Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Imevision Interviews Castro on Guadalajara Summit
Havana Radio Havana Cuba
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA2407225491
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-143          Report Date:    25 Jul 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       9
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       23 Jul 91
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 143


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio Havana Cuba

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Imevision Interviews Castro on Guadalajara Summit

Author(s):   unidentified reporter; in Guadalajara, Mexico on 20 July-recorded]

Source Line:   PA2407225491 Havana Radio Havana Cuba in Spanish 0300 GMT 23 Jul

Subslug:   [Interview with President Fidel Castro granted to Mexican Imevision
television by unidentified reporter; in Guadalajara, Mexico on 20

1.  [Interview with President Fidel Castro granted to Mexican Imevision
television by unidentified reporter; in Guadalajara, Mexico on 20

2.  [Text] [Unidentified reporter] Mr. Cuban President, we are here in
Guadalajara. An unprecedented event has taken place. Cuba was seated at the big
Latin American table but it was also seated in a very different position, with
a discourse that sounded strong, at the Cabanas Center. How do you explain
this? How important is it for life in your country and in Latin America?

3.  [Castro] Well, I believe that we first need to talk a little about the
background of our interview. We met in Havana. You explained to me that you
were interviewing all Latin American presidents, and that I was the only one
left. I was committed to granting you this interview. I would like to express
my satisfaction for being able to fulfill this commitment, even after the
summit, so you can complete your record.

4.  Well, I sat at a round table. It was not very big. It was a table for some
20 people. I understand the meaning of the phrase, big table, that you used. As
far as the opportunity of meeting for the first time with all Latin American
presidents, I believe that the table was big, not only for Cuba but for all, in
that for the first time in history since independence took place in this
hemisphere, since the struggles for independence at the end of last century, we
had never had such a meeting except when Washington called it. When Washington
said: Come, everyone traveled to the United States, or wherever, at the same
time. Of course, Cuba was never invited. This is why I see this meeting as a
truly historic and far-reaching event, because it was called by Latin Americans
and not the United States. This is the first time in history that we have done
it, and I truly think it is unusual and uncommon. This is my view.

5.  You were referring to the speeches. I truly expressed what I felt, and the
views I had. It would have been hypocritical on my part if I had arrived at
this meeting, spoke in a princely language, and did not say what I thought. I
was respectful in the way I expressed myself. I was respectful to all. I was
careful and did not get excited at any time, although I do have a relatively
passionate personality. There were differences in some ideas and a little bit
in the style because I like to use direct language and not beat around the
bush. I would not dare to characterize my speech as contrasting or absolutely
contrasting because many interesting, strong, and serious statements were made.
I listened to each and every one of the speeches with a lot of interest. The
way in which many talented leaders expressed themselves attracted my attention.
They expressed themselves strongly on serious and deep matters. Therefore, it
cannot be said that I was the exception.

6.  I spoke on each one of the subjects. I do not know if the speeches will be
published. I believe they were recorded on tape and by television. From a
historical point of view, it would be interesting if all the speeches were
published. I imagine that that will be in the hands of the organizers of the
event. I spoke about each one of the subjects. At times I thought about not
doing it because I did not think it was mandatory to refer to each and every
one of the subjects, but I generally expected to make a reference to them. I
spoke whenever I noted an important omission, or an omission on an important
subject was made. I maintained the same respectful tone at all times. There was
a dialogue. There were some hasty responses in exchanges. There was a good
sense of humor. Jokes were made. There was a little bit of everything. It would
be misleading if everything that was said was analyzed and the public, national
and international opinion did not have the opportunity of having direct access
to everything that was said. This is why I am endorsing that everything
available on the summit be published.

7.  [Reporter] I ask you this precisely because during the tour in which we
spoke to many presidents, we noticed an almost unique direction in Latin
America, a trend toward pragmatism, the deideologization of government matters,
and market economy. In this sense, Cuba seems to be an island more than ever.

8.  [Castro] Yes. My conclusion is that there may have been two moments-before
and after the summit. Many of us did not know each other before the summit, and
we did not know how the other thought. Of course, I have my views, I have my
ideology. One cannot talk about deideologization because I believe there is
more ideology than ever in the international sphere at this time. It is the
ideology of capitalism and neoconservatism. This is an ideology. There is also
a triumphalistic sense by the defenders of capitalism and the old and unjust
international economic order that has existed in the world.  There is talk
about a new political international order, and what needs to be talked about is
a new economic international order, of the new order that the United Nations
approved many years ago to alleviate some of the poverty of three-fourths of
humankind, to improve the development possibilities of the Third World people. 
I believe that there is more ideology than ever, and that it is the ideology of
imperialism and capitalism. This is why one cannot talk about the end of
ideology. In any case, one would have to talk about the end of the ideologies
that oppose the dominant economic system.

9.  [Reporter] What can Cuba do within this domination framework since Cuba is
so small and alone?

10.  [Castro] Well, almost all great ideas began with small and solitary
things. If we go back to the origins of religions, all religions began in a
corner of the world. A prophet-I do not intend to characterize myself as a
prophet-took the ideas of some, of a group of men, and the ideas later spread
throughout the world. The important thing is not the size of the country that
defends an idea, what matters is the size of the idea and the importance and
objective value of the ideas you defend. In this case, we are defenders of
ideas of social justice and international justice. We are very proud of
defending those ideas. Of course, we must defend them wisely. We cannot be
dogmatic. It is one thing to defend ideas with deep conviction, and another to
be dogmatic.

11.  We are not dogmatic, and we too need a dose of pragmatism in this world in
which we are living. The problem is not only to defend an idea, but in
attempting to make the ideas move forward. I do not believe that we are
defending the ideas alone. If you speak about ideas of justice in this world,
of ideas of development, if you protest against the looting our peoples are
victim of, if you oppose the monstrosity of the foreign debt, if you do not
understand how social problems and development of the countries can be solved
while we are being plundered [we are not alone]. It is not a single country,
but many countries. It is not a single man, or a group of men, or a party, but
many men and people who are suffering the same problems and they are defending
the same ideas. If you defend Latin American unity, you are defending a vital
need for the survival of many people. There are more and more people who
understand the need for that unity, at least in the economic order, and they
will understand it better and better in the political order. If not, what could
the Third World do? For example, what could Latin America do with its
Balkanized life in order to negotiate and discuss with the economic
superpowers, with the United States, Japan, Europe? What could each one of our
countries do isolated? How could we, who are fragments of something that should
be united and constitute a whole, discuss with those enormous superpowers
alone, separately? Anyone can understand that as a tactic, this would be
absurd. It would be madness.

12.  This is why we talked about the need for unity to have a place in the
world. There is already talk about the year 2000, of the third millenium. What
role are our peoples going to play in that millenium? This is why I used a
phrase, thinking of the almost 200 years that have gone by since the
independence movement of our peoples began, since the times of Bolivar who with
such a clear vision analyzed the problems of our countries, the destiny of our
countries, the need for unity of our countries.  I remembered Marti, who
predicted all these problems almost 100 ago. I thought of what we could have
been had we united. We could be a great economic power, a great economic
community similar to the large economic powers existing in the world today.

13.  This is why I painfully said at one point that we could have been
everything and we are nothing. I said it with pain because I think about the
weaknesses of our forces to face this battle that is vital for the present and,
above all, the future generations. These are the kinds of ideas that we have
been defending everywhere, and we have defended them in this summit. I believe
it is the only way in which we can think of having a future. I believe that I
am not the only one that thinks in this way. This idea is sound and has
strength. I believe that there will be more and more awareness of this
phenomena. I think that this summit is evidence of this.

14.  [Reporter] I was asking you about this also because some have already
begun the countdown for Cuba.

15.  [Castro] Yes.

16.  [Reporter] They say that the Berlin wall went down; the socialist world
collapsed; the Soviet Union is falling apart; Marxism has been defeated; and
Cuba is approaching a period of transition, a change, an end of the project it
has been working on up to now.

17.  [Castro] Well, I believe that the revolutionary movement, the progressive
movement in general, is going through a difficult stage. The fact that all of
that is being said is evidence of what I mentioned before, that ideology at
this time is stronger and is more current than ever, only that it is a
reactionary ideology. Socialism is still very new, very new. It just emerged in
the world. Not in the modern sense, but the foundations of capitalism are
thousands of years old. Indeed, adverse events have taken place in East Europe
and the Soviet Union is going through great difficulties. But, have the causes
that engendered revolutions and socialism disappeared from the world? On the
contrary, I believe that those causes are more present now than ever. If you
consider statistical figures, there are more hungry people in the world than
ever, there are more sick and unemployed people and more poverty.

18.  In our own Latin America, which is not one of the most backward regions,
the figures on the levels of poverty are impressive, they are substantial.
There are 4 billion people living in poverty and underdevelopment in the world.
Where did underdevelopment come from? It came from colonialism, capitalism,
from the exploitation and looting of our countries. Those causes are more
present now than ever. Who can say that these problems have been solved? One
has to have a triumphalistic attitude and be too optimistic to think that
everything has been solved regarding progressive and socialist ideas.

19.  Just like the phoenix, they will rise stronger than ever from the ashes we
are covered with today. What has capitalism solved? It has not solved any
problem. It has ravaged the world. It has left all this poverty. It has created
life styles and consumption models that are incompatible with the realities.
They have poisoned the water, the oceans; I mean the rivers, lakes, oceans, the
earth. They have created the most incredible waste. I always cite an example:
Imagine if each Chinese had a car or wanted to have a car, if each one of the
1.1 billion Chinese people or if each one of the some 800 million Indians
wanted to have a car and this life style and that Africa did the same and that
almost 450 million Latin Americans did the same. How long would oil last? How
long would gas last? How long would natural resources last? What would be left
of the ozone layer? What would be left of the oxygen on the Earth? What would
happen with the carbon dioxide?

20.  What about all these phenomena that are changing the ecology of the world
and are changing the Earth? They are making life more and more difficult on our
planet. Is it that capitalism has given the world a life model, a society
model? Should we not be thinking about more rational things such as education
of the entire population, nutrition, health, decent housing, and a high
cultural level? Has capitalism, with its blind laws, its selfishness as a
principle, given us a model? Has it taught us a way out? Will the road of
humankind be drawn by capitalism up to now?

21.  One can talk about the crisis of socialism, but capitalism is in a worse
crisis. It has no way out. It does not have solutions to the great problems of
humankind, in every area, from human problems to social and ecological
problems. Life cannot continue based on blind laws.  Man should have the
possibility of planning his own development, of planning his life, of using
natural and human resources rationally and not going through this crazy rat
race that has led us to nothing and will lead to nowhere.

22.  Thus, I do not see why there is so much talk about predictions regarding
socialism. I relate socialism to new ideas, advancement, progress, the ability
of man to organize his life, design his society, and plan his future. 
Capitalism does not promise any of these things. I would come to the opposite
conclusion, in spite of these setbacks the revolutionary movement has suffered,
I would come to the conclusion that capitalism is going through an irreversible
crisis and that it does not have a solution to the problems of humankind.

23.  [Reporter] We noticed that the feeling now is that there is a need for
open markets. We are told that we are going to make a society of opportunities,
of freedom, of democracy. On the other hand, we see the masses in
Czchekoslovakia, Yugoslavia, in these countries, in a euphoria of freedom.

24.  [Castro] Well, that took place at a certain point because there was a lot
of influence from the West. Do not forget that socialism developed in the most
backward European countries.  They were agricultural countries. Do not forget
that it was circumstantial. This was not the case in Cuba. In Cuba, just as
with the Mexican Revolution, the revolution was autochthonous. In Cuba, the
revolution was a product of our own decisions, it was not circumstantial,
nobody imposed it on us. It is a very different situation to that of all of
those countries where, in addition, many different mistakes were made. There
was also an ideological battle. The presence of a consumption society had a lot
of influence. Many thought that they were going to live the next day like they
live in Paris or London, even without working. They harbored many illusions. It
is like the people who walk in the desert and from a distance believe they see
lakes, rivers, and palm trees, and it turns out that they are only mirages.

25.  From those societies they did not see the terrible part, the inequalities,
the injustices, the lack of security, the alienating and alienated life, the
crazy competition of some men against others, the jungle capitalism where the
stronger one should prevail, and the stronger one does prevail, the injustice
there is in capitalism, the inequality there is in capitalism, the existence of
millionaires and beggars, the existence of people who have palaces, and of
those who have to sleep under a bridge. Millions of people have to sleep under
bridges in the United States.  I can tell you that not a single person sleeps
under a bridge in Cuba.

26.  When winter arrives, millions of street people commit crimes in the United
States so they will be taken to prison where they can keep warm and have
something to eat. There are millions of vices of all kinds in the United
States. All the problems with drugs, prostitution, and gambling are a result of
capitalism. That does not exist in a truly socialist country. That does not
exist in our country.

27.  Why do we have to change a more just and organized society, a society that
has the privilege of planning its future, for a chaotic and unequal society?
What kind of freedom can one talk about when you think of the illiterate, the
beggars, the unemployed, in the people who do not have health services, who do
not have any kind of opportunities in life? What kind of democracy can one
speak of when hundreds of millions and billions inherit these things as
relatives pass to their heirs do, or as a throne is inherited? What kind of
equality of opportunity can be spoken of when a person has nothing?  Isolated
cases of those who having been very poor at a certain time were able to become
rich do not matter.  These are isolated examples of Cinderellas that marry a

28.  I think of the story of my own father who was a son of very poor peasant
Spaniards. At a certain time-he was hard working-he was able to employ other
men and they were able to have.... [changes thought] There are so many more
stories such as this one, of people who were very poor and were able to build
some wealth. Those stories happen less and less. The opportunities are given to
the important executives who studied in select schools and come from families
who own shares of the large international companies or the large corporations.
What are the opportunities that the son of the poor man, of the peasant, of the
laborer has? They cannot be deceived with the song of the siren that he is
going to have the opportunity to become a Rockefeller. The time of Rockefellers
is over. The time when the banks and railroads began and turned men into great
millionaires, that time is over.

29.  There is no equality of opportunity. It is a lie. It is a total falsehood.
In my own case, I remember the children of my age. I was the son of the
landowner. I was the only one who could go to school and reach sixth grade, the
only one to get a high school diploma, the only one who was able to attend the
university and acquire the minimum level of culture needed to play a certain
role in the life of his country. None of those hundreds of children had the
remote opportunity. They did not even reach the fifth grade. I have also lived
the experience of someone who was able to study and play a role. If instead of
being the son of the landowner, I had been the son of one of those peasants,
and had not died of hunger or some of the frequent diseases that did not
receive medical attention, I would have not been able to play any role in my

30.  Therefore, I cannot believe in those fairy tales because my own life
experience taught me what the realities of this world are. I believe that our
society is much more just and much more democratic, not only in its contents,
but also in its structure. Are they going to tell me that the great model of
democracy is the United States, where less than half of the people vote, where
many people have so little respect for voting that they prefer to go out to a
restaurant or to the movies on the day of the elections? They elect the
president with 25 percent of the votes. Nobody else has anything to do with
what happens for a number of years. They elect a president who has more power
than an emperor, who can even begin nuclear war without consulting with anyone.
This reminds me of Rome, and a more powerful Rome than the historic one, and
some emperors who have more power than those of the Roman emperors.

31.  How can I deep down come to the conclusion that this is ideal for
humankind? This is a model of a government system. Therefore, I cannot agree
under any circumstances with that sense of triumph on those ideas because I am
saying that the problems of the world need to be solved. The key question is,
how are they going to be solved? We will see if capitalism and neoliberalism
are the ones that are going to solve these problems. They are the cause of the
disasters the world is suffering from.

32.  [Reporter] Commander, I ask about all this because this kind of talk about
capitalism and imperialism is hardly heard anymore. It seems that it is
outdated because something else prevails in the world.

33.  [Castro] The old system. This is what is in style at this time. It can
only be in style for the moment, considering everything I explained before.

34.  [Reporter] Is there not a countdown on Cuba?

35.  [Castro] In any case, I think there is a countdown of the type that takes
place before takeoffs because there is also countdown for spacecraft.
Countdowns are not always bad. Many times they are good.

36.  [Reporter] There is a lot of talk about.... [changes thought] Even in Cuba
we have had the opportunity of talking with people.... [changes thought] You
were talking about access to education. There are people in Cuba who now say: I
already went to school. I am an engineer and now I want to see the United
States. They want more opportunities.

37.  [Castro] We do not ban them from seeing the United States. The United
States is the one that bans them from seeing it. We have opened wide the
possibilities. First, everyone who wants to emigrate can do so. Secondly, we
have been making it easier and easier for all of those who want to visit the
United States and spend some time with relatives to visit there and return to
Cuba. They can go and come back. Tens and tens of thousands of people travel to
the United States and return every year. We make it easier and easier. So, we
do not prevent anyone from making those trips to acquire that knowledge and

38.  Of course, a revolution is a revolution and demands sacrifices. We are not
Belgium, the Netherlands, or Switzerland. They are developed and
super-developed countries. We are a Third World country. We need to work hard
for our development. Cuba is not the only one with this situation. Millions of
Mexicans, in this country that has oil, that has a certain level of industrial
development, cross the border every year in spite of the wall.  There is talk
about the Berlin Wall and that it had to be torn down. Why is there no talk
about tearing down that huge wall the United States has on the Mexican border? 
It has electric fences, patrols, and millions of things. It is said that a
million Mexicans are arrested at the border and returned every year.

39.  I ask myself, if there is talk about walls, why is this wall not
eliminated? Why are all the Mexicans who want to visit their relatives or look
for jobs in the United States not allowed to travel to the United States if
they want to?  Why are the U.S. borders not opened to Dominicans?  Hundreds of
thousands cross the Mona Passage and go to Puerto Rico and then to New York. A
million Dominicans live in New York. We have a phenomenon of many people from
Third World countries who emigrate. This happens in Asia, Africa, and Latin
America. This is not a situation that is exclusive to Cuba.

40.  Cuba has been economically blocked by the United States for over 30 years.
The United States has done everything possible to prevent our development. Now
we are also enduring the economic consequences of the collapse of the East
European socialist countries with which we had some trade and because of the
objective difficulties of the Soviet Union. We are going through a special
period. It is logical.... [changes thought] There were always people who wanted
to travel to the United States because there always was and always will be
people whose motivations are not patriotic, political, or revolutionary. They
think about attaining better life styles and higher incomes. If income in a
developed capitalist country is 15 or 20 times more than the income of a Third
World country, those migration movements are logical. Many people travel.

41.  Now, you tell my that there are some engineers who say: I am already an
engineer. I know thousands of engineers who became engineers and devote their
lives to the country, to work in the country, the development of the country.
Dozens of thousands of scientists are placing us at the forefront in various
fields of scientific research and technology. I also speak with thousands and
dozens of thousands of people who are proud of their fatherland, their
revolution, and are totally devoted to their work to take the country forward
in the middle of these big challenges and difficulties. Over half a million
Cubans have fulfilled internationalist missions-of one kind or another-in Third
World countries. There is no country that is more generous, and benevolent and
that expresses more solidarity than our people. I do not believe that there is
another such example in the world.

42.  I am truly proud and admire the virtues of our people. I see that this
situation takes place at an incomparable higher rate in other countries. In
reality, this is not exclusive of Cuba. Cuba is the country in which there is
less brain theft. The best talents of Latin America have emigrated to Europe
and the United States looking for research possibilities, better income, and
better life styles. There has been a constant theft of talent. On the other
hand, the best technical and scientific talents are in our country and are
working for the country with great patriotism and revolutionary spirit.

43.  [Reporter] But how much more sacrifice can Cuba make? Has the time not
come to open some roads?

44.  [Castro] Well, I think that all Third World countries need to make many
sacrifices. We have been sacrificing for centuries. Africans were subjected to
plundering for four centuries. Its population was subjected to kidnapping and
was brought to this hemisphere as slaves. The Indian population of this
hemisphere has been suffering marginalization and sacrifice for five centuries.
Humankind has been suffering great sacrifices and always dreaming of a better
world either in this life or the other one. Billions of people have had to be
resigned and are resigned with the idea that there might be a better life than
this one.

45.  Now, for the first time, humankind has fostered hopes of truly just
societies, of a true spirit of equality, fraternity, and freedom. These famous
goals and slogans that spread around the world from the French Revolution have
not been fulfilled anywhere. I ask myself, what is the freedom of the beggar
compared to that of the millionaire? What is the equality between the beggar
and the millionaire? What is the fraternity existing between the beggar and the
millionaire? When I speak of a beggar I can also be referring to the
unemployed, he who does not have a job, who does not have housing, who does not
have schooling for himself and his children, who does not have land, who has
nothing. There are hundreds of millions of such people in this hemisphere.

46.  The Economic Commission for Latin America says that there are 183 million
poor people. The congress held in Quito recently, at the end of last year, says
there are 270 million poor people and 84 million of them are destitute.  There
is not a single destitute person in our country. We are not a country of rich
people but there is not a single destitute, beggar, or barefoot child asking
for charity in the streets. There is talk here about 270 million poor people,
in this hemisphere, 62 percent of the population is poor. This does not mean
that the rest are rich. There are middle stratas and 10 percent may have 50
percent of the gross income. Where is justice? How can those figures set as

47.  I saw at the conference that many talked of the needs to redistribute
wealth and the need of social justice. I was glad to hear it. But I thought I
was hallucinating when I heard all that. Perhaps they were influenced by the
Orozco paintings.

48.  I hear that language is somewhat related to the events.  What is the
program and what is the way in which we are going to eliminate that category of
poverty and destitution. They are realities that we are seeing everyday. You
cannot see this in our country in spite of the fact that we are a Third World
country. You will not find an illiterate and you will not find a man without a
job. The person who does not have a job is given a subsidy in line with the
austerity measures we have had to implement, because of the lack of raw
material. We do not send anyone to the streets. We redistributed what we have. 
Even students who graduate from university get their jobs even if the factories
do not need them. This is done so that they work next to a more experienced
engineer so that he works. They form a reserve work force for the future.

49.  So, these are our objectives, our ideals. I think they are much more just.
I think there is more equality, more solidarity, more fraternity, more freedom.
I ask myself if a capitalist society can speak on those terms.

50.  [Reporter] Why, for example, within this framework, can those who have
different views not be allowed to get organized? Why can political freedom not
be allowed?  Why are spaces not opened?

51.  [Castro] Well, the problem is that forces have been polarized in our
country; the ones who have favored Cuba and those who have favored the United
States. We have endured the hostility for over 30 years. The war has gone on
for over 30 years. There have been all kinds of war. Among them has been the
brutal economic blockade that prevents us from even buying an aspirin in the
United States. It is incredible. When there is talk about human rights, not a
single word is said about the brutal violation of human rights of an entire
country, that constitutes the U.S. economic blockade, to prevent its
development. The revolution polarized the forces, the ones that were with it
and the ones against it and together with the United States.

52.  I say it frankly-I believe it is in line with the reality- that as long as
the reality persists, we cannot give the enemy any kind of opportunity for it
to carry out its historic task of destroying the revolution.

53.  [Reporter] Does that mean that dissidents will not have a space in Cuba?

54.  [Castro] They will not have space if they are pro-Yankee dissidents. There
are many people in Cuba who think differently and they are respected. There are
a number of people. Now, the creation of all the conditions for the party of
imperialism does not exist. We are not going to offer them either. I am
characterized by the fact that I speak frankly and say what I think. We look
for pluralism within our party. A good example is the nomination of candidates
as area delegates.  They constitute the foundation of the election of all the
powers. The party is not the one to nominate. The area residents gathered in a
meeting are the ones who make the nominations. This has been done since the
times of Greece which, by the way, was not a democratic society because it was
a society of owners and slaves. [sentence as heard] Slaves and other social
classes had no rights. The dominating class met at the public square.

55.  In our country, all citizens meet in their electoral area.  They are the
ones who nominate the candidates. They can nominate up to eight. It is not the
party. They cannot nominate more than eight. We are not going to have 80, or
less than two candidates in one voting area. In order to be elected they need
to get the majority of votes plus one. Over 95 percent of the voters
participate in our elections. Naturally, the United States is not going to talk
about this and are not going to publicize how our society is. You know that
there is a great media monopoly in the world. All this is ignored and wants to
be ignored. The people and not the party are the ones who nominate in our

56.  [Reporter] But is not a single party a very narrow framework for

57.  [Castro] Well, it depends on what democracy. For revolutionary, socialist
democracy, it has been a broad framework. The most self-sacrificing, most
selfless people are in this party, those who have to be the first in
everything, in voluntary work and internationalist missions. To be a party
member is really to be deserving of the people's respect but also to make the
greatest efforts, the greatest sacrifices. The most advanced, most self-
sacrificing, most revolutionary people in the country are in the party. We
believe that our party has promoted much greater participation by the people
than there is anywhere else in the world. That is our view, our idea. Or is
there only one form of democracy? I have already spoken to you about some of
the characteristics of a capitalist democracy, which in my view can in no way
be a model for democracy.

58.  [Reporter] There are those .... [rephrases] [Chilean President] Patricio
Aylwin said to us that the Latin American presidents have achieved legitimacy
and now must attain effectiveness. In general the presidents talk very
insistently that they have received their backing through elections, that it
comes from the ballot box. You have seen how the press and the people
constantly ask why there are no elections in Cuba.

59.  [Castro] Well, why do they not know that there are elections in Cuba?
Every two and a half years we hold elections. Every five years we elect the
National Assembly and the Council of State. This is through an electoral method
in which those who make the nominations are the citizens. So there is a broad
base in this regard that no other country has. It is not the parties that make
the nominations, or the party that makes the nominations, but rather the
citizens make the nominations and elect those representatives who are the ones
who make up the branches of government at the various levels.

60.  [Reporter] In the case of the presidency, for example?

61.  [Castro] They elect the National Assembly, which elects the Council of
State. The Council of State elects its president. There is a collective
government. What do I say? As president, I have much less power than any other
president in Latin America. I cannot appoint ministers.  I cannot appoint
ambassadors; I never appoint ambassadors. The Council of State appoints them,
and I participate as just one more in the Council of State in selecting a
minister, selecting an ambassador, selecting the top government officials. If
you analyze my constitutional powers, they are much less than those of any
other president in Latin America. Power is much more shared.

62.  If you ask me if I have authority, I can say that yes, I do have
authority, moral authority, an authority that derives from history. If you ask
if I have influence, yes, I have influence, but I cannot appoint a minister. In
general, I often do not even propose anyone as a minister. The proposals come
from various channels. They come from the Council of State, when a minister
must be changed. Rather, I intervene when I am of the opinion that it would be
good to change a minister for certain reasons, whatever, because more
efficiency is needed, because a minister is tired. I may make a proposal, but I
do not seek out a replacement for the minister. I can assure you of this. The
powers that other Latin American presidents have are much greater than the ones
I have.  The type of authority or influence I have is different. It is of a
moral nature.

63.  A president like that of the United States has, shall I say, much greater
personal power than I have, and many more powers. He has many more powers than
a Roman emperor. He can declare a nuclear war, imagine! Is there anything more
far-reaching than a nuclear war? The U.S.  President has the power to begin one
and to use nuclear weapons without consulting with Congress and without
consulting with anyone. So if we get to the bottom of things, if we analyze
things, we find a lot of false premises in the arguments that are used to judge

64.  [Reporter] Nevertheless, these are very widespread arguments.

65.  [Castro] Well, what explanation would you give for that?  We do not have
the media assets that the empire has.  The new Rome creates public opinion, not
only ....[rephrases] Well, it creates public opinion throughout the world.
Often the influence of these media is so great that the citizens of our
countries do not even know who the founders of their independence were. In
contrast, they know a lot about the people on the television programs that come
from the United States, or the characters that come from the United States. You
find that many children know little about the history of their country, but
they know a lot about all that information, even entertainment, that comes
canned from the United States to Latin America. Why do we not think about these
phenomena which harm our culture and national identity so much? Why do we not
think about these truths, that there is a monopoly of the media through the
satellites, through tens of billions? [number reference not identified] Do you
have the broadcasting power the U.S.  media have? Could you guarantee through
your network that your interview would be seen throughout Latin America and at
the same time in Africa, Asia, and Europe?

66.  I can talk for hours with you, but when you analyze the number of people
who have had the opportunity to see this, it is one out of every thousand of
those who have the opportunity to see and hear what the major U.S. television
networks broadcast. Why do we forget about these facts?

67.  [Reporter] But in this world, which is so open, is it possible to maintain
a closed process?

68.  [Castro] What is meant by a closed process?

69.  [Reporter] That is....

70.  [Castro, interrupting] Do we have to go over to capitalism in any case?
You can ask me whether in this world, which is so capitalist, one can maintain
the ideals of socialism in one country, in several countries. I say that it is
our most basic duty, since we are men of principles, men of convictions. We
must fight to our last breath to defend these ideas. I do not think history
will condemn us for this, since the world today is so unjust that it will not
be able to prevail forever, since it is so unequal and so inhuman. Some day,
even if we are crushed-because many of the greatest ideas began with
martyrdom-even if we have to be martyrs to these ideas, we would not lose
anything. To the contrary; we would be nourishing with our sacrifice and our
blood the victory of these ideas and principles in the future.

71.  [Reporter] I have also asked you this because there are many people who
think that the obstacle to Cuba's integration into Latin America is the
continuation of the socialist system.

72.  [Castro] I do not think so, because Cuba is precisely the one that is in
the best position to integrate itself, economically as well as politically. Of
course, one must seek a means of adapting, of joining together. As [Mexican
President] Salinas de Gortari said, unity does not mean uniformity. We cannot
conceive of a integrated and unified Latin America that is uniform. We can use
our imagination, our creative spirit, to insert our economy into the Latin
American economy. We are very open in this regard, and as we proposed at the
conference, we are willing to give preferential treatment to Latin American
capital that is invested in Cuba. We have to find practical ways to bring about
this integration. What is basically needed for this is the will. We are an
absolutely independent country. We can do whatever is thought necessary to
achieve economic integration and then the political integration. Latin America
has begun to take the first steps in that direction.

73.  We are willing to integrate ourselves into it. We are willing to get
along. But, well, has anyone put it as a condition that Mexico renounce its
state ownership of oil in order to be integrated? Or that Venezuela renounce
its state ownership of oil? No one has demanded this. Many Latin American
governments have control over their fundamental riches. They have opened up,
privatized, with other kinds of enterprises.  Some have gone so far as to
privatize streets and parks.  We would say that that is going too far, but
there are mixed economies within the Latin American countries themselves. Why
can there not be policies of mixed economies between the Latin American
countries, some with a greater share for state ownership and others with a
lesser share for state ownership?

74.  So these are subjects that should be studied, gone into in depth, but my
private conviction is that we are in a better position for economic
integration, and even for political integration, than any other country. I have
said that we are not very jingoist. If one day we have to renounce our flag,
which we love so much, we will renounce it if we must in the service of the
political integration and unity of Latin America. For us this is a very
important value. The same is true if one day they want to organize a just world
state, not a world under the baton and the domination of a superpower that
wants to establish order. If the world progressed so much that it began
universal economic and political integration, we would also renounce our flag
because we are internationalists. We are not jingoists. We are not narrow
nationalists. We are patriots; we love our nation. We respect and uphold our
national values, but our philosophy is basically that of internationalism. I
think we are much better prepared than anyone for integration.

75.  [Reporter] Lastly, Mr. President, there have been two days of intensive
work in Guadalajara. You have talked with many presidents. You have seen the
people in the streets. We would like to know what impression Fidel Castro is
taking away from this meeting. Yesterday, President Salinas said that the
bonfire of integration had been lit.

76.  [Castro] He said that. It was a very good metaphor. Well, really it was
not two days, it was three days of work-two there and the previous ones. There
were many meetings.  I am taking away a very good impression from the meeting.
I would say that the meeting was historic by the very fact that it was held.
Even if we had sat down together only to have coffee, it would have been
historic.  But at the meeting we had dialogue, we talked, we discussed
interesting subjects. There were many capable people at that meeting, and many
very interesting things were said.

77.  We should not expect miracles from the meeting, but we have taken a
gigantic step. We had the opportunity of exchanging contacts with many people.
I think a process of getting to know each other occurred, of exchanging
information, and of rapprochement among the Latin American countries. With
respect to organization, it was excellent. Mexico has shown that it has great
organizational ability to hold a difficult event like this one.

78.  We were treated excellently. The hospitality could not have been greater.
I will never forget the care and affection we received from everyone, from the
workers, and very especially from all the people in Guadalajara.  So I feel
once more in debt to Mexico. I feel one more reason to be eternally grateful to
this great nation and these great people.

79.  [Reporter] Thank you very much, Mr. President.