Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA161606 Havana International Service in Spanish 0031 GMT 15 Sep 85

[Question and answer session with president Fidel Castro at closing session
of the Youth and Student Dialogue on Latin American-Caribbean Foreign Debt
in Havana -- live]

[Text] Companero delegates, I want to make the following proposal.
Considering the precedent established during the union leaders meeting, I
think that instead of coming up to the stand to deliver a speech, to
express what in my opinion is the best [word indistinct], or to explain
what I think should be the issues that need to be explained [words
indistinct] that instead of a speech we hold a dialogue.

The precedent was established during the union leaders meeting.  They were
not as many as you.  They were very disciplined.  I forgot this morning to
count you among those that are disciplined.  They were 300 and you are 600.
Disregarding the difference in number, if we have time, someone can act as
moderator.  Do not expect me to answer 500 questions, not even 50.  I
assume that many of you will be raising your hand when you wish an answer
on issues or matters on which you have doubts.  Do you prefer that I just
go ahead telling you what I think?

A large number of pamphlets were distributed, but I guess you have not had
time to read them.  The pamphlet has the answer to many of your questions.
I was trying to find Companera Gloria Lopez of Colombia to tell her about
it.  I think that is the name of the companera who had so many inquiries to
make.  I was going to tell her that the issues she brought up had been
extensively discussed and answered at the meeting.

[Moderator] Her name is Clara.

[Castro] Oh, it is Clara?  I am sorry.  Well, Gloria is not bad, but Clara
is better. [laughter]

So, it is Clara Lopez.  As I was saying, those questions are in the
pamphlet she probably has not seen because there has not been time.  Some
of her questions were asked before by Lopez Michelsen.  I referred to these
issues during the meeting and at the closing ceremony.  However, we should
realize that new issues are always cropping up.  It is logical.

I do not like to repeat my arguments and ideas, but if necessary I will do
so in order to explain anything that has to do with our position, or with
the way we think about these problems.  I could add anything that in my
opinion needs further explanation.  I realize that everything could not be

If you approve of the system, we will proceed to the dialogue.  I was
telling Companero (Lage) that it was best to give the floor to those who so
far have not had the opportunity to express their views, but under no
circumstance should we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to have very
intelligent companeros, who have already talked, participate in the
dialogue.  In this way everyone has the opportunity to participate.  You
are free to ask what you want regarding foreign debt.  However, if you feel
like asking something else, you can go ahead.  However, you should realize
that this is not a news conference.  I will try to answer your questions on
the economic and political issues we have been discussing.  Now, you take

[Moderator] I think the system is very simple...

[Castro interrupts] Ask them if they approve it.

[Moderator] Do you approve it? [crowd laughs and applauds] The procedure is
that whoever wants to talk or ask a question raises his hand patiently.
There is no need to interrupt or to shout to get attention.  We are going
to do our best to see that no one is left out.  As Fidel explained before,
it is up to me to decide who are the ones entitled to have the floor.  We
will try to give those who have already spoken another opportunity, but
always keeping in mind those that have not.  Based on this procedure,
whenever a companero is going to talk...

[Castro interrupts] He should identify himself...

[Moderator interrupts] Should give his name, his country, and so forth.

[Castro] An other thing, (Lage), if you will excuse me, there is a
possibility that many will want to make an opening statement and brief
speech, but please ask them to be as brief as possible with their speeches.
[crowd laughs and applauses]

[Moderator] Companero from Chile, it is your turn.  Your name?

[Hidalgo] Jose Hidalgo, Chilean People's leader.  First, a brief comment
and then the question.  I think that the beliefs of the group of companeros
from different sectors and ideologies coincide in two areas: one, that the
foreign debt is a problem; and, two, that they are opposed to having the
people go hungry in order to pay the foreign debt.  Based on the
discussions and on the abundant information, there was no doubt that the
people would go hungry if we pay the debt.  One of the points upon which we
strongly agreed was on the need for a new international economic order.  My
question to the companeros is, what are the basic foundations of this new
international economic order, for which we should struggle as an
alternative to the situation we are facing in our countries?

[Castro] The new international economic order is the result of a proposal
of the Third World countries, especially of the nonaligned countries.
Other countries that are not members also participated.  This was after the
fourth summit meeting of the Nonaligned Movement held in Algeria.

Dozens of technicians, economists, and hundreds of people and politicians
also worked and drafted the plan for a new international economic order;
then the draft was presented at the United Nations.  Mexico, Algeria, Cuba,
and other countries participated in this work.  Later, another document was
presented at the United Nations: the letter on the states' economic rights
and duties.  These two important documents were analyzed at length at the
United Nations and received majority support with the usual exceptions.
The United States voted against it, as it usually does concerning maritime
rights, concerning the measures [corrects himself] sanctions against South
Africa for its apartheid policy, and many other international and vital
topics.  However, this was a UN General Assembly agreement, not a UN
Security Council agreement where the right to veto may be exerted.  The
great majority, more than 90 percent of the states at the United Nations,
approved the bases for this new international economic order; then they
approved the letter on the states' economic rights and duties.

In other words, these documents were approved 10 years ago, but the United
States does not want to hear anything about this; it does not want to hear
anyone mention this.  In other words, this UN agreement has not been
implemented; it has not been fulfilled.  Why?  It is understandable that a
document of this kind, which seeks a consensus and broad support at the
United Nations, must be of a general nature.  However, a series of
principles are being discussed, and they are related to an unfair exchange,
protectionist measures, dumping [preceding word in English], transfer of
technology, and transfer of resources from the most industrialized
countries to the countries which are euphemistically called developing
countries.  I explained to you yesterday, during the contact we had, that
these are not developing countries; they are underdeveloped countries
because the gap existing between the levels of life, income, income per
capita, etc. in developed countries and those in Third World countries
becomes wider every year.  Therefore, we are not developing countries; we
are underdeveloped countries.

The letter and bases established a series of obligations and principles of
an international nature which must be implemented.  We said in a recent
interview that the contents of these concepts or principles must be
enriched even more because there are undoubtedly topics such as
international solidarity and the principle of international solidarity,
which must be discussed as one of the principles of the new international
economic order.  The developed countries duty is to really help the (?weak)
countries, using whatever resources are available, and so forth.  I think
that those principles must be enriched even more; there is no doubt that if
this problem had existed 10 or 11 years ago, one of the topics which would
have undoubtedly been discussed is the foreign debt problem and what to do
about it.  I repeat: Dozens of really talented people worked on this trying
to specify and analyze those concepts and principles.  All this is stated
in these UN documents.  Perhaps, I will be able to send a copy to all of
the participants so that you may have a specific idea of this.

I believe that these international economic order principles, which must be
expanded, must also include the atrocious things which have happened
concerning the debt's interest, and the U.S.  Government's infamous policy
of manipulating the dollar's value and manipulating interests.  These
issues must also be included in these principles because they are new
issues.  I think that many other things must be added, such as synthetic
products that are sometimes created by countries with an advanced
technology.  One day it could be a fiber which annihilates the economy of
countries which produce jute; another day it could be a product such as the
optic fibers used in communications, and this would provoke serious
problems in copper-producing and exporting countries.  At another time it
was synthetic rubber which practically liquidated the need for natural
rubber and its by-products, and so forth.  New things are constantly being

It could also be some kind of sweetener.  Later, it was ascertained that
artificial sweeteners could cause cancer; this was created to compete with
sugar.  I think that this should be regulated because we are not going to
oppose progress or the development of new materials and products, either.
I always use this example: I used to like vanilla ice cream very much, and
one day I decided to find out how the vanilla was produced, what kind of
tree produced it, and how it was manufactured.  I was also slightly
suspicious that the vanilla could be synthetic.  I started to investigate
because I saw that a small bottle of vanilla was relatively cheap.  I
started to ask questions.  Why did I have to ask?  I was told: No, the
vanilla consumed in Cuba is synthetic; we are importing synthetic vanilla.
I discovered that the vanilla I liked so much in my ice cream, above all a
(Copelia) ice cream -- you may have tasted it -- was synthetic.  I remember
that vanilla was previously produced in Mexico.  One of these days they
will come up with a synthetic chocolate flavor, or a synthetic coffee;
everything will be synthetic and the countries will continue their economic

Measures must be adopted to protect the economies of countries that can be
victims of technological advances like those mentioned.  If no measures are
taken, many, actually dozens of countries which depend on a certain line of
production, will be ruined overnight.

Summing up: Work was done, documents drafted, problems given serious
consideration, and principles approved during this meeting.  However, I
believe the principles must be enriched until the new economic world order,
which is one of the fundamental demands, is attained.  This is

Let us suppose that all debts are cancelled, that is to say pardoned,
forgotten, erased.  Within a few years we would be in exactly the same or
in a worse situation as we are today.  Why?  What are the causes of the
debt, of unemployment?  What factors can account for the debt?  It has been
said that oil and the price of oil were instrumental factors in the problem
and that they made it worse.  True, oil prices created more problems than
there were before, but some problems were already there.  Who was to blame?
The industrialized, capitalist world; the consumer societies.  They gave
rise to unprecedented consumption of oil.  The trend was to make use of the
cheap energy that was available.  The fossil fuels and hydrocarbons which
took nature hundreds of millions of years to produce were being used up in
a period shorter than 100 years.  The consumption of fuel was doubling
every 5 years.  Coal mines and energy saving policies were abandoned.  The
rate of demand and the waste were so overwhelming that conditions for the
oil crisis were created, and the price of oil increased exhorbitantly.  The
Third World's non oil-producing countries were seriously affected by it.
Why?  Because the terms of exchange became inequitable.  The exchange of
Third World products for oil was unfair.  The prices of those products
fell, while oil prices increased 12- or 14-fold.  That was terrible for the
Third World non-oil-producing countries.  The system established by the
Western world, its irrational consumer habits, and its waste were the
factors that gave rise to this catastrophe.  They transferred the price of
oil to the prices of the products they exported to us [Castro chuckles] to
all the merchandise they exported to the Third World.  Indeed, they paid
fabulous sums of money -- some $1 billion over 10 or 11 years -- but they
got their money back.  They began selling bulldozers that had been priced
at $20,000 or $25,000 for $60,000, $70,000, or $80,000.  The prices of
medical equipment and of all products increased.  However, one cannot blame
the oil-producing countries for the conditions that gave rise to the oil

The best proof that there is underdevelopment and serious problems in the
oil-exporting countries is the fact that several major oil-exporting
countries have priced their oil at $26 or $27 a barrel.  There are two
neighboring countries that have this problem: Venezuela and Mexico.  Both
countries are important exporters of oil, and nonetheless, they are
experiencing terrible economic crises resulting from the system of
international economic relations.  Admittedly, this is not the only reason
for their problems, but I do not want to go into other problems at this
time.  However, these countries are facing serious economic troubles, That
is why someone here very wisely stated that if Venezuela cannot make it--
and he proved that Venezuela could not make it -- how can one expect the
other countries to make it?  The other countries do not receive $12 billion
or $14 billion per year from oil exports.

We will not solve anything even if we write off the debt.  That is why we
have discussed three essential things within this thesis.  One thing would
be to write off the debt, as a first step.  The second would be to struggle
for a new international order, and the third would be to achieve Latin
America's economic integration.  That is what Latin America needs, even
though we referred to all the Third World.  When we talk about writing off
the debt, we do not mean writing off only Latin America's debt, but we mean
all the countries in the Third World, without exception, because these
countries owe approximately $950 billion.  This a battle that must be waged
not only for our countries, but all the Third World, and this is what gives
this struggle its strength.  We must seek the unity not only of the Latin
American, but of all the Third World countries, which number more than 120.
Some are just waiting; they are so weak that they cannot even speak out.
We still have some energy and breath left to protest.  However, there are
approximately 30 Third World countries that cannot even speak out, because
they depend on daily handouts, that is what it has come down to.

There is a group of countries that call themselves the less advanced
countries. the United Nations has a special fund to help these countries.
They live from day to day on what they receive.  However, if all those
countries on the brink of starvation united, they could be a tremendous

The problem is not to defend an idea, but to find out whether that idea is
practical and viable; we can discuss that.  The problem is to figure out
how to implement that idea, the chances it has of succeeding, and what will
happen if that idea does not work, if it fails, and if those who must
comply with their commitments fail to do so.

Therefore, a special case is at hand. It follows that the new order would
categorically prohibit the possibility of bringing a country to a state of
bankruptcy overnight by the use of protectionist measures and dumping
[preceding word in English], which is being used today by the Europeans.
What is the going price for sugar?  Three or four cents of a dollar [as
heard]; it was worth less than during the 1930's [Castro chuckles] it has
less buying power than during the crisis of the 1930's.  However, that also
applies to all other products.

Europe produces sugar under subsidy. It once imported millions of tons of
sugar, and it now wants an export quota of five million tons; Europe now
exports millions of tons of subsidized sugar. In the process, it is ruining
dozens of countries that produce and export sugar.

Europe subsidizes the meat industry.  It pays 52,500 a ton and sells it at
5800; it is holding hundreds of thousands of tons of frozen meat in storage
rooms.  Ask the Argentines, Uruguayans, [Castro chuckles] Colombians,
Brazilians who were once important meat exporters what the going price of
meat is on the world market.  It stands at 51,250 as a result of the
unfair, dirty competition of the EEC, which is selling subsidized meat.  It
subsidizes meat at $2,500 and sells it at $800.

Ask the Brazilians and other textile exporters about the problems they are
facing as a result of protectionist measures.  Ask producers of cement and
bricks.  Ask the Mexicans; they even exported bricks in desperation.  Moved
by the need to export something, they would export anything; they would
export air if necessary [crowd laughs], if someone would buy it.

Those countries establish protectionist measures, tariffs, and quotas.
There is a great struggle under way now due to the strong pressure that
U.S. shoemakers are exerting in their country.  As a result of a number of
crazy things done by that country, it has lagged behind in shoe production.
Given that wages are higher there, productivity does not increase enough.
Seventy percent of the shoes sold in the United States [Castro chuckles]
are imported.  Now they want to curb imports due to pressure exerted by
senators, legislators, shoemakers, and companies demanding protectionist
measures against shoe imports.  This could materialize overnight.  I could
cite other recent examples.

Colombians have invested hundred of millions, no, actually more than
hundreds.  This involves a mixed company.  They invested more than 1
billion dollars in a coal mine.  Supposedly, the main markets for that mine
are thermo-electric plants in the eastern United States.  For those plants,
it is cheaper to buy Colombian coal than to buy it in the United States.
U.S. coal producers are now lobbying and demanding a $12 tax.  Given that
the international price of coal dropped from 50 to 39 [currency not
specified], they are asking for a $12 tariff to prevent Colombian coal from
entering the U.S. west coast.

Any given country can implement an investment program based on a supposed
market, can build up that program for years, invest thousands of millions,
and suddenly be left without a market overnight.

This is a chaotic, selfish, and merciless policy on the part of those
countries toward our countries.  Those countries talk about human rights
and many other things, but are killing dozens of millions [as heard] of
people in the world every year.

When reference is made to a new international economic order, we refer to
the regulation of [changes thought] to the establishment of an
international code of economic order to prohibit all these practices.  Now,
that is not achieved by imploring; maybe praying might achieve that with
the help of the liberation theology, which plays such an important role in
these struggles.  However, there is no doubt that we must tackle this
problem, and they know this.  There is a saying: While you pray for a
miracle do what you can to help yourself. [crowd laughs, applauds]

We need strength to wage this battle, the battle of the exploited and the
hungry.  What can provide us with that strength?  Unity.  What can bring
about unity?  The debt, which is our most immediate problem; the crisis,
the catastrophe.  We are standing at the edge of an abyss; we must choose
between life or death.  We must tackle the debt and that entails a complete
strategy; it is not a slogan [consigna].

We must all unite to face the debt: Latin American and Third World
countries together.  In that way we can liquidate the debt.  To liquidate
the debt does not mean to pay it off; it means to erase it.  I explain this
because unfortunately the dictionary might define the word cancel as both:
not to pay and to pay.  I even had to consult a dictionary of synonyms.
[crowd laughs] One of the definitions [Castro chuckles] defines cancel as
erase.  I said to myself that that is exactly what we want [crowd laughs];
we want to erase it from our minds; that is what we want to do [crowd
applauds].  We can erase it with the strength afforded by the struggle
revolving around the debt; we can use the strength and unity of this
struggle to demand a new international economic order.

I think that a united Third World, with the support of progressive
countries, and most probably with the support of socialist countries, and
even with the support of numerous Western capitalist countries with
progressive stands, can successfully isolate the United States, which is
the center of capitalism and imperialism, together with the few allies it

I would imagine what countries might do in general.  I would not like to
mention them, in order not to judge them in a prejudiced manner.  The
Yankee imperialists always have allies in these adventures, some
unconditional ones.  But one can be isolated.  By struggling in the
Nonaligned Movement, struggling at the United Nations, they have already
won other battles.  With that strength, the battle for the new economic
order will be waged.

The Third World countries have waged and won some battles.  Yesterday, I
gave you two examples: the battle for the oil prices; it is true that they
went far too high.  I already explained the consequences, but a relatively
small group of countries waged a battle and imposed the oil prices.  The
West had to accept it.  Of course, it maneuvered, using its advantages, its
privileges, and power.  It assimilated, picked up the money, and I have
some criticisms made some years ago. [sentence as heard] Some proposals of
the countries that were to use these resources were made in order to
support the Third World, because the Third World supported it in its
battle.  Practically all the money ended up again in the United States and
Europe.  Among other things, that money is the basis for this crisis, the
debt; this money handled by the Western powers.  As I explained, they
increased the prices of their products and they managed to face the
problem.  However, they had to accept it.  And the price of petroleum
increased from $2.50 to $30.00.  It even rose higher than $30.00.  Now it
is below $30.00.

There was another battle that was waged and won which was begun by a group
of relatively small countries. It was begun by Peru -- at the time of the
Velasco Alvardo administration -- Ecuador, and Chile.  Three countries
practically began the battle for the Law of the Sea, to extend what is
called today the territorial sea or the exclusive economic rights.  Before,
it extended to 12 miles, and now they have begun to fight for 200 miles.

The large fleets of the industrialized countries fished in those areas.  We
were harmed by that extension, for the peculiar reasons of Cuba.  For
centuries, we had been fishing near the United States and Mexico.  Out
platform is very small, and during the revolution, we developed a large
fleet that was fishing in all seas of the world.  It was fishing for a
source of protein, something very important for our country.  We had
developed thousands of cadres; a country that used to fish in small
rowboats was fishing in the Pacific, the North Sea, the Atlantic, the South
Atlantic, everywhere.

Although this [the Law of the Sea] affected us, we decided we had to
support the Third World countries.  The socialist countries who had
developed their fleets had the same problem.  All the socialist countries
supported this move.  Cuba, of course, immediately supported the 200 miles
demand, despite the fact this meant we were going to deprive ourselves of a
source of food.  We supported it.  The battle was waged at the United
Nations, in the international field, and the battle was won.  The 200 miles
had been established.

Naturally, this brought benefits for all the Third World countries in a
certain manner.  True, they do not have a fishing fleet yet. [sentence as
heard] [laughter] But they charge for fishing there.  They get something,
crumbs, but they get something which is not to be ignored.  The battle was
won.  In theory, it is not impossible.  We can win the debt battle whenever
we want to win it. It depends only on the willingness and the amount of
energy, the amount of hormones in general we can set aside for this
struggle. [laughter and applause]

However, the battle for a new economic order is more difficult.  And we
must wage it.  We have to wage it, at least.  I think the world must show
if capitalism can continue to exist or not.  It has to be tested.  If that
infernal system cannot solve this problem, we will have to draw another
conclusion: that this system must disappear.  However, we can give it a
chance. [laughter] Give it a chance to show that capable.  For the time
being, we cannot resign the principal opportunity to wage that battle.
That would not be right.  It would not be tactical, or strategical, or
intelligent; and if we are not good tacticians, strategists; if we are not
intelligent or wise we are not going to win this battle or any other
battle.  That is clear.

The truth is that just because the developed and rich ones think we are
dumb and foolish, we should not behave as such. [laughter and applause]

I am sorry I went on for so long, but so many associated ideas came up.  I
took advantage of your question to explain some concepts.

[Moderator] Companero from Colombia.

[Sanchez] Eduardo Sanchez, of the Colombian Socialist Party.  Companero
Castro, you recently brought up a theory that the problems of Latin America
today places reason on Latin America's side, and it places reason on the
side of those of us who believe in that theory.  Socialism is the path for
development in Latin America.  In some of your speeches and interviews, you
have brought up or suggested that the revolution is not precisely what has
been proposed, socialism.  Rather, what has been proposed is the salvation
of our peoples in the face of the restrictions and looting of the foreign
debt and imperialist oppression.  Undoubtedly, the topic of the foreign
debt -- that is, struggling for its total elimination -- is a correct path
of mobilization.  Those of us who support that idea are obligated to answer
permanently why that struggle is not reformist.  Why not try to save
capitalism?  Why does it move us away from socialism?  Could you give us
some arguments that will allow us to expand on the subject, that would
allow the Latin Americans who are discussing this everywhere, convincing
other sectors, seeking to broaden the base of support to understand that
this is a struggle that concerns all peoples, all political and ideological
trends of the people, and that it has -- within our Marxist concept -- a
coherence.  That is the topic I propose you explain to us.

[Castro] I think the duty of the revolutionaries is not only to struggle
for social changes, but for creating those conditions that will make these
social changes feasible.  That is why I have explained this topic,
departing from a question made by a newsman.  Social explosions will occur.
There will be great social explosions due to this change.  Then, we will be
able to explain the reasons for the social changes.  Now, there will be
social explosions in various countries.  Some sooner than others.  It might
even happen as a chain reaction.

The minimum conditions that make development possible are not certain.  Let
us suppose that in some countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua; several small
countries -- I will not speak about Brazil, which is a separate world --
there are countries where a revolution can be taking place today, and have
the resources to do many things, because they are big countries.  There is
the example of Cuba: 26 years of blockade.  We have managed, we have won.
History will one day recognize the merit of our people of having known how
to confront that colossus, his tricks, his aggressions, his lies, his
crimes.  Aided in part by his stupidities, we have managed to resist, and
we are here, doing what we are able to do, through the revolution.  It has
been difficult, but we made it.

Then, there is another revolution in Latin America: Nicaragua.
Immediately, we see the economic blockade, the closing of the markets, the
aggressions from the Honduran border, from the Nicaraguan [as heard]
border; the trillions of dollars, the CIA at work, mercenaries all over the
place, and a war with three countries.  It is not only an economic war, but
also a military one, complete with threats of invasion.  This is what has
happened to the Nicaraguans so far this year.

We remember the victory of the Popular Unity in Chile, and we know what
happened there.  At that time, Chile owed $3.5 billion.  Their credit was
taken away from them, all of their payment facilities were taken away from
them.  Despite higher oil prices, their difficulties began, the shortages
of the Popular Unity government.  Why?  Why this objective economic
situation?  Why this division?  What can our isolated countries do?  From
where are they going to get the resources?  Who is going to help them?  The
socialist countries can help, but their resources of the Socialist
countries are limited.  The Socialist countries have been blocked, and are
still being blocked.  Just look at the amount of measures that are imposed
to prevent the transfer of technology.  How many things are banned from
them; how much technology, industrial production information is banned from
them?  Immediately, they claim this technology is used for war.  Naturally,
a machete is also good for war.  Anything is good for war.  The Socialist
countries are blocked, forced to struggle for survival; forced to invest
large resources in armaments, because they are being threatened.

I think that if there is a possibility that all these Third World countries
can wage a battle, can struggle for the possibilities of emerging from
their underdevelopment, we will then be creating the true conditions for
the social changes that can be accomplished in the future when the people
want to accomplish them and the revolutions can survive in our Latin
American atmosphere.  There should be sufficient unity and strength.  Why
can the Yankees do what they are doing, commit the crimes in El Salvador,
about which companero Vladimir informed us?  Vladimir is his nom de guerre.
This is the first time I have heard about him.  What did they call Vladimir
here, you, who were the one who introduced him?

[Unidentified speaker] The Argentine.

[Castro] Ah, the Argentine.  Salvador Guerra.  His nom de guerre is not
Guerra, but Vladimir [laughter].  That is the way it goes. [laughter and

He told us how they murdered 900 women, children, and men.  They were
burned.  About South Africa, why even talk about that?  When there is a
slaughter in Mozambique, Angola, the racists kill 500 persons, 500
Namibians, this is not even published in the newspapers.  If one White is
killed, there is a world-wide scandal.  But when 500 Africans are killed,
when 600, 700 men, women and children are killed, not even a picture is
published.  That is the type of journalism, the type of information in the
world.  Nothing is said about that.  One hears here that 900 people have
been killed, but no U.S. newspaper published that slaughter.  It was not
mentioned on television.  The 900 bombing operations have not been reported
either.  Yet, the threats against the whole world, even against us, are
published.  The Salvadorans killed four Marines, U.S. officials, military
officers, and then, they talked about human rights and terrorism. [sentence
as heard]

They do the most horrible things in the world!  However, we never find
about those things.  When we do, it is by coincidence.

I have given a great deal of thought to these things, the things that are
happening, our weakness, our lack of unity, our impotence.  That is what
gives imperialism the opportunity to commit all these brutalities in El
Salvador and Nicaragua.  What has happened in Micaragua?  During this
meeting it was reported that 12,000 Nicaraguans have been killed.  What do
those deaths mean?  Let me illustrate by saying that proportionately
speaking, it is as if 900,000 Americans had been killed in the United
States.  It is as if someone were waging war against the United States from
Mexico and Canada, staging acts of sabotage, mining ports, and killing
people, and 900,000 U.S. citizens had already been killed.  Let me tell you
that the deaths during World War I and World War II did not reach 900,000
citizens even if we add the casualties from both world wars.  This means
that through its dirty war the Reagan administration has killed more
Nicaraguans than the number of Americans killed during the two world wars.
And yet, they say that nothing is happening in Nicaragua.

What would happen if 900,000 people had been killed in the United States?
There would have already been 10 nuclear wars.  However, they can very
happily, openly, and shamelessly approve their budgets in the Congress.  It
is covert war, a so-called covert war.  Secret!  The war in Nicaragua is
still secret! [crowd rumbles, laughs] Twelve thousand die, plus the others
who will unfortunately die, and there is nothing to it.  Not even a
protest.  The truth is we have yet to see a forceful protest by the Latin
American governments.  The negotiations and efforts that have been made
must be commended because they are a start.  The Contadora Group efforts
must be commended just as the efforts of its support group.  This is
significant.  However, when the Nicaraguan port waters were mined, no one
in Latin America or the world protested that action.  This is a very sad
reality.  That is why the United States planned to invade Grenada and did.
That is why it invaded Santo Domingo in 1965 to prevent a revolution there.
That is why it works to destabilize the Nicaraguan economy.  That is why it
spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the genocidal war against the
Salvadoran people; why they allied with the British during the Malvinas
war; why they destabilized the Salvador Allende government in Chile
promoting the coup d'etat there; why they blockaded Cuba, threaten the
entire world, and stick their nose into everything.  And we stand impotent.

I believe the revolutionary spirit, well understood Marxism, and
revolutionary ideas should lead us to conclude that we must struggle
intelligently and first join efforts to be independent.  I would say that
more than being in a phase to construct socialism, we are in a phase of
national liberation in Latin America.  I believe we are less independent
now that we were under Spanish rule.  Back then the king was very far away,
in Spain, and he had a viceroy here.  The viceroy was usually corrupt, like
the people the Yankees have all over the place to serve them.  Here, the
empire is very near, powerful, and colossal.  They keep track of everything
24 hours a day: countries' economies and politics.  Their ambassadors are
proconsuls.  They do not communicate, discuss, or practice diplomacy.
Practically all they do is issue orders.  That is the truth.  It is a
permanent presence every day of the year, every hour of the day. You need
only go to the movies in a Latin American country.  What movies are they
showing?  Turn on a television and see what we are being told.  What is the
name of that show that's on at noon reaching every home via the television
screen?  That is, all homes where there is a television set.  And now that
television sets are inexpensive and abundant and [words indistinct] many
villagers have brand new television sets.  Maybe they bought them on credit
will full payment in 5 years.  And what information does Latin America
receive?  The international news agencies, Yankee agencies.

What program are seen on television, what movies, what series are seen in
most of the countries?  They are U.S. programs, series, and movies.  Who
controls the news circuits, the movie chains, and the film distribution
centers in general in Latin America?  Ask the film directors of the new
Latin American films.  They find it very hard for one of their good
films... [changes thought] excellent films because I would say that no
continent is producing films today of the quality that Latin America is
producing with this movement of the new films. [sentence as heard] But
where are they exhibited?  On what television?  In what movie theaters?
What is shown on television and in the movie theaters?  What programs are
aired on the radio?  They are made in the United States.  Those who talk so
much about brainwashing and who use that famous word so often are
brainwashing us everyday, 24 hours a day, as soon as we open the morning
newspaper and as soon as we read a magazine.  We receive the news
transmitted by the agencies, the news transmitted over their satellites for
television.  That is our daily bread.  That is the spiritual bread that we
receive in Latin America.  For that reason studies have been made in some
countries and it was discovered that 80 percent of the children, and even
more than 80 percent in some countries, know the U.S. comic strip
characters.  Superman is very popular among the children.  Nevertheless,
they do not know the names of the patriots who achieved their country's
independence.  This is really very sad, very sad.

We are living this reality every day.  If we want our societies to progress
and advance, we must think about this reality.  How do we struggle against
this reality so we can change the world, so we can have the right to
independence and to be free because you cannot build socialism if you are
not independent and we are simply not independent.  First, if we are
realistic, I would say that we must essentially guarantee independence.  If
we can guarantee socialism at the same time -- great.  However, as long as
the people, the youths, the children, and the masses believe in Superman,
it will be somewhat hard for them to believe in Karl Marx. [laughter,

Fortunately, the Latin American progressive, revolutionary movement has
received the extraordinary contribution of the liberation theologists and
the liberation theology movement because there are many people in Latin
America who are believers and who believe in God.  They believe more in God
than in Superman. [applause] I don't know what Marx, Lenin, Engels, and the
founders of scientific socialism would have done, but I presume they would
have greatly valued that religious movement and the interpretation of the
gospel that emerged from the objective realities of our hemisphere and the
contact of those men and women who have a spirit of sacrifice and
solidarity, and who are alongisde the people and living with them.  They
originated that movement.

There are many new things in this world.  We cannot simply continue with
cliche ideas and with sectarian, narrow interpretations.  We must open our
eyes.  We must look at the reality if we want a more just society, a really
more just society.  If we understand that socialism is the most just
society and if we want a more just society to exist, then let socialism
exist in these Latin American and Third World countries.  It is not that I
have renounced the ideals of socialism, the values of socialism, and the
struggle for socialism; it is that I am absolutely convinced that through
this path we will arrive sooner and further, even though some nearsighted
people confuse themselves and imagine that there is reformism, revisionism,
apostasy, and Marxist sacrilege -- mixing a religious word with a political
word.  In this they are sacrilegious of Marxism.  They are committing a
sacrilege of Marxism.  We must have a long-term perspective.  I don't care
if I'm told that capitalism is going to live 10, 20, or even 30 more years.
[laughter] Thirty years is a short time compared to what that old fox has
lived, that old and oppressor fox.  Thirty years is not much.

They tell me: What you are saying will prolong the life of capitalism
approximately 20 years.  Yes, but in exchange for what?  Ah, we will begin
to fix up this world.  We are going to create conditions for development
and for the social changes; we are going to consolidate our independence.
I prefer securing independence even if it means 20 years of capitalism in
the world because otherwise I am afraid that what we will have is 100 years
of capitalism.  I am afraid of that. [applause] If the Yankees continue
indoctrinating us about the feats of Superman and they continue sending us
all of their canned ideology, I don't know what will happen.  Of course, I
am afraid of what might happen but I don't believe it.  I don't believe it.
There are a number of problems that threaten our world.  They are very new
problems.  There is the problem of war that is seriously threatening us.
One of the things that we do is associate this struggle against the
economic crisis and the debt and for the new order to the struggle for
peace.  These are two vital things in our times.

If you were to ask me if I preferred a world war to capitalism for another
20 years, I would undoubtedly have to say that I would prefer capitalism to
survive another 20 years.  No longer than that.  Just 20 years. [laughter]
I exchange it for peace.  If I am assured there will be peace, world peace,
that is more important because the dead cannot enjoy socialism.  A mankind
that does not exist cannot construct socialism.  I can shuffle around and
try to balance things and say: Let us yield a bit; let us grant socialism a
few more years.  Socialism is so obsolete; it is dying by itself. [crowd
rumbles] The trouble is that socialism is the victim of capitalism.  Did I
say socialism? [crowd rumbles] I assure you on my honor this was not a
mental slip.  This was a slip of the tongue; do not forget that. [laughter,

Capitalism -- and I say it with such gusto, capitalism -- is so obsolete
that it is dying by itself, but we should help it as much as possible.
[laughter, applause] However, there is the threat that as a result of its
contradictions and its despair, imperialism will lead the world to a fatal,
final war.  There will no longer be anyone left to fight with in this
world.  This is possible; it is a scientific reality.

This is another great problem that we revolutionaries and those of us who
want to fight for socialism must face.  We are also fighting for peace.
Just look how we clench our fists, how we shorten the possibilities for the
imperialists to carry out barbaric actions as they did in Vietnam.  That is
a good example because world public opinion and U.S. public opinion --
supporting, after all, the heroic efforts of the Vietnamese people -- made
the defeat of imperialism in Vietnam possible.  They were not able to use
their nuclear weapons or try to exterminate the Vietnamese people.
Therefore, we must struggle for peace.  We must preserve mankind.  We must
wage our struggle under very difficult conditions.  That is why I say that
this requires a special wisdom.  Under these circumstances, the wise will
be the best revolutionaries, not those who quote from theory but those who
know how to correctly interpret reality.  That is why I would not worry if
I were told that the world capitalist system would be extended in order to
liquidate this debt, achieve a new economic order, and struggle for
integration.  I am not referring to Latin America.  I would not worry.  I
think this would be an extraordinary advance, a tremendous step forward.
However, in addition to depending on us, it will also depend on when we
build socialism.  No one is going to come and build it; we must build it
ourselves when we have the conviction.  We must do it when the subjective
conditions and not just the objective conditions exist for building

In my opinion, the objective conditions in these last years have advanced
much more rapidly than the subjective conditions.  That is why social
explosions will occur.  If I were told: Listen, next to these conditions
that are maturing rapidly there is a large revolutionary awareness among
the masses, then one would have to start talking about socialism.  However,
we all know that the subjective conditions are not yet mature, although
they are rapidly maturing.  You all know that and (?polls were conducted)
in Brazil, in various countries.  Someone spoke here about the simple man
with a simple morale and said that he is the honest man.  He is comparing
this debt with his personal debt with his friend or with the local
storekeeper.  We all have had that problem: owing money to the storekeeper
or the landlord.  Almost everyone here, approximately 95 percent of the
people here have had that problem.  I am not going to ask those who have
never owed anything to raise their hands because there will be very few of
them, and I would not like to embarrass anyone here. [laughter] I am not
ashamed to say that when I was a student, and even after I graduated from
school, I owed money to the storekeeper, the power company, the telephone
company, and the landlord.  I had my little problems over that.

Therefore, how are we going to overcome all of these problems?  I would say
that is for the revolutionaries and socialists to figure out.  How are we
going to create this awareness?  I was saying that some know what the debt
is about, and sometimes people say the debt should not be paid.  You
yourselves have reflected here that a large part of the masses do not even
know what the debt is all about.  That is the truth, and we must admit it.

The workers have a clearer picture.  During the trade union meeting, it was
evident that all of those delegates had a clearer picture of the debt
problem because they were more aware of the debt in their daily struggle
for wages and in the reduction of salaries.  The reporters are a little
better informed.  The personalities who have met here were very much aware
of the problem.  The youths who have met here have not been as aware of the
problem.  It can be said that the youth and students are now becoming more
aware of this problem -- the debt -- and its decisive importance.  Now it
is becoming important for them.  Many of you have spoken here on the need
to take this awareness to the people.  It must be taken to the masses.  I
think they will develop an awareness.  It is a magnificent instrument of
education because it is very closely associated with what the people are
suffering daily.  It is a universal problem, but the masses have not yet
developed an awareness. If the masses are not aware, then there cannot be
what one can describe as the subjective conditions.  The masses are not yet
aware of what imperialism is.  They mention it and they repeat it, but this
debt, everything we are suffering now, this catastrophe, this is
imperialism.  This can help us teach the masses what imperialism is.
Excellent!  What an opportunity for the revolutionaries to be able to teach
the masses every day what imperialism is with practical examples.

A Salvadoran, Hurtado, spoke today -- I remember him -- and said: Can we
expect anything from the bourgeois? I swear to Companero Hurtado and all of
you that it is very difficult for me to have faith in the bourgeois; it is
very difficult to trust the bourgeois.  How can we trust the bourgeois
after our revolution in 1959, after suffering what we have suffered?  They
blockaded us; the United States pulled strings, exerted pressure on
governments and sooner or later all the governments broke relations with us
-- except Mexico.  These governments not only broke relations with us, they
supported actions such as this aggressive policy against Cuba; they
supported actions such as the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion.  We did not
even have Contadora at that time, not even Contadora, only a few countries
that resisted a bit more until they could no longer continue to resist.
Who has suffered what we suffered?

Our sugar quota was taken away and distributed among the Latin American
governments [corrects himself] among the Latin American countries.  A
sizeable group of countries distributed among themselves the 3-odd millions
[no unit designation as heard] of historical sugar quota that Cuba had
attained during 100 years of commercial relations with the United States
and no one protested.  They distributed among themselves the booty of
Cuba's sugar quota.  We were expelled from the OAS; we were expelled from
everywhere; everyone broke relations with us.  Does this case history
indicate we should trust the bourgeois?  However, we cannot ignore the fact
that some changes have taken place, that we are facing quite a different
situation.  Fortunately, Nicaragua has received much more solidarity than
Cuba did, because even the bourgeois learned something after the
revolutionary experience in Cuba.

Nowadays, the proletariat and the peasants are not governing our countries;
neither are the revolutionaries.  There are democratic, bourgeois
governments in some of the countries because the population voted for those
people.  Of course we know how all these electoral mechanisms work.
Certain campaigns in Latin America cost $300 million; use make up on the
guy, give him some color, fix his eyebrows and his hair, everything; they
sell him as if they were selling Coca Cola.  They sell him as if they were
selling Coca Cola [repeats himself] [applause, laughter] I know how the
bourgeois democracy has worked in some countries; the demagoguery that has
preceded these events; the millions spent, the mass media used to divulge
these campaigns.  Thus, if a man has good ideas but does not even have a
bench in the park to stand up and talk, it would be difficult for him to
win the elections, no matter how brilliant and just these ideas may be.

It is a mistake to forget that those governments are there and the battle
we are waging.  I base my statement on a logical thing: These countries
face a desperate situation.  The governments have no other alternative but
to solve the debt, as discussed here in some of these various pamphlets, or
to cancel the debt, and this represents a political death.  No one,
absolutely no one, will escape this no matter how brilliant he may be; no
matter how intelligent and honest a person may be, he cannot escape this.
This is an unquestionable reality.  This is a desperate situation for the
countries, for the governments -- even for the bourgeois.  I cannot have
faith in the bourgeois.  I cannot trust the bourgeois; no way.  However, I
do not forget that they are in government or the situation they are facing.
What I think, what Hurtado thinks, or what many of us think is not
important; even what all of think is not important.  We must know what the
people think.  It is not enough for us to think this way if the people
still believe them, if the people still trust them or have faith in them.

There is, of course, only one way to learn this, and the masses will learn.
This is a terrible, desperate situation. This is a challenge for all the
governments; this is a challenge for the bourgeois leaderships, and they
will have to react according to the circumstances because there is no other
alternative. Otherwise,it will be a political suicide for them as
politicians and the leading class; they have the responsibility right now.
We are ready to collaborate, to help cut the losses; and we have done so,
taking into consideration that if we are going to wage a battle about this
problem we must first achieve internal unity. We have brought up the topic
of this internal unity wherever it was possible. I am not talking about
internal unity with Finochet, Duvalier, Duarte, a genocidal government, or
with Stroessner. No. However, we need a minimum of internal unity if we are
going to wage the battle and counter this problem. Now then, if the
bourgeois do not rise to the occasion -- regardless of our faith or lack of
it, of our trust or lack of it, in them -- then the people will draw their
own conclusions.

Then, we shall be approaching the hour of the revolution, when the people
come to the conclusion that they cannot expect anything from those leaders.
Then, we shall be approaching the hour of the revolution, and the objective
conditions will begin to coincide with the subjective conditions.  We
cannot skip stages when there is still great confusion among the people,
which is now beginning to dissipate.

After having attended many such important meetings, we can see the speedy
advance of all this awareness developing process, in which the economic
crisis -- and within it, the foreign debt as an outstanding element -- has
become the main topic.

I believe that these viewpoints I have tried to explain could better
express my ideas concerning whether the time has come for socialism.  First
of all, I believe it is the hour of national liberation for the peoples of
our hemisphere, and of the accumulation of forces.  But it is not for me to
preach socialism, because we might frighten the bourgeoisie and, instead,
help the United States and imperialism.  Since we are still a group of
independent nations, rather, of dependent, isolated countries, I believe
what every nation should do is up to the political and revolutionary
leaders of each country.  I do not think that if we are calling for unity
in a great stand against imperialism, in a great battle concerning these
issues, we who have been experiencing these problems for a long time,
should emphasize the social revolution.  I can assure you I have no
objection; in fact, we would be quite happy should a social revolution take
place in Latin America.  We are not going to cry that day, you may rest

Besides, we are at ease.  We are in a historic moment, in which no matter
how the coin falls, the people shall come out the winner, if these battles
are successful in their objectives.  In fact, the people shall be the
winner even if those objectives are not achieved, and we are able to create
an awareness among the people.  What I am trying to say is that there will
be no compromise in this situation.  This battle is either won, creating
the conditions for a much more secure future, or there will be a

We can already begin talking about revolutions.  I used two or three words
-- social explosions of a revolutionary nature or tendency; social
explosions that will develop into revolutionary explosions.  However, the
subjective conditions are not yet present.

[Prada] Fernando Prada, of the Bolivian communist youth.  Expanding a
little on the last subject, the commander has already told us how
imperialism, under certain circumstances, is capable of boycotting those
agreements entered into even by the international community.  For example,
there are conditions that could improve the economic order, but which it
chooses to boycott with its actions.  In some countries, however, and
particularly in Latin America, there is an internal boycott, that is, in
each of the countries.  In the case of my country, for example, there is a
dependent oligarchy which controls the economic power and which, should the
foreign be disregarded and a new economic order be established, that is, a
break with imperialism, this would mean its death as a dependent oligarchy.

In some countries such as mine the objective conditions have been present,
not so the subjective conditions, in order to advance.  I believe, however,
this advance will be gradual.  There are some countries in which the
breaking with imperialism will be the result of the economic order and the
foreign debt, opening the way to their national liberation.  In some cases,
even the first advances toward socialism could take place.  Therefore, I
interpret the exhortation of Commander Fidel for Latin American unity
against payment of the debt, as an anti-imperialist unity and as an appeal
to the revolutionary forces of each country and to the leftist political
parties to get together and speed up the conditions for creating the
subjective factors.  I believe such conditions will gradually ripen.  In
that respect, what message would you send to those forces in the various
Latin American countries to achieve these conditions?

[Castro] My answer is that if you want to create the subjective factors,
this battle must be waged until its final consequences, concerning the
economic crisis, the debt, the new order, and the economic integration of
Latin America.  I believe that what we are doing is what will mostly help
in creating such subjective conditions.  It is not a matter of speeches or
preaching.  It is necessary for the people to see with their own eyes, to
understand what is happening.  I have always been a supporter of unity by
principle.  However, my role at this moment is not to tell the leftist
forces what they should do to speed up the subjective conditions for the
revolution.  This is because I would be undoing with my feet what I have
done with my head. [laughter]

I cannot send out two message at the same time: One message for internal
and external unity, to struggle against imperialism, for a great rebellion
against the conditions established by imperialism, while sending out a
revolutionary message within the countries, because I would be promoting
division and fear, and I would be helping imperialism. [applause] If we do
what we have to do, the people will draw their own conclusions.  We, have,
seen in all the meetings; this is advancing quickly.  Therefore, I say that
this is like a snowball, gathering speed and growing larger; and the
snowball can crush anything that lies in its path.  However, I think that
our proposals, our actions -- and we must act intelligently -- must be
united.  If we create panic we will not attain unity, we will persuade no
one, and we must wait for things to develop.  This has nothing to do with
the faith we have; they will either react in a logical way or commit
suicide; maybe they will not commit suicide.  Then, we will talk,
regardless of the way things turn out.  There are other tactics, but we
must carry this struggle to the end.

[Moderator] The companera from Ecuador requested the right to speak a while

[Unidentified speaker] Companero Commander Fidel Castro, please accept a
cordial and combative greeting from the native Indians of Ecuador.  It is
truly a pleasure for me to be with you, but we are concerned because we
were not able to participate as Indians or present our own criteria as
Indians.  Four leaders are here representing the Indian race.  I would
really like to speak on behalf of the Indians who live in our country.
Companero commander, I have a question: How can you explain the situation
concerning the Indians and the foreign debt, because we are Indians who
have lived in the wilderness away from cities and know nothing about the
foreign debt, from which the capitalists have received all the benefits.
Please show us the road or give us a guideline of how we must orient our
actions as Indians and learn about the bourgeois situation that prevails in
our region.  It is really painful for us that the Indians are not taken
into consideration at any level, in any sector, because the Indians are not
even allowed to send a representative.  That is why we have no information
concerning the foreign debt.  Consequently, I ask you, Companero Fidel
Castro, to give an explanation or show us the road.  The Indians also have
the right to know and the right to protest against the bourgeoisie.  Thank
you. [applause]

[Castro] I think that a historical crime has been committed with the
Indians, and it dates back 5 centuries.  The day on which we celebrate the
millenium of America's discovery will mark the half millenium of injustices
and crimes committed against the Indian population.  They were practically
exterminated in our country; only a few are left.  They were exterminated
during the early years.  I believe there are 6 million Indians in Mexico; 4
million died during the first years, a genocide.  We will soon reach the
first half millenium of the slavery of the Blacks and the Indians.  There
was never justice for the Indian as an Indian, when the conquerors came,
because they were deprived of their riches, lands, and freedom.  There was
no justice for them even after the independence, either as Indians or as
peasants.  Fortunately, the Indians' culture -- even complete Indian
communities -- survived in some Latin American countries.

Various represersentatives from Indian communities have participated in the
meetings we have held here, including the women's continental meeting held
here.  They talked not only in Spanish, but in their own language.  They
talked with brilliance, talent, and ease; and they issued their message.
This problem about the foreign debt reminds me of a companera who stood at
the podium and eloquently said that they had received nothing.  I think she
was a Peruvian.  Was she not?  She said they had received nothing; they had
no schools, medical assistance, or the minimum conditions for living.  They
had nothing.

Therefore, they were not going to pay that debt, they did not have any debt
to pay, and they had no obligation, no commitment, no desire to pay any
debt.  Almost the same tone was used by all those who took the stand in
those meetings.  I think this means a great deal.  It expresses the
capacity of our peoples, our peasants, our Indians, of the poorest sectors,
even where they have no schools, nor education, to grasp the essence of the
problem.  When the Indians can understand this situation -- this thorny
problem, about which someone has said, that until now, this was a cabinet
problem and an experts problem and is now beginning to be the people's
problem --if the Indian communities are capable of understanding it, as
they have proven here that they do, then I think that the possibilities of
this message and this struggle are great.  That is precisely what we have
done, to create the subjective conditions.  If we can reach them and awaken
their interest, then I think that there is no way we can lose this battle.

I think that we all need liberation, the peasants, Indians, blacks, whites,
Mestizos, in all places.  In one way or another we are all enslaved.
Precisely what we have been discussing tonight is the broad and unitarian
struggle that is going to lead our peoples to their liberation, in
particular, the poor sectors of our countries.

We have talked about socialism.  Let me tell you what I think.  Only a
socialist society can put an end to all these injustices and
discrimination, as has occurred in our country.  We found many forms of
discrimination; discrimination against women; a prejudice against which we
have been struggling for one-quarter of a century; and discrimination for
reasons of race which existed in our country, introduced here by
imperialism.  I do not think that capitalism -- let us speak the truth, I
am not campaigning here for any particular social system -- can solve these
problems.  Companeras, my answer is that only socialism can bring about
full and total liberation to the Indian communities of Latin America.

[Moderator] Here is a companera from Brazil.  You must identify yourself
before you ask your question.

[Leticia] I am Leticia from Brazil.  You said awhile ago that Brazil was a
separate case because of its importance and because of its current
political process.  As we have already seen this afternoon from the
companeros who took the stand, we all know much about the current situation
in Brazil.  As you can see, Brazil has the opportunity to seek Latin
America's unity, which is so important because of Brazil's importance in
the Latin American continent.  I think that Brazil could upset the balance
depending on the attitude it assumes, or consolidate Latin America's unity
regarding the foreign debt issue.  In other words, in Brazil we have to
find out how are we going to lead this process to obtain Latin America's

[Jaram] My name is Jaram, I would like to ask my question now, because it
is related to what she just said.  Commander Fidel, you also talked about
cultural domination to which our news media is subjected by a daily
consumption of the ideology of the U.S. system through films, series, and
other things.  Brazil is currently exporting its artistic production,
novels, and television soap operas.  I am worried about the possibility of
becoming the new imperialists, which we have already been accused of by
some sister countries.

I believe that we Brazilians do not want to be new imperialists.  Moreover,
we lack the conditions for that, because we are living in a poor country.
Therefore, when we look at our situation from the viewpoint of our people,
we become aware of it.  We do want to contribute to the process of building
a modern America.  My question is: What is the difference, within the
Brazilian context?

[Moderator] That question has little relationship with the previous one,
but it was asked anyway.

[Castro] I want to clarify that when I said that it was another matter, I
meant that Brazil is a world in itself.  There can be a revolution in
Brazil.  That country has a vast territory, a large population, and great
natural, economic, mineral, and agricultural resources; some technological
development; and a very large domestic market.  In sum, Brazil by itself,
as a world within itself, has more possibilities than any small Central
American country.  Brazil's potential is not that of Grenada.  Grenada is a
small country with a population of 120,000 and an area of 400 sq km, has
few resources, lives off tourism, and had its own currency.  Yet that small
country frightened the imperialists, and so they decided to annihilate it,
to make an example of it.  In a small [changes thought] of course, the
imperialists exploited the revolutionaries' mistakes.  The revolutionaries
made terrible mistakes.  However, that did not entitle the U.S.  Government
to invade, but it did anyway, using its airborne division, a paratrooper
battalion.  Sometimes talking with U.S. citizens, that is reporters and
congressmen, I tell them you can engage in these kinds of adventures as
long as you are dealing with small countries, such as El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Santo Domingo [as heard], Grenada, even Cuba.  But Cuba is a
small country that has turned into a hedgehog [laughter] like a bacillus,
something not easy to swallow.  Despite its size, but [changes thought]
greater than Grenada.  Our population is 90 times that of Grenada's; more
than 200, almost 300 times, Grenada's territory.

I am not going to compare us to Brazil. I would never end; I would need a
computer [laughter] since it is between 15,000 to 20,000 times larger than
Grenada.  Brazil's population is 10 times, even 1,000 times larger than
Grenada's.  I told the U.S. citizens: You can do it, the day you face a
problem of this nature with a country like Brazil -- not only Brazil, any
medium-size country in South America -- you will have to forsake those
adventures because I cannot believe it will cross your minds to send a
little paratrooper battalion into an airport to resolve the problem.  They
tell me that no one can say that there will be a revolution in Brazil, but
no one can say that there will be a revolution in Brazil, but no one can
say that there will not be one someday. [applause] I have told them to
forsake those practices and methods because one of these days you are going
to run into such a large conflict that it will totally swallow you.  I have
reasoned with them, especially when discussing the topics relating to
Central America and Nicaragua.  I have tried to dissuade them from the
mistake it would be to invade any of those small countries.  Vladimir [not
further identified] said that they were prepared to fight.  If the U.S.
Government intervenes in Nicaragua, a bone is going to get stuck in its
throat.  That is dangerous because the imperialist is large but it has a
small throat. [laughter, applause]

When I think of Brazil, I say how large it is.  It has many possibilities.
It needs integration less than the smaller Latin American countries like
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay.
Those countries need integration much more because they are small countries
with relatively small populations and small areas.  I said that integration
was a must for Latin America; it is vital.  For example, I mentioned
Europe.  That continent is very different from ours.  First, they spent 5
centuries at war with each other.  There are very diverse nations with very
diverse origins: Latins, Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, Germanics, and Slavs.  There
are very different languages.  It is not like here where all of us speak
Spanish or Portuguese and we understand each other.  Even speeches in
French can almost be understood because it is a Latin language; as for
English, well, we had to become accustomed [laughter] to listening to it
and using it.

We have a large community of historic origins and cultures, an ethnic
community; in summary, the language of the few useful things that we have
derived from the conquest.  We cannot renounce this language nor can we
fabricate it.  It is the one we use, and we understand each other.  In
other words, we have a lot of things in common, as the Europeans do not.
Yet the Europeans have integrated themselves economically, because no
European country conceives the possibility of survival without economic

Then I ask, how can any government leader, statesman, citizen of Latin
America who thinks of the economic possibilities in this land of giants,
[changes thought] because the United States is a giant, as is the EEC,
Japan, another economic giant, as well as in population, China is also a
giant, the socialist countries of Europe are another giant. [sentence as
heard] What are we?  We are the little dwarfs among the giants, dwarfs
among Gullivers, who are so big that they can step on us without realizing
it and crush us.  Therefore, we must form a community, an economic force.
We also need to do so politically.  However, it is impossible to achieve
the development and economic survival of the Latin American countries
without integration.  Integration is so important that even Brazil -- it
may not be so indispensable for Brazil to achieve integration because it is
a vast country per se with a vast territory and a vast population -- needs
the integration of Latin America. It needs relations with the Third World,
because they do not lack possibilities.

Then I begin with the principle that economic integration is essential for
all countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil.
Notwithstanding the objective reality of the size of its territory and the
level of development attained, Brazil needs integration less than other
countries, but it does have a great need for integration.

I can sincerely say that I do not see that the Brazilians have a Prussian
mentality, a hegemonic mentality.  I do not doubt that there are peoples
who have dreams of grandeur, even of conquest, but nothing could be farther
from the character and the spirit of the Brazilians than this Prussian
warmongering, aggressive, expansionist thing.  And really, I do not recall
anything in Brazil's history since it came into existence that would reveal
any apparent action to justify -- despite the fact that it has had
governments of force for many years -- [changes thought] there is nothing
in the tradition, in the history of Brazil that would justify fear on the
part of the other Latin American countries of hegemonic feelings or
attempts on the part of Brazil.

They have not had the privilege, as we have had in the past few years, to
deal with a lot of Brazilians, to learn their character, their feelings,
having had the privilege of dealing with Brazilian workers, laborers, and
intellectuals who are all the men of the future of Brazil.  I believe that
Brazil will also have its future of workers, peasants, its revolutionary
future.  I do not think that the most remote justification exists for the
fear that Brazil could develop expansionist and hegemonic feelings, which
we have seen in the United States.  Compare the history of Brazil,
regardless of the governments it has had, with the history of the United
States.  We see that ever since the birth of that nation it conquered
lands, purchased lands; it snatched half of Mexico's territory; it seized
Puerto Rico, which is still a colonial enclave, a Yankee colony.  It is a
small country but has managed to maintain its nationalist identity and its
culture with great dignity, great firmness.  I think Puerto Rico and the
people of Puerto Rico are an example of the vitality of our peoples.

Compare the history of the United States with the history of Brazil.  The
history of the United States is one of expansionism.  When Marti talked,
and he discussed it a lot, he never spoke of Brazilian expansionism or that
Brazil could pose a threat to the peoples of Latin America.  Yet he spoke a
great deal and prophetically envisaged the great fear that the United
States posed for the countries of Latin America.  On the eve of his death
he wrote that everything he had accomplished was aimed -- after Cuba's
independence -- at preventing the United States from coming down as another
force on the peoples of Latin America.  As an intimate confession hours
before dying, he wrote a letter to a friend expressing what he thought.
And that was one of his obsessions.  But fortunately we have not witnessed
that phenomenon. I think the mentality of the Brazilian, the character of
the Brazilian is like that of the Venezuelan, the Colombian, the Cuban, and
the Dominican, which is far from being hegemonic or expansionist.  The
historic conditions or factors have not been created that could determine
the emergence of such a mentality. I think that such a mentality and such a
possibility will not emerge.  I also believe that Brazil is very important
as part of Latin America.  I think that for Brazil the rest of Latin
America and the Caribbean are also very important.

When we speak of the economic integration of Latin America we also think of
Latin America's economic integration including Brazil, Latin America, and
the Caribbean.  When we speak of the union of the poples of Latin America
and the Caribbean, we are speaking of the peoples of Latin America, the
Caribbean and Brazil.  I think that it is so indispensable for the rest, as
the rest of us are indispensable to Brazil for its economic development,
for its security.  It should be the same.  We constitute a territorial
extension that is much larger than Europe.  Well, I think that Argentina
alone is almost the size of Western Europe.  That is Argentina, now if you
add Brazil, Mexico, and the other countries we are virtually 20 million sq
km.  The only thing is we owe about 17,000 per sq km. [laughter] And we
also have to pay almost $20,000 interest per sq km in the next 10 years.
That is our common problem with Brazil.  I believe we are in the same boat
-- Brazil and Latin American -- and we will free our selves together, we
will save our selves together and we will survive together or we will not
survive at all.  I think that I am expressing the feelings of our peoples
and certainly that of the rest of the delegates here, because I have not
heard any of them -- in fact I have still not heard anyone express fear of
the expansionist hegemony of Brazil.  I do not know if this answers both
questions on the importance of Brazil's decisive role and the threat that
it might become a hegemonic power.

[John Jain] Companero Commander, (John Jain) of Curacao.  We of Curacao
form part of the strip of Caribbean islands that are small ones, as you
already mentioned, citing the situation of the island of Grenada, with
microeconomies, and which some of us would regard as colonies of European
power, such as the Netherlands and France.  The situation of these
Caribbean island territories affords them an important piece in the varied
geopolitical differences existing in the region.  You have just talked
about expansionism.  One doubt we have about the struggle for the political
independence of our islands is exactly the fear that we have regarding the
expansionism of neighboring countries, without mentioning names.  Many
times these islands have no importance for the bourgeoisie because they do
not constitute potential sources of natural wealth nor do they represent
potential markets for them.  How do you view the situation of these
islands, Commander, within the new international economic order and in view
of the crisis situation as a result of the debts acquired by the islands,
which as yet do not have these debts, because these debts are integrated
within the colonial situation that exists in these islands

[Castro] I was asked a question not too long ago about the situation of the
Caribbean islands.  I replied that for the integration of the Caribbean
islands, first of all, the integration of the islands themselves is vital.
I believe that they need integration, not only among themselves, I am
talking about economic integration.  But I think it is still too early to
begin to talk of political integration without first speaking of economic
integration.  I imagine that can do so.  These islands are economically
backward they live off of tourism.  Then they are going to establish an
industry.  Then what industry do we establish; a textile industry.  A
textile industry needs minimum production.  In the internal market, we can
establish an industry of 20 million sq meters, 30 million; we have one 30
million sq meters.  How can a country like Grenada, to cite an example,
establish a $20 million industry?  It cannot establish such an industry,
and there does not even exist an industry of 1 million sq meters of fabric

In other words, the size of the market permits many modern industries to
have a technology requiring a given production capacity that is not
economical.  If we look at the electrical industry, for instance, a small
electric plant of 1,000, 2,000 kilowatts can use up to 400 grams per
kilowatt.  An industry, such as the one we are building -- the latest one
under construction --- one of 300,000 kilowatts, with a consumption of
approximately 120 grams per kilowatt; the bigger the plant the lower the
fuel consumption.  The industries, according to a given production level,
are much more economical than others.  There is no cement plant in the
world producing less than 200,000 tons.  It would be impossible.  We would
have to have it made.  We do not know what it would cost to set up a cement
industry of 50,000 tons, or a sugar mill, which is something we know about.
A sugar mill must have a given size or the cost of production is enormous.

An enormous investment is required to produce a sugar mill with a 10,000
ton capacity a sugar mill with a larger capacity will be much more
economical and profitable.  And these islands cannot be linked by land.
There is no way to link it to aqueducts.  There is no way to connect it to
electrical lines.  There is no way to connect an oil pipe line.  Everything
has to be transported by sea.  We are familiar with this problem, because
we are an island.

We envy the European socialist countries, which are linked to the major
deposits of oil and gas by gas lines and oil pipelines and high voltage
electrical lines.  We look at the USSR, a country in which it can be 8 pm
in one place, midnight in another place and daytime in still another place.
The electrical lines, the electrical plants can be linked together, and
they work throughout the entire day.  As the day progresses, the
electricity that is produced by the various electrical plants is passed
along from east to west.  These are advantages that a country like Cuba
does not have.  While our market might be a good one for a textile factory
of 20, 30 or 40 million [unit not specified], or a cement factory of 1.6
million tons, like the ones we have, when it becomes a matter of Cuba
producing trucks or buses or establishing a mechanical or electronics
industry, it is impossible.  The market is too small.

For example, who can establish a factory for making airplanes?
Considering, first of all the domestic market, in a country with 10 million
inhabitants like Cuba.  To establish an airplane factory, it would be much
better for Brazil to have a market of 400 million inhabitants than a market
of 135 million inhabitants.  However, to tell the truth, Brazil does not
have a market of 135 million inhabitants; it has a market of 30 million
inhabitants.  The others are not part of the market.  They have absolutely
no influence on production.

How can a small island subsist and survive economically?  Not Curacao, or
Grenada, or Jamaica, [words indistinct] or Guadaloupe, but Santo Domingo
[as heard], Haiti, Puerto Rico.  Today, now that Puerto Rico is
independent, what does the United States do?  It tries to incorporate the
Caribbean islands into its economy promising investment.  But, because the
Puerto Rican model, the imperialist model, an investment of over $20
billion in 15 years, is a country with large-scale unemployment, a country
in which the majority of the inhabitants live on foodstamps.  The model has

Jamaica, where Reagan wanted to establish another Hong Kong or a Singapore,
which someone said was also the plan for Panama, is a total failure.  I
believe that the future of all those people, those countries is economic
integration, and in the more distant future, unity.  I don't think that it
makes any sense to anyone for a neighboring country to want to take over a
tiny island.  That would be equivalent to having someone ask us if we want
to take over the Grand Cayman islands. [as heard] There are some islands
south of Cuba that are called the Grand Cayman islands.  It involves a
large number of islands.  We would have to be truly crazy to believe that
there was any sense in aspiring to possess one of those islands.

I do not believe that our neighbors in Curacao, who have so many natural
resources and so much territory, have any need for this.  I do not believe
that a future government of the Venezuelan people, of the workers, of the
peasants, could have the crazy, absurd idea of taking over the territory of
any other country.  I think that the future lies, not in extending borders,
but in erasing them. [applause]

[Moderator] Our companion from Peru, next question.

[Castro interrupts] Wait just a second.  I believe that we were going to
talk more about the debt, and more about economic problems.  I believe that
some aspects have not yet been explored sufficiently, yet we are talking
almost entirety about politics, and about political problems, some of which
are very thorny.  The meeting is being held to analyze the debt and
problems related to it.  That is what we think, although I am willing to
answer the question.  However, it would be a shame for us to leave here
without having discussed certain matters related to the economy and the
foreign debt in more depth.

[Unidentified Peruvian student] Commander Fidel Castro, I am a Peruvian and
a member of the United Left [IU].  I know that you have already commented
on my government's decision to allocate 10 percent of the value of exports
to pay off the debt, but we have received a lot of questions from fellow
participants from other countries who see these measures as an example, and
we of the IU believe that this is mainly a political gesture.  It is
actually a means of gaining time, and no solutions are yet in sight.  We
believe that by discussing the foreign debt in those terms, one is merely
acknowledging that it can be paid, which we think is a serious matter.  We
have made some estimates, which show that it is impossible to pay the debt
in those terms.  Since some time has passed since you last made a statement
on the subject, I would like you to comment.

[Moderator] Does the other companero from Peru wish to say something about
the foreign debt problem?

[Never] (Olmedo Auris Never), deputy secretary general of the SUTEP [Sole
Trade Union of Education Workers].  Indeed, Companero Fidel, to add to the
statement made by the companero, it is true that in our country, our
delegation is part of the opposition to the present government.  However,
we have not had the opportunity to express our natural position regarding
the famous thesis of our president, Alan Garcia.  Apart from that
situation, I would like to state the following: The sage Jose Carlos
Mariategui taught us Peruvians -- and I think that this is a lesson for all
Latin America and the Caribbean -- that a revolution is not an imitation or
a copy: It is a heroic creation of the people.  That is our belief.  That
is why, in our country today, the political problem is not basically linked
to the problem of the foreign debt.  To us, the problem goes beyond that,
because, at this time -- and it is necessary to state this here on this
platform and at this event -- Dr Alan Garcia is obviously repeating the
thoughts of Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, [founder of the American Popular
Revolutionary Alliance, APRA] whose position was different from that of
Jose Carlos Mariategui.  Haya da la Torre actually spoke of a unity of
classes, of an alliance of classes, and in those circumstances, it is
obvious that the perspective of APRA in the past and present is not a
socialist perspective; it simply is bourgeois reformism.

Well then, we Peruvians, who are mainly members of the IU, and of the most
important associations in our country, feel that the foreign debt problem
is only a part of the problem confronting Peru and the Latin American
countries.  We know one thing very clearly.  To us, the problem is to
change the old order, the existing system of hunger and misery for the
peoples, and we are going to struggle for a radical change in that system.
However, beyond even this, the basic issue is to struggle at this time, to
create, as you said, because to take any measure to create, to carry out an
act of struggle, one has to take two things into account: the objective
aspect, which is obviously well known, and to us is old hat [podrida], and
the subjective aspect, which is the task at this time. [sentence as heard]
Specifically, Companero Fidel, I would like to hear your opinion of the
famous 10 percent theory maintained by Dr Alan Garcia.

[Castro] Naturally, I should not, from my position [changes thought] it
would be inappropriate for me to analyze the APRA, or that politician, that
party, or that organization.  However, I can speak about the foreign debt,
about limiting payments to 10 percent of the country's exports.

I had the opportunity to discuss this during the continental meeting,
during the closing session.  It was not a dialogue, it was a speech.  I
studied that problem because I have meditated a lot about this problem of
the foreign debt.  I have analyzed it from different angles.  I analyzed
all the technical formulas that have been proposed.  This topic is not new;
someone had already proposed 20 percent.  This was presented as one of the

During an interview with EXCELSIOR I analyzed various possible solutions,
including the solution of paying 20 percent, but limiting this 20 percent
to current exports, so that if the exports increase, the payments would
still be 20 percent of current exports.  I analyzed all the possible
solutions and proved that this would not solve the problem.  Two hundred
billion dollars would have been paid at the end of 20 years, but the debt
would still be in excess of $1 million, even under the assumption that
interest is reduced to 6 percent or that the current interest rates are
still being used.  We have analyzed all the possible solutions -- four
hypotheses -- and an enormous amount of money has to be spent in every
hypothesis, but none will solve the problem.

Consequently, when someone proposed the 10 percent formula, I analyzed it
from every possible angle.  The proposal to limit payments to 10 percent is
obviously a step forward concerning the current situation; it is indeed a
step forward.  Undoubtedly, the international banks and the U.S.
imperialism dislike the idea of someone proposing the violation of these
norms, of saying that he will limit his payments to 10 percent of his
exports.  That is why I use the same analysis for the 20 percent formula,
and all the other technical and political formulas that have been proposed.

The analysis led to significant results; the computer we have here has
analyzed them.  During the continental meeting, I particularly asked them
to make some analyses, to make some calculations on what would happen if
the four different solutions were applied. [Words indistinct] One solution
proposed paying 10 percent of the country's exports and, even if the
exports surpassed the $100 billion mark per year, $100 billion would still
be the limit.  In other words, if the country exported $200 billion or $300
billion, it would still pay 10 percent of $100 billion, not a single dollar
more; the results are obvious.  The countries would therefore owe $200
billion in 20 years: in the end they would owe $2 billion.

Unfortunately, the companeros who made the calculations at that time made a
mistake.  I have to correct a figure printed in one of these pamphlets
because they gave me an amount in trillions -- $2 trillion plus $75,140 --
but when a much more calm calculation was made, we came up with another
figure: $1.878 trillion.  That would be Latin America's debt in 20 years.
In other words, the current debt would be multiplied five times in 20
years.  By then you would be more mature men with a debt of almost $2
trillion in Latin America.  Imagine, you would have to meet to see what
could be done concerning the debt. [crowd laughs] The figure is slightly
smaller than the one included in the pamphlet, but it has already been

The second alternative was to pay 10 percent, without establishing a limit.
In other words, if the figure was $200,000 then the payment would be 10
percent of $200,000.

Let us assume that the debt grew [corrects himself] that the exports grew
10 percent per year -- this fantastic thing has never been true -- during
20 years.  To dream about this, under our present conditions and the
international economy, would be wishful thinking.  Anyone dreaming about
this would be a person whom a Venezuelan aptly described as someone who has
completely lost contact with reality. [crowd laughs] That could happen
then?  At the end of 20 years Latin America would have paid $572 billion --
if the formula were to be applied -- and the debt would be $1.198 billion.
The debt would be $1.198 billion, after paying $572 billion.  Well, it is
really tragic.

An other alternative states that, instead of using the current interest
rate, a 6 percent interest should be paid, with a limit of $10 billion per
year.  We would again end up paying $200 billion in interest, and still
have a $885 billion debt at the end of 20 years.  That is, assuming a
growth [changes thought] in other words, by limiting interest to 6 percent,
and not paying more than $10 billion per year, we would still pay $200
billion and end up with a $885 billion debt.  Then I turned to the perfect
alternative.  It states that exports should increase 10 percent per year
for 20 consecutive years.  In other words, from $100,000, or, from $100,000
to $110,000, and then 10 percent of $110,000, and then 10 percent of
$121,000 -- a fantastic achievement.  There would be a 6 percent interest
rate, and 10 percent of all the exports would be used for the payments.
This is the perfect solution; approximately $427 billion, would have to be
paid and 20 years later the debt would still be $100 billion more than the
current debt.  This is impossible, this would not be the solution.
Mathematics indicate that this cannot be solved.  Furthermore, the idea of
paying with 10 percent is simply an idea, an analysis [words indistinct]
because not a single word has been said about the interest and we do not
know if the creditor banks will agree to allow countries to pay this 10
percent, in addition to reducing the interest to 6 percent.  We still do
not know if they will accept these two things.

You have to hear what the creditor banks are saying about the creditor
nations [as heard], about paying off the debt with the 10 percent.  In
other words, we would have to wage a great battle only to achieve that.
And then what would happen?  All that I have already told you.  The debt
would simply become eternal.  We would be paying a tribute to the empire
for hundreds of years, according to estimates.  We would have to pay the
empire 10 percent of our exports forever.  If we export 200 billion, we
would be paying 20 billion yearly.  Presently we are exporting 95 billion,
that is, we exported that amount in 1984.  If we export 300 billion, we
would have to give the empire 30 billion every year forever.  We would be
substituting the famous tithing to the church to the empire.  We would have
to pay the empire the 10 percent forever. [applause]

Naturally, the interest would accumulate and would be turned into capital.
The capital would begin earning interest, and the dependence would never
end, and we would always be at the mercy of the creditors for the rest of
our lives.  This is what the 10 percent formula would involve.  But there
is no analysis, merely an idea, a statement, not a study of the problem.
We would have to put up a great struggle to achieve this and for them to
accept it.  And if the creditors, if the imperialists, were willing to
accept this, it is then better to strive for a formula to solve the
problem.  And that is what we are commending by erasing the debt
altogether.  The 10 percent formula could be applied to future debts, not
to the present ones, which must be erased because they are a cancer.
Mathematics behave like a cancer, because the doctors know that if they
leave a piece of the cancer during an operation, the affected tissue will
multiply immediately.  And in this cancer of the debt, if you leave a piece
of the affected tissue in the surgical operation, it will immediately
multiply.  And then within 20 years, instead of an X-size cancer, we will
have a cancer 5 times X, or 4 times X, or 10 times X. It will multiply.

Therefore, it is necessary to remove the cancer altogether.  We cannot
leave a single cell because the cancer will multiply.  This is my
viewpoint based on mathematics, arithmetic, and realistic analysis, and on
all formulas.

Now then, there are other connotations which in my opinion are of utmost
importance, someone suggested.  We have said the debt is unplayable from a
political viewpoint, and to try to pay it is a political impossibility.
This has been proven from what has happened everywhere.  What happened in
Santo Domingo, in Jamaica, which was mentioned here by somebody?  What
happened recently in Guatemala, what happened in Bolivia, and what is going
to happen everywhere else?  It is inconceivable that the governments of the
democratic processes should call on the armed forces to repress the people
in order to collect the debt, and kill the people as they did in Santo
Domingo, because the IMF measures have already claimed over 100 lives in
that country, and 400 have been wounded by gunshots, and tension in that
country has become unbearable.  We consider that the democratic processes
actually ruin themselves if they try to apply such measures and collect the

We say the debt is unpayable from the moral viewpoint, and I believe this
is basically important.  We ask to whom was the money loaned?  How was that
money invested?  What happened in Argentina with the money they obtained
through loans?  Much of that money did not even arrive.  It was spent in
financial transactions outside the country, but they became a debt for the
country.  An important part of it was invested in arms, another important
part was squandered and stolen and invested in luxurious, pharaonic
mansions.  What did the people receive?  What development projects were
carried out with it?  Then, the money was either squandered, or stolen.
With what moral force can anyone collect that debt from the people?

Here is another thing.  Who approved those debts, who contracted them?  In
many cases, it is the de facto governments, resulting from coups d'etat,
most of them reactionary dictatorships which are responsible for this debt.
And in those cases not involving de facto, dictatorial regimes, it was
governments which did not consult with their parliaments.  The debts were
contracted by the executive branch, or the minister of finance.  Often, it
was not even a public official, but a millionaire.  An industrialist would
contract a debt with foreign banks and later the government would assume
the debt.  In such cases, neither the executive nor the legislative
branches intervened.  The parliaments, which according to constitutional
principles are the only ones empowered to contract such commitments, were
not even consulted.

Thus, parliament does not intervene at all.  A millionaire mortgaged the
country, sold the country; an official sold the country.  The people did
not intervene at all, even in those cases in which the debts were
contracted by other than the de facto governments.  Much of that money left
the country.  At least $170 billion was taken out of Latin America during
these years.  In countries such as Venezuela, for every dollar that entered
the country in the form of a loan, over $1.20 was taken out and deposited
with foreign powers.  What moral basis can there be for collecting this
debt from the people now?

There is the example of a father with a 5-year-old son and he borrows
$1,000 to gamble at a casino.  It would be absurd to collect the $1,000
from his 5-year-old child.  It would be absurd to collect from him that
debt of $1,000 which the father borrowed. [applause]

The debt was contracted in violation of legal and constitutional
principles.  There is another problem.  What are the causes of this debt?
What are the causes of underdevelopment?  Several persons here have
explained there is no such debt.  The Chilean companero from the Humanist
Party said the debt does not exist for him.  It is not a matter of
moratorium, or anything else.  He just plainly disregards the debt

I agree with him, but we have to argue over why we must disregard it.  It
is correct to disregard it, but we must show with solid and moral arguments
why we must disregard it, and the masses must be able to understand why.

In both meetings there have been speakers who are religious persons, and
they have said the debt is immoral.  Many church representatives from the
Christian, Evangelical, and Catholic churches have spoken here.  All of
them have said the debt is immoral because of its background, the way it is
loaned, from whom it comes; money that is used for repression, money that
is used for corruption.  I must admit that some of the money was invested
in development.  Some factories were built, some important structures were
built.  Sometimes the funds were used to balance payments, some were used
for the increased oil prices; this is true, but this is a very small part
of that money.

However, most of the funds were embezzled, misused, lost, spent, left the
country.  Not just left the country, but still leaving the country.  Ten
billion dollars leave Latin America every year.  This is the responsibility
of the bourgeoisie.  Let us see what measures they will adopt to halt this
capital flight.  Upon examination, one finds profound arguments in the
ethical sense, that it is not only unjust, but it is immoral to demand
payment of this debt from peoples who have nothing to do with it.  The
people are not even aware of what this is all about.  The debt will be
collected from the workers, the peasants, the Indians; perhaps these people
are not even aware of what this debt is all about.  Thus, this issue cannot
even stand up to an ethical analysis.

There is another argument, a legal argument, we might say, and that is
force majeure.  I just will not pay you, because I cannot pay you.  It is
similar to trying to sell a house, and then the house burns down before the
contract is signed.  Then he tell; the other one the house no longer
exists.  The law provides for all of these cases which are called force
majeure, or as Lopez Michelsen said in a previous meeting, it is impossible
to meet payments.

Well then, to limit payments to 10 percent is only one reason.  It is
impossible to meet payments.  There is no historical, moral, or ethical
value why our countries should have to make payments.  After all, our
countries financed with their bloodshed, sweat, and lives the Western
countries -- the United States -- financed them with millions of Indians
who died working in the mines.  There were millions of slaves brought from
Africa who worked hard in-order for the United States to accumulate its
wealth.  This historic reality i; being ignored.  A formula such as the one
proposing the 10 percent [on exports] ignores historic reality.  The truth
is that we owe nothing to the former colonial and neocolonial superpowers.
The debt is just.  It must be paid.  It is a moral obligation to pay the
debt.  The debt is moral. [as heard] I believe that what makes our proposal
stronger is the ethical justification, the historic justification.  If we
wage a battle without justification, we will lose it.  I think it is very
strong to say this debt must be paid.  It is impossible from a political,
moral, and legal point of view.  Besides, it is impossible.  Another reason
could be given.  But to wage the battle with the only reason that I just
simply cannot do it; this requires no effort and it would weaken very much
the position of the Third World and the Latin American countries.

With this I am answering Clarita [not further identified] when she wondered
if perhaps this would be a better way to solve things.  But I believe that
defending this formula does not replace the other more powerful arguments.
When one is going to defend a cause, one has to defend it with powerful
arguments, and not with just simple arguments, such as I will not pay you
more because I just simply cannot do it.  This weakens your cause.  I think
we must have a just cause, and it is a just cause because we can show the
justice of this cause, the morality, the strength of this cause.  If I am
to wage a battle for someone who is not solving anything and who had a
watchword that does not unite anyone, a watchword that renounces the moral,
ethical, historical arguments, then we are going to be struggling in vain.
We are going to lose the battle.

There is the other point of view: If you wish to win the battle, if you
want to win the masses, you must have a watchword that will unite, that
will have a powerful ethical, moral, political, historical component.  That
is the second group of reasons in which I believe.

The first group of reasons are mathematical.  They do not solve anything.
The second set of reasons are political and ethical which are very solid
and very worthy of being taken into consideration.  However, I understand
that there is a formula that already is of concern to the imperialists and
which violates, in a certain manner, the principles ruling all these
international financial relations.  And if we are going to violate these
relations, we are going to tear them apart, we are going to shred these
financial formulas and relations.  I think this is what really gives us
strength to wage this battle.

To this effect, may I add the following: Yesterday Carlos Rafael
[presumably Rodriguez] told me that THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- I do not
speak English very well -- published an article.  That newspaper is the
newspaper of the U.S. financial circles.  It was astonishing, said Carlos
Rafael.  I asked that the article be translated quickly.  The article in
the newspaper said: Beware of the sos of the Third World finances.  I am
not going to read it all, but it says: When Mr Castro hosted the foreign
debt meeting which opened on 30 July in the new Conventions Palace of
Havana, it could not be said that he attracted the respectful attention of
the bankers, the politicians, and even the newsmen of the First World.  It
was easy to shut one's ears, because Mr Castro -- at least in the United
States -- is the oldest villain of the political drama and all of his words
are filled with venom.  However, to shut one's ears to what was said in
Havana 6 weeks ago is as foolish as the captain of the Titanic refusing to
admit there were icebergs south of Newfoundland in mid-April.

The wise First World officials should listen to what he has to say, which
is very simple.  This is the newspaper of the U.S. financiers saying this.
Seeing is believing. [laughter] Although there is a certain logic to that
-- seeing is believing. [applause] He continues, saying it is inconceivable
that the Third World debtors may be able to pay their loans.  With each
convulsive movement they sink deeper into the quadmire.  They ask for more
money to cover the service of the existing loans, thus increasing their
debt on interest and their future costs.  We should have invited this man
to participate in this event. [applause]

As the years pass, the debt becomes more astronomic.  That is what we have
been saying all along. [applause] At the present, it amounts to
approximately 800 billion the world over -- it is a little more. [laughter]
Nearly half of it in Central and South America, and soon it will reach 1

There are two strategies to bring it to a halt: the Peruvian solution,
which consists in limiting the reimbursement of the debt to a certain
percentage of export revenues, which means that the accumulative debt
increases even more.  Or the IMF option, which consists in pressuring the
debtor nations to achieve a surplus in their exports.  To understand the
senselessness of this formula, suffice it to remember Western Europe after
World War II.  Let us suppose that the Marshall Plan should have been
organized by the commanders now in the IMF.  Those exhausted, indebted
nations would have been forced to make greater sacrifices.  Instead of the
aid that rebuilt their economies, helped the United States, and contributed
to encouraging the great post-war boom, the measures the IMF demands today
would have meant a continuity of the horrors of war through other means,
disaffection of Europe, and a huge economic contraction.  This is what this
newspaper of the U.S. financiers is saying.

It continues -- amazingly -- that the only response as proclaimed by Mr
Castro is to call off the debt and start anew with productive credits --
not merely a refinancing of the debt service -- which would ensure a stable
situation and the flow of surpluses from the developed world into the
developing nations.  It continues its analysis and adopts some of the
arguments we posed at the meeting.  We have tried to send an advanced
message to all sectors of the Third World nations, to the workers of the
industrialized nations, to the bank depositors, to the industrialists of
those countries.  We have said that all this is plain madness -- to spend
so much money on arms which could lead to war.  We do not want the banks to
go bankrupt.  We do not want the taxpayers to pay new taxes.  Ours is a
message to the workers, to the taxpayers, that is, not the workers, but the
depositors.  A message to the workers is that there will be more
employment, because if the Third World can count on $300 or $400 billion
more a year, it will purchase more, jobs will increase in those countries.
And they will be momentarily helped to come out of their crisis.  It would
alleviate their problems, also.  We repeat, we do not want the banks to
close down.  On the contrary, we want them to stay open and to lend us
money again, because with a new order, we could obtain loans and pay them.

We tell them the depositors will not lose their money.  We do not want them
to lose their money.  We are not recommending new taxes, but that the money
for military expenditures -- which is a mad, absurd, and astronomical sum
-- be reduced and the savings derived thereof be used to solve the problem
of the debt without having to close the banks and to proceed to establish
the new international economic order.  That is what we are recommending.

This may mean that capitalism may live 10, 20, or 30 more years, but in
exchange for what?  The capitalists might obtain a momentary advantage from
this, but this should not keep us awake.  What keeps us awake is the fear
of war.

Even though our peoples may be more and more dependent, there are no
existing conditions for the development of our countries, for their social
progress, or to alleviate the dire needs of millions of human beings -- and
statistics show large numbers of sick, undernourished children; large
numbers of persons born with physical and mental impairments due to
malnutrition problems; and many millions of persons who starve to death
every year.

I believe this message extends not only to our world, but also to the
imperialist nations.  To me, this is the explanation of the problem.

Over the years, there have been some sensible voices heard in the United
States.  It was Robert Beston, chief of Latin American studies for the
impeccable conservative Hoover Institution, who told CAMPUS REPORT of
Stanford University a couple of years ago that old loans granted for
unproductive purposes cannot be reimbursed unless a debt-related slavery is
implemented, which in modern times is unacceptable.  The debt must be
considered unpayable and should be cancelled.  Thus, the wisest thing for
the United States to do is to negotiate a cancellation, they claim he said.
The United States cannot prosper by itself, without regard to the odyssey
of its clients and customers.

Professor Beston continued to say that the U.S.  Government was partly
responsible for encouraging the loans and, therefore, should accept part of
the losses, and that all the banks will obviously have to agree on a plan.
It would be useless for the United States to accept a moratorium or
cancellation of the debt if the Europeans do not do the same.  Professor
Beston also admitted that the bankers will do anything to postpone
admitting the truth.  They want to continue sponging off their debtors
while pressuring them to earn more and spend less dollars despite the
social or political cost.

When a Fidel Castro and a member of the Hoover Institute agree from
different advantageous positions in that the Titanic is surrounded by
icebergs [preceding word in English] but that a safe course can be set,
then you should expect that those handling the wheel will pay attention and
take the correct course -- beginning with the IMF and World Bank meeting to
be held early next month.  And if we begin to see that more than one,
within the ranks of the enemy, begin to accept the idea of the
cancellation, then why give up the idea?  I think this should be very
interesting for the companero, I believe it was Juan Carlos Claudio Reyes,
the Chilean companero who spoke and expressed his fears as to whether it
was possible to achieve this.  I feel that this article just published in
the magazine of the international financiers shows that we are marching and
that it is possible and up to us to achieve these results.

I want to tell you that the situation continues to get worse, and we
continue to say that it is getting worse.  At this moment the situation is
worse, and I think that something else has come up in these past few days.
It came up while we were meeting here, or when we were going to begin the
meeting.  Here I have an AFP dispatch datelined Washington, not PRENSA
LATINA, no, AFP.  It states: According to U.S. economists, the forerunners
of the worsening of the crisis of the foreign debt increased in the past
few weeks in Latin America.  Meanwhile, the U.S.  Government, the financial
organizations, and the banks give no sign of changing their orthodox
strategy toward the debt implemented 3 years ago when the crisis broke.
This orthodox strategy calls for the debtor countries to pay the interest
on their debts while they refinance the capital.  On Tuesday Mexican
President Miguel de la Madrid issued a serious warning to the international
financial community, urging them to seek new ways to handle the Latin
American debtors if they wish to prevent a new and imminent worsening of
the debt crisis.

Similar appeals previously made by the debtor governments gathered in the
Cartagena Consensus were ignored by the creditors.  But now Latin American
exports -- which had multiplied last year -- have dropped, according to the
IMF, by 14.6 percent in the first 3 months of 1985 due to the stagnant
recovery in the industrialized world; listen closely, to the stagnant
recovery in the industrialized world and to the drop in the prices of raw

The case of Mexico is particularly illustrative of the new situation, since
that country was mentioned early this year by the international financial
community as an example of the success of the orthodox strategy because it
had been able to place its affairs in order and meet its interest payments.
Furthermore, the article adds that all that was changed.  During the first
7 months of 1985, the Mexican surplus dropped 47 percent as compared to the
same period in 1984.  Its favorable trade balance was reduced by 47
percent.  This was accompanied by a devaluation of 200 to 350 pesos per
dollar, and an increase in inflation, the flight of capital, a reduction of
imports, and domestic deficits.  To top it all off, the price of fuel --
the main Mexican export product -- is dropping.

With the difficulties of the two biggest debtors of the world -- Mexico and
Brazil -- combined with the problems of the minor countries, such as the
Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Panama, we return to our pessimism over
the debt, it says.  In the United States, several bankers and economists
have begun to worry over Washington's passiveness over the deterioration of
the debt situation.  A government official, quoted by THE MIAMI HERALD,
indicated that in the 3 years of crisis, President Ronald Reagan dedicated
only 1 hour to the issue -- in 1983 -- before assuming the leadership of
economic summit of the industrialized nations at Williamsburg, Virginia,
where he received a detailed report to that effect.  The U.S.  President
dedicated to this catastrophe, to all these calsmities, only 1 hour in

This shows that the problem continues to worsen, and confirms all the
things we have been commenting on here.  And there is something else.  Last
year the U.S. economy grew by 6.8 percent.  In the first quarter of this
year, it grew by 1 percent, and it is expected that by the end of the year,
it will have grown only 2 percent.  Thus, the powerful engine that was to
bolster the world economy has begun to cough and may stop completely.
[applause] And according to all indications, that engine will not work.

There is more to this, there are other symptoms, other information.  For
example, the U.S. internal debt is increasing.  Another recent dispatch
states that they asked Congress for authorization to increase the maximum
limit of the internal debt from 1.8 billion, rather trillion, depending on
how you wish to call it, that is 1.8 million million to 2.08 million of
million.  Without this, they would not have enough money to do all these
crazy things.

The internal debt before the Reagan administration took over, when he took
over, did not reach the trillions.  Next year, after only 5 and 1/2 years
in office, that debt will be greater than 2 trillion.  This means that U.S.
citizens today are paying $650 each year in taxes as a result of this debt.
Reportedly, in 1990, each U.S. citizen will be paying $1,000 a year as a
result of this debt.  Reagan takes money from us to pay for his
warmongering adventures, constructing battleships, aircraft carriers, and
preparing star wars, and all manner of madness.  Where does the money for
all this come from?  (?Probably, among other places) from our countries.
They do not have that money, they do not collect enough money internally.
And while the IMF pressures Third World countries, schools are being closed
and teachers and doctors are being left unemployed, are reducing [words
indistinct] and reduce their deficits.  Meanwhile, the United States
maintains an astronomical budget deficit of more than $200 billion and
nobody says anything about this.

There has been an increase in interest rates and an overvaluation of the
dollar due to all these monetary manipulations and all these evil methods
applied to solve their problems.  We are paying for their arms race.
However, there are repercussions for the United States.  This must be
explained to the U.S. people.  I myself will explain this to them.  There
is some literature circulating and some more about to come out this week,
right there in the United States on the consequences of this on their

Well, the U.S. foreign debt has reached $200 billion and it is estimated
that at the current trend, it will reach $1 trillion in 1990.  All this
madness of the United States is leading to an enormous accumulation of
internal and foreign debt.  I ask: What is all this for?

Seeking universal domination, it will seek to resolve this crisis with
atomic weapons.  What do they want that enormous quantity of atomic weapons
for?  What do they want that military supremacy for?

Meanwhile, the budget deficit is growing and the economy is at a
standstill.  It will be over $200 billion this year; it could reach $210,
215, or 220 billion.  Last year's trade deficit reached $122 billion, and
apparently, it will be $150 billion this year.  It continues to worsen.

The United States is spending almost $300 billion that it does not produce.
Where does that money come from?  What repercussions will this have on the
U.S. economy. and the rest of the world?  The Japanese have a great policy
: They develop technology and compete with the United States.  Between 1981
and 1984 labor productivity in the United States grew by 3.5 percent; in
Japan it grew by 9.5 percent.  How can they possibly compete with the
Japanese, who instead of investing money in aircraft carriers are investing
in technology and are competing in the United States?

And what else is taking place?  Well, the Japanese are buying out the
world, because they have plenty of spare money thanks to their exports to
the United States.  In 1984 Japan invested $50 billion abroad; it invested
almost $100 billion in the past 3 years, but $50 billion in the past year.
It is expected that by the end of 1985 Japan will become the largest
investor abroad among all countries.  It will be ahead of the United States
and England.  Among other things, Japan is buying out the United States; it
is already the owner of 400 large industries.  On the one hand, they invest
in technology and compete.  And while they are telling Latin American
countries to import less and export more, as someone said here, we ask:
Where will they export the 400 proposals for protectionist measures
presented in the U.S.  Congress?  That is 400 of them; there has never
before been such a wave of proposals for protectionist measures in the
United States, never.

This shows you the inequality and discriminatory nature of the measures
being imposed on us.  They tell everyone: You must export everything.  But
we ask, who can we export to?  Should we produce more coffee, cocoa, sugar,
and meat to sell at cheaper prices?  Or shall we produce nontraditional
articles to compete with whom?  With Japan? and RCA; with refrigerators,
televisions, and with technical equipment?  Who will we compete with?

All this is absurd and mad.  I believe and I am sure that our companerita
from Los Andes understands this perfectly well; one need not be an
economist to understand this problem.  It is evident that we must let
people know about this.  I have to do this myself; they are beginning to
understand part of this problem.

The European economy, which barely increased by 2 percent last year, is not
increasing any more than 2 percent this year.  Everything seems to indicate
that the world economy is about to fall into a new recession.  Many things
have happened.  These are realities.  I thank the Peruvians for allowing me
to explain the problem of what the situation is and how we view it.  The
problem tends to worsen.  The snowball will grow.  Look, although I know
many of you want to ask questions, I am in no hurry; but you might all fall
asleep. [laughter] It would not be a bad idea, because Clarita had some
doubts.  I have tried to explain some.  I think we should give Clarita the
floor so she can ask the things which interest her. [applause] Ask me,
Clarita, ask me what you want so I can answer you.  Ask me everything Cuba
does and what it thinks.  I will answer with pleasure.  Sit here, close to

[Clara Lopez] Thank you, President Castro.  This is an honor I never
imagined.  As I said yesterday, I would like to ask you to comment on and
explain the operation of the new international economic order that Cuba has
proposed with the socialist countries, and if during the 20 years following
the revolution relations with those countries have improved, remained the
same, or deteriorated with those countries?  As we Colombians have joined
the international coffee agreement, we also support the socialist
countries, but we have been selling at lower prices outside the agreement
provisions.  Could this type of policy be changed in the future?  Could the
nonpayment of the debt have any repercussions among the socialist countries
and thus lead to a generalization of a blockade of the capitalist
countries?  Could this create some sort of a crutch, which is very
necessary, with the socialist world?  In this regard, what would be the
socialist world's capacity for solving this problem and carrying this
burden for the Third World?  I would like to thank you, Mr President, for
the great honor you have given me.  Thank you. [applause]

[Castro] Clarita, you asked me something this afternoon and you know that
[words indistinct] if we have any complaints concerning the debt.  Have you
forgotten anything?

[Clara Lopez] Yes, I left out the most important one.  Cuba has a complaint
concerning the Latin American debt.  Would Cuba apply this to its own
foreign debt?

[Castro] It is the same complaint; we have the same complaint.

[Clara Lopez] No, I understand it is not the same complaint that would be

[Castro -- interrupting] That would be applied.  I think it is very

[Clara Lopez -- interrupting] In the analysis....

[Castro -- interrupting] Behind all this is the argument which is being
used; we are renegotiating the debt.  That is the argument they are using,
and I think it is advisable if we talk about that also.  Don't you think

[Clara Lopez] Yes.

[Castro] I understood something, and I think some companero, I think it was
Didimo, the Panamanian, or was it a Venezuelan?  One of the two argued that
we should not pay, that it was insane, that Castro was the best paying
customer, and so forth.  I think it is important to discuss this.  That is
what the enemy is saying, and we must be informed of what we are going to
do, how we think, how we handle all this.

[Clara Lopez] This argument is heard very much in Colombia.

[Castro] Thank you.  Cuba is a good paying customer. [laughter; applause]
We have good exchange with the USSR.  We have good relations with the
socialist countries now and these ties were not made over night.  Our trade
relations with the socialist countries resulted after the U.S. aggressions
and blockade when they took away our petroleum supply and our sugar quota
and adopted measures that sought to kill us -- a country that had developed
an economic relation with the United States for 100 years, even before its
independence.  We supplied them with sugar, tobacco, a long list of
products.  Suddenly, the market is cut off.  It withdrew the quota, and
then we received a price slightly better than the world market price.  We
were suddenly deprived of our fuel, raw material, equipment, food,
medicine, everything.  That is how our relations with the socialist
countries began.

We had had relations with them before because we had a sugar surplus and we
wanted the socialist countries to buy some of our sugar.  However, we had
500,000 tons of sugar.  We sold most of our sugar to the United States and
the world market.  Then the United States took away our quota of nearly 3.5
million tons.  Where were we going to place that sugar?  At that time, the
socialist countries did not have the degree of development they now have,
naturally.  I want you to know that at that time we consumed 4.5 million
tons of petroleum, but the USSR barely produced 100 tons, practically
one-fifth of what it produces now.  I think we received very important
support because we were ready and willing to fight and die, just like the
Nicaraguans and the Salvadorans are ready to do.  We were not going to give

But we would have to see how all this ended.  We probably would have ended
up dead.  Or perhaps we would not have been able to do what we have done
concerning markets, fuels.  Maybe we would still be riding horses as a
means of transportation, and using candles or torches to see in the dark.

The solidarity of the socialist countries, particularly that of the Soviet
Union which has the highest economic resources, was a decisive factor for
us.  Then they started buying our sugar and supplying us with petroleum at
world market prices, and with raw materials and food, and they granted us
some loans.  This is how our relations started.  These gradually developed,
increasing according to petroleum consumption.  Our needs then increased.
Then, during a certain period, our relations with them were, based on the
world market prices.  Then, reality was something else.  It was impossible
to develop the country based on world market prices.  They gave us credit
and we started to receive better prices.  At that time, when the world
market was at about 3.5 centavos, 4 centavos, we received 6 centavos.

However, guess what we discovered at that time?  There was the law on
unequal trade.  A 5-year plan began, and our sugar was worth 6 centavos.
The products we were buying from the socialist countries were based on the
world market.  We then found out that while our sugar was worth 6 centavos
for 6 years, the articles we were importing were increasing in price every
year because these were the world market prices that ruled the socialist
countries' foreign trade.  They sold and purchased at world market prices.
That is how we started to advance.  In the first place, we obtained a
preferential price, as a developing country.  That is the type of
relationship that should exist between a developed socialist country and a
developing socialist country.  We have defended that principle for the
socialist countries of the Third World, for example Mongolia, Vietnam, and
other CEMA countries.  We have defended this principle, and it has been

Then a balanced price was established.  A certain price was established for
sugar.  And since this was the main export product, if the prices of
imported products increased, then the price of our export product -- sugar
-- increased.  Thus, even before the energy crisis, we had obtained a
reasonable, satisfactory price.  We had obtained 19 centavos per pound of
sugar.  That was a profitable price for us, a satisfactory price, and it
was a balanced price.  If the prices of the merchandise we imported
increased, we increased the price of our sugar.  This happened before the
petroleum crisis.  One of our main import products was petroleum.  Then our
consumption increased tremendously and prices soared.  By virtue of the
clause that protected us, we were guaranteed the purchasing power of our
sugar.  We applied that same concept to our main export products with the
USSR and the socialist countries, in other words, with the USSR and the
developed socialist countries.  This is not the case with Vietnam,
Mongolia, Laos, Kampuchea, and other countries of the Third World that are
less developed than we are.  We received many benefits from the solidarity
of the developed socialist countries, and in turn we offered this
solidarity to other countries according to our possibilities.

For example, we have over 1,500 doctors working abroad, most of them
working free of charge.  We cooperate in this respect with over 30
countries.  We have scholarship students here in Cuba from over 80
countries.  We have over 22,000 students here on scholarship, and all that
is free.  On one hand, we receive solidarity, and on the other, we apply

However, with the developed socialist countries, we have achieved this new
international economic order.  We have just, satisfactory, profitable
prices for our products which are also protected from the unequal trade
trend with regard to the increasing prices on the world market.  This means
that our sugar, nickel, citrus fruits, and our exports to the developed
socialist world have a large purchasing power.  This gives us a
considerable revenue which improves our economy.

However, we also contracted debts.  We had a similar problem, and we had to
start paying these debts.  We discussed that, and we decided to apply the
following principle: to postpone payment of the debt for a long period --
10, 15, or 20 years -- without paying any interest.  I think this is a
magnificent principle to apply in relations between the Third World and the
developed capitalist countries.  They should say: Payments are postponed
for 15 years, in theory.  At the end of 10 or 15 years, This has to be
postponed for another 10, 15, or 20 years, without ever adding any
interest.  Then, this is clearly a matter of principle.  This is clearly
understood.  This is the way it has been.

With the socialist countries, the formula is not the same with all of them.
With other countries, we have a certain price, which is satisfactory for
our products, and they maintain a stable price for the products we import,
that is, they maintain a fixed price.  There are fixed, stable prices for
our export and import products.  They give us all the conditions and rates
so we can plan our economy, and they allow us -- in the midst of this huge
crisis -- to increase our economy's growth by 6.8 percent, which was the
case last year.  This year it is growing approximately by 5 percent.  We
can guarantee conditions for stable development, despite this huge crisis.

This helps us in our education, health, culture, housing construction,
sports, and development budgets.  Last year we invested 4 billion pesos,
equivalent to the dollar.  We have an investment and development plan, and
I think we have created the conditions for an economic development program.
Those are our achievements, our successes in the struggle for a new
international economic order between the developed socialist countries and
ourselves.  What we propose is to apply these principles throughout the

When we speak of a new international economic order, and to begin with when
we speak of paying debts, we should erase them from our minds, or leave
them to the history books, if that is what they want. [laughter; applause]
This is applicable to all of the developed countries and all debts, those
of the Third World countries with capitalist countries, as well as with
socialist countries.  When we discuss payments we refer to all countries.
When we discuss disarmament and the reduction of military expenses, it is
equal for all countries.  As we know perfectly well that the socialist
countries are not interested in the madness of the arms race, or the arms

A socialist country knows what to do with money and how many homes,
schools, theaters, or recreation fields they can construct.  Why spend the
money on fortifications, tanks, cannons, and airplanes?  Capitalist
economies are designed for any type of business, and the best business for
capitalism is weapons.  The socialist economies are designed for planned
investments.  They have no reason to throw money away.  I could say how
much we have spent on defense, forced by the United States to build
fortifications.  How many children's centers we could have created every
year, how many schools, homes, so many things.  If we were at peace we
would cease to construct fortifications -- real and not false peace --
because those who err in this do not survive. [laughter, applause] There
are so many things we want to do.  We want to do all kinds of things:
sports fields, schools, sports complexes, housing, art schools, theater,
all types of things.  Aquariums, we have an aquarium, the poor thing is
very old, we have plans we are trying to fulfill them.  For the past 15
years we have been working on a new zoo, we have done this patiently and
with a great deal of volunteer work.  This is how we have done many things.
We know what we can do with money.

Those of us who have planned economies try to ration our resources; this
does not mean that we use our resources to perfection.  We are far from
that.  However, we try to make the best of our resources and nothing
prevents this except our limitations and capabilities of administration.
It is not a system; the system helps us.  If we only were capable of using
all of our resources to their fullest; this is what we are trying to do.
However, you can see how our budget grows year after year (?in every
sector, for culture).  Someone spoke here who said that -- I believe he was
French or Dominican -- a French writer Monroe said that art or culture is
the poor relative of capitalism.  Nevertheless, if socialism is not
careful, it will be the poor relative of culture. [laughter] I can say that
in 1984 [applause] the culture budget not only grew by 24 percent in 3
years, but at this time culture expenses have grown to 70 percent.  I had
to protest at the National Assembly and tell them to hold up a little and
to spend less on culture or the socialist state would be ruined. [laughter]
So that all of you can not only see how development investments have grown
year by year during these past years but also education, culture, sports,
and public health investments; yesterday you saw the experiment . [sentence
as heard] We are not the only country with this system.  Other socialist
countries also have it.  Of course capitalist countries cannot have this
because they have family doctors.  In the next 15 years we will have 20,000
new doctors of the 50,000 students who will graduate because we do not have
unemployed doctors or teachers; every year we graduate more students.  In
these years of revolution we have graduated almost 300,000 students, and we
have 256,000 employed.  Many teachers have helped us with our mass
organizations, parties, the state, and they are highly qualified people.

We have had 256,000 professors and teachers in our country, and we have a
reserve that can be put to work or to study at a higher level.  We will do
the same with the doctors.  After we have 65,000 we will graduate 10,000
more as reserves so that every 7 years the doctors can have all-year
sabbatical.  We do not have excess people, but when it looks as if there is
a surplus, we put them to work, and those who work for 5, 6, or 7 years
receive a whole year to study and improve themselves.  Socialism has all of
these possibilities, and this is what we are doing in the midst of this
crisis.  Of course, we could not do this without the new economic order
which we have established with the socialist countries.

This is why I was explaining to the companero that despite our deep
revolution, nationalizing everything, and we socialize everything, even if
there is no oil, investments, or resources we will advance.  I believe we
could even go back to primitive communism, which I believe is better than
capitalism. [laughter, applause] There are some who to excuse themselves
from applying socialism say they do not want to share poverty.  Of course,
this is very logical.  They share poverty among the masses, and a
privileged minority receives no poverty.  They have all their income,
privileges, and expenses ensured.  They do not face hunger, sickness, or
need medicines.  To this I say: It is more just to share poverty than to
leave it to the immense majority of the population, exploiting them to give
privileges to a minority of the population.  I have heard some here who say
they do not want to share poverty.  I would advocate sharing poverty among
all of us.  This is why I say that without this new order, perhaps our
socialism would have ended up as primitive communism.  However, I repeat
that it existed and we prefer it.  We understand very well what
underdevelopment and conditions of development mean because if there is
no development how can we sustain 75,000 doctors?  How could we have
256,000 teachers without an increase in production and productivity?  We
could not (?release) teachers; we would have to have everyone cutting cane
if we had no sugar cane combines.  There would be no development
without increased production and productivity.

I think this new order we have established helps a lot in reaching our
goals.  This new order is precisely what we are proposing, that is, new
relations between the developed and underdeveloped countries, in other
words, between the developed world and the underdeveloped countries, not
the developing countries, as it is euphemistically said at the United
Nations.  We are underdeveloped countries.  When one compares the per
capita income of Colombia with that of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England,
France, the FRG, Japan, the United States, and so forth, you will see that
the distance between your income and theirs is greater all the time.  The
same happens to the Cubans and everyone else, even the Venezuelans who have
petroleum and great resources.

This is how we can explain this exchange.  I believe that with this new
economic order, we would have to establish obligations concerning all
products, for all the capitalist and socialist countries on an equal basis.
One cannot ask the socialist countries who are having their own problems
and struggling with certain difficulties to enforce a policy when they do
not have resources.  It simply does not work out.  Perhaps, they could do
it with a few countries.  However, the resources are not exaggerated.  They
also have their needs.  I think that the same policy that is applied to us
should also be applied at least to all the socialist countries of the Third
World, of CEMA, that is, within the socialist sphere.  However, when we
propose a new international economic order, we are proposing universal
principles for everyone.  When we talk about cancelling, erasing the debt
from memory, we are going to erase all debts from memory, the debts of the
Third World countries, regardless of who are the creditors, as long as they
are developed countries.  That is the principle we defend.

I believe the socialist countries have a certain capacity for helping one,
two, or three countries that are blockaded.  If as a result of desperation
some countries were forced to do this, they should be helped.  That is how
I feel.  I do not decide this for the socialist countries, but I know them
well.  I am completely convinced they would support any country that was in
a difficult situation as a result of having taken a step out of despair.
Some countries have taken the wrong step, such as Bolivia, but it has a
small debt; it does not have any influence.  I do not wish to mention any
countries, because there are a few that have taken the step and they are
going to have a big squabble.  I swear. [Castro laughs] I am sure.
[applause] I am sure they would have the support of the socialist
countries, of the entire Third World, and of even many capitalist

The United States can establish its blockade, but I doubt it will do so.
That is my opinion.  I doubt it because the situation is so critical that
it is affecting over 100 countries.  It is affecting entire continents.  To
adopt measures such as imposing a blockade on a country because it is
suspending payments, because despair forces it a do so, is like putting out
a fire with gasoline.  It will only spread the fire.  I [Unreadable text]
sure what they would do would be to negotiate quickly, trying to put out
the fire in another way and not through coercive measures.

This is no longer a matter for just Cuba alone.  Socialism is such a
horrible thing, such a diabolic thing.  It has committed such a big sin and
therefore it deserves excommunication, hell, and so on.  Therefore, all of
those measures must be adopted.  But this happens to a country which is not
socialist, nor has it proclaimed socialism, or let us say, it has just
proclaimed nonpayment of the debt out of despair rather than doing it
quietly.  This is not what we are proposing.  We are proposing a common
action by all the countries.  Now, I also think that perhaps it might be
too difficult to reach this action, reach this consensus.  This crisis
which is affecting so many countries might force two or three countries to
adopt this measure out of despair and unleash a mechanism of international
solidarity, for which we have been working, forecasting that this might
happen.  We have been in contact with countries from Asia, Africa, many
countries.  We have the idea that someone might start this.  But if someone
jumps in alone, I think they will negotiate quickly rather than adopt
measures trying to put out the fire and not pour gasoline on it.

Nevertheless, I believe that a small percentage of countries that might be
the target of a blockade and that imperialism might be so stupid as to
impose a blockade on them -- we must always allow for the stupidities of
the imperialists and sometimes this stupidity is good because it helps to
defeat imperialism itself -- would unleash such a show of solidarity that
it would make the solidarity over the Malvinas issue look like child's
play.  The Malvinas issue had emotional and moral reasons.  However; this
is now a matter of life or death.  The Third World has enough instincts to
not abandon anyone.

I am sure we could counter a blockade very well.  If everyone united in an
action and the entire Third World adopted a common stand, what could the
industrialized world do?  It cannot blockade any one, because to do so
would be to blockade themselves.  This is what we have made this analysis
for the sake of those who claim this is insane.  They think that what
happened to us cannot happen to anyone else.  When the imposed the super
blockade, the total blockade on us, trucks, locomotives, and everything
that moved here had U.S. parts.  All factory equipment had U.S. parts.  We
did not have a mechanical industry, but we started to manufacture parts out
of anything.  We made spare parts for textile machinery even out of wood.
It was like wartime.  Sometimes, we even had to manufacture a small part
out of wood for rifles because we did not have steel.  It was difficult,
but our rifles worked.  Thus we also began moving our trucks, not with
wood, but we developed a steel industry.  We were manufacturing the spare
parts here with our lathes.  Those were difficult years, perhaps the most
difficult years of all.  We were alone; we had no solidarity.  Only the
socialist countries helped us.  However, those who will wage this battle
today will have tremendous solidarity from everyone, because they know this
is everyone's battle.

If there were a case of some desperate countries who would move in these
directions, I think we have enough resources.  This would be the 50th
blockade for us. I doubt if they would commit the stupidity ---if they are
smart and have some thinking people -- of adopting measures against the
countries which are forced to adopt measures out of despair.  That is how I
think and how I am clearly explaining this.

Cuba is a good paying customer.  This is a new category [laughter] that has
come up after we unleashed this battle of the debt.  In order to wage this
battle, you must begin to discuss the debt in Chile, which does exist.
When you get some free time, examine the speeches at the close of the
continental meeting on the debt.  You probably know more about that than I
do.  You looked it up, didn't you? [laughter] This is a new category, since
this battle has been unleashed.  (?Some) have become active in this
struggle; this category is new.  Imperialism never would have said that we
are good paying customers.  On the contrary, the imperialists would tell
the banks: They do not pay well, do not lend them money.  Look, the price
of sugar dropped; do not do that.  They have spent all of their lives
sabotaging Cuba's credit. [applause]

Suddenly, imperialism raises us up to the ranks of the best payers in the
world.  Such credit!  Because they must now increase Cuba's credit, the
United States says we are the best payers in the world.  Imagine that!  And
why?  Because we are little orphans. [laughter] Poor little things, we are
indigent for being such big-mouths.  They have no idea.  They do not know
how to counter all of these arguments.  They are trying to do anything,
making up stories.

They say that while Cuba tells others not to renegotiate, Cuba
renegotiates.  I am not telling others not to renegotiate.  We are not
referring to an isolated country.  We are planning meetings with them.  We
are negotiating how to erase the debt, which is something else: to sit down
to discuss the cancellation of the debt, to erase the debt.  That is the
issue, but they do not understand that.  We should be elegantly discussing
that issue on a friendly basis with the Latin American and the Third World
countries, because this is a problem of the entire Third World.  This is a
problem involving the entire hemisphere, the area, the region, but the area
which is in the best condition for leading this battle is Latin America.
Why?  Because it has the greatest political power, is more developed, is in
better condition than the others.  I am sure all of the other countries
would accept it if Latin America were in the vanguard.  Besides, the others
have no choice, as they are in very critical, explosive situations.  This
situation is not exactly the same in our countries, but in Latin America
there is a situation where we can discuss it. [Castro mumbles, hesitates]
now, I say that they are not going to discuss until the crisis explodes,
until they do not see a willingness to adopt a decision concerning this
problem.  That is what we have proposed, and we propose they meet.  Now, we
say that some countries do not agree because some will take measures and
unleash the crisis.  We are trying to prevent this; we are trying to
prevent the battle from being unleashed a little bit here today, then
tomorrow somewhere else.  They are trying to postpone the problem.  They
can postpone the problem, but they cannot avoid it.  It is impossible; the
figures say it is impossible.

We are reading here a report on Mexico, and this situation worsens.  It
will worsen and not improve.  The conditions exist for waging a battle with
all possibilities of winning.  Now, the situation which prevailed in Cuba
with its debt is totally different from the rest of Latin America.  I will
explain, it is very simple.  In the first place, no one stole a cent in
this country.  There are very few countries that can claim no one stole a
cent.  No one stole a cent from our loans that were invested in
development.  As a result of the U.S. blockade, we sold our nickel and
sugar at very low prices on the world market, and thus it was necessary for
us to obtain credits at a certain time.  For the first 10 years, we did not
obtain any credits, not a cent during the first 10 years.  Nevertheless, we
advanced.  Then we received the first short-term credits, credits for
investments, some credits for business transactions.  That is how we
created our foreign debt in convertible currencies.  We do so because there
is no new economic order, and since we have not said that we are going to
postpone it for 10, 15, or 20 years without interest.  We have been
affected by our trade with the Western world, but that amounts to 15
percent.  Eighty-five percent of our trade is with the socialist world.  In
other words, this catastrophe and all of the criminal prices-which are paid
for products-affect 15 percent of our exports.  The other 85 percent, which
is under good commercial conditions, is what helps us to subsist.

Our debt it not large.  Part of it is with Third World countries: Argentine
credit -- that is part of our convertible debt -- which is part of our
direct commercial debt; credits with other Third World countries.  Well, we
are not proposing to not pay anyone or not pay our debts with the Third
World countries.  We are even thinking that once we erase the debts, our
policy with regard to the Third World countries -- as creditors -- would be
different, and we would pay those debts.  Our Argentine brothers would be
unable to sleep [laughter] if we did not pay our debt to them.  I am not
saying this. [Castro laughs] It would not be fair, considering all the
problems they have and all they are going to have. [laughter]

If they want to pardon the debt, that is something else. [laughter] We are
struggling so that they can pardon your debt, not for you to pardon ours.
[laughter, applause] More than pardon, we are struggling for them to forget
it.  There is nothing to pardon, conforming to the ethical and
philosophical nature of the problem.

Now then, part of that debt, and convertible currency, we owe to the
Western banks.  Correct.  But we do not owe a cent to U.S. banks.  We do
not owe a cent to the World Bank or to the IMF.  They are cynics.  They
lack arguments without valid arguments.  Their political influence and lack
of scruples is so great that they dare speak on these terms and use such
arguments, knowing that we owe them nothing.  They would not use that
argument with Brazil.  They would not be advising them not to pay the debt;
or with Argentina, or Venezuela, or any of the other countries.

Not a single cent borrowed by us was stolen or lost.  Not a single cent of
that money went out of the country.  Every cent was invested in development
projects and services to the people.  Can any other country in Latin
America say this?  None can say this.  We could not say our investments
were optimum, but we invested the money the best way possible and the
projects are all there.  In 25 years not a single dollar has left the
country.  That is essential for development because if you sell all the
merchandise and in the end the money disappears, then how can there be
development?  It has disappeared everywhere else, and you know that well.
[laughter] There are dollars circulating from various sources [laughter],
which have helped in some ways, like the invisible balance of payment.
[laughter] That is why the debt has not been so large.  It is big, but not
gigantic.  And the invisible help came one way or another. [laughter,

Who loaned us money?  A few banks, not many, and in open disobedience to
U.S. pressure.  These banks who loaned us money during the blockade years
had to resist U.S. pressure.  They invested that money by lending it to us.
Then, it is easy to say: Give an example and do not pay those banks.
Naturally it is a trap, like slipping on a banana peel, and we are not
going to let them pull our leg and lead us into provoking emotional
decisions or anything of the sort.  Then, logically, it is with those banks
that we have renegotiated the debt.  While the United States has tried in
every way to extend the boycott -- they are cynical, saying that they have
boycotted this country for 26 years -- we resisted the boycott, developed
certain relations, which helped fight the boycott, with some Western
nations, even some banks.  It helped us in the struggle against the U.S.
boycott.  As long as these institutions do not join the U.S. boycott, we
shall continue to renegotiate with them.

There are not many banks, but we cannot facilitate the United States
extending its boycott against Cuba to the rest of the Western world. We
cannot forget that we are a nation that has been completely boycotted by
the United States, a huge economic and financial power, for the past 26
years, and that we created these mechanisms against the boycott in the
defense of the country.

Now, we have already said that we are not waging a battle for Cuba.  If we
have 85 percent of our trade with the socialist nations under existing
conditions, it is easy to understand that we are in a desperate, critical
situation.  The cost of the interest of our debt in convertible currency is
less than 5 percent of the total of our exports.  The cost of the servicing
of the debt in convertible currency, which includes some amortizations, is
less than 9 percent of the total exports of the country.  Our situation is
not overabundant or free from difficulties, but it cannot possibly be
compared to a desperate situation.

What shall we do?  We are recommending the formula that is applicable to
all countries, not to us.  We are not recommending an isolated nation adopt
measures, much less if the measures are not going to help them in any way
and instead help the imperialists.  The Yankees can rest assured that we
are not going to help in any way.  It is not easy for them to fool us.
They show great cynicism and lack of argument when they cannot debate this,
and have turned us into the best payers in the world overnight.

[Woman interrupts] What about Keynes' Castro [Castro Keynesiano]?

[Castro] Well, Keynes' Castro: "The Great Truth" has been explained
somewhere around here [in one of the papers].  I did not even remember that
it existed.  But somehow, there is the increased cash circulation at the
world level, the purchasing capacity, you should know about that, you
studied in Boston, you must have studied more Keynes than than I did.  What
I studied was the problems we have in our country and what we have done in
the Third World, because we have done much and thought much about its
problems.  Now some capitalists are beginning to realize that if the Third
World had a purchasing power of 300 or 400 billion pesos more, many of
their industries would be in full production and capitalism would survive a
little longer.  Capitalism is sentenced to death; history has sentenced it
to death because it is a system based on chaos and these catastrophes
cannot survive with these crises and supercrises, improving one year and
deteriorating the next, going from crisis to crisis, faster and deeper.

First there was the crisis of the thirties and now we have our current
crisis.  Consequently, the system has failed in our countries and at world
level.  What has been the outcome of all this?  They have tried to deceive
us; they invented the Alliance for Progress to counter the Cuban
revolution's victory.  Oh, yes, what a marvel.  They said they would give
$20 billion in 10 years, $20 billion.  Oh great, but what for?  For
development, progress, everything, they said.  Now the Latin American
countries are paying almost $40 billion in interest per year, plus $10
billion in capital drain, which makes 550 billion, plus $20 billion as a
result of the deteriorated prices because they receive merchandise which is
sold at much lower prices.

They are taking $70 billion from us, including the consequences of the
dollar's overvaluation.  I do not mention the overvaluation, the high
interest rates, because these are included in the $40 billion which must be
paid.  Last year the Latin American countries paid $37 billion in cash and
received $10 billion.  The net balance of what they paid in cash was $27.3
billion.  If you add the $10 billion which was stolen, it means they have
turned over $37.3 billion in cash during a single year, during 1984. How
much will they pay this year?  Then they get some loans to pay part of the
interest, and the countries have to overextend themselves to pay the rest,
because their products are selling at much lower prices.  That is the
situation and it is worsening.

However, we must not lose the hope that some people will reflect, think,
and become aware that it is much more advantageous for them to allow an
extension of time for payment.  It would be advantageous for us, because we
know what we want for ourselves.  If they are intelligent, they will derive
some temporary advantage and overcome this crisis, but capitalism will not
survive.  Capitalism will emerge in bad shape.  Capitalism will be greatly
affected by this crisis because it proves that nothing has been resolved.
What have they resolved in Latin America?  They talked about the Alliance
for Progress and what happened?  Is there no more illiteracy?  Is there no
more poverty, drugs, gambling, prostitution, and unemployment?  There are
110 million unemployed and underemployed in Latin America, and a large
percentage of these are young people.  There were 38.5 million youths
between the ages of 15 and 25 in 1960; now, 20 years later, we have 73.3
million.  Unemployment has risen above 50 percent among the youths of that
age in Latin America -- even in Venezuela.  In 1958 58 percent of youths
between the ages of 10 [Castro corrects himself] 15 and 24 years were
unemployed.  There are statistics to prove that the children in Latin
America's poor sectors start looking for jobs when they are 5 years old.
They cannot attend technical schools or get secondary educations because
they must try to get jobs.  There are urban zones in Latin America where 75
percent of the youths between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed.

This is what the Alliance for Progress has given us.  It was supposed to
solve all these problems but it emerged as a demagogic attempt to crush
Cuba, to prevent the propagation of revolutionary ideas.  What are the
results?  How many houses of prostitution do we have in our country?  How
many beggars?  How many children begging for money?  How many casinos do we
have in our country?  How many establishments for the consumption of drugs?
You will not find a single casino or establishment for the consumption of
drugs.  We do not have this problem, and we do not have unemployment
problems, either.  What we need in many areas of the country is more hands,
a work force.  After 25 years we have achieved a ninth grade minimum level
of education among our workers.  The universities have more than 200,000
students.  We have an education system in which the same number of students
who register for primary school continue through secondary school and
complete higher education.

This is a country in which we have a doctor for every 440-odd inhabitants,
a country which can help other countries and which is graduating more than
2,500 doctors per year.  Soon we will be graduating between 3,000 and 3,500
doctors per year.  This is a country in which the primary education
teachers have begun to graduate from the university with masters degrees in
primary education.  This is what the revolution which they tried to crush
has done and what is the contrast?  I am not trying to make propaganda for
Cuba because it hurts me to say this, but I will say it, I will ask: Where
are the models?  What has the capitalist, imperialist model achieved in
Latin America?  What are the results in the health sector and other
sectors?  The UNICEF director said in this same room that if the children
in Latin America had the same health levels as the children in Cuba,
750,000 children under the age of I would be saved every year.
Consequently, I ask: Who kills them?  Socialism?  Are they not killed by
imperialism, exploitation, capitalism, and all those other capitalist
models?  Who starves these children?  Who is to be held responsible because
millions of children and youths grow up -- and I am talking about children
under the age of 1 -- with physical and mental handicaps.  Almost 50
percent of the children grow up with physical and mental handicaps due to
nutrition problems.  Who produces so many mentally retarded and physically
underdeveloped people?  Who produces this?  Socialism?  Does Cuba produce
this?  Who produces all these calamities?  Imperialism and capitalism.  I
assure you, capitalism will emerge in bad shape from all this. [applause]

I said yesterday that this problem about the debt is a product of the
system.  I said that this is a diabolical thing, but it could not come from
hell, only from heaven.  I was joking, referring to the efforts exerted by
the liberation theologists who have brought us this problem of the debt,
which has become a colossal instrument for the Third World countries.  For
the first time in history, the countries will be able to take the
initiative.  They will not have to sit down to ask or beg.  They will
simply say: Look, we are giving this to you, but we will simply not give
you any more.  The initiative is at hand.  I see so many logical, elemental
things which might possibly help solve this problem in the near future.  I
must logically assert my conviction -- I already did -- that this problem
will be solved and a social explosion will take place.  I think that we
will soon be able to say: Either the problem is solved or there will be a
generalized revolution in Latin America and the Third World.

I think that with these words I have given you a broad idea of my thoughts.
I think that there are no secrets, no cards hidden up our sleeves.  We have
said what we think; it is not always good but it is always advantageous.
[laughter, applause] It is necessary for the masses to have been here for
almost 4 hours.  I am not tired, but I am thinking about you. [laughter] I
think that the basic issues, above all the minor points, have been covered.
I might think of something else later on, but the meeting will be over by
then. [laughter] I will have to wait for the next occasion.

What do you think, must we ask permission to close the assembly?  This has
become an assembly.  We must close this.  What?  Well, I have the
permission [laughs] to close the assembly. [lengthy applause]