Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks on L.A. Debt, Social Issues

FL1110161088 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0031 GMT 9 Oct 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro closing the third continental women's
meeting at the Palace of Conventions in Havana on 7 October--recorded]

[Text] [Crowd chants:  "Fidel, for sure; hit the Yankees hard!"] If we hit
the Yankees any harder [laughter] than you have here, there won't be any
Yankees left.  [applause; chants of "Fidel, pitch to them; the Yankees will
strike out!"] That was demonstrated in the last world championship.
[applause] Of course.

Dear delegates, esteemed guests:

You are certainly putting me in a serious spot by demanding that I make the
closing speech at this event.  I have certainly participated little in this
event.  It was not like the time before, in 1985, during the second
continental meeting, at which we were essentially discussing the debt
problem.  I visited this Palace of Conventions many times and I had the
opportunity to witness and participate in the debates.  This time, other
obligations made this privilege impossible.  I have tried to obtain some
information on developments here.  I especially listened with great
attention to the committees' reports, in particular, the final declaration.

I see that a large number of problems have been discussed.  I don't know
how you did so much in so little time.  But I do know, I can see that you
split up into committees and also.... [corrects himself] that is to say,
you split up into committees and each committee split up into many groups,
which I imagine allowed you to develop a truly broad and substantial
debate.  As the committees were read and the proposals made.... [corrects
himself] as the reports were read and the proposals, analyses, etc, were
made, I was thinking that it might be a good idea to make a book out of the
debates.  It is nothing new, it is nothing new, [repeats himself] We have
done it before--for example, at the Nonaligned Movement meeting.

Many speeches are made at these nonaligned meetings.  They are not debates,
such as these.  Rather, scores of heads of state and government stand at
the podium and deliver tremendous speeches sometimes longer than the ones I
make.  [laughter] However, I am careful not to make speeches that are too
long because you have to know when you can and when you can't.  I have seen
a lot of people who complained about the 15-minute limit and had terrible
arguments about the order of the speeches.  Well, they are chiefs of state.
It's not for nothing that they have a bad reputation!  [laughter] The fact
is that no one was on time when the sessions started at 1000.  Sometimes
they showed up at 1100, 1130, 1200.  They were in session then.  No one
wanted to take the 1000 slot to speak.  Tell me about it!  I had to preside
over that summit meeting.  Wisdom and tremendous diplomacy had to be used
to be able to reconcile so many interests.

Sometimes the debates ran until 0200 or 0300.  The last session ended at
0600.  If they adopted your method of breaking up into committees, they
could get much more work done.  Fewer speeches would be made and deeper
analyses could be carried out at these nonaligned summits.

What did we do?  We decided to publish all the speeches.  I don't know if
there is anyone who will ever read them all, but at least they are there
for history and there will always be some researcher, some historian, a
political researcher--a curious person, let's say--who will be able to read
those volumes.  Certainly very interesting things are contained there, but
there is also rhetoric.

I was thinking that if the issues discussed by the delegates to this
meeting could be published, I am certain we would be offering
extraordinarily valuable material to the world public, to the Latin
American public, to the politicians interested in these matters. [applause]
It would be a material of current and historical value, because you are
including the problems of our age, the problems our peoples are
experiencing.  Just as some past processes are studied today, such as the
French Revolution, which will soon be 2 centuries old.... [changes thought]
You could see in all the events described the objective causes and factors
that triggered the circumstances that opened the way for far-reaching
social changes.  A great revolution was carried out.

I also think that if the factors preceding the October Revolution in the
old empire of the tsars were studied, you could understand the factors that
led to violent and profound changes.

In the same way, future historians will have to refer to your material to
understand what is going to happen, what could happen, and what will
certainly happen if there are no solutions to these problems.  Future
historians will have to refer to all that you have debated, have said here,
to understand the origin, as seen from the perspective of the future, of
the changes in social, material, and human conditions on this continent.

I am speaking of Latin America and the Caribbean.  I am not speaking so
much of the United States or Canada, which have other kinds of problems and
will require other kinds of changes.

You have reflected the reality of our hemisphere.  That is why I think it
would be very useful to put this material into book form and, if possible,
to translate it so that men and women of other continents can receive
information on all you have analyzed and all you have written.