Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Meets With Presidents

FL1108125488 Havana Radio Progreso Network in Spanish 1100 GMT 11 Aug 88

[Text] President Fidel Castro had a friendly talk yesterday in Ecuador with
that nation's national Congress and with the other chiefs of states
attending the inauguration of President Rodrigo Borja.

Inside and outside the Ecuadoran congressional vicinity, slogans of "viva!"
for Cuba and Commander in Chief Fidel Castro were constantly heard.

In the morning, Fidel attending the farewell speech made by outgoing leader
Leon Febres-Cordero.

In the early afternoon, Fidel travelled to the residence of the Costa Rican
ambassador to Ecuador, where he had a private conversation with President
Oscar Arias.  It was reported that the two presidents discussed the
problems of Central America with special emphasis placed on Nicaragua.

Fidel also met with Ecuadoran President Rodrigo Borja in his home.  The
meeting was held moments before Borja once again appeared before the
Congress to receive the presidential sash and to be sworn in
constitutionally de rigueur.

In this ceremony, the chiefs of states and foreign delegations had an
opportunity for more than half an hour to speak among themselves without
any protocol whatsoever.

Fidel sat between former Ecuadoran President Osvaldo Hurtado and Costa
Rican President Oscar Arias.  He held a lively conversation with them and
also with Apostolic Nuncio Msgr Pablo Munoz Vega.

Fidel moved from his seat at a certain point to speak for several minutes
with President Virgilio Barco of Colombia, a country with which Cuba does
not have diplomatic relations.

The chief of the Cuban revolution also spoke with Argentine President Raul
Alfonsin.  It is known that Fidel requested a private talk with him.

When Venezuelan leader Jaime Lusinchi entered the room and began greeting
his colleagues from other countries, he stopped and spoke exclusively to

Uruguayan President Julio Maria Sanguinetti also stopped to visit with the
Cuban president and Fidel spoke briefly to him.  Fidel also spoke with
Portuguese head of state Mario Soares.

Fidel was seen to remark with laughter on the details of the congressional
mural when its author, painter Oswaldo Guayasamin, greeted the visitors
from the main platform.

U.S.  Secretary of State George Shultz finally appeared during the
afternoon session.  It was reported that Shultz would not attend because
the letters (CIA) were painted on Guayasamin's mural.  According to
Ecuadoran protocol, Schultz was seated exactly in front of that detail on
the mural, just a few meters away from the visiting leaders.  The head of
the U.S. delegation was neither jeered at nor applauded by the more than
3,000 people who filled the parliamentary floor and who became ominously
silent when Shultz entered.  This contrasted with the reiterated "vivas!"
for Latin American brotherhood and for Fidel, who several times had to
express his appreciation for the greetings by raising his hand.

One can see images of Fidel and other revolutionary leaders in the murals
painted around the Ecuadoran Congress and on other streets in Quito.

Observers have commented that the talks between the presidents attending
the inauguration of Rodrigo Borja can be a bitter medicine for the Reagan
administration's plans for Central America.  The same sources say that it
is not because they wanted to do so that some Latin American presidents
upon arrival in Quito placed emphasis on affirming that the time has
arrived for Latin American unity and integration. [sentence as heard]

Last night President Rodrigo Borja offered a dinner at the National Palace
for all the chiefs of state present in Quito.

It was reported that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega will arrive in the
next few hours at the invitation of the Ecuadoran leader.

Relations between Nicaragua and Ecuador will be renewed today with the
signing of a protocol in the Foreign Ministry of the South American
country.  Borja said that this would be his first foreign policy act since
relations were broken by outgoing leader Leon Febres-Cordero.

Yesterday during his inauguration, Rodrigo Borja described the crisis in
his country as the greatest in the history of that nation.  In his first
message to the nation, Borja announced a dignified and sovereign policy
that will recover Ecuadoran prestige abroad.  He said that it is impossible
for Ecuador at this time to pay its foreign debt because it is first
necessary to attend to the needs of the people.  He clarified that this is
not a moratorium but a search for unconventional formulas for a solution to
the problem.

The time has arrived to collectively declare peace in Latin America and to
assume a loyal and firm commitment to promote regional cooperation, said

Rodrigo Borja is the 37th constitutional president of Ecuador.

Also yesterday during Borja's presidential inauguration, prominent
politicians and people gave their opinion of the presence of President
Fidel Castro.

Portuguese leader Mario Soares said the meeting he held with Fidel was very
interesting and he expressed his satisfaction with the talks.

Colombian Foreign Minister Julio Londono stressed Fidel's gesture of
attending the transfer of government in Ecuador.  He said it is another
demonstration that Cuba wants to become more integrated with Latin America.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Bernardo Sepulveda said the Cuban leader's visit
shows that Cuba has become more integrated with Latin America and that his
visit is one more step in that direction.

Former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Robert White said that Fidel's visit
once again proves that the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba from Latin America
is not working.