Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Assesses Visit to Brazil, U.S. Policy
Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000005604
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA2403215890
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-060          Report Date:    28 Mar 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     5
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       29
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       24 Mar 90
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 060


City/Source of Document:   Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Assesses Visit to Brazil, U.S. Policy

Author(s):   Cuban journalists who accompanied him on his recent visit to
Brazil, including Susana Lee of GRANMA newspaper, Pedro Martinez
Pirez of Radio Havana, Alberto D. Perez of Radio Rebelde,
Francisco Villanueva of Cuban television , and moderator Julio
Garcia Ruiz; in Havana--live]

Source Line:   PA2403215890 Havana Domestic Radio and Television Services in
Spanish 0203 GMT 24 Mar 90

Subslug:   [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Cuban journalists who
accompanied him on his recent visit to Brazil, including Susana Lee
of GRANMA newspaper, Pedro Martinez Pirez of Radio Havana, Alberto
D. Perez of Radio Rebelde, Francisco Villanueva of Cuban television,
and moderator Julio Garcia Ruiz; in Havana--live]

1.  [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Cuban journalists who accompanied
him on his recent visit to Brazil, including Susana Lee of GRANMA newspaper,
Pedro Martinez Pirez of Radio Havana, Alberto D. Perez of Radio Rebelde,
Francisco Villanueva of Cuban television, and moderator Julio Garcia Ruiz; in

2.  [Text] [Garcia] Before beginning the questions, which could touch upon more
specific matters, Commander, we would like you to give us a general assessment
of your trip to Brazil.

3.  [Castro] We mentioned my giving a general assessment.  Later, I discussed
with you here what would be best. I could say something very brief as an
opening, then you could ask your questions. I probably have many anecdotes and
would like to tell you some of them. I expect, however, that such things can be
brought about in the course of this conversation. I think the most essential
thing is to point out that this visit took place at a very special time--after
the socialist world crumbled, after the Nicaraguan elections, when imperialism
and the reactionaries around the world see Cuba as the enemy.  Cuba is the
enemy. They have unleashed a fierce campaign against our country using their
enormous resources and their massive media.

4.  In this case, it was very important to wage a battle in one of our
hemisphere's most important countries and one of the most important in the
Third World, where we decided to confront this campaign in this debate on the
most varied and diverse subjects. This is what we did.  There were two
exceptional witnesses because they were there. The many activities were carried
out without rest.  From the very moment we arrived at the residence of our
ambassador, the cameras were waiting for our first interview after
approximately seven and a half hours of travel. There was much work to do. It
was necessary to find places to put the cameras and to check them and the
microphones. This is how the work was carried out. I held many meetings in
various places. That first interview took place amidst great pressure because
there was only a short time before a dinner hosted by President Sarney. I had
not yet arrived when the delegations greeted him. That was my only chance to
greet and say goodbye to him. So it was necessary to answer the questions under
great pressure, with barely enough time.

5.  This is how many of the interviews took place, between one activity or
another. In some places, like Sao Paulo, the heat was really oppressive. At
nearly all our meetings, press interviews, meetings with various sectors, there
was a tremendous, almost unbearable heat, as I have seldom felt. We were
sweating. At least the temperature is bearable here tonight. I am now open to
questions. It is your turn.

6.  [Garcia] Then let us begin with comrade Susana Lee.

7.  [Lee] Commander, one of the things we noticed were the news conferences and
interviews with the leading television stations. The existing disinformation on
Cuba caught our attention. Could you tell us about this disinformation, which
was apparent from the repeated questions?

8.  [Castro] We are not sure whether we should call it disinformation. There is
negative imperialist information on Cuba.  There is also an absolute ignorance
of what Cuba is. This phenomenon was often evident during our talks with
journalists. I must say that some of the questions were asked by journalists
who were interested in, though opposed, the revolution--some from international
news agencies. Not all of them had a negative attitude, of course. There were
many friends also. Some of the journalists did not have sufficient information
and were confused. The problem is not that Cuba is being ignored. Everyone
knows Cuba exists. Many people truly admire Cuba. This can be sensed. This
happened in all social sectors, from the small country that wages its battle to
the great empire. However, on this country they do not have sufficient
information on its institutions and political processes. The problem is
...[changes thought] We noticed this phenomenon in Venezuela also. There were
30 years of publicity in Venezuela. There was a new generation of journalists
who contacted me, and we talked at great length. They chased me everywhere and
in the end I had no choice but to talk with them at length.  And they reported
this in all of the mass media.

9.  The main confusion that exists now is about socialism in general. This is
socialism's worst time, its time of greatest crisis and greatest doubts about
socialism. One has to take this special circumstance into account. I said at
the beginning that we were making the trip after the collapse of the socialist
camp, and even after the adverse results of the elections in Nicaragua.

10.  There was great concern among all political forces, among left-wing
people. Some of the questions were: What will be its destiny? What will happen
now? What will be socialism's future. There is not only the disinformation
about Cuba, but great doubts about all that has happened and about what the
possibilities and options are. However, it was certainly necessary to talk
extensively. There is one curious thing: The essence of the real, terrible
problems of our hemisphere has not been deeply analyzed. I would say that
people show a certain superficiality when analyzing things. This superficiality
stems from the imperialist arguments and from imperialism's simplification,
from imperialist superficiality. So, imperialism often manages to distract
minds from the great tragedy, but when one points out the tragedy, it impacts
on their minds. It is as if they knew it but did not have it in mind, or as if
they suddenly saw it in its full magnitude.

11.  The arguments are also very interesting. When I presented arguments to
them, they looked dumbfounded.  They had never seen that angle of the problem.
They had never seen the question analyzed from that angle. When one presents
the arguments to them, the impact is unquestionably great. I was able to notice
this during all of those contacts. I am referring now to the press, to the
interviewers, to all. For the first time they found themselves hearing new
arguments and, within the realities of our hemisphere, the new arguments have
an invincible strength. All one has to do is present them. Suddenly, they were
left open-mouthed by simple arguments that are never raised and are never
presented. This was quite clear, but helpful in debates, discussions, and
argumentation. In this sense, I thought it was excellent.

12.  [Garcia] We will now give the floor to Pedro Martinez Pires.

13.  [Pires] Commander, the news agencies said that you were going to spend
only a few hours in Brasilia. However, you stayed six days. You were the only
chief of state who was interviewed by five television channels. You visited
three important Brazilian cities and were the first statesman to be received by
the new president, Fernando Collor de Melo, and you said several times during
your visit that it was not a commercial visit but fundamentally political and
friendly and had a sense of integration.  However, I think it is important that
you talk about the future of Cuban-Brazilian relations. During Sarney's term,
the exchange grew noticeably. It multiplied by a factor of 20. Last year, over
10,000 Brazilian tourists traveled to Cuba and reporters from O GLOBO and other
networks insisted on the need for cooperation in the area of sugar. They
complained about the bureaucracy because there was no Cuban tobacco, etcetera. 
What do you think of the future of Cuban-Brazilian relations?

14.  [Castro] You have touched on two or three topics. You reminded me first
about the number of interviews. There were the four national channels. Even
before my arrival, the four national channels had already asked for interviews.
In fact, we had to act with great tact because a problem had arisen at one
time. At some point there had been an old request from O GLOBO, I do not know
from how many years before. I did not even remember. I do not know if there was
someone who could remember. Suddenly, during one of the international events
that took place--I think it was a movie event, or something like that--a young
reporter approached me and insisted that I grant him an interview. I think it
was for Manchete or one of those networks. He insisted so much that I said,
yes, I will grant you an interview. I do not remember the other one.

15.  Then it was learned that I had already been asked for an interview and
that one of the networks had certain priority. I asked myself, what am I to do?
Shall I break the agreement? What did I do? I made a complete mess.  These
networks have a lot of pull and I thought to myself, I really have no option
but to keep to what I promised. I gave the interview, and of course, that
brought about annoyance and vexation with the network that had requested the
interview earlier.

16.  This time they were very careful and this network again asked for an
interview--the exclusive interview they had requested before. I immediately
sent word accepting and that we would give them priority. It was sort of
historic justice putting right something wrong. All the other networks asked.
As I know how things happen and always there is a reporter somewhere that asks;
I said it is better that we first keep with the O GLOBO agreement and that as
soon as we arrive, the first day, the first moment--O GLOBO. I kept with the
main agreement; this old business was then resolved. It was for O GLOBO's
press, radio, and television--a giant television network. This made me
available for all the other exclusive interviews. Some with much more time, of
course. It turned out to be three more. I spent nearly a day and a half with
the other three. After that, there was another, rather lengthy one, in Sao
Paulo. It appeared at first to be a local station, but it can be seen in most
of the country.  There were five television interviews, not counting the
interviews with reporters.

17.  I clarified that my visit was not strictly commercial in nature. It would
not be worth making a trip for strictly commercial reasons. Economic matters
are important in all our activites--we must not underestimate this. However,
this trip was mainly of a political nature, not economic. Prospects for
relations with Brazil are broad.  As you have said, trade has grown very much
like foam, starting with the new products the country is exporting.  We have
put across to the Brazilians our policy that with everything they buy from
us--especially medicine, vaccines, and so on --we will buy the finished
Brazilian product. It is bartering without barter. Based on the agreement, we
said to them not to worry about foreign currency, that we will not cost you
anything. Everything you buy from us will go into a special account and we will
buy from Brazil the same quantity of products.

18.  Businessmen are interested in this, and so are our industrialists.  The
country must take care of its balance of payments. They see an advantage in
this. I said: We are not getting the foreign currency to spend it elsewhere.
Brazil has achieved relatively important industrial development over the years.
It is undoubtedly the most industrialized country in Latin America and there
are many products of interest in Brazil--which is also a food producer. For
example, it produces important amounts of soybeans, an important fodder
material, and other agricultural products. Brazil has a quite well-developed
petrochemical industry, and it has a well-developed iron and steel
industry--approximately 20 or 21 million tons of steel.

19.  In sum, we import everything because our production is insufficient. For
example, we import tires or different raw materials. We are now carefully
studying what can be bought in Brazil. They are even manufacturing bulldozers. 
We manufacture them but we still import certain quantities of bulldozers,
transportation equipment, machinery, motors. The list of products that can be
purchased in Brazil is extensive--and I will not refer to each one--and the
quality is good. We have even purchased the milch cow, a machine that produces
milk from soybeans. We have it at the research center. We have another in
Santiago de Cuba.  We transferred it to Camaguey so that it could be used to
feed calves. We even donated one of those mechanical milch cows, which produces
2,000 liters of soy milk per day, to the DPRK. In other words, it is a broad
market and we can establish broad cooperation, broad exchange, between the two

20.  You mentioned something. You said that 10,000 Brazilian tourists came to
Cuba last year. Cultural exchange is possible. During the meeting with Roberto
Marino, our ambassador signed an exchange agreement with him.  I also added my
signature so I would not be a silent witness. [Castro chuckles] We will
exchange material.  They have very interesting scientific films, meaning some
programs, and you can always learn something.  For example, in the agriculture
sector they use television as a means to disseminate agricultural techniques.
They have scientific programs, cultural programs, and different types of
programs that we can exchange, and we signed an agreement.

21.  In addition to the things I have mentioned, there are ideas about
integration. I do not believe that we can continue to talk about integration in
abstract terms. We must prepare specific integration programs. I said something
to the Brazilians: We could accept joint investments with Brazilian businessmen
in certain sectors where they have the technology and we have the market.  I
said that we accept the joint ventures in principle; that we are willing to
invest there if we have the technology and if a market is open; and that we are
willing to share the advantages of that technology with the Brazilian
industrialists as well. Thus, we are willing to invest there and accept
investments here. Those are real integration processes.

22.  I realized that Cuba is the Latin American country best prepared for
integration. It is not even necessary to wipe out the tariff barriers. They do
not even exist. It is necessary to eliminate political barriers; we will also
wipe them out. I think we have to speak like that.  Otherwise, integration will
only be a simple slogan. No Latin American country is better prepared than
ours.  The transnational corporations do not have any power here. There are no
transnational corporations in our country. They do not dominate our economy, do
not establish terms. Because this is a state in full possession of its natural
resources, industry, and economy, we can carry out any kind of economic
operations, have mixed enterprises, and exchange technology. In Brazil, I
realized something that was always in the air. Could a socialist economy be
integrated with the economy of a group of capitalist countries? I saw clearly
that it is possible. We can have all kinds of investments. They can have
investments here and we can have investments in their countries, such as
markets and other activities. We can share the possibilities. Of course, there
are fields in which we can make great contributions. We are progressing in the
field of medicine at an impressive rate.  We have advanced at an ompressive
rate in the field of biotechnology and in the pharmaceutical industry.

23.  This is a field with so many necessities in Latin America.  The needs in
this field are truly incredible. Statistics indicate truly incredible
situations. This is only one field. There are many other fields. The fields
covered by Cuban expertise are being expanded. Our research centers are
expanding their activities. I explained to them that there is a sort of
scientific explosion in our country, sometimes with a certain naivete, as a
journalist said--I think it was in TRABAJADORES or some other
newsapaper--because we sometimes tell and publish everything at once. There are
those who have taken some publications and filed applications for patents for
ideas that originated in Cuba. This has been done based on information freely
published. We have a tendency to publish anything. There should be a certain
degree of control and we should be aware that many of these innovations and
results of scientific research are important resources of the country, which
has invested much money in the training of tens of thousands of researchers and
technicians. There is an explosion in many fields, not only in the one I
mentioned previously, all of which become tremendous resources for the country
or perhaps one of the most important resources for the future. I think there is
no field in which we cannot make contributions through our research centers,
apart from our social experience which is truly unique. We hope we can discuss
a while later some of these problems, those recognized and admitted to in the
social experience of Cuba. Cuba's social experience in the general sector is
most interesting and widely recognized. There is also a broad field in Brazil.

24.  I believe that the conditions are present for that development. The
conditions are also present in other countries, to a lesser or greater extent. 
For example, a dengue epidemic broke out in Venezuela, and they quickly asked
us to send them information about our experience on it--and we promptly sent
our best specialists--both on the diagnosis of hemorrhagic dengue and all its
characteristics, what must be done and what must not be done, and how to wage
the battle against the carrier. The same had happened in Ecuador, when the
epidemic broke out there. They also asked us....[changes thought] On that
occasion the battle was won. They called us by phone from Colombia. The health
minister wanted to come. He can come tomorrow if he wants, with his entire
delegation, and we will gladly share our experience. We have done this.
Everyone immediately calls to request information and this represents saving
innumerable lives.  Many lives may have been saved, and can be saved, through
this kind of cooperation. Even the Pan-American Health Organization thought
about the Cubans when it heard about the problem: Talk with the Cubans. They
have experience on this.

25.  I call this social experience....[corrects himself] part of the enormous
social experience accumulated by our country. We are the Olympic champions of
the hemisphere and the Third World. We are a country that can make considerable
contributions in this sector to anyone who wishes to do something to solve
certain social problems.

26.  [Garcia] I would like...

27.  [Castro] Yes?

28.  [Lee] Julio, excuse me for a moment. I would like to continue with the
topic that the commander is discussing. Your delegation included Comrades
Conchita Campa and Gustavo Sierra--they are part of the group that created the
antimeningococci vaccine--and you visited the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio.
Very little was published about that here. Could you tell us about that visit
and the meeting with the scientists and others?

29.  [Castro] Of course.

30.  [Lee] I believe that the institute in charge of the quality control of our
vaccine is there.

31.  [Castro] Yes. Susana, very little was published about the visits in Sao
Paulo because, really I do not....[changes thought] We really had no means of
communication. I tried to call by telephone and I could not, except on very
rare occasions. That was in Sao Paulo. We could not communicate with Rio de
Janeiro. The film material that the people demanded could not be sent. It had
to go through a circuitous route. It had to be sent to Argentina.  I think we
would have arrived before the film material did. One of the people's complaints
was that there was no film material. They wanted to know more--not that I
offered to make an appearance. Many people complained and demanded more
information about the trip.  That is why everyone reached an agreement, to make
a publication on the trip and its activities--including this talk with the
journalists on the issue.

32.  Concerning the foundation, it is a very important Brazilian institution
with an outstanding group of scientists.  The first thing we did when we
arrived in Rio de Janeiro was to meet with the.... [corrects himself] was to
visit the institution. There was great interest among the scientists,
technicians, and workers. They were very affectionate, very warm. We went
everywhere. They took us to some laboratories; they explained the quality
control techniques being used on the vaccines, their research, their work. In
the end, a little over 100 officials and scientists gathered in a small
theater. I think...

33.  [Martinez] Excuse me Commander, there were more, because they came and
went. There was not enough room for all so they came in groups, stayed awhile,
and then went out.

34.  [Castro] Oh, I did not know that there was a rotation, but well....
[Castro chuckles].

35.  [Martinez] There was a rotation.

36.  [Castro] I talked to them and explained, without going into detail, our
work in the field of medicine--because that was the most appropriate topic for
that institution-- and what we are doing. Then I explained, without going into
detail, what we are doing in the field of science and the prospects.

37.  I talked to them about the transplants; the rehabilitation and
transplants; the center for nerve transplants; our work with the growth factor;
the research on the nerve-growth factor; the possibilities of success with that
growth factor in solving tremendous problems, ranging from Parkinson's Disease
to brain damage to severings of the spinal cord; our hopes of finding solutions
to those problems through a combination of research in all these fields; and
particularly about the successes we are already achieving and the ones we will
achieve if we win the battle of producing the nerve-growth factor through
genetic engineering and enable cells to produce human nerve fibres on the basis
of the nerve-growth factor of rats; and the efforts to find the human
nerve-growth factor to be able to use it.

38.  I spoke to them about retinitis pigmentosa. Among new things, I reminded
them of sicknesses like the famous vitiligo and the applicable medicine and
treatments.  There are many new things in medicine. I talked to them about the
skin-growth factor and how we are using it. I also explained to them what we
are doing in the area of steroids and steroid precursors and about some of
these things. I also talked to them about the medicine against cholesterol that
we are testing with extraordinary success and that produces no side effects,
and about streptokinase and other products.

39.  I told them that new things are constantly appearing and that we are going
to quickly develop them now. We have all the equipment organized and will begin
construction of the Institute of Chemical Synthesis [Instituto de Sintesis
Quimica] or Institute of Chemistry for the Pharmaceutical Industry [Instituto
Quimico para la Industria Farmaceutica]. However, we are already working on
that to achieve the combination of chemical synthesis with biotechnology.

40.  This was their field. I gave them a briefing about all this and my
impression is that they were really impressed with the work our country is
doing. They were very pleased and applauded extensively when I finished the
briefing. One could see that there is a huge area for cooperation between our
two countries.

41.  We had to start from the known data on the status of health in Latin
America. I spoke about that more than once, and the expenses are awful. The
child mortality rate is 65 per 1,000 children born alive during their first
year. It is six times that of Cuba. In some countries it is lower and in some
it is higher. The child mortality rate between zero and five years is 85 and
that of Cuba is about 13.5, or something of that sort, according to data.  In
the field of health alone, problems in Latin America are enormous.

42.  Malnutrition affects 45 percent of the people. The people do not receive
enough calories and proteins. Average life expectancy in Latin America is lower
than in Cuba. Only a few countries come close to Cuba's life expectancy. I
explained our family doctor program, how it started and how many family doctors
we have.

43.  Everything that has been discovered and has been developed in connection
with the family doctor is truly remarkable. Not even in dreams could Latin
America envisage something like this.

44.  I explained what we already have. I talked about the doctors in children's
centers, in factories, in schools, in the communities. I spoke of how many
doctors remained [after the triumph of the revolution], the doctors we now
have, the new programs, and what they have discovered.  I talked about the
social medicine they practice and the knowledge that the family doctor has
about the environment of the patient, a kind of knowledge that no hospital or
polyclinic has. This is something so new and so ambitious in the field of
medicine that it produces amazement when one talks about it and explains it.

45.  I have explained that in two or three years we will be reducing this [not
further identified] to 10 percent, [corrects himself] to 10 for every thousand,
under normal conditions, of course.

46.  The programs we are implementing are unique. There is the program for the
early detection of congenital malformations. No other country in the world has
this program.  Neither developed nor underdeveloped countries have this

47.  When I talk about the massive or generalized tests for allergies, I am
talking about something that no other country of the world has. Neither
developed nor underdeveloped.

48.  We carry out much research by the ultramicroanalytic system. We carry out
research on AIDS at a rate that proportionally speaking is matched by no other
country, developed or underdeveloped.

49.  We talked about allergies, including food allergies, about the programs
that allow you to tell a mother: Do not do this, avoid that, so the allergy
does not become a disease.  Other countries do not have this. Cuba has it. Cuba
is continuously expanding this type of program.

50.  Once all this begins to have its effect on life expectancy, you will see
how we will be among the best in the world.  There are the grandparent centers,
the work we have carried out with grandparent centers. There is work yet to be
done. I would say that the campaign against sedentary behavior should be
greater, that the anti-smoking campaign should be bigger.

51.  Today I read in GRANMA an article that referred to an assassin that kills
three of every Cubans who die. [sentence as heard] The article was referring to
heart disease.  There is much we can yet do in this regard, particularly once
we control the cholesterol problem.

52.  What we are doing for the early detection of cancer of the uterus is not
being done by anyone. The programs we have initiated to massively check breast
cancer no one has. We have so many things in this field! We are not comparing
ourselves with Third World countries. We compare ourselves with developed
countries. We have programs that many developed countries do not have, many.
They will never be able to reach our level. We are going to move ahead of them.
This is an objective fact.  This is inevitable. When compared with the United
States, we are doing better.

53.  The same is true for the education sector, a catastrophe, the situation of
the education, of illiteracy, in Latin America. And there is Cuba. Cuba covers
more than 95 percent of the primary, secondary, and preuniversity school needs
of Cuba.

54.  If one analyzes each of our programs right down to our child-care
centers--modern centers like the ones that we build--and our accumulated
experience, and our special schools, one would see that there is nothing like
that in Latin America. It is not even a pipe dream in Latin America. Child-care
centers do not even exist. The huge amount of experience we have in these types
of institutions, such as day-care centers; the large number of Cuban children
who attend preschool; the various types of educational institutions the country
has; the number of teachers and professors the country has, no country has the
number per capita that we do. Now, no one in the world has that number. No
longer are we just going to compare it to the Latin American level. Because
teachers in Latin America earn very low salaries; conflicts occur.  Many times
teachers only earn $50 or $60; they are always fighting, striking, or filing
lawsuits. All of these facts came out when the teachers attended Pedagogy 1990:
no school supplies, schools, classrooms, books, or laboratories exist. In Latin
America the scholastic pyramid [piramide escolar] is a disaster. Many flunk
first or second grade; many never get past second grade. Nearly all of the
children here, who enter first grade, graduate from the sixth grade and go on
to high school. The pyramid has changed in our country so much that for every
100 children in grade school, there are 120 or more at the secondary level and
about 31 at the university level. In the past [chuckles] up to 80 percent were
in primary school and less than 15 to 20 percent at mid-level. We have made
such great progress in such a different educational climate. If it were up to
us, we would make it perfect. When something like this is mentioned in Latin
American, it seems like a dream.

55.  [Villanueva] Excuse me, Commander, if I return to the subject of
Cuban-Brazilian relations. President Collor de Mello, in his speech before
congress, spoke of Brazil as an economic giant and a social dwarf. The
president said that 27 million children were without schools. I remember that
in one of your speeches you offered Brazil the Cuban experience in the field of
education. Collor de Mellor said it was not enough to fight illiteracy but that
an educational revolution was needed in Brazil.

56.  [Castro] Yes. I had certain problems with the speech. If Portuguese is
spoken slowly it can be understood, but if it is spoken very quickly, it
becomes difficult to understand. The audio was very low and the president's
voice boomed above it. We could only understand part of it.  There were no
translators there. Since I returned, I have been able to read more information
on the economic plan. That is why I was not able to understand this figure very
clearly. If he said 27 million children; that is such a very large number of
children lacking schools that it seemed too high for Brazil. I tended to
question the amount.

57.  However, in Sao Paulo, according to the mayor, the city is an industrial
giant with about 18 million inhabitants if you count all the municipalities
that are now joined together, but she also told me sadly that she has 300,000
children who do not have schools. This is in Sao Paulo, mind you. This is what
the mayor told me.

58.  She also told me there is an area of 3 million people without a single
hospital. That hurt me greatly because one sees wealth, industries, and many
local and multinational corporations there. However, she said this to me about
Sao Paulo, the wealthiest city in the wealthiest state. Suffice it to say that
the state of Sao Paulo alone has a GNP higher than that of Argentina. Brazil's
GNP is already more than $300 billion. I have seen two figures: One is $354
billion, and the other stands between $400 billion and $420 billion. Because I
am familiar with the previous figures, I am inclined to think that the GNP
should fluctuate around $350 billion. Sao Paulo shares in a large portion of
this. Sao Paulo's GNP alone is greater than that of Argentina. She explained
her concerns to me and I asked her what her main problems were. She mentioned
transport problems and other overburdening problems.

59.  At this point, we could philosophize on what capitalism in the Third World
and Latin America is. It is chaos, and it does not solve problems. There are
two kinds of capitalism, that of the old powers of which I spoke, which looted
and are still looting the colonies; and that of the Third World, which can be
seen very clearly.

60.  The city phenomenon is incredible. Cities have grown without planning,
spontaneously, reflecting the social status of each country. Governments are
now making efforts to program the growth of cities.

61.  Governor Cuarcia and I talked all the way from the airport to the
memorial. Cuarcia enjoys the support of the people and puts forth great effort.
He is also one of the first governors I ever received, one of the first who
invited me, and one of the first who insisted that I visit Sao Paulo. I asked
him about his programs. He has a number of them, including a housing program in
which he plans to build about 250,000 homes. The state has 34 million
inhabitants, or three times Cuba's population.  He is trying to do something
about housing, to resolve some of the housing problems. He is also trying to
relieve the problem of the abandoned children. This is something else,

62.  [Unidentified speaker] They number 10 million.

63.  [Castro] He is acting through some institutions to help them.

64.  [Speker] Family doctors, Commander.

65.  [Castro] Yes, he told me he is doing some things in the field of health.
We talked extensively. When he visited here, he saw and very much liked the
institution of the family doctor so I asked to see one of his institutions
because I wanted to see how it was functioning. However, it had to be some
other time because the schedule was already filled for that day, when we were
heading for Rio de Janeiro. Much time is spent just going from one place to
another in that city, so it was impossible. I wanted to see his version of
family doctor in operation in some of the lowly barrios.

66.  He is also trying to promote industrial development in various departments
of the interior. He is a determined defender of the decentralization of
functions and at one time, directed thousands of municipalities. He has also
tried to decentralize the state's functions. In some municipalities, there are
federal, local, government, and privately owned hospitals. Thus, a variety of
institutions exist that participate in the same phenomenon.

67.  He was explaining to me the efforts he was making, which were supported by
the population [words indistinct] in that very rich state. He talked about
institutions to house abandoned children and mentioned some figures. I do not
like to mention figures, but there are about 30 million abandoned children in
Latin America, 30 million children. These are children who grow up on their
own. Many of them are abandoned at age four or five, and many are put to work,
some in street-vendor activities. You can imagine what a tragedy it is for this
hemisphere to have 30 million abandoned children. It just so happens that in
Cuba we do not have a single one.  How can you compare the situation in those
countries with the situation in Cuba? There is not a single abandoned child
here. There are no child beggars here. There are no people sleeping in the
streets here. This is not the case in Cuba.

68.  They have serious problems to face. They have an illiteracy rate of over
20 percent. As a general rule, all Latin American countries, some more than
others-- there are two or three countries with better literacy rates...[changes
thought] Just as the infant mortality rate goes from 20--if one can trust
statistics--to over 100, the overall average is between 65 and 85. When you
speak about these things [words indistinct], and then I say: In 30 years we
have solved what Latin America has been unable to do in 200 years.

69.  The problem is not that Latin America is solving the situation; the
problem is that the situation is worsening.  The number of poor people is
increasing. The number of problems is increasing. I can tell you that cities
develop by themselves. One group of people sets up a slum on this hill, and
another group sets up their slum on another hill. There are many such city
slums built with no streets and no public utilities. They are always struggling
to get water and electricity. Cities grow at a very rapid pace.  One believes
life should be (?pure), but there are people who spend three or four hours just
getting to their places of work.

70.  There are huge streets, huge avenues, and huge buildings in Sao Paulo, and
there is even a subway. It runs some 15 km from east to west and 15 km from
north to south, the mayor told me. She told me about their transportation
problems. In those cities you have to spend most of your time moving from one
section of the city to the other.  There are beautiful buildings, beautiful
works of architecture. The (?memorial) is an architectural work that is very
interesting, as is their intention to work for Latin American integration.

71.  You see the same problem when you travel to Rio de Janeiro. You see all
the hills full of houses. There is no order. There is no city development plan.
When they want to fix the problem it will be very difficult. How many obstacles
will they have to overcome? I had the impression--and I cannot have a very
accurate idea-- that almost all avenues ran in circles. They did not run
through the different neighborhoods. Engineers are forced to build them that
way. The governor moves around in a helicopter. There is not enough time to
drive around in Sao Paulo.

72.  Capitalism is a disaster as a system. It has not solved a single problem
in 200 years. That is something you can see. Problems worsen rather than be
solved. We have solved our problems in 30 years. We are reaching levels of
social problem solving today that are higher than developed countries because
the developed countries have not completely solved their problems either.

73.  The United States recently held a census where it was discovered that
several million people live on the streets; some die out in the cold. I was
reading an analysis by a well-known French journalist, (Claude De Jullien). In
a French magazine he mentions that in 1989, 400 children died out in the cold
in the UK. Here he is referring to capitalism. Soon some countries are going to
go from real socialism to real capitalism. Commenting on the European socialist
countries, (De Jullien) says: Now they are going to experience the iron laws of
capitalism and its unemployment and other problems. He says that if a large
plane with children had crashed, it would have made the news, but because those
400 children died out in the cold, it was not publicized. The article said that
in France the number of marriages between proverty-stricken families has
increased. These are developed capitalist countries (De Jullien) is writing
about. When he mentions the Third World and Latin America, that is something
else. Now these Eastern European countries will learn about prices. He said
that in Poland bread prices rose 38 percent, ham 100 percent, electricity rates
400 percent, and coal 600 percent. [chuckles] Here we are talking about real
increases which have occurred. (De Jullien) said that those countries have
built up all kinds of hopes. Now they are going to see what real capitalism is.
The analysis is interesting because (De Jullien) is not a defender of socialism
or communism. These countries have gotten their hopes up. Now that they are
leaving socialism, they will see what real capitalism is. He even urged these
socialist countries to take these negative factors into consideration and not
let the iron rule of profit and interests prevail. (De Jullien) criticizes
capitalism, saying that in it nothing of democracy remains, only all the

74.  Capitalism has not resolved all problems, but it is a world with far more
resources. It takes many resources away from the rest of the world. If one is a
socialist and one looks for information and analyzes what is happening in the
Third World or in Latin America, which is closer, one would see that socialism
has not resolved a single problem [corrects himself] capitalism has not
resolved a single problem and what it has done, instead, is multiply the
problems. Now there is the foreign debt and the domestic debt. Trade is also
becoming increasingly unequal.  The truth is that captalism is a disaster.

75.  [Villanueva] I would like to again discuss a problem Susana mentioned at
the beginning of the program, press disinformation. One of the times when this
was most noticeable was in your meeting with Felipe Gonzalez and Carlos Andres
Perez. Could you tell us some of the topics that were discussed?

76.  [Castro] What do you know of that?

77.  [Villanueva] Only the speculation of the foreign press.

78.  [Castro] I have not had time to read these statements. I was told Felipe
made some statements. Have you seen them by chance?

79.  [Villanueva] I read about Carlos Andres' statements.

80.  [Castro] What did Carlos Andres say?

81.  [Villanueva] Carlos Andres said the meeting had been good and productive,
but he did not discuss any topics.  I did not see Felipe's statements.

82.  [Castro] Felipe said that the strategy could not be one of resistance.
Felipe spoke about Sagunto and Numancia, that sort of thing. I said, well
Felipe has discussed more or less the essence of the topic. There were many
important meetings. However, we could say that one of the most interesting ones
was with Carlos Andres Perez and Felipe Gonzalez.

83.  When rumors were circulating that I would visit Brazil, they had already
sent me a message from Uruguay or Chile telling me they wanted to meet with me.
I said yes because I knew that they were concerned about Cuba's situation under
the new circumstances. I knew they were concerned. Naturally, on my second day
there, as soon as the ceremonies were over, we met at the Venezuelan Embassy,
right? Was it the Venezuelan or Spanish Embassy? It was at the Spanish Embassy.

84.  We were supposed to go to lunch but did not. They had talked at first
about having a meeting in the evening and then later on dinner. We said yes.
Afterward, it seems that the program... [changes thought] It is very difficult
to gather a large group of visitors there. Because of this, they changed their
minds and were able to give a dinner, or a luncheon at the Spanish Embassy.
Actually, there was no room in that crowded timeframe for a two-hour meal. I
agreed that there was no time for lunch and said I would gladly meet with them.

85.  I think it is good for me to explain the essence of the meeting. The most
revealing part of it all is that they were very concerned about our country
because they got the impression from their contacts with the Yankees, that
Yankee officials will lash out militarily against Cuba. That is the impression
they have. They are almost convinced of this and highly concerned about it. You
have a right to know this because of the type of contact it was.

86.  They know how we feel about this. They said: We want to help you but you
must help us help you.

87.  They were very respectful during the conversation; truly very respectful
during that conversation. They did not suggest any solution whatsoever. In my
opinion, they --Carlos Andres and Felipe--spoke with sincerity.  Felipe was
more vehement. He said that the strategy could not be the strategy of
resistance. He said that Cuba needs a strategy that is not one of resistance
because the people... [changes thought] the Yankees, the Yankees [repeats
himself] know what an aggression, an invasion in Cuba would cost them. They
themselves said that it would cost them no less than 250,000 deaths. I think
that is how much they would start with. [slaps table once] [audience laughs]

88.  I did not want to act alarmed. I was very calm. I listened to everything
they wanted to say very attentively, with much respect. I did not show any
reaction of irritation for what they were [corrects himself] for the essence of
what they were saying, and I listened to them.

89.  Then I spoke of Sagunto and Maguncia [corrects himself] and Numancia. They
are the two famous Spanish cities that put up a heroic resistance against the
Romans approximately 100 years before the Christian era. This was mentioned
more than once. Marti spoke about this.  This has been food for reflection and
admiration for later generations and a source of pride for Spain. I estimated
that, yes, 250,000 Yankees could die but millions of Cubans would also die.
That was the basis of their concern. I said: This is very revealing. It is
important because they have to have a basis for making these statements.

90.  I do not think as they do. They know this. I told them: I will tell
everything you told me to my comrades, regardless of what I think on this.

91.  It was clear. Because of the delicate nature of this, they did not state
any complete formula to us. They told us: Think about it. But if the formula is
not one of resistance, then it is one of concessions. There is no other.  There
is no other alternative. You either resist or you make concessions. I think
that, historically, those who have tried to survive by making concessions have
not survived. [Pounds table] History has demonstrated this.  This revolution is
here, has existed here for 31 years because it never made concessions. [Pounds
table] I am convinced that the only road to the survival of the revolutionary
processes is resistance. That is my most profound conviction.

92.  Concession is the road; today one, tomorrow another, and the day after
another. It is only an illusion, a philosophy. I thanked them for their
concern. I said that their concern seemed sincere, rather than a device used to
pressure us. It was a sincere concern that they were expressing. There are two
positions now, either El Zanjon or Baragua. There is no other alternative for
the Cuban revolution and there never has been in the past.  There are only two
positions and they are irreconcilable, either El Zanjon or Baragua. We learned
about this episode in Cuban history a long time ago. It is one of the most
glorious pages in our history.

93.  Cuba was independent and the United States did not swallow it because of
its heroic and courageous spirit.  Cuba would have ended up like Puerto Rico
without the 10-year war, without the 1895 war. Cuba almost ended up like Puerto
Rico, in the hands of the United States.  The heroism of this nation and the
respect it inspired from U.S. imperialism prevented the latter from openly
seizing Cuba and establishing a fictitious republic, a neo-colony which had, at
least, its little coat of arms, a flag, and a national anthem. Cuba did not
become a colony like Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

94.  Instead, the United States had to admit that certain forms of independence
in the Cuban nation existed.  Why? Because of the heroism and struggle waged by
these people over the past 30 years, on its own, not like it happened with the
rest of Latin America, where there were whole armies supporting one another and
receiving and producing many weapons. Everyone united against Spain, which had
been invaded by Napoleon; then everyone united against a renewed Spain which
sent armies to that enormous territory.

95.  One needs eight and a half hours [Castro laughs] to fly from Brazil to
Havana in an airplane traveling at approximately 900 km....[changes thought]
The Spanish Army crossed that immense area. That same airplane in, well, it
goes...six times six times 15...that same plane crosses Cuba in four minutes,
meaning its narrowest part and, who knows, perhaps in 10 minutes...[changes
thought] and that hemisphere is so large that one spends almost eight and a
half hours flying. The ones from Spain....[changes thought] The time spent
flying from Rio de Janeiro to Havana is almost the time that a plane spends
flying from Madrid to Havana.

96.  Cuba had to fight alone at a time when it had a population of barely a
million or so. It was at a disadvantage, because counting Spaniards, Spanish
soldiers, volunteers....[laughs, changes thought]. Actually, the Cuban nation
was practically a minority [as heard] when it made its successful....[changes
thought] Without Baragua, things would have been different. Marti was the one
who best understood the importance of Baragua.  Without that line of offense,
there would have been no Cuban revolution, considering the problems, the
drawbacks, the 10th of March, the total lack of weapons and resources and
everything. Even political forces had to be organized and created. There would
have been no Cuban revolution, not even after the Moncada and the Granma,
without a deep conviction, without a fighting spirit, without that absolute
belief in the path of victory and of fighting.

97.  We could have made many excuses when we were left with two sugarcane
plantations and later when we only had a few more, which is all we had for a
long time.  Without our revolutionary determination and firmness, there would
not be a Cuban revolution today. That is what stops the empire. They know that
250,000 of them will die. And that would only be the beginning. [Castro pounds
table twice] Another 250,000 more will die after that.

98.  When reporters.... [changes thought] During the news conference a Spanish
reporter asked me about...[changes thought] and then I told him.... [changes
thought] While thinking about Spain, about the Spain that was invaded by
Napoleon's Army, the most powerful European Army at the time, I was thinking
about the army that destroyed imperial armies--Russian, Austrian, and Prussian
Armies. Napoleon's army destroyed everything.

99.  In any case, Napoleon invaded Spain. The Spanish peasants began the war in
Spain. The humble Spanish people began to resist Napoleon. I was remembering
all that while the Spanish reporter was asking me about that [not further

100.  [Unidentified reporter, interrupting] From Asturias.

101.  [Castro] I asked the reporter what part of Spain he was from. He told me
he was from Asturias. And I asked him: How many Spanish people died in Zaragoza
while defending it? [Words indistinct] did not even remember Sagunto nor
Numancia. [Castro pounds table] How many died in the Battle of Bailen? And how
many died in all the battles for the independence of Spain against Napoleon?
Thus, nobody remembered neither Sagunto nor Numancia.

102.  I did not mention this, but if we go back in history, we realize that
Spain struggled against the Arabs for 700 years. [Castro pounds table] [Words
indistinct] neither Sagunto nor Numancia. I reminded the reporter of other
things, including the time when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. Nobody
remembered neither Sagunto nor Numancia at that time. The Russians simply
resisted to prevent the Nazis from reaching Vladivostok. The Russians paid a
very high price for that, but they saved their independence and territory. They
saved the world from fascism.

103.  Although Vietnam was attacked with half a million Yankee soldiers,
thousands of planes and helicopters, entire naval fleets, and aircraft
carriers, the people there resisted. Nobody thought of either Sagunto or
Numancia at that moment. The Vietnamese people thought about the homeland and
about the need to resist. And they won that war. That is the reason there is an
independent Vietnam today.

104.  This whole thing is very clear to me. We cannot make the least concession
to imperialism. We will never make it.  Our path is the path of resistance.
That is the only path we can follow. That is the one thing that can stop the
empire. I am not worried despite all those omens, because they increase the
determination with which we must continue preparing our people. We are a people
of 10 million Cubans. [Castro pounds table]. We are organized, prepared, and
armed. We are an invincible force.  That is what I told those reporters. We are
not only capable of resisting, but also of winning. We are capable of defeating
an aggression of that nature. We are not thinking about a holocaust. We are
thinking about resisting and winning. In addition, I believe that is the only
thing that stops those gentlemen. That conviction and reassurance is what stops
the tiger. [Castro pounds table] Spanish President Felipe expressed that
conviction to me when he said that those over there are aware of what it will
cost them. Well, we shall see whether their estimates are accrurate or not.

105.  This is an important topic because the issue of the armed people is one
of the arguments I have used repeatedly.  We talked about the electoral system,
about our constitution, and about the way in which we organize our elections. I
talked about all that. But there is something else. We have an armed people. We
not only have the right to vote, but we also have the weapons. The people have
the weapons. I stressed that during my discussions about electoral systems and
the system of election by direct vote. In Brazil that system has a great deal
of support because [words indistinct] military governments insisted on
elections by direct vote for the path they had chosen to walk. It was,
therefore, an electoral system organized there in the country.

106.  I talked about the way we elect candidates in Cuba. I told them that the
party had nothing to do with the nominations of the various candidates or
delegates to the various districts. I told them that there can be no more than
eight and no less than two candidates for each district. I told them that in
the end, the delegate who gets half the votes plus one is elected. I told them
that those delegates are the ones who control all the state branches. They
control the provincial, municipal, and national authorities.

107.  At least 60 percent of the deputies to the National Assembly were
delegates who came from the grassroots.  Some do not know this, but this is
included in the constitution. This is what the electoral system consists of
this. I have commented on some problems and offered suggestions on how to
improve it and make it better.  There are factors that have an influence on
those popularity contests, which is what those direct elections frequently turn
out to be. I was asked if we would have a majority. I replied that it made no
sense for me to even answer that question. I go by the facts.

108.  In Cuba there is a revolution based on close ties, very close ties, with
the people. If this were not the case, we would not have been able to resist,
over the past 30 years, the most powerful empire in the world which has imposed
blockades, constantly threatened, and harassed us for such a long time. Do you
think it would have been possible to resist? Yesterday, when I used the
argument of the weapons, that the people not only have votes....  [changes
thought] How could a country like Cuba defend itself, such a small country
facing that empire, if it were not for close ties, total identification between
the revolution and the people? These are very strong arguments.

109.  And speaking about this, I will offer some thoughts about constitutional
rights and electoral systems. We look at Europe and see it as the rich and
democratic Europe.  However, as it turns out, practically none of the heads of
state, with the exception of the French, are elected by direct votes in Europe.
I mentioned the various countries. I mentioned Spain: The king of Spain is the
head of the Spanish state. He is not elected by direct vote. The queen of
England: She is the head of state of England and she was not elected by direct
votes. The head of state of FRG was not elected, nor is the head of state of
Italy elected. In general, and with the exception of France, I explained how
there was no mechanism for direct voting.  I mentioned Sweden, I referred to
Holland, and other countries. I even talked about the monarchies that exist in
those countries and form part of the state system.

110.  I then explained that none of the European heads of state are elected by
direct vote. For example, take the case of Felipe or of the prime minister of
France, or of England, or of Austria, or of Greece, or of Italy, or of the FRG. 
Not one of them is elected through direct vote. They are elected by the
parliamentarians, by the majority in parliament. If no one has the majority,
three or four parties meet and agree to work together to create one, which is
sometimes stictly for the purposing of forming a functional government. Neither
the chief of government nor the head of state is elected.

111.  So, why is so much emphasis being placed on Cuba?  They are trying to
challenge the method used in Cuba.  Yet, no one says or explains anything about
other countries. Take the Japanese head of state, for example.

112.  I wonder how in the United States presidents can be elected with 25
percent of the votes. The majority of the Americans thought their elections
were so unimportant that over 50 percent did not vote. In the Cuban elections,
97 percent of the people voted. A president having more power than a Roman
emperor was elected by only 25 percent of the votes cast by the people having a
right to vote. I explained all this to the reporters.

113.  I said that in the case of the monarchies, it is not a democratic system,
but a genetic one. I said that in my usual way of speaking, always joking; or
not always joking but saying things with a bit of humor.

114.  I am saying this, because as I expressed these various ideas that are
only thoughts about institutional methods, a great uproar occurred over there
in Spain. I said that well, some kings were elected 500 years ago. I said this
in a humorous manner without any intentions of offending the Spanish
authorities or questioning the legality of the Spanish institutions, or of the
Spanish Government, or of Felipe Gonzalez.

115.  I meant no harm, but I do not know what they published over there about
what I said. I know there was an uproar in Spain because of the rationale that
I used. I do not know whether this was commented on in England, Greece, Italy,
Sweden, Holland, or Denmark. I do not know. But in Spain they did. In Spain
there was an uproar. I treat Spanish affairs with much familiarity. I take
liberties with Spain that I do not take with other countries when making an
argument. I do feel, however, that it is my duty to explain that I had no
intentions of hurting or, much less, offending the Spanish king or the Spanish
prime minister. I just used the case of the Spaniards and many others, not that
I was questioning their institutions, I was simply explaining to them, the
listeners, and also demonstrating how it was not fair that while the most
diverse institutional forms were accepted, the imperialist campaigns were
echoed against Cuba and used in arguments to refute Cuba.

116.  [Perez] Commander, I will refer to a speech that you gave at the Latin
American memorial where a prize was given to a famous Brazilian expert in
Indian affairs, Orlando Villaboas. You said during your speech that the heads
of European nations met and the heads of the African nations met periodically;
however, the presidents of Latin America did not meet to discuss the serious
and urgent problems of the continent. It was in this speech that you used the
example of gold, noting that it graphically demonstrates what imperial
exploitation on our continent means. Do you think that it will be possible in
the near future to have some kind of unity in getting the Latin American
presidents to undertake efforts to get the subcontinent out of the economic and
social paralysis into which it has fallen?

117.  [Castro] That is a great truth. The leaders of Europe meet almost every
month or every two months. They have fought each other for centuries and now
they cannot conceive of their economies or their lives without integration. And
in 1992 the borders will disappear from their economies. Capital, men and
merchandise will move from one place to another, without any restraints, just
as one can move a beer truck or a rock from Crane Hill for construction between
Matanzas and Havana. So Europe integrates and unites. In Africa all the leaders
meet at least twice a year, besides having a number of local meetings of the
countries of the front line, etcetera.  Latin American leaders, historically,
never meet, except when the United States calls them to a meeting. The last
time they met was because of the Torrijos-Carter treaties. One signal, and
everybody goes to Washington.  Recently, the United States signaled just by
crooking this little finger because, apparently, it thought that by crooking
its little finger a meeting would be held in Costa Rica. The United States
crooked a finger, and many went. But despite the existence of a number of
important countries and well-known leaders capable of organizing such a
meeting, the Latin American countries are incapable of meeting.

118.  I would say that Latin American coutries do not want to hold meetings
because of an obedient and subservient practice. This is what I said at the
Latin American memorial.

119.  However, the Yankees do not want Latin American countries to hold
meetings, and we do not want to hurt anybody's feelings. Latin American
countries never hold meetings, not even in crucial times like in 1985 after the
terrible foreign debt crisis. The economic problems have worsened, not
improved. They have worsened. We need a new economic order. We need to overcome
the barbaric and brutal forms of plundering that we are currently sustaining.
These facts should call and hold all Latin American countries together.
However, this does not happen.

120.  The United States, the creditors, and the Paris Club talk to each Latin
American country on an individual basis.  The creditors join forces against
every individual Latin American country. Every Latin American country is forced
to talk to its creditors and then yield, yield, and yield some more to their
demands. Latin American countries have not even had the gumption to unite to
defend their basic interests. We have not seen this yet.

121.  However, something has happened. I would say that some kind of
presidents' and former presidents' club has been organized. This is the new
fashion. It is something that I have witnessed in Ecuador, Mexico, and
Venezuela. There were many meetings, small meetings, bilateral meetings,
dinners, and luncheons where some presidents and former presidents gathered,
the way members gather in a club.

122.  For example, I visited Sarney, as I said before, and we had a farewell
dinner where everybody else was invited.  At that dinner, I saw Latin Americans
and Europeans; I greeted Felipe Gonzalez for the first time. All
Portuguese-speaking African leaders including [Angola's] Jose Eduardo dos
Santos, Nino, and Aristides Pereira, also attended the dinner. I talked to
[Peruvian President] Alan Garcia. I was impressed with him. We had a nice
conversation. He looked strong. A few days ago, Garcia strongly criticized the
little gentleman who is running for president in Peru and who has done all
kinds of schizophrenic, stupid things. I told Garcia that I had read his
statements. In sum, Garcia talked with me and he seemed to be a resolute man.
Garcia said that the political situation is like a pendulum, that was the
example he used, a pendulum that swings back and forth.  He was referring to
the phenomenon of neoliberalism, this entire current catastrophe, saying it was
generated by the political pendulum that swings back and forth. I really liked
the example that Alan Garcia used. In addition, I liked it even more when Alan
Garcia told me that he hoped that we could continue to resist. He urged us to
continue resisting. I do not know if I am being indiscrete, but I liked what
Garcia said very much. He told me that we have to continue resisting, thus
expressing exactly what we believe we have to do.

123.  This took place in the presidents' and former presidents' club. As one
entered the club, including, well....[changes thought] I have an anecdote to
relate. I mistook the identity of a person for someone else because both of
them have similar names. This person told me his name, which I would rather not
mention because I do not want to hurt anybody's feelings. However, I became
confused regarding their identities because they are new in the political
arena, and I do not know them well. And because his name seemed so similar to
that of the other person, I asked him how he had fared on his trip to such and
such a place, and he answered: No, I am from someplace else. Well, I was

124.  Later on, I was telling a very important person from the same country
about what had happened. This person told me: Do not worry because something
worse happened a short time ago when somebody mistook him for a Yankee, and
they said horrible things to him. [laughter] I replied, it is a good thing my
mistake was not as bad, right?

125.  At that dinner, there were former presidents. [Argentina's] Alfonsin was
sitting across from me at the table.  [Uruguay's] Sanguinetti, other former
presidents, other newly-inaugurated presidents, and some presidents who will
soon leave office were also there.

126.  However, they had already received special treatment.  They are guests
and, therefore, I believe it was very proper and pleasant. A new idea has
emerged among Latin Americans, a club of presidents and former presidents who
socialize very well. That was the most important step forward that has been
taken. This is new. It was really a new situation.

127.  However, there is still no progress. Many democratic openings have
occurred which have permitted our contact with those political leaders and made
this new situation possible. [Words indistinct] an advancement, but when one
studies the problem, one can see that a democratic opening is in the air. It
lacks, however, an economic basis or strength, and no one can predict what
direction we will follow, or what the trend will be over the next few years. No
one knows what will happen one way or the other because the situation is very

128.  What is known as social debt, a new terminology, is what governments have
failed to do for the people. This debt already totals hundreds of billions [no
currency specified] which should have been invested in health, education,
housing, and other activities, but was not. This social debt has already been
estimated at $300 billion.  The masses, however, have already resisted as much
as they could. Governments are wearing out at a rapid pace and the situation
will worsen in a matter of months, given the one that exists now.

129.  Hence, we have a democratic opening in the middle of very difficult
economic and social problems. We cannot even talk about stability these days,
and the solution to those problems is not in sight. I have warned about this. 
When discussing the debt problem with leaders and many people, I have told them
that these problems must be solved or there will be social problems, and no one
knows what will happen.

130.  Well, my words turned out to be very prophetic, but fell short of
reality, considering the problems that have emerged in various places, for
which there are no solutions. What is sad and difficult about this is that
there is no solution in sight. People's hopes are being encouraged by a new
democratic openess, but no solutions are behind their hopes.

131.  At the meeting in which Villaboa was given a large prize for dedicating
50 years of his life to the study of the indigenous groups and their problems,
I said that we are the new Indians. I was referring to the commemoration of the
500th anniversary of the discovery of American continent, and I said that there
are people today who want to discover us again, who want to conquer, enslave,
and colonize us, and who want to use us like the conquistadores once did. As I
have said before, I cannot imagine how 500 years from now our descendants will
respond to that.

132.  I will repeat an idea I have regarding this problem. We are the new
Indians, and we need many men like Villaboa to understand and defend us. He
deserves a prize for pretending to be an illiterate person, joining an
expedition, and conducting his research work over the past 50 years to discover
what is almost nonexistent today; the Indian population has been lost in many
places. However, it was not lost in places like Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and
Bolivia. The Indians were sacked for centuries [words indistinct] we are the
new Indians and we need defenders. I did not have to give any examples, I was
just thinking.

133.  It was at that moment that I thought about this. I said to myself: In the
past, they took the gold away. How much gold have they taken away? I thought of
the fact that Latin America has turned into a net exporter of capital.  Latin
America is exporting approximately $30 billion. I calculated the current value
of gold, but not based on the time when an ounce of gold was worth $35, which
was when the United States used the gold standard. I am talking about the
current value of gold, which goes up and down. I rounded out the figures and
calculated its value at approximately $10 million [weight not specified]. And I
said to myself: How much gold can one buy with $30 billion? I answered: 3,000
tons of gold. [Castro pounds table] If I calculate how much they have taken
away, the net extraction of capital between 1982 and 1990 was over $200
billion. In other words, they have taken 20,000 tons of gold over the last

134.  I am not sure whether anybody calculated this before, but I urged some
historians to calculate how much gold the Spanish, Portuguese, and British
conquerors took from this continent. I think that not even all of them together
took 3 billion, I mean 3,000, tons of gold during all those 300 years of
colonization. [Castro pounds table] In other words, at present they take more
from us every year than what the conquerors took over three centuries.  There
are more of us Indians now, and we produce more gold now.

135.  That gold was the capital that financed the development of those European
countries and former colonial powers.  The gold, along with the slaves who
worked to extract gold or to produce coffee, cotton, or some of those things,
financed that development. That is the historic reality. [Castro pounds table]

136.  That argument catches people's attention. We only need researchers to
obtain exact figures. The data throws light on how much gold the conquerors
took during those three centuries. And now that same amount of gold is taken
from us in one year, and I am not even taking into account the flight of
capital. If I did, we would have to add approximately another 2,000 tons of
gold per year. I am not taking into account what they steal from us as a result
of trade exchange. If I did, we would have to add a couple of thousand tons
more of gold. So, in the end, how much is the developed, capitalist world
getting from Latin America? [Castro pounds table] It is neither the USSR nor
China. It is Europe and the United States. The big capitalist countries [words
indistinct] are the ones taking that fortune from Latin America. We are doing
worse than our Indians did during colonial times, because at that time there
was no illiteracy. [sentence as heard] They had their culture. There were no
differences.  There were no beggars then. There were no beggars.  There were no
abandoned children. All these inequalities and this tragedy did not exist.
These things that the new Indians are enduring did not exist then.

137.  That is the idea I defended. I said that we must hold serious talks about
Latin American unity. I said we must talk about getting together to really work
together. They asked me to talk about that there. I did not know that I [words
indistinct] was going to [word indistinct] in a ceremony, the memorial. A very
nice place. Since that memorial is a symbol of the inspirational idea of
unity....  [changes thought] [Name indistinct] was a man who is deeply
concerned about Latin American unity. When he came, he talked to me about the
memorial. He invited me to inaugurate the memorial. He wanted to invite a
series of prominent politicians. [Name indistinct] has a pretty clear idea
about all this.

138.  For the time being, however, we do not see the political resolve to
unite. The United States exercises a devastating influence. Latin America's
position is very weak, because the heads of state of each of the Latin American
countries hold separate discussions with the United States, the World Bank, and
the IMF. Who will dare to stick its neck out? [Castro pounds table]

139.  These realities exist. I am simply describing a reality. It is not that I
am being pessimistic. In fact, when things get very bad they can only get
better. That is how change occurs.

140.  So what is the unpredictable event that will take place?  My personal
observation is as follows: The most critical moments in socialism and socialist
ideas are happening at the same time as Latin America is experiencing its
greatest economic and social catastrophe. These two elements are coinciding. On
the one hand, there is the crisis of socialist ideas as a result of the
disaster in Europe and the collapse of the socialist field. This is coinciding
with the moments of the greatest economic and social crisis of Latin America,
and without any possibilities of solution. That is quite clear. These two
situations are in very sharp contrast. One could say that this is why there is
such disorientation, confusion, and searching for answers.

141.  Naturally, I did not hesitate to defend socialism. It is impossible to
solve this problem without a program.  Cities cannot keep growing until they
have 30 to 40 million people. That is unbearable. Man does not tolerate this
from a physical or a mental standpoint.

142.  Poverty cannot continue increasing in this manner.  Development has to be
planned. And then we sent the message of Cuba, of what Cuba has done under such
difficult conditions, in such a brief period of time, and in spite of the U.S.
blockade. It is quite impressive.

143.  On many occasions all we had was old technology when one analyzed the
programs, including the economic programs and the prospects that lay ahead for
Cuba. I told the industrialists that they had the privilege of scheduling
development and the capacity to provide quick and immediate answers to new
problems, new possibilities, and new situations. That is characteristic of
capitalism. It is capable of providing quick answers to certain problems or
certain possibilities.

144.  Sometimes plans become straightjackets. Then if something comes up in
May, one has to wait until next year to solve it in next year's plan. That has
been one style. If something comes up in 1977, or 1987, one has to wait until
1991. It is necessary to combine the privilege of being able to schedule
development with the possibility of giving quick answers, because new problems
call for new possibilities and new situations.

145.  That is what we are doing. I even told them that in some of our research
programs we do not wait 24 hours. Many times we do not even wait 24 hours from
the moment there is a result in an extremely important research program, before
making the decision to build a pilot plant and study--starting from a certain
premise--how much a commercial-scale plant would cost. In this manner, we will
not even lose 24 hours.

146.  That is the way things are done. The best plan sometimes has to be
changed when it merits changing. Many times what is good in January is no
longer valid in June, because life went by, new things came up, or an epidemic

147.  I remember when we had the dengue epidemic. It was in 1982, was it not?
Or was it in 1981? We tried to purchase a fumigating machine in Hungary. We had
to wait until the next five-year term before we could purchase the fumigating
machine. We had to send for it by air cargo from Japan, or somewhere like that.
Hungary was not capable of meeting this request.

148.  That capability to meet demands has to be created, and we try to create
it. There must be a combination of the program--of the planning, the
possibility of planning-- with the capacity to provide quick answers to new
problems and situations, or new possibilities.

149.  Just look at the speed with which we are developing the meningitis
vaccine, at the speed with which we are developing the skin growth factor, at
the speed with which we are developing the B-type hepatitis vaccine.  Just look
at how fast we are developing the production of the... [changes thought] Did
you think that was included in a plan? That was going on at full speed, and so
we have done in many things.

150.  We can conclude that following the rectification process everything we
have accomplished during the past five years was not in the 1986-90 plan.
Neither the hydraulic projects that were reactivated, nor the engineering
projects and the rice, sugarcane, and food projects were contemplated in the
plan. Almost everything we are doing is new, and all the housing projects, the
children's centers, and many important and strategic economic projects were not
in our plans. It was routine.

151.  I would even say that the plan for the next five years will be based on
many projects in a number of fields that are currently under way.

152.  Based on these concepts, capitalism will not solve Latin America's
problems. I have defended socialism with firmness and a profound conviction,
based on the experience we have lived in our country, on what our country used
to be and what it is now. Today, more than ever, we realize that the model of
an advanced and industrialized society developed by capitalism is not the right
model for our countries. We realize that India and China cannot use that model
of individual collective transportation, a car for each family. We do not even
know the level of air pollution that this could spawn.

153.  However, those people present their faulty merchandise, their model of
society, as the most perfect thing that ever existed in the world. That model
of society cannot be applied to the rest of the world. Trying to do so would be
absolutely crazy.

154.  There are some problems. As you know, there are many cars in Brazil, but
now there are two agricultural problems in Brazil: Both people and cars must be
fed, because cars consume alcohol, and alcohol is obtained from sugar cane.
Millions of hectares must be used to plant sugar cane to produce alcohol to
feed the cars. They had to do it, despite the many problems our countries have.
They had no other alternative, as they had already developed an economy in
which the mechanical and automobile industry played an important role and was
one of the main sources of employment. All of a sudden, the oil crisis began,
oil prices increased, and there was no other alterantive than to produce
alcohol. Otherwise, the automobile industry would be paralyzed and the country
would be left without resources. Therefore, they had to use alcohol to run the
cars. All the engines were adapted to use alcohol. No other kind of fuel can be
used.  Millions of automobiles have accumulated and they must be fed.

155.  That is one of the problems which shows that the model of society
developed by capitalism is not based on reality. That is the reason for all the
problems we have mentioned, all those disastrous situations we mentioned.

156.  Without any hesitation, with profound conviction, I defended socialism as
the method and path to be followed. Many mentioned problems and asked me what
would happen and what were the prospects, and my answer was: It will be the
same as during the struggle against the landlords and absolute monarchies.
There were advancements and setbacks. I referred to the French Revolution, the
ideals of the French Revolution, when the bourgeoisie emerged, when liberal and
bourgeois ideas, so popular at this time in the economic and even in the
political field, emerged. I recalled that when Napoleon was no longer regarded
as a man of revolutionary ideas but an invader of all of Europe and was
defeated, a great reactionary wave came with the Holy Alliance, and absolute
monarchies again took power.  However, the ideas of the French Revolution have
prevailed up to this date.

157.  In the same manner, the ideas of socialism are the most just in the
world, and those ideas will prevail. There will be advancements and setbacks,
but in the long run those ideas will prevail among mankind, a mankind that
really wants to be humane, a society of men who work together, and not a
society of beasts. A society of beasts has no future.

158.  These are the types of problems on which we must meditate and think and
make people reason. It is not difficult to make people realize these things,
based on what they face and see daily. I think that those ideas will gain force
based on the existing conditions in the hemisphere. We can see this in a trip
like the one we have just ended.

159.  [Reporter] Commander, U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle was there also, and
it was interesting to see that he entered the National Congress, where the
presidential inauguration was held, right after you did, but without the
applause that accompanied your entrance. He also held a very brief, 25-minute
news conference the day after that. According to the Associated Press itself,
there were power and audio problems during his news conference.

160.  At the news conference, Quayle said that he was not pleased to see a
participant wearing a military uniform during the presidential inauguration.

161.  [Castro] Right, and what about his suit? He was dressed like a dandy.
[Castro pounds table] I [words indistinct] these same clothes, which is what I
have always worn.  And my clothes are very inexpensive. I do not have to be
changing styles every day. I wish he would dress in these clothes, because this
uniform is what I wore at Sierra Maestra, the clothes I have been wearing ever
since I disembarked from the Granma. This is a uniform, and not a simpleton's
costume. But all these are silly and simplistic things. [Castro pounds table]
All right, Castro was the only one who wore a uniform. [Castro pounds table] As
if I were a boorish military officer [militarote] or a militarist, when the
truth is that civilians invite me to all these places. Generally speaking, the
military did not invite me to these places. Civilians did. This uniform is my

162.  I talked to all kinds of people there. Some of them are heads of
newly-born democracies like the Paraguayan president. We joked around. I joked
around with him. I think he said something later on there. I think he said he
had told me something about buying a suit. I myself asked him: Well, this thing
that you are doing there about democracy, is it something serious? [Castro
laughs] [Words indistinct] told him, why are you so shy about Cuba? Is there
fear that someone may reprimand you or something? We talked about these things
in a normal way, and at the end, at the end [repeats himself] we talked a lot
about [word indistinct] water dam, the amount of energy it produces, and the
percentage of electricity that is used for the dam. We talked about the
country's development, the way in which energy is used, and all that. We talked
about agriculture, about sugarcane, about soy production, and about
development, education, health, and many other things. I encouraged him to talk
about other things. I even talked to him about sacharina [a high-protein
sugarcane by-product used as livestock feed]. [Castro pounds table] I told him
what sacharina is and how we produce it. I talked to him about protein honey
[miel proteica] and about what one can get from sugarcane. I talked to him
about all those things.

163.  During lunch, I was placed beside a military leader, the minister of
aviation. We talked about interesting things, such as industry, and several
other subjects. To my left was the new labor minister, with whom I also talked
about many issues, including social security and budgets.  Finally, when we
left, the subject of clothing somehow came up. I do not remember exactly how.
The minister was walking in front of me. I called him: General. He looked back
at once. Even if you do not wear a uniform, you respond as soon as you are
called general. [Castro and others laugh] If he had not been a general, he
would not have looked back. Well, should the clothes be worn on the outside or
on the inside? There were such funny things. What would the guy have said? Only
foolish things. So I will continue to wear these clothes as long as I want. I
will not change them. Do you think I will now wear colored clothing to please
others, and so the next time Quayle...[changes thought] Look, there was one guy
with a beard. When the suit is not the thing, then it will be the beard. What
is truly important is the ideas embodied and the symbols that stand for the
struggle that each of us wages.

164.  [Castro laughs] However, there is an interesting anecdote. We have been
waging a battle against the Yankees.  It has been a victorious Brazilian-Cuban
battle against the Yankees. You know that Bush is the one carrying the brunt of
the load, but this other one [Dan Quayle] must have been carrying something,
and I do not know what it was. A parade of people was following him around as
if there were someone interested in hurting this guy. That was all useless. If
I take security measures, history will prove me right because of the huge
number of plans the CIA and the United States have drafted to eliminate me, but
I believe no one wants to eliminate this man. He walks by and no one notices

165.  He could have easily gone to the swearing-in ceremony in a taxi cab,
really, and no one would have noticed him.  [Castro laughs] People would have
thought he was just another tourist, but of course there was this crowd there. 
We went to the congress, we listened to the presidential address, and the
people were there.

166.  Brasilia is a city unlike Sao Paulo, where there are large crowds. It is
an administrative city. There are wide avenues. The people were greeting us
affectionately.  Those who were along the streets were greeting us, even
though, I believe, they were followers of the party that won the elections. The
leftists were not there.

167.  We were driving on one of the two-lane avenues, well, actually the
avenues had many lanes. We were all driving in the same direction. I was in the
left lane, and all of a sudden the Yankees showed up on this side, the right
side, with a long motorcade of cars and things. We not only had the right of
way because we were heads of state, but we also had to make a left turn and we
were closer to the street which we had to take. If they are here, and if we had
to turn here, we had the right of way, but they were trying to push their way
in. However, the Brazilian motorcyclists and security, along with our people,
got in their way and a car was placed in front of them. They were not about to
let the Yankees pass through.

168.  It was the Cubans and the Brazilians, those from the Brazilian security
and from the Cuban security, along with the motorcyclists, who were there. They
were excellent people.  Mr. Quayle was left standing there, and our motorcade
was able to make its turn. That was one of the anecdotes of our visit. It
happened by chance. No one had the intention of making him bitter, but he came
with an arrogant attitude, as always, and he had to face the Cubans and the

169.  Later on I took a picture with...[changes thought] the security people
who were helping us, the motorcyclists, and the others were excellent people. I
took pictures with them before leaving Rio de Janeiro and I thanked them.  I
congratulated them and told them: We have won a joint battle against the
Yankees in this incident. It happened just as I was telling you.

170.  Later on he was walking around as if nothing had happened. It is Yankee
superficiality and the little sympathy they have everywhere. That is the way it

171.  I had the pleasure in each one of those places, in (Itamarati) and in
other places, to be greeted by many African leaders and ambassadors. I asked
them where they were from, and they said: Gabon, Ivory Coast, and other
countries. There were many ambassadors there.  These are the countries with
which we have had few relations. Those Africans came to us. All the employees,
those who served the food and the drinks, immediately wanted to have pictures
taken with us. The people in charge of security of the installations all wanted
to take pictures with us.

172.  They did it, and I thought: The people and the masses have a great
instinct. Surely these people have not thought about all these problems too
much, but their instincts tell them that the person who is sitting there is a
friend. They know that the person wearing that olive-green uniform, which is so
disgusting to Mr. Quayle, is their friend. Well, next time we run into each
other, he will have to wear some dark glasses. [laughter]

173.  However, the people are able to identify who their friend is. The people
came to me very informally and asked me to have a picture taken with them. That
is the story.

174.  [Reporter] In my personal opinion, one of the most interesting meetings
that you held during your visit was the meeting held with the Christians. What
personal impressions do you have about that meeting?

175.  I had many good meetings, but the two most impressive ones were the
meetings with the Christians and with the intellectuals. They were truly
impressive. That was in Sao Paulo. They must have filmed them. Perhaps one of
these events will be aired on television. The Christians are an impressive
force. They are a popular, revolutionary force.  There was a room there that
was so hot that hell must be something like that. I said that in hell it must
be as hot as it was there. It was a big room and about 1,600 persons attended.
There were no air-conditioning units and we could not complain, because I
believe that the owners were not charging anything for using the room there. It
was a big exposition room, with different theaters. From the moment that one
enters one sees an extraordinary strength in those persons, in their songs,
their slogans, and their convictions.

176.  The church has played a historic and important role in support of the
people, because it is a church that opted for the poor. I do not want to say
that all the hierarchs have the same opinion. There is an indisputable group of
bishops who defend the poor and are very progressive, very committed to the
poor, and very conscious of the country's situation. They have directed the
Brazilian episcopate for years. Before going there, I visited the Brazilian
episcopate in Brasilia and had a friendly meeting with them.

177.  In Sao Paulo I met with the community of masses. But they were not only
Catholics, they were Christians of all denominations, who are very united. It
could have been described as an ecumenical meeting. There were hundreds of
priests and those who work in the communities.  There were hundreds and
hundreds of delegates, leaders, and cadres. There was a rank and file
representation of that great movement. The rank and file has everyone
organized. The neighbors are organized, the women are organized, the consumers
are organized, the blacks are organized, all the people are organized. It is a
movement of great force. I would say that it is a great movement with a great
revolutionary content. Of course, one has to see it. One has to see it, feel
it, be there.

178.  They asked me different questions, as is logical. They raised all kinds
of questions. There they raised one of the most interesting, and also one of
the most complete questions: They asked why there are no Christian believers in
the party, why they cannot belong to the party. This topic had already been
broached when Friar Beto interviewed me. They find it very difficult to believe
this. They consider themselves revolutionary and are revolutionary and
sympathize with socialism. The question they ask themselves is when they will
join. They have read Friar Beto's book. I painted them a real picture of our
country and of our relations with the Catholic Church. I do not mean to say
that this includes other churches. There have been some problems with some
sects, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses.

179.  I had no alternative but to speak very frankly about the record of the
Catholic Church, of the Catholic hierarchy, in Cuba. This has been published,
so I do not have to say it again. I told them: If we had [church] people, like
you, [in Cuba], they would already be members of the party.  Just like that.
They would be members of the party because they are revolutionary people, and I
think they deserve the honor of being party militants.

180.  I said that our position is not dogmatic, but the result of historical
circumstances that have resulted from the conflict that emerged between the
Catholic Church hierarchy and Cuba when the church placed itself on the side of
the counterrevolutionaries and of imperialism. It is as simple as that. Then
the Church entered into conflict with the revolution. This conflict was kept
within limits thanks to the work of a nuncio, Msgr. (Sachits). I think he did a
great job. I think those conflicts were kept within limits also as a result of
the wisdom of the revolution, of the care with which the revolution has always
treated religion and religious beliefs, as a result of a rather indulgent

181.  Two priests, who came with the Bay of Pigs mercenaries, were jailed. They
were treated correctly. We released all the mercenaries as soon as we could.
Priests have also been punished on other occasions for carrying out
counterrevolutionary activities. They were given minimum prison sentences. No
priest has been ill-treated. The revolution has been very careful in not
assuming an antireligious position. It is better for the revolution to be
tolerant than to have it appear antireligious, because imperialism would use
that against us and the interests of the reactionaries in Latin America and
other areas would be served by that kind of attitude. The revolution has been
characterized by the extreme care it exercises in dealing with religious

182.  Then the theology of liberation emerged in America.  Strong trends in
favor of the poor and of change emerged. None of this, however, reached our
country. As I see it--I will speak frankly--the oligarchy that existed here saw
itself as more Church-loving than the oligarchy that exists in Miami, where the
landowners, the owners of houses for rent, all the rich people, the people who
received fundamental religious education in Cuba, went.

183.  There was no evolution of the church leadership in Cuba--I will not say
in the church because the church includes the faithful. When the church held
meetings, it would not even invite any liberation theology people.  No, it did
not want any relationship with them. In my opinion, what the church leadership
has been doing is maintaining a low profile all these years.

184.  This is a subject that we may have to discuss on some other occasion. I
had no alternative there but the tell the truth and explain that we were not
about to create for ourselves a problem of conscience, with party obedience and
militancy on the one hand, and the discipline that the church could demand of
the faithful on the other.

185.  I think this is a problem that has to be resolved because it undoubtedly
produces contradictions.

186.  Many Christians are revolutionaries. Many Catholics are revolutionaries.
Christians and Catholics provide services, belong to our territorial militia,
are prepared to defend the country, to die for the fatherland. I believe the
limits of these sectors must be outlined sometime to determine who the faithful
are on the side of the revolution, who are prepared to die for their
fatherland, who are patriotic, who are honorable, and who are not prepared to
play the game of the counterrevolutionaries and the United States.

187.  Therefore, they demand their right to be active members of the party of
the revolution, the socialist party, the communist party. We have absolutely
nothing to say about the essence of their religious beliefs. This is to say,
these are philosophical matters. The beliefs and ideas of each person should be
respected. We mean the things of this world, this earth, this struggle, and
this moment in time. I think an effort is being made to take advantage of all
this to separate Cuba from leftist Christian forces and introduce a division.
We can perceive imperialist intentions to use the Catholic hierarchy in our
country against the revolution. We can perceive it. I think this should be duly
and totally clarified. This is why we have adopted a certain policy regarding
believers and the party. I think this is another problem that must be analyzed.

188.  There are decisions that have to be made from a revolutionary viewpoint
because this is a time of definitions, and big ones. We must be wise,
revolutionary, and courageous and find out who at this time... [Castro
interrupted by background noise] Something has dropped over there. Let somebody
help pick it up. There is still something on the floor. I think it is a
microphone.  Can you hear me? Look to seek what happened. Can you hear me? Find

189.  [Unidentified speaker] Everything is all right.

190.  [Castro] Perfect. I was mentioning something very important. At this
time, we have to define ourselves. We must be wise and courageous and determine
the position of those believers who take a stand for the homeland, the
revolution, the philosophy of Aragua, rather than that of the Zanjon pact. This
was one of the subjects discussed.

191.  The people who met with us were truly admirable. How progressive,
patriotic, and revolutionary they were. I wish we could have those people here.
I would be the first to propose that they join the party. I told them, well, we
have monks and nuns. I spoke about our workers in hospitals, the devoted people
who work with AIDS patients and those who suffer contagious diseases. I spoke
about those who work with children who are physically disabled from birth or
because of diseases.

192.  We have tens of thousands of devoted people who can be described as monks
and nuns. At other times, I have spoken respectfully about the nuns who carry
out these activities. I have even said that to me they are model communists. I
have said this more than once. All of these people, the 2,000 teachers, most of
them women, who went to Nicaragua to teach in the mountains, lived under
difficult conditions. In the same house lived the peasant and his large family,
the horse, the cow--if there was one--and the male or female teacher.

193.  What noble people those 2,000 Cubans who went there are. When we asked
for volunteers, 30,000 responded.  When some of them were assassinated, 100,000
more volunteered. I am sure the 100,000 are willing to go regardless.

194.  Our doctors go out into the world. Hundreds of thousands of our
internationalist volunteers have always been willing to carry out missions.
This makes these volunteers missionaries. Any church could hardly have more
noble, altruistic, and unselfish people. This is why I have always appreciated
and admired very much the sisters or nuns, or whatever they are called.

195.  I said to the people who were there: It just so happens that we have
thousands of nuns and monks in the party, but we have no believers.

196.  You should have seen the understanding of the problems of Cuba, the level
of communication and agreement with our positions. You should have seen their

197.  I believe that we were successful because we spoke honestly. We did not
beat around the bush by saying that the reason this has happened here is
because of this or that. We told those Christians the truth without hesitation.
They recognized the honesty and the sincerity with which I spoke to them.

198.  I was impressed myself with what the Christians told me of the problems
they face. They said: One big problem we have here is the Indian issue; a
deeply felt issue. They also told me about racial discrimination. They spoke
about this subject with much intensity. A young black man asked one question on
this matter. They say: What can I do? I have been told that more than 50
percent of the Brazilians have African roots. This young man spoke of 70
percent. Blacks complained that it is difficult for them to find important
posts in institutions. They cannot find that kind of a job. This is what they
explained to me. This is a deeply felt problem. I really ignored that problem
until I went to Brazil. The liberation theology people told me that this is a
deeply felt problem in Brazil. They told me about the problems women face. This
is another deeply felt problem.

199.  Since we had just had a congress, I spoke with them and told them about
our congress, the struggle of the women, the participation of women, the
objective progress that has been made, the inevitable march of that progress
that cannot be stopped. This is a process that began as a result of the courage
of women and the role that women play in our society, as a result of the
capabilities that women have acquired in our society.

200.  They were amazed when I told them that 58 percent of the country's
technological force is made up of women. I also told them that 55 percent of
university students are women and that 61 percent of the students preparing to
enter the universities are women. This is a movement that has already made

201.  I explained to them all that society has done, with child development
centers, special schools, boarding schools, scholarships. I told them about the
factors and conditions that have been created. I will say that those people
were listening to me as if they were being told about another world. They
viewed with much interest things that are familiar to us. They were very
loving, very warm. They expressed much solidarity.

202.  The same happened with the intellectuals. This meeting involved 300
people, and the room was smaller so we had to return to the room where the
Christians were. We had to improvise and make changes because there was not
enough room for all the people. There were 700 or 800 people there. They did a
beautiful thing. The willingness to communicate was widespread.

203.  Christians and intellectuals reacted with much enthusiasm whenever I
asked them to have faith in Cuba, when I told them that Cuba would struggle,
that Cuba would resist, regardless of what may or may not happen.  I told them
that Cuba would confront military aggressions, if they arise, and economic
problems. I told them that we are prepared not only to resist but also to win.

204.  When I explained to them that our people have the will to struggle, there
were bursts of applause and support.  This was the reaction everywhere. It is
as if the people want Cuba to resist, to struggle, as if they know that Cuba is
undergoing a very difficult test.

205.  They know we are defenders of a just cause, a very just cause. This moves
them. In this crisis of ideas, this crisis in the prestige of socialism, they
look forward with hope to a small country that faces the United States,
resists, and struggles. The message of our determination to struggle is what
received growing support every time we mentioned it. I wonder if you people
want to know anything else about the many things that can be discussed. The
people and the Sao Paulo intellectuals waited for two or three hours, in that
great heat, singing and chanting slogans.

206.  [Lee] Commander, during your visit to Sao Paulo you visited Lula [Luis
Inacio da Silva, president of the Brazilian Workers Party]. After talking with
him, he was very happy about your visit to Brazil and once more said that your
visit was very important because it was like a renewal for Brazilian
socialists, because you have helped them--now that you spoke of the battle of
ideas--with this new discussion or debate over socialism. What is your opinion
of your meeting with Lula? Perhaps you could also mention other political
leaders you met.

207.  [Castro] I am very glad you remembered this because I spoke to many
personalities and I have not been able to mention them all. I spoke to many
leaders, nearly all the Latin American leaders. I had a very interesting
meeting with Virgilio Barco lasting more than one hour. Every time we have had
one of these meetings, he has been interested in them and we have always talked
with much respect and friendship. I can also mention [Peruvian President] Alan
[Garcia]; I said hello to [Argentine President Carlos] Menem; I have already
told you about [Venezuelan President] Carlos Andres [Perez]; I said hello to
[Chilean President] Patricio Aylwin when he was entering with a small group of
people, and we had a brief but pleasant talk. I said absolutely nothing in
connection with our relations. My basic sense of dignity does not allow me to
do that. Nevertheless, he was agreeable, like most of these leaders.

208.  I met Brazilian leaders; I met [Milton] Reis, [secretary general of the
Brazilian Democratic Movement]. First I met with Ulysses Guimaraes [president
of the Brazilian Democratic Movement], who is one of the most outstanding
political personalities in Brazil these last few years. He is a very talented
and experienced man with much knowledge. I also met with [Miguel] Arraes [de
Alencar, Brazilian Democratic Movement leader], who was governor of Pernambuco.
He asked me whether I was going to visit Pernambuco, and I told him it would
have to be next time. I also met with Senator (Jalaz), with Joao Amazonas
[president of the Communist Party of Brazil]--several political leaders who
were in Brazil.  [Leonel da Moira] Brizola [Democratic Labor Party leader] was
not in Brasilia; he was in Rio de Janeiro. Lula was not in Brasilia either, but
in Rio de Janeiro.

209.  Everyone agreed with my visit: the government, the party leaders, and
entrepreneurs, who were very interested.  Opposition parties showed no
objection and thought my visit was good. They were slightly apprehensive as to
how I would be treated, if I would receive all the courtesies. They were a bit
concerned and had some apprehensions but were pleased with my visit. The Church
of the Poor also wanted me to visit, the liberation theology people, many
intellectual friends that we have there. In this sense, my visit did not offend
or hurt anyone even though many arguments ensued as to who was really to
benefit from it more--them or us.

210.  As is usually the case, you are assigned a residence or a place and you
invite your friends to visit.

211.  I changed that rule. I have found more pleasure in visiting Lula at his
residence in a workers' neighborhood.  It made me very happy because I had to
travel approximately 50 km.  Let me tell you, Sao Paulo is the size of Havana
Province; there is no end to it. It is 50 km from the residence where I stayed
to the San Bernardo neighborhood, that is the name of it. To get there you
transit big avenues and you can see many different types of factories.

212.  When we arrived, there were people around, even though Lula had prepared
everything very discreetly. His modest house has a balcony. We went in to have
lunch with him. It was a family day, relaxed. We had arranged for a hour and a
half to two-hour visit; I do not think it was two hours. I wonder how long it
was. The thing is that Lula had not told anyone, for his own security reasons,
that I was going to visit him. He had ordered a restaurant to prepare typical
Brazilian dishes: beef strips, watercress--we are thinking about producing that
kind of watercress here because it has bigger leaves that taste very good. I
saw two or three other vegetables. This is how they prepare a typical meal.

213.  On a shelf I saw a stove that uses what looks like alcohol, and four or
five dishes. I asked him: Lula, how have you managed this visit, with this
group. We were not too many, but including the leaders and those accompanying
me, we had between 10 or 15 people. Thes numbers can bankrupt anyone. He told
me how he had managed so no one would know how he had organized the meat, the
wine, and other things.

214.  When we were there, there were approximately 200 people in the street. We
stood up and opened the windows and a door and stepped onto a--what do you call
it?--a balcony. We greeted the people. They were happy. Suddenly, I saw a white
shadow coming from behind; it splashed and fell where the group of people were.
This white shadow was an egg. I do not know if it was thrown at Lula or at me.
It was thrown from a great distance. It was thrown at the people there by a
neighbor who was sick and tired of all the political agitation.

215.  At that point I said I was so hungry that had I been able to grab that
egg, I would have fried it immediately. We had spent two days during which we
hardly had time for breakfast or lunch. We were very hungry. We let the egg
slip past us and break. That kind of incident did happen.

216.  [Pires] It was thanks to this egg that the visit to Lula became known
because the news agencies reported it.

217.  [Castro] That egg was really something. I had never seen an egg go flying
by like that. I made a big joke of it. We had a very good, very pleasant,
family visit. Lula was happy; he was happy. There was going to be a meeting
with political leaders at a famous meeting place. I asked Lula to accompany us
and on the way he told me many things, about industry, the industries he has
worked for, how many workers were employed in these industrial plants, and the
number of industrial plants in Sao Paulo.  There are about 20,000 industrial
plants, large and small.  Some industries have 17,000 workers, and others
30,000. He told me where he worked. He told me many things along the way
because a 50-km trip takes almost an hour.

218.  I had the opportunity to discuss various topics with him.  I asked him
for his opinion on economic measures. He said experts were studying the
economic plan. He expressed some fears about the possibility of a recession. 
He said salaries had been frozen on the 28th and prices on the 12th [month not
specified], and that prices have increased very much in recent days. He said
all this in a very calm fashion, very calm, with no predetermined position, but
with an analytical position. He has asked people to analyze the economic
measures. This is what the political leaders of the left have done. They have
not adopted an immediate position. They are studying all the measures and
asking economists and experts to analyze them.

219.  The other person I visited was [Democratic Labor Party leader Leonel da
Moira] Brizola. Again, the same.  Apparently, he did not want others to see me
either, in a hotel or at a residence. We stayed in a hotel. We went through it.
We arrived in the morning and left Rio de Janeiro at dawn. It was raining when
we arrived where Brizola lives, an apartment on the sixth or eighth floor of an
old building. There was a small, old elevator. He had also invited friends. He
was very family-like also; he gave me a big hug. He was very happy and
satisfied with my visit. We discussed various issues, the city, and Copacabana
beach nearby.

220.  Copacabana beach is a beautiful beach, five km long. It lookas as if
there were a seawall, but instead of a seawall, there is a beach. There are 30
or 40 meters of beach, then streets, and then the buildings. I asked Brizola
about the beach and he explained the contamination problems that exist there.
He said that the beach is contaminated by industrial waste and waste from
various districts. I asked him how much it would cost to clean up the 5 km of
beach, and he said that it would cost $3 billion--$3 billion must be invested
to do whatever is necessary and to build all the necessary structures to
prevent the beach from being condemned. We spoke about many issues at that

221.  We also discussed the economic measures that have been adopted. I asked
his opinion on them, and he said he is studying them, and that they have been
submitted to experts. Brizola has adopted a very serious attitude toward the
measures, but does not yet have an opinion on their execution. I must follow
this closely. Anyhow, I am talking about the visit.

222.  So I met with the president in his office, and with the two other
candidates who won the highest number of votes: Brizola and Lula. Lula came in
second; he won more votes than Brizola, and they formed a very close alliance. 
I was very pleased to discuss economic principles with them. It is unpleasant
to see how a wealthy gentleman in that country lives in a mansion, while one
must visit these political figures in their residences. We discussed this and I
believe this was... [changes thought] He was very, very, very happy, satisfied,
and grateful for the position I adopted.

223.  [Reporter] Commander, your meeting with the president of O GLOBO was also
widely discussed.

224.  [Castro] Very interesting. When I was in Brazilia 31 years ago--during a
tour that also included the United States and Canada--one of those
English-speaking places, I think it was an English-speaking place--we ended up
in Brazilia. We were en route to Rio de Janeiro, but the airport had been
closed so we went to Brazilia first; it had just been completed. From there we
went to Sao Paulo because we could not land in Rio, and from there we went to
Uruguay and Argentina. On the way back I passed through Rio de Janeiro.

225.  [Reporter] To attend the meeting of the 21?

226.  [Castro] Of course. To attend the meeting of the 21.  Brazil was already
a naval institution. A meeting of leading figures had been organized and I
participated in that meeting. The president of O GLOBO was there. He went on to
become a powerful television and press figure who also has considerable
economic influence. When this visit was announced, he was among the first to
express a desire to interview me for the O GLOBO network and for publication in
his newspapers.

227.  Following my visit to the Osvaldo Cruz Research Center, I went straight
to the building near the botanical gardens where O GLOBO has its big
administrative center. It seems as if he has one center for the newspaper and
this one for television. Many people were waiting, and employees all over the
center were very pleasant. We went upstairs, and they showed me his office. In
his office he has venetian blinds, a very lovely view of various areas of Rio
de Janeiro, and a small round table.  I did not know because I had been told
that the (?meeting would be) with him and with the industrialists who had
gathered there, industrialists from Rio because I had already met with
industrialists from Sao Paulo.

228.  We talked at the table. It was very friendly. We did not discuss
politics. We told stories about all kinds of things--cities, buildings,
personal matters, his work schedules, sports, whether or not he exercises, what
his lifestyle is like. He is an outstanding man. In this case, one had to set
aside political ideologies because he treated me with great respect and great
consideration.  This is the truth. This was an 85 year old man. His father
founded a newspaper and he inherited it, which spawned the major television,
radio, and press chain he has today.  Despite his 85 years, he goes to the
newspaper every day and runs it. He visits his television stations every day
and manages the television network. He has a clear mind and is very calm. He
has the personality of someone who has lived many years. He is interested in
history, in historical events. He spoke to me about ecological problems. He
gave me a book about a very important part of the mato grosso, which they are
trying to protect.

229.  He maintains an active pace at work and manages-- listen to this,
manages, and I would say with great stateliness--that huge network of 80
television relay stations throughout the country. They are scattered everwhere
and carry scientific and cultural programs. He is a very respected personality,
a great strength. From the human standpoint, I found the conversations very
interesting. He was there and there was a luncheon. I had lunch again. A lunch
of fruit and some [word indistinct] things were prepared. They were light, but
well-prepared.  He and I remained alone while we had lunch. The ambassador came
afterwards [words indistinct] and the agreement for the exchange of materials
between O GLOBO and Cuba was signed. I think it may be truly useful, very
useful to us; they are also interested in purchasing materials.

230.  We talked about historical topics and many other things.  Then he took me
to a room where industrialists were holding a meeting. He sat there. It was
industrialists at that moment because you must bear in mind that my visit was
taking place while the government was adopting a whole set of innovative and
traumatic measures. The industrialists were there. I asked the industrialists
some questions myself. I asked them what they thought because they had told me:
We have no money.  We are all equals now. We have no money. Of the more or less
$130 billion that were in the banks, close to $100 billion has been frozen. It
has been frozen for 18 months.  I can talk to you later about this, if you
wish. Everyone was dumbfounded. I said: You know you will suffer no
confiscations. They are at ease about that. I said: Have measures of this
nature ever been taken in any other country? Some of them said: Yes, in Japan
in this or that year, and in the FRG in such and such a year.

231.  He said: I hope you will excuse us because a large number of
industrialists were scheduled to attend this meeting, but most of them are in
Brasilia at this moment, discussing everything, discussing the entire set of
measures to find out what is going to happen and how much money they will have
available. The measure provides that all money in the banks--everyone has money
in the bank--is a defense mechanism, when there is such colossal inflation, in
order for money not to flee, in order for the people not to purchase dollars
and take money away, the government pays interest. The governments adopts the
measure of paying high rates of interest-- higher than inflation. So, to
protect their money, everyone deposits it in the banks to collect the interest;
otherwise, it would lose value every day.

232.  Now, this creates another mechanism: Instead of devoting capital to
investments and industry, it is used to make money. It is deposited in a bank
to earn money without producing anything. This is truly a very complicated

233.  These measures are designed to combat inflation, which reached
1,500--1,476 percent--in 1989. None of the measures that had been approved bore
results, so it was decided that money would be frozen. Anyone who had
approximately $600 or $700 was allowed to withdraw that amount. It is said that
most people who have accounts within that range, of less than $600 or $700, are
closing their accounts. All other accounts, the funds of all who have money in
the country, the funds of businesses and industries... [changes thought] The
measure is very radical, quite radical. It was unexpected and surprising.  Many
conjectures and doubts arose over this measure, which consists of freezing
funds in the banks. I had never heard this measure mentioned among the various
alternatives. There was talk of freezing prices and salaries; there was an
entire program to this effect. However, while I was there, almost all the
industrialists had gone to Brasilia to talk with the economy minister,
deputies, and government about how all of this would evolve. I did not meet
with such a large number of industrialists, but our conversation was very
interesting, even though all of this was on their minds.

234.  They spoke with us, they asked about sugar, of which we are large
producers. They spoke about their problems with alcohol. They said they can now
import huge amounts of alcohol, they do not produce enough sugarcane to produce
the alcohol they need for their vehicles.  They discussed associations and
joint businesses, they discussed the manufacturing of equipment for the sugar
industry and sugar production, and I explained what we are doing from the
technical point of view--the parcel drainage system, the irrigation system, the
amount of hectares available, how we plan to almost double the amount of
sugarcane produced per hectare with all of the techniques we are applying, and
how part of that sugarcane is used for the production of animal feed, milk, and
meat. All of these topics proved to be of great interest to them.

235.  We even exchanged opinions on economic measures and the surprise--not the
fear [laughing]--it has created. I told them: Look, I do not see why you are
upset. The economy is in your hands and it will be very difficult to manage
this economy without you. The situation is different from that of the East
European countries. I spoke to them about this and explained in a careful and
systematic manner what I had said to the women's congress in Cuba. The
situation in East Europe is very difficult because they are going to create
capitalism without capitalists. A capitalist class cannot be improvised. It
involves entire generations. They are going to build capitalism without
capitalists. The Brazilians have experience. Brazilian industrialists and
businessmen have experienced business groups. They have learned-- and this is
one of the things that capitalism needs to learn--how to function, how to
administer all that they have. There is developed capitalism in Brazil, despite
all the problems I mentioned. These are competent and enterprising men, and I
am under the impression that they were very receptive to my ideas about Latin
America's general integration, and the possibility of Cuba's joining Latin
America regardless of our social system.

236.  There are many practical examples of this. Why should we purchase
products from one country and not another?  If they produce the product, that
is a form of integration; and if we sell to them, they will not have to buy
elsewhere. We are producing many new things, and I am sure that to the extent
that we deepen our analyses, we will find a huge volume of possibilities
everywhere, not only in Brazil, but Brazil is a very important area.

237.  [Words indistinct] and we are going to discover that Cuba is the country
best prepared for integration in this hemisphere. We can discuss any agreement.
We can reach an agreement on development in any field.  Whether we are in
charge of this or that, or do this or that, we are in a position to truly
strive for integration, because our social system does not pose a problem; on
the contrary, this is an advantage in striving toward this goal. Also, we have
broad maneuvering room as a result of our scientific efforts.

238.  I harbor the hope that we will advance much in technological matters.  I
also harbor the hope that Cubans will take care of their discoveries. We are
experiencing a truly explosive phase with very clear ideas. These new fields we
are working on now constitute a very important path for the fate of the future.
All of this, therefore, will yield practical results. One of the things that
[words indistinct] it is curious how men are, how they are and how they are
able to overcome ideological differences, having....  [changes thought] I was
very pleased by the treatment, the conversation, and the spirit of exchange
that I sensed. He [not further identified] was very concerned about the topic
of integration. The topic of Latin American integration interests him a great

239.  Brazil is a world of its own because it is a very big country. It is a
very big country that does not need integration as much as Costa Rica or
Ecuador or a small country may need it--as they have greater need--but
Brazilians will stand to make considerable gains, gain a great deal with the
integration. Even so, Latin American integration without Brazil is
inconceivable. You may continue asking questions. I am not tired, I returned in
good form. [laughter] So if you who were there want to ask more questions....
[changes thought] There always remain things that have not been brought up. It
seems to me someone mentioned the meeting with Brazilian President Fernando
Collor de Melo.

240.  [Reporter] Yes, commander.

241.  [Castro] It seems fair to do that. I saw him on three occasions. One of
those times was as I was waiting in a hall when the different delegation heads
were arriving for the official ceremony to greet him. It was not a meeting.
Also, he greeted every leader there in a circle.  He was very kind and warm in
greeting me. This happened very quickly because of the large number of persons
who where there. I tried very hard to make the encounter very brief. This is
what happened that day.  Then came an official salute. This time we moved
quickly because everyone was waiting. This went quickly. There were four
encounters [words indistinct]. I was also brief on this occasion, because if
the delegations stop on that occasion to chat.... [changes thought] I played a
joke on him; I told him: If they all follow [words indistinct] tell you that
after you, I am the one who worked the most in Brasilia. [laughs]

242.  [Words indistinct] with that hectic schedule, I was gracious to tell him
that he had worked more than I. Because he had to see so many people and there
was large number of delegations, I was brief. The next day a luncheon was held
and he greeted the guests. There was a line, and I was asked to walk up to
greet him. I said: No, I will stand in line here. I stood in line because.... 
[changes thought] I realized those were not heads of state, but a number of
personalities. I saw [word indistinct] arriving. I stood in line. Iglesias of
the Inter-American Development Bank was there. [Unidentified person says:
Enrique Iglesias] Other people where there.  I said: Iglesias, I will go in
front of you [to greet Collor de Melo], watch my place, watch my place. I stood
in line and greeted him.

243.  He was very expressive each of those times. I asked a few questions. I
was only there a minimal amount of time, but I should say that several
ministers, (?five) ministers approached me, approached me [repeats himself].
One of them approached me very kindly. He was a foreign minister, not a
politician. He was president of the [words indistinct]. I received a good
impression from the two or three times he approached me. I spoke with other
ministers. I knew from a journalist that the education minister wanted to speak
to me. He wanted some information. I, myself tried to find him. I asked some
people.  I do not want to name all these ministers so that the Yankees cannot
use my friendship with them to criticize them. I spoke with three or four
ministers. It was very pleasant. I spoke with an education minister. He was
interested in the topic of education. I also spoke with a public health
minister. We discussed public health issues. Aside from the system, there are
things and problems that are common to all which have an undeniable importance. 
Those ministers want to do something about an overwhelming task they have ahead
of them.  They are all very interested in Cuba's experience in these fields. I
spoke with them about this.

244.  There was a meeting later. I did not know I was going to be the first.
They gave me a 20-minute appointment to see the president. That was on the last
day I was in Brasilia, (?in the afternoon). I went upstairs in that building. I
was in a small office for awhile and then I went into his office and had a
brief, substantive discussion with him. We did not waste a moment. I told him
what I had discussed with the education and public health ministers. I told him
about my wide range of views, how many things can be done with a relatively
small amount of resources in the health sector. Some things are much more
expensive than infant mortality.  Our experience shows that it is not costly to
reduce some things to a certain degree, one of the subjects we discussed was
sports. I am talking about other things. I do not want to be indiscreet and
tell you about everything I spoke about. Briefly, we discussed certain topics.
He also spoke briefly. He appears to be a man who is willing to confront
problems. I would describe him as a man who wants to be successful in his

245.  We discussed certain topics. If I tell you everything, then no one will
want to speak with me. However, we discussed topics of interest, constructive
topics, in a friendly, serious, respectful atmosphere. When I estimated I had
exceeded the 15 or 20-minute time slot allotted to me, that was it. I took into
account the amount of work he had. You should see the amount of work a man has
during an inauguration like that. There are dozens of delegates, heads of
governments and states.  I did not want to extend my time with him even half a
second more. I got up and said goodbye to him. The meeting was positive. In
addition to being a positive meeting, it was useful. I left with a good

246.  Generally speaking, this is my impression of the trip.  There were a lot
of people there with different political ideologies, with very different
interests. You could say that each person represented something. Each one
represented something different. They reconciled during the trip and there was
contact between those personalities so that something useful could come from
each of those contacts.

247.  You have a note there.

248.  [Martinez] The note is a reminder that it is after midnight....

249.  [Castro, interrupting] Some people are probably sleeping....

250.  [Martinez Pirez, interrupting] You yourself just said....

251.  [Castro, interrupting] [Words indistinct] We discussed economic matters,
the plan. The plan is a neoliberal concept. We discussed opening markets. We
have read that these ideas are very much in style because of imports, which
have allowed greater competition between industries, privatization. I have
discussed the matter of privatization, foreign investment, better conditions.
It is a plan that has a lot of ideas that are currently in style.

252.  It states that reducing the fiscal deficit is one of the important
elements of controlling inflation, which is very high. They say it is around
100 percent of the gross domestic product. This implies, of course, that the
adjustments are strong. We must wait and see what activities an adjustment of
this nature affects. The plan includes renegotiation of the debt under certain
conditions. The plan is, to use his phrase, if I heard it correctly when he
gave his speech: The important thing is not to predict how much they will grow
after they make their payments, but how much they will pay after they grow. 
The idea is to give priority to growth. A limit of not more than $5 billion has
been established. This is what they would be willing to pay in regard to the
foreign debt in several forms. Foreign investments will not have any
privileges. Many firms will be privatized. Real estate will be sold. Personnel
will be reduced.

253.  I imagine that this is one of the essential measures. They are talking
about a personnel reduction of about 180,000 to 200,000. Some firms have begun
to lay off personnel.  The government said that it will conduct strict fiscal
inspections if firms lay workers off. Some transnational firms said they have
no money for salaries and that their main offices can send money to pay those

254.  In every regard, this is a tremendous test in which the new, the truly
new step is the freezing of money. They themselves say that in light of events,
the deadline could be reduced. I think that we all should follow this closely. 
There is enormous interest in seeing how this package of measures functions. I
think that our press should report on all the measures proposed so that our
people can learn political economy, the political economy of capitalism, which
is what Marx did. In socialism, we have studied political economy a lot. The
authors of these books have helped us a lot. We have ignored these other
problems and now we are surrounded by the capitalist world.  [slaps table once]

255.  What do we know about transnational firms? What do we know about stock
exchanges? What do we know about all those things that affect us? What do we
know about anonymous societies? The method in which the capitalist world
operates is what completely surrounds us and what we have to fight. What are
their formulas?  How do they try to make their adjustments? How do they try to
escape their inflation, which is diabolic?

256.  The inflation situation in Latin America is a disaster. It has never been
as bad as it is now. It is enough to say that the average inflation rate is
1,000 percent. In some countries, like Argentina, the inflation rate is almost
4,000 percent. We can see this from the news that we get every day from

257.  [Martinez] Collor de Mello called it a cancer.

258.  [Castro] The inflation rate was 4,000 percent. It is more than 3,000
percent in Peru. It is 1,476 percent in Brazil, 1,476 percent [repeats
himself]. It is higher in larger countries. In Argentina, it is almost 4,000
percent.  [pounds table once] It is lower in Mexico. The Mexicans are fighting
this. They were at less than 20 percent last year. (?How do) they manage those
economies? The people need a computer to figure out their monthly wages and
prices. The situation has become almost unmanageable.

259.  All these countries have a large fiscal deficit. All of them need a lot
of money to pay the debt, the debt interest. In addition to the foreign debt,
many of them have a domestic debt [pounds table once] which is also tens of
thousands of dollars. It is almost as high as the foreign debt. How are those
economies managed?

260.  The capitalists are looking for indirect mechanisms. I think they want to
observe what happens in Brazil. Our economists, specialists, and journalists
should explain what Brazil's situation is, what its problems are. I think that
this is a kind of political economy in which we understand the problems of
capitalism; the problems of capitalism in a Third World country. What happens
when the money is frozen? [pounds table twice] What happens when the economy
contracts heavily? [slaps table once] What happens if a lot of unemployment

261.  I think that we should be well-informed about the phenomenon in Brazil,
about the entire process, because of the importance of Brazil. We should know
what the measures are, all the measures. We should know what the results of
each of the measures is. We should know what everyone is saying, what each of
the political leaders is saying. How have they approached this?

262.  Inflation sows panic. It has terrorized everyone. It has made the masses
desperate. Every measure leaves a mark, an idea. The objective is to eliminate
inflation.  The measure is viewed with hope by many people. I am especially
interested in seeing what effect these measures have. I am interested in how
the entire set of measures affects the economy of a Third World country like
Brazil under these conditions. It is of great interest to everyone and we
should make sure our population knows about this phenomenon.

263.  [Perez] Commander, during the course of your visit, you received hundreds
and hundreds of invitations to visit other states, other political leaders. At
the same time, you received several requests for scholarships to Cuba, medical
treatment in Cuba. You even received a small delegation of children.

264.  [Castro] Ah.

265.  [Perez] I would like to ask you, commander, since the imperialists have
so often said that some people want to leave the country, how many other Latin
American people want to go to Cuba?

266.  [Castro] The case you have mentioned is about a 14 year old boy. A few
years ago, he sent me a book he wrote.

267.  [Perez] His name is Guillermo Garcia.

268.  [Castro] He wants to study there but he wants to finish his term here. I
want him to do this as soon as possible.  He is known there. He is a nice boy.
Fine. Our ambassador is going to study when and how to do this. I told the boy:
If you want to go to Cuba before you complete your pre-university education,
you can go.

269.  I spoke with some children. Some neighbors visited me several times. They
said: There are some little girls waiting for you. One is about 11 years old.
She has an older sister who is about in the 10th grade. There were two other
girls who were neighbors. They came with their grandmother. We had a very
pleasant conversation with the girls. It was very educational. They were
attending a private parochial school. We discussed their grades, the material,
all those things. We discussed if they went to school during the day or the
afternoon, if they ate lunch at school, if they ate lunch [repeats himself]. I
asked them: How much does school cost. They said: Oh! [slaps table once] It
costs about $80. The children are aware of inflationary costs. They said it
costs about $80. I asked them if they ate lunch at school. They said: No, we
eat at home. It costs $80. It's a school that has 1,500 Marist students. I
asked the three girls if they were in the same school. They said: Yes. They
said they were in the same school in the (?same) grade. The father of the two
sisters, the youngest one and the other, is an engineer. He is an engineer
[repeats himself]. The father of the other girl is also a professional. The
children were talking about how expensive things were, inflation. I said: When
are you going to visit me in Cuba? You are very friendly. They said: When we
win the lottery. [chuckles] They have a lottery there. I told them: You do not
have to do that.  Get together with the ambassador, and we will be inviting

270.  It was a very illustrative conversation. It shows how even the children
are very concerned about spending, costs, inflation. They were well-educated. I
was told that, in general, the people are very well-educated in Brazil. I
asked: Is this only in a certain sector, the middle class, the professionals?
They said: No, the workers are also very well-educated. They are very
respectful, well-educated.

271.  In other areas of Brazil, there is a lot of violence. They say that the
number of violent deaths there is very high.  The total number of people who
die violently is very high. Perhaps the statistics.... [changes thought] These
are not statistics that I manipulated. About 700,000 children that could be
saved die in the first year of life.  Can such a system exist?

272.  This is the fault of the empire, the empire that questions us, that wants
us to disappear. [pounds table once] It is to blame for those 700,000 children
who die every year in this hemisphere who could have been saved. This is equal
to the dropping of seven atomic bombs. The revolution, in these past 30 years,
has saved the lives of 300,000 children [corrects himself] people, at least
300,000 people, with its health program. Look at how many people are killed
every year.

273.  It was impossible to talk to more people in such a short time. I would
have liked to have spoken with a lot of people, to hold talks with them. I took
advantage of the opportunities I had to talk with everyone about something.
Brazil is huge. It is a world by itself, a single continent. It is of enormous,
enormous [repeats himself] importance to Latin American countries in regard to
the matter of Latin American integration.

274.  [Martinez] Commander, you spoke about the concern expressed by Felipe
Gonzalez and Carlos Andres Perez, as well as the concern expressed by many
people in regard to the hostile attitude of the United States against Cuba. Dan
Quayle, himself, said there in a brief news conference that Latin America's
last big problem is Cuba. That was his view. President Bush recently made new
conditions for Cuba. Previously, they talked about the withdrawal of troops
from Africa, an end to the support for Puerto Rican independence, an end to the
support for national liberation movements, and now they have changed their
agenda [Castro chuckles], their demands of Cuba. Bush says that Cuba should
implement a market economy, hold free elections, and reduce its military
apparatus and then, if these measures are applied, then Cuba might receive aid,
just as East Europe, Nicaragua, and Panama are receiving.

275.  [Castro] Crumbs, of course. Bush is disappointed. He must be
disappointed. Where could Bush have gotten those illusions about Cuba. He is
more disappointed than a stood-up bride. [pounds table once] He is disappointed
in Castro. I do not know what kind of illusions Bush had about Castro.

276.  Now we are the enemy [pounds table once] of the empire. What an honor.
This is a great honor. The enemy is no one less than us. [pounds table once]
Now we will see if we are truly capable of confronting the empire, if we are
capable of fighting, if we are revolutionaries.  The empire expects a great
concentration of all kinds of reaction, conspiracies, attacks. We are well
prepared for any event. There are no people better prepared than our people,
with the best conditions, the best characteristics. [pounds table once]

277.  We fought against Spain, alone, alone, alone [repeats himself]. That is
war. We will not be so alone today. I am certain of that. We will not be so
alone but we will have a long fight with all this foolishness, all these
demands. I do not know how they could have thought that we would be willing to
concede to them.

278.  When Felipe Gonzalez spoke to me with so much concern, he was very
pessimistic about the situation, not just the situation in socialist countries,
but also about the problems in the Soviet Union. He thinks that the Soviet
Union has problems that cannot be solved. All these analyses, calculations
performed by Westerners, give them incentive and encourages them in their
attempts against us; in their arrogance. They develop all sorts of illusions.
[pounds table once] If destiny gave us the task of being the enemy of the
reactionary sector, of the empire, and of also being the hope of the people,
then why not? If we were given the task of being the bearers of socialism and
of defending the countries based on our own experience, on what we have learned
and what we have seen and we can compare this, then I think that this is a
great historical privilege. I trust in the people completely. We will continue
to analyze problems. I am convinced about what we tell the world, that we will
not only resist, but that we will win.

279.  Those ideas of Sagunto and Numancia still have to be proven. [slaps table
once] They have to keep score. We can demonstrate it. The result of an
aggression against our people is clear. I think that the unity of the people
plays a fundamental role. Patriotism plays a fundamental role. We will not let
them [pounds table five times] open any cracks. We will not let anyone open any
cracks. We do not have to tolerate the worms or the counterrevolution. That is
what those vile people say who slander our country, who encourage imperialist
aggression, who want to create the conditions so that the imperialists can
attack Cuba, or so that they can slander us. We do not have to tolerate any of
this. We will apply the laws and we will revise the laws and clearly classify
those acts of treason against the fatherland. We will identify those who join
the counterrevolution's campaign [corrects himself] not the counterrevolution,
the imperialist's campaigns against Cuba. We do not have any reason to permit
this. We have been very tolerant.  Our people are willing to do anything. They
do not have to show any weakness or tolerance of any kind with anyone. We will
fight as always. We will be more even-minded, calm, just, respectful, than any
other government has ever been. The people repudiate those slanderous
accusations made against Cuba, accusing us of torturing people. That has never
occurred in the 31 years of the revolution. Cuba has been the most respectful
country in regard to these rights. We have not done anything to have all this
dirt thrown at our country.

280.  We will work. That is why we have laws, measures. They will not
demoralize us. They will not scare us. We will not give the
counterrevolutionaries guarantees, which is what they want. They want to
conspire here openly. They want to openly betray the fatherland. We are not
going to play the game of our country's potential invaders. We are not going to
play the game of those who want the blood of millions of people to flow. There
is no reason why we have to tolerate this and we will not tolerate it. They
will have no priveleges here. I said that very clearly to everyone. The
counterrevolutionaries will not have any stage here. The counterrevolutionaries
will not have any right here to conduct campaigns against the revolution.  That
is over. They annoy the people and the people react with justification when
they see a small group that they know is conspiring, provoking. No, sir! Why
should the people have to be involved in a street fight everyday [slaps table
once] against these shameless provocateurs.  We will apply the laws. If they
are not enough, if they are not clear enough, we will make new laws.

281.  We are going to defend the revolution. We will defend it with the people,
justice, and the law. We will defend it in that area and we will defend it in
the area of economy.  We will have to be more capable than ever. We will have
to work more than ever and we will have to be more efficient than ever. That is
an important area where the battle is being waged today. [slaps table once] We
will have to be the best soldiers that ever existed, and the best patriots that
ever existed. [slaps table once] We will have to make Sagunto and Numancia look
small if they attack us. They will see what a people that is willing to fight
is like. They have no right to underestimate us and they have no right to
despise us. They also have no right to make a mistake and we will do whatever
possible so that they do not make a mistake. [applause]

282.  There will always be anecdotes and there will always be stories to tell.
We will continue to discuss these topics and others. Perhaps this will not be
my only meeting with you.

283.  [Martinez] Maybe you can also tell us what Cuba's conditions are for the
normalization of relations. They are not the only ones that can impose...

284.  [Castro, interrupting] It does not matter to us. It is all a matter of
hypocrisy and a lie. There is nothing honorable in it. We do not believe in any
of it. We expect nothing from the imperialists nor do we want anything from
them. [slaps table once] We all have to expect things only from ourselves. We
have to believe in ourselves.

285.  [Garcia] Commander, thank you for your information, for your assessment.
I would also like to thank the comrade panelists and all the guests, as well as
you, esteemed television viewers. Thank you for your attention.