Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Holds News Conference

PA1308171188 Quito Radio Quito in Spanish 1501 GMT 13 Aug 88

[News conference held by Cuban President Fidel Castro with domestic and
foreign reporters, with Jorge Leon moderating, at the International Center
for Advanced Journalism Studies, CIESPAL, in Quito--live]

[Text] [Leon] Before asking your questions, I would first like to thank the
National Journalists Union of Ecuador for their support and CIESPAL and its
director for allowing us to use their facilities to hold this meeting.  Ask
your questions in order.  We ask all colleagues not to interrupt while a
question is being asked.  We want to give most of you the opportunity to
ask your questions.  I have here the names of some colleagues who want to
ask questions.  Let us begin with (Hernan Jube) from the newspaper HOY in
Quito.  The rest may raise their hands.  Please give us your name and the
newspaper you work for.

[(Jube)] [Question indistinct]

[Castro] It is not easy to analyze my visit and my work.  I can give you my
impressions instead.  The impressions I have and the ones I will take with
me are very good.  My meeting with the Ecuadoran people and the people of
Quito, which is where we are now, will be unforgettable.  I will never have
enough words to express my appreciation.  From my point of view, the
meetings and the exchange of ideas with the different leaders who were
present here have been excellent.  From that point of view, I may add that
we have made intense efforts.  There has practically been no time to rest,
sleep, or eat.

It would not be advisable for me to talk about the topics of each of the
meetings I held because, among other things, discretion is not a trademark
of journalists. [laughter]

We have talked about important matters that have to do with the current
situation and with the most burning problems, such as the foreign debt,
unfair trade, the new international economic order, drug trafficking
problems, and the need to find solutions to these problems.  We talked
about bilateral issues as well.  That is why I believe I have held
extraordinarily positive meetings with the presidents.  My meeting with the
Ecuadoran people was a very emotional one and I believe to a large extent
that this is a symptom of new times.

Since I am famous for talking too much, well, today I will not talk much.

[Leon] Marcos Nunez from Quito EL COMERCIO wants to ask a question.

[Nunez] Thank you. [Question indistinct]

[Castro] [Words indistinct] a torture chamber.  One cannot do without that,
of course.

[Nunez] Commander, you have said the United States does not want to achieve
peace in Central America.  What [words indistinct] to the Contadora Group
to achieve [words indistinct] in Central America?

[Castro] Do you think I can answer in 2 seconds what a group of countries
has not been able to resolve in 7 or 8 years? [applause] If I could make a
recommendation, it is that they should persist.  Their work has been very
useful and positive.  For the first time, Latin America is trying to solve
its problems by itself.  Its efforts have been greatly appreciated.  They
have worked to prevent another U.S. intervention in Central America and
Latin America.  Despite ups and downs, their efforts have produced results.
I believe this group of countries must continue to fight to stop
intervention and to find a peaceful, honorable, dignified, and fair
solution to Central American problems.

[Leon] Well, we will give the floor now to [words indistinct] who has also
expressed her desire to speak...

[Castro interrupting] At this rate I think many will speak.  Well, not
speak, ask questions.

[Reporter] [Question indistinct]

[Castro] You can do with me [words indistinct] behind the lights.

[Reporter] [Words indistinct] do you believe [words indistinct] of the new
government of Rodrigo Borja is [words indistinct] to socialism [words

[Castro] What a question!  First, the relations have been increasingly
developing as the circumstances have permitted.  I believe they will
continue to develop.  I also think that better conditions are being created
every day for the development of the friendship and cooperation between our
nations.  Therefore, your question about the Rodrigo Borja government and
[words indistinct] the Social Democrats could be... [Castro changes
thought] Please repeat the word you said.

[Reporter] Do you believe the (?future) democracy of Rodrigo Borja's
government means [words indistinct]?

[Castro] Honorable successor of socialism.  I would say it could perhaps be
the honorable successor of the country's traditions.  It is a group worthy
of the struggle to solve the country's problems.  However, we cannot
establish a relationship between Cuban problems and Ecuadoran problems, or
between Cuban policy and the Social Democrats' policy.

I think it would be better to define it this way:  I believe Rodrigo Borja
is the appropriate president for this country. [applause]  I am certain he
will struggle and do his utmost to solve the huge problems Ecuador, like
every country, has to solve.  I imagine he will do things in the Ecuadoran
manner, to solve Ecuadoran problems.  [applause] He will act in a truly
different manner from the way we use to solve our problems.  He will have a
different style although we have many things in common--do you know what we
have in common?  Problems, particularly economic problems, those related to
the international situation, the debt, unjust trade, with all those forms
through which our countries are [words indistinct].

I think any country that struggles to solve its problems, any leader who
struggles to solve those problems, can consider himself not a successor of
any other system, but rather an honorable successor of the forerunners and
of the liberators of our nations.

[Leon] e will now give the floor to Rafael Orrejola from AFP...

[Castro, interrupting] I cannon see if I am talking to the AFP
correspondent; I cannot see him.

[Leon] Please raise your hand.

[Orrejola] [Question indistinct]

[Castro] Back in 1985, perhaps there were few of us.  There is certainly a
growing number of countries that support that point of view.  Today, I
believe there is an almost unanimous belief that the debt is unpayable and
uncollectable.  Time has proven this. Conditions are becoming more
difficult all the time.  We are like a man that has been in an accident and
is taken to a hospital.  Instead of being given a blood transfusion, blood
is drawn from him.  I do not know if this comparison with a man who has had
an accident is correct.  Perhaps it would be better to compare him with a
corpse that is taken to the hospital, and then instead of performing an
autopsy on him, what little blood is left in the body is drained from him.

I say this because in 1985 we waged a great battle; at least we waged a
fiery battle.  The transfer of net deposits was well over $30 billion, not
including what was lost due to capital flight, unequal trade, and the
damage done to our countries due to protectionism and other interventionist
measures that the capitalist and developed countries use against Third
World countries.  That already caused a tremendous loss.

The transfer of resources has now decreased.  I understand that in 1987, it
amounted to $15.7 billion.  Nobody knows why.  Capital flight has also
decreased, although there is always some capital that leaves.  That is why
I was making a comparison here with the individual who needs blood, but
instead has blood drawn from him.  We barely have any blood left.
Nonetheless, they are drawing blood from us, and they are still drawing
(?$700 million).  That, in addition to what has been taken out since 1982,
totals $145 billion.

It is as though we were back in the early days of being a colony--in the
last century--when we were forced to mine our gold and silver, our
country's resources.  What is happening today is practically the same.
Colonialist countries financed the development of the current developed
capitalist powers.  Now they are doing exactly the same, only now we can
only give less all the time, because we have less all the time. [applause]

[Station announcer interrupts to say that station is ending coverage of
Castro's news conference due to "other commitments"]