Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Caracas Trip Highlights Noted
FL0402153689 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1420 GMT 4 Feb 89

[Excerpt] [Passage omitted] Attention is focused on Fidel's presence in
this country.  Of course, everyone's point of view is in accordance with
their interests.  Since his arrival--in fact, since even before--the
newspapers have carried on their front pages and noted sections
photographs, commentaries, and highlights of the numerous activities of the
supreme leader of the Cuban Revolution.

[Castro] The Salvadorans have made a very interesting peace proposal and
laid it on the table.  The plan even received, in part, a positive comment
from the U.S. State Department, after the new administration.  I think this
is very positive.

Daniel [Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega] and the Nicaraguans have also
taken a series of initiatives in this respect, Arias is doing a lot, and
almost everyone is working.  I think that in these meetings they have
worked to move in that direction.

If it is true that the attitude of the new U.S. Administration is more
pragmatic, less ideological, and that they may be inclined to find
political solutions and not military ones, I think the groundwork necessary
to seriously work in that direction is possible.  The elements must be
discussed and analyzed--let's say all the elements for a political
solution to that problem.  However, in my judgment these conditions are
happening.  I think there is hope.  [end recording]

[Begin recording] [Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct].

[Castro] Well, it comes first.  If you go from here, the first country you
run into on the peninsula is Portugal.  [Castro laughs]  It depends on the
talks between Felipe [Felipe Gonzalez of Spain] and president Soares.
First, they have to invite me and say that they'll wait for me there.
Then, in geographical order, first I'll go to Portugal and then Spain.  If
by some change I'm coming from Europe, then I'll go to Spain first and
Portugal second.

[Reporter] Thank you very much.

[Castro] Thank you and it has been a great pleasure.  [end recording]

The television stations are moving at a dynamic pace to keep up and get a
few words from Fidel.  Even in the worst case they use his presence
anywhere to immediately present it as an exclusive.  The truth is that the
Cuban leader's image, whether it is in the day or evening, is constantly
seen on the television screens or on the first page of the newspapers.

[Begin recording] [Unidentified reporter] What can you say regarding a
plebiscite in Cuba?

[Castro] All of that surged at the time of the 30th anniversary of the
revolution.  First, we would have to see who the people who signed that
plebiscite letter are.  Some of them are well known to us, as in
Valladares' case.  He is a guy who was one of Batista's policemen, a
terrorist, an absolute liar.  Later he was--as one of those absurd things
the United States does--designated as U.S. delegate to the UN Human Rights

There's a list of known people to us on that letter.  Some of them are
prestigious and, frankly, I don't know how they were convinced or tricked
into signing it.  Others on the list are hard-core reactionaries, enemies
of any progress, of all worthy attitudes.  They are people who are in favor
of the empire.  To put it simply, they are in favor of the empire.  None of
the people who signed the letter say anything about putting an end to the
blockade on Cuba, not a single word about putting an to the blockade on
Cuba.  This is an unmerciful blockage which has even prohibited the sale of
medicine and medical equipment for the last 30 years.  They don't ask for
an end to the dirty war in Nicaragua, they don't ask for an end to unequal
trade--the systematic looting of which our countries are constant
victims--they don't ask for the abolishment of the foreign debt,and they
don't ask for the end of any type of domination.  Now they ask for a
plebiscite as if the situation in Cuba were the situation in Chile.

In Cuba the people's revolution has triumphed, has stayed with the people,
and has had the historic prowess to resist the United States for 30 years
with a firmness unprecedented in history.  We have been defenders of our
people, our national identity, we've had the courage to face the empire for
30 years as a result of a victorious revolution.

I think it has been one of the cleanest revolutions.  I would dare to say
that it has been one of the cleanest revolutions in history.  All types of
false accusations have been made against the revolution, false accusations
of the lowest kind.  The masterminds of this know it's a lie.  In our
country people haven't disappeared in the 30 years of revolution; there
hasn't been a single person tortured.  When these people have had the
vileness to speak of torture it's because they try to spread the most
infamous lie against the revolution.  This doesn't offend the Cuban
Government, it offends the Cuban people.  The Cuban people have been
educated in doctrine and principles since the time of the war, the time of
our war.  Those who are familiar with our war know how many prisoners we
had, we had thousands of prisoners, and they know that not a single
prisoner was ever beaten.  We drafted laws, and in keeping with those laws
the prisoners who committed war crimes and tortures were sanctioned.  A
conscience was formed; the ethics of our revolution is based on a national
conscience.  To say that these things could happen in our country is an
insult to our people, because our people wouldn't support a revolution that
would do this.  [end recording]

I can assure you that everyone here, especially the press, is waiting for
the announced new conference by our commander in chief.  The desire to
participate  in what is considered one of the most important  events during
this time has forced attendance to be limited to some 200 national and
foreign journalists.  To give you an idea, some Venezuelan stations have
been announcing this activity since last night.  As this goes on, Fidel
continues to have bilateral meetings with other heads of state and various
personalities who were invited to the inauguration ceremony.

[Begin recording] [Unidentified reporter] At this moment, the president of
Cuba is walking toward the coffin containing the remains of Simon Bolivar
to place a floral wreath at its base.

[Castro] To the admired and unforgotten hero of our America who gave so
much inspiration to Marti and all the combatants for Cuba's freedom,
Bolivar.  A man whose ideals of unity and the integration of all Latin
American and Caribbean nations are today, more than ever, the sacred duty
of the new generations, and was yesterday, is, and always will be an
inspiration to all.  [end recording]

According to the agenda, early this morning a meeting was held by the
leaders of the Group of Eight who are present.  Among other things, they
were supposed to ratify the recent Rio de Janerio agreements signed by the
economy ministers of the member countries.  Early in the afternoon, in the
home of Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, a meeting of all the
Latin American leaders present in Caracas was held.