Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Denies Dissidents Imprisoned

PA212232 Havana International Service in Spanish 0000 GMT 20 Mar 87

[Text] The alleged existence in Cuba of imprisoned dissidents was another
of the topics discussed by Fidel Castro during his talk with the Brazilian
reporters who accompanied Brazilian Foreign Minister Roberto de Abreu Sodre
in his visit to Cuba.

[Begin recording] [Castro] We do not have any dissidents in prison. Now, if
you mean CIA agents, conspirators, people who have come to our country to
murder and sabotage, some of them are still in prison. But I want to tell
you we have very few of them in prison. We still have a couple of hundred
of them in prison. There were thousands at one time. We gradually released
them as they served, I mean, before they served their sentences. Some of
them are still there. What would they do if we release them? They would go
to Miami to make terrorist plans against our country. They would go to
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other countries [words indistinct].

Now, who is demanding that these people be released? These people are not
dissidents. Do not for one moment believe this story. They worked against
the revolution. For example, some of them committed crimes in the time of
Batista. Then we released them. [Words indistinct]. They were punished, but
they are now free. But the Yankees are not interested in this. The Yankees
are interested in those they used in their dirty war against Cuba. Their
plans have always aimed at the leaders of the revolution. These are those
the Yankees are interested in. The Yankees used them as they now use
mercenaries in Central America. Like they do in Central America at present,
they waged a dirty war against Cuba. As they do in Central America at
present, they trained people and even invaded the country.

I would say, however, that an excellent proof of the need for the
revolution is that the mercenaries who invaded the country in 1971 stayed
in prison less than 2 years. They were punished. We demanded compensation.
The Yankees paid the compensation, and we released the invaders. It was we
who sought a generous formula. Those who invaded and betrayed the county
were held in prison for less than 2 years.

Many people were trained and organized by the CIA and then brought to the
country to sabotage and murder the leaders of the revolution. Naturally,
these people were punished. However, 90 percent of them are now free. Some
remain who the Yankees greatly appreciate, individuals full of hatred for
the revolution. To the Yankees, these men are heroes. Some of these remain
in prison.

[Reporter] How many are left?

[Castro] About 2,000 of the CIA. There may be some who have been detained
more recently, as the result of some activities. They have scores of radio
stations devoted to fostering subversion, sabotage, activities against the
revolution. Radio Marti does this, among other things. What should we do?
Disarm ourselves? Weaken ourselves? Guarantee the impunity of those who act
against the revolution? No. we cannot do this. [End recording]

The reception attended by the Cuban president was held in one of the rooms
in Havana's Palace of Conventions. The Brazilian foreign minister gave this
reception to honor his Cuban counterpart, Isidoro Malmierca. Here is
another excerpt of the talk between Castro and the Brazilian reporters.
Castro answered some questions regarding Cuba's relations with the Soviet
Union, particularly its top leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Castro recalled the
excellent relations that the two countries and the two leaders established
during the 26th CPSU Congress in February last year. Here is the last
excerpt of Castro's conversation.

[Begin Castro recording] My personal relations with Gorbachev are
excellent. I am happy to say frankly that he is a very intelligent,
expressive, and talkative man. I saw him again at this time. After I went
to the DPRK, I returned to the Soviet Union and talked to him. [Words
indistinct] occurred a meeting of party secretaries, CEMA countries
leaders. I went to the Soviet Union, I was invited and told that there was
a great interest in my attending this meeting. I participated. I met for 3
days with all of the party secretaries and CEMA countries leaders.
Gorbachev was there. The meeting lasted about 20 hours. I have no
complaints regarding the relations among us, although some of them have
already passed. We cannot be ungrateful. The committee and all the
political leaders treated us very well. My relations with Gorbachev have
been closer than with other leaders. On the day of the meeting, he was
seated next to me after a dinner. My relations with him are excellent. Our
relation is friendly, brother-like. [Word indistinct]

All this goes very well with the Soviet Union, just like our relations with
Brazil do. We are in the process of establishing excellent relations with
the various Brazilian sectors: political, industrial, economic, etc. We had
the privilege of being visited by the Brazilian foreign minister, with whom
we have talked and met, in a friendly and brother-like way. We met at
night. No shadow in our relations with our friends exists. Our relations
with our friends progress and strengthen. [end recording]