Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA111915 Havana PRELA in English 1820 GMT 11 Dec 84 -- FOR OFFICIAL USE

[By Victor M. Carriba]

[Text] Havana, Dec 11 (PL) -- The Third World's economic situation
continues to occupy the attention of Cuban President Fidel Castro, who
blames capitalism for these calamities, and maintains that socialism is the
solution for humanity's problems. These were the ideas expressed by the
Cuban president in two important speeches delivered in the last few days in

He made a profound analysis of the causes and the consequences of the
current international economic crisis, starting from the situation of the
price of oil, the high interest rates and uncontrolled military spending.
The industrialized capitalist countries carried over the rise in the price
of oil on to their export products, while the non-oil producing developing
countries found that the prices of their products remained the same or
fell. They had to pay much higher prices for oil and the products they
imported were several times more expensive. This is the reality and the
tragedy of many Third World countries, Fidel said on December 4.

On top of this, said Fidel, there are the problems of unequal terms of
trade, restrictions on imports of products from the Third World countries
and the increase of its foreign debt which has grown from 200,000 million
to 800,000 million dollars. At the same time, the improvement in the United
States economy is subject to mechanisms which enable the U.S. to "do what
it pleases with the money of the other countries in its economic sphere".

Fidel Castro stressed the desperation of the peoples at the situation of
underdevelopment and hunger, added to which are economic problems and
technological backwardness. He said that "in an atmosphere of international
tension and the arms race, there is not even the remotest possibility of
finding solutions to Latin America's debt of 350,000 million dollars, or of
the greater debts of the rest of the world".

Relating the economic situation to the international tensions, Fidel said
that without detente, if the arms race is not halted, there is no chance
whatsoever that there will be funds to solve the economic problems.
However, he pointed out that in this situation of Third World crisis, Cuba
has been in a privileged position "thanks to our socialist system and our
relations with the socialist countries."

The solution to humanity's economic problems is socialism, he said,
explaining that although socialism is not perfect, and has its
deficiencies, "its possibilities are endless, infinite". Capitalism, he
said, no longer has historical prospects, neither for the Third World nor
for the industrialized capitalist countries.

He warned about what he described as the tendency of many countries to live
beyond the level of development of their economies, and he called on the
Cuban population not to go around fantasizing, nor let ourselves be carried
away by the philosophy of the consumer society".

We must have what we need, the clothes we need, the books we need, the
materials we need to grow, to develop our physical and mental health, and
above all to prepare ourselves for the future, he added.

He warned that we cannot let ourselves be taken in by fads, the consumerist
habits of the developed capitalist societies, which, among other things,
have these luxuries at the cost of the rest of the world, at the cost of
the hunger and death of hundreds of millions of people.