Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Cuba's Castro Interviewed

PA0302021289 Caracas Venezolana de Television Canal 8 in Spanish 2348 GMT 2
Feb 89

[Interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro by Noralba Jimenez and other
reporters at the Caracas Hilton Hotel--live]

[Text] [Reporter] After your meeting with President Carlos Andres Perez
this morning, do you believe diplomatic relations between Venezuela and
Cuba could be resumed?

[Castro] Goodness, we did not even talk about the matter as we both believe
this is a fact.  We spoke about other matters that are presently causing
all of us concern:  economic problems, foreign debt problems, our need for
unity, and other matters of interest.  We did not talk about resuming

[Reporter] So you believe that the resumption of relations is possible?

[Castro] I believe it is a fact.

[Reporter] So it is a fact that Venezuela and Cuba...

[Castro, interrupting]  The only problem we could encounter is a financial
one.  [Reporters laugh] Housing in Caracas is so expensive that we will
have to find money and a good ambassador.  There are some candidates, but
we still have not chosen the ambassador.  [Words indistinct] in case we
open an embassy here.  [Words indistinct] Could you find me a place here?
[Reporters say "no" in unison and laugh]

[Reporter] Commander, you had an office here that was located in Chuao.

[Castro] I sold it.

[Reporter] Hernandez Cordelo was the Cuban ambassador.  He was a well-known

[Castro, interrupting] [Words indistinct] It was an investment that did not
yield any dividends.  That is why we had to sell it, and now we have top
buy a place.  Do you think someone will give us credit?  [Reporters say
"yes" and laugh]

[Reporter] I suppose you and President Perez talked about the foreign debt
and Central America because they are the most critical problems at present
in Latin America.

[Castro] I will explain.  We got here early and first met with Carlos
Andres Perez' aides.  They gave me ample information about his recent
overseas tour, the results of the trip, the efforts made with the
oil-exporting countries, and other matters.  Many of these topics, were
mentioned by Carlos Andres Perez in his speech.

When I spoke with President Perez, however, I did not ask for more
information because I knew that he had to attend the inauguration.  We met
around 0715 or 0720.  I asked him about his health, how he felt, about his
trips, if he had slept well, and other things.  We did not touch on certain
subjects, but he did tell me about his trip, the efforts made during his
trip, and his talks with different leaders.  We also talked about the
Nonaligned Movement and some of our plans.  I was mainly interested in
his frame of mind.  He was very optimistic and enthused with the work he
wants to accomplish.  I did not want to take up all his time as I knew he
had a tight schedule today.  That is why I proposed that we end the
conversation, and I let him go.

[Reporter] Will you meet again?

[Castro] Well, we will have to see one another.  I cannot move from here.
How can I move? I do not know what to do.  I do not know how to cross my
legs. [laughter]

[Reporter] Taking advantage of the presence of so many heads of state, do
you think that here in Caracas you can pace the way to create a common
policy toward the creditors?

[Fidel] I think that we can pave the way for a common policy with regard to
many problems, not just the debt, although the debt problem is one of the
most important, I think that the meeting here in Caracas of so many world
leaders, especially those of Latin America, has great value.  It is a great
symbol, which is more important than what is discussed here.  In an event
of this nature--where a president is sworn in, is the host, has to rally
his people's support, has to take charge of the government, and has to take
care of a series of immediate problems--it is not possible to hold
meetings to thoroughly discuss problems.

I believe that the most important aspects of this kind of event, with the
presence of so many political leaders, is the expression of unity.  It
shows an awareness of the need to coordinate our efforts, come together,
and work jointly to solve the great problems of our peoples and hemisphere
and to participate more actively in today's world.  According to what I
read in news reports, Carlos Andres Perez has been very active in the past
few weeks.  The description he gave in this morning's speech of his recent
talks gives you an idea of the tremendous activity in which he was

This is very intelligent on his part, because the main problem is to try to
lead OPEC to agreement and discipline.  The truth is that discipline has
been lost in OPEC.  The consequences of this are evident.  There was the
attempt by the industrialized countries, especially the United States, to
destroy OPEC.  OPEC is a Third World organization.  The Third World
supported it.  This does not mean that OPEC always had the best policy.  It
did not always have the best policy.

I always said that OPEC, which requested and got the support of the Third
World countries, should have a policy of cooperation with the Third World.
Everyone knows that much of the oil profits went to banks in Europe, the
United States, and other places, while we always advocated a policy of
greater cooperation.  However, the Third World supported OPEC out of a
sense of solidarity, even though the increase in oil prices meant an
increase in the difficulties of oil-importing countries--in other words,
the Third World countries--which have fewer ways to defend themselves.
Nevertheless, these countries supported the OPEC countries.

The countries that want to destroy OPEC are those with the largest oil
consumption in the world.  They are those that benefit the most from the
privilege of having a modern, developed country and a consumer-oriented
society.  When oil prices rose, they were in a better position that the
Third World countries to search for ways to save fuel.  At the same time,
they looked for other energy sources to replace oil.  For example, the
French made extraordinary developments in nuclear energy.  Other European
countries did the same.  Consequently, they have made considerable fuel
savings.  They looked for more efficient airplanes, machines, and

But Carlos Andres...[changes thought] The countries that benefit the most
from the Third World's raw material--and we view oil as a Third World raw
material, and we want the same benefits obtained from oil to be obtained
from other raw materials... [changes thought] However, the lack of
discipline by OPEC members has much to do with this considerable drop in
oil prices that is affecting the OPEC countries.  It is affecting
Venezuela very much.

There is a big difference between $32 and $13 per barrel--I am not talking
about $40 per barrel, which was once the price of oil--and there is a big
difference between revenues of $20 billion and revenues of $7 of $8

Carlos Andres Perez understands this.  Before taking office, he toured the
OPEC world trying to achieve unity.  It is a very intelligent move from the
standpoint of that group of countries and of Venezuela.  He is aware of the
problems he has to face.  He said they are not fighting for excessive but
stable prices.  They want prices that guarantee supply and the development
of oil production.  Therefore, I think this is a very intelligent move.