Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana GRANMA WEEKLY REVIEW in English 21 July 85 p 3


LAST MARCH, President Fidel Castro granted a long interview to
Professor Jeffrey Elliot and Congressman Mervyn Dymally of the United
States. Many economic, political and historic matters were dealt with in
depth in the course of the interview, which, continued for several

As part of that talk, and in response to a question by the
interviewers, President Fidel Castro stated Cuba's position regarding the
present situation of the international Olympic movement and the next
Olympic Games to be held in Seoul in 1988.

The complete text of that part of the interview follows.

MERVYN DYMALLY: One final question for me, and then Dr. Elliot has

Is Cuba going to send a team to the 1988 Olympics in Korea?>

FIDEL CASTRO: There's been no decision in this regard. We've
addressed the Olympic Committee, raising the need to share the Olympic
Games between the two parts of the Korean territory, because we feel that
if the Olympic Games are held in a country where a bloody war was waged --
a war in which hundreds of thousands of people from many nations died,
which caused destruction and which inflicted deep wounds on the Korean
people -- those Olympic Games, as they have been planned, will be
sectarian. Rather than uniting, they will divide. Rather than healing the
wounds, they will infect them. They won't serve the purpose of peace and
cooperation among the peoples. For this reason, we've proposed to Mr.
Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, that the Games
be shared between the two parts of the Korean territory, as the only
possible solution.

The problems that cropped up on Los Angeles should be kept in mind.
There wasn't any security in Los Angeles; it would be difficult to argue
that there will be any in Seoul under a repressive, bloody regime -- a
regime that is an exact replica of Pinochet's or which Pinochet patterned
after the Korean one. You know of the horrible violations of civil rights
that are being committed there; you know that South Korea is crawling with
U.S. bases and U.S. soldiers, besides being the property of U.S.
transnational corporations. To insist on holding the Olympic Games as these
have been planned, totally disregarding these historical realities, will, I
believe, create a very serious problem for the Olympic movement -- no
matter how much whistle-stopping Samaranch may do in Europe, in the
socialist countries and everywhere else and no matter how many trips
multimillionaire Vazquez Rafia may take in his swanky private jet to the
African countries and the rest of the Third World, after having sold the
venue of the 1987 Pan American Games to Indianapolis for $25 million, thus
depriving Cuba of that right. In spite of their optimism, it won't be easy
for them to extricate the Olympic movement from the enormous trap in which
it has been placed.

Let's wait and see what the reaction of the Third World, of the
Non-Aligned Movement, will be; what the reaction of the socialist countries
-- which didn't attend the Lost Angeles Games, because of lack of security
-- will ultimately be; and what China is going to do. (It should be kept in
mind that 100,000 sons of the Chinese people died there, fighting against
the U.S. troops that invaded what is now the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea.)

Frankly, I believe that the Olympic Game, as they've been planned,are
going to create some very embarrassing situations, morally speaking, for
many countries -- not just for the socialist countries but for many Third
World countries, as well.

I've talked with several Third World leaders, and they like the idea;
they feel it is fair and consider that the only possible solution for the
situation that has been created is to share the Olympic Games, I believe
it's the only thing that would avoid serious difficulties and a possible
setback for the Olympic movement.

The Olympic movement was created in the time of colonialism. So far,
the Olympic Games have served to parade the rich, industrialized countries'
wealth, good nutritional standards and excellent technique. It would be
worth analyzing how many medals have been won by athletes from the Third
World, from those countries that lack sports facilities, physical education
and sports instructors and proper nutrition for the children and young
people from whose ranks the athletes must come. How many medals have they
won in the Olympics that have been held, and how many have the United
States and the other industrialized countries won? On many occasions, those
events serve to foster scorn for the countries of the Third World -- the
countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America; so backward, so incapable, so
impotent, so intellectually stunted that they hardly ever win a medal in
the Olympics. Every four years, those Games measure the inferiority of the
Indians, blacks, yellows and mestizos and the superiority of white society,
even though it is the U.S. blacks who win most of the medals for the rich,
white, industrialized society of the United States.

Samaranch has requested that the United Nations support the Olympic
movement. I agree completely, though I don't think we see eye to eye on
concepts, aims and intentions. I feel -- and I have thought this for a long
time -- that the United Nations should not only take an interest but also
take a hand in sports, just as it does with science, education, culture,
health, industrial development and the economic relations among countries.

I definitely favor the United Nations' having an agency like UNESCO,
UNICEF, WHO, or UNDP that will advance, promote and support sports and
physical education. Sports and physical education are vital activities for
the health, education, recreation and well-being of man. Participating in
sports and physical exercise could be more than a million doctors for
mankind. Nowadays, physical exercise is used as therapy to prolong life and
to combat many ailments. Sports and regular exercise educate, discipline,
develop the will and prepare human beings for life and work. I think I owe
it to sports that I was able to hold up under the difficult conditions of
life in the mountains and then tolerate 26 years of intensive political
work without any hypertension or a heart attack. Yet more than 4 billion
people in the world have only a vague idea of what sports are. National and
international sports organizations could go on operating independently of
this United Nations agency to which I'm referring. Even the reformed
Olympic movement could go on existing -- but with truly democratic rules,
whereby all countries would be represented by delegates elected in each of
them -- under the guidance of the United Nations. Even the Church was once
reformed, so why shouldn't the Olympic movement be?

Perhaps it would be preferable for this United Nations agency to handle
the Olympics. It's a matter not of the United Nations' supporting the
Olympic Committee but of the United Nations' reorganizing and directing the
Olympic movement.

The resources for sports events should be used to help the Third World
countries -- especially the ones with the least resources -- to develop
sports, so they, too, will have the right to hose the Olympic Games. So
far, the Games have been held only in rich countries, with the sole
exception of the ones that were held in Mexico. Who have won all the
medals in the Olympic Games?  What use has been made of the fabulous amount
of money that was collected at Los Angeles -- the $200 million?  It's been
said that the money will be invested in sports facilities in the state of
California. There, as well as in the rest of the United States, is
precisely where the greatest number of sports facilities already exists.
Why isn't it invested in a poor Latin American country -- in Bolivia,
Ecuador or Central America?  Why isn't it invested in Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, Mozambique or other African countries?  Why isn't it invested in
helping to build sports facilities in poor countries in Asia and other
Third World countries?  The granting of $200 million to the richest state
in the richest country of the world, shows the weaknesses and anachronistic
ideas of the Olympic Committee, which is trying to bring professional
sports into the Olympics. This grant amounts to pillage, outright robbery
and is morally indefensible, since the proceeds of the Olympic Games are
the result of the efforts of the athletes from all countries. Without
them, there would be no Olympic Games or any proceeds. They say they're
going to return part of the expenses the Third World athletes incurred at
Los Angeles. It's as insulting an act of charity as the little presents
that Vazquez Rafia takes the Third World sports leaders in his private

I tell you: The Olympic movement was created in the time of
colonialism, and many of its methods, its style and its ideas are rooted in
old ideas dating back from colonial times. We really aren't colonies any
more. We don't need counts, marquesses and millionaires to tell us what to
do in the field of sports. That's why I'm in favor of having the United
Nations take a hand.

Our people have more than enough physical and mental potential for
sports; what we don't have is socioeconomic development, sports facilities
and food for the vast masses of the population -- and, at times, even for
the athletes.

I believe that the same thing is happening in sports as in the Third
World countries' economies. Already, the big European cities -- London,
Barcelona and Paris, the former colonies' capitals -- are squabbling over
which of them will host the 1992 Olympic Games, fighting over where the few
athletes from the neocolonial countries are going to play their role as
also-rans. What chance does Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, the Congo, the
Republic of Guinea, Tanzania, Zambia, Ziombabwe or any other African
country have of hosting them? What chance does Ecuador, Peru, Guyana,
Panama, Nicaragua or any other of the more than 100 Third World countries
have of hosting the Olympic Games? When will one of these countries be able
to host them? That's why I say, again, that the United Nations should step
in. I think that, if this problem is discussed there, many interesting
things will be brought out.

In short, I feel the same about this concept of the Olympic Games as I
do about the relations between the rich industrialized world and the Third

You are asking me if Cuba is going to send a team. There's plenty of
time to think this over, reflect on it and discuss it with friends in the
Third World and the socialist countries. We have a lot of things to say
about this.

If the Olympic movement is to be saved, I think they'll have to avoid
the catastrophe of Seoul and share the Olympic Games. The Democratic
People's Republic of Korea would be willing. I think this would help to
save the Olympic movement and then transform it, because it can't keep on
going from one crisis to another; a crisis in Moscow, a crisis in Los
Angeles and certainly a crises, the way things are going, in Seoul. That
crisis -- which is institutional, not situational -- must be overcome. Once
this is done, the Olympic movement must be transformed -- reformed --
because it can't go on like that. Some tiny European countries that have
few athletes have two representatives on the International Olympic
Committee, while other countries that are more important in terms of sports
have none. This isn't an organization that represents different countries;
rather, it is a self-serving, oligarchic, autarkic institution that names
its representatives from the countries of the world.

In short, since you asked, me, I'll frankly tell you it's an
institution that was created and organized along lines dating from the past
century -- from the Middle Ages, if you wish -- like the orders of chivalry
during the Crusades. It's being manipulated by the big Western economic
powers; politics is mixed up in this, and I think the most serious issue is
Seoul. Where did the idea come from?  Who inspired it?  How could they
make such an absurd decision?

In any case, as I said, we have a long time to think about it and reach
a decision.