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SIEMPRE Interviews Castro on Revolution, Future
ANNEX / Cuba
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000008654
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA0706044291
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-113-A        Report Date:    12 Jun 91
Report Series:       Latin America            Start Page:     9
Report Division:     ANNEX                    End Page:       13
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       04 Jun 91
Report Volume:       Wednesday Vol VI No 113-A

Dissemination:  FOUO

City/Source of Document:   Havana PRENSA LATINA

Report Name:   ANNEX

Headline:   SIEMPRE Interviews Castro on Revolution, Future

Subheadline:   Defends Socialism

Author(s):   Beatriz Pages Rebollar, director of Mexican weekly SIEMPRE,
published in 30 May issue of SIEMPRE and carried as a PRENSA
LATINA ``exclusive''; place and date not given]

Source Line:   PA0706044291 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 0456 GMT 4 Jun

Subslug:   [Part II of ``Fidel Castro, Present and Future of Cuba,'' a report
on an interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro by Beatriz Pages
Rebollar, director of Mexican weekly SIEMPRE, published in 30 May
issue of SIEMPRE and carried as a PRENSA LATINA ``exclusive''; place
and date not given]

1.  [Part II of ``Fidel Castro, Present and Future of Cuba,'' a report on an
interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro by Beatriz Pages Rebollar, director
of Mexican weekly SIEMPRE, published in 30 May issue of SIEMPRE and carried as
a PRENSA LATINA ``exclusive''; place and date not given]

2.  [Text] Havana [no date as received]-``There is talk of the failure of
socialism, and where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia, and in Latin
America?'' Fidel Castro told SIEMPRE with the irony and deep concern of a man
who denounces the trap set by those who have rushed to issue a death
certificate on ideologies without first seriously reviewing the developments
the world has witnessed in Eastern Europe. Using arguments based on history,
Castro shreds the ploys and platitudes that propaganda has spread all across
the globe trying to convince the world's peoples and heads of state that truth
and universal reason lie solely and exclusively in the West. In the face of the
propaganda reports that socialism is dead, a phrase that infers the triumph of
capitalism, Fidel responds with the facts: Where is the triumph when it has
generated hunger, poverty, overpopulation, war, and ecological destruction?

3.  The Cuban head of state proclaims and defends the principles of socialism
fully aware that he is challenging a world avalanche that aims to prove that
Castro and Cuba are wrong. Once again, history, as at the start of the Cuban
revolution, has left him without defenders so that he can be his own best
advocate. Once again, Fidel stands accused by a system that seeks to redeem
itself through the errors of others. Once again, the revolutionary, the
idealist, the politician, is chosen by destiny to be tried. The first time this
happened, ``the accusers came out the accused, and the accused the accusers,''
and on this occasion Cuba's future, always uncertain and inscrutable, remains
to be settled. Fidel Castro offers in this second installment a global
conceptual view on the survival of socialism and the moral defeat of
capitalism.  He does it in a tone of voice that never renounces a penchant for
oratory or the melodiousness of a well-constructed phrase. He says it with the
expression of a restless face, furrowed by time, and the impenetrable blackness
of a stare that is sometimes probing, other times sweet, censuring, resolute,
or earnest, and most times visionary.

4.  [Pages] Can Cuban socialism survive after the fall of Eastern Europe's
commmunist regimes seems to confirm the failure of Marxism-Leninism?

5.  [Castro] We think that, yes, we can survive. We not only can but must
survive. It is a duty to our fatherland and our duty to our ideals, which we do
not consider a failure.

6.  The failure of Marxism-Leninism cannot be categorically asserted, because
Marxism-Leninism has already given the world a great deal. Even though it may
suffer temporary setbacks due to prevailing circumstances, Marxism has
certainly made great contributions in the world because it has inspired
revolutionary movements for almost 80 years. Marxism began to inspire them more
than 100 years ago, and Leninism, approximately 80 years ago, at least. Lenin
has had a big influence throughout this entire century.

7.  First of all, the October revolution stemmed from those ideas. This is one
of this century's greatest developments which gave rise to the first socialist
state in the history of the world. The influence that revolution had on
international development is enormous because a fear of social revolutions
emerged in the capitalist world and people became aware of what had to be done,
not out of generosity, kindness, or philanthropy, but to avoid socialist
revolutions. Capitalism began to prepare a whole series of new theories and
methods to avoid or forestall its definite fall. The service socialism rendered
mankind, in its decisive role in the defeat of fascism, was very big. The
service socialism, inspired by Marxist-Leninist ideas, rendered the labor
movement in its social and salary demands, as well as in other demands, was
very big. The service it rendered in the movement for the cause of liberating
the old colonies and the disappearance of colonialism was also very big. Those
ideas guided the struggle for liberation on all continents, everywhere.  For
us, they were of the utmost importance. They opened our ideas regarding the
reality of the world we were living in, because, without Marxism-Leninism, we
would not have a coherent explanation of this world. We are also thankful, as a
nation and as a people, for those ideas.

8.  [Pages] So the world cannot yet sign Socialism's death certificate?

9.  [Castro] The bells have yet to toll. One cannot say that this is the swan
song of socialism, or of socialist, Marxist, and Leninist ideas because when
the French Revolution, the bourgeois, in other words the capitalist revolution
took place, there were changes in the feudal monarchical system. There was a
great wave of international reaction, and not only did change occur but the
Holy Alliance emerged and dominated the world for decades. However, in the long
run, it was not possible to prevent the final success of the bourgeois liberal
ideals of that revolution. Therefore, no one can categorically state that
Marxism-Leninism and socialism have definitely failed.  Among other things, we
cannot forget that 1.2 billion people live in China under socialism. The
Chinese people suffered from misery and hunger for thousands of years, and only
Socialism could perform the miracle of freeing that country where only 100
million hectares sustain 1.1 billion people. The causes which resulted in
revolutions and socialism are far from over in the world.  Capitalism has
ultimately caused poverty, hunger, backwardness, and underdevelopment for 4
million people in the world. That is what we have inherited from capitalism,
and if those reasons have not disappeared how can anyone talk about the end of
revolutionary and socialist ideas?

10.  [Pages] Your rationale gives the impression that the people should be
talking about not the end of socialism but about an improved socialism. Is this

11.  [Castro] I would say that the world will see as many interpretations and
implementations of socialism as there are historic and cultural circumstances
and countries.

12.  I think that no two forms of socialism will be alike. I had been referring
to the essence of socialism: to true equality. The French Revolution spoke of
equality, fraternity, and liberty, but there was never any fraternity because
capitalist societies are not fraternal societies.  They are characterized by
egotism, and there has never been any equality either. A society divided into
exploiters and exploited, into millionaires and beggars, is not based on
equality, it is not a just society. Under such circumstances we cannot speak of
true liberty. On the other hand, the socialist ideas, basic socialist ideas,
call for human solidarity, brotherhood, equality, and justice, and these ideas
will have as many forms as there are countries with different situations. I
would say that no two forms of socialism will be alike. It would be a mistake
to try to make one socialism equal to another.  The same way that no two
persons are identical, there will not be two identical forms of socialism. The
basic ideas of socialism, however, will inexorably win. The countries of the
Third World-especially the underdeveloped countries- cannot renounce the idea
of planned development.

13.  There will be different kinds of socialism, many forms of socialism, but
there will be socialism. The causes that brought socialism forth still exist
and much of mankind is suffering from those causes with more intensity now.

14.  [Pages] If the causes of socialism remain, and the basic ideas of
socialism have not failed and work for the dignity of the people, then who has
failed? Has it been the chiefs of state as individuals, as men?

15.  [Castro] Sometimes it is man, sometimes the community, and sometimes the
entire country.

16.  With regard to what happened in Eastern Europe, I think we should be aware
that socialism arose there as a result of World War II, as a result of
circumstantial factors. In those countries, socialism was imported. It did not
emerge spontaneously. This is not the case of the Soviet Union, where socialism
was an autochthonous creation.  It is not the case of China, or Vietnam, or
Cuba.  Socialism was not exported to any of these countries. We established
socialism with basis on our own revolutionary effort.  These historic facts
count. Man's errors also count to a large degree. The way men implement ideas,
the different development level in these countries, technological differences
between these countries and the developed capitalist world that existed in
Eastern Europe, all these are factors that have much weight.

17.  The fact that socialism was established in the most backward and poorest
countries of Europe, in those based on agricultural economies; the fact that
the Soviet Union was destroyed twice in less than 25 years; the fact that the
West-particularly the United States-hoarded the world's gold, wealth, and
technology and had a developed industrial sector that did not lose a thing in
the war, all these factors undoubtedly helped capitalism in its struggle
against socialism. There were other factors.  There was the arms race unleashed
against the Soviet Union, the blockade, the isolation. All these actions
carried out against the socialist countries played a role.  We must take into
consideration the significance of the blockade and a forced arms race that was
imposed on and that wore down the socialist camp. We must take into account all
the economic power of the West. All these factors had much weight. To them you
may add human error.

18.  There is talk about the failure of socialism, yet where is the success of
capitalism in Africa, Asia, and Latin America? Where is the success of
capitalism in places where thousands of millions of people live? I believe that
the failure of capitalism should be discussed as much as the failure of
socialism in a small number of countries.  Capitalism failed in more than 100
countries, which now face a truly desperate situation. I do not understand why
this is forgotten. There is talk about the failure of socialism based on what
happened in East Europe.  Capitalism has ruined the world. It has poisoned the
rivers, the seas, and the atmosphere; it is destroying the ozone layer, and it
is disastrously changing the world's climate.

19.  [Pages] You are right. Capitalism has not had a moral victory, but it has
won as a system of domination, technologically and militarily. That is where
its power lies.

20.  [Castro] Yes, at this moment it is, unquestionably, the dominant system in
the world's economy. But that is how it was before the recent events, and even
before any socialist country came into existence. Capitalism is hundreds of
years old, and some capitalist features have existed for thousands of years.
Capitalism, speaking in the modern sense, has much experience and much

21.  Changing social systems is no easy task. In ancient times there was
slavery. How long did it last? If you look back into Roman or Greek history,
from the days of the Iliad, a period about which someone by the name of Homer
supposedly wrote, how many centuries did that system last? And after slavery we
had the feudal system and the so-called Middle Ages. How many centuries did
that last? Then capitalism emerged. No system has been eternal. What is the
basis for affirming that capitalism will be eternal? Just because a new social
system has had setbacks?

22.  Capitalist domination has not disappeared. Capitalist domination, first,
and imperialist domination, later, have lasted for a long time. It has been
said that the first imperialist war, in the modern sense of this concept, took
place between the United States and Spain as a result of the intervention in
Cuba in 1898. Imperialism has maintained much control for almost 100 years. 
Colonialism has disappeared from the world, but neo-colonialism has emerged and
its forms of exploitation are as harsh and as pitiless as those the people
endured under colonialism, or even worse. This kind of system has had to face
the challenge of socialism, of a socialist movement, but it never lost its
nature as the dominant system. It has been exerting its domination for a long
time and it still maintains, more or less successfully, this power. That is,
this situation is not new. It is an old situation. The people of Third World
countries can testify to this.

23.  [Pages] You say that there is no basis for saying that capitalism will be
eternal, but allow me to insist that it has the arms to survive over socialism.

24.  [Castro] Capitalism has the technology to dominate part of the world for
some time. We cannot resign ourselves to the idea that this will be forever.
Neither can we can join the U.S. triumphalism made evident in speeches by some
U.S. leaders, including Bush, who point to the idea of a new era, the U.S. era,
a 1,000-year era. This is not the first time there has been such talk. In the
not too remote days of the Third Reich, there was talk in Nazi Germany of a
1,000-year reign.

25.  Those are illusions harbored by men who forget history's lessons at any
given time. No man, if he is a man, no human being, can be forced to give up
his ideals, to give up his hopes, to give up his dreams, not even nuclear
weapons could accomplish this. For over 30 years of revolution, we ourselves
have been threatened, we have been subject to aggression, pressures, and
harassment of all types, and we have been able to resist and be independent at
our own risk. I believe that this is proof of what a people can achieve.

26.  [Pages] How much longer do you believe that capitalism will endure or
survive in its present form? How much more time do you give it?

27.  [Castro] No one can give an honest reply to that question. No one can know
precisely how much longer the capitalist system and imperialism will survive.

28.  Generally speaking, revolutionaries have erred when calculating time.
Almost every revolutionary throughout history believed that his ideas would
triumph in the near future. Those who formulated the French Revolution's ideas
also thought that revolutionary changes would follow shortly thereafter,
however, those ideas took long to become reality. The revolutionaries, among
them Lenin, an outstanding revolutionary which no one can deny, believed that
immediately after the Russian Revolution a world revolution would take place.
Before Lenin, peasants in Paris believed that the socialist revolution would
ensue immediately; Marx believed that his ideas would triumph much more
quickly; [Father Miguel] Hidalgo and [Father Jose-Maria] Morelos believed that
they would achieve Mexico's independence immediately. In 1810 [Simon] Bolivar
believed in Venezuela's imminent independence and in the liberation and
integration of Latin America. Nevertheless, many years of hard struggle passed
before independence was achieved, country by country, and integration is still
not a reality. The Cubans in 1868 believed in the immediate success of their
struggle, and only 30 years later did they achieve a neocolonial regime. This
neocolonial regime kept us under U.S. political and economical domination for
almost 60 years, until the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

29.  I am certain that the first Christians believed that their doctrines would
spread all over the world in a short time, however, many centuries passed
before those ideas became the religion of the Western masses. In general, the
revolutionaries always believe that those ideas that they consider as just will
triumph unquestionably without any delay whatsoever. We revolutionaries run the
risk of thinking we can reduce, with imagination, capitalism's life span. There
is no doubt in my mind that selfish and merciless regime will disappear. I
believe this because I believe in humanity, I believe in mankind, in his
capability to struggle, as well as in justice and liberty.

30.  New phenomena will come to be. I believe that political science gurus will
have to closely watch how events will develop and what contradictions will
arise between the big economic blocs, as well as the development of those
events in the coming years and maybe in the coming decades. One thing is
certain, today's world cannot continue as it is eternally, nor can billions of
people continue to go hungry, living in misery. These people would rather die
than continue like this.

31.  This world has to change, and it will change, but no one can say when. The
world will inexorable change if mankind survives the ecological disasters and
the dangers of war that capitalism and imperialism have created with their
anarchy, their colossal squandering of resources, their zeal to achieve
domination, their mad lifestyle, and their societies rooted in consumption.

32.  [Pages] When you attended Brazilian President Collor de Mello's
inauguration, Spanish President Felipe Gonzalez asked you to join the
hemisphere's democratization process.  At that time you responded that the
socialist model was as democratic as others. What proof do you have of that

33.  [Castro] It cannot be said that Felipe [Gonzalez] issued an invitation for
us to join a democratic movement in Latin America. This was not the case, and
it would be out of context to say this, although maybe this impression could
have been given. Felipe, as well as Carlos Andres Perez, expressed their
concern with regard to the economic difficulties and the perils of aggression
that Cuba was going to suffer in the wake of the disaster that took place in
Eastern Europe. It is in this regard that they expressed their concern.

34.  They seemed to insinuate that we should make some concessions-they did not
come right out and say it- and the need to think of ways in which we could
survive.  What Felipe [Gonzalez] said is that he knew that the Cubans could put
up a struggle, that they could resist, make sacrifices, but the Sagunto and
Numacia mentality should not prevail, that is, to resist no matter what the
cost. That was more or less the message they passed along. Decidedly, our
mentality is to resist at any price, to defend our revolutionary cause and our
nation's independence. We have upheld our points of view. If we rely on
history, we can see that Spain herself is an good example of heroism. In 1808
when Napoleon invaded Spain, the Spanish people did not spare sacrifices or the
price they had to pay to defeat the invading troops, which were the cream of
the most powerful and apparently undefeatable army of that time. Likewise, the
Spaniards did not let up their struggle for 700 years against the invading
Arabs. In this sense, Spain has been a nation that has set an example. In
Madrid, the socialists-among them the socialists that preceded Felipe's current
party-resisted for more than two years Franco's forces who were supported by
German planes and Italian soldiers; the socialists said ``they will not pass''
and they kept their word.

35.  Today's Spain would not exist without that will or that decisiveness to
resist. With regard to the other part of your question on which regime is more
democratic, I believe that the socialist system is much more democratic than
the capitalist in every way. But Felipe and I never discussed this issue on
that ocassion when I talked to him, in front of Carlos Andres Perez. That is
the true, unbiased story of what happened during the visit to Brazil.

36.  [Pages] But why do you believe that the socialist model is as democratic
or even more so than the other systems?  Tell me why, Commander.

37.  [Castro] The socialist system is much more democratic, in every sense,
than the capitalist system if we do not allow ourselves to be led on by mere
formalism. In our socialism-I am talking about our own experience- there is a
constant participation of all the masses and of the people in everything,
otherwise we could not resist.

38.  I am sure you understand that we would not have been able to withstand the
U.S. blockade and threats for more than 30 years without the people's decided
participation in all the revolution's activities.

39.  [Castro] Socialism can exist here and in a U.S. neighborhood, with the
mere participation of the people. In the West there is a tendency to credit men
with merits of the political processes and it is said: ``Castro's Cuba;''
``Castro's Government;'' or ``Castro's work.'' Nevertheless, Cuba belongs to
the people, the government belongs to the people, and the works are those of
the people. It is a custom to attribute to individuals merits that no leader
can have. During Greece's golden age, some leaders were considered to be divine
beings. It was said that Alexander the Great was the son of Olympias and a god. 
However, even with divine origins, the leaders can only accomplish that which a
people can do, can support, and can defend. Who defends socialism in Cuba?
Armed men and women, workers and students, peasants, millions of armed persons,
defending the socialist system in Cuba. Therefore, the first duty of a state is
to survive. I then ask myself, in which of these formally so-called democratic
governments are the weapons in the hands of the people? The essence of
democracy that is expressed in our nation to defend the state does not exist in
any of those societies based on class, where you only see policemen constantly
repressing the people.

40.  What are the images that can frequently be seen in Europe, in London, or
in other capitals of that continent, or in the United States almost daily? The
horses, the dogs, the policemen-dressed up in gear which makes them look more
like astronauts than men-repressing the students, the workers on strike, the
neighbors because they protest a tax, and then there are the wounded, the dead.
These scenes are very frequent, therefore what we see is a frequent
contradiction between the state as a force, and other sectors of society.

41.  In our country you do not see any of these events. This has not been seen
in 30 years of revolution precisely because in our nation there is an identity
among the people, the state, and the government. I say that any Cuban citizen
can claim: ``I am the state,'' as Luis XIV allegedly said, because he is the
state, as he is the one who, with his arms, defends that state. Can the people
conceive such an attitude, such an identification without socialism's essence
of democracy where the merciless exploitation of man by man has disappeared;
that merciless exploitation and inequality that exists in capitalism? No, this
cannot be conceived. This is why I say that in essence, a socialist society is
much more democratic than a capitalist society.

42.  The capitalist society and the capitalist democracy are designed to
oppress and to exploit mankind, they were designed for this purpose. Meanwhile
the socialist system is designed to protect mankind, to support mankind, and to
turn man into a constant player in the task of creating a more just, more
human, and more united society.

43.  [Pages] Commander, can we then say that democracy is a necessary
consequence of socialism?

44.  [Castro] The way I conceive it, democracy is an essence of socialism as
well as a consequence.