Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL201611 Havana Radio Reloj Network in Spanish 1502 GMT 20 Apr 87

[Text] Attended by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the
Communist party of Cuba and president of the Councils of State and
Ministers, the ministerial meeting of the Group of 77 has opened at the
Palace of Conventions. Argentine Planning Minister Bernardo Grispun
delivered the opening remarks. Referring to his country, he said that it
had just overcome a difficult situation. Mr Grispun gave thanks for world
solidarity for his country and said that those present would be listening
to Fidel's words with attention because they would certainly be a valuable
contribution to the meeting. Some 600 delegates from more than 100
countries and international organizations are taking part with the
objective of adopting a unified position in the forthcoming UNCTAD session.

The commander in chief stated: It is a great honor for Cuba to host the
UNCTAD preparatory meeting. We declare our country's invariable disposition
to help as much as possible to make the meeting a successful one. He
pointed out that the meeting could be described as decisive for the
countries attending. The economic and social crisis has always been present
but never with such force and so many adverse effects, making UNCTAD's
existence a precarious and subsistent one. The position of the current U.S.
Administration was manifested in the last UNCTAD meeting in Belgrade. The
United States dismissed the UNCTAD as a forum for negotiation and even
boycotted it.

The effects of the crisis have brought the world to a crossroads, Fidel
said. He asserted that the United States continues to handle the dollar's
level in terms of its interests only, without caring at all about the
inevitable effects that this manipulation has on other countries. Inflation
continues to rise in the Third World nations, Fidel said, noting that the
inflation index had gone up from 65.1 percent in 1983 to 152.4 percent in
1985. He added that in the financial field, the flux of resources to the
Third World has diminished. That the foreign debt is impossible to pay is a
fact that no one disputes, Fidel declared. He listed the reasons that have
made it impossible for the underdeveloped world to pay its foreign debt,
and pointed out that servicing on the debt each year has gone up to $118
billion. Referring to the forthcoming UNCTAD meeting, the commander in
chief stated his belief that it will face a difficult situation, one of the
reasons being the parasitic way of life of the most powerful capitalist
state -- the United States.

The prices of our exports have plummeted; markets have been closed behind
strong protectionist barriers raised by the same people who demand punctual
payment from us. This means that the more we pay, the more we owe, Fidel
declared. After denouncing the IMF policy, the commander in chief stressed
that it is no longer enough to renegotiate our payments at the cost of
mortgaging our future. It is no longer a matter of being robbed of
financial resources that we do not have. It is now a matter of stealing our
factories, mines, and enterprises, which would pass into foreign hands.
Three adverse elements today exist in the international market: plummeting
prices, intensified exchange, and protectionism.

Fidel charged that the prices of basic products have suffered a veritable
collapse in the last 3 years; in 1986 they fell to their lowest level since
the crisis of the twenties. He noted that the transnationals continue to be
active in controlling basic products, including transportation. To the
abrupt drop of basic products, you have to add the reduced possibilities of
buying manufactured products, which we call unequal trade, he stressed.
Fidel recalled how a tractor could be bought in 1979 with 24 tons of sugar.
You needed 115 to buy one in 1986, and to be able to buy it in 1987 you
would need 133 tons of sugar, he explained.

Speaking about the effects of unequal trade between the underdeveloped and
capitalist nations, Fidel said it was an unfair economic order that
condemns millions of people to a life of hunger. He termed this inhumane
and intolerable. The present commerce law of the United States, he said,
provides a basis for the protectionist surge to continue to swell and it
also means a wave of reprisals against trade. Fidel gave as an example of
protectionism the fact that the United States was importing 15 million
metric tons of sugar in 1981 while in 1986 it purchased only 1 million tons
abroad. This is a virtual closing of its sugar market.