Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Reiterates Debt Nonpayment

PA090058 Havana International Service in Spanish 0300 GMT 8 Jul 85

[Statement by President Fidel Castro in answer to a question on the Latin
American foreign debt from Venezuelan journalist Eleazar Diaz Rangel,
president of the Federation of Latin American Journalists, FELAP, during
the 7 July evening session of the Fourth FELAP Congress at Havana's Palace
of Conventions -- recorded]

[Text] Companero Diaz Rangel, demonstrating that he is a good journalist,
asked a question about a thorny problem that is full of thorns, [laughter]
Look, I was also listening to the Uruguayans and the Brazilian companeros
who made very interesting statements. I think all of the statements have
been good. Some of them have been exceptionally good, really very good.
They have enlightened all of us about this problem. There has been a
recurring theme.

We have had several international meetings. We must still hold the workers
meeting in the middle of the month and at the end of the month there will
be a very large one. The invitations have been prepared and are being
delivered. We see a recurring theme. It is like a long line with the same
idea: the idea that the debt cannot be paid.

Some time ago, no one dared say that the debt could not be paid. Some did,
as was recalled here regarding the workers in Uruguay who began saying
this. However, for many people it seemed an immorality to say that the debt
cannot be paid. There is mystical respect for the words not paying, a
moratorium. It is an institution that is as odd as Roman law. Those who
studied Roman law...[rephrases] I can tell you an anecdote. I remember that
in my house there was much criticism of pawning something. The morals
taught at home were that this was very bad and that those who pawned
anything were committing a big mistake. To pawn something was terrible. I
grew up with that idea. The worst guy in the world was the one who pawned
something, the one who asked for a loan and pawned something. Then I began
to study law: first year, second year, Roman law. The current civil law
goes back to Roman times; the civil contracts all kinds [rephrases] We had
to study a lot of that. During my law studies, among the interesting things
I found in a book was that this is called a pignorative contract based on a
pledge. I read about that commitment for the first time in a book, but it
was something that was 2,000 years old. Philosophers and jurists were
already addressing those problems, I said to myself; Pawning something is
not so sacrilegious. It seems like something honorable that was invented
long ago. Of course, it was worse then because then because those who
didn't pay were enslaved. If they pawned an object, they lost it. Many
people did not have anything to pawn so they pawned themselves. They were
even taken to the circus where the Romans entertained themselves by putting
Christians in the ring.

Therefore, the pignorative credit based on a pledge became honorable for
me. I still remember that it filled some needs when our resources were not
enough to live moderately as students. When that institution acquired such
a respectable character. I also went to the little pawnshop and pawned some
items. I even pawned a gold watch that I had been given as a gift.
Therefore, I had no other choice but to resort to a pignorative credit
based on a pledge. The payments were worse than the foreign debt. Let me
tell you that the interests were even more unfair, if there can be
something more unfair than today's rates.

Roman law also spoke of moratoriums. Moratariums were sometimes declared by
individuals and at other times by the state. How many times did the state
declare a moratorium? It is hard to find a single Latin American country
where a moratorium has never been declared. A tremendous moratorium was
declared on mortgages in Cuba in the 1930's. Someone has recalled that
Mexico's Juarez declared a moratorium at a time when vessels and gunboats
appeared nearby. I have given this much thought. (?I think) they can do
this again at the present time. I don't thank I have to mention this to you
became when you finish considering this material, you will see that I make
a thorough analysis of the possibility that this industrialized world will
do something today. The past 40 years have not elapsed in vain. The
Algerian people's heroic struggle for independence against one of
Europe's greatest powers did not occur in vain. The Vietnamese people's
heroic 30-year struggle against one of the world's most powerful nations
did not occur in vain. The struggle of the Portuguese colonies, which were
the last to achieve independence, did not occur in vain. The struggle and
resistance of Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Sahara in North Africa did
not occur in vain. All of this did not occur in vain.

This has taught all of us, including the industrialized world, a lesson:
that we deserve a little more respect, and that the largest power is no
match for a small country determined to defend its rights.

I am convinced... [applause] I am convinced that they cannot invade us,
they cannot impose a blockade, and they cannot divide us any longer. If
they are deranged enough to do something like that, capitalism would
instantly end. They cannot, and they know this. If the Latin American
governments adapted a tough stance, what could they immediately do if two
or three governments acting in desperation, because there is no other
alternative -- do it and announce it, but not quietly because if they do it
quietly the others will also remain silent because they do not want to make
a fuss or want a bad example to spread. They are facing a dilemma. If some
desperate countries do it and announce it as a right, as something fair,
not only because they cannot pay since not being able to pay is part of the
reason for not paying, and also because it is not fair to pay under the
criminal payment terms demanded [applause], then they will impose a
blockade against us -- surely they will [words indistinct] they impose a
blockade and yet play along with the liberation movement. A solidarity
movement will be unleashed that would make the Malvinas incident, small in
comparison to what a that nature will unleash. Regarding the Malvinas
incident, no one stood to lose or gain a single penny. This is not so this
time when our countries' existence is at stake. To impose an embargo is
like trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline, I am convinced of that. I
know they are imbeciles, but they think sometimes. [applause] They are
imbeciles. Maybe they are imbeciles, but they despise us. Sure, they
despise us. Look at how many years we have undergone an embargo -- almost
26 years. Of course they despise us.

Now, we tell them: Make a comparison; see how we are faring with all of our
indexes, all indexes. [Word indistinct] one of the countries that had many
more resources. Make a comparison with what you have tried to depict as a
standard model. I raise a lot of issues. When I am able to talk with some
US, interviewers. I throw them off balance. I ask them to give me the rate
of prostitution in a particular place and compare it with ours. Let's look
at the number of beggars on the street. How many drugs are used in the
United States, and how many are used here? I also ask them how many casinos
they have, and how many are here? How many jobless people are there, and
how many are here? What is the level of schooling in the United States, and
what is it here? What is the number of children from 6 to 12 years of age
who have had schooling there, and what is the number here? What is the
percentage of schooling among children 13-16 years of age there and here?
How many schools are in the United States and how many here? What is the
teacher-student ratio there, and what is it here? How many doctors are
there, and how many are here? What is the infant mortality rate there, and
what is it here? How many die during their first, second, or third year of
existence, etcetera, etcetera? No comparison is possible! I almost feel
ashamed! I can really see them lose their cool when I ask questions!
[applause] No comparison is possible! They have spent all their lives
speaking nonsense, idealizing things, and besmirching others through their
media in a desperate attempt to keep the revolutionary ideas from

So what? We have faced the blockade for 26 years. [laughs] They have no
more weapons left to use against us -- nothing! Our trade with the
Western world is insignificant, as 85 percent is secured with other
countries. This crisis only affects us by 15 per cent. We are the least
affected and, logically, this is why we can raise a banner for this cause
and speak up. There have been attempts to mislead public opinion. Now we
are told that we are the first ones to pay our debts. Never before had Cuba
been praised for this. On the contrary, bankers were told not to lend us
money because supposedly we would not pay them back. Our debt is not with
the Yankee banks. Our situation is the opposite of the foreign debt
problem. Some of our debts are with governments that include Third World
countries, such as Argentina. In other words, our foreign debt is
insignificant, and we do not have a debt with the Yankee banks. [Word
indistinct] almost provocative action. This gives me moral strength to
say: We do not have this problem; we are conducting this struggle for

This struggle is not new. How long ago did we begin? This is not a new
invention or a public relations campaign. Although, fortunately, this is
what they thought for months: that we were trying to improve relations
through publicity. They did not know that we were conducting a struggle.

It is just that the time is right because we have been fighting these
problems related to underdevelopment for approximately 15 years. Cuba has
actively participated in the struggle for a new international economic
order together with Algeria, Mexico, and other countries. Then, after the
1979 summit, we went to the United Nations, where we delivered a speech on
this subject, which is still current. We could have it printed and
distributed among you, so that you would confirm that this is not new, it
is not a new invention, a new Cuban invention, or something that has been
grasped or discovered today. As we said, in 1979 we mentioned the need for
an additional $300 billion for the development of countries in the next
decade be cause it was obvious that the amounts allocated were insufficient
and that the abyss between the rich and poor worlds was getting
increasingly wider. We then said that the so called development did not
exist, since what really existed was a relative underdevelopment, because
we were really underdeveloped rather than developing countries.
When Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark had 10,000
[unit not specified] the Third World countries had between 200 and 300,
and when the later reached 350, the first had reached 10,050, that is,

We have been euphemistically called developing countries, when in reality
we are underdeveloped countries that are becoming more and more
underdeveloped, and farther apart from the others, the developed countries.
What is the future of our world, of our 4 billion people?

This is not a new subject. There have been a few changes, because, as I
said, in 1979 we proposed the cancellation of the debt of the poorest
countries and ample facilities for the rest. We still proposed this in
1985, but the difference now is that we must all form a common front if we
want to win this battle. Even those with resources, such as Mexico,
Venezuela, and Ecuador, have many social problems. Venezuela, a country
with so many resources, has an unemployment rate of l4 percent, which is
steadily increasing. We are aware of the problems that exist, even in
countries with great resources. So, that's why we say that we must think
about the people, too, since in the long run they are the ones who will
have to pay a debt they did not acquire.

Take for example, the case of a parent who receives a loan for a certain
amount of money. He goes to a casino, plays roulette, and loses it all.
Then, they want to collect the debt from his 5-year-old-son. That is a
fact. They are collecting from someone who did not receive any money.

As some said yesterday, some took the money abroad with them and what was
lent to the country was left in the country's reserves. [sentence as heard]
Others took 40, 50 percent with them; some took more, others less,
depending on the country. Some of the larger debtors took between 40-50
percent -- this money fled. From whom are they collecting? What is the
moral basis for this unjust, cruel thing? Some people thought differently I
year ago. Before it was said that, according to religion, it was a sin not
to pay. Now, you hear cardinals, bishops, priests, Christians who say: This
cannot be paid, it should not be paid, and we are not going to pay.
Recently, I saw a nun here, and I remembered how she spoke and explained
things. She spoke about Bogota, its population, the hundreds of thousands
of abandoned children who have no shoes, who are hungry. Another nun showed
slides explaining it all.

When I saw such eloquent explanations and that strong language, I reached
one conclusion: This debt is not only unpayable, but in addition it is a
debt that cannot be collected. It is uncollectable. [applause]

Everyone is talking about this, and here we have talked about the stands of
various governments. There is a certain logic to all this. Almost all of
the governments, with very few exceptions, know that they cannot pay. They
are convinced that they cannot pay. There are a few who still have hopes
that they can pay. However, if the price of oil drops $4, that is it,
goodbye hopes. The price of oil is already $4 below the OPEC price,
Imperialism has been doing everything possible to lower the price of oil,
by exporting petroleum from the North Sea and other places, through other
means, using up the reserves they had accumulated. They are doing
everything possible to lower the price of petroleum.

They are trying to create a situation that will bring about a crisis in a
few countries. They will provoke a $4 drop in the price of oil, which
would not solve the problem for anyone else. If you tell Jamaica or Santo
Domingo today that the price of oil has dropped by $4 this solves nothing.
Their problems are so serious, their crises so deep, that this does not
help them at all. However there are still a few who harbor hopes that they
can pay, and if the price of oil drops by $4, then they lose all hope.

However, the vast majority is convinced that they cannot pay. Naturally,
they are then hurled into a situation that they cannot resolve. They are
renegotiating. They renegotiate practically every month. They are not in
Cuba's shoes -- Cuba can speak out freely and with impunity. They cannot
get tough or create difficulties. They do not say it, but they know they
cannot pay.

Some international news agencies have used the tactic of asking specific,
direct questions, trying to develop discrepancies. They first thought this
was a public relations problem, and now they realize this is a serious
movement. This is a real battle. They are desperate, they are trying to
weaken us [applause], and one of the tactics they are using is that of
availing themselves of any opportunity to ask direct questions, such as:
What do you think about all this? They ask this question particularly to
those countries that are negotiating and renegotiating every month. They
cheat on them. The truth is that the debtors have been very careful, very

Naturally, the Yankees continue agitating, but there are even more absurd,
unbelievable things. Some politicians are concerned because Cuba is
raising this banner. [applause] Why? Because Cuba has been the victim of a
blockade. It might be the target of an aggression. They even occupy part of
our territory. They have taken away our sugar quota and distributed it
throughout the world, like they did in the early years of the revolution.

The Cubans do not have a right in this world. They have a right to suffer
everything. [applause] However, the Cubans have the obligation to be the
target of discrimination. We do not even have the right to present an idea,
or raise a banner, and much less the right to emphasize this idea. We have
been bringing up these problems for over 15 years, for many years, bringing
up this idea. Some react with a certain jealousy. They say Cuba is a
terrible country. They worry more over Cuba raising the banner than over
their own debt. There is something ridiculous here, something absorb,
banalities, foolishness, jealousy. We would be willing to give away this
banner to he who wants to raise it. Immediately we will give up this banner
so someone else can raise it. Why did we raise the banner? Because others
did not want to raise it. [applause]

We are not seeking glory or prestige. A true revolutionary never worries
about these things.

Marti said that all the glory of the world fit inside a kernel of corn. One
of the first things we learned was that a kernel of corn is very small.
Only petty politicians and vain men worry about these things. Something a
true Cuban revolutionary never worries about is prestige. It just is not
part of the mentality, nature, character, the thoughts of a Cuban
revolutionary. Some people worry about these stupid things.

Now, this has gained strength. This is a snowball that is gathering
strength and cannot be controlled. It is being supported by the law of
gravity, not of this world, but of a planet larger than this one.
[sentence as heard] This snowball is growing and gaining more velocity. No
one can stop it now. That is the truth, and everyone knows this. This
ballet is already producing some benefits, because the powerful ones are
scared and they have started to handle things more carefully.

On 4 July, the U.S. secretary of state met with all the Latin American
representatives. Now, this is something unusual, holding this meeting in
Washington on Independence Day, the day of the inherent and inalienable
rights of the U.S. citizens, of the white citizens, but not, of course, of
the slaves.

They have had their slaves producing even a century after their
independence and producing at an increased value in order to finance

The United States tells Latin America: Behave well; we are worried about
you, and Cuba is making up these stories. However, some of the more
intelligent ones in the United States are beginning to raise the problem.
The assistant secretary of the treasury said it, and 24 hours later the
secretary himself said this was outrageous and how could he have said this.
It turned out to be public polemic, Kissinger, who is undoubtedly one of
the most talented politicians of imperialism, has already raised formulas
that are not too far removed from those we are bringing up. We have
already observed there are hesitations in the ranks of the adversaries.
That is the result of this struggle.

When they slightly extend the deadline in order to pay the capital in 10
years, 12, or 15, it is a result if this struggle. When they begin to make
concessions, it is the result of this struggle and not the love letters.
[laughter] Let this be made vary clear. [applause]

Naturally, there are no technical formulas; there are simply no technical
formulas. Some technocrats harbor illusions that there might be technical
formulas for this. If a family receives $40 per month and spends $100, it
needs $200; however, it owes $1,000. I want you to tell me if there is any
technical formula for solving this problem. Yes, there is a technical
formula: Cancel the $1,000 and pay them the $200 they need. That is the
only technical, mathematical formula. Yet, that money cannot come out of a
hat. It is not just the money they owe; it is the interests that are
charged, the money that is stolen, the devalued dollar, the protectionist
measures, the dumping [preceding word in English] and other things. This is
not the first time that they have wanted me to raise this issue. The Latin
American political leaders are the ones who must range this issue. If the
debt is canceled, is the problem solved? Is it possible to solve this
problem without the new international economic order that the United
Nations Organization approved 10 years ago? Is it possible to solve this
problem without uniting, without adopting a firm stand? Now, I ask you: Is
this possible?

If we are going to act with just a minimum of responsibility in the future
of our countries, we must stop to think about what is going to happen 10 or
20 years from now?

However, there are still some individuals infected [as heard] with
technicalities who believe in juggling things around. There are no
technical formulas. This does not have a technical solution, not even for
those who still have hopes.

In order to pay, one would have to do it at the cost of tremendous
sacrifice. Imperialism will try to undermine the struggle. It will try to
disarm that bomb, to impede this rebellion. Rather than losing it all, it
is going to begin making concessions. It might even go as far as lowering
the interests, extending the deadlines, and setting aside part of the money
in order to begin making payments. However, then it would have to violate
its own laws. (?Without this) they cannot spend trillions of dollars on
weapons, have a budget deficit of over $200 billion, plus a commercial
deficit of over $100 billion without printing money or buying dollars, or
without having to sell bonds, which is what they have been doing in order
to pick up money throughout the world. [sentence as heard] They have even
taken money away from their capitalist allies in order to finance all of
the crazy things they have been doing, since it is not possible to have
these expenses and to have these budget deficits [Castro pauses] in foreign
trade without increasing interest rates. They would have to begin canceling
the capitalist systems. They cannot do that. However, if they handle this
right, print more money...[rephrases] On the other hand, since they are
afraid of inflation, they cannot put too much money into circulation
because one of his [presumably Reagan] catch-phrases was to fight against

The result is that they are involved in a series of contradictions that
they cannot solve. They are fighting like cats and dogs with their European
and Japanese allies, a fight they cannot resolve among themselves. They are
going to be left with little, place and time to worry. When Kissinger said
in Brussels or Holland that Latin America needed a Marshall Plan. I
laughed. I laughed because we do not need one; we need at least 25 Marshall

We do not need those little formulas. Imperialism is going to try to
undermine that struggle, to gain time, to solve a little problem.
Somewhere where a crisis might break out, so give this one a
little help, lend this one a little bit so he can pay the interest.
However, judging from what I have seen, the interest keeps growing. Then,
the debt keeps growing, and becomes more unpayable all the time.

If they were to charge 6 percent instead of 10 percent, the debt would
still accumulate. If they gave a 10-year moratorium, after 10 years, Latin
America would have to pay, not $360 billion, but over $800 billion. If the
interest was higher and accumulated, Latin America alone would have to pay
$1.4 trillion.

If they were to search for a technical formula, I would tell them:
Gentlemen, do not pay the interest, and let us agree to start paying 10
years from now. Okay, that is a cancellation, and that is something else. A
moratorium of 10 years, including capital and interest, that is the
cancellation. It is the same thing, with a different name. It is rejecting,
cancelling, erasing the debt, because 10 years from now, the Third World
will owe $2 quintillion. That is even harder to pay.

In sincerely believe it would betray the hopes of the Third World peoples
to settle for 10, 15, 20, or whatever years. We are now in a position to
gather great strength as never before, because now, we are not asking for
$300 billion for that Third World, like we did at the United Nations. Now,
we are telling them: Do not be crazy, do not deliver those $400 billion.
For 10 years, all you will be paying is interest. That is the difference,
that is the initiative that [word indistinct] of the Third World countries,
This is a greedy, selfish world; it is an insatiable world.

We must unite in this aspect, and our unity is a tremendous weapon. We must
impose the new order, and we will have many allies in this struggle,
including some from the industrialized countries. We can convince them that
this is even good for them, because they will have more sources of
employment, they will be able to make better use of their industrial
capabilities, their world trade will improve, and capitalism will be able
to emerge from this crisis. This crisis is becoming longer all the time,
and it will eventually expand out of sight. One thing that is not going to
save itself capitalism, in any form.

We do not want to be killed by capitalism, before it disappears. We want to
live to see the day when capitalism disappears. [applause]

Therefore, Companero Diaz Rangel, there is no possibility of a solution. If
the price of oil drops, this will put an end to the last hopes. There are
still a few who are trying to figure it out, and based on a tremendous
sacrifice on the part of their people, they feel that it might be
possible to pay. Imperialism is going to try to seek conciliatory formulas
to disarm this struggle that I started, and there are certain risks to
this effect. That is correct.

They will make certain concessions. Let them behave like the [word
indistinct] who went all the way to the end, and let the ones following me
figure it out for themselves. Imperialism is helping Chile in this
situation. It is lending Chile money so it can pay the interest. The World
Bank, which is a decisive factor in the United States, leads Chile $100
million for one project, $150 [million] for another one. It is very clear
that imperialism is trying to help because it is trying to see if it can
deactivate the bomb there. However, it does not understand that nothing can
save Chile, just like nothing can save apartheid. It is just a matter of

However, they are carrying out all sorts of maneuvers. Now, it is important
that the masses join this struggle. It is basically important that the
peoples develop an awareness. Those governments that are convinced they
cannot pay will eventually reach an agreement with their own people. Those
governments will increase their possibilities of gaining popular
support, once their own people become convinced of the reality, which
perhaps the government was afraid to bringing up before them.

We are not proposing that the masses develop an awareness with the idea of
exerting pressure on the government. On the contrary, we are proposing to
the governments who have to make such a decision that it is good if the
masses are aware of this problem. It is also very important for the masses
to develop an awareness so they can form part of this struggle, in order
to guarantee the success of this struggle, to prevent conciliation
formulas from cropping up behind the scenes. It has already been said here
that parliaments have nothing to do with the agreements that are made
concerning the debt.

The country and the people are committed, and the parliaments have nothing
to do about this. The way in which this debt is being negotiated and
renogiated is not even democratic. The people should form part of the
Parliament; there should be mass organizations and political parties.
Everyone should be participating in this issue. In order to win this
battle, it is extremely important for the message to reach the masses.

Any government that respects itself will feed satisfied if it knows that it
has the support of the people in the event that it must make a difficult
decision. Any politician or individual who is worried about the future of
his country and of his party would be happy, unless he is afraid of the
masses; There technocrats who are frightened of the masses. They think they
are prophets, witch doctors capable of finding magic formulas.

They are terrorized just thinking about the masses thinking and developing
an awareness. Only under such circumstances could one explain the
ridiculous acts of jealousy against Cuba. Just think: There are some who are
jealous of Cuba after we have been defending freedom and rights for 26

The first right we have been defending is that of independence and
sovereignty. We have defended it with the courage of our people. As we
defended the independence and sovereignty of this bulwark, we have been
defending the independence and sovereignty of the rest of the Latin
American peoples. [applause] We have been defending a hope. What was our
first achievement for Latin America? The very first one? To distribute our
[sugar] quota, which was taken away from us. Our country was deprived of
its sugar quota, and it was distributed throughout Latin America. Everyone
who had sugar participated in this distribution, a little bit here and
there. Yet in Punta del Este, they discussed expelling Cuba from the OAS
and from everything else. If we could move to the moon, they would have
moved us to the moon. They have not done this because they have not been
able to do it. The distribution of our sugar quota was our first
revolutionary achievement. We obtained a sugar quota for everyone. Yet,
there is still a country asking why if we purchase sugar in the
international market, which we have done at times for our domestic
consumption during a drought or to fulfill a commitment established years
ago; we do not share the benefits of our trade with the USSR. That country
[presumably the one first mentioned] even maintains relations with us, has
not even looked in this direction, and yet received a large share of our
sugar quota at a given time.

Well, the Alliance for progress was a second conquest. They distributed $10
billion of their own money because they were afraid of Cuba. Now, we would
like them to condone the debt because they are afraid of Cuba, afraid of
Cuba. [applause] We would really feel [corrects himself] that is what we
really want. Maybe they should do what we do with the Soviets. Some always
say: No, Cuba is one of the countries with the highest debt and they begin
calculating what we owe the Soviet Union. I am tired of repeating that our
debts with the Soviet Union are automatically renegotiated every 10, 15
and 20 years without interest.

Very well, we must reach an agreement between the Third World countries and
the capitalist developed world. We are going to renegotiate the debt every
15, 10, 15 [as heard] and 20 years without interests. There you are! You
have an excellent technical formula. It is being enforced by Cuba in its
relations with the socialist countries. That is what we want to do,
However, they have no argument against this; they cannot hide their greed,
selfishness, and their thirst for loot. They cannot hide this; the Pirates
cannot hide their crimes. That is their main problem. They cannot stop this
ball. Above all, they will never be able to stop this ball if you and all
the patriotic people -- women, students, workers, journalists,
intellectuals, politicians, democrats, and progressive people -- spread
this message among the masses. They will never be able to stop it and this
will really be our only guarantee. [applause]

In addition, we have worked continuously with the Nonaligned Movement, the
African countries, Asian countries. We have talked with the socialist
countries, and many people in the industrialized world, creating the
conditions to develop enormous solidarity and full support for all the
countries which find themselves in a position to adopt desperate measures.
The ideal thing would be for us to sit down and talk about all these
things. We would even lend you the Palace of Conventions so that you may
meet to discuss this. It would be televised via satellite to all the world.
We would discuss everything to seek....[rephrases] and the ideal thing
would be to sit down, discuss things, and find a solution.

That would be the ideal thing, my Ecuadoran [as heard] companero, but it is
difficult to attain.

Another ideal thing would be for all the debtor countries and all the Latin
American countries to sit down together and achieve a consensus on what
should be done. That is the ideal thing, but I find it difficult to
achieve. I think that things will start rolling when someone grows
desperate and adopts a decision to suspend payments and proclaim rather
decree, a moratorium and proclaim this decision. Prior to this, all the
conditions must be met; this means support and solidarity. We know that one
bloc cannot prevent this so I will give you an example. I give you Cuba's
example. Cuba could not be supported because our rights and our [word
indistinct] were distributed. We were bad, a terrible thing, socialism.
That is an infernal thing. How can this be these people must be quickly
condemned to hell and annihilated, just like they to annihilate the
Nicaraguan people. They want to annihilate any revolutionary county. That
is the classical imperialist recipe. However, nothing will be achieved with
this, I am fully convinced of this. That is the ideal thing and it will
happen. Then what happens? Nothing at all! The U.S. imperialism is trying
to undermine the efforts and it will succeed if the masses are not aware of
this. If the masses become aware of this and reject payment of the debt,
then we will be on the threshold of many revolutions, on the threshold of
this hemisphere revolution. We say this quite clearly so that I fully
understood by those who could do something to solve the problem. [Words
indistinct], a term we have repeated many times and quite clearly, [words
indistinct] achieve.

If the cancer is not eradicated, then it will mean the death of all the
democratic processes. This goes without saying, the crisis is grave --
quite grave -- gentlemen, and we have clear examples. Take Peru, where a
government is about to conclude its 5 year term. That government got 50
percent of the votes and exerted itself to pay the debt and follow the
IMF's [word indistinct]. How many votes did it get this time? It got 4
percent, between 3 and 4 percent of the votes, I think it barely got 4.5
percent of the votes 5 years later.

The deterioration process is now much fasted. These things are clear and we
understand them. The imperialists understand them better than anyone. A
revolutionary, a politician understands them better than anyone. These are
inviolable laws! Do you think that a pretty face or charming demeanor will
help you maintain popularity with simple words and phrases, while the
people suffer tragedies every day? This will not last 5 minutes. There are
people who believe that publicity is an act of magic. Of course
there are governments who will win elections due to publicity. They hire
Yankee specialists, project a good image on television, spend hundreds of
millions, and get elected. However, it is easier for them to fool the
people on election day than it is to fool the people for 30 consecutive
days, after they are in government and fail to solve problems. Lincoln
rightfully said that you could fool some of the people part of the time,
but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Thus, you come to election day, the culminating moment. The guy is an
angel, an apostle, a saint, an incorruptible man, and a magician. He will
solve all the people's problems. So, they voted for the man. We can
rightfully say that the people may be fooled many times during a day, but
by the 30th day or the 45th day, you begin to lose ground. Sometimes you
make an effort and try to mend things once and again. The problem is that
you used to slide downhill, but now you are falling fast, head over heels.
The problem is different now: You are no longer facing a decline, you are
facing an abyss.

Of course, I do not want to extend myself too much, I think I have taken up
enough of your time, I think that there only remains one idea, about an
important opinion.

I think that in all we have discussed, we have discussed two important
things: the need to reject the debt, liquidate the debt, and the need to
establish a new international economic order. The third important thing to
be discussed is our economic integration. These three things are necessary.
If Europe, Spain, the UK, the country which threatened industrialization,
discover that they cannot develop without an EEC, how can our small Central
American, South American countries develop themselves without Latin
American economic integration? Consequently, I think that there are three
basic ideas: cancel the debt; attain a new international economic order;
and attain Latin America's economic integration. These ideas should be
defended as of this moment, and everyone is talking about this. I think
that this battle will represent a giant step on the road to integration.
Finally, an idea. It is no longer a pillar [pilar]. A basic idea of this
struggle against this economic crisis, our struggle to solve this problem,
and our struggle for development and world peace. The cause of peace has
enormous strength in all industrialized countries of Europe and other
places, but not so much in Third World countries. These countries have no
time to think about peace because they starve in the midst of peace. They
also die from disease. These countries wage a daily war, but the banner of
peace has much strength in the world and among all thinking people in

We are presenting things in these terms so that the Third World's struggle
for peace will be linked, because if... [rephrases] The interest that we
are paying is being invested in arms, in military expenditures, in the arms
race, in rearmament. All that money is taken away from the children who are
going hungry, who do not have medicine or anything, whose families are
unemployed. It is being spent. It is those $300 billion spent by the United
States, the hundreds of billions spent by the capitalist industrialized
countries, the millions [rephrases], and in addition they force the
socialist countries to spend more millions. What need do the socialist
countries have for an arms race or a military industry? None at all. It is
a need that was imposed on the socialist camp from the very moment the
first socialist state emerged. That is the truth. Everything else is pure

[Words indistinct] paid with these interests and with this unequal trade
and the $20 billion they stole from us in 1985 [corrects himself] in 1984
when we exported $95 billion, and they paid us $20 billion less than what
it was worth in 1980. We are giving more, and they are paying less. We make
efforts, we break our backs to export, and what we export brings less each
year. They are spending this on rearmament and the arms race. Thus the idea
that there should be a close link between the struggle against the foreign
debt, for the new international economic order, and for development and

This will gain strength because even in the industrialized countries there
are millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions who would be willing
to support the struggle. We should struggle so they will support us. A
North American spoke here with much precision and eloquence, promising to
wage the battle there. There are millions and tens of millions of people
like him in the United States, Europe, Japan, Canada -- the industrialized
world whose voracious system is plundering us and wants to starve us.

I think that after all our discussions, after listening to excellent
statement, and in general all the statements, were of good quality, we
need only to understand these basic ideas. These are basic points in this
battle. I do not know why, but I have the conviction that this meeting,
this debt we have held, will be of historic importance in this struggle and
the victory we can achieve. We can and will achieve that victory.