Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Relations With Other Countries

A181745 Madrid EFE in Spanish 1655 GMT 18 Feb 85

[Text] Havana, 18 Feb (EFE) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro said today that
he has never had any intention of resigning because "it would not be
lucrative" for the country, but he added that his succession is assured.

Castro said that during the 26 years of the regime "an entire new educated
generation has emerged" and that "all that is necessary is that someone be
assigned this job and do it."

During a 6-hour interview with Ricardo Utrilla, president of EFE,
accompanied by Marisol Marin, the agency's delegate in Havana, Fidel Castro
emphasized that today Cuba is politically, militarily, and economically
stronger than ever.

He revealed that at present "there are no more than" 1,000 political
prisoners in Cuba, 200 of whom are old prisoners sentenced to long terms
for revolutionary activities.  At one time there were 15,000 political

Castro discussed Cuba's relations with the United States, in which he
perceives some positive signs that are not exempt from contradictions, and
with the USSR, whose leaders "are not guided by national selfishness."

He also criticized Europe's attitude.  "Europe is worn out.  I tell you
seriously, Europe does not have much more to give, Europe is politically
and intellectually exhausted.  I consider it exhausted.  A consumer society
exacts its price," he said.

The Cuban leader said "we are not a people of fanatics," but rather the
cement that holds us together "are the ideas, the moral values, and the
political values," without any sign of "personality cult" or "bossism."

"You will find no street, no school, no statue with my name, nor
photographs of myself in public office," he added.

However, he said that he continues to lead the country because "for me it
is a job like that of a doctor, an architect, an engineer, or a worker."

This is my job and I will do it as long as I believe I can be useful,"
because "I do have more experience now than when I began."

He said that often a person is selected for a post other than the one he
would have preferred initially because "we have a collective leadership."
However, he conceded that he is well aware that at the beginning he
performed a role that was "very important" for the revolution.

"Leaders might think they are eternal, perhaps irreplaceable.  Amid honors
and recognition, they do not realize that all it takes is but a few years
until people no longer remember them," he said.  That is why in Cuba there
is a second secretary of the party, "who will take over immediately;" if
possible, there should always be a third man.

With regard to the United States, "a positive and constructive development
occurred" -- the recent migration agreement.  It showed that even difficult
problems "can be resolved when discussed flexibly, seriously, and

"There was another development of a general nature which, in my opinion,
was positive: a speech delivered by Reagan after the elections, which
contained peaceful overtones.  In addition, the Geneva meeting was
promoted," Castro added.  He pointed to other signs in this direction, like
the dialogue with Angola, viewing them "as symptoms that might reflect a
more realistic approach in U.S. policy."

But the Cuban leader also stressed during the interview, the transcript of
which was 115 pages long, what he described as U.S.  "contradictions."

"I certainly do not believe that the U.S. policy is completely defined.  On
the one hand there is dialogue and on the other insistance on the space
weapons programs, the MX missiles, and the new B-1 bombers."

According to the Cuban leader, it is not yet clear whether all the positive
signs are merely tactical "ploys," since if the arms programs are
undertaken, "there will not be detente."  Instead, there will be "a
colossal arms race, catastrophic for the entire world's economy, and a
serious threat to peace."

He added that it is important to know "to what extent the intention of
achieving military predominance prevails over the willingness to
negotiate."  However, he guessed that Reagan's great victory and the fact
that this is his second term in office will help improve relations.

This improvement should fall "within the framework of a more realistic
peace policy" on the part of the United States and within the context of
improved international relations.

He warned, however, that despite certain positive signs, "the path is not
clear," adding that those who say that "Cuba should give proof through
its actions and not its words," are wrong.  It is the other way around.
"The United States is a big country, whose actions are the determinant
factor in Central America and many parts of the world.  It is from the
United States that actions rather than a words are required."

I have absolutely nothing to prove because we are not impatient; we are in
no hurry to improve relations," he said, although he did admit that if
things were to get worse, Cuba has no means to counter a blockade.

However, "aggression against Cuba, for instance, would in the end imply
defeat for the United States" because they would need millions of soldiers
to occupy the island, which has all kinds of contingency plans and defense
mechanisms, Castro said.

Unless the country were "exterminated" or "a few nuclear bombs" were used
to blast Cuba "off the face of the earth," the United States cannot win,
Castro emphasized.  In that case "it would not be a defeat: History could
never classify it as a defeat if people have resisted and maintained their
flag steadfastly," he stated forcefully.  "Yes, our country can be
exterminated, but never defeated," he firmly stressed.

The leader spoke proudly of Cuba, "one of the only countries in the world
that can say here and now what we will be doing in 1990, 1995, or the year
2000;" know how many teachers and doctors we will have and how much of each
product will be produced "without counting upon the United States for
anything," he said.

Fidel Castro said that "it is better to count on the USSR and the socialist
countries."  It is possible to exchange views with those countries because
they are part of "a system that is not driven by the unmerciful selfishness
of capitalism."

He said that Cuba's relations with the socialist countries are "excellent,
better than ever," and that those countries "respect" a country that is
"threatened because it will not get down on its knees, a country that does
not surrender or sell out."

He stressed that "the future does not belong to Europe, it belongs to Latin
America," and that "Europe does not have much more to teach."  All the
European countries "regard us as former colonies with a lot to learn, but
actually, it's beginning to change."

"We do not need much from Europe and I say this in earnest," he emphasized,
stating that the continent "has become an ideological and also an economic
colony of the United States."

Castro said that the EEC "has an egotistical policy" which exports
subsidized agricultural products, demands sugar quotas, practices
protectionism and even dumping.

"European countries talk about competition," he added, "about free trade;
but they do things that have nothing to do with free trade or competition,"
he said.

Throughout these statements, Fidel Castro illustrated his remarks on the
deterioration of exchange with examples such as the case of sugar and
bulldozers: Years ago 200 tons of sugar purchased a bulldozer; now 800 tons
are needed to buy one.