Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA181638 Madrid EFE in Spanish 1535 GMT 18 Feb 85

[Text] Havana, 18 Feb (EFE) -- Today, Cuban President-Fidel Castro -issued
a dramatic warning to the industrialized countries about the threat that
Latin America's "unpayable" foreign debt poses for world peace.

In an exclusive interview granted to EFE, Castro said that unless this
situation is made more bearable soon, with a 10 to 20-year grace period for
payment of the capital ($360 billion) and the interest ($40 billion a
year), the danger is not that the military will return to power, but that
there will be "total political destabilization" and a "social explosion" of
unforeseeable consequences.

"There is no need for a flame," he said.  "There can be just internal
combustion and then there will not be enough water in the world to put it

For the Cuban leader, the only real solution that would prevent the
bankruptcy of the international financial system would be a pure and simple
cancellation of Latin America's debt accompanied by measures for a new
international economic order.

However, the above-mentioned grace period and the industrialized countries'
direct assumption of the debt, contracted mostly with private banks, would
be an essential first step for temporarily deactivating what he described
as the Latin American "powder keg."

During a 6-hour interview granted to Ricardo Utrilla, president and general
director of EFE, who was accompanied by Marisol Marin, the agency's
representative in Havana, Castro somberly described the Latin American
situation as an "insoluble crisis of the system."  This situation, he said,
has even led the United States to try to get rid of General Pinochet in
Chile, where the first "social explosion" might occur, something like a
southern cone Nicaragua.

In answer to several questions, he suggested that, to the extent that that
process threatens world peace, it does not favor Cuba's revolutionary
aspirations in the region.  "It might be better," he asserted, "if the
changes were to come about in the most orderly, least traumatic, bloody way
possible...that would be preferable."

"Preventing a war," he further asserted, "is as necessary as social

To this regard, he expressed his willingness to contribute to the area
peace process by abstaining from intervening in other countries.

"I think," he said, "that the problems posed by development can be
confronted only with the cooperation of the entire international community,
socialist and capitalist countries alike.  Underdevelopment is no, resolved
simply by having peace.  Its solution falls within the framework of a
peace perspective for the entire world, a peace which does not consist only
of the discontinued manufacture or reduction of nuclear weapons, or
abstaining from a space war program, but entails true willingness to get
billions of human beings out of poverty by using the resources which today
are so absurdly dedicated to military expenses."

"As for our region," he added, "the principle of nonintervention in the
domestic affairs other countries could be strictly enforced.  We are 100
percent willing to comply with this: No Cuban interference even if we
sympathize with the revolutionary movements; neither Cuba nor the United
States would interfere.  Let each country decide responsibly what
political and economic system it must follow.

"No one should try from abroad to promote a new social system or to
maintain an unjust social order."

Although he admitted that Cuba is currently supporting the Sandinist
revolution in Nicaragua both economically and militarily, he avoided direct
answers about possible military aid to the Salvadoran guerrillas or the
number of Cuban soldiers on Nicaraguan territory.

After flatly denying that the revolutionaries in Managua or those in El
Salvador are trying to establish in their respective countries a
Cuban-style political and economic system, Castro explained that Havana's
military contribution in Nicaragua is strictly of an organizational nature
involving instructors.  He added that providing military aid to the
Salvadoran guerrillas is "almost impossible."  "A discussion of this
subject is almost a metaphysical endeavor," he added.

In this regard, he referred to Cuba's "moral right" to support both
Nicaragua and the Salvadoran guerrillas in the face of U.S. intervention,
which is intended to destroy the Nicaraguan revolution from within and
prevent the victory of the Salvadoran revolutionaries in the face of a
"genocidal regime."

According to Castro, the possibility that the united States might stage a
military intervention in Nicaragua "unfortunately exists."  He added,
however, that such an action "would truly be very foolish," but that under
such circumstances, it would be "materially impossible" for Cuba to do
anything.  However, he stressed, "there is no military solution" for the
United States in Latin America.

"Graphically," he went on, "we say that intervening in Nicaragua is to play
with fire beside a powder keg since, in my opinion, Latin America's
political and social situation can be described as a powder keg.
Intervention would truly be a very foolish act on tile part of the United

He added: "It has been demonstrated that no technology is capable of
destroying the popular resistance movements of peoples who are motivated by
patriotic and revolutionary ideas.  It would be useless, there would be
such a high price to pay, politically and in human factors, that, as I have
already told the Americans, I consider it inconceivable that the United
States will invade Nicaragua."

"My opinion, naturally, is that, although there is a solution, the United
States will not negotiate seriously and will not support Contadora or its
efforts as long as it has the hope of eliminating the Sandinist revolution
from within....  However, if the United States wants to negotiate
seriously, there will undoubtedly be a solution, and solutions that will
satisfy Nicaragua and [the other] Central American nations as well as the
United States itself," he added.

According to Castro, the plan followed by the Nicaraguans is "perfect":
Without giving up being revolutionaries, they postpone the construction of
socialism until it becomes possible and limit themselves for the time being
to structural reforms, the most important of which is agrarian reform.  It
is a scheme that the Cuban leader sees as an example for the rest of Latin
America, if one wishes to prevent an explosion, and in which he finds a
certain parallel with the plan being implemented by the Socialist Party in

After stating that Latin America has two essential problems that it must
solve, independence and development, he expressed his conviction that "to a
greater or lesser degree, other Latin American countries will follow
Nicaragua's scheme" because the ghost of a military coup is vanishing.

He said: "The military understand that the situation of these countries is
unmanageable and they are withdrawing from the government, transferring the
governments to civilians after having thoroughly failed in the management
of the state, after having ruined the countries to a greater or lesser
degree...all of them know that their countries have become unmanageable and
they are turning power over to the civilians.  That is, the crisis is so
deep, that they no longer consider themselves capable of ruling."

However, he explained that in countries like Peru and Panama, the military
played a progressive role arid that in Brazil they followed "a different
policy" from their Argentine, Chilean and Uruguayan colleagues.

The political change that occurred in Brazil was not violent, but it was
thorough.  That is, the opening is serious, it is solid," he said.