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SIEMPRE Interviews Castro on Ties With USSR
ANNEX / Cuba
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000009233
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA1606212291
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-119-A        Report Date:    20 Jun 91
Report Series:       Latin America            Start Page:     7
Report Division:     ANNEX                    End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       15 Jun 91
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 119-A

Dissemination:  FOUO

City/Source of Document:   Havana PRENSA LATINA

Report Name:   ANNEX

Headline:   SIEMPRE Interviews Castro on Ties With USSR

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

Source Line:   PA1606212291 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 0446 GMT 15 Jun

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

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

2.  [Text] [No dateline as received] [Pages] Do you think that the political
and economic changes that have taken place in Eastern Europe were historically
inevitable, or did Eastern European leaders have an opportunity to delay or
avoid those changes?

3.  [Castro] I do not think that those changes were historically inevitable. I
cannot think that way. I cannot adopt that fatalistic approach, because I do
not think that the return to capitalism and the disappearance of the socialist
field was inevitable. I think that subjective factors played an important role
in this process. There were all kinds of mistakes, for example, the divorce
from the masses. If we were to delve deeply into this subject, we would say
that there were large ideological weaknesses because the masses moved away from
the ideals of socialism, among which human solidarity is primary.  The real
values of socialism were being neglected, and the material questions received
more attention as time went by. The ideological part of this kind of process
was being neglected, while the materialistic part was being stressed. It
suddenly appeared as if the objective of socialism, according to the
statements, speeches, and documents, had focused only on improving the standard
of living of the population every year: A little more cloth fabric, a little
more cheese, a little more milk, a little more ham, more material stuff. To me,
socialism is a total change in the life of the people and the establishment of
new values and a new culture which should be based mainly on solidarity between
men, not selfishness and individualism.

4.  I think that the methods and instruments of the capitalist system were used
excessively to build socialism. The implementation of many instruments of the
capitalist system began to appear at a historical moment, not only in the
Eastern Europe, but in the USSR itself. Regarding this issue, I still remember
the great skepticism, more than skepticism, the opposition of Ernesto Che
Guevara over all these methods. The Eastern European countries not only used
capitalist mechanisms to build their economies, but also to adapt concepts of
living similar to those of the capitalists. Everybody wanted to live as people
did in Paris, London, or New York, without taking into account the historical
factors that led to the development of those capitalist industrialized nations. 
These factors include the centuries of colonialism, the looting of the world,
as well as all the factors which created the enormous gap between the
less-developed countries and the developed or rich countries, without any

5.  Eastern European countries are now beginning to have millions of jobless
people, as well as all the vices of capitalist society. They are beginning to
have tremendous social inequality, injustice, discontent, and repentance,
because they thought that they would live like they do in Paris the day after
the famous changes, without even having to work. What they are really learning
is the nature of capitalism and all its inequalities, injustices, and

6.  I disagree with the kind of socialism that is being built there. I already
told you that we had to respect what others did. We could not begin an
ideological world war against imperialism on one hand, and the shortcomings of
socialism on the other, because this is not our mission. We have prioritized
tasks in this regard, and we have our struggles and our problems. We observed
with skepticism what was being done in Eastern Europe, and he who most
commented on this issue was Ernesto Che Guevara.

7.  [Pages] After the fall of socialism in those nations, many people claim
that the world is witnessing the conclusion and the death of ideologies. What
do you think?

8.  [Castro] I think that today more than ever, the ideologies are prevailing,
because imperialism is trying to impose its ideals and political theories in
every aspect. Imperialism is trying to impose its economic ideals with severity
and maximum discipline, and it does not want to hear anything but
neoliberalism, a kind of extremist neoliberalism at that. In other words, the
world is experiencing the tremendous splendor of the reactionary ideology of
capitalism and imperialism, similar to that experienced during the period of
the emancipation and the Holy Alliance, following the French Revolution.

9.  The world of today is living in a boom driven by the triumphant spirit of
the capitalist and imperialist ideas, their ideology now stronger than ever.
Then, how are we going to give up the leftist ideologies, or the revolutionary
ideologies, or the ideology of those who want to change the world, the ideology
of those who want a better world, the ideology of those who want a more just
world?  How are we going to give up the revolutionary ideologies at a time when
the imperialists are trying to impose their reactionary ideology with more
force than ever before?  All you have to do is read the papers everyday, at all
hours of the day, this triumphant spirit, what is this if it is not an
ideology? This idea that they are trying to sell to the world on the swan song
for socialism, what is this if not an ideology? This idea that only capitalism
can solve the world's problems, what is this, if it is not an ideology? 
Therefore, we are not seeing the end of ideologies, we are living at a time of
the glorification-through all the media and with all the resources-of the
ideology, that unfortunately, is the reactionary ideology. Thus it is just the
opposite of what is said or what they want to establish. What they would like
when they say that all ideologies should disappear, what they mean is that all
revolutionary ideology, all ideology of social change, all that aim at leading
to a world different from capitalism, should disappear. This is the idea of
preeminence. We are living at a time of great ideological preeminence and of
reactionary ideology.

10.  [Pages] What degree of cordiality exists between Cuba and the USSR after
all these changes?

11.  [Castro] If the Soviets decide to make a number of reforms, of any type,
even if they establish capitalism, we can have our opinion on this but we will
still respect them. Of course, they have never said that they will establish
capitalism, they never talked about giving up socialism, nor have they talked
about this yet. They talked about a number of economic and political reforms
and our position was to respect that belief. We even approved many of the
positions that they set out at the beginning. Yes, for example, they said that
an end had to be put to income that was not generated at the job site, that a
struggle has to be made against those who rob, those who speculate, the
middlemen, the parasites, and all those types of people. Who is not going to
agree with that? When they set out to accelerate the socialist development
based on the intense application of science and technology, who was not going
to agree with that? When they set out to perfect socialism and the socialist
mechanisms, and when they criticized historical errors, who was not going to
agree with that? Nevertheless, I am very conscious, and I have been very
conscious for a long time, of the historical errors made in different fields of
the Soviet Union's revolutionary process. They made errors on several issues.
The phenomena of personality cults, the abuse of power, all those things
happened. All the political processes and all the revolutions have made
mistakes. If we analyze the errors made by the French Revolution, they too were
significant. If we analyze the mistakes of the Spanish Republic, which was a
just cause, we find many errors. If we start to analyze the errors in the
Mexican Revolution, we will find all kinds of errors because everything took
place then; there were executions on both sides. You know that the Mexican
revolutionary struggles were very bloody.

12.  The current Soviet leadership that initiated this reform process has
always been very respectful and friendly to us. This leadership undertook all
efforts to develop our relations. We signed a friendship and cooperation
agreement with Gorbachev during his visit to Cuba and our meetings with him
were always very good, pleasant, and friendly. Therefore, in the midst of this
process they never demanded that we do what they were doing, nor could we
demand anything, nor did we interfere in what they were doing. There is a
principle of respect that has been maintained until today, and this is why our
relations have been cordial. We have here a Soviet diplomatic mission, an
ambassador, technicians, and significant economic relations. I think that there
could not be any other possible policy, nor rules, principles, or notions to
develop relations between ourselves and the Soviet Union.

13.  [Pages] Has international public opinion exerted any pressure on Cuba to
change its direction, like the Soviets?

14.  [Castro] We were accused of being a satellite of the Soviet Union for 30
years, and we were accused of doing whatever the Soviet Union did-which was a
big lie because we were never a satellite and we were never obedient followers
of Moscow's orders, and we never received such orders-and now, because the
situation has completely changed, we are told to do what the Soviets do.

15.  What does the West want us to do? We are revolutionaries on our own and at
our own risk. We are not revolutionaries for someone else, and we will not be
demoralized or discouraged by all those campaigns.  What do they demand, that
we implement a market economy? What do they demand, that we become capitalists?
What do they demand, that we become addicted to the lifestyle, both political
and economic, of the West, of imperialism, of capitalism? Is that what they
demand?  They will undoubtedly fail to achieve this.

16.  This type of pressure has been exerted, but not by the Soviets. The
consequences of what occurred represent an entirely different thing, and the
effects have been quite serious and deep, but they have not been intentional. 
The USSR has not tried to exert economic pressure on us, instead, the Soviets
currently face a serious economic crisis, lack of organization, and chaos that
affects their economy. Thus, without intending to affect us or to exert
pressure on our country, the consequences have seriously affected our economic
relations, not to mention the serious blow dealt by the disappearance of the
Socialist bloc, which truly affected us. What affects us the most is the
problems which result from the difficulties of the Soviet Union. Referring to
this, we have not been subjected to pressure, but we have suffered serious
consequences. We can say that the consequences have been disastrous for our
country's economy, for our country's security, and for the revolution.

17.  [Pages] Cuba has to find itself a new place in the world after the
collapse of Eastern Europe. Where will the country turn to, commander? Could
the PRC or the DPRK be the answer?

18.  [Castro] I think that we are well placed where we are. We are used to the
proximity, aggressiveness, threats, and hostility of the United States. I think
that if we could move elsewhere, to another place in the world, it would not be
a great advantage because the U.S. Armed Forces are designed for world
domination and they have hundreds of bases and military installations, squads,
fleets, etc., etc., around the world.

19.  Besides, if we could relocate elsewhere, geographically speaking, we might
miss our neighbor to the north, because we have grown accustomed to its
presence and we would not like to change location, if that were geographically

20.  I think our place is in Cuba, first of all because everything depends on
us and on our capability to resist, sacrifice ourselves, face problems and
solve them amid difficult conditions. Everything essentially depends on our
people and that is why our place is on the island, deep inside our homeland.
Second, I would say that our place is on our continent, deep inside what Marti
called our America, which is where we are.

21.  I also believe that we must take into account the socialist Cuba which
represents an equally historic reality, because I believe we will have the
capacity to defend her.

22.  In addition to that, we must try to broaden our economic relations with
the entire world. Of course, as far as we are concerned, because of its
blockade, the United States is not included. This is a great obstacle to our
economic development. Mexicans will understand this very well because we had a
greater percentage of trade with the United States than what you have, and we
have been deprived of all that. You will understand what a big obstacle the
U.S. blockade has meant for our development. This forced us to look for the
broadest possible economic relationships with the rest of the world, fighting
pressure from the United States, which not only exercises an economic blockade
against us, but pressures everyone with all their might to prevent the rest of
the world from trading with us. The United States tries to extend its blockade
the world over. Some countries do not trade with us on account of U.S. 
pressure. Many commercial operations are sabotaged by them and they complicate
commercial operations in whatever way they can.

23.  [Pages] Commander, it is said that Fidel Castro has always been a great
prophet and whatever he predicts occurs. What do you believe Gorbachev's future
will be?

24.  [Castro] I do not know who says I have these prophetic qualities.

25.  One can always observe historical trends, events, a series of
circumstances. Here, for example, we have been analyzing a number of
international problems.

26.  Gorbachev is a very clever man, that is one of his characteristics. I
mention this because I notice he is a man of great capacity and he works to
find solutions to his country's great problems. Right now he is fighting a
battle to avoid the breakup of the Soviet Union. The USSR's very existence is
what is at stake today. No one can say for sure that the breakup of the Soviet
Union is going to take place. I believe that Gorbachev's historic role will
depend on what he can do to preserve the USSR as a multinational state, as a
great country, and as a superpower. Really, the idea of a unipolar world under
U.S. protection is something that does not please anyone at all, and even less
so the better they get to know the United States. This would be humanity's
great tragedy.  We hope that Gorbachev's talent and intelligence, his wisdom,
his good intentions-which no one questions- helps him find the formula that
will allow him to preserve the USSR as a great country and as a great power. If
he is able to do this under current circumstances, the people will be grateful.
However, no one can predict these events. It would be irresponsible for me to
attempt this.

27.  All I can say is that I have hope that this can be achieved.

28.  [Pages] Could U.S. tensions lessen without Cuba having to surrender its

29.  [Castro] I consider it very difficult that given the present circumstances
the United States can lessen its hostilities toward us. Only time can make this
possible, only when the United States sees the amount of heroism our people
have, only when they learn to respect the heroic capacity of our people. It
will depend a great deal on us, on our capacity to resist economic
difficulties, on our capacity to dash their hopes that our revolution can
collapse, the capacity to defend the country if at any moment they attempt to
forcibly destroy the revolution. I believe that only then would they be capable
of reflecting on these terms, something very difficult to do just now when they
are possessed by a very great triumphant spirit, when they speak of a 1000-year
North American order, and when they know that Cuba has maintained its
principles with much bravery and firmness.

30.  It is very difficult for them to show the minimum honesty that is needed
to respect, as they should, a country such as Cuba; a country that deserves
their respect and that is even worthy of their admiration, because, how many
adversaries like us have they encountered? And what danger does Cuba pose for
the United States? There is no Socialist bloc today and they can no longer
claim that U.S. security is being threatened or any of those other fantasies,
foolish acts, and idiocies; they are simply facing a problem of arrogance,
hegemony, and an inability to admit that someone is standing up to them in a
world where they are very much used to virtually everyone obeying them.

31.  This is why it is not realistic to think it possible that they are willing
to decrease tension between us; to stop their hostilities without us making
principle concessions.  Making principle concessions is tantamount to
renouncing the revolution, independence, and everything else. This would be
useless. We know them too well. You make a simple concession to them and they
will demand others. We know about the imperialist mentality, the imperialist
psychology, and that country's history not only through what they have done to
us, but by what we have seen them do to other countries under other
circumstances. Imperialism will be imperialism.  Its nature cannot be changed
by spontaneous generation, quite the contrary, it tends to be reaffirmed.

32.  [Pages] Then, it is not up to Cuba to decrease the tension of the
relationship with the United States?

33.  [Castro] That really does not depend on Cuba; it certainly does not depend
on Cuba. It depends on the United States.

34.  [Pages] Reagan applied a very aggressive pollicy toward Latin America and
particularly toward the island. That is my opinion. Have things changed with

35.  [Castro] No, they have not changed. The eight years of the Reagan
administration and Reagan's threat led our country to make great efforts to
strengthen its defense, its combat capabilities, its ability to resist in the
military arena, and to draft and develop a war concept that includes the
participation of all the people, including its millions of citizens, men, and

36.  Today our country is organized. It is much stronger in its ability to
resist and defend itself militarily than it was during the Reagan era. A part
of the Bush era has gone and we have continued to seriously prepare ourselves
in this area. This has made us stronger and better capable of resisting
threats. However, there is absolutely no indication that those threats have
disappeared with the new administration.

37.  We could point out that these threats have intensified because of the
triumphant attitude that prevails in the United States and the scorn they show
when referring to the sovereignty of other countries, which is also reflected
in the statements of its officials. Given that the USSR is facing difficult
moments and that the United States feels that it is virtually the owner of the
world, the possibilities of this country managing to contain and moderate
itself are dim. The only thing that could make them think is the knowledge that
an aggression against our country would have a prohibitive [impagable] cost.
This is what we believe, and it is up to us, although to many people it seems
impossible, to structure, organize, and create a defense system capable of
resisting a country that is as powerful, that has such sophisticated armaments,
and that has such technologically advanced military equipment. This is the only
thing capable of stopping them.

38.  [Pages] What do you think about Bush?

39.  [Castro] In Bush I see a genuine and capable representative of Yankee
imperialism. I think he is perfectly well prepared to exercise the functions he
is carrying out. I think that his many years as CIA director and as vice
president of the United States gave him experience and he is now accomplishing
his role as chief of the empire.  I am not going to characterize him as a
person. The empire is the essence of injustice, arrogance, hegemony,
warmongering, and aggressiveness, and its representatives express this
philosophy and these ideas. So, I will limit myself to passing judgment on the
system they represent. I do not want to state any opinion of a personal nature.

40.  [Pages] Do you think that the U.S. victory over Iraq will encourage the
United States to attack Cuba militarily?

41.  [Castro] The Iraq war was a tragedy. No one knows what the economic costs
or the ecologic effects will be, but its political effects are very negative
for the world. This is a fact. We know this. We knew what would happen. The
current U.S. hegemony is not a result of the Iraq war, but of problems in the
socialist camp and of the problems the Soviet Union has; problems that have
practically eliminated that country as a counterweight to U.S. warmongering
plans in the world, although the Soviet Union has not been definitely
eliminated. It is still a big power, it is still a great country, and it still
has respectable strength.  However, the problems it is enduring at this moment,
the domestic crisis it is suffering, have reduced its participation in, and its
influence on, world events to a minimum at this moment. The fact that the
United States has been able to take advantage of this historic situation, gave
that nation a hegemonic position prior to the war with Iraq.

42.  The Iraq war was, simply, a confirmation of unilateral and hegemonic
power. The United States adroitly utilized the errors committed by Iraq.

43.  [Pages] I will rephrase my question, commander. Could the changes in the
Soviet Union and the socialist world encourage the United States to attack Cuba
militarily? Is there that possibility?

44.  [Castro] The situation that exists now did not exist before and still the
United States attacked Vietnam, launched a naval squadron on, and intervened
in, Grenada, one of the smallest countries of the world, and invaded Panama, a
country it is still occupying. What guarantees can the United States offer any
country?  What security can the United States offer us? We will not make the
mistake of believing in ethical values or in moderation that does not exist for
them. We have to trust only in our ability to resist any military aggression.

45.  The current situation did not exist earlier and still they carried out a
few interventions. The current situation, logically, could encourage them to
carry out any kind of military adventure.