Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


PA241921 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 0401 GMT 24 Dec 85 -- FOR OFFICIAL

[Text]  Rio de Janeiro, 23 Dec (PL) -- According to President Fidel Castro,
the advance of democracy, economic development, and Latin America's
integration will not be possible unless Brazil succeeds.

In an interview granted to Brazil's Manchete Television Network, which
yesterday broadcast the first photos and statements it has shown of the
Cuban leader in 27 years, Castro said one cannot think about development so
long as unequal exchanges, protectionism, and the overvaluation of the
dollar persist.

The Cuban chief of state explained Cuba's political, economic, and social
activities, as well as its electorial system.  He also discussed the U.S.
aggressions against Cuba and other subjects like religion and the alleged
exporting of revolution.

Regarding the foreign debt, he warned that the attempt to pay Latin
America's $360 billion debt will ruin the area governments and cause an
outbreak of serious social disruptions.  He said that even if the foreign
debt were to disappear or be paid off -- and this is an impossible
hypothesis -- the Third World peoples would never be able to develop
without a new international economic order.  I have a very deep-seated idea
about this problem.  I respect the views of others, but I am absolutely
convinced that the debt neither should nor can be paid because the
inability to pay constitutes a legal argument, he went on.

He added that there are mathematical, economic, historical, moral, and
political reasons for not paying the debt, noting that in order to pay it,
it would be necessary to impose such unfair conditions on peoples that the
governments would be discredited and this would contribute to the social
instability.  There are juridical problems, he stressed, because the debt
was not discussed with the people, with the parliaments.  It is a debt
contracted by the executive branches, by the economy ministers, without the
participation of either the peoples or the parliaments that represent them.
It is also economically impossible to pay.  Any estimate or premise used
proves that the Third World has no change of paying, and one must start
with the premise that there is not, nor will there be in the future, any
change of paying as long as the current international economic order is
maintained.  He added that from a moral standpoint, it must be said that
"that money was squandered, wasted, robbed, or taken out of the country,
and now they want the people to pay it."

Castro maintained that the insistence on paying the debt will ruin the
Latin American countries and will create such a grave recession that in the
end it will destroy the recently-established democratic regimes.

He criticized the Baker Plan, which seeks to reloan $20 billion to the 15
most indebted countries, obtaining this money from the surplus collected
from interest rates.  "The plan resolves nothing and makes the debt
eternal.  It also has all the IMF vices," the Cuban president said.

On another subject, he denied that Cuba exports revolutions, noting that
that accusation does not bear the slightest analysis.  It was U.S.
colonialism and neocolonialism which created the objective causes of the
revolutions in Latin America, he stressed.

Commenting on the risks of a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba, Castro said
his country is in a position to mobilize millions of men and women for its
defense.  "Should it want to invade Cuba, the United States would have to
employ 5 million soldiers in order to have a minimal two-to-one ratio," he
said, adding that the Americans know that their technology would be useless
in a people's war without either a front or a rearguard, and this would
result in thousands of casualties.

Castro later gave clear and summarized explanations about Cuba's socialist
system and forms of land property -- privately owned or held in state-run
cooperatives -- and he defended the system of popular democracy that
currently prevails in the island.  He mentioned the advances in the area of
education and public health; and the elimination of unemployment,
mendicancy, gambling, and illiteracy as achievements of his government,
along with the existence of a social security system that leaves neither
the elderly nor the disabled unprotected.

The Cuban president praised the Vatican II Council and, without mentioning
it, the theology of liberation, which defends the Church's position on
behalf of the poor.

Finally Castro wished success to Brazilian President Jose Sarney because,
he said, his success will be that of democratic openings and will
contribute to Latin America's progress.