Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

President Castro Speaks to Brazilian Delegation
Havana Cubavision
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA1502220892
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-032          Report Date:    18 Feb 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     9
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       11
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       15 Feb 92
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 032


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   President Castro Speaks to Brazilian Delegation

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro to a visiting Brazilian delegation at the
Palace of the Revolution in Havana on 13 February-recorded]

Source Line:   PA1502220892 Havana Cubavision in Spanish 0136 GMT 15 Feb 92

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro to a visiting Brazilian delegation
at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana on 13 February-recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro to a visiting Brazilian delegation at the
Palace of the Revolution in Havana on 13 February-recorded]

2.  [Text] Well, I suppose I should say something, right, Frei Betto? First of
all, you have brought this country to a halt since you arrived. I think you
arrived on Monday?

3.  [Unidentified speaker: ``No, Saturday.''] I have seen the country brought
to a halt. I do not think anyone has worked in these days since this Brazilian
delegation arrived. There is so much happiness, festive spirit, and enthusiasm.
I see you everywhere. I open a newspaper, and there is the Brazilian
delegation. I turn on the television, and the television has them. I talk with
someone, and they immediately start talking to me about the Brazilians. I think
you are the only people who have worked in these days, Frei Betto; yesterday
you did voluntary work, weeding tomatoes. [laughter] I think everything else
has come to a halt during these days.

4.  Frei Betto said that he thanked us. I ask: Why? We should really be the
ones who have to give thanks. You say it because you have found affection among
the people, hospitality. This is natural. If we always welcome all Brazilians
with affection, we welcome you with special affection, for many reasons. We
feel very close, as a family, with Brazilians. But mainly because we appreciate
to an extraordinary degree your solidarity in these difficult times, for the
incentive this gives us, the encouragement in this struggle, and what it also
means to our people. We will do everything possible to keep this little bit of

5.  As Frei Betto said, Marti asserted that all the glory of the world fits
into a kernel of corn. It fits into a kernel of corn. Marti said this because
he was not interested in glory. He was interested in duty. But if it is a
question of hope, we can say that you only need a kernel of hope to fill the
world. Hope is not the same thing as glory. Men have gone without reason after
glory and struggles, ambitions, glory. But men have also gone very far and made
enormous sacrifices, with justification, for hope. I think that all those who
have made sacrifices in this world for a noble cause have made sacrifices for
hope.  Well, for hope, many of your predecessors also died in Rome and were
devoured by lions. Millions and millions of people have given their lives for

6.  You recalled the difficult situations that many peoples are experiencing.
You also said a very beautiful phrase. You said that you did not want our
future to be like your present.  We are going to struggle a lot so that your
future may be even better than our present, so that in your future everything
you do will be better than what we have done, so that in your future you do not
have to fight as alone as we have had to do, with no other support than the
support of the people and the honest people, the courageous people of this
world. The courage they have is not physical courage but moral courage. But in
general to have physical courage you must have moral courage. I think that a
moral code is the fundamental pillar of courage.

7.  Our struggles today are to preserve the banner of justice and dignity, to
preserve our ideals, to preserve this hope that our struggle [words indistinct]
(?will also save you) sacrifices in the future, and so that you will have a
more successful future and fewer sacrifices. As you know, other experiences,
other attempts collapsed in other places, although the last word has not yet
been said, because there can be no action without reaction, just as there can
be no revolution without counterrevolution.  The setbacks today to just causes
or just ideas-it does not matter how badly men have interpreted them or the
mistakes they have made-the setbacks today will become an incentive for the
successes of tomorrow.

8.  Up to now, when we are about to celebrate the third anniversary of that
collapse, we are here, firm and determined to maintain the revolution's ideas
and gains.  You understand very well how difficult the economic conditions in
which this has left us must be, for reasons beyond our control. When there
began to be talk about improving socialism, which has caused the elimination of
socialism, they brought us very sweet words-market economy and all those
things-instead of saying capitalism, and savage capitalism, primitive
capitalism. A group of businessmen is not the same thing as a mafia that wants
to play the role of businessmen. I know many businessmen, and we have relations
with them, we seek to work together. When some bring capital, technology,
markets, there are many forms of agreements.

9.  If there is oil under the sea, we have no capability for looking for oil
under the sea. We do not have the technology or capital for seeking that oil.
But if someone comes who is interested in seeking the oil, we will become
partners in the search for oil. We will do exploration with risk by agreement.
That is an example.  There are many things we cannot do without technology or
capital. There are many things we can do with our resources, technology, and
capital. But there are many that we cannot do. So in all these fields, we are
seeking forms of cooperation. We have seen a lot of responsible people. But, of
course, we have reduced our imports to less than half. Our fuel consumption has
been reduced by almost 40 percent.

10.  So that is what we are doing to cope with this situation without a shock
policy, the famous shock policy, the policy that throws millions of people out
on the streets, men, women, young people, old people. It throws them out (?into
poverty). We have not turned to that way of doing things. We guarantee
protection, security for everyone. When we do not have enough raw materials for
a factory to continue in operation, when a worker does not have enough to do,
even when we have no alternative but to send him home, we guarantee him enough
income to live. So we are sharing what we have among all of us. Each citizen
feels secure.

11.  You can see how in spite of these catastrophic consequences, there is not
a single child without a school.  There is no child who does not go to school.
The universities are still open. The hospitals are still working.  There is not
a single sick person who does not receive medical care in accordance with the
priorities we have established. In spite of all this, not a single citizen has
been left unprotected in our country, while the world is living through a wave
of savage neoliberalism, which throws people [words indistinct].

12.  I say, they talk so much about human rights, but the most brutal violation
of human rights is those shock policies.  When they talk about democracy, those
who talk so much about democracy, the first thing that must be democratized is
the United Nations. Five countries have veto rights, and one of them alone can
annul an agreement reached by more than 160 countries. We invite them to
democratize the United Nations first of all; today the Security Council has
unfortunately become an instrument of hegemony.

13.  I can tell you that we appreciate your views, ideas, and feelings. We
appreciate them a lot. What is more, we are seeing who our true friends are at
these times. We have all kinds of difficulties to get through-economic,
political-we have some difficulties. We are now subject to a double embargo. We
hope that these embargoes will disappear. Your solidarity can help a lot in
making these embargoes disappear.

14.  This does not mean that if the embargo is lifted, all our problems will be
solved, because no one is going to give us anything for free. In our relations
with the Western, capitalist world, whatever (?the country), unequal terms of
trade prevail. They always sell us everything at high prices, and they pay very
little for our products. When the socialist bloc existed, they had fair terms
of trade with us. If the prices of the products they sold us increased, the
prices of our products increased also.  (?Today this is) difficult.

15.  When the revolution triumphed in 1959, 1960, when the United States took
away our oil because they controlled it internationally, we could buy seven
tons of oil with one ton of sugar. Today we can buy 1.7 or 1.6 or 1.8 tons of
oil with one ton of sugar. The terms have changed, because oil has also become
a monopoly product. It has acquired a monopoly price. You Brazilians know this
very well. You have to devote more than 2 million hectares to sugarcane
planting and cut it by hand to produce fuel. How much does it cost to produce
one ton of oil from one of those wells? There are some that are very
productive, that give thousands of barrels per day.  Nevertheless, how many
hours of work does it cost to produce one ton of sugar? Possibly 20 or 25 times
more than to produce one ton of oil. How many hours of work does it cost to
produce one ton of alcohol? Possibly 25 or 30 times more than to produce one
ton of oil.

16.  That is why I say that no one is going to give us this for free. These are
facts. When we lost the pillar that the socialist bloc and the USSR meant for
our economy- because we traded with them, because they did not have raw
materials and many things-no one but us could resolve this, really. We have to
have a process of adaptation to this kind of unjust trade, and not only a kind
of unjust trade with the developed, capitalist world, but a kind of unjust
trade with respect to oil. This will force us to make many sacrifices. It
demands great efficiency from us. It demands very rigorous ranking of
priorities and enormous efforts by us.

17.  I want to say to you that even if the embargo disappears, our work will be
made easier. Our work will be made easier. [repeats] In many ways, our path
will be made easier, but we have to work very hard and get through a very
difficult phase. It is more difficult with the embargo, but we can get through
it. It would be easier to get through without the embargo, but it is difficult.
That is our situation, but we are working more than ever. We are trying to do
this efficiently.

18.  Perhaps after this period, one day we will have to look back and give
thanks for the difficulties we are going through now. Because there are
countries out there that have a lot of money, really a lot of money, and every
so often there is a social explosion, because of these shock policies. With
infinitely fewer resources, we are carrying out a fair distribution of what we
have. We are maintaining a very high level of unity and consensus in our

19.  I really think that without a system like ours, we could not resist.
Because if we did not resist this, what would happen? A counterrevolution would
be 10 times worse for the people. No counterrevolution can solve our problems.
No one will give this country anything for free, as you are doing. You have
brought medicines and those things. The United States invades countries and
then is not even able to help them economically. The Americans do not have it,
because they themselves need economic help, since now [chuckles] they have a
great crisis. Their budget deficit is going to be $400 billion this year. It is
like a great pump sucking money from the world.

20.  So we know that whatever we get in the future, we will continue getting
under very difficult conditions, with or without an embargo, through our sweat
and work. But, well, I think I have talked enough already under the pretext of
this small speech, [applause] but Frei Betto, if I do not talk, even if it is
only 15 or 20 minutes, they are going to think that I am not willing enough to
express to you the infinite gratitude I feel for all Cubans, the infinite
happiness we feel. [Frei Beto: ``We were ready for four hours.''] For four
hours? [laughter]