Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Calls Presidential Summit `A Joke'
Caracas Venezolana de Television Canal 8
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000021999
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA0211185089
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-89-214          Report Date:    07 Nov 89
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       30 Oct 89
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 214


City/Source of Document:   Caracas Venezolana de Television Canal 8

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Calls Presidential Summit `A Joke'

Author(s):   Isa Dobles of Venezuelan television and Candido Perez at the
Japanese Gardens in Havana; date not given--recorded]

Source Line:   PA0211185089 Caracas Venezolana de Television Canal 8 in Spanish
1118 GMT 30 Oct 89

Subslug:   [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Isa Dobles of Venezuelan
television and Candido Perez at the Japanese Gardens in Havana; date
not given--recorded]

1.  [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Isa Dobles of Venezuelan
television and Candido Perez at the Japanese Gardens in Havana; date not

2.  [Text] [Dobles] The first thing that comes to my mind as I greet and thank
you for this interview, is that as I listened to you talk about this garden to
all the friends who were here this afternoon--including the Venezuelan
group--is how didactical and affectionate you are when you talk. This always
moves us very much. In Venezuela you were interviewed many times, and, of
course, your answers were almost mechanical.

3.  I would like to hear from that man who I heard speaking today; the man who
talked about the humanization of cities and men. How important is that to a man
who has lived all these years after the revolution as a man, as a human being?

4.  [Castro] I believe that this is decisive, but not determining. If we do not
work for that, what would work be for? Would it be worthy to get all the
headaches that we get as politicians and revolutionaries if we lacked a very
strong motivation?

5.  However, before going into that, I must explain to you--because you said
that I like to speak in a way so that people can understand me; that I am
pedagogical and didactical--the secret is simple: I try first to understand
things, and as I understand them I try to explain them. Many people [Castro
chuckles] speak about things they do not understand and thus, they cannot
explain them. However, I do not know how I would manage if I did not understand
a problem that I was referring to.

6.  I think about it, understand it--many times they are scientific topics.
Then I explain it just as I have understood it.  That is not too difficult.
Many people do this.  Perhaps you do it everyday, perhaps several times a day. 
Do you think that you could explain something that you do not understand?

7.  [Dobles] Yes, you are right. Just as I maintain that one cannot love,
unless one knows what love is, one cannot speak of something that one does not
know. This is all part of what you are saying. Now how important Fidel, is it
to really get involved in all these theoretical aspects.  You have a way in
which you get the people around you involved. For instance, you made a mistake
concerning a date when you said July, no, August, and then someone answered and
you said no it was not that far ahead. You establish a plan.

8.  [Castro] Well, we all make mistakes. I made a mistake by saying that it was
August, when it was really July. But at another moment, Comrade Angelita, the
director of the botanical garden, gave me the information. She said it was in
1987 when she spoke to the Japanese, and I said no.

9.  [Dobles] It was not in 1987?

10.  [Castro] No, it was in 1988, because when she spoke to the Japanese or the
Japanese spoke to her and proposed the idea, by the time she informed me a lot
of time had transpired. And when I was informed, I agreed and we started to
work quickly. The Japanese worked on one hand and we worked on the other. When
I say Japanese, I mean the magnificent ambassador of Japan that we have here.
It took some time. On 1 January 1989 we began to work. On 25 October 1989 it
was inaugurated.

11.  [Dobles] You could say a beautiful child was born because it took 9

12.  [Castro] Yes, it took 9 months.

13.  [Dobles] Without a Caesarean.

14.  [Castro] Yes, without a Caesarean.

15.  [Dobles] Fidel, how do you memorize things. All of the men and politicians
who talk about you, even the newsmen, say that you are a walking computer. How
do to you manage to protect your brain, the power of your computer?

16.  [Fidel] All it takes is practice. I forget a lot of things. I can be given
a telephone number and if I am not too interested, I will forget the number. I
think it takes practice, and the need to make your mind think. I think that the
mind is like the body. One has to exercise it. If the muscles become stiff
because they are not used, the mind can also become stagnant. Here one can
associate the two types of exercise, physical and mental. In my opinion,
physical exercise helps the mind. This perhaps is related to the fact that the
brain has cells, the cells require oxygen, physical exercise calls for more
blood and oxygen to flow to the brain. That is why the recommendation that I
would make to anyone more or less around my age--which I believe is not too old
when compared to Methuselah--[laughter] I could be compared to a kindergarten
child. He is said to have lived 700 years. I would recommend to people of any
age-- especially so if they are over 50 and more so if they are over 60--to
engage in physical exercise. I personally have found that physical exercise is
good for the mind; it aids mental effort and puts the mind in better condition. 
But, at the same time, mental exercise is also indispensable. I submit myself
to tests constantly. During a meeting of the executive committee we discuss
five or six points. Sometimes we discuss more. I am talking of the executive
committee of the Council of Ministers. Sometimes we go beyond the points on the
agenda, later I may add two more for each one, with different topics, different
programs. I ask how they are developing and progressing. I demand that the
ministers be up to date on all the programs and topics. It is as if they are
going to be tested any day. That is what they do in school sometimes when
students are asked questions.

17.  I customarily ask people questions about what they are doing and ask them
to report on it. I am constantly asking questions. I believe that is called the
Socratic method. I did not learn it in a book, I learned it by practice.

18.  I ask many questions--constantly, everywhere. I do not simply read about a
topic; I also learn about it. One day I read about agricultural topics, another
day about scientific topics, another day about medical topics, another day
about construction topics, and another day about education topics. I know a lot
about those topics because I ask a lot of questions, I meditate on these
problems, and I am interested in these problems.

19.  I believe that your interest is an element that helps you memorize things.
I have an example: The telephone. You write down a telephone number and you
forget it. If you are really interested in the telephone number for any
particular reason then you memorize the telephone number. I handle a lot of
information and all kinds of figures about the country and the
population--economic and social information--because this is something I think
about a lot, and because I am very interested in this. This is the main essence
of my work.

20.  You may ask a question. Ask the question. Why do the people feel no
surprise when a violinist is capable of playing Beethoven or any famous
musician on his violin, or piano--many times without having a score in front of
him. What do the musicians do? Many times they have the whole score and I
imagine....[changes thought] I do not know much about this but I imagine that
those symphonies must have many notes--perhaps as many as the figures I have on
public health, or more.

21.  Just think! If a politician does not know anything about this or if a
musician does not memorize the score...!

22.  [Dobles] It is true, some of them do not memorize the score.

23.  [Castro] They are not doing their job or they are not interested in the

24.  [Dobles] There is a passion that is shared by many men.  It is the passion
for Latin America. You have this passion and historically many men, such as
Marti and Bolivar, have also felt it. This passion has been present throughout
history. I have always wanted to ask Fidel Castro, what is it he feels for
Latin America? The question is not political, but rather it is asking what your
feelings and concerns are for Latin America.

25.  [Castro] I believe your question is a normal one because we all sense and
constantly perceive that we are all one and the same; that we belong to the
same family. It is almost instinctive. I would say that Bolivar's plans for
America and for its integration are [words indistinct] from instinct and
intuition. Bolivar clearly understood that his country alone could not resolve
all its problems and difficulties, and that unity was required to gain the
strength each country had. That is to say, his thoughts were almost
instinctive. I would say that Bolivar acted instinctively. He saw and felt this
reality. He perceived it as a vital need. That which he perceived continues to
be true now and is even more urgent. The years that have elapsed with a divided
America have increasingly shown that he was right. Well, I believe that both
Bolivar and Marti acted instinctively. Their actions were not only based on
feelings but were instinctive. You know, instincts become feelings.

26.  Instinctively, Marti saw the need for Cuba's independence, the need for
unity, and even Latin America's need for Cuba to become independent. In one of
Marti's last letters, just prior to his death, he stated that all the efforts
he had made to further Cuba's independence were to stop the United States from
gaining further strength in America. He perceived there was a threat that Cuba
could become a U.S. colony. He perceived the threat that Cuba would follow
Puerto Rico's steps. He said this at the end of his life and accepted the fact
that it had been the main objective in his actions.

27.  As all true and sincere Latin American statesmen, Bolivar also placed
great importance on the matter of integration. Each in his own period, Bolivar,
as well as Marti, saw the need for unity. However, the task was more difficult
then because there was a lack of communication. Unity requires communication
and you already know how long it took for a letter to get from Caracas to
Bogota, Santiago de Chile, or Buenos Aires. I do not recall but I guess it took
approximately two months if it went by sea and if it got there. There were no
telephones, no radio, no television, no nothing. Communities were totally
isolated from one another; they were separated by mountains, rivers, the

28.  [Dobles, interrupting] But, there were special names.  There was no
microwave or satellites but there were special men who had principles and
ideals. Men who did not care how long a letter took to get to its destination
existed, men who had ideals in common and placed them before anything else. If
this were not so, we could not explain how a man crossed the Andes, you could
not explain....

29.  [Castro, interrupting] Undoubtedly, they were men who had great ideals.
They had great ideals but they also perceived the need--they were men who had
many needs. How could they attain Venezuela's independence if the Spaniards and
their Armies were in neighboring Colombia.

30.  If Colombia was not liberated Venezuelans could not feel secure either.
Once Colombia was liberated and the Spaniards were in Ecuador, they also did
not feel secure.  They also felt the need... [changes thought] Look, they not
only had ideas, they had great ideas. They were men of great ideals and

31.  [Dobles] Of great dedication.?

32.  [Castro] They were very dedicated. However, they had real needs. Once
Ecuador had gained its independence, they found out the Spaniards were also in
Peru. Therefore, they did not feel secure after they gained independence until
the entire continent was independent. They wanted the independence of the
entire continent. They were not concerned just about the independence of their

33.  [Dobles] They had an overall view.

34.  [Castro] They were not concerned just about the independence of part of
Latin America. They were very idealistic. However, things were more difficult
at that time. Attaining unity was difficult. The means of communication
available today such as radio and television did not exist at that time. Such
excellent media available today, which unite people very much, did not exist at
that time. However, we have greater needs today.

35.  [Dobles] Is this why you....

36.  [Castro] Nowadays we do not have the Spaniards, yet we have our neighbor.

37.  [Dobles] We have the debt.

38.  [Castro] We have the northern neighbor who does not want us to be united,
it does not want us to be united.  They are not interested at all in our unity.
They would rather deal with isolated countries because it is much easier to
maintain the neocolonial system in a divided Latin America. Do you understand?
They do not want to know about our unity. You see, we Latin Americans hardly
ever hold meetings.

39.  [Dobles] I was going to ask you...

40.  [Castro interrupting] We Latin Americans hardly ever meet. I pointed this
out during the discussions on the debt. I have discussed this matter with
several Latin American leaders. I have asked them: Why do you not hold
meetings. Why do we not hold meetings to at least have a united force with
which we can argue. All African leaders meet at least twice a year, all
European leaders meet almost every month, yet Latin Americans do not dare to
hold meetings.

41.  [Dobles] They do not dare to meet with you, because what they just did....

42.  [Castro interrupting] Leave me aside. They do not dare to hold meetings
unless the United States summons them. Historically, the United States is the
only one who has summoned them. If Carter summons them to a meeting, everyone
goes. If a U.S. President summons for a meeting, everyone goes without
exception. The United States does not want to hold such meetings. U.S.
presidents do not want to hold meetings with Latin American leaders. I have
proposed there should be no exceptions.  This should be like the United
Nations, where no one is excluded. The Nonaligned Movement does not exclude
anyone either. For example, the nonaligned--and we are used to that--include
the most varied kinds of political systems and governments. The nonaligned has
kings, emperors.

43.  When Haile Selassie was the emperor of Ethiopia, it was a member of the
Nonaligned Movement. He was followed by a revolutionary government. The
movement is open to governments of the most varied political and social
systems. We are used to holding meetings and to respecting each other at
meetings. We have to meet. The United Nations includes all of us and one is
free to listen to the others' speeches, with much interest or with not too much
interest. One cannot say: I am not going there because the president of the
United States, the president of South Korea, and Pinochet are in the United
Nations. Nonexclusion is a characteristic of international organizations.

44.  [Dobles] What is your personal opinion of Cuba's exclusion from the Costa
Rica meeting?

45.  [Castro] It is not a meeting, it is a makeshift meeting. It is a joke. It
is not serious at all. Bush does not want anything discussed there. If he is
asked about discussing the debt, he says he does not want to discuss the debt
there and that the debt must be discussed bilaterally. He wants no issues and
no speeches. This is a meeting without exchanges of opinion, without
discussions, without agenda, and without any serious issue, so this is not a
meeting, it is a makeshift meeting. This is the most that can be said of it. It
is a show around Arias. I know Arias. I have talked with him. I spoke with him
in Venezuela. When he speaks with me he is very friendly, he does it correctly,
and he does not find it to be a capital sin. Now he has his little meeting and
he pays me the honor, really, of excluding me. Why should I say something else? 
Instead of feeling disgust...[sentence incomplete as heard]

46.  But we are not going to put all the blame on him. If he was to tell Bush
that he is inviting me, Bush would never go to that meeting, would not even
come close to the area.

47.  Bush did want Pinochet to go. I know this. Costa Rica was pressured in
that direction, but Arias needed a fig leaf so he said: No, no, and he excluded
three or four countries.

48.  If he had invited me, he would have placed me in a difficult position,
because I like serious affairs. Out of courtesy I could have gone, if he had
invited me. Out of courtesy one can go to a meeting, to celebrate something. 
Lately I am being invited to presidential inaugurations. I have not been able
to go to all of them, but I have gone to some. This meeting, however, is a

49.  Bush does not want anything discussed there.

50.  [Dobles] Commander, one argument for excluding Cuba is that Cuba is not a
democratic country. This goes in between quotation marks because judging from
what I have noticed here, with the Cuban companeros, and from what I have been
able to see, there is full liberty in many respects. What do you think of this

51.  [Castro] First we have to know what democracy is: It is government of the
people, for the people, and by the people. The government of an oligarchy, for
the oligarchy, and by the oligarchy is not a government of the people. That is
a totally cheap story.

52.  They call the United States a democracy. How many poor people live there?
To be a politician in the United States, one must first be a millionaire, a big
one. One must also spend who knows how much money and resources. That is the
way things are. How many poor people are in the U.S. Government? How many
workers, how many blacks are in the U.S. Government? Once in a while you may
find one who is placed in that position to make an impression.

53.  There is demagoguery going on in the United States.  Actually, the United
States is an empire and the U.S.  President is more powerful than a Roman
emperor. You cannot compare the power of the U.S. President with the power any
of us may have.

54.  Here we have a party, a party directorate, a politburo, and an organized
directorate. We have all of that, but in the United States, Bush may declare a
world war by himself without consulting anyone. Bush carries around a briefcase
that has the codes that are needed to order a nuclear war. A nuclear war is the
end of the world.

55.  I can honestly tell you that here in Latin America there is no political
system that has more contacts with the people than the Cuban Government. We
have constant contact with the people. I am not an individual sitting in an
office. I am an individual who is on the streets, in factories, in schools, in
hospitals, and in scientific research centers. I am everywhere. One day,
someone was mentioning the word president. I told him: I am not a president. He
said: Who are you, then? I said: I am an individual walking around.

56.  I find the idea of possessing apparent power very strange.  I see
government as a service to the people, as slavery for the people. We are told,
why do you stay so long?  Because the people want it that way. If the people
did not want it that way, it would be impossible for us to stay. In our country
it is not the Army who has the weapons, it is the people, the workers. All the
workers, the peasants, and the students are armed. Imagine what would happen if
the people did not like the revolutionary government, the socialist government,
or me in my post.

57.  At the beginning of the revolution I resigned. That got me into a lot of
trouble. I am not a demagogue. It is not like a person doing this so that the
people will beg him to stay. There was a crisis. Urrutia was president of Cuba
at that time. I did not want to use force--that never entered my mind--to
resolve the crisis. What I did was resign from the post I had. This produced
chaos. The people demanded my return. I was very serious when I resigned, but I
had no alternative except to return.

58.  I am deeply dedicated to work. What is our secret? We are deeply dedicated
to work and I will continue working for as long as the people want. The people
are in power here, not me--the people are in power. I cannot say like Louis
XIV: I am the state. Here, the people are the state.

59.  How could a socialist system ask the people to make efforts and
sacrifices, and ask the workers to work more, the construction contingents to
work 14 hours a day, the people to develop the country, the students to study
more, the scientists to do more research, and the doctors to work more, if the
people were not in favor of cooperating in that direction and if the people did
not see the use of it. It is unimaginable.

60.  I do not feel like the holder of power. I have been awarded titles and I
have rejected them. I do not like that. Well, in an event like today's I accept
being called Your Excellency Mr President. However, here everyone calls me
Fidel. I am everyone's neighbor in this country.  I am almost like the wind.
There is a saying: I am from everywhere and I am going everywhere. That is the
way I am. That is my work for as long as the people want it and as long as I
find what I am doing useful. The people wanting it is not enough. If at a given
moment I find that what I do is not useful, I will stop. I feel like a slave.

61.  Talk to the pope. Ask him what he does. What does he do? He tours the
world, he goes everywhere. No one is questioning the pope. I am not comparing
myself with him or anything like that. His work is respected. It is seen as a
mission, as a task. He moves here and there and everywhere and he is not the
target of any epithet [words indistinct] excluded, because it is an honor. I do
not go to meetings where nothing is going to be discussed. Some have said that
they are not going because they do not like fooling around. Some are not going
out of respect for themselves. Cuba is not going. What for? Why go to the Costa
Rica meeting?

62.  [Dobles] Is it possible for Cuba to return to the OAS within the framework
of the changes in Latin America?

63.  [Castro] Yes, that is possible; our foreign minister made a statement
about that. During a... [hesitates] during an interview with a Mexican
newspaper I was categorical. I talked about it in Venezuela. I categorically
said that if the Latin American countries want it, I will go along with it. If
they deem it advisable for Cuba to join the OAS, even though the OAS offended
us, attacked us, expelled us, mistreated us, trampled on us, and did everything
to us, we will not act in an emotional and rancorous manner with the OAS. If
the OAS is something new, and if new trends emerge in Latin American--no doubt,
very strong trends toward independence are emerging, because many Latin
American governments have an attitude very different from what they had at that
time, because there are more independent and self-respecting governments--if
these governments, such as the Group of Eight, in interpreting the feelings of
Latin America, say that we must return to the OAS, we are disciplined, we
endorse unity and integrity. We respect the views of those governments; if they
feel we must join the OAS, we will.

64.  Now, they must tell us how one joins. We do not know.  We have forgotten
how one joins the OAS. They should tell us about the entire process. The day
they tell us to join, we will join, but we really do not know the process to
join the OAS; we will have to ask the other governments that have repeatedly
stated their views. We say yes, and more than that, we appreciate the attitude
and we deem it constructive. For that reason, we are ready to cooperate.

65.  [Dobles] When you said...

66.  [Castro, interrupts] They should tell us how, lest they say: Well, what
does the United States say. The United States may or may not veto this. In sum,
we need elements of judgement to know what steps we must take.  At least, the
United States has been silent. We do not know if they have veto power, and what
the process is.  Some feel that the process entails revoking the resolution
that excludes us. We have no vote at the OAS, we cannot fix anything. It is up
to the Latin American governments to propose it at the OAS. What can we do? We
do what we can, which is to gladly say yes and that we respect the criteria and
feeling and are willing to follow the idea.

67.  [Dobles] You said that this mission is truly difficult and a constant
challenge. Is your mission to serve, to serve your country and Latin America,
your passion as well?  Could you live (?that passion)?

68.  [Castro] Of course, [words indistinct] passion. It cannot be thought of
otherwise. First of all for my country; this is logical because I was born
here. I feel a historic need that stems from a feeling of unity. I feel it is
unavoidable and a must for the future and the development of our people to
occupy a place in the world, that we must work and strive for unity and
integration. I feel a passion for the things of Latin America. I feel it. I
feel it for the people of Latin America, for the history of Latin America, and
the culture of Latin America. I feel passion for its leaders. I feel love for
that cause, which we could describe as a union. Well, we have felt this even
beyond Latin America because no one else has worked for the men of another
continent as we have in Africa. In Africa, for example, we even shed our own
blood to defend the cause of the African countries. In reality, Guillermo, our
doctors and technicians are working in dozens of countries, for free. They are
assisting those people. This responds to a Cuban feeling, but also to an
ideology. Our ideology is internationalist and solidary by definition. I
understand that nationalism has been a great step forward for the people
compared to the tribal feeling and all that, but internationalism has a greater
scope. Ideologically and conceptually, not only for a feeling and the
conviction that this is needed, I also feel passion for the efforts of the
people of Latin American. I can also tell you I feel this passion for the Third
World, for all the countries the development of which could best be described
as underdevelopment. There is so-called underdevelopment because there is an
ever-widening gap between underdevelopment and so-called development. The
former are not undeveloped, but underdeveloped. However, poverty [words
indistinct] and in Latin America, 700,000 children who could be saved according
to WHO and the Pan-American Health Organization figures.

69.  All of these children died of curable, preventable diseases. They are not
those who must die due to congenital malformation incompatible with life and
who have no hope of living. This malformation can be in the heart or any other
organ. The fact is, as we have demonstrated, that of every 1,000 children born
in Latin America every year, 990 could be saved.

70.  When the revolution won in Cuba, the country had a mortality rate of 60 or
70 percent. Last year, we reached 11.9 percent and this year we expect to be in
the 11 percent range--11.1, 11.2, 11, or 10.9. We decreased our mortality rate
almost a full point this year. I believe that we will decrease the mortality
rate to less than 10 percent within the next 3 years. We already have a
province in the countryside, Cienfuegos, that has a 6-percent mortality rate
and Havana should be getting to 9.9 percent or somewhere less than 10 percent.
The highest rate I have calculated for Havana is 10 or 10.1 percent.

71.  This year, the city of Washington will have had an average of 33 children
dead for each 1,000 that were born alive. This means that we, Cuba, the small
island under blockade and is enslaved--as they say-- will have a mortality rate
in its capital city that is a third of the rate to be recorded in the capital
of the democratic empire of the United States. I do not know what they do in
the United States. There is no excuse for Washington to have three times the
Cuban mortality rate this year with the amount of technological resources,
scientific knowledge, and money they have. These are figures that shed light on
the subject and point to the core of the matter and not to appearances. What is
it we were talking about?

72.  [Dobles, laughs] About passion. I asked you about the challenge, the
passion that this repesents, and still

73.  [Castro, interrupts] We ended up here.

74.  [Dobles] You ended up there. I do not know how!  [laughs]

75.  [Castro] You provoked me!

76.  [Perez] Commander, I wanted to ask you something. The Soviet Union has
opened its doors to foreign capitals, it has allowed athletes to become
professionals, and so on--all within the policy they call perestroyka. Do you
believe that this idea, this perestroyka is contrary to the principles of

77.  [Castro] According to the Soviets, no.

78.  [Perez] And according to Fidel?

79.  [Castro] According to Fidel--for Cuba--yes, it is contrary to the
principles of Marxism-Leninism. I will not judge because it is not convenient
for us to judge what is being done over there. We have to place ourselves in
our little piece of the world, to think about Cuba, to think about our
experience, to think about our interpretations of Marxism-Leninism--and I say
that we would not do many of these things. I am not talking about all of them. 
No. Maybe the idea is to accept some foreign capital in a certain way, under
certain conditions, with a firm...  [changes thought] this is acceptable
because the countries' development really needs capital.

80.  This is how we interpret it: If you have the natural resources, work
force, and technical force, but need the capital--capital does not fall from
the sky like manna and technology cannot be invented overnight even though
technology must be invented--then you can admit the presence of foreign capital
in certain activities.

81.  To tell you the truth, we do not need foreign capital to produce sugar in
a sugar mill or to develop a new sugar product, we know that. We have the
equipment; we have the land and we know how to till it; we have the water and
we can use it to irrigate and improve the soil--we do not need foreign capital.
I think it would be absurd for us to bring foreign capital for a sugar mill,
because it is something we are capable of doing on our own.

82.  If you ask me, perhaps in an area....[changes thought] there might be a
certain area in which we do not have the technology and the capital--and if we
have the natural resources and the work force, then we can accept a technology
by creating a firm in the country. The country would be contributing something
and it could accept foreign investment, with the corresponding profits and all
such things.

83.  In tourism, for example, you will find that very often, at this very
moment, there is a surplus of capital in the world. There are surpluses.

84.  The countries that possess and monopolize gold and money have a surplus of
capital and very often do not know what to do with it. They do not want to lend
it because they believe that if they lend it they will lose it.  Therefore,
they try to invest that surplus in different activities. I believe that some of
these activities take place in third world countries and even in Cuba, a
socialist country.

85.  Cuba has enormous natural resources for tourism. Enormous ones.  However,
we need capital for tourism.

86.  In the field of tourism we can accept up to a 50-percent share of the
business. We even make more concessions.  We do not require them to pay taxes.
No one else can offer those benefits. The merchandise that will be used for the
hotel's operation may be brought into the country and it is tax free. They do
not have to pay profit taxes.  We are associates.

87.  We have abundant tourism resources. We have a world that is anxious for
some fresh air and sun. We have a world that is terrified by pollution. I am
respectful of the countries, but jumping into the Mediterranean Sea is like
diving into a chemical well because 140,000 industries dump their waste in the
waters that flow to the Mediterranean Sea.  Actually, today not even the fish
can live in those waters.

88.  Fortunately, we still have the gulf currents which are pretty healthy
surrounding us. We have fresh air and water and we have beautiful beaches. Cuba
alone has more beaches than all the other Caribbean countries put together.

89.  [Dobles] What countries have accepted this?

90.  [Castro] Some countries and some firms have already accepted. Some people
have asked me what the guarantees are and I have told them it is the mutual
benefit.  Many of these businessmen have the capital, they have the experience,
and they have influence over the tourism market. What do we contribute? We
contribute the climate and the natural resources. All construction labor is
done by us. We contribute the labor force and the construction material
manufactured in the country.

91.  Sometimes they draft the plans, sometimes we draft the plans. They pay for
the material that must be imported.  Sometimes they import some of the
equipment that is needed for the construction of the hotels. They import
nontechnical hotel equipment. Each hotel needs elevators of a certain quality;
each hotel needs generators of a certain quality; each hotel needs air
conditioners of a certain quality; and each hotel needs sophisticated material
for its construction. Investments are approximately 50 percent. Profits are
directly proportional to the investments, up to a maximum of 50 percent. Quite
often, the administration allows the firm to do certain things because it has
more experience.

92.  We would not allow them to manage a sugar mill because we know how to do
that. However, we tell them to manage the hotel. We tell them to take their
time. That is how our hotel construction is organized. Next year, there will be
some hotels in a mixed association with us.  I would say thousands of millions
[no currency given] could be invested in this field. If no investment is made,
we could do it, but at a slower pace because we are already building dozens of
hotels with our own capital.  We have a clear example of a possible cooperation
with a socialist country. Let us be practical. I believe the Soviets must also
have lots of natural resources for which they do not have capital or
technology. They accept associations of this type despite their lack of
capital, technology, and markets. Now, to tell you the truth, I could never
build a beer factory. I do not know if this is Marxism or not. Lenin did not
have time to do many things and he accepted some of these things. Some of the
things in life should not be presented as a contradiction between
Marxism-Leninism and what is being done.  However, here in Cuba, we would not
build a hamburger factory to be sincere, unless they tell me: let's build a
small hamburger factory to learn how hamburgers are made. I would say: fine, I
agree. Let us learn, because anyone can make a McDonald's hamburger. We can
make them even better than McDonald's.

93.  Everyone knows the exact recipe needed to make a McDonald's hamburger.

94.  However, I do not think that we should manufacture something for domestic
consumption. I believe it is reasonable for a developing country--socialist
countries are developing countries--to save its resources and its foreign
exchange and use it for development purposes.

95.  It is quite reasonable to have mixed enterprises and foreign capital to be
exported. However, from a realistic point of view, with the conscience of a
developing country, I do not believe it makes any sense to have a mixed
enterprise manufacture articles for domestic consumption. I believe we should
manufacture goods to be exported. Some of these ideas may seem Marxist-Leninist
to some of us because since we consider ourselves Marxist-Leninist and we are
leading a revolution, this sort of thing happens.

96.  I believe that amateur sports date back to ancient Greece. I have not read
much about this but I believe that Olympic Games participants were not
professional athletes. I have heard that the centennial of the first Olympic
Games in 1898 will soon be marked. The Greeks organized the Olympic Games and
since then sports have been viewed as a healthy activity; not as a professional

97.  In our country, baseball championships involve the entire population;
millions of people participate. We need foreign currency and we have great
players. I ask myself: How much would we be paid for this player if we exported
him? [laughter] However, I am just joking around when I say this because we
cannot export our players. They are our people's idols. We could send them to
the professional ranks--and we produce more players than any country and good
players, too--if we wanted, we could become an exporter of players [laughter].
We could even justify this on the grounds that they would be involved in
activities to benefit a child care center.  However, our players are our
people's idols; how could we sell them? Our players are great people because
they could be millionaires in the United States, but they have rejected offers.
We have had boxers who could have been millionaires.

98.  They have set an admirable example for us of what it is like to be a human
being; of what Socialism, human solidarity, loyalty to a cause, and loyalty to
the country are. They are our people's idols and idols are not on sale. 
Professional sports counter the best tradition of sports; we disagree with
them. However, we respect them. If the Soviets want to have them, they should
do it. That is their business. We cannot rule the USSR. They have the right to
do whatever they want.

99.  You asked me about sports and mixed societies. I explained to you what we
think about them. You asked about foreign capital and about sports. In other
words, we respect what they do; we respect what you do. I cannot say here that
all your businesses should be nationalized or that you should not denationalize
any businesses. Privatization and denationalization are fashionable now.  If
you chose to do that, we should not meddle. We must respect Venezuela's rights
and the rights of Venezuelans to do what they deem appropriate.

100.  I prefer that businesses be nationalized and state-owned.  That is clear,
obvious, and logical. However, with the foreign debt and the crisis,
imperialism has managed to make denationalization of businesses fashionable. It
has become fashionable throughout the world, but there is none of that here. I
am being frank about this: We have no need to denationalize anything. We are
very happy with our nationalized enterprises. What we want is to increasingly
improve the operation of our enterprises.  That is our goal.

101.  [Perez] Commander, on one occasion there was an important meeting here to
discuss the debt and the advisability that Latin American countries not pay
their debts. However, most countries--following IMF instructions or
guidelines--have paid or rather have changed their economic policy, and in some
cases, this has given way to social disturbances as was the case in Venezuela
and Argentina. How do you view the situation of those countries?

102.  [Castro] I believe that this problem should have been solved in 1985. And
not only this one; the problem of unequal exchange, which is the cause of the
debt, should have also been solved. A new international economic order should
have been applied. Latin America could have led this battle; it was prepared to
do so but it failed to do so. There was a lack of historical foresight; there
was a lack of confidence. What was missing?

103.  [Dobles] Solidarity?

104.  [Castro] It was evident ever since the 1985 meeting, which you mentioned,
that we were strangled; that the debt should be erased. Not only erased, but
that the unequal international economic order should disappear; protectionism
and all those vile practices, which are used to loot our countries, had to

105.  In addition to that, the new economic order established by the United
Nations had to be implemented. We had to struggle for all of that, and we have
not done it. That is the reason why we have such a catastrophic situation and a
worsening social situation in Latin America. There is unemployment, there are
problems in education and public health. The effects of the economic crisis
become evident in all of these fields. The budget allotments for health,
education, and development are being reduced; the economy does not grow, but
the population grows. I tell you for a fact that the population grows. Our
population, that does not grow too rapidly, is in fact growing.

106.  Let me cite you an example. It is now 1989, and by this time in 1989 [as
heard] we will have 600,000 people more than we have now. I have explained to
the people that we must produce food for the new 600,000 people we will have
within the next 5 years. In addition, this entails new social costs.

107.  Every new child care center, every new school, every new workers'
cafeteria that opens, needs an extra amount of food. In addition, the level of
nourishment for the 10.4 million people we now have must be improved. That
requires a development effort, and we do not have a birth rate of 2 or 2.5
percent. We also have to estimate how many dairy farms we must have, and how
much milk those cows must produce in order to provide for those 600,000 new
people in the country.

108.  We estimate what the growing population will need. It may need, for
example, 40 new dairy farms every year.  You can estimate new food quotas for
new child centers every year, vital quotas that the state provides
gratuitously. We also estimate what is needed to improve the nutritional
aspects of the current population of 10 million people for the next 10 years.
We are planning all that: housing, schools, and food production to do better. 
And we are doing it while going through many difficulties since we also have
problems because of all the forms of exploitation that exist, to which we can
now add, those that could arise as a result of difficulties that could emerge
in the socialist camp. This should not be forgotten. But in spite of that, we
are working with a program and with estimates. We know what has to be done and
produced to resolve the country's development problems.

109.  [Dobles] There is lack of love and consideration among the countries and
of authority in leaders. This is what hurts, Fidel. Everything is being
discussed and said over and over, but there is lack of authority, of
leadership.  There is a lack of love and of loyalty. Decisions are not being
made. One sees how the passion for sharing is crushed.

110.  [Castro] I tell you the problem is very serious due to all of these
things I was explaining to you. There are no plans, there are no programs.
Everything is done by chance, everything is like a fortune game. It seems as if
the fate of Latin America was being played like roulette.  You bet on a number,
and you spin the wheel to see if you win. And when the mathematics are done,
you lose.  It is a game of chance. What are the development programs?

111.  [Dobles, interrupting] Because the croupier is....

112.  [Castro, interrupting] We, at least, have a development program. The
Japanese have a development program, and they are a capitalist country. The
Latin American countries do not have development programs. Everything is left
to chance. How many children will be born?  How will they provided employment?
Where are they going to live? Where are they going to school? What hospital
will provide them treatment? How are they going to be fed? Everything is done
by chance. It is like playing dice, or playing the roulette. Nobody knows what
the results will be. The least a country can do is to plan its development
based on the outlook that is evident.  That is why I say we lost the best

113.  Ever since 1985, we have continued in this same agony.  They have not
paid nor have they allowed others to pay [sentence as heard]. That is the
situation. The economies do not grow. All they have invented in this aspect has
failed in one way or another. They have managed to get the Latin American
countries to discuss issues by themselves; each one on his own. That is what
they wanted. They have prevented the Latin Americans from discussing their
problems jointly and united. That is why they have imposed on each country
their own conditions.

114.  That is a tragic situation. I say this is a dramatic situation. Just take
a look at the statistics of population, employment, standards of living; of
levels of education, of health, food, infant mortality; all of these issues we
were talking about.

115.  [Dobles] But, Fidel, what must be done so that the Latin American people
will do something and will not continue in this game of chance, allowing
themselves to be manipulated by a croupier, as it has been up to now?

116.  [Castro] I believe there is a law in history to the effect that no social
problem is solved until it becomes a crisis.  Perhaps, the only way is for all
this to become a crisis-- so that the problems will then be solved--but that is
not really what we want. We would not want that. We have had so many years of
practice working with a development program. We know that if we can manage to
organize the life of a country, the economy and the program of a country,
without any violence, without crisis, and without bloodshed, this would be

117.  In a certain way, we have been hoping for that, and we have been planning
on that. I believe that in today's world, we need something like that, for
example, in the political aspect. I do not know; perhaps we could develop a
better awareness of these problems. However, that is not that easy. It is not
that easy to blame the politicians.  When politicians rise to power, they are
confronted with situations that leave them very little room for any options or
alternatives. That is the truth. I have observed that. I do not want to mention
any country in particular.  But that is the case. Sometimes, a government
really does not have any other choice.

118.  [Dobles] [Question indistinct]

119.  [Castro] Sometimes they are forced by circumstances.  Sometimes that
situation can be changed only by a revolution. But, then there would be a
discussion over what is a revolution, how can it be done, and if a peaceful
revolution could occur. I would dare bet that a peaceful revolution can be
achieved, at a certain time, under certain circumstances. I would dare bet on
that. It could at least be tried. So far, it has not been tried.

120.  The Chileans tried to achieve socialism in a peaceful manner. They were
unable to do it and they were wiped out. In general, it has not been
proven--but it is advisable--that the conditions and the circumstances be
created. If you are not going to do it in 10 years, then do it in 20 years.
Life has also shown us that it is not worth shedding blood just to gain 5
years, for example. If you are sure that you can do it in 10 years, and you are
going to do it well, go ahead; or if you can do in 20 years, instead of 10, and
you are going to do it well, go ahead and do it.

121.  What has resulted thus far is the opposite, decades come and go. This is
how the Cuban revolution has been ever since we were expelled from the OAS
until now. As you can see, our population has doubled, in fact more than
doubled, more problems have accumulated. Kennedy feared there would be a
revolution due to this socially explosive situation and he created the Alliance
for Progress. He offered $20 billion. However, the situation at that time was
quite different from the situation now.  You Venezuelans are aware of that. You
know very well about the real income at that time and what people could buy and
could not buy. However, that is a situation being faced by all Latin American

122.  Today there is no formula. Imperialism has no formula for Latin America.
At least Kennedy created the Alliance For Progress. The formula imperialism has
now is: Pay me back for the $400 billion, keep selling me products at low
prices and I will sell items to you at higher prices. We see this everytime we
purchase any equipment, any kind of equipment, a crane, a bulldozer, a loader
used for construction works, a tractor, or a truck. Prices go up every year. If
the equipment cost 100,000 this year, next year it will cost 105,000, and the
following year it will cost 110,000, 117,000, and so on. This happens every
year you buy equipment. However, the price of products you sell might go up or
down a little. The rule is what you sell becomes cheaper every year.

123.  Look at what has happened to the price of coffee, which is a traditional
export product of Central American and Latin American countries. Meanwhile
those people [in Costa Rica] shouted their heads off, like parrots, talking
about democracy. It happens that coffee, from which many people earn their
living, was at $1.40 a pound last year. Today, the price of coffee in the
market is $0.74.  That is, half of the price it was last year. This happens
with most of our main export products. However, other countries buy medicines,
chemical products, machines, industrial equipment, and you can be sure that
prices will be higher than the prices in effect last year, or the year before.
That is the law. That is the reality in Latin America.

124.  [Perez] Although it is a....

125.  [Castro interrupting] I do not want to talk here like an instigator. I am
trying to respond to your questions as objectively as possible.

126.  [Perez] This is unusual, but I would like you to sign an autograph for a
Venezuelan friend of mine....

127.  [Castro interrupting] What is his name?

128.  [Perez] His name is Jesus, Jesus Arteaga.

129.  [Castro] Jesus, [words indistinct] for Jesus.

130.  [Perez] He is a friend of Cathy.

131.  [Castro] [Words indistinct] have to go to a ceremony.

132.  [Dobles] Fidel, I would like you to....

133.  [Castro interrupting] Do not forget that.

134.  [Dobles] No, no, we would like you to send a greeting to Venezuelans.

135.  [Castro] I still clearly remember my visit to Venezuela.

136.  [Dobles] We feel the same.

137.  [Castro] I will never forget the attitude of the people, newsmen, youths,
and the attitude of all people in Venezuela. I will never forget all that. It
was a great lesson. I was able to see in Venezuela that it is worth working
with faith in the future, and with honesty, because sooner or later the truth
finds its way through. In the attitude and reaction of the Venezuelan people I
was able to see something unbelievable to me. After so many years of
propaganda, I did not know how Venezuelans would react. I assume the United
States is very disappointed with the results. However, I noticed....(changes
thought] I remember the two Venezuelas. The Venezuela of 1959 and the Venezuela
of today. I noted people are better educated--very educated --and the youths
are well informed and have great knowledge, excellence, and are active. The
newsmen are intelligent and people have changed and progressed a lot in the
past 30 years. I had an unforgettable impression which is something I will
never forget. This has helped to increase my love for the Venezuelan people and
for all Latin American people, but in particular for the Venezuelan people.

138.  The Venezuelan people helped us when we were waging the war at the Sierra
Maestra. They helped us, supported the revolution, and expressed their
affection and hospitality in 1959 after the triumph of the revolution as they
have done now. This is even more admirable [words indistinct] from a lively and
active people as Venezuelans have always been. Therefore, since I am
optimistic, I believe in the people. I believe the Venezuelan people must be
like the Colombian people, and the Ecuadoran people whom I have met too, and
like the Brazilian people. I believe people will now exert greater influence in
the positions adopted.

139.  [Dobles] People are the only ones who can change the leadership in power.

140.  [Castro] People are the only ones who can change everything. Hope is
something we must never lose.

141.  [Dobles] Thank you Fidel.

142.  [Castro] It has been a pleasure and an honor. I want to thank you for
this opportunity, although this has been improvised at this Japanese Garden.
The Japanese Garden will become famous after this.

143.  [Dobles] At least in Venezuela, everyone will want to come and visit it.

144.  [Castro] Thank you very much. As soon as I was told you were coming, and
after you arrived, I began to look at your schedule and in mine trying to find
some free time . Therefore, I said: Tell them to come tomorrow to the
inauguration of the Japanese Garden.

145.  [Dobles] We must thank the Japanese ambassador for this opportunity to
interview Fidel. Thank you very much.

146.  [Japanese ambassador] My pleasure.

147.  [Dobles] Thank you very much, thank you Fidel, I wish you the best in the