Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Comments on Integration, Foreign Debt

PA0812141188 Mexico City UNOMASUNO in Spanish 3 Dec 88 pp 4, 10

[Article by Rebeca Lizarraga R. and Maribel Gutierrez M.]

[Text] In a meeting with Mexican left-wing leaders, Fidel Castro yesterday
said that his visit was motivated by a desire to encourage the integration
of the countries in the region, without any exclusions.  Castro said:  "I
would even be willing to talk to Pinochet if he wanted to sit down and
talk.  Duarte and I could not be further apart, and yet we have been here

The Cuban president met today with left-wing legislators, governors,
intellectuals, and leaders.  He also addressed an unidentified group of

Castro ate with intellectuals of various inclinations, including Sergio
Mendez Arceo, Jose Luis Cuevas, Jorge Carpizo, Juan Jose Arreola, and Jaime
Sabines.  Castro made no political statements during this encounter.

The meeting with the left-wing leaders began at approximately 1700 at the
Cuban Embassy and lasted for over 2 and 1/2 hours.  At the meeting, Castro
said his presence in Mexico showed that times have changed because U.S.
imperialism can no longer determine who does or does not attend an event
such as Carlos Salinas de Gortari's presidential inauguration.

Fidel Castro made no comment on Mexico's domestic political situation.  He
did say that Mexico is experiencing an interesting phenomenon that he fully

Castro also predicted that the Latin American nations may form a common
front to find solutions to the foreign debt and other regional problems.
Regarding the foreign debt, he reiterated that is is unpayable, adding that
back in 1985 the countries with the greatest debt should have acted more
decisively and declared their payments suspended.  This, he said, would
have forced the annulment of the foreign debt.

Castro stated that Washington does not want the countries in the region to
form a group.  However, based on his meetings over the past several days
with the leaders of Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
and Nicaragua, he said "there is political willingness, not for immediate
integration, but for beginning movement toward forming a common Latin
American front."

Castro pointed out that 1985 would have been the best time for the debtor
countries to jointly face their creditors because at this time the problem
had been thoroughly explained and the countries with international
financial capital were not properly equipped to confront a debtors'
rebellion.  Castro added that the problems predicted in 1985 have become a
reality in recent years and the burden of the foreign debt is now also
criticized because of its social impact.

Castro added that, psychologically, 1985 would have been the most
appropriate time for the Latin American debtor countries to resort to the
tactic of a joint suspension of payments.  This would have forced the
creditor countries to annul the debt.  Castro noted that, although
international financial organizations have become stronger in the last 3
years, Latin American must do everything possible to prevent an outflow and
draining of capital.  If this capital drain were eliminated, Castro said,
we could invest ample resources into our nations' development.

Referring to Latin America's current situation, Castro stated that the need
to fight poverty is a common element uniting all countries in the region.

Castro stated in an address to an audience of over 100 members of the
Cardenist Front for National Reconstruction Party [PFCRN], the Popular
Socialist Party, the Mexican Socialist Party, the Humanist Party, the
Socialist Revolution Party [PRS], the Critical Point Revolutionary
Organization, and the Democratic Current that Marxism is a valid force.  He
denied that it is experiencing a crisis.  He noted that crises arise
depending on how Marxism is interpreted.

Castro added that no one in Cuba has any doubts about Marxism's creative
power or about how to implement Marxism in a country.  Castro recognized
that the construction of socialism in Cuba presented flaws, but he
maintained that these were being corrected.

Furthermore, Castro praised Mexico's foreign policy and stressed the
importance of expressing solidarity with Mexico, as Mexico has served to
house all Latin Americans without preference.

Castro recalled that exactly 32 years ago on 2 December a group of Cuban
revolutionaries who had plotted against Batista left Mexico.  The Mexican
Government treated them with respect despite their conspiracy against
Batista, because Mexico felt that although the conspiracy technically
violated Mexican law, it did not constitute either a political or moral

At the end of the meeting, PRS Secretary General Alejandro Gascon Mercado
said that Castro's visit was of strategic importance for the Latin American
nations' fight against imperialism and for prospective progress toward the
integration of the countries in the region.  Gascon commented that Castro's
meeting with the left-wing parties fully respected Castro's relations with
the Mexican Government, adding that Castro had not come to discuss Mexican
political issues.  Instead, issues of importance to Latin America and the
world were discussed.

PFCRN Federal Deputy Enrique Rojas Bernal, member of the deputy chamber's
Foreign Relations Commission, explained that the meeting with the left-wing
organizations was set up between the time Castro left his vehicle in front
of the Legislative Palace and the time he was seated at the section
reserved for the foreign statesmen invited to Carlos Salinas de Gortari's
presidential inauguration.