in
economic benefits that may accrue from this event, and that we have no
objections to having the PASO administer the games and make the decisions
regarding them, if Cuba could host them.

We hope that an injustice is not committed against our people. We are sure
that we have your understanding and solidarity. I know that there will be
difficulties; but this is a time of testing for you and for us, which we
must face with dignity and courage. Forgive this quick and informal note,
which I add to the formal letter. I do so confident of our mutual trust and
friendship.

[Signed] Fidel Castro, Cuba, 25 October 1984.

Subsequently, the Cuban president sent another letter of PASO President
Mario Vasquez Rana. The second letter reads as follows:

Dear Vasquez Rana: I promised to write to you again as soon as possible,
but I have been very busy with the CEMA meeting, which has just finished.
However, have not forgotten our problem for a single moment. I asked
Fernandez [Jose Ramon Fernandez, vice president of the Council of
Ministers] to move up his trip and meet with you personally.

Despite your skepticism, we are going to fight. We are convinced that our
stance is morally correct. Moreover, in the field of sports Cuba's prestige
is internationally recognized. In many international events, we have upheld
the honor of Latin American and other Third World nations. In broad sectors
of the world, no one will understand why Cuba was denied its legitimate
aspiration and its important position to host the games. It will not be
understood either that the right was granted to the United States which has
just hosted the Olympic games.

You are the deciding factor. I know how much you care about sports and how
hard you have worked for the Pan American and Olympic Games movement, I
also know that you are intelligent, independent, and courageous. I know you
hold Cuba in esteem, and do not underestimate it. You cannot underestimate
yourself either. The decision is up to you. We both know that very well.

Fidel Castro's second letter to Mario Vasquez Rana adds:

Although it may be said that everyone favors Indianapolis, that is not
exactly the case despite the tremendous pressure that the United States is
exerting, and despite all the finagling that has taken place at the PASO on
behalf of the United States, without even so much as informing the Cuban
delegate; namely, the impressive economic offers and the arrogant display
of technology, installations and other means.

Once again, the games would be attended by a non-Latin American public.
Again, the games would be an overwhelming and humiliating show of U.S.
superiority. Again, alms would be offered to many delegations to enable
them to defray the high cost of accommodation in that wealthy consumer
society. Again, Latin American and Caribbean athletes would simply serve to
emphasize the power, wealth, and achievement of their insatiable hosts.

Sports, PASO, and the Olympic movement were also created for the Latin
American and Caribbean countries, which in terms of their human sports
potential will be second to none in the world, when their talent is truly
developed. However, humiliating and morally crushing those countries, for
the vanity and glory of our rich northern neighbor, is no way to help them.

Our people's alleged inferiority is not of genetic or racial origin, but
rather due to nutritional, educational, health, economic and technical
factors. As you can see, the sudden, unusual and surprising U.S. candidacy
against Cuba's legitimate rights, allegedly with unanimous support -- which
if it were true, would have really been a disgrace -- has ceased to be
simply a sports matter and has become a dirty political maneuver within the
sports movement.

The Pan American Games were held in Chicago in 1959. The games were held
again under the U.S. banner in the free associated state of Puerto Rico in
1979. The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980. The
Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles in 1984. The Pan American Games are
to be held in Indianapolis in 1987. The Olympic Games are to be held in
Seoul in 1988 under the charitable protection of U.S. troops and bases. All
this is too much for decent persons all over the world and in the Olympic
movement to endure.

To conclude, Fidel Castro's letter to PASO President Mario Vasquez Rana
adds:

However, we harbor the hope that you will spare the sports movement a
disaster, and will find an intelligent, fair, courageous, dignified, and
honorable solution to the delicate situation that has arisen.

With the usual sincerity and friendship,

[Signed] Fidel Castro.

As was reported, even after receiving these letters, the PASO official,
after secret manipulations, decided to name the U.S. city of Indianapolis
as the alternate site for the 1987 games.
-END-


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