Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL250346 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0100 GMT 25 Feb 87

[Report on Fidel Castro chatting with Latin American diplomatic
representatives in Cuba from countries which are cohosting, with Cuba, the
canoe trip from the Amazon to the Caribbean; Castro shown surrounded by
unidentified people and interviewed by an unidentified man; date and place
not given -- recorded]

[Text] [Speaker] Mister President, from the political viewpoint, how
important do you think this expedition is in terms of Latin American unity?

[Castro] I believe non-political things achieve better results. This is not
a political event. If this were a political event it would have been very
difficult to have gotten the interest and support of so many countries. It
is supported by everyone because it is a cultural and scientific event.

[Speaker] Sometimes what is organized with one purpose really has a
different one.

[Castro] It was intended to be a cultural and scientific event but it also
has a political value as a symbol of Latin American cooperation and unity.

[Speaker] Do you think it can contribute to political unity?

[Castro] [Words indistinct] Many factors have to be involved. [passage

[Speaker[ Our correspondent in Brazil says it is of 90 days. [words

[Castro] I believe it is of historic importance. I believe the step Brazil
has taken [passage indistinct] whether it can renegotiate the debt or not,
from now on debtors will have the last word, debtors will have the last
word. [repeats himself] This is a historic turning point, in the history of
world economy and of Third World countries.

[Speaker] Allow me to ask a question. Are you supporting the idea that
Brazil is tipping the balance of Latin American countries?

[Castro] Well, Brazil is one of the greatest debtors. I always believed
that this economic crisis was not going to be solved according to a set
plan, I said this many times.

[Speaker] I remember.

[Castro] But this situation would appear as critical situations developed
in one country or another. This would happen at the time one of the
greatest debtors took decisive steps to put an end to the looting.

[Speaker] Argentina and Mexico are backing Brazil.

[Castro] It is too early to see how events will develop. I am absolutely
convinced that it is impossible that any measure can be taken against
Brazil, it is impossible [repeats himself]. I believe the industrialized,
creditor countries cannot take retaliatory measures against Brazil. If they
did, Brazil would have the unanimous support of all Third World countries.
I am sure that they would side with Brazil in this battle, I am convinced.
They will not be able to take any kind of reprisals against Brazil. I would
say Brazil's battle is won beforehand because there is an awareness of all
Third World countries, an awareness which has been shaped for years. There
is a unanimous idea among Third World countries about this foreign debt
situation. Brazil is a giant, a giant debtor in addition to being an
economic giant because it is a large country. I believe that simply because
of the fact that it is the biggest debtor of all and the fact that it had
the courage to take this step, the country will determine the economic
future of the Third World. What will the superpowers, the industrialized
capitalist countries do now? In my opinion, they will try to put off the
fire. They will try to put off the fire and find a solution.

[Speaker] They tried to do it recently in Paris.

[Castro] Anyway, no matter the results, no matter the future steps Brazil
takes, a page has been turned in history. Because debtors will be and are
the ones that are saying the last word on this foreign debt problem which
is strangling the economies of the Third World. Brazil has taken this place
in history because it took the decisive step.

I am certain that it will have the support of all the countries of the
Third World, and of all the countries that are really concerned about
humankind. I hope it will have the support of all the nonaligned countries,
of the entire Group of 77, and of all Latin American and socialist
countries. I also believe it will also have at least the understanding of
many developed capitalist countries.

[Speaker] It is possible this subject will be discussed at the Georgetown

[Castro] Where?

[Speaker] At the Georgetown Nonaligned meeting.

[Castro] I believe it will be the most important subject of the Nonaligned
meeting. For the time being we will struggle as much as possible to obtain
complete support for Brazil.

[Speaker] There are a number of foreign ministers and personalities who
will travel to Cuba on their way to the meeting or after the Georgetown

[Castro] Yes. I believe Brazil has already won the battle. This is my
opinion. I have thought like this for a long time. Because Brazil had the
courage and audacity of taking the first step in such a categorical way. It
is going to acquire everyone's solidarity and support.

[Speaker] Does the Brazilian foreign minister's visit have a good omen?

[Castro] Well, there is a good omen for everyone, [laughter] all countries,
and all exploited countries, all countries that suffered from merciless
looting during the last years. Because we are not only talking about those
debts, those enormous interests that were collected for many years and are
still being collected but also about dumping [preceding word in English],
unfair trade, and protectionist measures industrialized capitalist
countries have applied against the interests of the Third World...

[Speaker interrupts with indistinct words]

[Castro] Against the interests of the Third World. So I believe the time
has come to account for this and the time has come for the poor in this
world. That is my opinion. Since you brought it up I gave you my opinion.

[Speaker] I am very grateful.

[Castro] My feelings toward Brazil and the people of Brazil are deepened
from this time on and they were already good.

[Speaker] Thank you very much.