Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19880228
-YEAR-
1988
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
INTERVIEW
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
CASTRO INTERVIEW WITH NBC REPORTER SHRIVER
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
HAVANA TELEVISION SVC
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19880303
-TEXT-
Castro Interview With NBC Reporter Shriver
FL291408 Havana Television Service in Spanish
0134 GMT 28 Feb 88

[Interview with President Fidel Castro by NBC reporter Maria Shriver on the
night of24-25 February in Havana; questions in English with Spanish
translation; answers in Spanish with English translation--recorded]

[Text] [Shriver] As you know, your name has been in the news in the United
States of late and in not a very popular way.  Talking about [Panamanian
citizen] Jose Blandon--he testified before the Foreign Relations Committee
about several things concerning you, and I would like to examine them one
by one so you may respond.  First, he testified that you mediated in a
dispute between the drug cartel in Colombia and General Noriega [Panama
Defense Forces commander], and that you were able to get Gen Noriega to
return $5 million to the drug cartel in Colombia in regard to a group of
people who had been seized in a plant in Panama.  Did you mediate in that
dispute?

[Castro] I am going to tell you one thing.  The advice might not have been
bad if in truth something like that had happened.  If something like that
had happened and someone had had sufficient confidence in me as to ask me
for advice, perhaps it might not have been bad advice.  But the problem is
that there is not the slightest truth in that.  I read all those reports.
It's not only that.  The accusations were not directed against Cuba; the
accusations were basically leveled at Noriega.  He only tried to link us
indirectly.  First of all, I believe there is something sordid and dirty
about this business.  In my opinion, all this campaign against Noriega is
founded on a great conspiracy, not against Noriega, but against the
Torrijos-Carter Treaties.  That is my opinion.  It's a huge conspiracy to
remove the National Guard [as heard] from Panamanian politics, simply
because the Panamanian National Guard observes a patriotic and nationalist
stance.  In my view, that is what's at the bottom of this.

I have here about 40 pages of all the reports published about Blandon's
statements.  Blandon has talked about everything under the sun.  He has
talked about both human and divine things.  I think he has made a very big
mistake.  He testified under oath before the Senate.  I understand he was
under obligation to tell the truth.  I understand that anyone who makes a
false statement under oath is committing a serious crime.  I really have
the evidence that Blandon has lied.  I will tell you why.

[Shriver] But let me just respond. [sentence as heard] Did you not mediate
in a dispute between the Colombian drug cartel and Noriega?

[Castro] That's absurd!  Totally absurd!  That would have meant that a
foreigner had enormous confidence in us, knowing the way we are and knowing
the rectitude of the revolution.  To have had that sort of confidence is
absurd.  That is something absurd.  If anyone had a relationship of that
nature, to come to talk to me, of all people, here in Cuba--it's absurd.  I
can prove that all that is a lie.  I can prove it.  Why?  Because Blandon
does not recall when he was in Cuba; he doesn't remember the exact dates.
He might not remember what he said.  But I have all the exact information
in my files.  When I receive delegations, I keep a diary of all the people
I meet.  As a rule, there's a stenographic version of my conversations with
the delegations.  Blandon doesn't remember when he was here.

The first time was on 26 February 1980.  Torrijos was still alive.  He came
with (Marcel Salamen) and Lieuten ant (Camargo).  That's three.  That was
the first time.  This has no relevance in this business, but I have here
for 26 February 1980 almost 200 pages of the stenographic transcript of
what he said, what all three said, including Blandon.  The second time he
came to Cuba--he never came alone, he always came with a delegation, a
civilian or mixed military-civilian delegation.  On 5 May 1980, he
returned, this time with Colonel Noriega, (Camargo), (Souza), and (Del
Cid), a military man.  All these were military men.  Among them was
Blandon.  One, two, three, four, five people.  I have here...

[Shriver, interrupting] And they came to discuss what?

[Castro] Various political topics.  They always came to talk about
political issues.  At that time they came to talk about the canal
negotiations, how they were coming along.  Before that, when Blandon was
not included, they came to talk about problems in Central America, certain
concerns.  It's here.  We would have to look it up, but it's here in my
files.  Here it is, the stenographic version of the 5 May meeting.

It's complete.  There's more than 70 pages.  This is from the time of
Torrijos.  Noriega was not yet a leader nor was he in charge.  This was 5
May. The third time that Blandon came to Cuba was 7 February 1984.  He came
with (Ozores), Romulo Escobar, (Niels Castro), Major Maldonado, Major
Delgado, and Blandon.  That was 7 February 1984.  That was the third time
that Blandon came to Cuba.  And I have here a stenographic transcript of
over 80 pages of the whole conversation with full details.  Witnesses were
present at all these conversations.

[Shriver] Do you tape these conversations?

[Castro] I will only say that I have the stenographic transcript.  I am not
saying anything else--only that my evidence is irrefutable.  The fourth
time Blandon came to Cuba, he came with a delegation headed by Gen Noriega
on 5 July 1984.  That time Blandon did not participate in the conversations
at all.

[Shriver] But he came.

[Castro] Yes, he did come that time but we did not talk.  He stayed at a
protocol house.  I visited him there, but all the meetings were here in
this office.

[Shriver] Between you and Gen Noriega.

[Castro] Yes.  I spoke with Noriega more than once.  I am talking about
Blandon now, because he refers to things he says he discussed with me.
Here is 7 February and 5 July.  He did not talk with me that time.  Noriega
came with some aides and Noriega talked to me about various political
issues.  That was 5 July 1984.  All right.  Blandon came here for the last
time in 1985, on 6 January.  He came with Lieutenant Colonel (Boujon),
Major (Samudio), Major (Baldonado).  One, two, three.  Major (Sieiro),
four.  Major Delgado, five.  Captain (Camargo), six.  Romulo Escobar,
seven.  (Vidio Souza), eight.  And Blan don was nine.  All these were
delegations who came to hold talks.  I have the content of all those
discussions.  I have here the transcript of every word everyone there said.
I think this is very strong evidence.

Anyone who knows politics and knows about discussions and all, an
intelligent individual, can understand very well what the talks are about.
These conversations cannot be made up or fabricated.  All these people are
witnesses.  There is some other evidence that I am keeping to myself.  I
have here everything that Blandon said on several topics.  He says that he
was here on 22 June.  That's a total lie.  I have my diary with the names
of all the people who came all those days.  He was not here.  So, the most
irrefutable proof that I have are the documents and files, to show that
this kind of conversation never took place here with us.  Never.  It's a
lie from top to bottom, from top to bottom.  He told other lies.  He has
said many things.  He has said, for instance, that Noriega was a kind of
double agent, that he brought us CIA secrets on the United States and other
governments.  Noriega never gave us confidential information about the
United States.  That is a complete lie.  He says...

[Shriver, interrupting] Do you think Gen Noriega may have given the United
States any information about you?

[Castro] Well, I have no proof of that, no proof.  But I do know that
Noriega was never an agent against Cuba.  He talks about a conversation
with Noriega.  He says that prior to the Grenada invasion...

[Shriver, interrupting] Before we get to Grenada.  You are calling Jose
Blandon a liar concerning your mediation in the dispute between groups...

[Castro, interrupting] That and other things.

[Shriver] That's number one.

[Castro] I have irrefutable evidence that he lied in the Senate,
irrefutable proof.  I have all the dates he came here, who he came with,
and the stenographic transcripts of the conversations.  I have the proof.
If some senators of that committee want to come here from the United
States, I invite them to do so.  I will give them access to my files to
prove what I am saying.  Now, there are some materials, some documents that
are politically sensitive, but I don't think the world is going to come to
an end because of that.  The world is not going to end just because I make
this evidence available.  I invite them to come.  I will put in their hands
all the evidence that shows that Blandon's statements are false, totally
false.

[Shriver] What senators would you like to come to see your evidence?

[Castro] No, I don't want to choose them.  They must be senators who are
intelligent and who belong to the committee.

[Shriver] Senator John Kerry, who's been chairing the committee?

[Castro] Well, I don't know him, but if he wants to come, I don't mind if
he comes.  Whoever wants to come.

[Shriver] When would you like them to come?

[Castro] Whenever they want. Whenever they want.

[Shriver] Monday?

[Castro] Monday, Sunday, Saturday.  I will give them access to my files on
the conversations of the Panamanian delegations that came to Cuba, the ones
that met with me.  I will give them access to my files.

[Shriver] I would like to ask you: If Jose Blandon lied about your
mediation, did you talk to Gen Noriega about that dispute to which he
referred?

[Castro] Never. I am going to tell you something.

[Shriver] Did Gen Noriega call you personally?

[Castro] At the time of Grenada?

[Shriver] No, about the drug dispute.  Did he talk to you independently of
Jose Blandon?

[Castro] Never.  Noriega once talked to me about a National Guard officer
who had come into contact, had let himself be bribed by the mafia.  He was
very angry.  He explained to me that he had taken drastic measures, that he
had dismissed him from the Guard, and had turned him over to the courts.
So, I say that as far as Cuba is concerned, I have the evidence that
Blandon has miserably slandered Noriega.  Now, then, did he do it to
deceive the Senate?  Or are there people in the United States who put those
words in Blandon's mouth?  I am referring here to those things...

[Shriver, interrupting] Who in the United States?

[Castro] Who could it be?  It could have been the CIA, the State
Department.

[Shriver] Why would someone do that?

[Castro] Because it seems strange to me.  It seems there is a conspiracy in
all of this.  I think Blandon has been bribed.  There are some people who
say that Blandon was given $800,000 and that the person who paid Blandon
must be giving him instructions.  But they made a mistake, a serious
mistake: They invented a total lie in regard to the conversations with me.
I have a detailed record of all these conversations.

[Shriver] Who do you think bribed Blandon?  Who paid that alleged $800,000?

[Castro] I have heard that said and I am not surprised.  Rome pays its
traitors.  The United States pays its traitors.  There have been several
cases involving Cuban, Nicaraguan, Panamanian traitors.  It's known that
they have been given hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Now, I have no
proof to say who gave them the money.  But I am convinced there is a
conspiracy.  I am convinced there is a lot of slander.  I cannot discuss
other things that Blandon might have said.  But concerning his statements
trying to implicate Noriega, these are fabrications from top to bottom, and
I have the evidence.

[Shriver] Let me summarize, Mr President.  Is it your theory that someone
made Blandon lie to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discredit Gen
Noriega?

[Castro] I have irrefutable proof that some of the things he said are lies.
I cannot pass judgment on everything he said.  But several things he said
are untrue.  The first is this...

[Shriver, interrupting] Because if he had spoken to you it would be in your
files.

[Castro] Every single word from the moment the first delegation came here.
In general, I have a stenographic record of my meetings with delegations.

[Shriver] What if he spoke to you over the phone?

[Castro] Over the phone?  It would be a bit odd if a man like Blandon were
to call me on the phone and I were to be so naive to start talking on the
phone with him.  It is not my habit to do that, not my habit.

[Shriver] Let's discuss other things he said about you.  He said that Vice
President George Bush called Noriega and asked him to intervene to tell you
that the U.S. troops were going to invade Grenada, that Noriega warned you
about it and asked you not to fire on American troops.

Did Blandon contact Cuban intelligence to warn you?

[Castro] There are documents here.  The invasion took place at dawn on the
25th.  There was never any contact between Noriega and me prior to the
25th.  Never.

[Shriver] Was there any contact between Blandon and Cuban intelligence?

[Castro] No.  The only document I have is as follows.  A message was
received on 25 October at 2010.  That means 8 o'clock at night.  The
document reads: Captain of the SID [not further identified] arrived home at
1900.  He conveyed the following message from Noriega to the commander in
chief.  It literally says: Through us, the high-ranking American
authorities are using a channel of credibility and relations.  They do not
want a confrontation with Cuban troops.  They offer to assist in the
departure of the Cuban contingent, as well as security for all belongings.
Fifteen minutes later I personally talked with Gen Noriega over the phone.
He confirmed to me the information supplied by the SID.  He told me, wait
for an answer, Commander in Chief, from a comrade of ours, Arturo, from
Panama.

[Shriver] So you did have advance warning.

[Castro] No.  The troops had disembarked in Grenada some 12 hours earlier.
They had been fighting for 12 hours.  This occurred on the 25th.  Right.
There are more messages.  At 2015.  Then, on the 26th at 0515.  At 0550.
There are several messages regarding Noriega's peace effort to avoid
fighting there.  The last time was a telephone call on the 26th at 0840.
He talked to me on the phone on the 26th.  The fighting was already going
on.  I have here the transcript not of what Noriega told me, because it was
a conversation, I just went to the phone; however, what I told him was
recorded.  Not what he told me, but here it is, textually.  So this has
nothing to do with a previous warning.  Bush's name was not once mentioned.

[Shriver] However, there is mention of a high-ranking American official.

[Castro] The message delivered to me on the evening of the 25th, in the
evening, at 1900: Captain of the SID arrived home.  He conveyed the
following message from Noriega to the commander in chief.  I am going to
repeat it to you.  It reads textually: Through us, the high-ranking
American authorities are using a channel of credibility and relations.
Even then...

[Shriver, interrupting] That could be George Bush.

[Castro] How am I to guess?  It could be the Pentagon, the State
Department.  I have no proof.  I never heard Bush mentioned.  That was 12
hours after the landing.  Twelve.  Actually 13 or 14 hours after the
landing.

[Shriver] Is it conceivable...

[Castro, continuing] Our people were still resisting.  Noriega tried to
avoid a battle.  He says, they don't want a confrontation with us, they
offer exit to the Cuban contingent, as well as security for all belongings.
Fifteen minutes later, he [not further identified] talks to Noriega and
Noriega confirms the information.  This has nothing to do with what Blandon
invented.  Blandon says that prior to the invasion Noriega called to convey
a message from Bush.  That is a complete lie.  Noriega got in touch with
our embassy 13 hours after the landing, when the fighting was still going
on.  He was trying to avoid any more bloodshed.  That has nothing to do
with a warning.

[Shriver] Blandon says he notified Cuban intelligence in the name of Gen
Noriega.  Is it conceivable that you got the information late?

[Castro] It's not Blandon.  It's the captain.  It says so here.  Captain of
the SID.  He's the one who talked with our people.  It's there in the cable
of that date.  It arrived at 2010 and was delivered at 2055.  The name of
Blandon is nowhere.  The one speaking is the SID captain.  There was no
previous warning.  As I see it, Noriega's effort to prevent further
bloodshed was a positive, constructive act.  Now it becomes a reason for
slander.

[Shriver] You talk about having irrefutable evidence in your transcripts.
Could there have been other conversations of which you have no record?

[Castro] I think that anyone who reads the transcripts can see the kind of
conversation there was.  Now, the last time they came in January they
brought a videocassette.  Totally contrary to what Blandon says, they
handed over a videocassette of an operation on a jungle laboratory.

It was a videocassette of a whole military operation.  The military
officers--there was not 1, there were 8, 9, 10 people--presented a
videocassette of an operation against a drug laboratory.  They presented a
videocassette.  They were proud of the operation.  It was a big military
feat.  They explained how they had their initial suspicions.  They were
saying that some fishermen had spotted a helicopter go from a boat to the
jungle.  I have a videocassette of the operation.  They gave it to me.
There were about eight of them.  They were proud.  What I did was to
congratulate them for what they were doing.  I saw that they were proud.  I
found what they were doing very positive.  That's the truth.  And Blandon
came that time when the videocassette was presented.  That was 6 January
1985.  So what he's saying is a lie.  It's all a lie.

The National Guard has a sense of honor, of pride.  What armed institution
is going to talk to any foreign government to tell it that it is involved
in a deal worth millions of pesos with a mafia?  That's absurd.  That has
no logic.  That's unthinkable. [Words indistinct] National Guard.  How can
any army, particularly an army with a sense of patriotism and nationalism,
come to talk to us about a deal worth millions with a mafia.  That has no
rhyme or reason.  The last delegation that came here presented a
videocassette as, shall we say, proof of its stand on the mafia.  They were
proud of their cassette, as a military operation, a successful operation.
It's the opposite of what this man is saying, that they came to ask for my
advice for a problem they had created.

[Shriver] Correct me if I'm wrong, but the tape that you talked about has
to do with the taking over of the drug operation in Panama?

[Castro] It's about the occupation of a laboratory.  That was the last
delegation that came here.

[Shriver] Of a drug laboratory in Panama?

[Castro] The last time, when Blandon came, they all came.  It was an
antidrug operation in Panama.

[Shriver] But this is the laboratory that Blandon referred to?

[Castro] It must be. It's the only one I know about.

[Shriver] And the Colombian drug cartel then got that laboratory back?

[Castro] They didn't say who it belonged to.  They did not say.  They said
they had detected unusual movement in the jungle.  They organized a
military operation with paratroopers, helicopters, and they seized the
laboratory.  It was not even in operation.  Apparently it was new; that's
what they said.

[Shriver] But how did Gen Noriega turn that laboratory back over to the
drug cartel?

[Castro] Who says that?  Where does that come from?  I have not heard
anything about a laboratory being turned over.  All I know about that is
the videocassette, a film of the military operation they staged.  It was a
well-organized operation.  They were proud of their military operation.  I
even congratulated them.

[Shriver] So Blandon did talk to you about seizing this laboratory.

[Castro] No, it was the military officers.  I don't recall.  It was the
military.

[Shriver] But Blandon was in the room.

[Castro] Blandon was part of the group of nine.  Why don't they talk to all
those people?

[Shriver] And then you did not say in that meeting, I advise Gen Noriega to
return...

[Castro, interrupting] How can I say such a thing when no one has asked me
anything?  The meeting is there, the topics discussed are there.  The
topics are the ones we always talk about.  They were political issues.  We
never talked about deals.  You can see in these conversation the respect
they feel for me, the ethical way we talked.  These are hundreds, thousands
of pages.  There is not a single one in which you can read any type of
relation in this connection.  All those talks were governed by ethics,
standards.  The talks were very serious.  Mine were very free.  I gave my
political views on all sorts of things.  But it is inconceivable that an
army can talk to the president of another country to explain that is has a
deal with the mafia.  That makes no sense.  Blandon invented the whole
thing.  It's a lie, slander against Noriega.

[Shriver] Let me summarize to make sure that I am understanding all the
information.  These transcripts say that Blandon talked to you about the
seizure of a cocaine production laboratory in Panama but that you did not
mediate in that dispute or offer any advice.

[Castro] That last meeting, on 28 January [date as heard], was with nine
Panamanians, most of them National Guard officers.  They were young people,
serious people.  They presented the videocassette as a feather in the cap
of the Guard.  They were proud of what they had done.  There was no talk
about anything else except that the National Guard had carried out an
important anti-drug operation.  I imagine there are copies of that
videocassette in many places.  I imagine they sent it to the United States
and other places.  They sent one to us because we are friends, as an
honorable action carried out by the National Guard.  We must not forget
that we are revolutionaries and that we practice certain ethics.  That is
reflected in all conversations, in the kind of conversation, relationship,
respect [words indistinct].  So Blandon invented all that from top to
bottom.  I have all these people as witnesses.  They were all there.

[Shriver] But do you have proof that perhaps there might be other
conversations that are not included in the transcripts?

[Castro] How could it be?  Let him prove it, not me.  I never had that kind
of relation with Blandon.  There's not a single man [words indistinct].

[Shriver] Every conversation that you had is on record?

[Castro] It's absurd that I might have this kind of conversation.  It's
absurd, completely ridiculous.  It's not worth taking seriously.  The
Panamanians can confirm this: Never was there a single visitor.  From the
beginning there were three or four or five.  The smallest group consisted
of two people.  This was on 5 February 1982.  Blandon and (Camargo).

[Shriver] Let me summarize where we are.

[Castro] I think this is enough.  I have given you sufficient information.
You are not a prosecutor or a judge.

[Shriver] I just want to be clear.  You say that Blandon lied when he said
you mediated in a dispute. [Word indistinct] as to giving you forewarning
about the Grenada invasion.

[Castro] That is completely false.  I have no proof of that.  All we have
are the documents, the only cable that our country received that day from
our people.

[Shriver] Blandon also testified that you mediated in this dispute.  You
wanted to tell Noriega because you needed Panama as a conduit to bypass the
American trade embargo.

[Castro] That's the biggest and most complete lie he has told.  That's the
one I have evidence on.  If my evidence is analyzed by intelligent people,
expert people, they will realize that it's all a lie.  It's the biggest lie
he has told.  Now, we have been concerned about Panama for political
reasons.  We sympathize with Torrijos, with the pro-Torrijos movement, the
National Guard, for their national struggle, their patriotic struggle,
their effort to recover.  We have always been concerned about Panama.  Not
because we have enterprises.  We have enterprises in many places.  We have
enterprises in many places. [repeats himself] Noriega has never cooperated
with us to bring in any technology.  The secret of bringing in American
technology...

[Shriver, interrupting] Has Noriega ever cooperated with you in exporting
any kind of tobacco from Cuba to the United States?

[Castro] That I know of, that I know of. [repeats himself] Noriega has
never given us that type of cooperation, nor do we need it.  We feel we
have the right to fight the blockade.  This seems a moral, legitimate thing
to do.  Everything we can do to evade the blockade we will do.  It's our
right to evade the blockade.  If we need medicine, medical equipment,
technology, we feel the blockade is immoral and it is (?imposed on us).  We
try and we shall always try to evade the blockade by all means available.
So, I am not denying that when we can, we evade the blockade. [Words
indistinct] Noriega might have cooperated in that.  It's a lie and it's
slander.  That's what I'm saying.

[Shriver] Who does cooperate in bypassing the blockade?

[Castro] You want me to tell you?  You want me to help the State
Department, the Commerce Department, the CIA, the U.S.  Government?  I am
not willing to cooperate with the U.S.  Government.  I will not tell you
who helps us, but I can tell you that Noriega has never cooperated.  That's
the truth.  That's why I say there is a conspiracy.  There's a shady, dirty
conspiracy.  Who is going to know better?  They have accused Noriega of
being a double agent.  They have accused Noriega of evading the blockade.
They have accused Noriega of warning Cuba prior to the invasion of Grenada.
They have accused him of being a spy.  They have accused him of being a
drug trafficker.  They have accused him of asking me for advice to return
some money.  All that is lies, slander.  All that is lies.

[Shriver] If Senator Kerry of the United States and other U.S. senators
come here, will you open all of your transcripts, all your evidence to
them?

[Castro] I will give them access to my files on this subject, on this
subject. [repeats himself]

[Shriver] Absolutely everything having to do with the subject.

[Castro] I am willing.  Let them come, let them come.  I am not going to
take this evidence and this material out.  I am going to put my files at
the service of the United States.  I will give them access so they can see,
so they can see, [repeats himself] with good translators so that they can
translate everything for them.

[Shriver] Would you be willing to go to the United States and testify
before the Foreign Relations Committee about what you told me?

[Castro] The Foreign Relations Committee?  I would have to think about it.
I don't know if it's worth it, but I am not afraid at all.

[Shriver] What do you think?

[Castro] If they let me take my own escort, I would go, because I don't
trust policemen at all.  I would go with my own security.  Nothing else.
If I can go.  I am not the one to have the last word on this.  I have to
ask for the opinion of the comrades, the party leaders on all this.  But I
am not afraid of anything.  I can face the whole Congress.

[Shriver] You are willing to go and testify if you can bring your own
security?

[Castro] No, I have no reason to render those honors to the U.S.
Government.  I don't have to render those honors.  But I have no fears.  I
like that kind of thing, I like those battles.  But I don't want to give an
answer on whether I will go or not.  If I do, I will go with my own escort,
duly armed and equipped.

[Shriver] But if they say you can come, armed and equipped, would you bring
the information with you to prove that Blandon is a liar?

[Castro] Not for that.  I would go to discuss many other things.  If they
are willing to have me discuss other problems--the blockade, Guantanamo
Base, and other topics--I would be willing to go.  But don't tell me I am
going to take a plane to go there to discuss Blandon's affairs.  In that
case, it would be better for the senators, who travel so much, to take the
trouble to come here.  There's a lot of material.  If they want to discuss
many other topics, I will discuss things with the U.S.  Congress for 3
days.  Let them prepare themselves, and we will talk about all topics in 3
days.  Now, for only this one subject, it would not be logical, not fair to
ask me to go there.  But, to discuss many things, including this one...
[changes thought] Now, for this one thing, let them take the trouble to
come to Havana for a weekend.  They can talk with Castro about these things
because Castro has good evidence.

If the people who come have brains, know psychology, they can analyze the
kind of relationship we have.  The material here shows the kind of
relationship we have.  The kind of relationship that exists is clear.  You
can have a certain relationship of friendship with me.  Yet that doesn't
mean that someone who listens to 20 conversations between you and me can
come to the conclusion that I am talking to you about love, about the
intimacy of your home, etc.  Anyone who hears 20 conversations between you
and me knows what kind of conversation there can be between you and me and
what type of conversation there cannot be between you and me.

[Shriver] To summarize, you would be willing to let the United
States' senators look at all your evidence, but you are not willing to go
there to give evidence.

[Castro] I'm willing to go to discuss many other things.  If they give me
an agenda of things to discuss, I can spend 3 days discussing things with
the U.S.  Senate.  I have many topics to discuss, but don't tell me to make
a trip for this alone.  This is like killing little birds with cannon
shots.  It makes no sense.

[Shriver] You brought up drug trafficking and Noriega.  Is there any drug
trafficking in Cuba?

[Castro] Listen, I'll tell you one thing.  Cuba is the most drug-free
country in the world.  In the world. [repeats himself] Send sociologists
and researchers here to see if there are drugs in Cuba and if we have any
drug problems.  This is the most drug-free country in the whole world.
There's not a cleaner country in that respect than our country.  That's the
first thing.  Second, there is no country that has so systematically fought
drugs as Cuba has.  There's none.  I'll go even further.  If all Latin
American countries were like Cuba, the only drug consumed in the United
States would be the drug produced in the United States.  There are 250,000
commercial marijuana producers in the United States and 2 million who
produce it for their own consumption.  The United States is the main
marijuana producer in the world.  The market price of the marijuana
produced in the United States is $26 billion.

[Shriver] Not talking about the United States for one moment, the Colombian
drug cartel has never trafficked drugs for the United States through Cuba?

[Castro] Never, never.  We are the country that has most systematically
fought drugs in this hemisphere.  I can categorically say to you: The
United States is not winning nor can it win the war against drugs, because
no Latin American country is really in a position to win the war against
drugs.  The only country that has won the war against drugs is Cuba, 29
years ago.  The cleanest country in the world as regards drugs---that is
what I can say.  Now, as to our activities, we even have pamphlets--look,
we have data here.  From 1970 to 1988, captured drug traffickers who
received severe sentences: 375.  Of these, 108 were Americans and 267 were
from other countries.  Seized vessels: 61.  Seized aircraft: 25.
Confiscated and burnt marijuana: 359,366 pounds.  Seized cocaine: 2
million... [corrects himself 2,619 pounds.  Actually, there's no cocaine
traffic here.  Rather, we were on the path of the marijuana traffic from
Jamaica, the Caribbean, many places.  The boats sometimes enter territorial
waters and we capture them.  In my opinion, the cocaine traffic uses safer
channels and is more on a large scale---normal commercial lines.  But the
cocaine traffic does not pass through Cuba.  They have safer channels.
They even have commercial lines.

[Shriver] So those who allege that Fidel Castro has a relationship with the
Colombian drug cartel are incorrect?

[Castro] If we had dealings with that mafia we would have already settled
our foreign debt. [2-second break in reception] We have not done it because
we do not have any obligation with the United States.  We are under no
obligation to the United States.  The United States is the drug market.
The dog market in the United States bears a great deal of responsibility in
this drug trade.

[Shriver] But drugs come to the United States from other places.

[Castro] We have done it out of principle, ethics, respect for our laws.
All those who have come here with drugs have been arrested.  They have been
severely sanctioned.  We have the data here, all the data.

[Shriver] But in response to my question, there is no relationship between
[words indistinct].

[Castro] I feel I would be denigrating myself by answering that question.
It is miserable, wholesale slander.  I don't even have to stoop to deny
that.  And I don't care.  I will say something more, something more: I
don't care.  Our dignity prevents us from stooping to deny this kind of
thing.  Our history, our life, our dedication to the revolution---it is not
a problem of morals, it's a matter of principle.  It is not an obligation
to the United States, because we are under no obligation to cooperate with
a country that blockades us and that attacks us.  We are under no moral
obligation to this country.  We do it out of principle.

[Shriver] You said something interesting about wanting to go to the United
States to talk about the Blandon information and to discuss other subjects.

[Castro] I will discuss all topics, and the last one will be Blandon---the
Guantanamo Base, the blockade, the U.S. selfish policy toward the Third
World, the unequal trade.  I can talk about everything the senators want,
everything they want.  They can bring up Blandon last, but we'll include
him, too.

[Shriver] Is that a change in the way you view the United States?

[Castro] I've never been invited to the United States to discuss things.
The United States makes statements of all kinds, but it never talks to me
about discussing things.  So, I would like to see if they resist a
discussion with me.  I am willing to discuss many worthwhile subjects with
the whole Senate.  If they are interested, I can consult with my people.

[Shriver] You're just waiting for an invitation.

[Castro] No, I'm not waiting for anything.  I am simply answering a
question.  I am not inviting myself or proposing an invitation.  I am
answering your question.

[Shriver] Do you think the United States was right to indict Gen Noriega?

[Castro] I don't think so, because the United States' only purpose is
political.  The United States has had excellent relations with
Noriega---the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department, everybody.  It has
had excellent relations, better than with us.  Why all this campaign now?
Because it wants to get rid of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.  Because it
wants to keep the canal.  Because it wants to separate the National Guard
from its political role in Panama.

[Shriver] So you don't think it has anything to do with drugs; rather, it
is motivated by politics.

[Castro] Well, I say the United States' motivation is not the war against
drugs.  It is politics.  It wants to liquidate the Torrijos process.  It
wants to take away the political role of the National Guard, because the
National Guard has a patriotic and nationalist role to play.  That's what
it wants.  Drugs are just a pretext.  It's a big campaign to do away with
the National Guard, not Noriega.  What it really wants is to take the
National Guard out of politics, because under Torrijos' leadership the
National Guard took the country to negotiations with the United States.

[Shriver] Why are you coming out so much in support of Noriega now?

[Castro] I'm not supporting Noriega.  I am supporting the Torrijos
movement.  I am supporting the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.  I am supporting
the sovereignty and independence of Panama.  It's not Noriega the man who
matters.  The important thing is independence, sovereignty, Panama's right
to the canal, the Torrijos movement, which in our opinion is a progressive,
patriotic, and nationalist movement.  It is not a socialist or a communist
movement; it is a patriotic and nationalist movement.  That's what we
support, independently from Noriega the man.  What I see is that it is
using this campaign against Noriega to get rid of the other things, not
Noriega.  It is not Noriega.  So, all these charges are only an
orchestrated campaign.  I remember when the first one was concocted.
Poindexter was still on the job.  The campaign against Noriega was
organized because he opposed the plans against Nicaragua.  Those are the
facts.  I remember because I knew, I received confidential reports, very
reliable, absolutely true reports, about Poindexter's plan to eliminate
Noriega because of the problems in Central America.

[Shriver] To assassinate him?

[Castro] No, I don't think so.  Rather, a campaign to discredit and oust
him.  So, I'm not defending Noriega.  I'm defending the sovereignty and the
independence of Panama, the Torrijos' political process, and Panama's
rights to the canal.

[Shriver] But when you say you have information [words indistinct].

[Castro] Get rid of him, him and the National Guard.  Noriega is right when
he says the cause of the conflict is that he refused to obey Poindexter's
orders.  I believe it because we received information at the time,
absolutely true reports, about the plans for this campaign against Noriega.
They used Noriega as the instrument for this.

[Shriver] The plan we are now seeing in the United States?

[Castro] That was the first wave of charges.  That was when he was accused
of being a Cuban double agent.  A series of charges were made.  Now these
charges are being repeated much more strongly.

[Shriver] Do you think Noriega should step down?

[Castro] Why?  To please the enemies of Panama's sovereignty?  What for?
He should do what he feels is fitting.  In sum, what matters is not a
person, a man; what matters is a cause.  What matters are a country's
rights.  The problem is not that they want to eliminate Noriega.  They want
to take the National Guard out of the Panamanian political process, because
the National Guard is the guarantee of the country's sovereignty and
independence.  It's the guarantee of the canal.

[Shriver] What do you think of Gen Noriega?  Do you think he's an honorable
man?

[Castro] I believe he's at least a courageous man because he has faced the
most terrible campaign against him.  I admire his staunchness and I know
he's a man with nationalistic and patriotic feelings.  He was a follower of
the Torrijos movement.  That's what I say about Noriega.

[Shriver] And you don't think he's a double agent.

[Castro] To be a double agent he would have to be one of our agents.  He's
not our agent.  Therefore, he can't be a double agent, because he's not an
agent of ours.  If he ever worked with the United States, I can neither
confirm nor refute it.  But I say that it's a lie that he's been a double
agent, because he was never our agent.

[Shriver] But when you hear allegations that he might have been a double
agent, do you worry, does it make you pause that perhaps he may be telling
the United States things about you?

[Castro] The other time, when they made this charge, I spoke and said this
is a lie, this is slander.  I didn't think I should remain silent.  Now,
too, I felt I shouldn't remain silent in the face of these assertions.  Not
because they are trying to involve us.  I don't care a fig.  Many lies have
been said against Cuba and the revolution in the past 30 years.  I don't
care about that.  But I felt I could not remain with my arms crossed when I
have information and evidence that show that Blandon is lying.  So, I also
said on the other occasion that it was not true that Noriega was a double
agent.  I made my statement, which was published all over the world, in
Panama.  Whenever I may see slander, lies which I know to be so, a
conspiracy not against Noriega but against the Panamanian people, against
Panama's rights over the canal, against the sovereignty and independence of
Panama, I will always speak up and I will always defend it.  In the end,
what interests me is the cause of the Panamanian people.  We are not
interested in individual personalities.  We are interested in institutions.
We are interested in the National Guard, because it is an institution
which, under Torrijos' leadership, adopted a patriotic and nationalist
stance.  I will defend it.  I defend institutions.  I do not defend
individuals.

[Shriver] Let's move to another subject.  I want to talk to you about
Central America.  Do you support Arias' plan?

[Castro] Well, we support the peace plan and the idea of a political
solution.  We did even before the Arias plan, because the Contadora plan
came before the Arias plan.  The Contadora countries worked very hard.
They were first four, then four more.  There was Peru, Uruguay, Brazil,
Argentina.  They were seeking a political solution.  We have always
supported a political solution.  The Arias plan moves in that direction,
which we believe is the correct one.  We support that plan.

[Shriver] Do you think the Arias peace plan will work?

[Castro] Well, the Arias plan has already played a role, inasmuch as it has
paved the way for important steps--talks, negotiations.  It has influenced
the evolution of events.

[Shriver] What has been the most important influence, in your opinion?

[Castro] It got the Central American governments to talk.  I think it
awakened a sense of independence among the Central American governments to
a greater or lesser degree---in the case of Guatemala, to a high degree.  I
believe the Guatemalan Government has observed an independent
position--Costa Rica's stance to a high degree, also.

Up to the Arias government, Costa Rica had collaborated with the
counterrevolution.  Counterrevolutionary bands were moving on the
Nicaragua-Costa Rica border.  The CIA supplied and aided the bands from
Costa Rica.  Arias assumed a nobler stand, an independent stand.  He
understood the interests of Central America and changed the policy of the
previous governments.  So, three governments that had a constructive
position got together.  They were Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua---El
Salvador, to a certain extent, since it has a strong revolutionary movement
within its borders.  It was interested in seeing what specific kinds of
advantages it could extract from the situation.  The Honduran Government is
very much subjected to that of the United States.  It is quite interested
in the money it receives in its role as a counterrevolutionary base.  The
Honduran Government was the most timid supporter of the plan.  Therefore,
in this sense, the Arias' initiative played an important role.  I think the
Nobel Prize jury understood the importance of his role and opted to support
the movement by granting Arias the Nobel Peace Prize.  Although peace has
not been achieved, the effort has been positive.

I feel the country that has made the biggest contribution to this peace
effort has been Nicaragua.  It's the one that has made the biggest efforts,
and I can attest to that.

[Shriver] Why?

[Castro] Well, because it is the country that is being attacked.  It is the
victim of a dirty war that has cost tens of thousands of lives---as much as
if a dirty war in the United States had cost it 3 million lives.  Fifty
thousand Nicaraguans are the equivalent of 3 million Americans.  Imagine if
someone had waged a dirty war against the United States that would have
meant the loss of 3 million lives, one that would have caused hundreds of
billions in losses.  That's what this dirty war has cost Nicaragua.  It is
involved in that war.  It is being attacked.  It is a kind of sustained
Giron.  It has cost many lives and sacrifices.  And yet Nicaragua made
concessions in the midst of a war situation.  It allowed newspapers at the
service of the counterrevolution and U.S. interests to open.  Those
newspapers defend the cause against national interests.  Nicaragua made
concessions of all sorts, of all sorts, [repeats himself] to show its good
faith, its good will.

[Shriver] You equate war in Nicaragua to the Bay of Pigs?

[Castro] The dirty war is worse. Much worse.

[Shriver] But it's similar?

[Castro] From the political point of view, it pursues the same objective.
There was a dirty war here, too.  But we were an island.  We did not have
borders on the north or the south.  The weapons had to be supplied by sea
or by air.  We quickly mobilized the entire population and we armed the
people in the mountains, in the valleys, everywhere.  Despite this, we had
to fight for 5 years to liquidate the counterrevolutionary bands.  It is
not easy.  It's enough to have the support of a minority; they can hold on
indefinitely.  Especially when the United States supports them and when
they think that sooner or later the United States will intervene, will
invade.

For us it meant 5 years of fighting.  It was not only Giron.  We had Giron
and we had the dirty war: sabotage, armed gangs in all the country's
provinces.  In that sense, they are similar.  However, Nicaragua has a
smaller population, has more land, more mountains, borders to the north and
the south.  Nicaragua is harder to defend than the island of Cuba.

[Shriver] You mention an opposition press in Nicaragua that allowed that.

[Castro] A counterrevolutionary press at the service of U.S. policy.

[Shriver] That is something that doesn't exist here.  Do you think it was a
mistake?

[Castro] It does not exist nor will it ever exist.  Let no one even dream
about it.  We eliminated privately owned mass media here.  The mass media
belongs to the people, the party, the youth.  Workers have their own
newspaper, peasants have their own paper, women have their own paper.

[Shriver] There will never be an opposition press here.

[Castro] There will not be a so-called press, a press at the service of the
interest of Cuba's enemies, of the enemies of the revolution.  A press
which is at the service of the U.S. policy does not exist and will never
exist.  I have to tell you this very honestly.

[Shriver] I will come back to that later.  Do you think it was a mistake
for Daniel Ortega to allow that?

[Castro] No, I do not think it was a mistake.  It was not a mistake
[preceding word rendered in English] as she says. [Castro comments to
interpreter] I do not think it is a mistake.  I believe the situation in
Nicaragua is different.

[Shriver] You would have not done it.

[Castro] I do not know.  I shouldn't pass judgment on that.  We have never
done it.  That is all I can say.  Now, Nicaragua is in the midst of this
whole Latin American movement, of this Latin American effort to resolve a
Latin American problem, in the midst of this entire peace effort.  I
believe it might imply a big sacrifice, but I cannot criticize what they
did. [Words indistinct] after the Esquipulas I meeting, Daniel came here
and explained the talks, the agreements, the policy, and we supported him.
We as a principle [words indistinct].  If they want to open a newspaper, we
will support them.  If they want to open 10, we will support them.
Whatever they do, if they want to hold Western-style elections as they do
in the United States, we will support them.  We will support what the
Sandinists do.

[Shriver] Regardless of what they do.

[Castro] Yes.  That is the duty of friends and brothers.  We admire what
they have done.  They have shown courage within a mixed economy and
multipartyism concept.  Those were the banners of the Sandinist revolution.
I believe it is possible to have those so-called opposition parties, which
are against the revolution, and this counterrevolutionary press at the
service of the United States--because the paper and the money of the press
is paid by the United States.  It is possible.  But we do not have and will
not have mixed economy and we do not have and will not have multipartyism.
Our people are very united.  Marti did it in the independence war.  He
organized the party of the revolution and all revolutionaries.  We have the
party of all revolutionaries here.  I categorically say that we are not
planning on having any kind of multipartyism or any type of mixed economy.
Our revolution went deeper than (?dictatorship).  It reached a point of no
return.  We are totally pleased with what we are doing.

[Shriver] Let me back over to Nicaragua for a moment.  How do you describe
your relation with Daniel Ortega?

[Castro] They are very friendly relations.  They are so not only with
Daniel.  You tend to personalize political processes.  You say Castro's
Cuba, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua.  Cuba is not Castro's and Nicaragua is not
Daniel's.  The Americans tend to identify the processes with an individual.
[Words indistinct] I have good relations with Daniel, I have a very high
opinion of him.  He is very intelligent.  I have excellent relations with
all the leaders and with all Nicaraguan revolutionaries.  I have a friendly
and brotherly relationship.

[Shriver] Many people say he is a protege of yours.

[Castro] I believe there is no revolution that is a protege of another,
because one of the strongest feelings in any country, whether it is big or
small--but it is even greater in the smaller countries than in the big
ones--is the sense of independence, of national dignity.  It is very strong
in them, in us, and in all of our countries.  And the excellent countries
among revolutionaries all over the world, with progressive countries, is
that we have never treated those countries with hegemony, we have never
treated them as being dependent on us.  We have always respected their
ideas.  I am going to tell you the secret of our relations with
revolutionaries throughout all these years.  It is the respect of ideas,
opinions, views, and independence of each revolutionary organization.  This
is the secret of our excellent relations.

[Shriver] There are those who say that you advise Daniel Ortega and that
one of the pieces of advice you gave him is to manage the United States
with moderation.

[Castro] I do not know where that came from.  I can tell you the following.
It is a practice I follow.  I never give anybody any advice unless someone
asks for it.  I do not give my opinion on what they are doing unless they
ask me for it.

[Shriver] Has he asked you?

[Castro] He has asked many times.  Among revolutionaries we ask each
others opinions.  Because of age, of experience... [changes thought] They
can ask us for our views.  Panamanians have asked us for our views on the
political problem, Nicaraguans have asked for our views--views, not advice.

[Shriver] Has Daniel Ortega asked you your opinion on how to deal with the
United States?

[Castro] No.  Not that I recall.  Our relations go back many years, since
they were fighting in the mountains, since long before the triumph of the
revolution.  They were very close relations.  It would be wrong to tell
them not to make mistakes.  We have not made any mistakes regarding our
relations with the United States.  I do not think we have made any mistakes
[words indistinct] absolutely nothing regarding our relations with the
United States.  So it would be very difficult to tell Ortega not to do what
we did because what we did was necessary for the Cuban revolution to
survive.  If we had not done it, the revolution would not have survived in
front of a country as powerful as the United States.  Had it not been
because of the firmness of the revolution, the determination to go ahead,
our revolution would not have survived.

[Shriver] You never think that in this almost 30 years you have been in
power you have made one mistake regarding the United States?

[Castro] Strategic errors, no.

[Shriver] You were young, you needed power, you were inexperienced,
rebellious.  Looking back...

[Castro, interrupting] Had we been this mature at at the beginning of the
revolution perhaps we would have managed the situation a little more
cold-bloodedly, with more wisdom.  Of course, more experience would have
logically helped us more.  If we didn't have experience, the United States
had less, because the United States was not prepared to accept the idea of
an independent country in Latin America, a revolutionary country in Latin
America, and a socialist country in Latin America.  They were not mentally
prepared for that.  It had much less experience.  If mistakes have been
made here, the United States has made many more.  I believe that if we were
to begin the revolution now, we would do the same basic things.  Maybe we
would use more diplomacy, we would have been more calm.  We would have
treated such an inexperienced country with a little more patience and
wisdom.  Do you understand?

Today the United States is also more experienced.  At that time it had
nothing to do with China.  China was the Red threat, the yellow threat, the
threat of all colors.  They wouldn't even talk about China in 1959, 1960.
Nothing.  The USSR was the evil empire and had no relations.  Today U.S.
relations with China [words indistinct], relations with the USSR are
excellent.  We are left with the honor of being one of the few adversaries
of the United States.

[Shriver] That's an honor?

[Castro] Of course it is an honor.  Because for such a small country as
Cuba to have such a gigantic country as the United States live so obsessed
with this small island, a country that no longer considers itself an
adversary of the USSR or adversary of China and considers itself an
adversary of Cuba--it is an honor for us.

[Shriver] The Soviet Union no longer has the honor?

[Castro] Well, it seems it has the honor of having friendly relations with
the United States, for which we are glad.

[Shriver] So it has a different kind of honor.

[Castro] It is a different kind of honor.  Someday we might also have the
honor of having good relations with the United States.  For the time being,
we have the honor of being a great adversary of the United States.  At
least we are a firm adversary, an adversary that does not give in, that
does not give, and a very morally strong adversary.

[Shriver] And that makes you proud.

[Castro] We have no other choice of being proud of that.

[Shriver] What could the United States do to make sure that the Arias peace
plan works?

[Castro] Well, the administration would have to be persuaded that the dirty
war leads to no solution.  I know the Sandinists.  They are very patriotic,
very nationalistic, and very courageous, very courageous. [repeats himself]
They are not going to be able to do away with them with the dirty war.  If
that dirty war goes on, hundreds and hundreds of more people will be
killed.  If a U.S. intervention takes place, then hundreds of thousands
would be killed.  So the administration would have to be persuaded to
simply accept a peace policy, because the administration's policy is to
destroy.

I believe the Congress' attitude has been positive, constructive.  I
believe that what the Congress has done by rejecting the proposal for more
funds is one of the most constructive things that has been done to achieve
peace in Central America.  I believe the U.S. people maintain a good
attitude.  I understand that most of the U.S. people oppose the dirty war
against Nicaragua and that many people in the United States oppose that
wrong, inappropriate, obsolete policy followed by Reagan as to Nicaragua.
I believe the Americans are doing what they can when the majority of the
people oppose that.  I believe the people who think in the United States
must struggle to continue to oppose this warmongering dirty war venture.

[Shriver] If the Arias peace plan called for all foreign military aid to
end, would you withdraw your support to Nicaragua and try to help [words
indistinct]?

[Castro] We give Nicaragua different kinds of help.  We give them political
aid...

[Shriver, interrupting] I am talking about military.  Would you be willing
to withdraw your military support?

[Castro] We have a number of advisers and instructors.  They played a more
important role at the beginning when the Nicaraguans did not have an army
and didn't have cadres to organize the [words indistinct] force.  I believe
our aid was important during that period of time.  Today it is no longer as
important.  It is more a matter of moral solidarity.  We cannot withdraw
unilaterally our military personnel there.  We do not have troops there.
There are instructors and advisers.  Actually, we do not have troops, we
have no military units in Nicaragua.  Unilaterally we cannot do that.  But
we accept and support what the Nicaraguans decide to do in this regard.

[Shriver] Under what conditions would you do that?  Under what conditions
would you withdraw your military support?

[Castro] Under the conditions the Nicaraguans establish.  When Daniel
Ortega came here after the first Esquipulas agreement we issued a joint
statement.  We expressed the willingness to withdraw foreign military
personnel to the extent to which the United States withdraws its own.  Now
then, if Esquipulas [words indistinct] on withdrawing all military we
would welcome it wholeheartedly.  We would agree with it.  But we will only
do it if the Nicaraguans agree.  We will not do it unilaterally.  The
withdrawal of all foreign military personnel from Central America is an
excellent idea.  We support it.  I am sure the Nicaraguans will support it
as well.  But the Nicaraguans have the last word on this.  We cannot say on
our own: I will withdraw personnel.  We will do it if they consider it
necessary.

[Shriver] You would also withdraw from El Salvador?

[Castro] We have no military advisers or instructors at all.

[Shriver] Any support?

[Castro] Well, support, yes.  Why should I deny it?  We will give the
Salvadoran patriots all the support we can give them.  Now, if there is
peace, we support peace.  If the Salvadoran revolutionaries hold
discussions with the Salvadoran Government and reach a peace agreement, we
will support them.  We would actually welcome it.  But as long as there
isn't a peaceful solution, and as long as the Salvadoran patriots struggle,
they will receive our sympathy and support to the extent of our
capabilities.

[Shriver] How would you describe your support?

[Castro] It depends.  We give them political and moral support.  That is
the fundamental support we give the Salvadorans, because the Salvadoran
revolutionaries have managed to become self-sufficient in weapons and to
resist the enormous flow of economic and military resources the United
States has given to the Duarte government.  They are admirable.  Among the
revolutionaries that I admire most in the world are the Salvadorans because
of their courage, ability to resist, heroism; intelligence.  They are
admirable people.  There is little we can teach them because today we can
all learn from the Salvadorans.  We ourselves have learned from them.  How
such a small country, 20,000 square km in area, has been able to keep up a
resistance for almost 8 years against genocidal armies backed by the United
States.  We have learned military tactics from them.  At the beginning we
taught them.  Today, we are learning from them.  Today, we are learning
from their experience.

[Shriver] What are you learning?

[Castro] Tactics. How they have managed this.

[Shriver] What kind of tactics?

[Castro] Military tactics; their ability to disperse, to regroup, to
resist.  They have proven the endless possibilities of the people in their
struggle.  If at the beginning, during the first few years, we could teach
them, today they are teaching us.  They can teach us in irregular warfare.
I am not saying that in normal warfare they know more than we do.

[Shriver] Let me back up to my original question.  If the Arias peace plan
did call for the end of all foreign military support, including the United
States', everybody, you would be prepared to withdraw your support?

[Castro] I think that if all military support and all direct or indirect
participation ceases in Central America, we would totally agree.  We would
totally agree, [repeats himself] without any discussion.  Let all sorts of
military activities, advisers, or military aid cease.

But as long as it gives incredible amounts of aid to the genocidal
government of Duarte, the United States cannot demand that others stop
helping the Salvadoran revolutionaries.  If the government [words
indistinct] considers itself of helping the counterrevolutionaries in
Angola, in other countries, in Nicaragua, in other countries, what moral
right do they have to ask revolutionary countries not to help the
revolutionaries in El Salvador?  When the United States sets the example of
not waging dirty wars, of not helping the counterrevolutionaries against
established governments, of not requiring others not to help the
revolutionary movement...

[Shriver, interrupting] Are you just helping all these other places just
because the United States is doing the opposite?  You sound like you are
more...

[Castro, interrupting] No, no.  We help the Salvadoran revolutionaries
because it is a just cause, because of principles.  But since you asked me
if we were willing to accept the rule that no one would help no one, I
would agree to that, that the revolutionaries not help the revolutionaries,
and that the United States not help the counterrevolutionaries anywhere--we
would agree then.  That was not the reason.  But if that principle was set
forth, and the United States would commit itself to do so, we would also
commit ourselves to do that.  Is that clear?  The reason for one thing was
not the same for the other.  But the question is, would we be willing to
adhere to this principle, and I say yes.

[Shriver] Do you think the Arias peace plan should ask that?

[Castro] What should it ask?  Yes.  It would be great if the Arias plan
asked that, the end of all the business of military aid to Central America.

[Shriver] For everyone.

[Castro] For everyone, and we would accept the principle.

[Shriver] You brought up Angola.

[Castro] Yes.

[Shriver] How many troops do you have in Angola now?

[Castro] Enough to deal with the problems there.  The necessary ones.

[Shriver] Forty thousand?

[Castro] No, I will not give you figures.  I am sorry, but there is no
reason for me to give you that information.  I know very well the attitude,
man by man, weapon by weapon, but I cannot please you.  I can tell you that
we have enough to face the South African adventure.

[Shriver] It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 Cubans.  You
don't know, you don't want to say.  You know.

[Castro] That could be a more or less estimate.  Some times estimates are
far from the reality.

[Shriver] For a long time you wanted to become part of the ongoing talks.
In January you took part in them.  How are you going to use the Cuban
position at the bargaining table to reach an agreement in Angola?

[Castro] I believe the Angolan issue is quite clear for us.  We are in
Angola because we have helped Angolans fight South Africa.  Many countries,
many people speak of apartheid, of racism, fascism, but the only country
that has really helped with men to struggle against the attacks of
apartheid and racism is Cuba.  Therefore, I believe the most honorable and
noble mission any country has undertaken is the one conducted by our
country in Angola.  Despite the fact that it is a small country, we have
maintained ourselves firmly there for almost 13 years.

[Shriver] At great cost.

[Castro] Well, that is possible because we have people willing to go.
[Words indistinct] how can such a small country do something like that if
they do not have foreign currency, if they do not have a strong economy, it
is not a rich country?  We are not wealthy in money but we are wealthy in
awareness, in internationalist spirit.  We are a very wealthy, generous
people.  Since you asked me for a figure, I can tell you that about 300,000
Cubans have gone through Angola on a voluntary basis during these 13 years.
I ask myself if there is any other country with the political and
revolutionary quality of ours.  We are such a small country, yet 300,000
citizens have gone there to fulfill military internationalist missions.

[Shriver] But let me ask you, Mr President, how are you going to use your
position now as part of these ongoing talks to bring an end to this?

[Castro] I am going to answer you.  I was explaining to you.  In Angola we
have no strategic interest.  We are not a big power.  We have no economic
interest.  We do not have a single piece of property in Angola.  Our aid is
absolutely loyal, disinterested, with solidarity, with internationalist
spirit.  Therefore, whenever there is peace in Angola, the ones to benefit
the most are us.  We have never opposed a political solution in Angola.  We
have always supported the decisions made by the Angolan Government.  If
the Angolan Government wants to reach a political solution, we will support
it.  In that sense the initiative is in the hands of the Angolan
Government, and we support it.  We saw that the talks between Angola and
the United States were being prolonged.  In our view, the United States
followed a path that was not equitable.  The delegation came before the
Angolans and asked them for concessions.  The Angolans would make certain
concessions but they offered nothing.  They would say they were going to
talk with the South Africans to see if they agreed.  So they asked for more
and new concessions.  They demanded unilateral concessions from Angola
while South Africa continued with its intervention in Angola.

We realized that as part of the conflict our participation would help the
Angolans and the negotiations.

[Shriver] How has it helped?

[Castro] We could help to find a formula that would deceive nobody, because
sometimes the formula pro posed to the Angolans deceived the Angolans.

[Shriver] What is the formula?  Now that you are there, you are part of the
talks, what is the formula?

[Castro] In common agreement, because we do not have a unilateral
position--nor can we have it--we reached an agreement with the Angolans.
To come out of the stagnation of the talks, we proposed a global solution
to the problem.  In exchange for a global solution, we were willing to
accept the idea of a complete withdrawal of Cuban troops.  That was an
important step, because the troops in the south were always discussed.  The
troops in the north were not discussed.  Those would stay there
indefinitely.  But the negotiations had come to a deadlock.  Therefore,
Angola and Cuba took a step forward so as to unlock the negotiations.  In
the face of a global solution, we were willing to accept the idea of total
withdrawal in a prudential period of time to be determined.

Now then, what were the requirements for a global solution from our point
of view?  First, the cessation of all interference in Angola's internal
affairs.  In two words: the cessation of any dirty war against the
legitimate Government of Angola on the part of the people who were
responsible for that dirty war.  They are South Africa and the United
States.  The application of UN Resolution 435.  International security
guarantees for Angola.  In that case, Angola and Cuba, in common accord,
would proceed to withdraw all military personnel, all Cuban troops in
Angola.

[Shriver] What's the timetable?

[Castro] Well, what was agreed was the following.  Right now there is a
certain--I will not say stagnation--there are certain things that have yet
to be clarified.  The Americans are asking the Angolans for a timetable.
But the Angolans say the timetable is the last item.  They say the
timetable will be the result of the negotiations and that it implies the
resolution of the items they have presented: an end to the dirty war, which
is very legitimate; the application of 435...

[Shriver, interrupting] Why can't they happen simultaneously?

[Castro] They could happen simultaneously.  But I am saying that there is a
misunderstanding.  The Angolans are waiting for one thing, and the
Americans are waiting for another.

[Shriver] So, how are you going to help resolve the situation?

[Castro] We are part of the Angolan delegation.  We have worked in mutual
agreement, and we will continue doing so.  We will continue working to find
a [words indistinct] Angolans have said, why are they asking me to prepare
a timetable when they have not yet given me the assurance that there will
not be any interference in Angola's internal affairs, or any dirty wars.
That is what they are saying, which is very fair.  Now, there is somewhat
of a misunderstanding.  That is that each party is expecting something from
the other.  I think, anyway, that some steps must be taken in the near
future to overcome this misunderstanding.

[Shriver] So, if they were given assurances, what would their timetable be?

[Castro] We have to discuss that with the Angolans.  We also have to
discuss it with the Americans who are acting as intermediaries.  Because
the problem here is that the United States to a certain extent is an
intermediary, and at the same time it is a belligerent party.  It is a
godfather of the dirty war, a participant in the dirty war against Angola,
and as such is actually part of the problem.  It is a country interested in
playing what they call a mediating role, so it plays the role of mediator.
But the United States is playing a double role: on the one hand the role of
mediator; and on the other as part of the conflict.

[Shriver] So, there is no calendar and things are deadlocked?

[Castro] At this moment there is a certain misunderstanding.  It is not
that they are deadlocked.  A lot of progress was made at the meeting in
Luanda, progress was made.  But these items remained.  The Angolans were
asking the Americans if the principle of noninterference in the internal
affairs of Angola could be established; that is, if it would stop
practicing the dirty war.  The Americans were asking Angola and Cuba for a
timetable.  That is where we are.  It is not an unsurmountable
misunderstanding.  I think both sides can make progress.  The United States
can make progress if it agrees to guarantee it will not interfere in
Angola's internal affairs, and Angola can make progress, along with Cuba,
if it draws up a more or less simultaneous timetable.

[Shriver] General Secretary Gorbachev has spoken recently about the need
for communist bloc nations develop a fresher approach on the conflicts in
the world---Afghanistan, Angola.  Do you share that view, or are you out of
step?

[Castro] Yes, I share that view.  I don't think any two problems are the
same.  The Afghan problem is not the same as Nicaragua's nor is it the same
as Cambodia's or Angola's.  There are many problems in the world.

[Shriver] What would your fresh approach be?  What is your fresh approach?

[Castro] I share the Soviet peace policy.  I believe its concern for peace
is one of the most constructive things that has happened in recent times.
I believe it has destroyed myths, barriers, and to a certain extent it has
given way to a very important opening in an area in which only the first
steps have been taken, the first steps have been taken. [repeats himself]

[Shriver] But you share their desire, their views to get out of conflicts.

[Castro] Without any doubt.  We agree in the search for international
detente and in working on the search to find the solution to regional
problems.  We are in agreement.  Now, it all depends on how that is
interpreted.  If the United States considers detente as peace between the
United States and the USSR, between the United States and China, and war
against small countries, then there will be no solution to regional
problems.  If the United States shares the desire to look for the solution
of regional problems, then solutions will be found to regional problems.
It depends on the approach of the United States to this problem.  If the
United States wants to eliminate revolutionary governments such as
Nicaragua, the Nicaraguans will never give in.  If the United States wants
to eliminate the revolutionary regime in Angola, the Angolans are not going
to surrender.  Do you see?  The approach from this side is not enough, but
the approach of the other side is also important.  It is not only the
approach of the USSR and socialist countries; the approach of the United
States is very important.  Is it perhaps an opportunistic approach?  Does
the United States want to make peace with the large socialist powers and
make war with small socialist countries?  Does the United States want to
continue its war against Cuba, Nicaragua, and Angola?  We will continue to
fight.  There is not the slightest doubt that we will continue to fight as
long as it is necessary.

[Shriver] As the United States develops better relations with the Soviet
Union, do you feel left out?

[Castro] Not at all.  We would very happy because everything that benefits
international peace indirectly benefits us.  Everything that benefits the
development of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp benefits us
indirectly.  It is very useful for us.

[Shriver] In what way?

[Castro] Not to mention our sense of responsibility, which makes us aware
of the seriousness of the risks of a nuclear war; they have existed and
still exist in the world.  Aside from that, in every sense, I believe the
Soviet peace policy is useful for all mankind.

[Shriver] But when you see Ronald Reagan...

[Castro, interrupting] If the money the USSR and socialist countries have
to invest in weapons is saved, they can invest that money in their own
development and in cooperation with Third World countries.  So all of us
Third World countries benefit.  If this speeds up the technological
development of the Soviet Union, the countries that have good relations of
cooperation with the Soviet Union would also benefit.  So it is very
beneficial for all and even for us.  But I do not trust the ideas of the
current administration.  I do not trust them.  I mistrust the opportunistic
attitude the U.S.  Administration might have.  Maybe their approach is to
achieve peace with the big socialist powers and to wage war on the
progressive and socialist countries of the Third World.  That could be the
case, because there is a report around by a group of Pentagon advisers who
talk of developing conventional weapons, low-intensity warfare, with the
objective of promoting the dirty war against progressive governments, and
at the same time...

[Shriver, interrupting] Like you, like you?

[Castro] Yes., Cuba, Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia, and other countries.  And
at the same time, at the same time...

[Shriver, interrupting] Do you think the United States is planning to
invade you?

[Castro] We'll talk about that later.  And at the same time, helping
reactionary governments against the revolutionary movement.  I do not have
the complete report, but I could perhaps get it.  Maybe Kissinger and
others who have worked on it might be good enough to send it to us.  I
don't think it's a secret document because the press has already talked
about it.  So, I am mistrustful, and I suspect that the opportunistic idea
exists in the minds of some people in the United States to make peace with
the big socialist powers and war on the small progressive and socialist
countries of the Third World.

[Shriver] You are talking in particular about President Reagan.

[Castro] You had a specific question.  What was it?  I am talking about
this administration and the one to come.  No one knows what kind of
administration is coming next.  These are Pentagon advisers who are putting
forth this theory.

[Shriver] My specific question was, do you think the United States is
planning to invade Cuba.

[Castro] I don't think so, I don't think so.  You know why?  Because it
can't.  If the United States invades Cuba, it's going to break its teeth.
It's not that we are going to sink the U.S. flotilla or even destroy the
U.S.  Air Force.  This country has organized itself in such a way, it has
come together in such a way, and it has prepared itself in such a way, that
if the United States tries to invade Cuba, it's going to break its teeth.
It is going to have to fight millions of men and women, and even children.
No matter how powerful, the United States can't do that.  It would need
millions of troops.  It would have to pay such a high price that I feel you
Americans would not allow it.  Therefore, I'm not worried.  There might be
a madman.  Any government could go crazy.  Therefore, we cannot trust
logic.  Logic indicates it can't do it.  But we are not afraid, because we
feel very secure.  We have an organized and armed people.  We are an
impossible bone to swallow.  So, in that sense we are at ease.  And we are
going to remain always alert, always prepared; we'll always have sufficient
resistance capacity so that we might be respected.  We would prefer...

[Shriver, interrupting] You sound like a country taunting the United
States.  Like someone that's taunting them.  Try me, try me.

[Castro] What for?  We have no particular interest in doing so.  We are not
taunting them.  I am answering a question, whether we are afraid of an
invasion.  And we say, no.  We feel capable of resisting U.S. intervention.
Not now, after 30 years.  We have millions of organized and trained men and
women all over the country, from one end to the other.

[Shriver] Let me back up to talking about...

[Castro, interrupting] So no matter how powerful it might be, the United
States could break its teeth against this resistance.

I am not taunting or daring them.  We don't want conflict.  On the
contrary, we want knowledgeable, peace loving, intelligent people who won't
go berserk.  I am answering your question.  Don't tell me that I am
challenging the honor of Americans.

[Shriver] OK.  You know that General Secretary Gorbachev has made many
changes in the Soviet Union, a more open society, glasnost.  What effect
has that had in Cuba?

[Castro] Well, I would like to tell you the following.  Everything that the
Soviet Union does has an effect everywhere.  It is a big country.  It has
an effect on Europe, the United States.  It has a great effect on the Third
World, the socialist countries, and Cuba, as well.  Do you understand?
Now, our country made the revolution on our own.  No one made the
revolution for us.  We did it ourselves.  Even when the revolution started,
we did not know a single Soviet.  When this revolution triumphed, we did
not know a single Soviet.  Our country has always acted independently.  Our
policy has always been to take advantage of every useful experience other
revolutionary countries have had.  But we cannot blame anybody for our
mistakes.  Our mistakes are ours just as Soviet mistakes are their own.
Each revolutionary country has the right to make its own mistakes and to
rectify those mistakes.  We respect the criteria of every other
revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist parties.

Thus, the Chinese did a lot of things for a number of years.  One day they
felt they had to implement new policies, make changes, that they had made
mistakes.  We observed those (?mistakes).  That doesn't mean we are going
to right away start doing what the Chinese used to do and what they did
afterward.  The same holds true for the Soviet Union.  We did not have to
make their mistakes.  At the same time, when they decided to rectify those
mistakes, we had no reason to mechanically copy everything the Soviets did.

[Shriver] What mistakes are you talking about?

[Castro] Well, the mistakes that Gorbachev is talking about.

[Shriver] He's opening up society.

[Castro] He says there was technological stagnation, too much bureaucracy;
he said that at one time there was a personality cult.

[Shriver] He's allowed the people to criticize the government.

[Castro] We have not had this type of problem.  We have not had this type
of problem here.

[Shriver] But a lot of people say...

[Castro, interrupting] Those are Soviet problems, and the Soviets are
trying to resolve their own problems and rectify their own mistakes.
Soviet mistakes are different from our own.  Soviet history is different
from ours.  The idiosyncracies of the Soviets are different from ours.
Soviet institutions are different from ours, although we start out with the
same principles.  They rectify their mistakes and we rectify our own.  We
have been doing this for quite some time.  I was talking to you about that
today, the many things we are doing.  We are very happy.  I feel all
revolutions have to rectify mistakes, especially socialist revolutions,
because they are very new.  They are very new. [repeats himself] They have
made mistakes.

[Shriver] There's no glasnost here, then.

[Castro] Yes, there is glasnost here.  There has always been.  Always.
There's no more self-critical party in the world than the PCC.  There's
none.  Look at historical records.  There's none.  That's glasnost on a
large scale.

[Shriver] But glasnost is open, open.

[Castro] Yes, it's the same thing.  Opening, criticism, self-criticism.
Yes, sir.

[Shriver] But an open society.

[Castro] We have always practiced... [changes thought] What's an open
society?  A society like that of the United States?

[Shriver] Is Cuba an open society?

[Castro] What?

[Shriver] Is Cuba an open society?

[Castro] Cuba is a revolutionary society, a united society.  In certain
aspects it is more open than Western societies.  In many aspects.  We make
possible, turn into reality many of the people's aspirations that are not
possible in Western countries.  I was saying that what the Soviets do is
apply Soviet formulas to Soviet problems, and what we Cubans do is apply
Cuban formulas to Cuban problems.  Do you want to know anything else about
that?

[Shriver] Well, certainly you are aware that a lot of people think this is
not an open society, that there's no freedom of the press, that there's no
opposing political party, that people are not free to criticize the
government.

[Castro] And do you think the Soviets are going to create opposition
parties inside the Soviet Union?  To think that is to delude yourself.  Do
you think...

[Shriver, interrupting] What about Cuba?

[Castro] Cuba is not planning to do it, really.  But I don't think the
Soviets are going to do it either.  I have never heard Gorbachev talk about
organizing new parties in the Soviet Union.  I have never heard Gorbachev
talk about partisan plurality.  I have never heard Gorbachev talk about
establishing a society similar to the United States in the Soviet Union.
They are very different.  You call American society an open society because
you suffer from the mythomania that you have a so-called democratic system
and think that the only democracy in the world is yours.  We have a
different system.  But I don't think there will be partisan plurality in
the USSR.  If in order to call it an open society, you need to have
partisan plurality, a mixed economy, etc., then I have never heard
Gorbachev talk about it.  That's an incorrect interpretation of Gorbachev's
ideas.  He wants to have a more democratic society.  He wants the people to
participate more in problems, decisionmaking.  He wants the people to get
more information.  He wants...

[Shriver] What about more information for the Cuban people?  What about
being able to read opposing views?

[Castro] We simply don't have an opposition here.  There's only a tiny
number of people instigated by the U.S.  Interest Section.  That's not
opposition. [chuckles] A few people instigated by the U.S.  Interest
Section.

[Shriver] But, Mr President, there are people who disagree, who are not
instigated by the United States.

[Castro] You can ask our newspapers. Our newspapers are critical.

[Shriver] There's no opposition paper here.

[Castro] That's because there's no private ownership of the media.  The
opposition here is within the party and within the mass organizations.
There are the newspapers of each one; and they are critical, increasingly
critical.  We want our newspapers to be increasingly critical.  But it is
criticism within the revolution, not criticism against the revolution.

[Shriver] Why?

[Castro] Simply because the people are the ones in power.  We don't accept
the idea of a counterrevolution.  Counterrevolution is a concept of the
U.S.  Administration.  We don't accept the idea of counterrevolution.

[Shriver] But why can't...

[Castro, interrupting] Our revolution can be made more perfect.  We accept
opposition within the revolution; we do not accept opposition against the
revolution.

[Shriver] But Cubans are still Cubans and could disagree with the
government.  Who can they not offer an opposing view?

[Castro] Well, they can disagree with a lot of what the government is doing
or what a government official is doing.  But that doesn't mean they
disagree with the revolution.  We act on the premise that our people are
revolutionary.

[Shriver] But what if they do disagree with the revolution and they're
Cubans, why can't they stay here and voice their opinion?

[Castro] And be against the revolution?  No one is forbidding them from
leaving.  No one is forbidding them from staying.  No, no.

[Shriver] But they would like to stay; they're Cubans.  They would like to
work and stay in Cuba.

[Castro] And they want capitalism?

[Shriver] No, they want perhaps different changes in the society.  They
want a chance to be free to express themselves.  They want a chance to get
books here to study.

[Castro] What's freedom, what's freedom here in Cuba to you?  To serve the
interests of the United States?

[Shriver] What is liberty for you?

[Castro] What our people possess today: dignity, rights, independence,
honor, principles, moral values, unity solidarity, fraternity, true
freedom.  You're going to tell me that the millionaire and the beggar have
the same freedom?

Those who have millions in the banks and the ones who sleep in doorways in
New York?  Where's the freedom of the blacks, the Chicanos, those who sleep
in the street, the poor, the exploited in the United States?  Where's the
freedom?

[Shriver] They have the same freedoms in the United States.  They have the
same freedoms to voice their opinion, to criticize the administration.

[Castro] That's what the Constitution of the republic says, but there is a
terrifying inequality.  It is the inequality between the millionaire and
the beggar, the rich and poor, the one who has a lot of money and the one
who doesn't.  Your society is the society of inequality.  So, when there's
no equality, there cannot be freedom.  Where there's no equality, there
cannot be democracy.  That's the concept, the mythomania you suffer from in
regard to Western and U.S. democracy.

[Shriver] But the millionaire and the beggar both have the same freedom to
express their opinion, to criticize.

[Castro] I have never seen a beggar written up by the big television
networks in the United States.  I have never seen it.

[Shriver] Absolutely.  There are reports about people who are homeless who
voice criticism of the government.

[Castro] Listen, you are confusing freedom of the press with freedom to own
the mass media.  If the owners of your station, NBC, don't want it, you
don't do the program.  They look for someone else and they have you do the
program. [sentence as heard]

[Shriver] But I am free on NBC.

[Castro] Yes, but the newspaper owners are the ones to decide who writes in
the paper, and if they don't agree, they are fired.  The owner of the
paper, the station, has the right to allow or dismiss those who write for
their paper.  It's private property of the media.  I believe the real right
should be that the mass media belong to the entire people and not to the
owners.  That's a difference of opinion we have.  They call freedom the
freedom to own the media.  But the director decides what gets published.
If the director wants, you do this program.  If the director doesn't, you
don't.  That's the truth.  If the director wants you to, you have a
program.  If the director doesn't want you to, you don't have a program.
Many poor people, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos don't have a program.  If you
don't own your program, you work there as long as the company allows you
to.  Yet you call that freedom.

[Shriver] I want to talk to you about something different than freedom of
the press, because it's a different subject.  On the record of human rights
in Cuba, the State Department has said it has seen indications that things
are changing here but there is still a lot more that needs to be done.  You
now tolerate some human rights organizations here in Cuba, but they want to
be legalized.  Why don't you legalize them?

[Castro] There is a small group of counterrevolutionaries, former
counterrevolutionaries here who are manipulated by the U.S.  Interest
Section.  There is no human rights organization here but an organization of
liars and slanderers.  That is what there is here.  It will never become
legal.  That is illusory.  It is a group of slanderers at the service of
the U.S.  Interest Section.  That is what there is here.  There have been
no changes here.  We thank the State Department very much for stating that
there have been changes, but there have been no such changes here.

[Shriver] There have been no changes in regards to human rights?

[Castro] There is absolute respect for the human rights of citizens.  I
believe that no country in the world [words indistinct] with your idea of
human rights.  But there is no single country in which human rights are
respected more carefully.  There is no country in the world, there is no
revolution in the world that has been more observant of human rights than
our country.

[Shriver] But, Mr President...

[Castro, interrupting] This campaign alleging abuses and violence-they are
lies.  The publicity machinery of the United States and the West has echoed
them.  They are shameful slanders.  Talk to the people, talk to the people.
[repeats himself] All those people you saw today, talk to them and ask them
if they have ever suffered needs, if there has ever been violence against a
prisoner, if there has even been torture here.  When torture is mentioned
here, our people are being insulted.  Our people would not tolerate
anything like that because the people are educated, cultivated,
revolutionary.  That is a shameful slander.

[Shriver] Mr President, there are people who have spent time in your jails
who have talked about it, who also say they have been tortured, that they
have been beaten.

[Castro] That have been what? [Interpreter says: Tortured"] Ask the people.
Because the best witnesses are the millions of citizens of this country.
Ask a worker, ask a peasant, ask a university student, ask intellectuals if
there has ever been an assassination, a missing person, a tortured person
in this country.  That is a lie.  If you want to believe them, [words
indistinct] but that is a big lie.  Lies do not turn into truths by simply
repeating them.  That is a fascist principle, [words indistinct] that the
U.S. propaganda is using by repeating, repeating, and repeating wicked
lies.  The people are our best witnesses.  To speak of torture in this
country is to insult the people of Cuba because our people would not
tolerate it.

[Shriver] So, the people that spent time, the political prisoners, [words
indistinct] they lie about it?

[Castro] Yes.

[Shriver] They all lie.

[Castro] Not all of them, there are only a few, there are only a few.
[repeats himself] There are a few who have been echoed by the Western
propaganda.  There were thousands of prisoners here, and with reason.
[Words indistinct] very serious crimes, those who landed in Giron, some
1,300.  They came to invade a country at the service of a foreign power.
What could we do, sit idly by?  What would you have done if 10,000
Americans at the service of Cuba invaded the United States?  Would you have
called them patriots, freedom fighters?  How many years in jail would you
have sentenced them?  For example, a hijacker is sentenced to 40 years.
The two Cubans who hijacked a plane-in order to help end disorder we sent
two Cubans back to the United States so they could be tried.  They were
sentenced to 40 years.  They have not allowed the family to visit them a
single time.  You call someone a terrorist and sentence him to 40 years.
If someone (?builds a bomb) or conducts terrorist actions, acts of
sabotage, is a spy at the service of the United States, we cannot punish
them?  Who do you punish those who you consider a traitor, spy, enemy of
the United States?  Why can't you understand that we punish here those who
have been traitors, spies, saboteurs, terrorists, plane hijackers?  Why
does the law have to be one way there and a different way here?  Why is the
ETA [Basque Fatherland and Liberty], which struggles against the state,
punished in Spain?  Why are the Red Brigades and those who fight against
the state punished in Germany, France, Italy?  Who does England sanction
the Irish who fight against the British domination?  You in the West can
sanction and we, a Third World country, a revolutionary country, cannot
sanction.  Who is that?  Who is it in your case a terrorist is a terrible
thing, but when terrorism is carried out against a revolutionary country
they are considered a patriot, freedom fighters?  Where is the logic of
that?

[Shriver] Mr President, are people who criticize the government, who write
things against the government, are they counterrevolutionaries?  Should
they go to prison?

[Castro] I speak against the government, many people criticize the
government.

[Shriver] Yes, but you are the head of the government.

[Castro] No one here has ever been arrested for criticizing the revolution.
That is a lie.  That is simply a lie.  Criticism against the government is
not the same thing as activities against the revolution, sabotage of the
economy or sabotage of agriculture.  You cannot forget that we have had
against us the most powerful country in the world encouraging the
counterrevolution here.  Why should we have to guarantee impunity at the
service of a policy that attacks our country?

[Shriver] But these are not United States' inspired people.  These are
regular Cubans who went to prison for being in opposition to the
government.

[Castro] Where are they?

[Shriver] In prisons, some of them.  Some have gotten out.

[Castro] That is a lie.  Find them.  Find the ones who are in prison.  It
is a lie that they are in prison for having an opinion, a view.  The people
who are in prison are there because of their activities and
counterrevolutionary crimes, not for having opinions or critical views,
because our people are characterized as having a truly critical spirit.
One of the people who expresses themselves most openly and critically are
the Cuban people.  So all that is a lie.  It is myth made up by reactionary
propaganda, U.S. propaganda against Cuba.  That is what it is.  I simply do
not accept that.

I would say that one of the most vicious slanders of this whole myth that
has been made up, of this deceitful propaganda against Cuba, which attacks
us, is that we [words indistinct].  No other government has done more for
its people than Cuba.  No other government has made greater contributions
to the human rights of a citizen than what our country has done.  Only by
reducing the rate from 60 to approximately 13.2 children who died every
year per 1,000 births in our country, we have saved the lives of over
300,000 children.  Life expectancy was 55 years.  It is now almost 75 years
in our country.  Our country was an illiterate country.  Now there isn't a
single child without schooling, an adolescent without schooling, or a
citizen without medical care.  There isn't a single individual who doesn't
have the same opportunities to study and develop as everyone else.  We have
not only helped our people.  Over 2,000 Cuban health workers are providing
their services in 30 countries around the world.  We have 24,000 students
with scholarships from over 80 Third World countries.  So, we have not only
worked for us.  This is a country where you do not have beggars, barefoot
children, or abandoned and deserted people.  This is a country where you do
not find any gambling, prostitution, or drugs.

When Western countries free their societies from all those aberrations and
all those things, when they do away with exploiting women, when they do
away with racial and women's discrimination, when they do away with that,
let them then speak about human rights.  The police or public authorities
in Cuba have never broken up a demonstration.  What you see everyday in the
United States, England, Spain, France, Italy, and the FRG is repression of
workers who are on strike, pacifists, and people who go on demonstrations.
There is not a single time in almost 30 years that teargas has been used
against the people.  Not a single time in 30 years have we fired a shot,
hit anyone, fired a rubber bullet.  And we see that everyday in France,
Italy, England, the FRG, and the United States.  When you put an end to
teargassing, beatings, dogs, water-hoses, and when you put an end to all
that repression then speak about human rights.

In Cuba that has never happened.  Not even once.  I believe that we respect
human rights much more than the so-called democratic societies.  When you
stop looting the Third World by selling more and more at a high price and
buying at a cheaper prices, when you stop 120,000 children from dying of
hunger and lack of medication in the Third World-120,000 every 3 days-then
let the Western countries talk about human rights.  Because now, I believe
they do not have any moral right to talk about human rights.

[Shriver] You have let individuals from different human rights
organizations into your prisons.  If the International Red Cross, which is
the internationally recognized organization which monitors human rights
conditions, would like to come and see the prisons, would you let them in?

[Castro] We would have no objection.  We would have no objection to opening
our doors and letting them come and see our prisons.

[Shriver] The International Red Cross?

[Castro] We really would have no objection.  What we would not do is do it
under pressure.  We would not do it on anyone's demand.  But we have
nothing to hide.  And we would have no objections to show our prisons to
those who come here in good faith.  Many Americans have come, several
organizations have come, and we have shown them our prisons.  We have shown
them everything we have to show because we have nothing to hide.  There is
a category of prisoners here called plantados.  In what country of the
world do those prisoners exist?  Only in Cuba.  These plantados do not
exist in the United States.  When a prisoner in the United States does not
want to get dressed, he has to get dressed.  In France, the FRG, Italy,
Spain, the United States, all around the world, when someone does not want
to put on the uniform, they put the uniform on him.  We have never even
done that.  The mere existence of the so-called plantados is the most
[words indistinct] of that whole campaign against Cuba.  Only in a country
where a not a single finger has been laid on a prisoner can this plantados
category exist.

[Shriver] But it is good news to know that you will allow the International
Red Cross to come in and [words indistinct].

[Castro] We have no objections because we have nothing to hide.  What we do
not accept is anyone assuming the right to inspect us.  It's not the same
thing for us to be willing to open our prisons to show what we have here.
They will see that the most humane penitentiary system in the world is this
one.  They will see, they will be able to confirm this.  In this country
prisoners are trained, they are paid for their work.  This is done with
common prisoners, general prisoners, common prisoners.  In this country we
help the prisoners' relatives.  What other country has ever done this?  We
have done this since the beginning of the revolution.  We helped the
children of the bandits who were up in arms in the mountains at the service
of the United States.

[Shriver] Speaking of plantados, do you plan to release all of them?

[Castro] We have released almost all of them already.  There may be a few
dozen left.

[Shriver] But how about all?

[Castro] Well, there is no reason for us to have to release them all.  Some
are more dangerous than others.  We do not want to release people who will
later go to El Salvador and kill a bishop.  We do not want to release
people who will later go and destroy a plane in flight.  We do not want to
release people who would go and kill Nicaraguans.  We do not have to
release them.  We have released most of them.  There are some dozens left.
The overwhelming majority has been released because of efforts made by the
U.S.  Catholic Church, because of humanitarian efforts made by various
organizations.  We did it not because we had to, not because we had to.
[repeats himself] I believe that when the United States ceases its
hostility against Cuba, when the United States stops conspiring against
Cuba, then it will be very easy for us to say that we are going to release
all those who remain in prison.

Do not forget, you think the United States is a friend of ours, that there
are normal relations between the United States and Cuba.  But there is
hostility, a constant campaign encouraging the subversion.  The United
States encourages sabotage, subversion, counterrevolutionary activities
through many radio stations.  We will never disarm ourselves.  We will
never disarm ourselves, nor will we sit idly by.  We will always be in a
position to defend the revolution at the necessary price.  We will do it as
part of our principles, as we have always done.

Imagine!  You have turned a Batista policeman, a terrorist like Valladares,
a terrorist who was arrested with a bag of dynamite supplied to him by the
U.S.  Embassy, you have made him the head of the U.S. delegation to the UN
Human Rights Commission.  Never in history had such a shameless thing been
seen.  Never had such a crazy thing ever been seen.  The United States, the
country that speaks of democracy and human rights, has placed a Batista
policeman at the head of its delegation in Geneva.  We have all the
evidence.  A terrorist has been appointed head of the delegation.  Can a
country that does this be serious?

[Shriver] Do you think the United States will be successful in pressuring
other countries to sponsor the movement to look into human rights in Cuba?

[Castro] The United States had never applied such monstrous pressure on
other countries.  We know this because the countries themselves tell us.

[Shriver] Do you think they will...

[Castro, interrupting] Let me explain!  I can't give you a definite answer
because I am not a fortune-teller.  I say that the United States is using
all its influence, using all its resources to pressure, not its NATO
allies--NATO allies behave like a mafia in regard to this slanderous U.S.
policy-but to place enormous pressure on Latin American countries and other
Third World countries--economic, political, and all kinds of pressures.  It
is telling them they have to vote in a certain way.  The power of the
United States will be tested.  I know there are many countries that are
irritated, angry, and humiliated.

Shultz and the U.S.  State Department have become aware of their own
stupidity.  They know they have appointed a terrorist and a Batista
policeman as the head of the commission.  Shultz sent a letter-we have it
here-to numerous U.S. embassies explaining that Valladares is not a police
man, that it is false, that Valladares was never convicted for terrorism.
Fifteen lies; they are here.  The State Department has said 15 lies about
Valladares.

[Shriver] Mr President, let's not argue about politics, let's not argue
about politics. [repeats herself] [passage indistinct]

[Castro] This document is a letter from Shultz.  What does he try to prove?
That it is a lie that Valladares was a Batista policeman.

[Shriver] Let's not argue about that.  Let me ask you something
constructive.  When will the International Red Cross be allowed to come?

[Castro] I told you we had no objections.  But that does not mean we are
going to ...

[Shriver, interrupting] Could they come next week?

[Castro] This is a declaration of principle.  I am not going to make a
commitment that we are going to receive them as a result of this interview.
We do not handle things like that.  We do not make decisions during a news
interview.  In a news interview we can make a declaration of principle.  We
will not allow ourselves to be inspected by anybody.  But we have no
objection to showing our prisons to all people of good faith, and, if
necessary, to the Red Cross.  What I cannot do is let the news that, for
instance, we'll make the decision the day after tomorrow come out in a
press interview.  I'm very sorry, but I can't give you an answer.

[Shriver] You won't give them a time?

[Castro] I have already made a declaration of principle.  To me that's
enough.

[Shriver] OK.  Let me move along to the Olympics.  You've chosen not to
attend the Olympics in Seoul.  Do you regret that decision?

[Castro] No, not at all.  It's a question of principles.  Olympic games in
Seoul are like an Olympics at the Guantanamo Naval Base occupied by the
United States.  If the socialist countries did not go to Los Angeles
because of security considerations, I ask myself if there's more security
in Seoul than in Los Angeles.  I don't think so.  We did not go to Los
Angeles out of solidarity with the socialist countries.  We are not
planning to go to Seoul, first of all, because of principles.  We believe
that manipulated games do not contribute to peace nor do they contribute to
the unity of the Korean people.  We favored the cohosting of the Olympics.
We could then have all honorably attended the Olympics.  We have worked a
great deal in that direction.  We worked with North Korea.  We worked with
the Olympics Committee to find a solution to the problem so that the two
Koreas could get together and share the Olympics as a single nation, and so
we could all work for the success of the Olympics.  We made a big effort in
that direction, but it did not bring results.  A few ridiculous events were
offered to the DPRK.  We had hopes for a democratic opening, following the
huge demonstrations and the big police repression of the workers, the
students, the people.  We had hopes for a democratic opening.  This
democratic opening did not occur.  It did not occur, nor was there
cohosting.  For us, it is not the honorable thing to do to attend these
Olympics.  We simply said we would not register and we would not attend.
That was the decision we made.

[Shriver] And there's nothing that would make you reconsider, the fact that
the Soviets are going and other communist countries are going?

[Castro] We are an independent country.  We are very mindful of our
independence and very proud of our independence.  If the socialist
countries feel they should go to the Olympics--all this I discussed with
the socialist countries.  They know my opinion, they know my views.  I
brought up this matter at the meeting of party secretaries.  They know
what I think.  It is no surprise to them.  If they think they should go, I
respect their view.  How ever, Cuba does not think it is honorable to go.
I believe it would be lacking in solidarity with the people of the DPRK.
We do not exchange principles for a few gold medals.

So, if the socialist countries did not go to Los Angeles because of
security considerations, I wonder if there's more security in Seoul than in
Los Angeles.  I see a contradiction in that, but I respect the decision
made.  We are a sovereign, independent country with its own view.  We were,
we are, and we will always be.  Those who think we had to go to Seoul
because the USSR and other socialist countries decided to go to Seoul are
deluding themselves.  Those who think that way have no idea of a country's
dignity and sovereignty.

[Shriver] Do you worry that the decision might cost you the Pan-American
Games here?

[Castro] It would be a great injustice if something like that happened.  We
have not violated any Olympic regulation.  We have simply not registered,
and no one has ever been sanctioned.  Our first rights were taken away from
us once.  They were given to Indianapolis.  Yet the United States had
boycotted the Moscow Olympics.  If the United States boycotted the Moscow
Olympics, how could there be an Olympics in Los Angeles?  If it boycotted
Moscow, why were there Pan-American Games in Indianapolis?  They could take
the games away from us, but it would be a tremendous injustice and would
greatly harm Latin American sports.  But we don't care.  We really don't
care.  No one is going to pressure us and make us bow our heads by
threatening us with taking away the Pan-American Games.  No country in this
hemisphere has done more for sports than Cuba.  No country has developed
sports so much.  No Latin American country.  We won more medals at the
Olympics--or rather, the Pan-American Games-than all the other Latin
American countries together.  Doesn't a country that has done this much for
sports deserve to host Pan-American Games?  We believe so.  They can take
them away, but we are not worried.

[Shriver] On the record, there is nothing that would make you reconsider
your decision?

[Castro] Samaranch wrote me.  He said he would keep working hard to find a
solution.  We are happy about that.  If he finds a solution satisfactory to
the DPRK, then we will support him and we would participate.  But I don't
see many chances of that.  So many efforts have been made to find a
solution with no results that I don't know if at this point a formula is
possible.  Anyway, Samaranch is keeping at it, and I think this is
positive.  If he is successful, we'll be glad.  We would go in that case,
but that is not very probable.

[Shriver] If he took away the pretense that North Korea was cohosting the
games, [as heard] then you would go?

[Castro] Yes, we would go.  Of course.  I hope such a solution is found.
That is what we wanted, and that is what we have been endeavoring to do.

[Shriver] You are aware of this, but I'll ask you.  Pat Robertson, who is
running for president of the United States, has said there are Soviet
missiles in Cuba.  If he were sitting here, what would you say to him?

[Castro] To whom, Pat Robertson?  I don't think he would say it if he were
sitting here.  No one can.  He may say that lie there, during a political
debate.  But in front of me, a man who respects himself will not say that.
Then, I would tell him to go to the doctor.  If he comes here and tells me
we have intermediate-range missiles, nuclear missiles in Cuba--we have
neither nuclear nor conventional--I would suggest he see a doctor, a
psychiatrist.  I don't know, this is madness.  As I told a journalist of
USA TODAY, this was a Walt Disney fantasy.  You are told just about
anything, and at times you believe them.  I am amazed at the things you
believe.  It is incredible how the country which has the most numerous mass
media is the worst informed country of the world.

[Shriver] Might you, in the context of a U.S.-Soviet arms agreement, allow
the United States to inspect the bases here?

[Castro] What bases?

[Shriver] To come here to inspect to make sure that there are no missiles
here?

[Castro] No.  If the United States allows us to inspect them, we would
allow the United States to inspect us.  But the unilateral right of the
United States to inspect Cuba-that's absolutely impossible.

[Shriver] We know a lot about what the United States would like for Cuba to
do to improve relations with Havana.  But what would Cuba like the United
States to do?

[Castro] You have asked me a very difficult question.  I would have to
become Reagan's adviser, or adviser, perhaps, of some future U.S.
president.  Well, if you like, I will advise him.  I am willing to advise
him.  You let me think, and I will not charge him anything to tell him
about not only what the United States should do to improve relations with
Cuba but with Latin America and the Third World.

[Shriver] Now, Cuba in particular.

[Castro] I would tell them to accept the existence of an independent and
sovereign country, to accept the existence of a socialist country.  I would
tell them to forget any ideas about imposing conditions on us.  Along that
path, relations between the United States and Cuba will never improve.

[Shriver] You will never change anything in order to achieve relations with
the United States?

[Castro] Change what, for instance?

[Shriver] Your dependency, your relationship with the Soviet Union.

[Castro] We will not sacrifice our relations with the Soviet Union under
any conditions.  First of all, it would be ungratefulness, opportunism, and
stupidity.  Never will the relations between the United States and Cuba
have the same characteristics as the relations between the USSR and Cuba.
These are relations based on principles and solidarity.  We can never
expect from a capitalist country that type of relationship with us.
Therefore, we will not do it.  We would be ungrateful and stupid.  Who was
it in the French Revolution?  I think that a counterrevolutionary leader
had been murdered.  Someone, I think it was Talleyrand, said: More than a
crime, it is stupid.  Therefore, for us to sacrifice our relations with our
Soviet friends in order to improve our relations with our enemies, the
United States, more than a crime, it would be stupid.

[Shriver] So, you'll never stop seeing the United States as an enemy.

[Castro] No, no.  It is the United States that sees us as an enemy.  We
have not set ourselves up as an enemy of the United States.  But the United
States has set itself up as our enemy.  Not the people of the United
States, but the Government of the United States.

[Shriver] Yet you talk about the United States as your enemy.  Is there
anything that can be done to change that relationship?

[Castro] Well, I can say that it's the government that has set itself up as
our enemy.  I am not confusing the government with the people of the United
States.

[Shriver] Is there anything that can change the relation ship between the
U.S.  Government and Cuba so the two countries would no longer be enemies?

[Castro] I think it would be necessary for both sides to want to improve
relations.  For our part, we are willing to do it.  Now, we would have to
ask the present U.S.  Government whether it is willing.  Some steps have
been taken.  You can't say that no steps have been taken.  You know, this
administration is very contradictory.  A step was taken once--the U.S.
Interest Section.  It was set up during the Carter administration.
Unfortunately, this was accompanied by intensive CIA espionage.  In this
instance, we acted more wisely.  We totally forbade all espionage activity
from our interest office in Washington.  We never did it, not once.  Yet,
when the U.S.  Interest Section opened here, it engaged in espionage from
the very 1st day.  We did as the fisherman does.  We gave them plenty of
reel for years.  We collected all the evidence.  We collected all the
evidence. [repeats himself] When we had all the evidence, we had no choice.
We warned them two or three times.  You are spying.  We warned them two or
three times.  In the end, we had no choice but to present all the evidence.
Of course, the United States is a country with press freedom.  Yet I can't
figure out why not a single word of Cuba's charges was printed.  Cuba had
all the evidence.  One of the biggest scandals in the history of espionage
occurred less than half a year ago.  There was all sorts of evidence, but
not a single word was published in the United States.  What do you think?
It's the country where press freedom reigns.

There are also some very paradoxical things, not just concerning press
freedom.  We were talking about human rights just a while ago.  The United
States talks about human rights.  And yet it does not allow a single
medication to come to Cuba.  If medication from the United States can save
a life, that medication cannot come to Cuba.  If it can cure a cancer, the
person will not be cured.  If it can ease someone's pain, that pain will
not be eased.  That country, which so defends human rights, forbids the
import of medical equipment and medication in this country.  Tell me if
that gives the United States any moral right (?to talk) about human rights.

[Shriver] That's because of the trade embargo.

[Castro] The embargo.  Can a country that does that speak of human rights
and can it make demands of a small country which it is blockading and
refusing technology and medication?  Can it speak of human rights?  Come
on.

[Shriver] Let me switch gears a moment.  Back in the early sixties there
were reports about many assassination plots against you.  Who do you hold
responsible for those?

[Castro] You've asked a difficult question.  I believe Kennedy had bad
advisers.  Someone advised him badly.  That's my opinion.  Or perhaps
people who interpreted some remark by Kennedy.  I don't know if Kennedy
might have said once: We have to get rid of Castro.  Perhaps Kennedy said
it in political terms.  We have to get rid of Castro politically.  But
maybe some people thought that meant getting rid of Castro physically.
Those were the first reports we heard.  However, the assassination attempts
began before the Kennedy administration.  The CIA started the dirty war in
the Eisenhower years.  Kennedy did not start the dirty war against Cuba.
Eisenhower, the CIA, the Pentagon started it a long time before Kennedy
took office.  The assassination plans began before Kennedy came to office.
What has been historically proved is that there were plans to physically
eliminate Cuban leaders, myself included, during the Kennedy
administration.  That was confirmed.  What hasn't been confirmed is that
Kennedy gave the order.  What hasn't been confirmed is that Kennedy had
that intention.  The talk is about interpretations of things (?that are not
certain).  I want to tell you...

[Shriver, interrupting] What do you think?

[Castro] I find it difficult to believe that Kennedy might have assumed
that responsibility.  It doesn't fit the image I have of him, his
character.  It doesn't fit.  I feel there might be a problem of
interpretation and there might have been actions taken by people who wanted
to resolve the problem along those lines.  Anyway, we must consider the
following, as I was telling you this afternoon: Kennedy inherited the Giron
invasion.  It was not his idea.  He did not organize it.  After the Bay of
Pigs he was very angry.  In a way, he felt humiliated.  We were not to
blame for that.  What we did was defend ourselves.  So all this anger might
have created an atmosphere conducive to plans of this nature.

Independently of what might have happened, it does not change my opinion of
Kennedy.  I have a positive opinion of Kennedy.  He was an intelligent,
truly brilliant man.  After Roosevelt, he was the only president of the
United States who had a Latin American policy: the Alliance for Progress.
It was an intelligent policy seeking to check the spread of the Cuban
revolution.  The trauma produced by the Cuban revolution, the fact that a
revolution had taken place so close to the United States, awakened the fear
that there might be objective conditions for revolution in Latin America.
Kennedy did not conceive a repressive strategy.  Instead, he came up with a
strategy of social reform to check revolution in Latin America.  He spoke
of agrarian reform, fiscal reform. education and health programs-many of
the things that we have done.  He offered economic aid-$20 billion.  Latin
America did not owe a single cent then.  The problems of Latin America are
bigger now.  It has double the population, a $400-billion debt.  It is a
volcano where problems are accumulating.  There's no policy for Latin
America.  Kennedy was the last president to have a policy for Latin
America.

I do not have a bad personal opinion of Kennedy.  I am not telling you this
because you are a relative.  If you have read other interviews, my
statements, you will see that I have always spoken of Kennedy with respect.
As I was telling you this afternoon, I must acknowledge that he did not
commit the worst of mistakes.  That would have been sending the Marines to
Cuba.  That is, I must acknowledge that he acted calmly, serenely, and that
he did not make that big mistake.  He might have erred in not stopping the
invasion, because he did not yet have enough authority, enough experience.
He did not stop it.  That could have been his mistake, but he avoided a
much bigger mistake.  He could have sent the Marines in.

[Shriver] There are theories that have existed for years that you knew
about the assassination plots in the early sixties, that you held President
Kennedy responsible, and that you, in turn, were involved in his
assassination.  Did you have anything to do with it?

[Castro] I believe... [changes thought] I can't answer that question
because I can't accept such an accusation or doubt.  Therefore, I will not
stoop to deny it.  What I can tell you is the following: News reached us
daily of CIA assassination plans before and after Kennedy.  I can even tell
you the following: First, to plan an action against the president of the
United States was an irresponsible, insane action.  I believe it would be
farfetched to think that a responsible leader, a revolutionary who is aware
of his responsibilities, would come up with such madness because this would
be political madness.  It's not just a question with ethical, moral
implications.  It's a question with serious political implications.  A
leader of a small country who would plan the elimination of the president
of the United States would be acting irresponsibly.  It can never be said
that the leaders of the Cuban revolution have acted irresponsibly.  They
are firm, brave, determined, but never irresponsible.  I can tell you that.

Second, the day Kennedy was assassinated, I was meeting with a Kennedy
envoy.  He was a French journalist, (Jean Daniel), who had spoken at length
with Kennedy.  That was months after the October crisis.  Kennedy was still
feeling the trauma of the grave danger experienced in those day.  So,
Kennedy wanted to get in touch with me.  He sent me a message with this
journalist.  He told me he had a message from Kennedy.  That same evening I
took him with me to Varadero, so we could talk at our leisure there.

We were talking.  He was telling me all about Kennedy's conversation, when
we heard the news of Kennedy's assassination on the radio.  What I can tell
you is that I felt very bad.  Kennedy's death hurt.  I saw in Kennedy an
intelligent, capable adversary.  I felt an emptiness the day Kennedy was
killed.  I was really hurt.  I must tell you in all honesty.  It seemed to
me that it was a death with no dignity, an unfair death.  Time passed and
strange, odd things occurred.  Oswald's murder.  Oswald in jail, Oswald
killed.  I later read a book-I think it was Sorensen's--about the death of
the president.  It was Sorensen, wasn't it?  Yes.  A long book.  I read a
thousand pages, because I wanted an explanation.

Now, when Oswald's name came up, someone reported that an individual with
the same name had tried to visit Cuba and had asked for a visa at the
Mexican Embassy.  It was a routine request.  I never knew anything about
it.  The Foreign Ministry was informed.  We were denying all those visas
because we were mistrustful.  Here's an American wanting to come to our
country.  What is he coming for?  Who is he coming?  Unless it was someone
well known, we were not granting visas.  So this individual went there.  He
asked for a visa but he was denied a visa.  No one thought about it again.
But then the name started to appear.  On top of it, this man was married to
a Soviet woman.  So, imagine!  What if this man had come to Cuba on a
routine visit and then had gone back to the United States and assassinated
Kennedy?  They would have tried to implicate us.  I sometimes ask myself if
someone, diabolically, did not plan all this, someone half mad, someone
mentally ill.  He might have been manipulated.  No one can tell, no one can
tell if it was an individual reaction.  It seems that he was the one who
shot him.  It seems.  It might have been the act of an individual.
However, there are people like this who can be manipulated.  There are
people who act on their own.  This young man who tried to assassinate
Reagan apparently acted alone.  It was said that he was in love with an
actress, that it was a case of unrequited love.  He wanted to be famous.
He almost killed Reagan.  This kind of madman can exist anywhere.

Now, the most probable thing is that if we had heard that someone was
planning to assassinate Kennedy, we would have alerted the U.S.
Government.  We would have warned them about the danger.  That's the most
probable thing.  It did not happen that way because we never heard about
it.  But I don't want to talk about our conduct in that respect, how we
interpret our obligations.  If we hear that someone is trying to
assassinate Reagan, you can rest assured that we will alert Reagan.  You
can be assured that we will alert Reagan, because I feel a responsible
government cannot hear of such a report, learn of such a report and not
warn somebody.  You can rest assured.  And I believe the U.S.  Government
knows it.  I think there cannot be any sane, serious person in the United
States who can believe that Cuba had anything to do with Kennedy's death.

Not even Batista.  We were the enemies of Batista.  We could have killed
Batista.  However, we are politically against tyrannicide; we never
practiced tyrannicide.  We never believed that the death of a man would
change a society.  Therefore, we had the strength to attack the Moncada
Barracks with 160 men, to wage war.  We could have ambushed Batista and
killed him.  There's not a single indication in the entire history of the
revolution that the 26 July Movement, which we organized and led, had
planned to assassinate Batista.  And yet Batista had killed thousands of
our comrades.  Therefore, in philosophical terms, we have never
contemplated tyrannicide.  Never.  If we did not do it with Batista
here--it would have been easy-why do it with a president of the United
States.  Men have their ideas, convictions, history.  That cannot be
ignored.

[Shriver] Let me ask you one or two final questions.  Your good friend, the
novelist Garcia, or rather I should say, your good friend, the writer
Garcia Marquez, says you are an example of the solitude of power.

[Castro] Those are the theories of Garcia Marquez.  Those are his theories,
and I respect them.  He even wrote a prologue for the book of an Italian
journalist based on an interview with me, in which he elaborated on this
theory.  He says I feel the solitude of power.  He says he feels the
solitude of power.

[Shriver] Do you?

[Castro] I don't feel it.  I don't feel it because I don't feel I am in
power.  I feel I am among the people.  You were able to come along with me
to various places today.  I have a lot of contact with the people.  I talk
to thousands of people every month.  Thus, I cannot feel solitude in
anyway.

I might experience some of the stress of power, the sacrifices power
entails.  I might feel the torture.  You who speak of human rights, look
how many lights you have in here.  It's tremendously warm.  Lights
everywhere.  They say that practitioners of torture do this kind of thing.
They set up unbearable lights.  I must make some of these sacrifices.  But
that's Garcia Marquez' theory.  I respect it, but I do not share it.  I
have a lot of contact with the people and Garcia Marquez knows it, although
he has never made a tour with me as you did.

[Shriver] You visit these people, but when you finish visiting them you're
alone.

[Castro] I have many things to do when I finish.  But I am keeping these to
myself.  They are private.  But I'm never alone.  I don't know what the
solitude of power means.

[Shriver] Do you know what solitude means?  Power isn't lonely?

[Castro] I told Garcia Marquez one day-he asked me, what would you like to
do now?  I told him, I want to sit on the Malecon [seaside drive] or stand
on a corner.  That's true.  He wrote this in his prologue.  You see
sometimes you feel like doing the same things other people do.  Normal,
simple things: to sit on the Malecon and (?look out to sea)-something I
can't do.  But I have been resigned to this lifestyle for a long time.  It
doesn't prevent me from having... [changes thought] I know a lot of people,
wonderful people.  There are millions of excellent people among the
population.  I feel happy in contact with all those people.  You were able
to see it.  We went to places where my visit had not been announced.  I
have a lot of contact with the people.  I have the privilege of knowing a
lot of good people, people whom I love and people whom I admire.  I not
only love our people I admire our people.  Our people possess great
virtues, great qualities: they are noble, generous, solidary,
internationalist.  I told you what they did.  When they asked for teachers
for Nicaragua, 30,000 volunteered.  When the counterrevolution killed some
teachers, 100,000 volunteered.  All teachers.  Our people really possess
great qualities.

You were asking me if aid to Angola was costly.  This is not so.  We have
the people.  We don't have the money, but we have the people to do things.
We pay the wages of the people in Angola.  That is, we do not spend foreign
currency, which is what we are most short of.  It has been said, and it is
a lie, that we are paid to have our troops there.  I believe that a drop of
the blood of an internationalist combatant--either soldiers or
civilians--is not worth all the gold in the world.  We can do it because we
have a great, wonderful people.  They have been forged in the revolution.
I am proud of the qualities of our people.

[Shriver] And no loneliness in power.

[Castro] No loneliness in power.

[Shriver] Let me ask you one or two more questions.

[Castro] Ask anything you want.  We can spend two or three more rolls of
film.  Don't leave anything unasked.

[Shriver] We were looking at the museum today, the Revolution Museum, and
there was part of a U-2 plane.  There is a theory that there was a second
U-2 shot down during the Cuban missile crisis, and that the Cubans shot it
down.

[Castro] There was only one plane shot down during the last days of the
crisis.  We did not shoot down the plane.  We maintained that we should not
allow low altitude flights.  We warned the Soviets and everybody else that
we would not allow low altitude flights, and that we would fire.  We
mobilized all our antiaircraft artillery.  That morning, when the planes
were sighted flying low, our antiaircraft batteries opened fire everywhere
against these planes.  That was in the morning.  But we did not have
missiles.  In view of this situation, a Soviet missile battery opened fire
and shot the plane down.  What caused this?  The fact that they really
[words indistinct].  We opened fire in the morning.  If they want to blame
us, we accept.  We gave orders to our antiaircraft batteries to open fire
on all low flying planes.  But we did not have surface-to-air long-range
missiles.  Those were in the hands of the Soviets.  It was a Soviet
officer who fired.

[Shriver] There was no second plane shot?

[Castro] There was no second plane, but if any others had flown low, there
might have been a lot of planes downed.  We did order our antiaircraft
batteries to open fire.  But it wasn't that plane.  They opened fire and
the planes quickly retreated.  However, Cuba did not give the order to fire
the missile because it was not under our control.  If it had been under our
control, we would have given the order to shoot.  So, we are not avoiding
responsibility.  What we cannot claim is the historical credit of downing
the plane.  We cannot usurp that credit away.

[Shriver] Did you feel betrayed by Khruschev in the Cuban missile crisis?

[Castro] No, we did not feel betrayed, but I was very angry, very
displeased, because we believe what he did was completely wrong.

There were two errors.  One was to speak about the missiles in Turkey.  It
was absolutely incorrect to exchange the missiles in Cuba for those in
Turkey.  That was immoral and unacceptable.

Second, it was incorrect to decide to withdraw the missiles without
discussing it first with us.  I understand this was a big situation; that
it was tense, dangerous, but the idea that the missiles be withdrawn
without consulting Cuba was not acceptable.  We would not have opposed
this, but we would have demanded conditions.  And I think he could have
said that he was willing to withdraw the missiles if guarantees were given
that were acceptable to Cuba.  Then we could have discussed this.

But this was not done.  The Guantanamo Base remained.  The acts of piracy,
the dirty war, the subversive plans--all this continued.  So we were
justifiably irritated and in disagreement.  We did not allow our bases to
be inspected.  We said that no one could inspect us here.  The Soviets
agreed with the Americans.  They inspected the ships.  But we did not
accept the inspection of our territory as a matter of principle.

[Shriver] If Kliruschev angered you, did he humiliate you?

[Castro] No, to tell the truth, Khruschev was a good friend of ours.
Khruschev was the one who initiated political and economic relations with
Cuba.  He was extraordinarily generous and friendly with our country.  I
would say that everything he did was good for our country.

The only point on which we totally disagreed was the manner in which he
handled the crisis at the end, ignoring Cuba.  It was done in a strange
manner.  Speaking of missiles in Turkey, talking about withdrawing missiles
in Cuba without consulting us.  He had to consult us because we had
agreements that were signed by the two countries.  He not only had a
political obligation but also a legal responsibility to consult us, but he
did not.

[Shriver] You have expressed concerns about the Cuban economy.  The
question is how can you continue to provide all of these inclusive services
in education, health?  Can you afford it?  Can you continue to offer them?

[Castro] We can continue offering and increasing them.  We are increasing
them.  We have 3,000 new doctors each year, 2,000 of them as family
doctors.  We have built 2,000 family doctor homes-offices.  Our educational
program continues.  Our sports and housing programs continue.

[Shriver] At what cost?

[Castro] With our work, at the cost of our enthusiasm and our effort.

[Shriver] And with the help of the Soviets?

[Castro] Without sacrificing our development.  We have achieved good trade
relations.  You call this a subsidy.  It is simply a matter of just
relations between developed and developing countries.  We have with the
Soviet Union and socialist countries the type of relations that in my
opinion developed countries should have with Third World countries.  The
secret lies in that we administer those resources.  The resources are not
misappropriated.  They are not stolen.  They do not flee the country.  They
are invested in all these things.

In addition to this, there is economic investment, very important economic
investments.  There are also very important agricultural investments in
addition to investments in education, health, sports, and recreation.  We
simply administer and distribute our resources well.  That's why we have
enough.

[Shriver] The system you have set up allows for a tremendous amount of
things for a tremendous amount of people, but some criticize that you are
not allowing for individualism or self-fulfillment.  Who can't you open up
the system for that as well?

[Castro] What is the individual development that is not allowed?  What is
it?

[Shriver] People who...

[Castro, interrupting] Private business?  A private enterprise?  No, we
will not permit it.  We have gotten this far precisely because we have
turned property into the property of all the people.  We have achieved so
much enthusiasm among the people because the people know they work for
themselves.  If the people were working for someone else, they would not
do what they are doing.

What you saw in the street, what you saw in the street [repeats himself]
cannot happen in capitalism.  What resident will voluntarily work with an
enterprise that has a contract and is doing construction work?  You cannot
see this cooperation involving all the people in capitalism.

[Shriver] So individualism...

[Castro, interrupting] That is why we have no private property; only
personal property, the house, car, whatever the people want for their
personal use.  But we cannot accept private ownership of the means of
production.  It is collective ownership.

[Shriver] The concept of individualism outside the system--it does not
exist?

[Castro] I think we should promote the development of individual abilities.
I do not think that social spirit, cooperation, and generosity, as well as
the highest development of an individual's abilities, his physical and
intellectual skills, are irreconcilable.  We promote this, not individual
egoism.  We promote the fullest development of the personality.

Did you see those children there?  Those children are going to be people
very superior to this generation's.  Our young people are excellent, much
better than the old generation.  I think that each new generation will be
more intellectually developed and will have a more developed personality at
the service of society.  That is very difficult to understand for people
who live in a capitalist system.  It is very difficult if they live in a
society that is characterized by its individualism.  Individuality is not
the same as individualism.  We do not cultivate individualism but the
individual, his abilities, the development of his intelligence, his moral
and intellectual qualities.  But we do not cultivate individualism.  We
have more of a sense of family and unity, of solidarity.

The French Revolution spoke about three great things: liberty, equality,
and fraternity.  But it was never able to put equality into practice.  It
was never able to promote the idea of fraternity.

The socialist revolution complements the bourgeois liberal revolution's
idea of liberty because next to the idea of liberty, it promotes the
concept of equality and fraternity among people.  The socialist revolution
has gone beyond the values of the capitalist society.  Capitalist society
was a great advancement in view of slavery, in view of feudalism.
Feudalism was a step forward in view of slavery.  I think socialism is an
advancement in view of capitalism.  It is a more humane society, more
humane and more fraternal.  That is our concept of our system.

We believe in man.  If you do not believe in man, then you should be a
capitalist.  If you believe in man, you can be a socialist.  If you think
that man is an animal that moves only because of fear, because you put a
carrot in front of him, then you can never be a socialist.

[Shriver] [laughs] OK, I think it's over.
-END-


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