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PA251940 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 1731 GMT 24 Kay 87 -- FOR OFFICIAL

["Text" of interview with President Fidel Castro by Roland Leroy of the
PARIS DAILY L'HUMANITE; facilitated to PRENSA LATINA in a world exclusive
for its dissemination in Latin America; date and place not given]

[Text] Leroy: In your famous statement, "History will absolve me," you said
time would be the judge. Twenty-eight years have passed since the triumph
of the revolution. Do you think you have fulfilled the ideals of your
youth? Can one see the combatant of the Sierra Maestra in the chief of

Castro: Reality has surpassed our dreams. At the time of Moncada -- 26 July
1953 -- we had an ambitious, radical program. It was what we then
considered achievable.

The Moncada program was not socialist although we already had socialist
beliefs. It can be described as a program of national liberation that also
established the conditions for the subsequent development of socialism. It
laid the foundations for the Cuban revolution. It stated that the country's
development could not depend on supply and demand, that it could not be the
result of spontaneity, and that it must be a revolutionary objective. It
challenged the essential principles of free enterprise as the path of

It did not yet propose nationalizations but it advocated agrarian reform,
and it already contained the idea of rural cooperatives. It foresaw
economic development and a great policy of education, health, employment,
and housing. It analyzed the composition of the population, and it
established the task of uniting the workers, peasants, teachers, and middle
sectors. We were saying this was a people to whom one did not have to make
promises but needed only tell them: Here it is; fight with all your
strength to defend it.

I said reality surpassed our dreams. I will give you some examples: At the
time of Moncada, we wanted to end illiteracy and grant each child the right
to go to school. We were far from imagining our country's present education
system. Neither could we foresee that we would have university centers in
the country's 14 provinces and a teachers' training program already working
to ensure that all primary school teachers have a university education.
That was not even a dream at that time. In the health area, could we have
imagined medical schools in all regions and family doctors in most
neighborhoods? Could we have imagined that Cuba would be among the leading
countries of the world in the health field? I could not imagine all of

Let us take another example: the agrarian reform. Our program was fulfilled
much beyond our dreams. Our countryside changed its appearance. We have
built roads; we have electrified the countryside -- 85 percent of the homes
currently have electricity and in 1990, it will be 90 percent.

Unemployment, prostitution, dishonesty, gambling, and drugs have been
eliminated. Social security covers the entire population. We have
diversified production.

Reality has surpassed our dreams even though the job has been much more
difficult than we thought at that time. Despite all our efforts, we have
been unable to resolve totally the problem of housing. In that aspect, we
will need 15 more years. The carrying out of the revolution turned out to
be much more complex than we had imagined and what Marx, Lenin, and Engels
had imagined. Perhaps there is no more complex and difficult task than to
carry out a revolution, create a new society. We have accomplished a great
feat, overcoming most of the obstacles: the economic interests hostile to
the revolution, the traditions, the complexity in establishing a new
production system.

At the time of Moncada, we could not have imagined the magnitude of the
task. We were acting a bit naively, believing that justice and the good of
the people would be respected. We underestimated imperialism; we did not
think about the aggression and the blockade -- they were phenomena we were
unaware of, that the books did not explain. At that time, we did not notice
the tragedy of underdevelopment; we did not gauge the gulf between the
developed and underdeveloped countries.

Those problems were not addressed in the political struggles of the time.
Issues such as unequal trade, the debt, dumping [preceding word in English]
and protectionism were not in the minds of the revolutionaries. We had the
objective of overthrowing tyrant Batista. We knew that we had to fight hard
but all those realities I mentioned were not present in our minds. The
difficulties in carrying out a revolution stem from the task itself on the
basis of the domestic viewpoint and the international pressures that
condemned millions of people to underdevelopment and misery. Those problems
are now familiar to us but they were not so on 26 July 1953.

Leroy: However, the economic situation led to a strict administration. Can
one talk of austerity? What happened to the concern for grating a good
standard of living for the population and for investing in production and
export activities?

Castro: The international economic crisis is affecting all Third World
countries. Cuba is suffering the consequences in a smaller degree, because
over 85 percent of our trade activities is carried out with socialist
countries, and only 15 percent is carried out with capitalist countries.
The socialist community guarantees us just prices, which provides us with a
solid base for our social and economic development. Our development has
never been halted, while the rest of the Latin American countries have
experienced recession and stagnation.

However, one has to realize that the importance of our trade with the
capitalist countries cannot only be measured by the 15 percent trade we
maintain with them. In fact, we have to buy from those countries products
the socialist community cannot provide us with such as certain foods,
medicines, and essential raw materials. The present drop in the prices of
our export products is enormous.

Let us take sugar as an example. We are presently selling it at 6 cents per
pound, which is equivalent to 1 cent in 1959-1960. The U.S. economic
blockade against Cuba worsens this situation.

The United States bans any import of Cuban nickel and all equipment that
could contain it. Why such a low price for sugar? There are several reasons
for this; I have to add that the EEC protectionist measures and dumping
[preceding word in English] are largely responsible for this situation. The
EEC used to import millions of tons of sugar; it now exports millions of
tons of subsidized sugar.

A few years ago, the United States imported 5 million tons of sugar. It
presently imports a little over 1 million tons. Did you know that between
1980-1985 the United States and the EEC spent $60 billion each in subsidies
for their agricultural production, and Japan spent approximately $50
billion in the same activity? That policy goes against Third World
interests. Cuba, as the entire Third World, has contracted a debt to carry
out its development; it is not a very high debt, but it exists. It is
important now to point out that the interest on the debt aggravates the
financial situation regarding convertible foreign exchange.

We have been reducing the imports we had to pay for with foreign exchange,
maintaining them to a minimum that covers only our basic needs: This
represents $1.2 billion. For the last few years, we have been guaranteeing
the payment of the debt interest and a minimum of imports. In 1987, we were
forced to adopt strong austerity measures. To the drop in sugar prices, one
has to add other circumstances related to that problem. Two heavy droughts
and one strong cyclone caused a decrease in our sugar production: In
1986-87, sugar production dropped to less than 7.5 million tons. Curiously,
the drop in oil prices also affected us. The reason for this is simple: We
import oil from the socialist sector, rigorously save it, and then reexport
it, thus creating an important source of foreign exchange.

Paradoxically, the drop in the dollar exchange rate represented a saving
for us, because our imports come from the EEC and Japan. We can import
absolutely from the United States.

Currencies such as the mark, the peseta, the franc, the lira, the pound
sterling, and the yen moved in an opposite manner than the dollar. Some
equipment, which used to cost $600,000, today costs $1 million, and
sometimes the cost has doubled. The drop in the dollar exchange rate and
the shortage of other currencies cost us almost $200 million in 1986.
During that same year, our convertible foreign exchange income decreased by
approximately 50 percent. Therefore, we were forced to reduce the imports
that we pay for with convertible foreign exchange by 50 percent. Those are
the reasons why we had to adopt austerity measures.

Despite that situation, we carried out a great feat by continuing our
economic development. We have always presented austerity as a need for the
economic development of the Third World. We have never exploited the idea
of consumption for consumption's sake. I think that within the reality of
the Third World countries, creating a consumptive mentality in the
population is a great mistake. We do every possible thing to try to improve
the material, social, cultural, and spiritual standard of living; and we
have been doing this throughout the years. However, we do not make that the
center of our actions and our message to the population.

We called on the people, because nothing can be done in a revolution
without the people's understanding and support. Once our basic material
needs were satisfied to the proper extent, we first had to give priority to
investments for development. Second, we had to protect, as if they were
sacred, our trade agreements with socialist countries. At the same time,
during these past years, we have had to make great efforts to defend the
country in view of the current U.S. Administration's hostility, which has
even led us to increase our defense spending.

Leroy: The reduction of investments left you with different options. What
were these options? What were your priorities?

Castro: I would like to insist on two principles, which we respect in this
austerity policy. First, never sacrifice the basic needs of the population,
and second, never sacrifice anything for the economic development of the
country. We had to make a great effort to replace convertible imports and
to increase exports. We had to give priority to investments that replaced
imports and increased exports.

Despite the fact we were forced to increase electricity rates and
transportation fares, there have never been and there will never be
increases in food and clothing prices. Investments and social programs,
especially those related to education and health, have been maintained. We
have not sacrificed development investments. For example, we are building
the Cienfuegos nuclear plant, which will allow us to save $500 million
annually in fuel, and we are expanding our nickel production capacity,
among others. We are trying to be more efficient with our material and
human resources. You can compare Cuba with the other Latin American
countries in the Third World. What can you prove? In Cuba there is no
malnutrition, we have the lowest infant morality rate in the Third World
(13.6 for each 1,000 births, with a goal of 10 within the next 5 years),
and a life expectancy of 74 years. In 10 more years, we will increase it to
80. You can draw your own conclusions.

Leroy: Why did you abolish the peasant free market? What are the results of
this action?

Castro: The alleged peasant free market should never have been created. It
was a mistake. That formula did not exist here. Different viewpoints were
expressed and the peasant free market was presented as a way to increase
the supply of goods to the population. That was the argument. So we went
ahead and implemented a practice that exists in other socialist countries.
On that occasion I stated my doubts, but the majority favored the project.
I told my comrades we had nothing to lose if we went ahead with the idea.
Frankly, we had negative results.

A long time ago, we made idealistic mistakes by rejecting material
incentives. On that occasion we violated the principle: "to each according
to his work." The only thing left to do was to abolish money. However,
during that time, Cuba made progress: It was a time of great progress in
education, health, economic, and social development. That idealistic
concept created inconveniences, but it did not corrupt people.

In 1976 we corrected those idealistic mistakes and we created a system of
supervision and planning using the experiences of socialist countries. The
10 years that followed gave rise to another type of situation: a certain
irresponsible mercantile mentality. Numerous businesses wanted to make
profits by increasing prices too much; [that amounted to] robbery. They
were not looking for earnings based on efficiency, on the reduction of fuel
costs, on human resources. They wanted to make money even at the expense of
other enterprises. There was a certain anarchy [words indistinct] a certain
competition resulting from the tendency to want to solve everything with
money and from the lack of severity in rectifying obsolete work norms. Some
of the negative trends were the following: Extremely high salaries were
paid, which were not commensurate with production; bonuses and premiums
were multiplied, as was overtime pay. Material rewards began to be abused.
We were falling into a tendency that was going to weaken the revolutionary
spirit, the conscience of our workers.

Mistakes were made in planning and in concept. It was especially mistaken
to think that socialism could be built spontaneously through simple
mechanisms. Socialism is the product of the conscientious and planned work
of a society and subjective factors are very important in this effort.

By proceeding to rectify our mistakes, we will not go back to the errors of
idealism. We become involved in the task of perfecting economic mechanisms
and, at the same time, attending to the political and revolutionary work
and the struggle against mercantile tendencies.

Contradictions between the interests of certain enterprises and of society
appeared. A trend to earn more by producing more, but with a lower quality,
became evident.

Let us go back to the peasant free market. Generally, in socialist
countries the peasants have a small piece of land. In Cuba, the first
agrarian law limited land ownership to 400 hectares and the second to 65
hectares. Although most of the land was nationalized, many peasants have 5,
10, 15 and even 65 hectares. This is very different from that which happens
in other socialist countries, because a peasant can become very rich with
20 hectares. And what happened?

The peasant stopped delivering his production to the state despite the
supplies he was receiving. Instead, he sold that production freely at a
higher price. He was becoming rich. Intermediaries began to appear. What
was the result? The development of the cooperative movement, which was
essential for the country's economic life, was being halted. We have also
witnessed other pehenomena such as the leasing of land. What could we do?
Increase sales taxes or eliminate the free market? I personally proposed
the gradual elimination of the free market. The cooperatives requested
their immediate elimination. This is what we did.

It must be taken into account that the peasants' farm production, whether
by individuals or through cooperatives, is barely 20 percent of total
agricultural production. The largest share of our agricultural production
for the domestic demand and for exports is carried out by state-owned
agricultural enterprises with a high level of mechanization and technology.
The magnitude of peasant production is less than in any other socialist
country. We, though a small country, export food for 40 million people.

Leroy: The Communist Party of Cuba is involved in a great "rectification
campaign." Could you tell us its main characteristics? What is there to
rectify? How?

Castro: First of all, we should rectify all the negative tendencies that
surfaced in regard to the Economic Guidance and Planning System. I already
mentioned some of them. The party's role was decreasing. If the building of
socialism was going to occur by virtue of magic mechanisms, the
revolutionary work was losing its importance. The party was living for its
internal life. We said the party's main task is the building of socialism,
the country's economic development, the efficiency of the economy, the
struggle against all negative trends, and the formation of a socialist and
communist awareness.

Now the party concentrates on the operation of the enterprises and the work
of the administrators. Now it must know how a school, a hospital, the
services and an industry work.

A trend toward being lax, certain signs of corruption and the incorrect use
of resources -- something that had not occurred before in our country --
were becoming evident. There was also favoritism in hiring and there were
excessive bonuses.

How should we rectify all this? The masses have a sense of justice and they
reject any signs of selfishness and favoritism. The people were buying at
the free markets but that did not prevent them from calling the free market
people thieves. The free market sowed division between the peasants and the
rest of the people. Our people have gotten used to quality. They reject any
trend toward becoming rich easily.

Administration is not a moral, much less a political, force. It is not
possible to leave the political work to the state apparatus because it is
unable to fulfill that mission. The administration administers; it cannot
educate the workers or help in their political formation. The revolution
needs a Communist Party. Its role is irreplaceable. Who can move the
masses, form the people, and influence the administration? Who can guide,
explain, and convince better than the party? In the provinces, the party
work is easier than in the capital, perhaps because the ministers, the
institutions, and the personalities are in Havana.

We have decided to increase the authority of the party secretaries in the
15 municipalities of the capital where we find acute problems. I will give
you an example. We have 60 hospitals in the capital. When we received some
complaints about their functioning some time ago, I met with all the
directors, party secretaries, nursing chiefs, and those in charge of the
trade unions and the youth of those centers. We held discussions for 2 days
and we made some decisions. Their application was the subject of a monthly
meeting directed by the capital's party secretary who reviews the
development of the agreed-upon program. In 18 months, the services have
notably improved, those activities have been greatly promoted, and the
complaints have substantially decreased.

It has also been proposed that the press needs to be much more critical.
Our press has to delve deeply into the analysis of the problems. The spirit
of self-criticism has always characterized the Cuban revolution.

Life has shown me that no revolution is possible, no construction of
socialism is possible, and no consolidation of socialism is possible
without the existence of a party.

Leroy: Does this campaign of rectification mean sanctions by the party and
the courts?

Castro: One imposes sanctions when the laws are violated but the battle for
rectification is essentially political rather than repressive. Our workers'
level of honesty cannot possibly be compared with what occurs on the rest
of the [American] continent. Here, no minister enriches himself; no
policeman, no official makes deals. In our socialist state tens of
thousands of people daily make decisions ranging from the most simple to
the most important. Some people sometimes commit errors and efforts are
made to help them rectify those errors.

Leroy: Nevertheless, in the United States, in France, and other West
European countries, your adversaries portray Cuba as a land of human rights
violations, where there are thousands of political prisoners, where the
right of free speech is trampled upon. For example, in France, Valladares
and Boffil were presented as examples.

Castro: Our enemies do not criticize us, they slander us. The slander
against Cuba finds a big echo. We know who inspires this type of campaign
based on nothing: the CIA. There has never been a revolutionary process as
humane as in Cuba. This stems from our traditions which date back to the
war against the dictatorship. During those years of struggle, we never -- I
repeat, never -- exerted physical violence against our prisoners. That
tradition has been maintained throughout these 28 years of revolution. We
educated our people in this spirit. There has been no exception to this
line of conduct with regard to the respect for the physical integrity of
the adversary, even with the U.S. spies. Our laws are severe because we
have had to defend ourselves. However, since the triumph of the revolution
in 1959, there has not been a single case of torture, assassination or
political disappearance here. Since then, no demonstration has been
repressed by the police. Meanwhile, we daily see such violence in the
United States, West Europe, and South Africa. Why not here? Because the
people support the revolution.

I read the news agency dispatches and I know well what the policemen in the
Western world do every day: They throw tear gas, let dogs loose, repress
the peoples. Those actions do not occur in Cuba. Is there another country
which can say the same?

The figure of 15,000 prisoners is ridiculous. The truth: There are some
hundreds of counterrevolutionary prisoners. At the beginning of the
revolution we had many prisoners. War criminals, saboteurs, CIA agents are
still in our jails. The great majority of the rest were released. We did
not do so under pressure. That formed part of our plan, our policy. In our
country we have what are known as the "plantados," in other words,
counterrevolutionaries convicted by the courts or individuals who had
worked for the dictatorship, who reject the prisoner's uniform. Where in
the world are prisoners permitted to refuse to wear the prison uniforms? In
the United States and Europe they would have been forced to do so. In what
prison in the world is this violation of discipline permitted?

One of the characteristics of the Cuban people is that they give their
opinion about anything. Ask a citizen in our country if they know about
anything. Ask a citizen in our country if they know about any case of
torture. What hurts is the offense to our people, who have a political and
revolutionary culture and, on principle, would not tolerate torture or

The spokesmen of the slander campaigns were frequently confined and were
released in good physical condition. Is this not curious?

Let us take the case of [Armando] Valladares. This former policeman in
Batista's times was arrested, tried, and sentenced for terrorist actions
against the revolution. He pretended to be an invalid and a poet. He is
neither an invalid nor a poet. He received attention from the best
physicians. Who made up Valladares' legend, and who financed the operation?
In this case, we can see a violation of the rights of the world's public
opinion. The facts, only the facts in history will confirm who is telling
the truth. This campaign has hurt us. However, our consciences are clear.
Regarding [Ricardo] Bofill, he has been a renegade encouraging a
micro-fraction for years. He accused us of being too "independent." He
became an instrument of the slanderers. He was released, but he did not
honor his commitment and entered the French Embassy. France has not signed
an asylum agreement with Cuba. Of course, we denied the permission for him
to leave. Otherwise, this would have meant rewarding a man who had entered
an embassy by force, using blackmail, seeking to damage the relations
between France and Cuba. It was impossible to let him act. However, I have
asked myself a question: How many men of this kind would France be willing
to admit? Would they admit all those who want to leave the country, those
who want to emigrate to the United States? As far as we are concerned,
there is not any problem. We are willing to let all those who want to leave
the country to do it, provided that France grants visas to them. There is
no opposition from us. No one should be misled. We are not erecting the
obstacles. Let us take the case of the United States, with whom we had
signed an immigration agreement a few years ago. They suspended it. The
U.S. Government is granting visas only to those who desert during a mission
abroad or those who get out of the country illegally. Thus, any criminal
can get out of Cuba and benefit from a publicity campaign. We have no
objection to the United States admitting 10,000, 50,000 or 100,000 people
[into its territory]. We are also telling France: If you wish, we will
grant the necessary permits, but we will not agree to blackmail as in the
case of Mr Bofill. Moreover, we want to say: "Good luck," to those who
prefer the capitalist society rather than our socialist society. We have
always said that socialism is a voluntary task for free men.

Prostitution, drugs, gambling, and begging have disappeared from Cuba. In
Cuba, you will not see anyone sleeping in the streets. There is no racial
discrimination in Cuba. The opposite occurs in the United States. We have
no children in our prisons. There [in the United States] they do have them
to force illegal aliens to show up. Where is the equality in that country,
in which 85 percent of the people arrested are blacks or members of
national minority groups?

What about the respect for human rights in that country, whose leaders have
planned the extermination of Indians and carried out the Vietnam war; a
country that is an ally of South Africa and has taken the criminal war to
Angola; a country currently directing the dirty war in Nicaragua and
genocide in El Salvador; and a country preparing the "Star Wars?"
[paragraph continues]

It is in that same country where economic measures are taken, leading
hundreds of million of people on this planet to hunger. Aren't the leaders
of that country the ones organizing the destabilization of developing
nations, authorizing germ warfare, bombing a foreign capital, and setting
up nuclear bases all over the world? We are being accused of `violating'
human rights? Is there another Third World country with results similar to
ours in the fields of health, education, culture, employment and, freedom?

The slanders against Cuba are an insult to the honesty of the Cuban people
and all people in the world.

Leroy: The problem of the developing countries' foreign debt is currently
one of the world's central issues. Latin American peoples and governments
are increasingly firm in their position and solidarity towards this
problem. What is your thinking on this?

Castro: The Latin American debt is $400 billion. This represents $1,000 per
inhabitant and $20,000 per square kilometer. This is a diabolical mechanism
for exploiting our peoples. To pay this debt is an economic, mathematical
and moral impossibility. The problem has no solution. I feel the Third
World countries have financed the development of the industrial countries
through slavery which has lasted for centuries. What we have paid for our
imports and what we have failed to receive for our exports equals the debt.
We have paid the debt with our interest payments and with our net capital
remittances to the developed capitalist countries.

We underdeveloped countries have been the victims of unequal exchange,
dumping [preceding word in English], and protectionism, which are phenomena
that accompany the debt. Moreover, the debt in many cases was not incurred
by the people; it was incurred n many cases by military regimes, de facto
regimes, which in fact had no popular support. The money from those loans
was squandered, stolen or fled the country, and yet the people are now
demanded to pay through hunger, unemployment, and economic restrictions,
when they never received anything in the first place.

For all these reasons, I say the debt is unpayable and uncollectable, now
or ever. It must be written off and reimbursed to the creditor banks with
funds from military expenditures. The creditor countries must be
responsible for these payments to their own banks.

At the same time, a new international economic order must be established to
eliminate unequal exchange. This would even give a new impetus to the
developed countries' industries. This would fight unemployment, allow for
the full use of the existing industrial potential, and develop trade. Do
you know that during the last 5 years Latin America has had to transfer $12
billion to the developed capitalist countries? In 1985 alone, the Third
World lost $65 billion as a result of unequal exchange.

Currently the debt is not even mentioned, only the payment of the interest.
However, not even the interest can be paid.

Leroy: The U.S. aggressive policy threatens Nicaragua with military
intervention. Reagan is nearing the end of his term. This is talk of a
probable trip by Gorbachev. Do you feel things could change?

Castro: Up to a short time ago the United States imposed its policies on
the region. Currently the Latin American governments are no longer taking
orders. The change is significant. Latin America is increasingly aware of
its common interests and of the sacrifices imposed on it by imperialism.
Latin America needs economic integration.

I would like to recall a recent event that confirms the evolution which has
taken place on the Latin American continent. The United States made an
attempt to have Cuba condemned at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
This is the opposite of the situation which occurred in 1959 where Mexico
-- taning a dignified and independent stance -- was the only country to
maintain diplomatic relations withour country. This time, the only country
to follow Mr Reagan was Costa Rica. The Latin Americans thwarted the U.S.
maneuver which had been geared towards dividing them and raising barriers
between them. This is encouraging for the development of relations with
those governments, no matter what their political leanings may be.

The Reagan administration has decided to liquidate the Sandinist
revolution. It has never made a statement regarding a political solution
for Central America. It wants to solve the problem by force and crush the
Salvadoran revolutionary movement. All means are allowed. The United States
has turned Honduras into a military base. At this moment, U.S.-Honduran
military maneuvers are taking place, with the participation of 40,000
soldiers. It is the largest military display ever seen in the region. The
threat of direct aggression hangs permanently over Nicaragua. That would be
the last resort. Up to the present time, the United States has tried to
defeat the Sandinist revolution by means of a dirty war and economic

The shamelessness with which the United States proclaims its intention to
openly interfere in the domestic affairs of an independent country,
organizing a mercenary army and offending the sovereignty of all Central
American countries, is outrageous. But those intentions have failed due to
the patriotism, fighting capacity and courage of the Nicaraguan people. The
Sandinist revolution has waxed strong in the face of aggression; it has
gained experience.

The United States still hopes to destroy the Nicaraguan revolution through
economic aggression and a dirty war of attrition. A direct attack, however,
is very likely. If the United States launches itself on such an adventure,
it will most likely get bogged down. The Nicaraguan people's ability to
resist cannot be underestimated.

Reagan has not succeeded in getting domestic support for his policy of
aggression against Nicaragua. Resistance in the United States is the price
to pay in the case of a direct aggression. This is a fact. U.S. policy has
been discredited by the Irangate scandal and financing of the contras. We
rarely witness such scandal, hypocrisy, and cynicism. This lying and
violation of human rights bring to memory the Fascist methods. In addition,
this happens while the United States tries to raise obstacles in the way of
the Contadora Group's peace efforts for a negotiated solution in Central

The Nicaraguans can resist the dirty war unleashed against them, but we
should not underestimate the likelihood of a direct U.S. attack. The
current exercises along all of the Nicaraguan border are not only to
pressure the country but constitute training for an eventual invasion.
Reagan has become obsessed with the Nicaraguan revolution.

The war the U.S. Administration wages against El Salvador is doomed. After
delivering [Unreadable text]ms and planes for 7 years, the United States
has not been able to crush the Salvadoran revolution. The U.S. Government
has underestimated this people's ability to resist, which is stronger than
ever. The technological power of imperialism cannot end the people's
resistance in El Salvador.

The candidate Reagan advocated the theory that Cuba had to be either
neutralized or destroyed. The program that his advisers outlined, called
the Sana Fe Program, specifically called for blotting out the island from
the map if the revolution continued -- a serious threat that forced us to
mount great defensive efforts.

We had to change our views and prepare ourselves for the war of all the
people. The defense of the country should be of concern for the majority of
the people, not just the Army. We did not have arms for everybody at that
time. Today, we do. We organize and prepare all the people. Each citizen
knows what one must do and where one must go in cause of attack. Everything
is ready to confront a total blockade, invasion, and the occupation of the
country. There has been an unprecedented mobilization. We do not
underestimate danger. I think the United States knows the price it would
have to pay should it make up its mind to invade us. Cuba has never been
stronger. Also, Nicaragua is stronger and the Salvadoran revolutionary
movement is more powerful than prior to Reagan's era. We do not advocate
that the United States and Cuba continue to be enemies forever. We are
willing to live in peace with the United States. We believe the day will
come when U.S. policy will be wiser. We are aware, however, that our
independence and sovereignty depend on our ability to defend ourselves.

Should Cuban-U.S. relations become normal some day, we would not negotiate
our defense potential. In Grenada, Reagan fired on a dead body. If he
attacks Cuba, he will have to deal with millions of armed men and women.

You evoke the possibility of a visit by [Mikhail] Gorbachev to Latin
America. I am not sure if that visit will take place in the immediate
future. I know he has been invited by many governments. Without a doubt,
this constitutes an important political event. This trip arouses much
interest, which acknowledges Gorbachev's serious, consistent policy of
peace. He now has sympathizers throughout the world and in Latin America.
He will be warmly welcomed. As a true revolutionary, I would like to see
that visit take place now that Gorbachev is fighting so many myths, so many
lies, and carrying out intense actions in favor of peace and disarmament.
This visit would be very important. We are not the only ones looking
forward to it; numerous Latin American governments would feel honored by it
as well.

Mark this coincidence. A U.S. senator has just advocated the cancellation
of Latin America's debt to prevent Gorbachev from viewing poorly the
relations between the United States and Latin America. You can see there is
fear of the eventual success of Gorbachev's trip.

There is no certainty that this visit can take place soon. The greatest
difficulty for such a trip would be that many countries would invite him,
and then the political problem would arise of how not to offend anyone when
deciding which countries will be Visited and which will not. But he would
be welcomed with much more sympathy than Reagan would.

Leroy: What is the state of French-Cuban relations?

Castro: Regarding French-Cuban relations, perhaps we created for ourselves
some illusions following the victory of the left in 1981. I am talking
about illusions about how our relations would develop. There was some
progress for a while, but not as much as could be expected. Historically,
Cuba has maintained friendly relations with France. These relations still
exist, but it does not mean we are satisfied. The French position during
the meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva was unpleasant. How
should I characterize current French-Cuban relations? Let us say they are

Leroy: Do you believe after 30 years of revolution it is possible to
maintain the enthusiasm of the 1st day?

Castro: There are many theories about enthusiasm. Many thought the
enthusiasm of the 1st days would diminish. We have heard that on several
occasions. During the first years of the revolution, there were emotional
responses and hatred for the tyrant and for injustice, and there was desire
for change. A more solid and aware adherence came later. Nowadays, the
Cuban people have reached a social, political, and cultural level that has
no precedent.

They have spent 28 years getting to know imperialism. Millions of young
people under 35 have grown up with the revolution.

There is the saying that power is destructive. That is true, but does this
saying apply to us? We used to live in a class society of rich and poor
people, of exploiters and exploited people. In that type of society,
society wears out the government. But we are experiencing a different
situation: Society has changed and the exploiting class has disappeared.
Cuba has procured itself a government of the people, by the people, and for
the people.

For the first time in our history, the national wealth belongs to the
people. There is no foreign or private enterprises here. For the first
time, the people have power.

Louis XIV said: I am the state. Now, for the first time, the Cuban people
can say: These weapons are my weapons, and this wealth is my wealth. I want
to ask those who say that Cuba does not respect human rights: Is it
possible to violate human rights in a country where the arms are in the
hands of the workers? I am going to make a proposal: Give arms to the U.S.
and Western Europe countries' workers. Could a government that is hated by
the population survive if the workers and the peasants are armed?

Going back to your question: In a revolutionary process that keeps moving,
enthusiasm never stops growing. Could we attract millions of men and women
to the defense of the fatherland if there were no enthusiasm?

I am convinced that the policy of rectification currently implemented by
our party has strengthened the enthusiasm of the Cubanas. Enthusiasm is
shown not only with shouts. It is being expressed among us right now in the
form of a great patriotic and internationalist spirit.

There are more than 50,000 Cubans fulfilling internationalist missions, and
hundreds of thousands have already fulfilled that type of mission. I would
say that the greatest achievement of the revolution has been the
development of these moral values, the feelings of solidarity in the

This is a victory of the ideas and values of socialism. I have hopes that
mankind will be able to survive the perils that irrationality has created.

For the Third World countries, peace and the end Of the arms race are more
important because not only Our security but also our right to a decent life
and to victory over poverty and ignorance are involved. I cannot see how
this victory will be possible without peace, without putting an end to the
incredible absurdity of spending $1 trillion annually in military

Yes, I decidedly continue being, along with the Cuban people, enthusiastic.
I am firmly optimistic about the future of mankind.