Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA200035 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0030 GMT 20 Jul 85

["Question-and-answer session" held by President Fidel Castro on 18 July at
the Palace of Conventions in Havana at the conclusion of the Latin American
and Caribbean trade union conference on foreign debt -- recorded]

[Text] [Castro] Comrades, I can do two things.  I can go to the podium and
make a speech [laughter] or I can stay here and hold a dialogue with you.
There possibly, I might tell you the things that appear most important and
those points that require further clarification will be explained.  Each
issue will be surmised almost by chance and each issue will involve things
that might worry you, or in which you might be quite interested.  For this
reason, I would rather have a dialogue.  In talks with various delegates, I
have found that they have questions, that they want information, or to
listen to another viewpoint.  We may even depart from the traditional
because during the past several days you have listened to many speeches,
although some of these speeches were very good.  I have also delivered many
speeches this year.  Therefore, I would be happy if you agreed to hold a
dialogue. [applause] In this case, we would have to ask Comrade Veiga to
preside over this dialogue with full participation if this is possible.
The dialogue should proceed in an orderly manner and have a time limit, not
that I am imposing it, but when the hours pass, you become tired and I also
become tired.  We all become tired.  For a time limit, we will have 2 hours
and if you can stand more, 1 more hour. [laughter] And for a limit to
questions, well, I suppose we will have between 15 and 20 questions.  If
you agree, we will begin immediately. [applause]

[Veiga] First, we have Comrade Angelino Garzon, secretary general of the
Trade Union Confederation of Colombian Workers.  Comrade Banzo Palomino
wants to make a proposal.

[Palomino] I would say, why not combine the two ideas that Fidel presented,
namely, that we listen to some of his opinions on the assembly and then
combine them later with several questions.  I feel it is important to
listen to Fidel's views and then we can have questions and statements.

[Castro] I could make some final statements from here.  It is not necessary
to go to the podium.  First I will answer your questions and then give you
some brief final words on those things that have not been included in the

[Veiga] Right. Comrade Garzon.

[Garzon] Taking advantage of his presence at this conference, I want to ask
Comrade Commander Fidel Castro his views and feelings regarding the nature
of the conference, its deliberations and discussions as well as its
conclusions and the outlook for this work.

[Castro] It is difficult to say something that has not been said.  Some of
these views were presented during this event or in an act of Havana.
However, I will express some personal views and observations; in other
words, differences that could exist within political views and various
stances, as Veiga said.  He even spoke of religious criteria, and I do not
think that was even a topic.  The differences can be political,
oppositional, or ideological.  I saw that in all the speeches, despite
everything, the nature of the workers, laborers, and peasants was reflected
-- those people closely linked to the rank and file who know the problems
and the suffering of the men and women, of the people, and, above all, of
the workers.  It was very interesting.

There was a great community of feeling; common things prevailed in such a
way that differences could barely be perceived or were imperceptible.  My
attention was drawn to the delegates' intellectual level, their
understanding of the background of the problems, of directly getting to the
point, even though there were some speeches that required this gavel; I
don't know what you call this gavel in conference, or the clock.

I have participated in many meetings of all types -- meetings of heads of
state, the Nonaligned Movement, the United Nations, and many others.  In
addition, I was able to appreciate the preparation of those who met here
and those who spoke.  I admired them when I saw how they were able, at a
particular moment and on short notice when regulations began to be applied
more rigorously, to adapt quickly.  In a short time, 10 minutes or less,
they were able to make interesting, brilliant speeches.  I honestly feel I
have not missed a single word spoken during this meeting.  I don't remember
any other meeting or assembly in which such excellent statements have been
made.  In addition, I was able to appreciate firm, solid views, character,
and strength.  I don't want to mention any other sector of society.  For
instance, I won't talk about students.  Recently women made a great
demonstration similar to this one, which amazed us.  I can tell you that I
have not participated in any other meeting more interesting or with more
quality -- because of the delegates' participation -- than this meeting.
In addition, I can say that as a general rule, the speeches were good.
They had content, ideas, and some were really brilliant.  As for the
document, we might conclude that this document was impossible considering
the extreme breadth of the meetings and the diversity of the trends and
ideas represented here.  Actually producing a document such as this one
seems like a miracle, yet it is not a miracle.  It is the result of a sense
of responsibility and earnestness, as well as the commitment of those

I think this view is shared by all of you, as you gave proof of this when
you approved this document at the end with such emotion and enthusiasm.
From the previous discussion, from the discussion at noon today, and in
this session, the document was improved.

We are all aware that it is not perfect, but then there is never a perfect
document.  However, in view of the conditions, the circumstances, the
broadness of this meeting, and the diversity of currents, I think this
meeting has been quite successful, that it will have an impact not only in
Latin America but in Asia and Africa as well; the ideas that have been
suggested here will have an impact on world public opinion, on the
industrialized world.  It will have an impact in Africa, in Asia, and
everywhere else.  It is not a manifesto, it is not a proclamation; it is
merely an act reflecting what has been discussed here, the thoughts that
have been raised here.

I think that you have fulfilled the spirit with which this meeting was
called, in the sense that there would be attempts to avoid any step or
measure that might give the impression we had formed an organization or
were disavowing any of the existing organizations.  This document has
merely gathered the spirit, the ideas that prevailed during the conference,
and although it is merely a document, I think it will be one of the acts
with greater repercussions that have ever been seen.

I have been associated with such problems for a long time, and I have never
seen anything this clear, so legible and effective.  In other words, I feel
we have a document that fully meets the spirit in which this meeting was
called.  In my view this document will have great repercussion.  As I was
saying, or as I meant to say, in this long process where we have been
concerned with these problems, nothing has filled me with such emotion as
reading this document.  We have already seen the one that was read so well
at noon, I think that I found the emotion shared by everyone here
contagious in spite of the fact that we have been meeting here for several
days in a more familiar atmosphere.  Personally, Colombian companero, I was
filled with emotion tonight because I feel we have taken a great step

It is difficult now to speak of plans, future results, knowing that it will
have great repercussions, great impact, great strength; that it will
activate this movement, this struggle, and I think the repercussions will
be very great and numerous.  We must not forget that this conference is not
the only one that has received support here.  There are upcoming
conferences being organized in Bolivia, and the one that will be organized
in the southern cone.  It is possible that the 23d [23 October 19851, a day
of protest or a day of struggle -- or how was it that you named it? -- a
day of continental action against the foreign debt and its catastrophic
results -- might also be a day not only for workers and labor union
organizations, but also for the student organizations, the women's groups,
the professionals' groups, of professors, of the political organizations,
also.  It would not be strange if many political organizations were to
support this action and the effect of this agreement were multiplied,
should that day become one of continual action by all the mass and
political organizations.

In a few days, there will be a very large meeting here in Havana.  That
meeting will be even larger than this meeting, because this one was broad,
but it gathered labor unions and workers.  The forthcoming meeting will be
a broad meeting including political parties of various political
ideologies, of different social sectors.  The meeting to be held on 30
[July] will be attended by parties of the left, center, and some
conservative parties; there will be scientists, intellectuals -- I am told
this is still up in the air, but I assume that in spite of that, I will not
change my words one bit, [passage indistinct] [laughter, applause]
Intellectuals, scientists, economists, religious sectors, students, women
-- there is a group of women in Nairobi waging a great battle, and from
that group, there is a group of Latin American women that will also
participate in this conference, in this hemispheric dialogue beginning on
30 July -- and, of course, there will be a large and prestigious
representation of workers at this conference.  There will be political
personalities, in other words, it will be very broad.  There will be
businessmen, local and foreign guests, there will even be some bankers, so
they will also give their opinions and participate in the dialogue.  The
transnational banking sector will not be represented, neither the
transnationals, nor the United States will be represented at this meeting.
Imperialism will not be represented, but the event will be very broad.  I
have gone ahead a bit in explaining this, but it has to do with certain
points of view on the strategy and tactics that we must continue to follow,
and not lose.  It is going to be very interesting.  It is impossible to
predict how this meeting will develop right now.  I have seen the meetings
of women, youths, workers, but never this type of meeting.  It will be a
very broad meeting, with absolute democracy, absolute freedom of
expression, absolute respect for the opinion of all, whatever they may be.

You will have to see how that assembly, that great assembly where there
will be a dialogue, develops.  We have never seen anything like it.  The
most we have seen are the nonaligned meetings, the meetings of heads of
state.  They are very heterogeneous events, too.  Almost 100 countries
comprise that movement.  In fact, the seventh summit meetings were held in
this very auditorium.  They lasted almost 1 week.  That event was probably
the most similar to the forthcoming one, but I expect this meeting to be
better than a nonaligned summit.

The dispatches spoke of a summit meeting and we immediately explained that
this is not a summit meeting but a high level meeting of personalities,
political leaders, union leader, and others.  This is the nature of the
meeting.  Calling a meeting of heads of state never crossed my mind because
we are not even a member of the OAS.  They honorably expelled us from that
organization.  We do not have relations with many countries because we were
the victims of isolation, a blockade, and breaking of relations.  I think
it would have been a little haughty and presumptuous of us to call a summit
meeting of Latin American heads of state.  For us, the importance of a
summit is not in the ranks of those participating, but in the moral, human
quality, and the popular representation of the participants. [applause]

Therefore, companeros, I believe that on the 30th we will see the
repercussions of this reference.  I am absolutely convinced that they will
be great.  I am absolutely convinced of this, but not based on dreams or
something strange.  I have been observing this movement, this process.  The
storm has been building for years and now the storm is about to unleash
itself.  The crisis has reached its limit, its maturity.  At this moment
the crisis has matured.  I would like to continue, but I have tried to give
you an answer and explain some other ideas.

[Veiga] Will the Mexican companero who just raised his hand please give his

[Sandoval] Carlos Sandoval Ramirez, of the Single Union of University
Workers.  Commander Fidel Castro's opinions have been very interesting.
During the morning session we also received other very interesting
opinions.  We agree with the opinion [Castro] gave us, for example,
regarding the date of the continental action.  In fact, we believe that it
is necessary to develop a very broad campaign to demystify the celebration
of a date such as this.  I believe that he correctly referred to the
imperialists' efforts to continue justifying the exploitation of our
peoples.  However, we must clarify and establish that our motivation when
we made this proposal was precisely in the sense in which Fidel Castro
stated it.  Our companero from the National Trade Union of Education
Workers said that this date should be appropriate for the initiation of
this campaign of struggle against colonialism.  Of course, I believe this
is what encouraged the groups of companeros who proposed this date for the
continental action.  Therefore, I think that there is a coincidence in
Companero Fidel Castro's concern; I believe that we must clarify this and
develop this campaign.  Meanwhile, I would also like to state our proposal
that the coincidence...

[Veiga, interrupting] I think you are making a statement rather than asking
a question. [applause] To save time and make this dialogue more fruitful, I
would like the companeros to directly ask their questions.  I ask the
companero to forgive me, but I think what he is saying is felt by all
present.  Therefore, I would like you to ask your question directly and

[Sandoval] You will forgive me, companero.  I began from the opinion stated
by Companero Fidel Castro on establishing a dialogue, which also implies
the stating of certain opinions.  I really wanted to refer strictly to our
opinions and clarify some issues that may have been unclear.  This is all I
have to say.  Thank you very much.

[Castro] He did not ask a question, but I understand he was referring to
the proposed 12 October date.  Is that not it?  I spoke with you.

[Sandoval] Yes, yes exactly.

[Castro] I talked to you about that point.  I can say that because of you,
a third front opened today.  I was thinking about that this afternoon.  We
already have a large, a very large front, which is the one we have
discussed here.  There is a second front that has opened due to the
Olympics.  I do not know if they shared material with you and formed two
fronts.  The third front opened today on the occasion of 12 October.  In
reality, I have been thinking about it for a long time even though I have
never said anything in public.  I have been thinking about this problem.  I
have been masticating it, but I cannot swallow it.  I have my opinions
regarding the issue of making an apology in defense of 12 October.  Because
I feel like an Indian, because I am an Indian and I belong to this group of
Indians, I feel like an aborigine.  I feel like all of you who feel that
you are part of this land and are proud of it despite our origins, since
some of us came from one area while others are from other locations.  It is
said that those who were here came from Siberia or China -- I do not know
where they were from -- and that they arrived through the Bering Strait.
They were not from here either, but they came peacefully.  They had their
wars among themselves, but these wars were more or less among equals until
we were discovered.  I say they discovered us because I feel like a part of
this; I feel like an Indian.  I am one of the new Indians who now face
aspiring conquistadores who are more powerful with their technology and
science than those who were here earlier.

Therefore, as I said, I think that it was an unfortunate or ill-fated date
because it clashes with the things we value most, such as peace.  We were
the most peaceful people on the continent.  The Aztecs and the Incas were
more warlike, but the Indians here in Cuba were the most peaceful Indians
that have ever existed in the world.  Of course, they did not have planes,
locomotives, radio, television, or even tractors, buses, and sailboats.  I
have always felt that the conquistadors were lucky to have landed here by
mistake.  Do not forget that Columbus' idea was to sail to the Indies.  He
had no idea that there was a continent sitting between him and the Indies.
He was lucky that it was there.  This also proved to be lucky for Cortez,
Pizarro, and all the conquistadors.

I have read some books on the Far East of that era.  Among these books is
the complete and detailed book, 800 pages, on Marco Polo.  What they had in
the Far East were real armies of warriors; hundreds of thousands of cavalry
men.  If Columbus had landed in China back then, he would have been
swallowed up in less than 15 minutes.  They were able to conquer this
hemisphere because they brought a dozen horses with them.  The Indians
thought that man and horse were the same animal with a strange form.  The
Indians would kill the horse and the man would get up and this demoralized
the Indian.  They would shoot at the Indians with a little cannon.
However, you must remember that the Chinese had already invented gunpowder
and they had armies of hundreds of thousands of men on horseback.

I also studied history, and as a child I was taught the great deeds of the
Spaniards.  I have read books on the conquests and have reached the
conclusion that they were saved by their mistake.  I can just imagine Diego
Velasquez, the man who conquered Cuba by killing Indians, landing in China.
I can see Pizarro and Hernan Cortez, those glorious warriors -- that is
what we were taught that they were glorious warriors yet we know what they
did [sentence uncompleted] They came here with their swords and tried to
bless their conquests with the cross; I have much more respect for the
cross than for the sword.  They came here, annihilated the people until
almost nothing was left here in Cuba.  However, there were 6 million
Indians in Mexico and a few years after they landed there were only 2
million left.  They did not exterminate all of them because they could not.
They conquered, they raped, they took what they wanted, they enslaved our
people, and I feel that this is a part of history that deserves to be
criticized and that the conquistadors who today feel proud of what their
predecessors did should be the ones to criticize and self-criticize the
conquest, colonialism, and the conquistadors.  The day they complete the
self-criticism then we can thank them for some cultural things we
inherited.  However, I feel that there can be no justification of the
discovery and the conquest without criticism and self-criticism.  This is
how I feel.  I am very convinced about this, but I did not want to create a
scandal about this because the struggle is about the debt.  Tomorrow the
international dispatches will dwell more on the debt problem than on the
conference, but I am not afraid.  We have three fronts and will continue to
fight on all three of them. [applause]

[Veiga] Companero from Argentina, please state your name and organization.

[Hernandez] Alberto Hernandez of Cordoba, Argentina, municipal unions.
Companero Fidel-: Throughout their history, the Latin American countries
have alternated between democratic and dictatorial regimes. At the present
time there are three fledging democracies: in Uruguay, Brazil, and
Argentina. My question is: Do you believe that those democracies will have
staying power, and what do you foresee in the future for El Salvador?

[Castro] Are you asking the question in connection of the foreign debt?

[Hernandez] It is all interrelated.

[Castro] How did the world react to the democratic openings in Argentina,
Uruguay, and Brazil?  In different ways. i believe that doubtlessly it was
a democratic opening in those countries.  The whole world rejoiced over
this event.  The horrors that happened in those three countries were known
throughout the world.  Especially in Argentina, repression reached
unprecedented levels.  Looking back through history, I cannot recall
(leaves thought unfinished].  There were references to Juan Vicente Gomez,
Roca in Argentina, the many tyrannies, satrapies, Marti said a lot about
the last century's dictators.  In this century we have Trujillo, Somoza,
Carias, and many more.  In conclusion, most of the Latin American countries
have lived under bloody dictatorships for a long time.  We had ours too,
more than one.  However, compared to those you had, you are olympic
champions.  Those are dictators trained by the CIA.  They learned the
science of torture.  It must be said that the torturers here in Cuba were
amateurs compared to the torturers that Chile, Argentina, and other
countries have had.

Recently I spoke to a Uruguayan companero who was held with a mask, a hood
over his head for nearly 1 year.  No one can understand how men are able to
endure those methods of struggle, of torture, which we could call
scientific.  In the tires of Batista and Machado, they beat and tortured.
They were not scientific torturers.  But they tortured, beat, and killed
with their tortures.  But the methods that emerged in Latin America after
the triumph of the Cuban revolution and after the Vietnam war, during which
imperialism advanced its research on the science of repression and torture,
were not known here -- the phenomenon of disappearances, one of the
cruelest acts ever imagined.  I have seen families that cannot be persuaded
to lose their hope in finding their missing relatives after 15 years.  I
have known Guatemalan, Chilean, Argentine, Uruguayan families like this.
However, it is difficult to persuade someone to lose hope and that is, the
way it has been for parents, brothers, and sisters.  This goes for 1, 2, 5,
10 years.  There is nothing worse than the method of having people
disappear.  This method was used in those countries.  Who suffers the most?
Perhaps that human being who is abducted, tortured for 1 month, and killed.
However, they left the family with that act of torture for almost the rest
of their lives.  It could have been a revolutionary who was consciously
taking a risk, but how about his family who were victims of that atrocious
method, 10 times more atrocious than the news of the death of a beloved
member of the family.  Who did they learn this from?  Who taught all those
scientific torture methods to repress our peoples, and they were widely
used.  The world knows of this, maybe not every horrible detail, but it is
aware of this.

Therefore, the fall of each one of these bloody regimes has been welcomed
with great joy, such as the victory of the Sandinist revolution and the
triumph of a revolution or a democratic opening in Chile, which will be a
day of great joy because no one can forget that 11 September when the
legal, constitutional government elected by the people was sabotaged and
destabilized by imperialism, or the manner in which it was overthrown, in
which the life of a man was sacrificed, a man of great prestige.  Among
other things, he represented a peaceful attempt to carry out social
reforms, to build socialism by peaceful means.  All this meant a great hope
throughout the world.  Many people sympathized with it.

When a democratic opening takes place, either of two things can take place.
When the democratic opening takes place, it will be welcomed with great joy
throughout the world.  That is the way the world welcomed the one in
Argentina, in Uruguay, and in Brazil.  I think the democratic opening has
been a very important step, historically, in these countries, and has taken
place at an exceptional moment.

I think that the economic crisis played an important role in these
democratic openings.  The military realized that the country was becoming
ungovernable; that is the democratic opening was the result of the people's
struggle at a time when the economic crisis supported the people's struggle
and forced the military to give up power.  That is connected, we could say,
with the struggle you are now waging -- the struggle against the economic
crisis, the struggle against the foreign debt.  I would say that if they
[military] were still there, this ongoing struggle could not have been
waged 3, 4, or 5 years ago.  It could not be waged then because the crisis
was not that old yet and, in addition, the possibility for struggle that
the workers, students, and the peasants now have in those three countries,
the possibilities of expression and organization, are very valuable in this

I believe that not only does international public opinion highly value the
step forward represented by the democratic opening, but that the
Argentines, Uruguayans, and Brazilians of the most diverse political
persuasions highly value the: progress made because of the democratic
opening of countries where terror reigned in the most cruel manner.  I have
observed this.  I have the perception that even those who do not agree with
the measures that have been adopted, those in the opposition who do not
agree politically, highly value and have the awareness and need to preserve
that opening, even though they might understand that present possibilities
do not satisfy more advanced aspirations of a social and political nature.

I believe this is the feeling of practically all leftist, center, and even
conservative parties with respect to those countries.  Now there is a real
threat.  I believe this crisis is seriously affecting that process.  It is
affecting and will continue to affect that process increasingly because it
rapidly produces a disaster for the political forces, the political
leaders.  Its weakening could lead to a backward movement, even though I
feel that in the short term there is no threat of a coup.  However, one
should not discard this possibility, that is reactionary coup.  There is
such a great economic crisis that the military would be willing to take
over the government immediately, because the countries have become
ungovernable, and they know it.  The economic crisis they are enduring is
insoluble.  I do not believe that a majority would be inclined to seek
Pinochet-type solutions.  However, there are some people -- you can always
find crazy people -- in the United States and those other countries who
feel that repression is the solution.  Even Pinochet is showing his
stubbornness when he wants to maintain his regime despite the more and more
impossible conditions and under a situation of total isolation.

In several interviews I have said that when the economic situation is more
or less normal, the number of madmen aspiring to power grows and becomes a
majority.  However, when the situation is as difficult as it is now, and
because of the experiences those countries have lived through, I think that
the madman dreaming of a coup become a minority.  That is my opinion.

The situation is not the same in every country.  There are some countries
that are not as desperate, other countries are open to possible coups.
However, I do not feel that this is the case in Uruguay or Argentina, nor
is it very probable in Brazil.  What I am suggesting -- and this is
something I believe in -- is that this economic crisis could lead to social
convulsions and outbreaks.

I am going to be honest with you and tell you what I told some companeros
of the commission during the few minutes I spent with them to propose two
or three things: It is a matter of detail.  In the statistics mentioned, 40
percent seem to be at the poverty level, when the truth is that 40 percent
are in the lower levels of poverty and 30 percent are below the poverty
level.  That adds up to 70 percent, not 40 percent.  One of the technicians
asked why I spoke of social outbreaks.  I did this because I feel that the
objective conditions for revolution in Latin American countries are
advancing much faster than the subjective conditions.  When you do not see
the subjective conditions for social changes, in one way or another, this
is an indication that the subjective conditions have not matured enough in
order to talk of a possibility of a revolution.

For example, you know that a woman is pregnant, that she has a child in her
womb, that she is in her fifth or sixth month of gestation, that she needs
to be delivered, that a solution must be found, and that the midwives are
not showing up.  I cannot see the midwives of history too clearly, and this
is why I say that if those objective conditions continue to mature too
fast, social outbreaks will occur.  But we cannot say that revolutions will
occur.  However, it is possible and even probable for a social outbreak to
turn into a revolution.  During several interviews I have said that
generalized social outbreaks are of a rather revolutionary nature.

There have been social outbreaks.  Santo Domingo experienced a social
outbreak.  It has not been a catastrophic outbreak yet, but a social
outbreak did occur when the IMF forced the Santo Domingo government to
implement certain economic measures.  It was then that a spontaneous
uprising occurred in Santo Domingo.  The government found itself in need, a
sad and very censurable need, of sending out their troops -- the soldiers
and policemen -- against the people.  They massacred more than 100 people.
These were not revolutionaries; they were men and women, youths and
housewives from among the people who took to the streets spontaneously.
The government found itself in need of wounding hundreds of persons -- it
was said that some 400 or 500 people were wounded -- but the official
reports say that 60 people were killed.  I was told by very serious and
well-informed people from Santo Domingo that more than 100 people were
killed.  It is a pretty serious situation when a government has to send out
its Army and police to open fire on the people, wound hundreds, and kill
more than 100.  That is serious.  This has left quite a tense situation in
Santo Domingo.

Even in Panama some measures the IMF tried to implement led to mass
demonstrations.  What we did not see there was an Army with the spirit of
repressing the people.  There were no killings and this is something that
must be taken into account.

In Guatemala the IMF tried to apply some measures.  Despite the repression
experienced in that country, those measures had to be corrected, they had
to be withdrawn.  In Bolivia similar measures unleashed mass movements.
This is all very recent.  The peasants and miners mobilized and a
prerevolutionary situation existed.  Fortunately it did not end in
killings.  The situation varies from place to place.  I asked myself about
these economic problems.  Only with blood and fire can the IMF measures be
implemented in any country.

I do not imagine, nor can I imagine, the governments with a democratic
opening -- in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil -- sending their armies or
police against the people.

Trujillo has been long gone from the Dominican Republic.  They have had a
little of everything in that country.  After Trujillo they even experienced
a revolution, an uprising of the people that was drowned in blood by
imperialism and its soldiers -- with 40,000 Yankee soldiers who landed in
the Dominican Republic in 1965.  After this a number of constitutional
governments followed.  But it seems they have forgotten what happened back
then.  Therefore we see that this type of situation can lead to very
serious economic crises that can end in revolutions.  So we see that the
objective conditions necessary for a revolution are being created.

Furthermore, in these countries the possibilities of serious social
outbreak is much greater than the possibility of a rightist coup.  When
such a situation occurs -- and- the Bolivians are very aware of this --
then these crises create certain psychological conditions among the people,
among the masses, and the possibilities for participation in the struggle
open up.  This is not only among the civilians, but also among the
military.  There is nothing to be afraid of; it does exist.  Just look at
what happened in Santo Domingo.

Who began the uprising in Santo Domingo?  Who was Camano?  Camano was
simply a man who was educated in Trujillo's military academies.  His father
was one of Trujillo's soldiers He was trained in the United States.  And I
can assure you that the Camano I met was an upright man, a revolutionary.

Camano was a real patriot, and like him there were many who fought with
him.  This why it hurts, that a man like Camano should immolate himself.
Under truly unfavorable conditions, only with his honor and his spirit of
struggle, he tried to renew the struggle in Santo Domingo.  He was one of
the last of the great heroes of the Dominican people.

But also Trujillo, not Torrijos; there is an enormous difference between
these two names. [Torrijos [applause] received training in the United
States.  Imperialism felt that it had a praetorian guard there who would
defend its interests and defend the canal.  However, Torrijos was the
standard-bearer of the demands for the return of the canal.  He was not
only the standard-bearer, but I know very well that Torrijos and the
top-ranking National Guard chiefs had decided to take over the canal.  If
the canal had not been returned through negotiations, they would have taken
it over by force.  I want you to know, and I am disclosing no secrets
because he said it here on a visit to Cuba during an event held at Moncada
Barracks, he expressed his appreciation for the times that we had voiced
our concern because of the type of radical expressions they were making.  I
could see clearly what was happening and what would have happened had they
not had the patience and attempted to take over the canal by force.

Perhaps that would have been best for imperialism.  I urged them to remain
calm, to be patient.  Fortunately, what happened later proved that we were
right.  We do not believe in lighting a fire for fun.  We like to think out
problems in cold blood; we are not philosophers; we are not undecisive
people.  Many times in our lives we have had to adopt decisions and have
done so resolutely.  However, this does not mean that we are hot heads nor
does it mean that a people must be sacrificed in order to create problems
for the United States.  We have always upheld this policy, we concern
ourselves for our friends, in spite of what may happen.  We think about
what is good for our friends, not what is good for us, what is good for
them because this, I understand, is what internationalism stands for.  This
is what real friends are all about.

We could see the trouble brewing; statements were being made and these
statements were made publicly.  They kept saying that if the United States
did not give them back their canal they would take it by force.  I felt
fear; I know those imperialist gentlemen very well; I know their history
and their tricks.  They could have used the excuse of a provocation to
destroy the Panamanian process.  Every statement made by them brought them
closer to this.  A trap could have easily been set.  They could have told
the Panamanians that they would not give up the canal through negotiations.
leading to a confrontation in which they would use all their techniques,
means, and resources, against a relatively small Armed Forces.  But I was
aware of the spirit that encouraged those people, and they were encouraged
by a soldier.

Well, he was from the military.  With this, I am telling you that we should
not discard the military, merely because he is from the military.  I
realize the military have made many things in this hemisphere, and I
realize that they have been used many times.  But I also think that among
the military, in some countries more than in other countries, there might
be militarymen who have the same feelings as you, and I, and many of us
present here.  I am not excluding them.

Everything is possible when social turmoil occurs.  Everything is possible,
and I think we should not exclude anyone as potential protagonists of
social changes and even as the revolutionaries I think they are.  I recall
my experience, and I recall our own struggle when we faced the army for 25
months and fought many battles with those militarymen.  We suffered many
casualties, and many defeats.  I do not know if all of you know how this
war ended.  I am not going to go back into history.  When the military
realized they were defeated, many people wanted to conspire with us, even
serving as henchmen.  We set a rule not to get involved with those people.
We did not accept coups.  We struggled against coups all the time.  We told
them: Come on and join us.

In the end, a group of officers and even a prestigious officer requested a
meeting and said they had lost the war.  They wanted to end that war.  I
suggested saving a group of the officers because I knew the enemy and knew
that not all of them were murderers, henchmen, or torturers.  Several
officers surrendered after fighting arduously against us and later joined
us honestly and sincerely.  We knew they had been brave in the fighting,
that they had been efficient officers, that they had been our enemies, yet
we accepted them.  However, when that high-ranking officer, chief of the
troops operating against us, came to tell us that they had lost the war, I
said: Let us try to save the good officers; let us jointly promote an
uprising.  This is what we proposed to them so they could vindicate
themselves.  We already knew we were going to organize a totally new army.
We were very clear about this.  We would have liked to save some of those

At our meeting we agreed there would be an uprising in the Santiago de Cuba
garrison on 31 December 1958.  However, this officer insisted that he
wanted to travel to Havana.  I kept telling him not to go to Havana because
it was risky.  He told me: No, I have certain contacts; there is no
problem.  He also had a brother who was head of the Matanzas regiment, 100
km from Havana.  This was what he alleged, and he insisted on leaving.
Finally I told him: You are free to leave, but in my opinion you should not
do it.  Moreover, since you are leaving, I will warn you about three
things: We do not want any contacts with the U.S. Embassy; we do not want
a coup staged in the capital; and we do not want you to help Batista
escape.  I told him this very clearly and repeated it to him.  I said
goodbye to him and we waited for news, as (?reportedly there would be) some
strange news and we had to be patient.

We were already preparing the operations to attack Santiago de Cuba.  At
that point we had 17,000 soldiers surrounded and we were about to attack
the Santiago de Cuba garrison.  We had postponed the attack for a few days
because we had been waiting, as this meeting (?had lasted) 5 or 6 days; it
would be necessary to look up the exact dates in the archives.  The officer
came to Havana and did the very three things he had promised not to do: He
contacted the embassy, staged a coup in the capital, and saw Batista off at
the military airport. [laughter]

We immediately denounced this coup and called for a general strike
throughout the country.  Now you will see how workers are and why we have
such faith in them.  The honest trade union cadres had all been swept away
and in their place had been established cadres who had sold out to the
regime, cadres imposed by the regime through blood and fire.  They were in
charge of all union posts and all federations.  When through Radio Rebelde
we called for a general, revolutionary strike, the entire country was
paralyzed: all transportation services, all factories, all communications.
Only the radio and television stations continued functioning, and they were
put in network with Radio Rebelde. [applause] From that moment on the
revolutionary command's declarations and instructions were the only thing
heard throughout the country.  That was tremendous. We immediately
denounced the coup and instructed our entire force.

I want you to know that we had 3,000 armed men at that point, while they
numbered 80,000.  But we told them to go ahead with all the operations and
to continue with the fire, not giving a single minute of truce.  We also
experienced a process, when suddenly they began... [changes thought] I
gathered all garrison officers and spoke to them, and they joined us.
Twenty-four hours later, that is on 2 January, or rather 3 January to be
more exact, I arrived in the Bayamo Garrison, where there were [figure
indistinct] soldiers.  They had been fighting against us in fierce battles
but respected us (?as an adversary) who knew how to fight but did not know
how to kill a prisoner, who never accepted a prisoner [as heard], who never
abandoned an enemy soldier wounded in battle, who cured them and saved many
lives.  That earned us prestige and respect.  And I want to tell you that I
met with that entire troop en route to Havana where things were not clear,
and the entire troop joined us.  I was on my way to Havana with 1,000 rebel
soldiers and 2,000 of Batista's soldiers.  They were bringing tanks,
cannon, artillery, (?everything), and I am sure that if there had been any
fighting to do, they would have fought fiercely, because they would have
wanted to do in a few minutes what they had not done in the past; they
would have wanted to vindicate themselves.

Therefore I have experience in those things and I discard no one.  I
discard a torturer or a murder, but I never discard any man in advance,
even if he has been an adversary.  I feel deep contempt for those who kill
prisoners or commit murder, but I do not feel contempt for the man who
fights openly on a battlefield.  This is why I tell you, from our own
experience, from what we have seen, that I do not discard anyone.  This
might be a good chance to say this, as Comrade Veiga told me that some
people did not understand this and I replied that it is only logical that
some do not understand because there is a terrible allergy to the military.

I have remembered this and related it to the question and to the current
situation.  I think in the end the struggle to bring about change will have
to be broad; it cannot be waged by certain sectors only. [applause] The
lesson to be learned from all this is that objective conditions are rapidly
advancing toward social changes, including revolutionary social changes.
The subjective conditions, on the contrary, are very slow in coming.  There
is a creature in the belly of this hemisphere, but the midwives, those who
will help this lady give birth, are not yet visible.  Nor is this the first
time, when Latin America's independence occurred -- the historical one, the
one we all revere, the first independence -- the necessary subjective
conditions did not exist either.  Certain exceptional objective conditions
had been created.  Napoleon Bonaparte, with delusions of grandeur, invaded
Spain and turned a fool into the king of Spain.  Yes, it was like the
Yankees today; they do this kind of thing.  Well, the Spanish people
rebelled against that fool and against foreign occupation, and I want you
to know that the first independence movements in Latin America were acts of
loyalty to the metropolis and to the king imprisoned by Napoleon.  Those
loyal to the king began fighting.

Subjective conditions had not been there, but they emerged.  No one knew
about Simon Bolivar, Sucre, San Martin, Hidalgo, Morelos, or O'Higgins, but
these men emerged.  They were not militarymen.  Some of them had received
some training, but a priest here, a militaryman there -- they were the ones
who began the first independence struggles.  So, when the objective
conditions emerge, sooner or later the subjective conditions follow.  At
this point they are truly delayed in relation to the objective conditions.
This is with regard to revolutionary changes.

But these are theoretical matters.  At this point we are neither promoting
nor proposing revolutionary changes.  We are not proposing that.  Rather,
with these ideas and views we are proposing a national liberation movement,
a struggle for independence because, among other things, we have lost our
independence.  It does not exist in objective reality; independence is a
joke.  So the struggle we are proposing against the debt, the struggle for
a new international economic order, the struggle for Latin America's
economic integration, is a struggle for the liberation of our hemispheric
peoples.  Due to the existence of similar circumstances, it is also a
struggle for the liberation of the entire Third World.

This is what is being proposed: a struggle for national liberation.  We are
not proposing revolutions.  What we are proposing is a struggle the way we
see it at this point, a struggle for national liberation that must be very
broad.  We are proposing a broad struggle.  We are proposing a strategy
marked by unity both on the inside and on the outside: inside those
countries where there are conditions of unity -- and it must be very clear
that these conditions do not exist in all countries -- and unity among
Latin American and Third World countries in the struggle for their

This debt, this economic crisis, and this system imposed on our countries
have made us completely dependent; they have enslaved us more than we were
under the foolish king or the other Spanish kings, many of whom were also
fools.  But at least they did not rule us like the Yankees rule us today.
They would send a viceroy and occasionally an inspector or judge, or
someone.  But they had no news; it took them 3 months to hear from us.
Imperialism, however, knows about us around the clock.  It knows about us
every hour.  Unfortunately, we know about them every day, every hour, every
minute, every second, because we feel the weight of their oppression,
especially here in our countries.  And how we feel it.  Imperialism tries
to impose a culture and an ideology on us, and how!  The Spanish king would
occasionally send a letter that was published in some gazette, but these
people try to speak 24 hours a day on radio, television, and in movies.
They sell us thousands of alienating movies, programs, and series.  It is
incredible how they have invaded even the souls and brains of men, they who
speak of indoctrination and brainwashing and yet in history there has never
been a similar attempt to brainwash millions of people like that of the
imperialists who seek to brainwash all Latin Americans. [applause]

Through the most sophisticated means they try to tell us what to wear, what
toothbrush to use, where to go on vacation, what cigars to smoke,
everything.  It is an incredible invasion unlike that of Spain, an
influence unlike that of Spain.  We are facing a challenge bigger than any
faced before.  Fortunately, I think we are more aware and are so different
from them and have such characteristics that we can wage this struggle.  I
am sure we can wage it.  This is a struggle for national liberation.  We
are advocating a struggle for national liberation.  It would be completely
contrary to a correct strategy and tactic for us to be proposing at the
same time a struggle for national liberation, which must be very broad and
must include all sectors.  [sentence as heard] I say this literally: This
struggle must be completely broad or we will not win.  Either we are
underestimating imperialism and its forces or we are overestimating our own
forces, and I will do neither.  We estimate them correctly if we manage to
create a struggle and a very broad front that does not exclude any social
sector.  I am excluding no one.  Those who wish to be excluded should
exclude themselves.  Let them exclude themselves, but we must not be the
ones to do it. [applause]

This is a historical moment of great importance because the time has come
for every man and woman in this hemisphere, regardless of social status, to
make certain definitions.  I think that they have the potential to
represent an immense majority if we can take this message to them, if we
know how to use all the reason that is on our side.  Then I think [the
struggle] would be very broad.

However, I repeat, at this point each man and woman must be given the
chance to either be with his or her homeland or against it.  Let them
choose.  At this time of definition, let each person say if a tribute must
be paid to the empire or to the homeland.  I am talking about the homeland
in a very broad sense.  We must not exclude anyone.  Each one must define
himself.  There will be those who will define themselves.  We know there
are certain minority sectors, ones must directly connected with imperialism
and its financial sectors.  We know they exist and they will be on the side
of imperialism, but they will constitute a minority.  They must be a
minority.  If a larger number should go to the side of imperialism then we
will begin losing the battle.  That might happen if we are not broad.  That
might happen if we are sectarian, and we also have a vast experience
against sectarianism, the experience of our own revolution.

When our revolution triumphed, our movement had the support of the immense
majority of the people, a support we earned with the war and by pointing
out the way and showing possibilities under conditions that differed
completely from the current crisis in Latin America, under conditions that
suggested there was no solution.  A small group of us began to prepare,
organize, and struggle on the basis of a number of possibilities and
principles, which life and history have proven correct.  We even had to
move away from some historical views, according to which revolution could
take place only if there was a big crisis.  Ours occurred when there was no
big crisis.  It was launched by a group of men who had to overthrow a
government.  To do this they did not have one professional soldier, a cent,
or a single rifle.  If some thought we were crazy, I think they had every
reason to think so.  They were objectively right; subjectively they were

Nonetheless, we undertook that struggle, and it got us an almost total
support from the people.  I used to say that our organization was a small
river that became an Amazon River at the time of victory.  We never had any
hegemonic tendencies.  There were other smaller organizations, weaker
groups, yet we never thought of saying this is our victory, ours alone, and
you cannot touch it.  On the contrary, we began calling on everyone, trying
to unite everyone.  Not only did we call on the communists, who had been
fighting with us in the mountains, we also called on the student
organization, which had maintained certain rivalries with us.  We asked
them to join us.  However, it was not only that organization; I want you to
know that we called on everyone, except for Batista's people.  We gave
everyone the chance to join the revolution.  The polls indicated that the
revolution had 96 percent support.  We can indeed say that our movement
involved 96 percent of the people.  I am not exaggerating.  However, we
were not counting the number of people who were joining us.  We were
concerned with a principle, the principle of unity.  If you do not
appreciate the unity principle, you are rejecting some sectors and seeking
hegemony, and you wind up dividing your own organization.  So we were not
looking at the quantitative value of the unity principle but rather at its
qualitative value.  If the others had a three, or a two [not further
explained] We appreciated that very much.

There were certain organizations here, old political parties that at least
confronted Batista and that we at one time accepted as opponents, and we
gave all of them a chance.  Some of them had 100 or 200 people.  I tell you
that the revolution gained such strength that the other parties had no more
than 100 militants each.  We let everyone join us.  Those who excluded
themselves from the revolution were the ones who chose to do so, or who
thought we would not survive,or that all of us were crazy, or that the
Yankees would crush us in a matter of 15 days with an economic blockade,
the sugar quota, or their threats.  They thought that would end us, yet
here we are.  The unity principle was a fundamental element of our force at
all times, as well as our antisectarianism.  We had to fight sectarianism
first of all among ourselves.  Those who had been in the mountains the
prestigious guerrillas, displayed sectarian feelings toward those who had
remained in the lowlands carrying out other tasks and waging other
struggles.  Then there was sectarianism from our organization toward the
other groups.  Other forms of sectarianism developed later.  The Popular
Socialist Party, that is, the communist party, also generated a certain
sectarianism, which in all truth had begun earlier.  Their sectarianism did
not emerge at that point.  This problem had already emerged in clandestine

Our situation was as follows: Our organization's oldest militants had been
involved 5 or 6 years.  In truth 6 years and several months had elapsed
between the 10 March coup and the victory of the revolution.  From the
initial small group that began these activities, there were probably no
more than five of us who had been militants for 6 years at the time that
the revolution triumphed.  Well, 6 years or so, and that is how we
gradually organized the movement.  But when the revolution triumphed, the
immense majority of the people had been militants for 2 years, for 1 year,
for 1 month only, a huge heterogeneous mass of people.

Although our Moncada program was very advanced and quite radical,
apparently there were people who thought that was another story, another
program in this country.  They did not take our first revolutionary program
seriously.  Yet we were trained revolutionaries, with very clear ideas.  We
were Marxist-Leninists even before 10 March [year not given] I want this to
be known.  I have said this before.  We were that from the very beginning.

A socialist program could not be presented, it would have been unreal.  And
we presented the program that was needed at the time.  That was our
program.  We did not lie.  We thought that was what had to be done.  It was
the first stage of the revolution, and we fulfilled it.  However, when the
program was being fulfilled, and all the properties of all the embezzlers
had been confiscated, and all the harsh measures had been implemented
against the transnational enterprises; and when we carried out the housing
and agrarian reforms, and a series of interests started to be affected;
then, when many discovered that this was not going to be a government of
the rich, but a government of the people, and when, for the first time in
over 4 centuries, a government allied with the people had been born, then
the people became more militant with the government.  However, a group of
sectors that wanted other things began to separate themselves from the
revolution because they thought they thought they could manage this
government and thought the Yankees were going to domesticate us quickly.

Then we had to organize a defense and many other things.  Our fighters were
in the we needed cadres.  Who had been militant for 25, 30 years?  The
Popular Socialist Party.  And we had it, we contributed most of the cadres
to the state, practically all in the Army.  And in the state security we
contributed most of the cadres.  Many times, when a militant was needed, in
the midst of confusion and of the heavy campaigns by imperialism, we called
on the militants, the cocommunists.  Because, they were militants with much
more experience than us, with about 30, 25, or 20 years, while our
militants [changes thought] but that was a correct thing, which was
necessary, also led to sectarianism on the part of the Popular Socialist
Party, which was still an independent party before we united under one
single organization.

We went through all those experiences, but we managed.  And when there was
sectarianism in our ranks, we defeated it; and when there was sectarianism
in some other allied organization, we also defeated it with the correct
methods, and we immediately prevented that antisectarianism committed by
old communist militants from becoming an anticommunist sectarianism, an
anticommunist feeling.

Therefore, we have a long experience in matters concerning the struggle
against hegemonism, against sectarianism, in the unyielding defense of the
principle of unity.  I think this has been a decisive factor in reaching
our current status today, so the revolution will have the strength it has
today.  It has managed to resist all the attacks of imperialism, and it is
prepared, today more than ever before to resist any adventure that might be
attempted.  Furthermore, if we are able to play a role in this struggle,
with the other Latin American peoples, it is because we have a solid
country, a united people, a tremendous strength, and a good social and
economic situation.  That is what allows us to make a contribution to this
struggle of the brother countries of Latin America.

However, this is no coincidence.  This is the result of a series of tactics
and principles that we have consistently applied.  I think the revolution
has been successful in all of the fields it has entered.  This has been the
result of the fact that we have consistently followed these principles.
For example, there is the principle of collective leadership, which we have
always enforced.  From the very beginning, when I began in the
revolutionary struggle, I began organizing a nucleus.  When the revolution
was successful, there was a nucleus of leadership made up of the various
trends.  This is the principle of collective leadership.  This is a
collective responsibility without the idea that each one does not have a
responsibility, a sphere of action where one makes decisions.

In the struggle against cult worship -- and I say this sincerely, against
caudillismo, against all of those evils -- there has been an unyielding
struggle to create a solid revolution, based on principles, to create an
awareness among the people.  The unity of our people is not based on idol
worship or servile cult worship.  It is based on a political awareness.
The relations of our revolution's leadership with the people are based on
awareness, principles, and loyalty that have been proven for over 26 years;
it is based on the fact that we have never told the people a lie.

There are many principles prevailing here that can explain the strength of
the revolution over the power of our enemies.  Among these I think, that in
spite of all of slanders, and the very strict way the principles of war
were enforced, we never murdered or tortured a prisoner.  This has been
followed throughout 26 years.  This revolution has been slandered.  Speak
to any of the 10 million citizens of this country, and you will observe
that human rights are guaranteed in this country, not by mere words or an
article of the Constitution.  It is the awareness of all revolutionaries,
of all the peoples.  The people know what they cannot do.  They know how to
respect others.  A prisoner has never been beaten here.  This country has
been the victim of slander, and you can ask any of the 10 million citizens
of this country, because a citizen of this country would never tolerate

It is not that we are acting in a certain manner, out of respect for the
law.  We do this, because there is an awareness that does not allow theft,
deceit, crime, or abuse of authority; nor is it tolerated.  Therefore, the
strength of our revolution, which seems to be a miracle but is not, is the
result of a policy of principles that we have consistently applied during
26 years.  The revolution is now 26 and 1/2 years old.

I am saying all this, and you must excuse me because some points here are
related and it is somewhat delicate to discuss one aspect without
discussing the others.  I think it would be very dangerous if the enemy
could launch a campaign saying we are promoting subversion in Latin
America, or that we are promoting a social revolution in Latin America.
That is why we have to be very clear, and we cannot allow Latin American
peoples to be confused, the parties to be confused, anyone in Latin America
to be confused.  We are not promoting that, nor do we consider that we have
a right to promote it.

That is why I am very careful in all of my statements on the issue of a
joint action, on matters that concern us all, by not presenting internal
measures.  It is up to each country to apply its own internal measures,
because that should be the sovereign decision of each people, of each
country.  If we begin now to meddle in what has to be done, on whether
something has to be nationalized, the internal measures that have to be
taken, we would then be intervening or meddling in the internal affairs of
each country.  I believe there is something we should respect among
ourselves, and that is the principle of sovereignty of each.  He who does
not respect the sovereignty of each country and wants to meddle in
everything in the lives of all citizens in this hemisphere is the
imperialist.  He is the imperialist. [applause]

On the contrary, it is to our advantage to raise the principle of
sovereignty, which does not conflict with the struggle for economic
integration.  Let us not talk about political integration, because that is
more distant.  However, I think the time has come to talk about economic
integration, but respecting the sovereignty of each country.  That is why
every time I have been handling that problem, I have tried to avoid at all
costs even a suggestion of what should be done inside the country.  That is
up to the people of that country to decide what measures should be taken in
each one of those countries.  It is not our business to be suggesting, or
advising, or what have you.  There is the principle of internal unity, of
unity outside, of joint action, all of these things.  That is why we try
not to go into these problems.

However, you asked the question, and I have tried to give you some answers.
If we were in an academic meeting, I could speak a great deal more about
this, of what I think.  At this time, I do not think it would even be
useful to say what I think.  Furthermore, it is not necessary.  I think
that what we, the socialists, think is well known.  We are socialists and
revolutionaries, and have absolute faith because our faith in socialism has
not diminished with time; it has become stronger.  Life has taught us what
socialism can do, and that we can do a great deal more than what any of us
dreamed that we could do when we began the revolution.

As I have said, in our case, experience, events, and reality have been
above our dreams, We are not disappointed revolutionaries, nor retreating
revolutionaries.  I believe that we are much more revolutionary than when
we began, and in 1985 we are much more revolutionary, as well as
ideologically and politically firmer than we were in 1959.  We have not
taken one single step backward. [applause].

Academically we can discuss all of these problems.  However, we are not
here for academic discussions.  In my opinion we are entangled in a great
struggle, and we must be wise in handling how it is focused and developed.

Very well, here we have discussed national liberation, the liquidation of
our debt, struggling for a new international economic order, and struggling
for integration.  Undoubtedly the best bearers of these banners are the
workers.  If one day we have integration in this hemisphere, it is because
the workers have borne these banners.  I believe that the hands that can
most firmly raise these banners are the workers' hands, even though they
may not be in power.  The fact is that the workers do not govern.  In Latin
America this is their reality, and we must begin with realities.  I am not
saying that government must be conquered first.  No, I believe that we
cannot wait for revolutions in order to wage these wars.  If I thought that
the revolution must come first, if I said that here and we believe it, I
really do not believe it would be realistic.  Perhaps we are approaching
the hour of revolutions.

It is difficult to speak of social revolutions when we do not even have
independence. what happens?  Cuba, the small country and the elongated
island shaped like an alligator, makes its revolution and then comes the
shark, the ferocious tiger, or the elephant that wants to trample on it,
and Cuba sits there alone.  In reality we were alone from the viewpoint of
the solidarity of the Latin American governments, not that of the peoples.
We spoke with reason and fairness of the workers and students who died, and
of the people's firm manifestation and struggle.  However, we were alone.

What has this meant?  How much effort has been made to carry out what our
people have carried out?  This has been a great feat, and not my feat, but
a feat by our people who managed to maintain the banner of the revolution
with their strength.  They maintained it, maintain it, and will continue
to do so. [applause]

However, we were charged the price of dependence and the price of
independence.  They took away our sugar quotas and the markets; they took
everything away.  The prohibited anyone from bringing parts for machines.
On blockade issues, we are experts.  We are experts in antiblockade
measures because the workers were capable of keeping all of our machines in
working order: sugar processing plants and factories without a single part
from the United States.  With pieces of metal and lathes, the workers
fabricated the parts, and the country was maintained.  We do not even know
how.  We have not forgotten those days when we had nothing, not a single
one.  Of course, our internationalist spirit was not only influenced by our
conscience, but also the solidarity of the socialist countries.  We were,
are, and will always be grateful to them. [applause]

As I told several newsmen, we have been criticized often.  They say we
depend on the USSR and the socialist countries.  I say that we were
fortunate to have someone we could depend on and to at least have a market
for our sugar and oil and so that we could have medicine and food for our
people.  We could not obtain it anywhere else.  I say how fortunate.  They
have nothing else to say.  They do not speak of the blockade and the
aggressions.  They are not capable of knowing this country's degree of
dignity and independence.  They will never understand it because an
independent country is capable of defending and respecting itself.  This is
the basis of independence. [applause] They will never understand this.

As I said yesterday to a group of companeros, we are the most independent
country in the world.  There is no other country like ours.  We are the
country in the world that depends on Yankee imperialism the least, the one
that depends the least on the United States.  The other countries have a
market there and make purchases from that country.  We cannot sell anything
to that country, not even a gram of sugar.  We cannot even purchase
medicine in that country, not even an aspirin.  They have given us...
[rephrases] and we tell them thank you.  They have taught us so much.  We
are grateful to them because today we are very independent. [applause] We
wanted to be independent, but we never imagined that we were going to be so
independent.  They made us, they forced us to become that way.  We have
discovered that true independence is not depending on that powerful and
abusive country in the least; on that powerful and exploitive country; on
that powerful and aggressive country.

Of course, I say that the workers are the most trusted standard bearers,
the firmest bearers of these banners, and we know that they can carry them
very far.  This does not mean they must try to walk alone or ignore
reality.  I am simply saying that they must be the standard bearers, firm
and intransigent, and that they must seek unity in this struggle.  They
must seek support or, as this happy phrase coined by a Guatemalan companero
who spoke so brilliantly yesterday stated: They must all stand up; they
must all be called and not even one or two of us must remain behind.  This
means that we must not remove anyone from this struggle because we need
every ounce of energy from the very last man who is able and willing to be
with us if we want to win this battle. [applause]

Forgive me for my lengthy responses.  I will try to make them short.
[laughter] Let us see., the companero back there with the beard and the
yellow shirt.  Identify yourself.  Hello, we cannot hear you, companero.
Press the button.

[Villegas] Mario Villegas of the Venezuelan delegation.  I would like to
ask Commander Fidel Castro the following: I have been closely following the
statements you have been making during the past few months regarding the
foreign debt problem.  I am especially pleased with the way Commander
Castro has pointed out the benefits Cuba receives from its trade with the
socialist countries, particularly the USSR, and the good credit Cuba has
received from the socialist area.  I want to ask you if it would be
possible to transfer some of these benefits to the Latin American countries
through a finance mechanism from the socialist countries to the Latin
American nations.  Also, what role would the socialist countries play in
the Latin American countries' struggle against the foreign debt and for
their national liberation?

[Castro] Other companeros have asked me several questions on the new order,
and I tried explain to them that this new order includes a series of
demands made by the Third World countries.  The UN declaration and the
implementation of an action plan for the establishment of a new order is
based on general ideas, but these ideas are important, and they must
continue to be developed.  Among these ideas is the issue of unequal trade.
This is one of the problems that affects us the most.

Yesterday a representative from Guyana or some Caribbean country -- he
spoke English, that much I remember -- mentioned some statistics that I
presented during the non-aligned conference held in New Delhi.  This
involved the phenomenon of unequal trade and what it means.  For the people
to understand this, specific examples must be given.  He compared sugar and
other products.  I will mention two or three I consider very useful.

For example, take coffee, an important product for many Latin American,
Central American, and South American countries such as Colombia, Brazil,
and others.  For many of these countries it is an important export product.
Here we see that in 1960 you could buy 37.3 tons of fertilizer, a product
needed by the producer, with a ton of coffee.  However, in 1982 -- and the
situation then was not as serious as in 1985; I presented these statistics
in 1983 -- you could only buy 15.8 tons of fertilizer with a ton of coffee,
which is less than half with the same amount of coffee.

Another important product the representative mentioned is jute.  This is
very important export product for many Third World countries.  I want to
say that in 1959 you could buy a 7- or 8-ton truck, a medium-sized truck,
with 6 tons of jute; by late 1982, you needed 26 tons of jute to purchase
the same truck.

Another product he mentioned -- I think he mentioned it, and I think it
speaks for itself -- was a piece of medical equipment.  We have already
discussed fertilizer and a truck, and we continue to speak of many other
things like a tractor, industrial equipment, many things, and it is all the

In 1959, with a ton of copper wire one could buy 39 X-ray tubes.  In late
1982 only 3 x-ray tubes could be bought with the same amount of copper.
This is the same for any type of equipment: dental, surgical, or any type
of medical equipment that they produce and we must import.  Unfortunately
we do not produce such equipment.  We have not developed to that extent nor
do they want us to develop.  When they present a technology it is strictly
in a transnational way to make money.  They are not really interested.
They probably need to manufacture more medical equipment, but they make us
manufacture cars.  Then they turn around and charge us for tires, spare
parts, and fuel.  We are forced to plant sugarcane to feed the cars, as one
of the representatives here said.  The boys are dying of hunger. [sentence
as heard]  They must be because that industry, organized and developed by a
transnational, is based on the production of cars They hinder the
development of countries.  Perhaps other things were more important for the
country, such as medical equipment.  But no, they decided what kind of
development we had to carry out.  This is what unequal trade is all about
and this is what is happening.

I give you sugar as an example. in 1960 we could buy a 180-ton bulldozer
with 200 tons of sugar.  Today, to buy the same bulldozer from Japan we
must export 1,300 tons of sugar.  What does this mean?  The Japanese are
selling their bulldozers at higher and higher prices.  They have excellent
wages, their companies record profits, and they buy six times more sugar
with the same bulldozer.  Yet we must produce six times the amount of sugar
and buy the same thing.  This is what unequal trade is all about.  This is
the trade of raw materials, basic agricultural products, and products that
they cannot produce.  When they can produce them, they subsidize them and
then they break us.

Unfortunately, due to Napoleon's ambitions or Napoleon's war against the
British and the blockade of France and Napoleon's Europe, they developed
the sugar beet.  As a result, they produce the sugar beet in Europe and the
United States.  They subsidize it, and they ruin us, They invent synthetic
products such as rubber.  The only thing they have not invented is a
synthetic chewing gum.  The day that they invent it, they will wipe out the
chewing gum market.  Synthetic fibers and all kinds of synthetic products
already exist on the market.  Vanilla is synthetic.  I love the taste of
vanilla.  However, I did not know that it was synthetic and that I was
swallowing a chemical product.

With all of these measures they exclude us, they ruin us, they annihilate
us, and they enslave us even more.  I think that in each country there are
specific examples with regard to prices.  Sometimes there is a temporary
increase in prices, but later they drop.  The trend is toward unequal
trade.  One of the things proposed is the struggle against unequal trade,
against the protectionism that liquidates us.

The Colombian discussed the coal mines.  I know that the government and an
enterprise are investing $1.5 billion.  Their market was 80
[theromoelectric power plants] and so power plants in the United States
found it more advantageous to buy the coal from Colombia than in the United
States.  Protectionist views have arisen and they are proposing that since
the price of coal has dropped to $39, a $12 tax be imposed on Colombian
coal so that those 80 or so thermoelectric power plants will buy coal in
the United States.  They draw up a development plan for a product on the
basis of an alleged market, then invest billions, and then overnight they
are left without a market.

These are abusive, horrible measures that are applied against our
countries' development.  What is being proposed is that they not do this.
This is proposed in the charter of rights and duties of states and in the
new international economic order.  They cannot apply these kinds of
protectionist measures.  They cannot practice dumping.  They are now
ruining the Argentines; they cannot sell their meat.  Neither can the
Uruguayans, the Brazilians, the Costa Ricans, or the Colombians.  They
cannot sell this export, product because Europe has 600,000 tons of meat
stored.  It subsidizes it at $2,500, sells it at $800, and sets the price
of meat at $1,200.  Then, an important product of many countries is left
without markets.  In the markets that are left, they must sell the meat
very cheaply.  They apply these measures against our countries mercilessly.

They do this dumping with subsidized products such as sugar and wheat.  In
the United States they subsidize these products.  They do it with the
textiles, with everything, even with meat.  They do not do it with products
they cannot produce because of the climate.  But then, they produce them
synthetically.  When they do not do this, they do other things, as the
Bolivians know well.  Each time they want to drop the price of tin U.S.
reserves are sold.  If they want to reduce the price of silver, they begin
to sell their reserves.  If they want to reduce the price of coal, they do
so not only because they produce the optic fibers that replace the electric
cables in communications but also because they decide that they have too
many reserves and sell them, causing a decrease in prices.  They do so with
all products.  They do so with aluminum.  They do it with everything.
These are unbearable, abusive, and intolerable measures.

This is one of the demands that we are making and that all of the Third
World countries can raise and achieve with regard to that opprobrious
system of exploitation.  Only if we unite and use our strengths can we set
some limits, just as the workers in a union do when they cannot bear
abusive measures and want improvements.  That is what we are doing.  I
would say these are the union demands of the Third World.  We are telling
these gentlemen not to do these opprobrious things.

In addition, they lend us cheap money with specific interest rates and then
charge us r expensive money with high interest rates.  In addition to this,
they have Latin America mortgaged for $360 billion and want us to pay them
$400 billion in 10 years in mere interests and profits.  How are we going
to pay them?  With what are we going to pay them?  They establish all kinds
of protectionist measures against Mexico, against textiles, against Mexican
products, against shoes.  They establish all types of protectionist
measures.  We cannot even sell what we produce at those miserable prices.
We cannot sell them, and then they want us to pay these huge sums.  Isn't
this crazy?  Aren't those who think that this can be paid as crazy as those
who think they can collect it?  We are not acting on the basis of
fantasies; we are acting on the basis of realities.

Companeros, even though I had promised not to extend myself too much, these
things, these demands constitute what has been called the new order that
must continue to be developed.  I said at noon that one of the ideas must
be solidarity.  There are countries that have been very exploited.  They
have been left very underdeveloped.  They are so poor that not even with a
new order or by canceling debts....  There are some that are so poor that
they did not even receive loans.  There are some that owe $200 million,
$150 million.  There are many African countries that did not even receive
loans.  There are dozens of countries that cannot develop if the principle
of international solidarity is not applied.  This is what we propose as one
of the principles of the new order.  It is the duty to help the poorer, the
more underdeveloped countries.  It is everyone's duty; but above all it is
the duty of the countries that have more resources, that exploited them,
and of those responsible for the underdevelopment, colonialism, and
neocolonialism.  They should contribute.  They have a moral obligation and
we must demand it from them.  We can help.  I think that the socialist
countries can help and must help because of solidarity, and I feel that the
former colonial powers that financed themselves with our sweat and blood
with our gold and silver, with the lives of tens of millions of slaves or
people who died in the mines, have the moral duty to contribute to the
development of the Third World countries.  This is one of the principles
that we must defend as an elemental principle of the new international
economic order.

With regard to Cuba and its trade with the socialist countries, I repeat
that what we have achieved with the socialist countries is the new order.
We have achieved all of what we are proposing.  That other dreadful
situation does not take place.

Instead, there are just, satisfactory prices for sugar, nickel, and other
products so that our country can develop and not live on the basis of
starvation wages.  If the products we import from them increase in price,
then the prices of our products increase.  If the price of something
imported increases, then the price of our product increases.  There can
never be a situation in which we need 40 tons to buy something and then we
need 200 tons.  That does not occur.  The purchasing power of our products
is maintained as a result of the agreements we have.  The credits are
long-term.  The interest rates are low and the debts are automatically
renegotiated at 10-, 15-, and 20-year terms without interests.  What we are
saying is: Gentlemen, apply these principles to all countries; let these
principles that are applied in Cuba's relations with the socialist
community countries be applied by all industrialized countries.  What we
want is to universalize what we have obtained.  Fortunately, of course,
most of our trade is with those countries.  In the 15 percent left, the
others break us.  They pay us 3 cents for the sugar.  They pay us this if
we can remain in the market because the Yankees are going after our
merchandise all over the world.  Of course, they can do this when it is
only one country.

However, the day that they must blockade 20 countries they will be
blockading themselves.  The Third World cannot blockade itself.  They
cannot live without our raw materials and our products.  They cannot.  They
would be the most wretched people in the world because they are accustomed
to consuming cheap chocolate, cheap coffee, and everything else that is
cheap and abundant while they sell everything at expensive rates.  They can
have other standards of living and other wages, but what do we have?  Not
even a roof over our heads people barefoot without an education, without
retirement, without social security, without anything.  We are slaves.  We
are worse off than slaves because slave owners were concerned that the
slaves not die.  Who worries if a worker dies in Latin America?  With more
than 100 million unemployed and underemployed, who worries if a peasant
dies in Latin America?  They would be happy if he dies.  They are even
trying to prevent them from being born.  Why should they care if they die
if the United States spends tens of millions of dollars in promoting
sterilization in the world?

I have some figures that I read a few days ago in a report on Brazil
regarding a study made by Campinas University of Sao Paulo.  I would like
to confirm these figures because they state that in 10 years the fertility
of the Brazilian female population has dropped 26 percent.  Of that
population, 38 percent between 15 and 44 years of age age sterilized.  I
would like those in Sao Paulo to investigate that figure.  Send me a
telegram and tell me if it is true because it is hard to believe

It is also said that more than half of those sterilizations took place
after 1980 and that between 1978 and 1984 the United States provided $20
million for these sterilization programs.  They should really be concerned
about the survival of the peasants, the workers, and the children.  They
don't want them to be born.  They are frightened because they see the
political consequences of the problem and the potential possibilities of
explosions.  They do not want the birth of children.  How could they care
if those already born die of hunger?  They die in such high numbers.  A
Peruvian representative stated today that the infant mortality rate is 120
per 1,000 live births.  He said it was 12.12 percent.  Gentlemen, that is
equivalent to 120 children.  Infant mortality increases; it does not
decrease.  For a time it did decrease but now it is increasing.  If you see
the statistics of the Pan-American Health Organization, you will find other

As I was saying, they can blockade a country like Cuba and go after it, but
the day they must go after 20 they will go crazy.  They will end up biting
their tail like a rabid dog. [applause] They cannot blockade 20, 50, 100
countries.  They blockade one country and they get a big headache.  They
have spent 26 years in this unglorious task.  For what?  Ah, they wanted to
show that the revolution was very bad because the country has not advanced.
Once in a while I tell them: Compare us to the models that you have.  No
comparison is impossible.  I am embarrassed to make the comparison.  I say
this sorrowfully.  Compare the infant mortality rates, the illiteracy
rates, the rates of teachers and doctors, student rates, the rates in all
fields.  When I ask some of them: Have you ever heard of an official here
who has enriched himself, someone who has become a millionaire with the
money stolen from the people?  Is there a similar situation in the rest of
Latin America?  With less than 10 questions, with 5 questions, they are
thrown off balance.

As I have said many times, they have beliefs and not an idea.  They believe
something and think it is true.  I tell them: You have beliefs; you don't
have ideas.  In addition, they think all truths are evident because they
included some in the constitution.  However, they have not fulfilled them.
They invent things.  Whatever they invent, they think they are evident
truths.  With a few questions they are thrown off balance.  They do not
have the ideological consistency to debate with a revolutionary who bases
himself on a position of principles and who has been consistent with those
principles, I assure you.

So then, we request, we demand, we call for -- however you want to say it
-- the same treatment for the other countries, this treatment that we have
spoken about, this treatment of the new order that we have obtained.
Without the new order and with only the social changes, we would have been
unable to do what we have done.  Yes, we would have better distributed our
wealth; our society would be better.  There are some around who say they do
not want to share or distribute misery.  Of course, what happens is that I
have heard some prominent political personalities say when they speak of
socialism that they do not want to share misery.  Of course they are right.
In their countries, the misery is not shared.  It is suffered by part of
the population and the others have everything.  They do not in any way
share the misery.  I say that it is more just to share the misery than to
throw the weight of the misery to the immense majority of the population in
order to benefit a minority of the population. [applause]

In reality, social change alone is not a solution.  You need development.
Why can we have the levels that we have?  There are 256,000 teachers and
professors in the country.  Rather than having unemployment, we have a
reserve of 10,000 teachers.  What do we do?  We put the 10,000 teachers to
work and the others can study while they receive wages.  In the future we
will have 40,000 or 50,000 teachers in reserve so that every 7 years we can
give them a year with pay to study.  We have already graduated the first
teachers with primary education degrees.  We graduated 2,700.  We are
maintaining a tremendous pace.

Approximately 5,500 youths, selected due to their experience and vocation,
enter our medical schools.  We already have one medical school per
province.  This year we have already graduated 2,436 doctors.  By 1988,
3,000 doctors per year will graduate and by 1991, 3,500 per year.  We will
have more doctors graduating per year than those left here by imperialism.
We had 6,000 and it took 3,000.  But now I tell you, here is the apply.  We
will graduate 50,000 doctors in the next 15 years.  We will have 65,000
tons in the year 2000 and of those, we estimate that 10,000 will be
providing cooperation in Third World countries.  Today we have 1,600
[applause] and a total of [words indistinct].

Well it is true that we have great things.  We have hundreds of explorers'
centers for children and Pioneers' palaces.  All of the country's children
are organized.  There are no barefoot children.  There are no abandoned
children.  There are no hungry children.  There are no families without
resources.  There is a great spirit of solidarity.  However, this is not
done only with goodwill.  Resources and development are needed.  If we had
the conditions that are imposed on the world market by imperialism, the 7.5
million tons of sugar that we export would not be enough to pay for 25
percent of the petroleum we consume, which is equivalent to 11 million
tons.  We consume almost as much petroleum as Ecuador produces because we
do not have big rivers here, we do not have hydraulic power.  What kind of
situation would we be in?  Perhaps we would be meeting here without these
lights and perhaps in a park.  However, we would not have achieved the
social advances that we have obtained.

It would be an act of conceit or of vanity for Cuban revolutionaries to say
that we have achieved what we have because we are excellent revolutionaries
or excellent administrators.  We have achieved this because we have staged
a revolution.  We are not excellent administrators, nor can we presume to
be excellent revolutionaries.  However, we have created the conditions to
obtain the necessary resources for the economic and social development that
we are achieving in our country.

What can be expected of the situation in Santo Domingo and many Latin
American countries with those prices?  I am speaking of 7.5 million
[currency not given] in exports without market.  We have guaranteed markets
and specific terms.  Why couldn't all Third World countries, working
together, impose this new order?

There is one thing that definitely has to be imposed: the cancellation of
that debt.  I say cancellation because this afternoon I was thinking for a
while about the problems created by this word cancellation.  I looked it up
in the dictionary, to see what to cancel means.  I remember that I used it
for the first time in 1979 at the United Nations, after the sixth summit.
Now I understand the confusion, and to tell the truth, the dictionary is to
blame. [laughter]

It says, to cancel, to annul a document.  That is what we want to do with
that document.  To settle, obliterate a debt.  None of us want that.  To
annul a commitment.  That we do want, to annul the commitment that was
binding on the people.  Well, then I looked it up in the dictionary of
synonyms, to see the meaning of this word, to resolve this problem of
terminology.  It says, to cancel: synonym, to liquidate.  We have to
consider in what sense we want to liquidate the debt.  To comply with: We
do not want that.  To revoke: We do want that.  To annul: We do want that.
To abolish: We do want that.  To mop up: Yes we want to mop up the tears of
the debt.  To erase from memory: We want very much to erase it from our
memory.  (laughter; applause] To file away: We do want that.  Thus, we have
quite a few synonyms.  Some of them are good, but my preference is to
abolish, because it reminds me of slavery and the abolition of slavery.

Historically, it is necessary to do with the debt the same thing that was
done with slavery, because it is enslaving us.  To erase from memory is an
excellent phrase, an excellent synonym for what we want to say.  To file
away is also excellent.  You can choose the one that you like best, and if
you don't like any of them, there is also a clear and intelligible phrase,
namely not to pay, which is what we want to do. [applause]

Companero Venezuelan, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to
explain some of these matters related to the new order, because I know that
some people have been proposing this.  I had the chance to explain the type
of relations that we have with the socialist countries and that it would be
ideal for this type of relations to be expanded, which is what we should
struggle to impose.  I believe that we will be able to conquer the debt, if
we unite and use our strength in the international organizations.  We are a
great majority in the United Nations.  That should not be forgotten.  I
should not be forgotten that dozens upon dozens of countries have achieved
a formal independence and that all that remains is for us to learn how to

In the United Nations, we could even change the rules of the United
Nations, if we apply the strength of all the countries to this struggle, to
this demand.  In all the international organizations we are a great
majority: in the UNCTAD, in the Group of 77, everywhere.  I assure you that
there is quite a bit of solidarity in those countries.  There usually is,
and they usually dare to propose things that the Latin American generally
do not dare to propose, because we Latin American have been inculcated with
habits of submission even more than the Africans.

I have heard the Africans make speeches that the Latin American
representatives do not usually make.  Therefore, we simply have to have
more strength to impose our will.  The labor unions have less strength, but
when they act together, their demands are met.  They get what they call
for.  I believe that if the Third World acts with unity [changes thought]
and that is why I always say the Third World, because the Latin Americans
tend to be among the Third World countries.

Latin America alone can and should direct this struggle, because it alone
can direct it.  It has many of the right conditions, better conditions than
Africa, and better conditions than the underdeveloped countries of Asia.
It has a greater cultural development, more political awareness, a
different social structure, tens of millions of workers and peasants, and
million of university professionals such as doctors and engineers.  That is
why university professionals were also included in the document this
afternoon. therefore I believe that we have enough strength if we struggle
to obtain some of the demands we are proposing here, if we see things
clearly and are aware of our strength.

One thing about which I have no doubt, of which I am sure, is that the
socialist countries will support that struggle.  They have already made
some statements regarding this.  I know that they are interested in this
struggle, especially because of how the idea of peace is linked to the
solution of these economic problems.  Those countries do not have the
problems that face the Third World countries, but they are greatly
concerned about peace.  That is why I say that it is important to link
these struggles, and that is why the element that we have introduced in all
interviews is so important: the fact that the foreign debt problem could be
resolved with 10 or 12 percent of the millions upon millions of dollars
spent on weaponry each year.

There is more on the matter of the new international economic order: Both
things could be resolved with 30 percent of what is presently spent on
weaponry in the world.  Unfortunately, if we erased this debt from memory
-- as it will be erased -- and a new international economic order were
established on the basis of military expenditures, there would still be
$700 billion which they could use to destroy the world several times over,
even if the Third World were to receive $300 billion more from military
expenditures.  This is not utopian; it can be done.

We say: Not only will this debt be forgotten, abolished, and filed away,
but it is also necessary to have a new international economic order now.
That is why we propose a solution requiring that they give up weapons, the
madness of "star wars" and space matters, and such nonsense that does so
much direct damage, not only because of the danger of war, but also because
the enormous budget deficit causes the high interest rates, the high rate
of exchange of the dollar, and other barbarities with which they destroy
the world.

Therefore, we say to them: We are determined to erase that debt.  Moreover,
we did them a favor.  We explained how it could be done without greatly
affecting them.  It is true that our mission is not to solve their
problems, but we think it is proper, consistent, and intelligent to show
the way.  I will explain why.  We should not only gather together the
greatest number of forces in this struggle and unite the countries; we must
also win support in the industrialized world.  It is symbolic today that
workers from France, Scotland, and other countries sent a message.  We have
to win the support of the laborers, the workers of the industrialized
countries, [applause] the students, the intellectuals, and all possible
forces.  If we do not win their support, the imperialists will try to unite
them against the Third World.

Therefore we say to them: It is not necessary for the banks to go bankrupt,
and we do not want that.  Do we by chance have a tender, great love for
international banking and the financial system?  No.  We have no love for
them, but it is necessary to keep imperialism from having the argument that
what we are planning will ruin the banks and that as a result, tens of
millions of bank depositors are going to lose their money.  Or, they will
tell the workers: You are going to lose your standard of living.  Or, they
will tell the public: You are going to have to pay more interest if this
occurs. we say: None of this is necessary.  The banks do not have to go
bankrupt.  It is not necessary to pay 1 cent more in interest than is being
paid now.  Not 1 cent belonging to a bank depositor need be lost.

There is money being thrown away every day, fabulous amounts, and everyone
knows about this -- military spending.  It is madness.  The world cannot be
interested in this arms race; the socialist countries cannot be interested
in this arms race, the socialist countries know too well what they can do
with that money.  There are always many needs to be met.

We continue to say: Sit down and stop wanting to forcefully impose your
ideas; stop dreaming you are going to change the world; stop dreaming that
you are going to stop history; and sit down and talk in peace and resolve
the problems through negotiation.  If you want your capitalism; do it, that
is your business.  We are not going to the United States to make a
revolution there.

In an academic discussion we could demonstrate that socialism is better
than capitalism, but we cannot go there and say: Well, change your social
system.  Let them burn themselves up there for as long as they last.  That
is their business.  It will not be eternal, but that is not our business.
No one is going to try to change the capitalist system by force and impose
socialism in Europe, Japan, the United States, Canada, and Australia.  No
one is going to try that No one is thinking of that It has not been
imagined by anyone.  Sit down, discuss and save one-third of what you are
spending on the madness of war.

Thus it is necessary to send the message to the public in those countries,
to show them that the proposed measures would not harm them.  They are
afflicted with unemployment.  If the Third World had an additional
purchasing power of $300 billion, many factories in Europe, the United
States, and other places would be fully occupied.  There would be increased
employment in those countries.  That is why I believe that the proposals we
are making are not capricious.  We have to send a message to the public.
Imperialism will try to isolate us and we must try to isolate the
imperialists and the warmonger.  That is the purpose of these statements.
I am completely, absolutely sure.  We have sent this material to many
countries.  A large amount of this information is on the table of the
meeting of African chiefs of state.  This material is in the hands of the
chiefs of state of almost all countries.  We always make some exceptions.
This material is in many places.  This material must already be in the
hands of the youths gathered for the Moscow festival.  This material is in
the hands of the women meeting in Nairobi.

No one imagines that a publicity campaign is under way.  An intensive
effort and intensive contacts are being made everywhere.  They have said
that this is a public city campaign by Cuba to improve its image and
improve relations.  They do not realize that it is a serious struggle that
we have been waging for some time.  If you wish, I can tell you a little
bit about it later.

This is what can be said in answer to the question, and I promise you that
it is the last time that I will answer so extensively. [applause]

[(Manellemi) -- in Portuguese with simultaneous Spanish translation]

(Jaime Menelemi) of (La Coute), Brazil.  Companero Fidel Castro, this
conference is a great step in unifying the struggle of Latin America and
the Caribbean against the foreign debt. It is obvious that to the extent
that we unite, imperialism will have to use new tactics.  Instead of an
embargo, it will have to think, and perhaps it will make a tempting
proposal to some Latin American countries, perhaps offering to negotiate
better terms for the debt.  Should this occur, what Would be our joint

[Castro] What you are asking or presenting is very important.  It is a
potential issue.  Imperialism, so far, is on the defensive with regard to
this problem.  It is disconcerted because this is a problem that has been
developing for some time.  I am going to take advantage of this
opportunity.  I am not going to keep my word 100 percent because I am going
to be a little bit extensive [laughter], because I think an explanation is
necessary in this regard.

There are some Yankees who are saying that Castro is an opportunist who is
taking vantage of this problem to improve Cuba's image and relations.  They
have not yet realized that we have resisted for 26 years.  We are more
consolidated than ever and we have better relations than ever, and this is
not essential to us.  This matter of image is the greatest foolishness on
earth.  Since they live on the basis of an image, they believe that
everyone else is looking for an image, and they don't know that not even a
tiny bird can be nourished with an image.  They throw away huge sums of
money on that.  They imagine that other mean are vain, seeking a name and
prestige.  They believe that.  But here it is, and this was printed after
the sixth summit in October 1979.  I am glad that you have not chosen 12
October because it was on 12 October that I said all this.  What do you
know! [applause]

It is mere coincidence.  I have been saying this for a long time, pointing
out the problem in the Nonaligned Movement, more specifically.  For
example, in that address, in the name of all the nonaligned, I said: While
the inequality of international economic relations increases the
accumulated foreign debt of the developing countries to over $300 billion
-- it was already large, but the debt of the Third World at that time was
less than the Latin American debt today -- international financial
organizations and private banks are increasing interest rates, reducing the
amortization periods for loans, and financially smothering the developing
countries, all of which are elements of coercion in negotiations, allowing
them to have additional political and economic advantages over our

At the time it was suggested, as an explanation...[changes thought] I
believe that certain theories and stories being circulated by them must be
disproved, as this is important in connection with your question, given the
role that Cuba is playing in this problem.

On that occasion we said: The debt of the developing countries has already
reached the figure of $335 billion.  Today it is three times that.  On that
occasion the dollar was slipping [laughs], or rather was moving upward.  It
is calculated that the total payment to service the foreign debt is over
$40 billion a year, which represents more than 20 percent of the countries'
annual exports.

On the other hand, the average per capita income of the developed countries
is now 14 times that of the underdeveloped countries.  This situation is
now unbearable.  We were saying in 1979 that it was $40 billion for
everyone.  Now Latin America alone owes more than that.  Moreover, it isn't
that $40 billion is being paid; that is just interest, profit.  It could be
a little more or less, depending on the interest rate.

We also previously discussed the matter of weapons and military spending.
We said mainly that in the name of the developing countries, the Nonaligned
Movement demands that a large portion of the huge amounts of resources
thrown away by mankind on the arms race be devoted to development, which
will simultaneously help avert the threat of war and make it possible to
improve the international situation.

Finally, we said: In summary, Mr President and Mssrs Representatives --
this was in the United Nations.  It was full.  No one was missing on that
Friday, and I remember that my presentation received a great deal of
support then.  At the time we were asking for $300 billion for development,
based on the fact that there was actually no development.  What existed was
relative underdevelopment.  We said that there is a need for...[Changes
thought] We were still asking back in 1979: Please, look, we need $300
billion.  Take $300 billion out of your pockets.  The situation was
radically different.

Then, we said: The unequal trade is ruining our peoples and must stop.  The
inflation that is being exported to us is ruining our peoples and it must
stop.  Now what they are exporting to us is the overvaluation of the
dollar.  Protectionism is ruining our peoples and must stop.  The
inequalities existing in the exploitation of marine resources is abusive
and must be abolished.  This was a problem that was presented when we were
discussing the law of the sea.  An agreement was reached, but the United
States and some of its wealthiest accomplices have refused to accept it.
The financial resources received by the developing countries are
insufficient and should be increased.  Weapons spending is irrational.  The
use of those funds must end and they must be used to finance development.
The present international monetary system is bankrupt and must be replaced.
The debt of the relatively less developed countries, which are in a
disadvantageous position, is unbearable and they have no solution.  It
should be cancelled.  Even then the dictionary led me to use a word that
lends itself to a double interpretation.  There was prolonged applause at
this point.  What was most applauded there at the United Nations was this
idea, back in 1979.  It was applauded by all the representatives of the
entire Third World.

Indebtedness is economically overwhelming the other developing countries
and it should be alleviated -- we were not yet calling for a total
cancellation.  The economic chasm between the developed and developing
countries, instead of being reduced, is getting larger and must disappear.
Those are the demands of the underdeveloped countries.  They presented them
in 1979: almost the same things, with a few differences.  At that time the
debt was smaller.  The problem was critical for a few dozen countries, but
it was not yet critical for Venezuela, Mexico, and a number of other

The fact is that the debt has tripled and now affects all countries.  The
countries that had resources to face this situation are also in trouble.
Nigeria, an oil-producing country, has an enormous debt and great problems,
and a population of over 100 million.  Mexico, as was explained here,
needed to use 72 percent of its oil exports to pay the interest on its
debt, before the reduction in oil prices, At this point it probably needs
75 percent just to pay the interest on its debt.  Take Venezuela -- the
companero here eloquently explained Venezuela's problems.  At the end of
his analysis he reached the conclusion that the debt is impossible to pay,
They cannot pay because the oil-exporting countries have been afflicted by
two problems.  They used to produce almost 40 million; now they produce 16
million [barrels of oil a day] The price, which should be over $30, has
been reduced.  When the prices were high they took on commitments; they
spent-money; and now the situation is difficult, even for those countries.
I realize that terrible things were done.  I realize, as the Venezuelan
companero said, that certain groups, linked to imperialist financial
circles, have made fabulous profits.  A recent World Bank report explained
that in this period of great indebtedness, Venezuela was drained not of 100
percent of what entered the country as loans -- not 100 percent, even
though that seems like a lot -- but, curiously, of 132 percent of what
entered the country.  For each dollar in loans, $1.32 was taken out; in
other words, not just the money that was loaned to it, but also money from
its reserves, money obtained from exports.  Incredible.

However, I do not think of that.  I think of the Venezuelan people: the
workers, the peasants, the youth, women, townspeople, who are suffering the
consequences, I reached two conclusions: one, that the situation had become
so serious that no country could be excluded; and second, since the
situation was critical everywhere, the demand that the debt of all Third
World countries, without exception, be canceled, would be much stronger
because the struggle would not be waged only by a few dozen countries that
are no longer able to move forward, but by all Third World countries.  Many
of those countries, which have resources, have fallen into such a terrible
situa an extent, that they need to be included in this demand.  At the same
time, with all these countries joined together, the involvement would have
more strength.

That is the difference: Now the Third World debt has practically tripled.
It was already serious at that time, and we saw that it would worsen.  At
that time we asked for $300 billion in 10 years.  Now we are proposing
something else.  We are not going to pay almost $1 trillion in 10 years.
Latin America alone would owe $40 billion.  That is why we said that the
situation has changed.  Before we were asking; now we are simply not going
to pay that money.  That is the difference.  The initiative has changed
from their hands to the hands of the Third World.  It is up to the Third
World to take action rather than waiting for them to have compassion and
soften up and yield.  Those are the basic changes.

Well then, I explained this, companero, because this is something that was
foreseen and that Cuba has been predicting.  The only difference is that
the situation was not critical, as it has become now.  Now, it is a
catastrophe.  They paid no attention.  Everyone liked the speech; they
applauded.  All the chiefs of state applauded that speech, which was made
on behalf of the Nonaligned Movement.  At that time Cuba was president of
the movement, because it had been the seat of the sixth summit.

The matter was again discussed in New Delhi in 1983.  The crisis had become
more critical by then.  A report was presented by Cuba to the Nonaligned
Movement analyzing all of these problems in great detail, but not in the
technical language that was so popular.  In that speech it was also
proposed that a tireless struggle be waged for peace, to halt the arms
race, to drastically reduce military expenditures, and to demand that a
considerable portion of those massive funds be used for the development of
the Third World.  We proposed to struggle for an end to the unfair trade
that reduces real income from exports, places on our economy the burden of
the inflation generated in the developed capitalist countries, and
bankrupts our peoples; to struggle against protectionism that multiplies
tariff and non-tariff barriers and bars access to markets for our raw
materials and manufactured products; to struggle for the cancellation of
the foreign debt the large number of countries that have no real
possibility of paying it, and for a drastic alleviation of the burden of
servicing the debt for those countries that with new terms would be able to
fulfill their obligations.  Other points were presented, but these were
different from 1979.  We were already speaking for all the countries that
had no real possibility of paying.

Previously we were speaking of those countries of relatively lesser
development, but now we spoke of all those who were unable to pay.  We
called for the debt to be drastically alleviated -- because by then it had
grown tremendously; it had almost doubled -- a drastic alleviation of the
burden of servicing the debt for those countries that, with new terms,
would be able to fulfill their obligations.

Now almost 18 months have passed, and the matter is much more serious.  The
proposals that were made at that time did not generate a movement.  These
proposals have generated a movement now, because the crisis has reached its
most acute point, a new situation has been created, and the people are
feeling the effects to a much greater extent.  However, one could link all
the details and follow the course of all ideas, all the proposals, and see
that they are the same as the ones that are being made now, except that now
there is a crisis.  Some people imagine that I began to discover something,
to invent something to harass the Yankees or improve Cuba's image or Cuba's
relations.  This is important, because there are some today who are
concerned about Cuba's proposal.  Cuba has been making this proposal for
the past 6 years, and even before that it was pointing out these problems.
Yet they are concerned.  They say: They are right, but the bad thing is
that the proposal is being made by Cuba.  Poor Cuba!  It can't even talk.
It has been talking for a long time, but now it has to shut up.  Now they
imagine that the whole thing is a trick, a maneuver, a sham, and, of
course, they believe this.  However, while they have been believing this,
all these ideas have been published and circulated everywhere.  They have
reached many places.  I have not mentioned all the places they have
reached.  They have reached the churches; they have reached every place
that they should have reached.

Now those who thought it was a game, a publicity campaign, have discovered
that there is a problem, and they are disconcerted.  They do not yet have
an answer to all this nor is one possible.  They have waged some petty
campaigns with regard to Cuba.  They say that Cuba is renegotiating its
debt.  Yes, we have been renegotiating our debt, just like everyone else.
However, our debt is a small, insignificant one, and a part of that debt in
convertible money is a debt to Third World countries like Mexico.  There is
also a certain debt to some hundreds of millions to Argentina and other
Third World countries.

We do not owe one cent to the Yankee banks, or to the IMF, or the World
Bank, because we were thrown out of all of those. [laughter] We were kicked
out in an honorable manner. [applause] They, in a provocative manner...
[changes thought] After all, we are not waging this struggle for Cuba.
Cuba will do what the others do, but in a provocative manner.  They would
like to make us take a step of that kind, so that they could say: Well,
don't you see the problem that Cuba is facing, and that is why it is
defending this position.  We say: We are the only ones who are calm, who do
not have a problem.  We are in a good position to wage this struggle.  They
would like us to say that we are not going to pay the Mexicans; well, we
say that we are going to pay the Mexicans.  We are going to pay the
Argentines, because those are Third World countries that have serious
problems.  To us, from the beginning, this has been a struggle that we have
been waging for some time, but there is no profit in it for us.  To the
contrary, it is to our credit.  If we owed $30,000 to Yankee banks, they
would not say what they are saying.  They would not be saying... [changes
thought] trying to provoke us to make us cancel our debt to the Yankee
banks.  They know that we do not owe them a single cent.  That is why it is
suddenly possible for them to use that argument.

We will do what the other countries do.  We have somewhat of a debt, but it
is a very small debt to certain banks that, in the midst of the embargo,
and despite the opposition of the Yankees, gave us some loans.  However, we
plan to pay all the Third World countries, even if the debt is cancelled.
We will pay the Mexicans, the Argentines, and the Third World countries,
simply because we can pay it, [applause] and thus take away the Yankees'
only argument.

They use the Voice of America to broadcast editorials every now and then --
they have already aired three -- in desperation, to broadcast a message
against Cuba, not officially, but through the Voice of America.  They have
moved the springs of a few newspapers in Latin America that are known to
operate at the service of imperialism.  They have ordered some little
articles and other such things published.  They have begun to move; they
began to make efforts to keep this and the other meeting from taking place
and other campaigns, but they are disconcerted.

They have thought up other things.  Here in private I can tell you.  As you
know, for some time now, they have mistakenly believed that by killing the
dog they could get rid of the rabies.  They think that this is rabies and
that I am some sort of a dog that they have a right to kill.  This has been
the most ambushed dog in the world.  The dog is alive by a miracle.  Not so
much a miracle because there are people who defend the revolution and not
even a counterrevolutionary mosquito, or a CIA agent can move here.  Not
even disguised as a rabbit [laughter] can he escape. [applause] What I can
say here in private is that they are desperate, somewhat hysterical, and
reactivating all sorts of measures to eliminate Mr Castro, to kill the dog.

Therefore, we know this.  It is good for me to tell them, for them to know
that we know this.  They have adopted measures to promote personal attacks
in a very barefaced manner, but we know about it, and reliable information
is very important in everything, right?

What have they been doing?  One or another attempt, but mistaken ones,
because they kill 100 dogs and the rabies still exist, and the rabies may
even be multiplied.

Well, I am convinced that this cannot possibly be stopped but they are.
[changes thought] that is their mental state, their psychological state.  I
think they will now move more actively, because their ranks are weakening.
The assistant secretary of the treasury has begun to talk about formulas,
saying this is a serious matter.  The secretary was furious and issued a
statement within 24 hours, saying that everything had been a foolish
remark.  Kissinger, who is an eminent figure of the U.S. imperialism, has
been discussing the problem and formulas to solve it because it is
intolerable.  He has given some formulas, mainly that the World Bank should
take charge of part of the debt through bonds.

They are looking for formulas, and we must not think that imperialism will
remain ?. It will move everywhere, launch all kinds of publicity campaigns,
pull strings, pull strings, pull every string possible, try to divide, try
to exert pressure, and -- above all -- try to extinguish the fire before it
gathers strength.  Can it be extinguished?  I think that extinguishing the
fire or not depends on whether the masses defend the cause as their own or
not.  This cause must become the banner of the workers, peasants, students,
professionals, and (?the rest of) public opinion, and must be strengthened
by the masses.

Consequently, this will not be solved in a clandestine meeting, or with
promises here and there.  Anyway, what can they offer?  Let us suppose that
they accept what is being proposed and suddenly start lending money to pay
the interest, saying: Do not worry, you will not pay a single dollar, we
will lend you more money, behave yourselves, implement all the IMF
measures, be good boys, and then we will handle the interest so that all is
settled.  This would only tend to increase the debt and the interest would
grow every year.

Let us suppose that they say: Well, we will give you all these chances to
alleviate the situation.  Some would believe that this is true.  However,
they would be giving us nothing.  They are only giving what they cannot
collect.  They would invent a fictitious loan to increase the interest.  I
think that the public opinion would be clearly aware of this and would be
able to analyze it.  Above all, their dependence would never cease because
negotiations would continue every month, or every 6 months, and every year.
The countries would continue to have a rope around their necks, and it
could be tightened at the most convenient moment.  They would still be
enslaved and chained, and the debt would continue to be their problem.

What would the alternative be?  If they appear as the good guys and offer
that, all the countries and governments would be able to use more
resources, even though some of these resources would be drained, because
they go one way or the other.  All this would not solve this great problem
of unequal trade; we would continue to receive increasingly less while
exporting increasingly more.  In 1984, $95 million was exported in
merchandise -- I mean $95 billion -- and the purchasing power of this $95
billion was the equivalent of $75 billion in 1980, that is having exported
$20 billion or more.  A tremendous exporting effort was exerted, but the
purchasing power dropped $20 billion.  They have brazenly stolen [laughs]
that amount this way, since the term trade was imposed by them with all
these measures, the dumping, and the strategic reserve.  They have stolen
$20 billion with all those tricks.  The countries exported $95 billion and
the purchasing power of these exports was the equivalent of $75 billion.
The situation is worsening.

Will they give up their good guy image, their protectionism, and their
dumping.  They can say: We will not collect $40 billion.  However, this
would make them cry; they will never do this.  They will continue to
increase the countries' debt, stealing tens of thousands of dollars through
price fixing, the overvaluation of their dollar, and capital drain.  The
situation would continue to worsen and nothing would be solved, even though
I admit that if a few countries suddenly did not have to pay $12 billion
they would be able to maneuver, improve, and have a temporary respite -- a
few countries, not all.

What kind of a formula would be required to lend the amount that has to be
paid in interest?  This does not solve the debt problem, it worsens it.  I
repeat, total dependence would continue every month, every 6 months, every
year, and the basic problem would continue unsolved.  That is why it is so
important for these banners to unite, so that no one may believe that they
are solving the problem, or satisfying the Latin American people's needs or
demands by simply applying a lousy financial formula.  That formula would
be useless, it would not remove the rope from around anyone's neck, and it
would continue to advocate the robbery and looting we are victims of.  That
is why these three pillars are so important: Cancel the debt, the new
international economic order, and Latin America's economic integration.
Even if the first two were achieved -- cancel the debt and the new
international economic order -- Latin America could not be developed.

Even Europe, fully developed and rich, England, and Spain, state that they
cannot live without a large economic community.  Then, how can Curacao,
Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, or the Central American countries, or
any of these countries be developed alone or isolated?  They would always
be prisoners or hostages to the U.S. imperialism.  We must bear in mind, in
my opinion, that the economic integration is one of the conditions for our
countries' development and independence.  Some countries are still being
isolated -- Santo Domingo, the islands -- blockaded and invaded.  Cuba is
being blockaded, Nicaragua is being blockaded, threatened with an invasion.
Every day they threaten an invasion somewhere.  They invade Grenada.  Ah,
it is convenient to have these countries divided and disintegrated, in
order to destroy them one by one.  That is why they are enemies of
integration, and I tell you that these three banners are three great
anti-imperialist banners, three great banners for our peoples'
independence, and -- I might add -- three great, historical and
revolutionary banners.  I think that. These immediate goals could be
achieved if we struggle and do what must be done.

Well then, I believe that the masses can prevent difficulties, can prevent
the maneuvers of imperialism; and there is a clear awareness of all of
these problems.  Then, that is their importance.  We do not say to pressure
-- you must understand that we want to use another language.  We say that
the masses are the best guarantee so that imperialism cannot maneuver,
cannot hold conferences, cannot engage in trickery to limit the objectives
of this struggle, to make us be satisfied with 5 when we know that we can
achieve 100.

Undoubtedly, they are going to make every attempt, try every invention,
they have mentioned this Marshall Plan; Kissinger spoke of the Marshall
Plan and I thought it was necessary, but oh well, the problem is so grave
that 25 Marshall Plans would be needed.  They don't even have money.  If
they reasoned, if they reacted, they would say: we will start out a little
more realistically.  Definitely what has been proposed could be induced to
realism.  They would have to forget a little about all the madness into
which they are investing such fabulous sums of money because there are
other problems.  I am not going to speak about them or what the
consequences will be for the U.S. economy.  That is around here in an
interview with a U.S. legislator, an academician; it will be published soon
in the United States.

However, we must be alert to every form of maneuver that they might
attempt.  We must see how this problem evolves.  There is talk that the
ideal thing would be to have a consensus, that the ideal thing would be for
us to sit down and discuss how this debt is to be cancelled, how to
establish a new order.  But then it is possible that there will not even be
time f or that, that some desperate countries will launch themselves in the
struggle to apply any of the formulas that you propose in this regard.  I
think that in a country with a desperate situation, a country that has no
pesos and proclaims it -- because some have done it very quietly; the
Bolivians have already proclaimed it, that they do not have pesos -- their
they would find themselves in a predicament with a certain impact.  What to
do?  They could adopt economic measures, but if they do they would be
dousing the fire with gasoline.  If they do not take these measures and
take a chance that everyone will do the same...[changes thought] I do not
see an easy solution in sight for the problem.

Of course some countries must be given total solidarity if they initiate
that struggle.  We have proposed, in response to the intrigues and to
improve relations and prestige, that we would give that banner to any Latin
American country with the sole condition that it carry it out consistently
and not betray it.  Of course, this banner does not have to be given to
anybody in particular.  I think that as of now this banner, since it is in
the hands of the Latin American workers, is in safe hands. [applause]

Therefore, they who accuse us of having this banner for reasons of
prestige, no, we asked the Latin American workers for this banner and we
will receive it and will hold it high with honor. [applause] Companero

[Zurita] Allow me companero, Commader Fidel, to thank you for this
extraordinary discourse we could only have heard here in Cuba with you and
the workers.  The question is as follows: Playing the devil's advocate, how
can you answer those sectors that question the new international economic
order that you propose, saying that it will basically benefit the
bourgeoisie, and in this manner the lifespan of capitalism would be
prolonged in our countries?

[Castro] The capitalist lifespan in Europe and in many countries can be
prolonged.  They have resources, possibilities of maintaining the system
for some time, but it will become more difficult if the Third World
achieves its goal and is no longer waiting, as it has been doing up to now.
For the first time they would have to accede in view of the strength of the
countries of the Third World.

They would no longer exert control as they did in the past.  There is no
doubt that if the Third World countries undertook development programs they
would have to make imports of technology and equipment, many imports.
Purchases, international trade would be boosted, no doubt.  Unemployment,
which is one of their problems would be curbed.  In short, if they were
reasonable, they could also obtain certain benefits.  The workers, the
proprietors, the industries, the industrialists could obtain certain

However, I do not think in the least that this struggle can be translated
into the prolongation.  For the time being it would be placing a very large
check on the system of exploitation and sacking which they currently
conduct against our peoples.  This imperialism is much more dangerous
because they have us all by the neck and step on us every day.  If we
remove their hold on our necks and keep them from stepping on us, we begin
to live in a more tolerable world, especially if we later know how to
defend that liberty or the possibilities achieved.

Now, regarding our countries, we are going into the subject that I
explained to the Argentine companero, which I did not deem advisable to
analyze.  Whatever concerns any of you may have as to whether or not
capitalism will be prolonged in Latin America, I can tell you the following
here: First, we have been talking about a new order, an end to all these
abuses originating from the debt.  Now then, you may wonder how these
resources are going to be invested.  In a socialist development or in a
capitalist development?  It is clear that I believe in a socialist
development.  The perfect thing is a socialist development, but I do not
think we should be proposing the slogan that development is capitalist or
socialist, and I believe that the answer to this question can be given only
by the peoples of each country.  What type of development does it want, or
what type of development can it aspire to achieve?  Only you can respond to
that question.  It would not be useful for me to speculate here on what has
happened or what will happen or predict one type of development or another
type of development, in keeping with the opinion that I espoused to the

What capitalism says depends on you.  How long it lasted here depended on
us [applause] companero of the Inca University of Colon, Colombia.

[Unidentified questioner] Thank you, Commander Fidel Castro.  In Bogota on
9 April 1948 the possibility of developing the trade movement and worker
movement in Latin America began to disintegrate.  I think one of the
fundamental things happening here, today, in this room is, as has been
said, that the possibility has been given at this meeting here, with
exceptional conditions and an exceptional crisis, of achieving a
reunification of all the forces of the trade union movement and all its
allies.  Regarding the point that has been debated here, you have said that
there is something that is more important at this moment than the social
changes: the independence of our peoples.  I believe that we have been able
to clarify that aspect with your extraordinary explanation because I
believe there may have been some doubts here as to what is first, what is
primary, and what is secondary.  However, my question is directed at the
topic broached previously, on the subjective conditions.  In Colombia we
experienced the fact that there was no condition, despite the fact that
there were objective conditions, there was no clear, subjective condition
different from the dispersion that occurred after 9 April.  This happened
in other countries.  I believe that one of the essential things that has
happened here is that you have provided a theoretic, essential basis to
this process, which has been briefly described.  Although it has
crystalized at this moment, a new category of struggle of classes has
emerged here, a struggle of classes regarding an unpayable foreign debt.
My question, then, is how do you view an acceleration of the subjective
conditions, because obviously this instrument of struggle, this theoretic
instrument, this weapon of ideas has been forged here under the conditions
and bases of the Cuban socialist revolution which you, obviously as its
guide, have provided?  As we said, it is a new element.  My question is how
must the acceleration of those subjective conditions, this theoretic
ammunition provided during this process by you as its fundamental guide, be

[Castro] On this problem, which I spoke about in that manner, it would be
well for me to explain it a little, that more important than two or three
revolutions is this problem we have been discussing.

This is a tremendous anti-imperialist struggle of all the Third World, an
enormous struggle with great significance and much strength.  In what sense
do I say that it is more important than two, three, or four revolutions?
Because you will say that there was a revolution in Cuba, and you all know
the story of what happened.  We were left alone, isolated. We had to obtain
aid from very far away.  The revolution in Nicaragua has not proposed a
socialist platform, it has proposed a mixed economy and pluralism of
parties, and it held broad elections, classic-type direct elections.

If the elections had been like those in Great Britain, they would have
obtained 100 percent of the seats in the legislature, because the
opposition would not have won any seat in any district.  The elections were
classic, with a direct vote, sabotaged by the Yankees amid a war -- they do
not want to condone its life, they blockade it, they threaten it, they
threaten it every day.  Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the
Nicaraguan revolution.  They exploit our isolation, our every economic
weakness, our dependence, our underdevelopment, to make life impossible for
us.  Tomorrow there may be a revolution in Bolivia, Peru, or another
country, and it could be isolated, encircled, threatened from all sides,
left alone, and Santo Domingo could be invaded.

There are countries in which a social change or a revolution would
undoubtedly have a tremendous impact.  A similar thing happens in Africa.
The critical situation has led to revolutions.  In Burkina Faso, formerly
Upper Volta, there was a revolution.  I know the problems they have.  In
Ethiopia there was a revolution.  In Angola there was independence.  In
Mozambique South Africa is organizing bands; that is where the CIA is
organizing mercenary bands, blocking and attacking helter-skelter with a
carrot and a stick.  Imperialism says I will give you something if you
behave, otherwise I will club you on the head.  They send mercenary bands
to make life impossible for the peoples.  I think anyone can understand
that if we wage this struggle, seek unity, seek strength, wage this
struggle against imperialism with vital demands for our peoples to secure
these objectives immediately, it is clear to me that this should be
prioritized to the objective of achieving one, two, three, four, five
revolutions so they survive under severe hardships or intolerable
conditions or be smashed by imperialism.

That is why I have no doubt that that is priority.  Now, let us suppose
that the battle is not won, that the debt is not written off, as the
dictionary of synonyms states, that there is no new order, that there is
nothing, that this catastrophe continues; then there will be revolution and
the subjective conditions will accelerate.  In some cases the subjective
conditions contribute a lot to creating the other conditions.

An example was Cuba.  The situation of Cuba was not even a shadow of the
tragedy many countries are experiencing today.  The subjective factor
influenced the other, But here the objective factor will influence the
subjective factor.  And it is viewed like a snowball, advancing like a
volcano.  I have been at the meetings of women, of various sectors, of
journalists; we held a meeting of journalists here.  More than 200
journalists met, and I saw in all of them a unanimous view, a unanimous
idea regarding our problem.  It was very similar to this meeting.  The
meeting of women and the documents issued were very similar to this
meeting.  The big question was: Was it going to be a political meeting?
That was the big question.  But I have never seen the ideas advance with
the strength that these ideas have advanced.  Why?  Because there is a
tremendous crisis.  It is not because it is well expressed, with pretty
literature.  To read good literature one can go and look for Cervantes and
Quixote, which will always be an interesting novel.  Because there is a
great crisis it is advancing at a fast pace.  Now I would say that as a
good demonstration -- in spite of all these meetings -- this meeting here
and these documents, which are a qualitative part, are an excellent

I remember when the companeros began to talk about the meeting in
Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to discuss this.  And Veiga said that the date
could be October, but I suggested the [words indistinct].

The idea of other meetings already existed: that of the women, the
journalists, the broad [amplia] meeting. And I said: Look, Veiga, in my
opinion October is too late, even if we are bogged down with tremendous
work, with the commitments and tasks involved -- I want you to know that
the meetings were all organized in less than 4 weeks. [applause]

This could not have been done under any other circumstances; they were
circumstances of a veritable crisis.  And facts are demonstrating how
easily and how quickly the subjective factors can develop amid a crisis, if
we work.  Now if we are going to let spontaneity occur, burst, and explode,
then nobody knows what will happen or how it will happen.  But I think that
men can largely influence historic events and independence processes,
depending on the clarity with which they view a situation and the
intelligence with which they act.  This does not escape you, it does not
escape intellectuals.  I have talked to many, I have talked to doctors.
Recently there was a meeting here attended by more than 1,500 Latin
American doctors.  And many of them were from private clinics, but I see
how they think, because they are also seeing children die.  They know how
they die and how many cents it costs to save a life, and they do not have
even those cents.  One has to work with the doctors, with the teachers,
with the professionals, in general those sectors that have... [changes
thought] There may be one at the service of imperialism, but a large part
of those sectors are sensitive to the tragedy that they are enduring.  Then
I think that man can influence developments, independently of how he
interprets them, through the policy that he follows.  Those of us who have
been witnessing these meetings these days have reason to be optimistic
about the possibility of advancing rapidly in the creation of subjective
commissions, first of all for this struggle.  I believe that these
objective [as heard] commissions will also contribute to giving an impetus
to social changes one way or another.

But I do not think we should lift that banner.  It may be contradictory,
but we, at least I, cannot lift that banner, because I would be doing
something that would contradict the idea of expanding and joining forces to
wage this struggle, which in my opinion is the fundamental one at this
moment.  It will create conditions for independence, conditions so that
social changes can occur, so that they will stop trampling on us with their
elephant feet, wanting to annihilate us.  Then the subjective factors are
delayed.  I think this very same crisis will accelerate the development of
these subjective factors.  I believe that a Bolivian wanted to ask a
question.  Let him ask a question if he wants.

[Unidentified questioner  Companero Commander Fidel Castro, Companero
Roberto Veiga, companeros all.  On behalf of the Bolivian Labor Federation
[COB], we want to express our appreciation to all the Latin American and
Caribbean workers for the support and solidarity given to us in this final
document.  I would take too long to analyze in detail the history of what
we have in relation to mobilizations to acquire a concrete position.  We
Bolivians know that we must not pay the foreign debt, and are taking
specific steps to establish this position on the part of the government.  I
want to draw attention to some commentaries made at the international press
level regarding a link between the problem of drug trafficking and those
who promote it and how imperialism uses this activity to intervene directly
in military operations in the field of our economy, in the field where the
coca is cultivated.  This is like an anecdote for comment, it is not a
question.  On one occasion, in military operations carried out in the
tropical region of our country, they were searching for a famous drug
trafficker named Roberto Suarez.  This drug trafficker made the following
proposal: He said he was willing to turn himself over to the Yankees on the
condition that they cancel the foreign debt.  He made that proposal, but
the offer was not accepted.  What drew our attention later was that the
international press indicated that Cuba served as a bridge to promote drug
trafficking.  We would like a comment from the companero commander about

[Castro] About Cuba, about Suarez...

[Questioner, interrupting] No, no.

[Castro] ...About Bolivia, which one specifically?

[Questioner] About the drug trafficking problem and its incidence in these
economies, it only the Bolivian.  And there could be other realities as

[Castro] You cannot imagine with what spiritual serenity we laugh at this
type of interpretation, which is made about Cuba for a reason.  And a book
will come out on this.  There was something that came out in PLAYBOY, but I
did not say it completely.  I did not tell him [not further identified]
that he was a devil of a liar.  As a norm, as a cynic, he uses lies as a
political instrument.  There is no country with a history like Cuba.

I am referring to Cuba's traditional policy toward this problem.  I
remember when we started the war up on the Sierra Maestra.  We had been
there many months, over a year perhaps [words indistinct].  All the people
used to help, there were many: couriers, scouts; some used to infiltrate
the Army and run all over the place, running merchandise, taking things.
However, we were unaware that many of those people grew marijuana and dealt
in it -- some people, not all of them.  We were unaware that a bunch of
beautiful plants that looked like coffee shade bushes were marijuana
plants.  We passed by full hectares planted with marijuana dozens of times
and never knew what it was.  Imagine!  Such cunning on the part of the
peasants.  They never said a word.

However, they did not use the drug.  The marijuana yielded more than the
coffee.  And many took it, deceiving the police.  This was about 6 months
before.  This was after Batista's last offensive.  Then one day a companero
took a double take, and we realized there were fields there and that
several of our collaborators ran those fields.  At that time trade was
sluggish, the war had paralyzed everything.  And the companero tells me
proposed -- because they had a civil affairs office -- that strict measures
be adopted against those companeros who were involved in this while
cooperating with us.  We did not know [chuckles] those fields were
marijuana fields, and there were lots of them, we had a lot of it.  And I
told the companero: No way!  Don't suggest we take repressive measures
against the people who plant marijuana in the middle of a war!  Let's wait
until the war is over and when it is we'll adopt the necessary measures to
destroy all the marijuana fields and prevent the traffic and consumption of
marijuana in the country.  That's how it was done.  When the war was over
we persuaded many of those people to get rid of the fields.  The situation
had changed, they became landowners, they obtained credit, their living
standards improved, and they had all kinds of possibilities open to them.

In this way, in Cuba, where marijuana was used, where there were gambling
houses, cocaine use -- though less than the extent to which it is used in
the United States and other places today... [changes thought] When we were
students, we used to hear that such and such a politician and such and such
a senator used it.  Even the president of the republic was charged with
cocaine snorting.  (laughter] This was commented on a great deal and it may
have been true.  However, I remember students did not do it.  I never heard
of a case among the 15,000 students I knew between 1945 and 1950.

When the revolution began with the spirit of moralization that all
revolutions have, we eliminated marijuana growing without hurting any
peasants.  Drug trafficking in Cuba was eliminated easily.  To the best of
my knowledge, besides the small quantities purchased through an
international organization for use by the pharmaceutical industry, not even
a gram of drugs has entered this country in all these years of revolution.
I don't know of a single case of cocaine use in all these years of
revolution, and I believe I am relatively well informed of what goes on in
this country.  Not a single case of corruption, not a single case of drugs,
not one corrupt official or policeman, not a penny's worth of drug money
has entered this country!

On the contrary, on account of the moralization, and because the coasts
through which spies and everybody's neighbor came through were constantly
watched, every vessel caught with marijuana... seized!  No cocaine came in,
because there are more sophisticated ways to transport it.  Nonetheless, we
have seized 500 kgs of cocaine through the years.

We have confiscated tons of marijuana.  From who?  From a plane that had no
choice but to land, a vessel that ran aground.  We have the statistics on
this.  They have been distributed to some of you so that you can read them.
The total is approximately 300 people who have been arrested and sanctioned
-- most of them Americans -- more than 50 aircraft, dozens of vessels have
been confiscated.  We have an impeccable record regarding the people who
have come here.  We have done this without any obligation -- we had
absolutely no obligation, we did it out of respect for our country, to
protect Cuba's image, on principle.  Those who blocked us... we had the
moral right to counter the criminal blockade they maintain against us,
blocking even medicine sales, by planting excellent marijuana fields with
irrigation and fertilization.  It would have been the best in the world.
[laughter] We know about agriculture, and we could have done it, but we
never thought of doing it.  We could have planted tropical cocaine -- there
are species and varieties of cocaine that grow splendidly in the tropics --
and we never thought of doing it.  I believe we would have had the moral
right to do it to counter a country that was attacking, threatening, and
blockading us.  However, we never considered dealing in drugs or other

There was the lottery.  It was a source of revenue, and I was dying to
eliminate it.  However, during the first few months of the revolution there
were thousands of people who lived off the lottery and had no other jobs.
Then we converted the lottery from a raffle for money into a savings and
housing institute.  The money was collected, homes were built, and after a
certain number of years, the person got his money back.  The state declared
a loss on this business, but we gradually changed the lottery until we
eliminated it.  We closed down all the casinos.  However, during the 1 and
1/2 or 2 years the lottery continued operating, we received a bunch of
offers from Yankee mafiosi who offered us -- the revolution, not us --
millions of dollars per month.  We could have used that money to help the
revolution, buy medicines, or many other things.  However, we never
accepted that.  What did they ask?  That we tell them in advance the
lottery number that was going to win.  All the U.S. mafia knew the Cuban
lottery was honest after the revolutionary triumph and that the number was
really drawn scientifically and based on chance.  They told us they didn't
want us to cheat, just to pick the lottery number 1 week in advance and let
them know.  They offered millions of dollars during the most difficult days
of the revolution -- really hard times -- and we never found moral pretexts
to accept that money.  We stood firm.  That is the policy we have upheld
during 26 years.

The campaigns to discredit Cuba are the most evident proof of those
people's lack of principle.  They cannot affirm that a penny has entered
this country in 26 years, nor can they affirm that any official has been
corrupt or bribed to participate in businesses like these.  That is the
historical, concrete truth.  I would not lie to you or to the people.  That
people know this.  We had reasons to adopt measures like that, but we were
wise enough not to do it.  I believe imperialism would have taken great
advantage of that.  It would have said what it in fact says: that we want
to poison the U.S. youth.  What other country can say that?  Can the United
States make such a claim?  They have marijuana planted in 48 of their 50
states.  They plant marijuana in nurseries, greenhouses, all over the
place.  Marijuana does not come from Latin America or Jamaica any more
because the United States is growing practically all of it.

Something else: As I was telling a newsman, cocaine is going to end up
being produced synthetically.  Not long ago someone, a reporter, a U.S.
reporter told me that cocaine has already been produced synthetically.
They are going to do like they did with rubber and vanilla and copper wire
and optic fiber.  This will end production.  I was even told the synthetic
cocaine that was produced was so strong that some guys used it and four or
five of them died.  It was approximately six times stronger than the one
that comes out of there.

This did not surprise me.  After all, when Fleming invented penicillin it
was obtained from a fungus growth.  Now penicillin is produced better and
purer synthetically than the one that came from fungi growths.  They are
going to end up producing pure cocaine.  They have the chemicals and
resources to produce it and they will.  The system is incapable of
prohibiting marijuana or coca.

This has an in-depth aspect: Drug trafficking was invented by the United
States, by imperialism, by consumer societies, with the money they steal
from us.  They invest part of it in arms and another part in drugs.  They
created a market for it, the infrastructure for drugs.  The entire
machinery -- in the planes, the ships, the dealers -- they are all Yankees.
The whole setup is run by Yankees.  They are incapable of getting rid of
marijuana in the United States and they are so arrogant as to demand that
the Latin American countries allow they send policemen to destroy the
marijuana and even the coca plantations the peasants have traditionally

Now then, in my opinion -- and I have meditated about this -- the Latin
American countries have not had a correct attitude about this problem.
Why?  Because the network created by them became a source of foreign
currency for a few Latin American countries, which received more invisible
foreign currency that way than through their own exports.  I do not want to
mention names, but you know which ones they are; and you know how much
there is in each country, including Bolivia.  I have information, exact
figures, of how much entered through that invisible way, how much stayed in
the country, and how much was taken out.  There are many specialists there
who know about the problem.

Millions of persons have created a market which represents the livelihood
of millions; it is not just a source of foreign currency.  With this mania
and this arrogance, they are only worsening the economic problem of a few
countries.  They are creating social problems for a few countries because
millions of people, and I know of cases -- I do not want to mention names
because I do not want to mention countries -- where there was a valley in
which corn was historically planted and suddenly the only things planted -
there are poppies to produce another kind of drug.  I did not know that the
poppies could grow there, to produce heroin.  Gentlemen, how much does a
peasant earn cultivating a hectare?  Well, if he cultivates a few square
meters of poppies he will earn ten times more.  They have corrupted
everything and turned drug trafficking into the livelihood of millions of
peasant families.  So, if this is a reality, if they are the culprits, if
the responsibility is theirs, what should have been the Latin American
countries' attitude?  That is what I told a journalist who asked about this
problem.  I told him: You have created all this and if you say, well we
have this vice and are plagued by corruption, so help us, and morally
appeal to us to help you, it is correct.  We are morally ready to help you.
However, you [changes thought] no, the problem cannot be solved by sending
chemical products and fumigants, training policemen, or sending weapons.
instead, you should say: This situation has arisen because of you; there
are millions of people living off of this.  Then the reply would be: We are
ready to help you, but you have to pay a compensation of billions of
dollars every year, for 8, 10, or 15 years to develop a different economy
for all these families and prevent the countries' problems from worsening.
I think that the correct thing to do would have been to present an economic
claim for damages instead of asking them to solve a problem which they
created by sending ammunition, fumigants, or starving the peasants to
death.  Consequently, I sincerely think that we have not had enough dignity
to appropriately demand a solution to this drug trafficking problem as a
service to the U.S. people. [applause]

[Veiga] Companeros, there may be other questions but we think this is
enough.  We have been here a few hours.  I think we should thank Companero
Fidel. [applause]

[Castro] I will not make a speech, companeros, only a few words to tell you
that I have tried to answer your questions.  I may have extended myself on
occasions because I indistinctly thought it was convenient to extend
myself on certain topics, to clarify some things.  I think we have been
working many hours.  We are all a bit tired. i simply want to tell you, as
a farewell -- even though I know some of you will join us during the next
days because there will be a representation at the meeting on the 30th --
that your presence in our country has been a great honor for us.  It has
been a great encouragement.  I also wanted to express our thanks.  You
might say, you have said many times that you are grateful for the
attentions bestowed by our people and all the companeros.  Excuse me, but
we should be the ones to assert our gratitude to you because you defied the
slander, lies, intrigue, and pressures, and came to Cuba.

Thanks to your attitude, it was possible to develop this conference.  I
have heard it word by word, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by
second, and I have been extraordinarily impressed.  It has given me, like I
told you, a clear idea of our workers' talent.  I have heard vivid forms of
expression and direct messages as I have never heard before, as far as I
can remember, in my life.  I believe, I am fully convinced that this effort
will become a historical effort.  I have sometimes been accused of being an
optimist.  Some companeros remember when we met for the first time, and we
were seven guerrilla members carrying rifles, and when we first arrived
where we had to arrive.  I told them: We have won the war.  We were only
seven men.  Some companeros said that out of respect for me, they said
nothing, but [laughs] they disagreed.  They thought it was strange for me
to say this.  Anyway, time went by and we won the war.  So, do not be
afraid to be optimistic.  Life has shown me that we must not be afraid to
be optimistic.  I do not think I am being optimistic when I say and assert
by conviction that this conference will become a historical event in the
future, for our people, our continent, and the Third World.

I told you that I know this continent, this region of the world can become
free and lead the struggle.  Today, we are also fully convinced that the
workers will also be leaders of this struggle between the different levels
and sectors of the population.  They will be the vanguard of this struggle.
We think that this is very encouraging because we have been thinking about
all these problems for years, for months.  We now see that the
possibilities of achieving some progress or victory become a reality.

I think there is an essential principle and I will refer to it before
bidding you farewell.  An essential principle has existed since Roman
times: Divide to conquer.  That has always been the tactic used by every
empire.  That is why they are trying to divide our peoples, one from the
other.  They are trying to divide the people and, furthermore, they are
trying to divide the workers by all possible means.  Then, if the
imperialist goal or principle is to divide in order to reign, the workers'
principle should be unite to win. [applause] I thank you wholeheartedly for
the honor that your presence has bestowed on our country, for the trust
that you have shown.

You spoke from this podium and, to conclude, you said: Join me in saying
this, And I ask you to join me in repeating a slogan that has been the
slogan throughout 26 years of revolution.  However, we will not be thinking
about Cuba, we will be thinking about each and every one of your people,
your homelands, our region, our peoples, in so many things that the Latin
American and Caribbean people have in common.

Fatherland or death, we will win! [applause]