Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Meets With Reporters in Havana 14 Feb
Havana Cuba Vision Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000002872
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL2002170091
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-035          Report Date:    21 Feb 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       7
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       16 Feb 91
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 035


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Meets With Reporters in Havana 14 Feb

Author(s):   unidentified reporters at El Castillito cultural-recreational
center in Havana on 14 February--recorded]

Source Line:   FL2002170091 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0200 GMT 16
Feb 91

Subslug:   [Interview with President Fidel Castro by unidentified reporters at
El Castillito cultural-recreational center in Havana on 14

1.  [Interview with President Fidel Castro by unidentified reporters at El
Castillito cultural-recreational center in Havana on 14 February--recorded]

2.  [Text] [Castro] [Words indistinct] work, recreation, the spirit of
sacrifice [passage indistinct] and are only possible in the revolution.

3.  [First reporter] Commander, I believe that this project is, in a way, a
result of the tourist investments which have been made a reality by the people.
What do you think about this?

4.  [Castro] This is an anti-tourist facility. [laughter]

5.  [Second reporter] What do you mean by anti-tourist?

6.  [Castro] Sure, I am going to tell you why. El Castillito had first been
thought of as a tourist investment like many others we are making throughout
the country. At the time we were also analyzing a program for young people. We
discussed a program of activities with Robertico [Roberto Robaina, first
secretary of the Union of Young Communists [UJC], and with the UJC comrades. 
So we debated this a lot. Then we considered the place and location. We took
into account that a tourist hotel was being built here beside the Riviera. We
took into account the student activities in this area. We considered a program
the young people were carrying out with a number of ideas about using the
Malecon [seawall area].

7.  So we came to the conclusion that the best use for El Castillito was not
for tourism, but for these activities we have dedicated it to: recreation for
young people, young people in general, students, and workers. So this was how
we did it thinking in Havana a lot, within the context of our problems, of what
we should do and how we should do it. The balance tilted towards dedicating
this to these activities.

8.  It was not a project done by chance, it was well thought out. What it meant
for tourism, in terms of income and expenses, was considered well. We always
used the premise that we need to find a balance in all things and everything
that is done. The decision was made over a year ago. Let me tell you that we
had not yet entered the special period. Had we been on the special period we
would have had to consider everything again. A year ago, the work was examined
closely when work was being done in this installation. They [not further
identified] had suggested that this installation not be used for Armed Forces
activities but for some economic or tourist activity [words indistinct]

9.  The situation continued to be assessed later. Cubanacan was going to get
this, Cubanacan has some tourist installations in the capital. [Words
indistinct] did some lobbying work and everyone agreed--among them Cubanacan,
which I understand later helped a lot in the construction and the creation of
conditions for this center. This is how it was finally decided to use this
facility for this. Even though we are now in the special period and we do not
know what the special period will bring us--everyone knows that it can be even
much more difficult--I am especially happy today to see the installation
operating. I had no doubts. I am happy that we can use it for these kinds of
recreational activities.

10.  [Second reporter] Commander....

11.  [Castro, interrupting] What we did was make calculations--give me just a
second--we made calculations.  This was based on the principle with which we
have opened different kinds of centers, different kinds.  [repeats himself] For
example, a brilliant solution was found for Expocuba. Expocuba is an
installation for expositions. Expocuba does not [words indistinct] many times
during the year Yes? No, Pabexpo.

12.  [Reporters] Pabexpo?

13.  [Castro] Pabexpo. It was an installation for expositions but it was not
used during a large part of the year. Then the idea came up that Pabexpo could
be turned into a recreational center--with relatively little expense-- when it
was not used, without affecting the exposition activities and without
sacrificing a single centavo of the country's income. That installation is
being used for two things. We are very satisfied with what has been done there.
That was an idea given and suggestion made by [words indistinct].

14.  This is an example.... [changes thought] If you allow me I will explain to
you the idea and philosophy behind all this. You know the history of Expocuba
which was built to create a permanent exposition for the achievements made by
science and technology in the country and also for international expositions.
It cost a certain amount of foreign currency. Some argued whether it should be
built or not. The minibrigades built it. That center brings a certain amount of
foreign currency every year. It finances itself because [words indistinct]
although its purpose was not to make money. Its purpose was to be a permanent
exposition facility. We are doing it in a very economical way. It has also
turned into a recreational center for all people, especially young people.

15.  This is an example of how something that was created with one purpose can
be used for others. This is a very important idea. We set ourselves to achieve
that goal.  The Expocuba collective has made a great effort and we have been
able, not only to maintain but, to improve services.

16.  There is a restaurant there that has not been completed.  It has been
built slowly. It began to be built before the special period began. It is
partially built and we will probably complete it. I want you to know that
everything is calculated to a T, the spending an institution will entail,
especially if some imports need to be made. No resources given to these centers
are taken away from others. There is no sense in creating a new center by
taking away resources from another one. Each one of the things that are done
need to be done with new resources.

17.  This is a good example of how work can be done with efficiency, quality,
and usefulness for the country with minimum costs and even provide some income.
Some tourist income is generated there from international expositions, enough
for its maintenance and to recover part of the investment made. In addition, it
has benefited the botanical garden and the [words indistinct].

18.  After the Expocuba experience, we decided to improve services at the Lenin
Park and the zoo. We looked here and there for some resources for food
facilities. At the same time, the UJC did some work in the old Cuba Pavilion.
What was that called?

19.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct].

20.  [Castro] Cuba Pavilion. It established a number of things there. Progress
is being made in this field. We now have this one and the idea of the Malecon.
We need to make all the effort so that this center maintains top quality
services in the same way we did in Expocuba.

21.  We will guarantee some recourses, especially supplies for the restaurant
and coffee shop. This is not the only thing we have. I was telling them that
pizza was our greatest pain, our biggest headache. [laughter] I said pizza
because of the cheese. The norms established who knows how long ago say they
require 2 and  ounces. This is an expensive product. Milk is basically used in
the country to make yogurt. No [corrects himself], fresh milk and yogurt. A
small amount of milk is used to make cheese such as cream cheese and other
things. We used to receive supplies from abroad, certain amounts of butter and
Bulgarian cheese. They were enough to at least maintain the levels of those
supplies. Those amounts are not being received now.

22.  This is why I said pizza, with its 2 and  ounces of cheese, is going to
give us the greatest headache. I do not know if they can use a little less. If
they use less of what the norm says we are criticized. If they use that amount
we go broke. So, pizza may be the most expensive thing in this new institution.
I say this so that the population knows about it. It costs us more than chicken
and other dishes that are going to be available here.

23.  The ice cream is fantastic. The fruit ice cream is a truly new thing. We
have bought [words indistinct] several months ago, many months ago. They are
going to be available in these places in the city. When they saw the
international exposition in Expocuba they were very interested in this fruit
ice cream production line. It does not contain oil, milk, or anything but
grapefruits, limes, pineapples, oranges, and bananas. That ice cream line is
fantastic. I tasted it. Some of the things are a little bit too sour for my
taste. I believe they will have to improve some of them.

24.  We are also going to have other lines for [words indistinct] at least the
ice cream, chicken, we are going to do everything possible, we are going to do
everything possible [repeats himself] [words indistinct] pizza as long as they
do not sell a million pizzas a day here. If they sell a million pizzas [passage
indistinct] I think it is historical and I do not know what but you know how
these things are.

25.  I explain this to you because we believe it is basic. This is what has
been done in all this program so that we can guarantee supplies. There are
programs that are expanding such as, for example, hamburgers because of the pig
breeding plans. It is possible that we [words indistinct] also the hamburgers.
Popcorn and those things are also important as well as those parties the UJC is
organizing. I believe that one of the most extraordinary virtues and merits the
UJC has is that it organizes them without alcoholic beverages. This is the
greatest achievement. This is the case in Expocuba, Pabexpo.  This had already
being done in Playas del Este and some other places. It had also been done in
camping sites. It has been shown how the young people can be happy in a healthy
and orderly way. They are not only happy and orderly but enthusiastic and
expressive, without the need for alcohol.

26.  All those things they give there can be .... [changes thought] Candy. This
is, within the limited resources we have at this time. We are going to maintain
these things if the situation gets worse. If the situation gets very, very
difficult, we will see what we can come up with. If we cannot offer popcorn, we
will offer plantain chips. Did you hear? [laughter] Popcorn and something else
[words indistinct].

27.  Difficulties can come at any given time. They will not last long but
resources could be reduced again at a given time. The idea is to make all the
[words indistinct] effort so that the things created for youths can be
maintained with the same quality. It is not very costly. I can tell you that
the country's spending is not big, it is relatively small, minimal. Today even
small things become great undertakings in light of the situation we are
experiencing. I am convinced that these are very good and novel ideas. I
believe that they are very important for our youth. Therefore, the government,
the party, and the state, will grant them their complete support.

28.  Well, the UJC is not exclusively devoted to this activity.  It is not
solely involved in recreational activities. It is also making important things
in the labor sector. As an example we have the Young People's [Computer] Clubs. 
I believe this to be one of the most brilliant ideas ever.  This idea is the
result of a youth initiative that came up during an Expocuba exhibit.

29.  I thought this was such a good and brilliant idea that I got interested in
it. I talked to youths, I asked them what was needed to continue expanding the
clubs. I believe this is one of the most brilliant things.

30.  I do not want to give more information but there are [words indistinct]
tens of Young People's Computer Clubs. The most important thing is that we will
soon inaugurate the Central Palace. This is something new that we were going to
do when whenever we could. We were going to build it in a good place next to
the ICRT [Cuban Institute of Radio and Telvision], in a good place. [repeats
himself] We are planning to build a good building. We cannot do it now but a
building became available. It had been used for the parallel market and those
things. [laughter] It had turned into a place where people stood in line for
pay [words indistinct]. We decided to close the parallel market when those
things were introduced in the ration book or were regulated so that not only
the ones who stood in line for pay or those who could pay those who stood in
line for pay receive things. That building was left idle. A great idea came up
which was to turn it--temporarily--in Central Palace of Young People's Computer

31.  Other distribution centers are being built. We are building over 150
little markets. We are building four agricultural distribution centers linked
to [words indistinct] how important it was for that place which could serve
some thousands of residents be used for the Central Young People's Computer
Club or national center. I do not know how they are finally going to name it:
Central Computer Palace. It is going to be extraordinary.  All the young people
and children of the city will be able to go there. It has everything. The
center is going to be marvelous. It is of a different nature. It is
recreational but also educational. It teaches our youths to master computers.
The Young People's Computer Clubs allows professionals who did not take
computer classes at the university to learn about computers. Life does not work
nowdays without computers.

32.  I believe we are going to be a model country in computer (?services).
Within a few days we will inaugurate another institution which is very
economical. Aside from equipment being installed there, everything that is
being done is very economical. Nobody should think that resources are being
wasted. Things are being done with minimum resources.

33.  Discotheques are being built in the same way. An insignificant amount of
resources has been used in all that. I believe, however, that they are
excellent things for the emotional state of the population and the young
people.  It shows that if resources are managed well new things can be done
even during difficult times. This is what we are doing within certain limits.
We want to build [words indistinct] we first built.... [changes thought] How
many did we build, Robertico?

34.  [Roberto Robaina] We built 56.

35.  [Castro] No, but the first ones were built in the provincial capitals.

36.  [Robaina] There were 15 in the city and 15 on the rest of the island.
There were 30.

37.  [Castro] Thirty.

38.  [Robaina] [Words indistinct].

39.  [Castro] This year we will have at least 150. We plan to have at least 250
Young People's Computer Clubs. A project was designed for the installation and
we are now using houses and other places. I am not going to expand on the many
activities young people are involved in the productive sphere and in strategic
productive spheres in agriculture, construction, and many other things. We must
also take into account the excellent work the young people are carrying out in
many sectors in which they are playing a preponderant role and in those areas
where the party wants to grant them a special role; for example, in the
education sector.

40.  All this began during a UJC meeting of the about 160 basic secondary
schools from which we received news of problems, and many concerns. Well, we
asked the UJC: Help the revolution study all these issues and resolve these
problems with the means and resources available.

41.  The UJC has adopted its own style. They visited all the provincial bureaus
and committees. It is within this framework that I have just visited all the
camps in Pinar del Rio. The kids doing vacation time agricultural labor in the
fields are over there and have had a brilliant year.  Undoubtedly, the
recognition of society and of the young people have played a very important
role in this as well as the visits and the meetings with them. All this is very

42.  It is within this framework that the UJC recently toured all the Blas Roca
Contingent camps. They had excellent meetings with the workers, meetings of
mutual support and understanding and education.

43.  They toured the pre-university schools a few days ago, the more than 50
pre-university schools, to address all the problems. This does not mean we will
be able to immediately resolve all the problems. Through the press, I have
always closely followed all their tours, the proposals that were made. During
this tour through the pre-university schools in Havana Province we were able to
witness that there are many institutions facing many problems, such as the
Romania School, and others where the issue of maintenance had come up. Right
now this is an important problem in view of our current situation and of the
very limited resources we have available, which may become even more limited in
the near future.

44.  We must study what to do. When one makes visits and tours, one finds
problems of this nature. We become aware of them, at least we ask what we can
do. Although we cannot solve all problems, at least we can tackle the most
serious and critical problems.

45.  We believe that it can be done. We see what can be done.  We have those
needs everywhere. We have had for a long time. They did not come during the
special period. The difference is that now we have fewer resources available
and we must be much wiser to better manage these resources.

46.  The UJC has also toured the shops where the technological schools are
assembling bicycles. All those tours are a very important contribution to the
country's struggle during the special period. Perhaps I have not remembered
them all.  We have mentioned a few.

47.  [Unidentified speaker] It is going to tour the investigation center.

48.  [Castro] Oh, the investigation centers. That is also extremely important.
The UJC is greatly supporting the country and the revolution with those
activities at a time in which the revolution needs it the most. This is why
[words indistinct] Do you understand? Oh, I believe the UJC is going to tour
the some 60 or 70 agricultural camps in Havana Province. Those activities have
an enormous economic value. They are fundamental activities. Whatever small
spending we make in this area does not have that much impact. Well, I responded
to the question.

49.  [Third reporter] Could you tell us how do the events in Eastern Europe
impact Cuba?

50.  [Castro] It is disastrous for Cuba and Third World countries. This is the
result. This is aside of our absolute respect to the right of each country to
do what it deems more appropriate. We have maintained very good relations with
Poland. We have always respected Poland a lot. We respect any kind of changes
they may make. It is our duty to respect them. You have asked about concrete
results and in the economy they have had disastrous results because CEMA, which
was an institution in which our economy was based on, disappeared. Trade with
these countries, on which our economy was based on, disappeared. It was not our
fault. These countries have turned to the West. They are basically expecting
big loans and aid from the United States and other countries. They have
forgotten of the Third World and countries such as Cuba which is blocked by the
imperialists. Cuba is more and more blocked. As a result of such changes, which
we respect, Cuba has been deprived of a very important support base.

51.  Thus, the economic results for Cuba have been disastrous. They have been
very good in the spiritual area because they force us to face a very big
challenge, to test our revolutionary qualities, our patriotic virtues, our
ability to overcome the difficulties in spite of those gigantic obstacles
because of the imperialists we have as neighbors. As far as this is concerned,
I think our virtues will multiply and, as usual, our people will become

52.  [Second reporter] Commander....

53.  [Fourth reporter, interrupting] [Question indistinct]?

54.  [Second reporter] Excuse me, ladies first. Today is 14 February, it is
Valentine's Day, and in Cuba we talk about love and we are all very optimistic.
In other places of the world, however, thousands of people are being killed,

55.  [Castro] Just yesterday we heard the news, as you have seen, about Iraq,
about those sophisticated bombs that have killed more than 500 people in a bomb
shelter for women and children. It is one of the most painful and traumatic
things we have seen in recent times and one of the things that reflects to what
lengths the imperialist's insensitivity and lack of principles can reach. Those
imperialists feel so powerful today, they feels they are the only power in the
world today, and they feel they are able to dictate laws to the world, laws for
those who are willing to accept them but we are among those who will never
accept those laws.

56.  You all know our position on the Gulf problem, on each of the incidents,
what things we have condemned about the Iraqi actions and what things we have
categorically opposed at the UN--the meddling, the bossing around, you could
call it, the manipulation of the United States, by the United States, using all
its power over that body, the Security Council.

57.  I think that the UN has made one of the biggest and most repugnant
mistakes in its history in authorizing this war.  We said that it was war on a
deadline, that it cut off any chance for peace. We think that the problems
could have been solved without war. Now you can see how the United States and
NATO are launching their might against a Third World country.

58.  Whatever mistakes that country may have made, the fact is that this is
genocide, this is a plan to take over the oil resources of the Middle East,
this is a plan to establish their hegemony in that region. We can never agree
to this, just as we cannot agree with the UN having agreed...  [rephrases]
having given its blessing to this repugnant crime and this genocide.

59.  I wonder if the UN would have done the same if a nuclear power were
involved, for example, France, the UK, the USSR, the PRC, or any other. I
wonder if the UN would have declared war and in so doing, the end of the world.
Then we have a United Nations, and a UN Security Council, that was unable to
condemn the United States for the Grenada invasion, that was unable to condemn
the United States for the Panama invasion.  They are still there, invading
Panama. All the UN resolutions they have applied against Iraq could have also
be applied against the United States regarding the Panama invasion.

60.  We also have the occupation of the Arab territories by a U.S. ally; that
is, Israel. This means there is no equity.  There is no parity. There is a
double standard, two different yardsticks for measuring the conduct of nations.
The fact is that, using Iraq's mistakes as a basis, the United States is
carrying out one of the greatest genocides. It is completely destroying the
country with impunity. It has turned it into a firing range for its
sophisticated weapons.

61.  No one knows yet how this will end. Aside from the differences we may have
regarding mistakes made, the resistance of the Iraqi people is truly admirable.
All this is truly sad evidence of what is taking place in that part of the

62.  I do not know if Valentine's Day is commemorated worldwide, if every
country, each hemisphere, commemorates this day on different dates. You
probably know this better than I because journalists are constantly asking
questions. [laughter] So, I do not know if Valentine's Day is a worldwide

63.  [Several reporters] It is commemorated in many parts of the world. It is
commemorated on this date throughout Latin America....

64.  [Castro, interrupting] In Latin America. I do not know if in Latin

65.  [Second reporter] In Europe, too.

66.  [Fifth reporter] For the BBC, what do you believe will be the impact on
Third World countries of an eventual Iraqi defeat?

67.  [Castro] Look, the Iraqi thing will be the same as always.  What may
happen is that there will not be an Iraqi defeat but a Pyrrhic victory for the
imperialists, because the resistance that Iraq has shown against the might of
the United States already constitutes a great moral victory.  There is
absolutely no doubt about this. It is shameful that now, one month after the
start of the war, the United States has not dared to send a single solider
[into combat]. It only wants to wage a technical war, with sophisticated
weapons and without casualties.

68.  Never in the history of the world has such a powerful nation been so
fearful of sending soldiers into combat.  They cannot say anything to us,
because we had to wage a war against South Africa, 10,000 km away, and with
what means, what resources, and what was the correlation of forces?  We faced
the problems when they came up. However, the United States, this superpower
with 500,000 soldiers, thousands of tanks, thousands of planes, does not dare
to wage a ground war. It is incredible that the United States is showing such
fear, such excessive prudence. It only wants to drop bombs, bombs, smart bombs
and guided bombs, and use equipment.

69.  What is taking place there is one of the crudest crimes in history. This
is a fact. This is why I say: This is a great misfortune for the world. The
Third World has already suffered the consequences of this war. It is already
suffering the consequences. It is already suffering the consequences with the
oil prices. It has already suffered the consequences through the economic
crisis this war has brought on. Countries that depend on tourism have already
experienced the consequences through the slowdown of travel worldwide. In
addition, we still do not know the extent of the consequences of this war. So,
the Third World is already paying the price for this war.

70.  In addition, we must also look at what a world dominated by the United
States would mean. We must be willing to fight against this, to fight until the
bitter end.  We Cubans, who have already learned many lessons from this, should
learn new lessons on how to confront this empire. The dream of dominating the
world is an impossible dream if the world is willing to fight, and sooner or
later the world will be willing to fight. Cubans will be among the first who
are willing to fight, or rather, we have been among them for a long time.

71.  So, those are the consequences, but the lessons are also very useful for
all the countries of the world, particularly those of the Third World.

72.  [Sixth reporter] Could you briefly comment, Commander, on Cuba's position
regarding [words indistinct]?

73.  [Castro] The Security Council is beginning to be disgusting because
nothing can be agreed upon there. Nevertheless, there is resistance there. 
There are a few countries that save the little honor that that institution has

74.  Nothing else? If there is nothing more [words indistinct].

75.  [Seventh reporter] I would like to know what possibilities young people
from other provinces--because I do not like to refer to the interior--from
other provinces [repeats] have of obtaining a center such as this perhaps at
another time.

76.  [Castro] As a rule we have always followed, what began here is studied....
[changes thought] If we begin minibrigades here, we have minibrigades there; a
certain type of school is built here, then the schools are built there; child
care centers are built here, then child care centers are built there. There is
always a year of lead time. Many times ideas come up .... [changes thought]
Special education schools are built here and are then built in the rest of the
country. This is why you see the Young People's Computer Clubs are created here
and are then created in the rest of the country.

77.  I believe that there nothing has been done in the capital that has not
been extended to the rest of the country; in sports, culture, in every area. If
Camilito Schools are built here they are also built in the rest of the country.
If sports schools are created here they are also created in the rest of the
country. If vocational schools are created in Havana, they are also created in
the rest of the country. I think I could mention some 20 things which began
here--among the minibrigades--and were taken to the rest of the country. This
is our philosophy and our policy. Discotheques were created here and then they
were created in the rest of the country. [laughter] Roller-skating areas were
created here and then were taken to the rest of the country. Blunders here and
no blunders in the rest of the country. [laughter]

78.  [Seventh reporter] Speaking of sports, Commander, how are the Pan-American
Games going?

79.  [Castro] The Pan-American Games are going very well.  This has been one of
the emblems, one of the banners we have held high. It is something that was
planned years ago, as I have explained. We are completing it during the special
period but we are going to complete it. We are not people who back off. We do
not begin things and leave it toward the end. I believe this is.... [changes
thought] Even if it is on a bicycle, even if it is on a bicycle [repeats
himself]--there are going to be plenty of bicycles for the Pan-American
Games--we are going to the Pan-American Games even if it is on a bicycle. Do
you understand? This battle has already been won. The people have made an
enormous effort. They have worked voluntarily there, who knows on how many
million projects. The country has incurred in the spending to have events here
that are going to be the pride of the country here and in Santiago de Cuba also
where some events are going to be held. [chuckles]

80.  Everyone took advantage of the Pan-American Games.  Everyone takes
advantage of the situation. The ICRT [Cuban Institute of Radio and Television]
said we need this and that, the electric power industry said this and that,
everyone asks for things every time there is this type of event. They are
asking for things that the country needs.

81.  All those needs were met more or less. Of course, we are going to have our
Pan-American Games even if we have to get there on skates or on bicycles. I
believe Vazquez Rana [International Olympic Committee official] is coming to
visit us today.

82.  [Seventh reporter] Yes, he is arriving today.

83.  [Castro] He is arriving today. The people are working and working.
Progress is being made. I believe everything will be completed on time.
Landscape work is being done in many of the installations. This is what is
left. I think that we will be able to have the Pan-American Games here in spite
of the special period. Of course, we hope that the world is not involved in a
greater disaster, that is not involved in a larger war.  Unfortunately, all
these events have an influence on sports events. There are many people who do
not want to travel because there is a lot of fear of certain acts, of
explosives, and all that. They say there is a terrible fear in Europe and that
airlines are not traveling at this time.  I do not understand how there are
some foreign reporters here [words indistinct].

84.  [Reporters] They have flown on Cubana Airlines.

85.  [Castro] It must be Cubana Airlines. This is why they are not fearful.
That one comes and goes without any problems. Well, it could be delayed a
little but it arrives late less and less, less and less. [laughter]

86.  [Seventh reporter] Now that the reporters get the bicycles, because we
still have not gotten the bicycles....

87.  [Castro, interrupting] The reporters have not received their bicycles? Is
this true, Robertico? How is it possible that the reporters have not received
their bicycles?

88.  [Robaina] We will give it to them. There is no problem.  We will find

89.  [Castro] Some 40,000 bicycles have been distributed.  Some 40,000 have
been distributed even if it does not seem like it.

90.  [Seventh reporter] Basically to students. Is that not so?

91.  [Castro] To students and workers. Some 20,000 bicycles have been
distributed to workers so far. A number of them are being assembled. We have
some 200,000 here and 500,000 are on their way. Let us see how many more we
will assemble by the time the Pan-American Games are held. That is going to be
the sporting event in which more people are going to exercise in the history of
the world because everyone is going to be riding a bicycle.  [laughter]

92.  [Fifth reporter] Commander, for the BBC....

93.  [Castro, interrupting] How many times are you going to ask questions for
the BBC? [laughter] That cannot be.

94.  [Fifth reporter] There are a lot of comments in Europe and in England that
the [passage indistinct] but not the same opinion about the young people.

95.  [Castro] Is it my fault if they are blind? If they suffer from retinitis
pigmentosa they should come to Cuba and undergo surgery here. [laughter]

96.  [Sixth reporter] [Question indistinct]?

97.  [Castro] No, tell me. I do not have a time limit. I love to talk to you
but the audience is going to be bored if we extend this interview too much.
Then the television edits it and only broadcasts five minutes. [laughter] This
is why I believe in the morning--what is that program called?

98.  [Reporters] Morning Magazine.

99.  [Castro] They carry something in it. Well, how is Roque Santeiro
[Brazilian soap opera] doing?

100.  [Reporters] Oh!

101.  [Castro] [Words indistinct].

102.  [Reporter] I watch it every day.

103.  [Castro] You watch it every day. I heard someone say that a lot of
electricity is going to be consumed now but between baseball and Roque Santeiro
.... [changes thought] Let me tell you what I have lately. I went to more than
one camp in Havana Province where the contingents are and I found that in one
of them only two people wanted to watch Roque Santeiro and they could not watch
it. [laughter] Since there were only two who wanted to watch it, they put Roque
Santeiro in the two television sets. [sentence as heard] I found another
extremely democratic camp, with respect to the minority as never seen before,
only two wanted to watch baseball and they were able to watch the baseball
game. [laughter] So, there is a little bit of everything. I see that Roque
Santeiro is exceptionally popular. We will ask the Electric Enterprise how
power consumption is during those days.

104.  It is being carried five instead of three days. Is that not so? What
about baseball games? Are baseball games going to be carried on television or

105.  [Reporters] On Tele-Rebelde. People will watch the final games because we
watch Roque everyday. We can stop watching Roque for two or three days and can
catch up with the plot.

106.  [Castro] When is it going to repeat it? [laughter] If we had VCR
resources we could tape and sell them. We could make a lot of money, but we
cannot do that during the special period.

107.  Well, it has been a great pleasure. It is not that I am going to [words
indistinct] you time or anything like it but I do not want to bore you. We do
not want to bore the audience. Alright?

108.  [Reporters] Thank you very much.

109.  [Castro] Very well, thank you very much. [applause]