Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


F1150210 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0100 CMT 15 Dec 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro to report on the U.S.-Cuban immigration
agreement reached on 14 December; place not given -- live]

[Text] Compatriots: A few days ago, during the closing of the Federation of
Secondary School Students congress, I reported that talks between Cuba and
the United States on immigration matters had begun. Today, I can report
that the talks have ended and that this afternoon an agreement was reached.

We would have liked to have announced this television appearance ahead of
time, but in reality the agreement was reached at 1340. Furthermore, it was
agreed to make the announcement at 1600, which is why we did not have much
time to announce my appearance on television.

Today, we have been very busy with the delegation headed by our great
friend, Comrade Mengistu. I am dressed this way not because it is a special
occasion, but because from here I will immediately leave for a reception in
honor of the visiting delegation.

I will begin by reading the communique signed this afternoon by Cuban and
U.S. representatives. It reads as follows:

The talks between representatives of the Republic of Cuba and the United
States regarding immigration matters concluded today with the adoption of
agreement for the normalization of immigration procedures and thus ends the
abnormal situation which has prevailed since 1980.

The United States will renew the issuance of preferential immigrant visas
to Cuban citizens residing in Cuba up to 20,000 each year, especially to
relatives of U.S. citizens and Cubans permanently residing in the United
States. The U.S. side expressed its decision to set in motion, with the
Cuban authorities' cooperation, all necessary measures to make sure that
all Cuban citizens residing in Cuba, who qualify according to U.S. laws for
immigrant visas, may enter the United States, up to 20,000 immigrants per

For its part, the United States will continue to grant immigrant visas to
Cuban residents who are U.S. citizens' parents, spouses, and children who
are single under 21 years old, and not include these visas in the yearly
limit of immigrants previously mentioned.

Cuba will accept the return of those Cuban citizens who arrived in the
United States from the Port of Mariel and who have been declared ineligible
to enter legally into the United States. The number of these persons is
2,746 and their names appear on an approved list. The return of those
persons will be carried out under an orderly reentry program with the
cooperation of the two countries' immigration authorities.

The process will take place in phases and in an orderly fashion until all
identified persons appearing on the approved list have returned. The
repatrations will take place at a rate of 100 persons each calendar month,
but should 100 not return during a particular month, the difference may be
used in subsequent months, provided that no more than 150 persons return
any calendar month.

The United States indicated that measures were being taken to give legal
status as permanent residents, beginning now and with retroactive effect of
approximately 30 months, to Cuban citizens who arrived in the United States
in 1980 from the Port of Mariel.

The two delegations expressed concern over the status of those persons who
have been released from prison after serving time for activities termed by
Cuban penal laws as crimes against state security and wish to reside
permanently in the United States. The United States will facilitate the
admission of those persons and their immediate relatives through a program
to be carried out within the framework of pertinent U.S. legislation. The
U.S. delegation said that toward that end, necessary steps have been taken
for the admission of up to 3,000 such persons during the 1985 fiscal year,
including their immediate relatives.

The extent of the program and its possible expansion in subsequent fiscal
years will be determined on the basis of experience gained throughout the
process and the willingness expressed by the two sides to develop this
program in such a fashion that will make its continuation possible until
fully completed in the shortest time possible.

The representatives of the Republic of Cuba and the United States agreed to
meet again no later than 6 months from now to review the progress of the
implementation of these agreements.

I want to analyze the background of this accord. Discussion of immigration
relations, or the normalization of immigration relations between the two
countries, began after the Mariel incident in December 1980 with the Carter
administration. The first contacts and discussions on this subject were
held in December and January of 1981, but only for a brief time.

The new administration entered at the beginning of the year, and the
contacts and exchanges on this matter were suspended until May 1983. In
May, we received communications from the U.S. Government asking Cuba to
accept the return of those Cuban citizens who had arrived in the United
States from Mariel Port, and who in their criteria and laws were considered
as inadmissible.

At this time a list was sent of some 800, and it was announced that this
number would be several times larger, and the Cuban Government was asked if
it could accept those people which they considered inadmissible or
excludable, because the United States could not provide them with
immigration visas to enter the country because U.S. laws stated that an
indispesable requirement was the acceptance of the principle of the return
of those so-called excludables.

At that time, the Cuban Government answered that we were willing to discuss
this problem, jointly with all the other immigration problems which have
affected relations between Cuba and the United States. This is to say, we
could not accept the principle of simply returning those excludables
without discussion, analysis and the resolving of the rest of the
immigration problems.

In March 1984, the U.S. Government sent a letter to the Cuban Government
saying it was willing to discuss this problem of excludables and the rest
of the related immigration problems between the United States and Cuba.
This took place this past March. The Cuban Government studied the proposal,
and took into account that the U.S. election period was starting, and
concerned that this complex and delicate matter could turn into an election
issue in the United States, thus making it more difficult and perhaps
compromising the possibility of a reasonable solution, we responded that we
accepted studying and discussing this matter with the United States, but
that we preferred to wait until after the U.S. elections, for the reasons I
have already mentioned.

Later on, during Jackson's visit to Cuba, at the meetings held on 26 June,
this matter was presented among the 10 points which Jackson brought, and
which were described as important matters -- according to what he indicated
and said -- toward improving relations between the United States and Cuba.

We explained to Jackson that the U.S. Government had contacted us in May,
proposing to hold these talks, and that we had agreed, but had postponed
them until a date after the elections, because of the reasons which I have
already explained. However, if both parties agreed and if it was in the
interest of the United States and the U.S. people to find a solution to
this problem, we were willing to discuss this matter even before the

At the press conference on the night of the 26th, I explained our position
on this matter, and stated our willingness -- I publicly stated it -- to
discuss this issue, if both parties agreed. In a matter of hours, 24 or 48
hours, before Jackson's departure from Cuba, the U.S. Government indicated
its willingness to discuss the problem immediately, exactly as we had

The response was not immediate. It took a few days to arrive, because we
had asked Jackson to communicate with the most probable opposition
candidate at that time, who was Mondale, and to seek his views and his
approval because we had indicated that we were willing to do it on a
bilateral basis.

Of course Jackson was in complete agreement and as soon as he was able to
talk with Mondale and inform him about the matter and get Mondale's
approval, he communicated with us and informed us about it. As soon as this
requirement was fulfilled, which seemed indispensable to us, we
communicated with the U.S. Government, expressing our willingness to begin
discussing the question immediately.

The United States proposed an initial encounter between the delegations of
the two countries for 12 July. We immediately organized the delegation,
presided over by Vice Minister Alarcon, to go to the United States. The
site of the meeting was discussed. For us it was not an essential matter,
whether it be in Havana, in New York, in Washington, anywhere, we made no
objection. We said we were willing to meet there, if it would facilitate
the discussion. They were not able to decide whether it should be here or
there. We had no concern in this area. And in this way the talks on this
subject began on 12 July.

They met on the 12th and on the 13th, both delegations put forth their
positions. I will not go into detail but work was started in this
direction. Later the second meeting occurred on 31 July and 1 August of
this year. The U.S. delegation was presided over by Mr Kozak, I understand
that he was a political adviser in the State Department.

Advances were made in this second meeting despite the complexity of the
matters. However, the two delegations worked hard. Comrade Alarcon
explained to us that they worked for many hours without rest and every
point was discussed in detail. They returned to Cuba in early August. We
can really say that progress had been made.

Nevertheless, in the first half of August, certain difficulties arose,
which led to the interruption of the negotiations. This interruption lasted
approximately 2 months, the rest of August, September, and part of October.
In mid-October, as a result of an exchange of messages between the two
countries, it was decided to renew the talks.

So the United States at the end -- in November -- and to say...[changes
remark] It was agreed to renew the talks in November. In the month of
November, the United States proposed as a date the days of 28 and 29 of
that month. Our delegation departed for New York and on 28 November, the
third round of talks began. This round was prolonged until 5 December. Hard
work was done for practically a week.

Our delegation was in constant communication with our country, and each
point, each question was analyzed carefully, and during that time
considerable progress was made.

They were able to make a draft agreement. The delegation returned to Cuba
and a fourth meeting was set for 13 December, yesterday. They worked all
day yesterday and our delegation maintained constant contact with our
country. They were analyzing the details and the words about the text that
had been written. They worked all night, later I will explain why it took
so long, until 0140, when they agreed.

I tell you the work was hard and detailed on the part of the two
delegations. There were points that were discussed a great deal. In the
first place, there was the point dealing with the concept of excludables.
If the legislation is studied, the fact that an entry is considered illegal
in a country, makes those who enter that way excludables, and all those who
left from Mariel could be considered illegal.

The first point to be discussed was determining who were the excludables.
The U.S. side expressed -- I do not want to go into very much detail,
because I do not want to commit an indiscretion, but this is important --
the U.S. side expressed its intentions to resolve the legal status of the
large majority of those who arrived from Mariel, and that the number of
excludables, according to the judgment of the U.S. authorities, was

Then it was necessary to determine that number and identify those so-called
ineligibles. Throughout the process, several lists were submitted, one,
two, three.

Our delegation went over these lists and work was done in our country in
connection with these lists. The first thing we were interested in was to
identify if they were persons had really left through Mariel. Even during
the period when the negotiations were interrupted, the exchange of
information on the lists continued.

Our personnel worked hard in the very careful examination of those lists
and great progress was made during those months in identifying all those
persons. Sometimes it was a name, a surname, or not much information was
available. There were cases of repeated names by mistake. In that manner
the lists were purged, after the first one, the second, and so on. However,
that work continued until today's early morning hours. Agreement had been
reached in most every point, but the lists needed to be purged of all
possible mistakes, repetition. The comrades in New York worked all last
night and this morning. Plans had been made to end this process at about
1200 and the announcement made at 1500. In reality, it was almost 1400 when
the exact number of persons was determined.

This chapter of the lists, the definition, and the identification of the
ineligibles caused a lot of work and took a lot of time. Another point
which was discussed at length was the one dealing with the time needed for
the return of these persons. The U.S. point of view was to return them in a
6-month period. Our point of view was that it should be done in an orderly
and careful fashion, because the return of these persons and their
assimilation [into our society] would take a longer time.

We believe that even the United States itself needed more time to adopt all
legal measures dealing with the return of these persons. We proposed that
the return should be carried out at 50 per month. In the end agreement was
reached on 100 per month. If in 1 month 100 are not returned, say, 30 are
missing, they could come the following month. If more were missing they
could all come, up to a maximum of 150.

Another matter was that even though 20,000 per year were mentioned, we
voiced the need for establishing a maximum of 20,000. These are relatives
of U.S. citizens. Besides, we have those who had been imprisoned for
counterrevolutionary activities as part of this program.

In reality after a careful examination, it was impossible to establish a
minimum. According to the laws, an exact figure could not be determined
because each case had to be examined.

We understood that the argument was justified, which was the reason for a
paragraph stating that the two sides would make every effort to achieve the
best use of the quota. Agreement was reached on this point.

On another subject, everything had to be carefully examined to avoid
conflict with U.S. laws which would hamper its implementation, because it
would require changes in the laws, congressional resolutions, a complicated
and delaying process. It was necessary to examine every point of U.S. law,
because these people are there in the United States and the United States
will admit those being reunited with relatives of those who emigrated from
this country. For this reason it was necessary to pay great attention to
all U.S. laws dealing with this. In the end agreement was reached and a
formula satisfactory to the two sides was found.

These immigration problems were responsible for an abnormal situation for
nearly 26 years. Not only since 1980 -- of course in 1980 there was an
abnormal situation -- but since 1959 there has been an abnormal situation.

We were very careful to maintain the greatest secrecy on the reason for the
talks. In the United States there were some leaks on what was being
discussed, and certainly the press agencies were placing special emphasis
on the return of the so-called excludables because they were mentally ill
or because they were criminals. I believe it is my duty to explain very
objectively something which is well known by all our people.

On these two myths, I believe that, in a deliberate manner, international
propaganda has made much of the mentally ill and the criminals -- much talk
of the mentally ill who were taken out of hospitals and sent through
Mariel. I want to once again reiterate, that not one single mentally ill
person was taken out of our hospitals and sent to the United States through

In the first place, because our country places much attention on the health
of our people, and has made enormous efforts to attend to each of the
citizens of our country, free of charge, whoever it may be, cost what it
may, it is absurd to think that someone would resort to taking someone ill
out of an insane asylum and sent them to the United States or to any other

We have too much respect for this. An ill person of any type is so sacred
to us and forms such an essential part of our philosophy, conduct, and in
our revolution's history, that no one would even try or even accept such a
thing. All of this forms part of the [words indistinct] and myths, but this
is one of the points which was much emphasized and propagandized overseas.

If a mentally ill person left here, it was because a family member claimed
him and nobody knew about it. The families said they wanted that one, that
one, and so on, and if an ill person left here, it was an exception for
that reason or because nobody knew about it. Those types of people were not
included in the categories of those who left from Mariel.

A few may have become ill while there, in those 4 or more years. We even
have reports that some of those who were imprisoned there later developed
these types of problems. In a group of more than 125,000 people, in any
part of the world, in 4 years, some mental problems will arise in some
people. That is why I say that those who may fall in this category, fall
there because a family member perhaps claimed him, and nobody knew of the
illness, or because they became ill later on.

This is the historic, objective, and rigorous truth. Nobody here from a
mental hospital was sent to the United States. I want to emphasize that.

Secondly, criminals did not leave through Mariel. The whole world knows
this as well. If some did leave, it was the exception, because nobody knew
or saw them.

Through error or confusion perhaps, but never was the idea broached of
sending criminals to the United States, because of a fundamental reason. In
our own country's security and society, it is impossible to exonarate a
person who commits a crime and then give him the pleasure of traveling to
the United States or another country. If there were such cases, they were
the exception and nobody knew about it.

That was precisely one of our guidelines, about this type of people not
being authorized to travel to the United States. I repeat because of the
very security of our people. This becomes something very simple, an
attempted murder or murder, or something of this nature, are very serious
crimes, and severely penalized under our laws and we cannot incur the
irresponsibility of exonerating such persons. Several categories of
citizens left from Mariel. Some of them wanted to be reunited with family
members, but mostly those who left through Mariel were of the types who
went to the Peruvian Embassy. Indeed, many who were in the Peruvian Embassy
left through Mariel. I remember the applause, the solidarity, the sympathy,
and the great international campaign which was unleashed when those persons
entered the Peruvian Embassy.

After the incident, which cost the life of a guard, they called them
dissidents and we said they are not dissidents. Those people did not enter
for political or ideological problems. As a rule, those people are
antisocial. We said this and we explained it. They are individuals who did
not want to work or individuals who did not adapt to the laws or to
discipline, or the spirit of sacrifice of the people. It was not a question
of ideology. Generally, they were not dissidents, they were antisocials.

They tried to make this seem like a matter of dissidents. The campaign was
worldwide. Anyway, I was happy to have those who wanted to receive them do
so. And several countries went as far as to establish a UN commission.
Costa Rica said: Let them come; and Peru said: Let them come; Spain said:
Let them come. And we said: Fine, have all you want. Well, the facts do not
bear this out. These individuals did not want to go to Santo Domingo or
Central America or South America. These individuals wanted to go to the
United States, the paradise, the ideal really, for this kind of people.

I am not going to say that they are all alike. There are other people that
I cannot categorize as antisocial. I can say that they are insensitive to
the revolution, to the fatherland. They are individualists who only think
of their personal interests because they do not have the spirit of
sacrifice. They are afraid of the risks of living in Cuba. Even this factor
has had an influence. These people have been afraid. It is known that at
the beginning of the revolution, many families sent their children to the
United States when they believed the idiocy that they were going to be
deprived of control over their children.

These were contributing factors, also the fact that here, it is necessary
to struggle and work in a developing country or an underdeveloped country,
which experienced colonialism for centuries and neocolonialism for decades
and that the United States is a country with a much greater degree of
development than ours. There have always been people who were ready to
immigrate from a developing country to another where there are better
material conditions or greater wealth. These people did not want to go to
another Third World country, they wanted to go to the United States.

Those were received in Peru with applause, not from the Peruvian people, of
course, but from the authorities. They paid for their passage and they kept
them in a park. (They played the part of hunanitarians, of civilized
people, who were helping those people escape from socialism, who saved them
from Cuba. It was a 4-year experience, sufficient to prove what we said:
that those "heroes" were not dissidents but rather antisocial, and later
they began to behave typically. They destroyed that park. None wanted to
stay in Peru.

They all tried to go to the United States. Finally, they organized
demonstrations and conflicts and even blackmail and they did not want to
abandon the park. In return for leaving the park after 4 years, they
demanded visas from the government to go to the United States.

What did they prove? Well, people with that spirit, with that mentality,
who were believed to be heroes publicized throughout the world were of the
same type as many of those who want to leave and who left from Mariel.

There are other circumstances. There are activities that are crimes in Cuba
but not in the United States. For example, prostitution is against the law
in Cuba but not in the United States. Gambling is against the law in Cuba
but not in the United States. The use of drugs is against the law in Cuba
but not in the United States. There are cases of people who are criminals
according to Cuban law but not according to the U.S. laws.

Some of this kind of people left from Mariel, but they were not in the
category of mentally ill or in the category of being guilty of violent
crimes. Some of them have subsequently committed violent crimes in the
United States, as occurs anywhere. There are people everywhere who have
never committed a violent crime and one day they commit one. There might be
that kind of people there who have committed that type of crime. However,
individuals who were in the category of having committed violent crimes
were not among those who left from Mariel. That is the historical truth.

All this situation has a long history, as I said. All this abnormal
situation regarding the migration between the United States and Cuba has
been going on for nearly 26 years.

It began on 1 January 1959 when dozens, hundreds of torturers and murderers
who committed atrocities against thousands of citizens in this country and
who committed all kinds of crimes -- some killed 20, 40, 50 -- left for the
United States. Where did the Ventura's, the Carratala's, and all those
people go? To the United States. Hundreds of them left fleeing
revolutionary justice. Those people had committed acts of genocide in our
country, but they were received, given shelter, and protected from the very
beginning by the United States. Those people were criminals. If any
criminals left this country, they did so on 1 January. And they were real
criminals, dangerous criminals. They left by the hundreds; they left on
ships, on planes. They had no problems. And so did all sorts of thieves and
embezzlers; real thieves. I am not speaking of a man that stole something,
a piece of furniture, a suitcase. I am not saying that a person who does
this is honest or did well, but those were men who stole tens of millions
of pesos from this country and these were the men that on 1 January took
off for the United States. Those were real thieves, not minor thieves. They
were the owners of the casinos, the owners of the cheap gambling places, of
the lottery, of the drug business, all of them left for the United States
and were very well received. They were worse than those who left from
Mariel. This cannot be questioned. And all this began on 1 January.

After this, and despite the fact that the legal departure was authorized,
anyone that could steal a boat would head for the United States and he and
the ship were well received. Whoever stole a plane was well received, along
with the plane. Dozens of Cuban planes were taken from the country and if
we are going to speak the truth then we must say that the history of
hijackings began in Cuba, against Cuba. The world did not know about
hijackings. It was after the triumph of the revolution when anyone who
stole a plane was received as a hero in the United States that the
ill-fated method of hijacking became popular. It was back then and for
those reasons that the hijackings began but no one could foresee how far
this phenomenon would go. They even awarded prizes of thousands of dollars
to anyone who stole a plane from Cuba and took it to the United States. And
the United States accepted all these people I have mentioned; they began to
stimulate the departure from the country.

Before the revolution the quota to enter the United States was limited.
Only a few thousand could enter when there were many people waiting for the
chance to go and work because they were unemployed. In the past those who
did not have jobs wanted to immigrate and then those who did not want to
work wanted to immigrate.

After this the counterrevolutionary, the subversive, activities began
against Cuba. There was a long period of recruiting among the people who
had left Cuba. They were taught to handle explosives, weapons. They began
to introduce weapons and explosives into our country. They were introduced
by sea and by air. Plans for sabotage were drafted, counterrevolutionary
groups were introduced in Escambray, Pinar del Rio, and other provinces in
our country. The plans to sabotage our economy began. I am not inventing
all this; all this was written about and proven by the U.S. Senate
committees that were investigating this whole period. It was the time when
the plans to murder the leaders of the revolution began. They tried to kill
me by using all sorts of means. With chemical poison, disease, with rifles
with telescopic sights, with explosives, with everything, and I am not the
one saying it, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate said this. It was a long
period during which organizations were created, hundreds of
counterrevolutionary organizations were created. Four persons would meet,
decide on an acronym, a name, and ask the United States for help.

Then came the Giron invasion. They came, armed to the teeth, supported by
bombers, cannons, and so on, ready to invade the country at the service of
a foreign power. They were the dangerous ones; they were criminals in the
worst sense of the word. They murdered children, they murdered families. I
wonder what could have happened and like many more they would have killed
because among them there were men like Calvino, do not forget him, he was
one of Batista's most famous henchmen. How many more people would they have
tortured and murdered? Thousands. They were really dangerous. However, we
returned them to the United States and they were received with pleasure,
with honors, and with great pomp.

Then came a long period of irregularities. As I said, before the revolution
there was a limited quota, but after the triumph of the revolution they
opened their doors to anyone who wanted to go there. They did not care
whether it was 50,000 or 100,000; they took the technicians, the engineers,
the teachers, professors, doctors, they took half our doctors and we faced
that challenge. We began to prepare more technicians and more doctors and
here is where our struggle began with the development of our universities.

Ah, back then they took our elite; our intellectual elite who could not
adapt to the conditions of sacrifice and struggle of a revolution. Yes, at
the beginning they took many of these people from our country and we warned
them about this. Before the Peru and Mariel incidents they took our
technicians and intellectuals and now they are taking antisocials and it is
not the same. We warned them about this.

Then the October crisis in 1962 and all the flights from the United States
were stopped. There were dozens and dozens of families with permission to
leave and they were just left here. There were no flights; no one could
leave. There was a blockade throughout Latin America; Mexico was the only
exception. They did not have anywhere to go, and this prompted the illegal
departures. Every time some of these people arrived in little boats or in
fishing boats -- they hijacked dozens of these little fishing boats --
there was great publicity and a great campaign and this was what
[Unreadable text]ed Camarioca. After this a solution was found and all
those people waiting to leave were able to do so. This was then followed by
another blockade and the policy to prompt illegal departures continued. We
warned about this on many occasions but it was used as a political weapon.
A person would do anything, murder someone, just to take his boat. He would
hijack a boat and arrive in the United States and go unpunished.

On several occasions, we warned them and told them that this had to be
stopped and if not, it would create problems. Then, at last, this whole
episode ended with the Mariel incident. I believe that these problems
should have been solved 20 years ago, but because of a lack of maturity,
common sense, responsibility, capacity to foresee the outcome, this policy
was maintained for many years. This is the objective truth.

Well then, what changes have come about? Important changes. We can all
recall that mercenaries were not only trained and organized to commit
crimes and carry out sabotage in Cuba but also to commit them abroad and
against Cuban installations, against Cuban officials at the UN, Canada,
Mexico. These mercenaries would leave the United States and murder a
companero of ours and then would return to the United States and continue
to walk the streets of the United States freely and unpunished. We still
remember those who committed the atrocious crime, those who sabotaged the
plane in Barbados. Those men had been trained in these techniques by the
United States. That is the truth. This policy cost many lives and they were
never brought to trial. There was never an important, real, or objective
change during these past 4 years of this administration, whose hostility
against us is well known. However, it did adopt measures against the
groups, trained back then by the CIA, who were carrying out terrorist
attacks against the Cuban personnel stationed in the United States. It was
the first time that an effective measure was adopted. Only recently one of
the most important ringleaders was arrested, tried, and punished. Today, we
can say that those men do not operate as they please within the United
States. They have had the basic common sense to try and protect the order
in the country because if a precedent is established in which everyone can
do as he pleases, then all kinds of phenomena could be unleashed. That is a

The second fact is that for the first time in this long period of time,
measures were adopted against the illegal departures from Cuba and illegal
entries into the United States. Measures have been adopted, however, at
times there has been some hesitation. Not too long ago a group of stateless
persons hijacked a boat in Varadero and threw the captain overboard when
they were many miles offshore. Miraculously, he escaped,and they reached
the United States. They were sent to some camps; there was a lot of
propaganda; but some measures were taken. We discussed the case and were
asked to send the captain to present charges. The captain went once, and he
will go to the United States again. This took place some months ago, and
there are some other cases.

We know that the United States is no longer interested in promoting illegal
departures from Cuba. This is a second fact, and it was one of the factors
that we took into consideration when we discussed this agreement.

In the third place, and this is a credit for Cuba, we have, thanks to
strong measures adopted in our country against the hijacking of airplanes,
been able to virtually solve the problem of airplane hijackings. This was
one of the most worrisome problems for the U.S. people, due to the
insecurity that they had about the fact that anyone carrying a bottle of
gasoline, or a bottle of water, could say he would blow up the airplane if
he was not taken to Havana. Even though the formal agreement between the
countries had been broken after the Barbados affair, we have taken measures
during these last years, measures that have become increasingly more
strict, against hijackers.

We had two hijackings in 1981 and the perpetrators were sentenced to 10
years. In 1982 we had 5 hijackings, and the perpetrators were sentenced to
12, 15, and 20 years. in 1983, we had 11 hijackings; 10 came from the
United States, and the perpetrators were sentenced to 10, 15, and 20 years.
In 1984, we had four hijackings; one came from Brazil, one from the United
States, and two from Colombia. One group is still awaited trial; the rest
have been given 15-year sentences. Cuba has been the one to solve the
problem of the airplane hijackings in the United States. It was a
diabolical invention carried out early at the beginning of the revolution,
against Cuba. This is the unquestionable truth.

How, conditions have been created for the first time in this 26-year period
so that the immigration relations between two neighboring countries may
function in a normal way. These conditions have been created for the first
time so that [words indistinct] measure adopted by the two parties in this
agreement, to stop the hijacking of airplanes. This benefits them more than
it benefits us because they have many more airplanes than we do.

The fact that no airplane hijacking has gone unpunished has guaranteed
their almost complete disappearance. If someone still does not know or
understand this and hijacks an airplane, let him know that he will not be
received like a hero in this country. He will be exemplarily punished.

The conditions have been created to eradicate all the illegal departures or
the attempts for any illegal departure, to eradicate the tolerance and
heroes welcome for those who hijack boats or try to illegally enter the
United States. I suppose that the United States will be interested in
maintaining these conditions and in completely discouraging any illegal
departure because 25 years of bitter experience is more than enough.

Conditions have been created to stop the impunity of terrorist attacks on
Cuban officials and installations. This is a lengthy evolution from that
period in which boats departed from Miami to attack refineries, depots,
ports, and ships in our country. We have walked a lengthy road and created
the conditions and bases for the normalization of these immigration

I have mentioned that those who have relatives and wish to join them in the
United States will now be able to leave, according to our guidelines and
tradition throughout these 25 years. We have asserted that carrying out a
revolution and constructing socialism is a task for free and conscientious
men. When we talk about willingness, we talk about willingness to build
socialism in a conscientious way. We have never been interested in those
who dream about a fantasy and the consumer society, its vices, or any thing
from that capitalist society. We have never been interested in them but
opened the doors so that they may leave the country.

We have normalized this situation, according to our traditions. If there is
someone with an important job or post, and there is no one to immediately
replace him, well, we will delay his departure as long as necessary, until
we can find a substitute. We are not concerned about this. However, the
doors have been left open.

This refers mainly to those who have relatives, because they have priority.
I believe that those who are in this situation will take this as good news
and it is also good news for us; they will be able to join their relatives.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer them a reunion here because our country is
struggling for its development and has need of housing installations.
Logically, those who are working here get first choice, so we cannot
consider any reunions here for the time being. The reunion should be there.

Those who have been imprisoned for counterrevolutionary activities...
[changes remark] I said earlier that there were 300 organizations here in
the beginning; there were thousands of members. They were not 50,000 or
30,000 as they said, but they were approximately 15,000. This was a fact
early at the beginning of the revolution. However, they left, basically due
to the revolution's plans and due to the revolution's generosity. This was
made possible by reducing their sentences and in other ways.

We show that there is a general rejection among the people toward those
involved in interrevolutionary activities, and this mistrust is logical. A
few cases have been able to overcome this, with a lot of effort. We have
always asserted, of course we have always asserted, our willingness to
authorize the departure of all those who have been punished for
counterrevolutionary activities, along with their families, so that they
may live there.

Of course, all of them feel that the United States has an obligation to
them because the United States has encouraged them to carry out
counterrevolutionary activities. They feel they have the right to go there
and receive some kind of recognition for their efforts. I imagine that this
will be good news for them too and for us, too. Those who are relatives of
U.S. citizens fall into another category.

Our responsibility will be to receive the 2,746 who the U.S. authorities
consider as unacceptable or rejectable. They will be received within a
reasonable period of time. Possibly many in the United States thought that
we would not want, or be able, or dare to discuss this issue and find a
solution to the issue, knowing as they do about the people's revolutionary
zeal and their deep rejection of these elements who abandoned the country
in one way or the other.

They don't know about the people's identification, the ties, and the deep
confidences in the leadership of their party, nor do they know about the
confidence of the party leadership in the people. They would probably be
surprised. That is what it is all about.

For us, this is simple. [chuckles] We have tackled more difficult tasks and
problems. We have all the moral courage. Yes, we have it. They made the
U.S. people believe that these guys were draculas, fearsome people. In
fact, they were not so fearsome. I already said that the really fearful
ones, the ones who did terrible things, the ones who committed great
robberies, went there and were applauded and honored.

I must say that these people, and I sincerely believe it, those people are
only slightly dangerous. Modestly speaking, they do not belong in the big
leagues. They are small time; they are not first class. They do not
constitute a danger to our country.

Well, what are we going to do with these people who will return gradually?
We are determined to comply strictly with all agreements. We will not use
any kind of subterfuge or obstacles. Nothing doing, we are serious.
Seriousness is a characteristic of our revolution, which does what it wants
to do in a committed fashion.

First of all, as they return, we will place them in quarantine because
there are diseases in the United States that do not exist here, such as
AIDS. Of course, we could be the recipient of any diseases in the Western
world. However, that possibility is greater through the thousands of people
going and coming back from the United States and the thousands of people
who come here as tourists from the Western world. Nevertheless, we want to
eliminate any possibility that those diseases will enter through this
means. We will use all of our country's medical experience. First of all,
we will place them in quarantine and give them a strict medical checkup to
see if there is a single case of disease.

In this way, we can proceed to take the proper therapeutic measures,
including isolation against AIDS, that is, sanitary measures. We have
enough tine to do this; if 1,000 come, [corrects himself] if a maximum of
100 return, then we have time to implement these measures.

We are determined to follow this policy. If the individual is sick because
he was already sick when he traveled there and nobody was aware of this; or
perhaps he got sick there, which is more probable, we will be able to
carefully investigate all this when we receive the information. We could
not get all the information because these people (?live) in different parts
of the United States.

One of the most difficult achievements was the list. We wanted all specific
details. It was not possible. We are interested in knowing whether an
individual left from Mariel or not; whether the person is Cuban or not.

We even agreed that if there is a coincidence or name confusion and an
individual comes back without fulfilling the qualifications, he would be
sent back to the United States. We agreed to that in the so-called
implementation act of the agreement.

If the person involved is mentally ill and afflicted with any other
disease, then he will be sent to a hospital. He will receive full medical
treatment as all sick people do here. Our hospitals are famous around the
world; our hospitals are recognized around the world. It would not hurt us
to give medical treatment to a person even if he got sick there. What we
are sure of is that they will receive better medical treatment here than in
the United States and it would cost nothing.

If it is possible to cure this person, then this person will be cured
because many mentally ill individuals are cured in our hospitals. It
doesn't matter if he is a citizen or not. To the extent of our
capabilities, it would not hurt us to treat a U.S. citizen in a hospital
for the mentally ill in Cuba.

Those people will receive all due medical treatment. If the individual has
been in jail since arriving in the United States... [changes remark] There
is a group of people who left Mariel and who have spent more than 4 years
in an Atlanta jail. They have been in a foreign jail. Those people who have
not committed any crimes in the United States and who return will undergo a
medical exam. We will find them jobs and will help them rejoin society and
make sure they do not have problems in the process of doing so.

Anyone who committed a crime in the United States, any significant crime,
and most importantly, anyone who committed a bloody crime, should not
remain unpunished. This is basic ethics and security reasons lead us to
think that anyone who has committed a prime in the United States or in any
place in the world should not remain without due punishment.

It is unthinkable that we would allow those who have committed bloody
crimes to return here and be sent out on the streets. That is unthinkable.
Therefore, even though there is no agreement and treaty regarding this,
those people will be appropriately punished in our country. If they
committed minor crimes, or crimes that are punishable here, they would have
to face the corresponding punishment, the punishment agreed upon or the
punishment in keeping with our laws. We will consider the legal aspects
that correspond to each case.

That is the purpose, if it applies. We have agreements with many countries;
if a crime is committed abroad, it may be tried here. We do not have this
commitment. This is an ethical matter. That will be the policy to follow in
these cases. No crime will go unpunished.

U.S. authorities have committed themselves to sending all documents, all
details, and all evidence concerning these people. When a crime is
confirmed, that crime will not go unpunished. That is the policy that we
will follow.

They are talking of 2,746. They just cannot send us all those people. I
imagine that many of them who have spent the past 4 years in prison will
certainly decide of their own free will to return because if they have not
committed any crime in the United States, they can be free in our country.
I do not think they have too much sympathy for the consumer society after
spending 4 years in a maximum security prison. But independent of their
sympathy,the policy I outlined will simply be applied to them.

It will probably be difficult for the U.S. authorities to send them.
Obstacles of all sorts can come up; legal obstacles plus other pretext.
Some say that if they return they will suffer political persecution.

There is no political persecution here. The mere fact that they are being
sent back has absolutely no political implication. These persons will be
treated most humanely here and in accordance with the principles of the
revolution in line with the policy we have outlined. How many will be able
to come? We will see and we will comply with our promise. If they cannot
come, at least the people of the United States will be aware of the
historical and moral fact that if all these men, who are considered
criminals and dangerous, do not come, it is not because we do not want to
receive them since we approved rational and equitable agreements. We are
willing to receive,them. I do not think this is a problem the revolution
cannot solve adequately according to the morality and authority that
characterizes it.

The discussions, I must honestly say, were characterized by hard work. Both
delegations worked hard. Talks were serious, responsible, respectful, and
there was the desire to find solutions. Days ago we commented on the
existing situation in the world of mankind's worry about what lies ahead in
the next years, particularly in the next months, and what will be decided
about our future. I will not repeat here those words and reasonings.

However, much more urgent and important conversations will be held in the
next few weeks. Our talks were limited to a specific problem: the
immigration problem. We did not discuss any other problem. We are not in a
hurry to discuss any other problems. We are calm, serene, firm, and strong.
We are not going to plead for anything from anyone. Our constructive
positive, and receptive attitude does not imply an eagerness to negotiate;
this we can clearly state. There will be more significant and important
conversations and the world is waiting to see if these will bring a ray of
hope. Talks are going on in Central America, with Contadora. There are
talks between the revolutionary forces and the Salvadoran Government. There
are talks between the United States and Nicaragua in Manzanillo. In January
the very important talks will begin in Geneva between the USSR foreign
minister and U.S. secretary of state, Gromyko and Shultz, respectively, on
matters of tremendous significance. There are talks on the problems of
South Africa. There are talks in other parts of the world on various
subjects which have to do with peace and with the world's economy.

Let us hope that the same spirit that has prevailed in these talks prevails
in the other talks in the weeks and months to come, that will take place in
the world. Let us hope they can reach rational results. This is possible.
When you discuss things without arrogance, with seriousness,
responsibility, and goodwill, you will be able to find solutions.

As I said the day I talked to the students, nothing gives us the right to
build hopes. We must realize and be conscientious that the world's current
situation is dangerous and critical and that the problems are difficult and

I repeat that we should not build any hopes. We in particular, should not
neglect our defense, nor lower our guard in the least. I must say that the
talks were always specific about a difficult and complex problem, which
represents a constructive and positive fact. Thank you.


FL171635 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1145 GMT 17 Dec 84

[Text] News on President Reagan's agreement with Cuba has provoked anger
and strong opposition among Cuban counterrevolutionary groups, according to
the UPI News Agency.

The EFE News Agency said there was fear among those organizations; leaders
that the immigration accord would be the first step toward the
reestablishment of relations between Washington and Havana. They denounced
the Republican administration's hypocrisy for waging a verbal war with Cuba
and, at the same time, negotiating with it, according to EPE.

Luis Lauredo, president of an organization called Cuban-American Democrats,
said that in his opinion immigration talks will end in some kind of Cuban
Government diplomatic recognition. He added that this will reveal the
hypocrisy and two-faced policy of this government, referring to Reagan's

A columnist from the DIARIO DE LAS AMERICAS, which is published in Spanish
in Miami, said he was very worried by the meaning of the Cuban and U.S.
accord regarding the normalization of migratory matters. He said: I fear
this is a first step of a new strain, calling the step given by Reagan