Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Reportage on Castro Visit to Brazil
Havana Television Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000004891
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL1603190290
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-053          Report Date:    19 Mar 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       4
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       16 Mar 90
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 053


City/Source of Document:   Havana Television Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Reportage on Castro Visit to Brazil

Subheadline:   Castro Interviewed on Socialism

Author(s):   two unidentified reporters of the Brazilian Manchete television
network at the residence of the Cuban ambassador in Brasilia; date
not given; reporters speak in Portuguese with partially inaudible
simultaneous Spanish translation and Castro replies in

Source Line:   FL1603190290 Havana Television Network in Spanish 0330 GMT 16
Mar 90

Subslug:   [``Excerpts'' of an ``exclusive'' interview with President Fidel
Castro by two unidentified reporters of the Brazilian Manchete
television network at the residence of the Cuban ambassador in
Brasilia; date not given; reporters speak in Portuguese with
partially inaudible simultaneous Spanish translation and Castro
replies in Spanish--recorded]

1.  [``Excerpts'' of an ``exclusive'' interview with President Fidel Castro by
two unidentified reporters of the Brazilian Manchete television network at the
residence of the Cuban ambassador in Brasilia; date not given; reporters speak
in Portuguese with partially inaudible simultaneous Spanish translation and
Castro replies in Spanish--recorded]

2.  [Text] [Reporter] The Manchete network is very honored to receive Commander
in Chief Fidel Castro for an exclusive interview at the residence of the Cuban
ambassador in Brasilia.

3.  This is the second time Commander in Chief Fidel comes to Brazil. You were
here in 1959 when you were 32 and one-half years old. Commander Fidel Castro,
good morning. You are going to grant us an interview.

4.  Here is the first question, Commander. Some Soviet reporters have
criticized the Cuban state. My question is, are you disappointed with what is
happening in the Soviet Union?

5.  [Castro] The question is not easy to answer. I agree with the need to
improve things in socialism. I am aware of historic mistakes that have been
made. Sometimes I have wondered whether or not they could have been avoided but
I do know that different kinds of mistakes have been made. Who can disagree
with the idea that those mistakes should be amended?

6.  We made our own mistakes. They were not the same ones but very different.
They are in a different historic framework, with a different idiosyncracy.
Let's say that our mistakes were tropical mistakes. When we became aware of
those mistakes we said we needed to overcome them.

7.  Thus, in this sense we cannot disagree with any effort made to improve
socialism. This is not an easy task. It has become a political and historic
matter. I cannot feel happy with all the developments that have taken place as
a result of the efforts made to improve socialism. I have no doubts about
Gorbachev's intentions, of his sincere wishes of improving socialism in the
Soviet Union.

8.  I am not sure that Gorbachev imagined how the events would develop in other
socialist countries. I cannot be satisfied with the way events have developed
in the rest of the socialist countries. Of course, the situation is not the
same in each one of them but there is a common element present. They are
heading toward an inefficient capitalism instead of toward an improved
socialism. It has to be said that intense work is being done in Poland--not
only by the leadership of the country, the government of the country, but by
the Western allies with their cooperation and experience. They are working
intensely to turn Poland into a capitalist country.

9.  [Reporter] You do not agree with that?

10.  [Castro] I cannot agree with that. The most I can say is that I respect
what they may do. When Gorbachev visited our country recently--last April we
both spoke at the National Assembly--I mentioned the right of any socialist
country to build capitalism if it wanted to do so and that needed to be
respected. Also, the right of any capitalist country to build socialism should
be respected.

11.  [Reporter, interrupting] [Passage indistinct].

12.  [Castro, interrupting] Excuse me a second, that same situation is repeated
in the CSSR. It is repeated in Hungary and Bulgaria. The situation in Romania
is more difficult to define. It is difficult to say which way they are headed,
to what point they are going to privatize state enterprises, and how far they
are going to encourage a capitalist path. This is yet to be determined.

13.  The situation in the GDR is different because what is being discussed
there is not socialism or capitalism but the unification of the two countries.
They [not further identified] have also implemented a very opportunistic
international policy and even joined the United States against Cuba in Geneva
as if they were desperate to do a favor to Yankee imperialism to obtain aid,
credits, (?understanding), etc.; they have committed a very great act of
disloyalty. At a time when the United States threatens our country with all
kinds of attacks, they have joined capitalism in this policy which cannot make
any Cuban or revolutionary happy.

14.  [Reporter] Now, Commander, [words indistinct] Western countries [words

15.  [Castro] Regarding Cuba's situation, we were not allies of socialist
countries alone. We had close relations with all Third World countries and have
actively worked with the Nonaligned Movement. Cuba even presided over the
Nonaligned Movement for three years, over three years because the other meeting
was delayed. We established very close relations with all those Third World
countries.  So, one of our fundamental banners was related to the national
liberation movement of former colonies, the struggle of Third World countries
on matters vital to their development and future. We were also allies of
socialist countries. The work, effort, and cooperation developed by Cuba with
those Third World countries is enormous.

16.  A good example of this is that we have doctors in 38 Third World
countries, around 1,000 doctors. This is an example. We have 25,000 scholarship
holders. We are the country that has the most scholarship holders per capita in
the world. Most of them are from the Third World. That is, we have close ties.

17.  We have economic relations with almost all capitalist countries. Almost
all of them, except the United States.  Cuba was recently elected a member of
the UN Security Council with the support of 145 countries that voted secretly.
The advantage of elections in the Security Council is that there is a secret
vote and the people are not afraid of offending the United States and they vote
with greater freedom. We just received the support of 145 countries at the
Security Council. How can it be said that Cuba is an isolated country?

18.  [Reporter] The Soviet Union has just modified its Constitution and five
years from now the Soviet president will be elected by direct vote. Would you
allow in Cuba such modification to the Cuban Constitution?

19.  [Castro] You are asking my view about the USSR?

20.  [Reporter] [Passage indistinct].

21.  [Castro] [Passage indistinct]. I believe that considering the current
problems the Soviet Union has and the dangers threatening its own integrity,
the decision of electing a presidential government appears to be positive. That
decision is positive. I believe the election of Comrade Gorbachev is positive.
I consider it is an element that could contribute to the preservation of unity
and integration in the Soviet Union. This is something that worries the entire
world, not only Cuba, but the entire world. The world is terrorized by the idea
of a unipolar world led by the United States. Latin Americans more than anyone
else are terrorized by this.

22.  We have discussed the form of election. There are many forms of election
in the world. You can choose the one you deem more appropriate. Different
countries do not elect the government directly. In Spain, Italy, England-- we
could mention many countries--Japan. They elect parliament members and the ones
who have the majority have the government. They are elected and reelected
indefinitely. They then have a president who carries out certain constitutional

23.  Other countries have kings. England has a queen. Spain has a king. I
believe Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden have kings that nobody elects. It is a
matter of inheritance, of royal blood. This is something that is almost as old
as Rome, or it is older than Rome. We prefer that the presidential
responsibility be shared by a team. Under these conditions we prefer that.

24.  Under the conditions in the USSR, I believe that at this time it was
necessary and convenient.

25.  We have implemented a system in which residents gather and nominate the
delegates of their district. Those district delegates--numbering over
10,000--elect all the powers of the state; at the municipal, provincial, and
national level.

26.  [Reporter] The Sandinists attempted to implement communism. [Passage
indistinct]. Could this also happen in Cuba?

27.  [Castro] [chuckles] The Sandinists never intended to build communism. They
didn't even intend to build socialism. They implemented a mixed economy and
multiple party system. To the contrary, that cannot be said about the
Sandinists. Some of them said they were Marxists but they never proposed to
build communism as a program. Nobody has built communism. This is considered a
distant possibility. This was a dream of the founders of scientific socialism.
Of course, you will find the most just society according to the way it is
implemented. The one that gives to each according to his needs and makes
demands according to his abilities. It is the most humane of all the concepts.
However, this is seen as a distant thing. One speaks of socialism before

28.  The Sandinists did not build socialism in Nicaragua. I am not criticizing
them for this. I believe that what they proposed to do was (?valuable); great
economic reforms, great changes, the agrarian reform, urban reforms, social
justice measures. They were not able to do much because they were forced to
endure a dirty war for 10 years. This prevented them from carrying out their

29.  We have had a dirty war but we have also had many years to work and we
have achieved a work, a work that cannot be compared with any other Third World
country or with any developed capitalist country.

30.  Currently we have services in our country that no developed capitalist
country has. We have child-care centers, an education system, special education
schools for children with problems. No developed capitalist country has them
for all children as we do. The family doctor and health services our people
have are not found in developed countries.

31.  We have accomplishments through socialism. I do not want to cite figures
here so I will not bore you. Perhaps I will have to use them at another time.
Compare for example the infant mortality rate in Latin America with the one
Cuba has. It is over 60 in Latin America and in Cuba is 11.1. Compare life
expectancy figures. Compare the number of children who go to school. Compare
the number of children who need special education schools because they have
different kinds of problems. What does Latin America have to satisfy needs the
way Cuba has? I do not want to talk but I feel I have the duty of defending
ourselves, of defending what we have done. If you analyze all those indexes,
there is no comparison.