Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Announces Pan-American Games Will Go On
Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000000999
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL1701235991
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-013          Report Date:    18 Jan 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     5
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       6
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       17 Jan 91
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 013


City/Source of Document:   Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Announces Pan-American Games Will Go On

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro during news conference on the Pan-American
Games with foreign journalists held at Havana's Habana Libre Hotel
on 16 January--recorded]

Source Line:   FL1701235991 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in
Spanish 0423 GMT 17 Jan 91

Subslug:   [Remarks made by President Fidel Castro during news conference on
the Pan-American Games with foreign journalists held at Havana's
Habana Libre Hotel on 16 January--recorded]

1.  [Remarks made by President Fidel Castro during news conference on the
Pan-American Games with foreign journalists held at Havana's Habana Libre Hotel
on 16 January--recorded]

2.  [Excerpt] [passage omitted] [Announcer] Referring to the holding of the
Pan-American Games in Cuba, the commander in chief said:

3.  [Castro] If we are bombed tomorrow, we will have no alternative but to
cancel the Pan-American Games. If there is a World War, which I hope there will
not be, we will, of course, cancel the games. These would be the only reasons,
however, for cancelling the games.

4.  There are several reasons for this decision:

5.  Cuba made an international commitment to hold the Pan-American Games. It is
therefore a sacred commitment that must be honored. Cuba is a country that
honors its commitments. Countries that honor their commitments make a priority
of their international obligations, of their moral and ethical commitments.

6.  As I have just said, Cuban health workers are in danger in Iraq. Because of
moral and ethical principles, we authorized and approved the Cuban doctors'
decision to remain there despite the danger of war.

7.  Because holding the Pan-American Games is a priority, we have decided to
honor our commitment to hold them.  In addition, the costs for these games have
already been met. Everything that had to be acquired has already been purchased
and paid for. We even bought new equipment for Cuban television. In view of
holding the Pan-American Games, we needed to acquire much equipment, which at
any rate was desperately needed by Cuban television and will continue to be
used in the country after the games.

8.  The most important investment we made was in building the Pan-American
Games villa, a housing project that will benefit the people of Cuba. Our
housing policy calls for the continuation of all housing construction projects
until completion. This policy also establishes that no new construction
projects will be undertaken, except for some housing projects.

9.  As a rule, all construction projects will continue. They will not be
stopped. This is a principle applied to all projects, social and economic. If a
hospital is under construction, its construction will not be halted. If a
school or a child care center, or a special education school, are under
construction, the construction will not be stopped. This same rule applies to
all construction, including that for the Pan-American Games.

10.  Even if we have a greater oil shortage, we will continue building the
Pan-American Games projects because the fuel needed to finish the Pan-American
Games works is an insignificant amount which will not be a heavy burden for us.
The materials--cement blocks, prefabricated materials --have already been
produced. Moreover, now more than ever, we have a larger labor force.  So why
cancel the Pan-American Games?

11.  If it was today that we were first deciding on whether or not to hold the
Pan-American Games here, it is very likely that we would not make such an
international commitment. This commitment was made, however, over four years
ago, in November 1986, over four years ago, when none of the current problems
existed. Commitments were made and they were met while they could be met. In
fact, all our commitments have been met.  Everything that had to be done for
the Pan-American Games has been done. The only thing that must still be
completed is the use of some of the materials that have not yet been used.

12.  Furthermore, we are very happy that the Pan-American Games will be held
here. We are very happy that for the first time Cuba will have an excellent
bicycle track, Olympic pools, canoe and rowing canals, and all these
installations. These constructions are being built by the people. It is the
people, mainly the mini-brigades, volunteer workers, who are building these
works, and they are very happy and proud of what they are doing.

13.  As for Havana City, it will have access to excellent installations that
will be used not merely for one month, but for many years to come.

14.  This is why I said that despite the difficulties that arose after we made
our commitment, we welcome the Pan-American Games. We are very happy that they
will take place.

15.  [Announcer] Our commander in chief was also asked if the investments made
by the Cuban Government in installations for the Pan-American Games are
justified considering the short duration of such.

16.  [Castro] These installations will last forever. The Cuban people, Cuban
athletes, will use these installations for years to come. Aside from what it
has invested in the Pan-American Games, Cuba had already invested millions to
develop sports facilities. We have built sports facilities [laughs] throughout
the country, and we plan to continue building them in the future, regardless of
the Pan-American Games. Unrelated to the Pan-American Games, Cuba has thousands
of gym and sports teachers working in our country. Aside from the Pan-American
Games, Cuba invests more in sports than the event is costing us. In addition,
what we have invested in the Pan-American Games represents less than one
percent of our national investments. [laughs] Therefore, it is not a heavy
burden. It does not represent a heavy economic burden.

17.  In terms of housing, we build dozens of thousands each year. The 1,453
houses that were built for the Pan-American Games are part of our housing
program.  Moreover, these constructions have resulted in a benefit for Cuba:
They have resulted in a revolution of the city's urban architecture. Thanks to
the Pan-American villa, our designers have developed excellent and beautiful
buildings with the same construction materials. Therefore, Cuban urban
architecture will be identified by two eras: before and after the Pan-American

18.  Of course we wish the games could last more than 16 days. We would have
more fun.

19.  [Announcer] Regarding the impact that the U.S.  blockade may have had on
Cuba and how this boycott has affected the Pan-American Games, the commander in
chief said:

20.  [Castro] In general, the boycott has had an impact. It has had an effect
on Cuba, but we have gotten used to it. The blockade has developed many virtues
in the Cuban people. It has compelled Cubans to make great efforts in many
sectors, such as in medicine, science, research, in many sectors.

21.  Therefore, although this blockade has had a negative effect in the
economic sector, it also has had its positive side because it has become a
test, and a challenge that defied the Cuban people.

22.  As for the Pan-American Games, the U.S. Government's main action was to
forbid U.S. television networks to broadcast the Games. This would have meant
having access to millions of dollars. The U.S. Government adopted this measure
to undermine the Cuban economy.  We, however, did not want the American people
to be deprived of watching their athletes and the sports matches. This is why
we offered to allow U.S. television networks to broadcast the Pan-American
Games free of charge. I believe this was the proper thing for Cuba to do,
rather than adopt a vengeful attitude and to say: Since they want to block
resources, let the American people-- who will now get a great deal of
information on the war and other terrible deeds--be deprived of watching the
Pan-American Games.

23.  At any rate, we are happy because we know that the Olympic Committee has
been able to work freely. We know that the Olympic Committee has strived for
the success of the Pan-American Games. We must take this into account. We hope
that the U.S. authorities will help the Olympic Committee.

24.  Therefore, the only way in which the U.S. Government can damage us is to
deprive Cuba from obtaining a few million dollars in income for television
rights. This will not stop us from holding the Pan-American Games.