Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Election Results Reported; 2d Round Set for 27 Dec
Havana Radio and Television Networks

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL2212023092
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-246          Report Date:    22 Dec 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     1
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       9
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       20 Dec 92
Report Volume:       Tuesday Vol VI No 246


City/Source of Document:   Havana Radio and Television Networks 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Election Results Reported; 2d Round Set for 27 Dec 

Subheadline:   Castro Interviewed 

Source Line:   FL2212023092 Havana Radio and Television Networks in Spanish
1611 GMT 20 Dec 92 

Subslug:   [Interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro at Polling Station No.
5 in District No. 13, Plaza de la Revolucion Municipality, Havana-live] 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro at
Polling Station No. 5 in District No. 13, Plaza de la Revolucion Municipality,

2.  [Text] [Castro] Am I hindering the process here? 

3.  [Unidentified speaker] No, absolutely not. 

4.  [Castro] (?Since it is) a little later, I think many people have already
gone through here, right? 

5.  [Unidentified speaker] At this polling station, 85 percent. 

6.  [Castro] Already? 

7.  [Unidentified speaker] Almost 80 percent. 

8.  [Castro] Eighty-five percent? 

9.  [Unidentified speaker] (?It is) 70 percent in the entire district. 

10.  [Castro] Really? That's good. 

11.  [Unidentified speaker] Throughout the country [words indistinct] very

12.  [Castro] Yes, I have been watching for a while on the television. Reports
have come in from Camaguey and other provinces. I must have made you wait a
long time. 

13.  [Unidentified speaker] It is true that you have made us wait a little

14.  [Castro] You probably thought I would come earlier, but I was up late into
the small hours reviewing some papers, some materials, some documents. 

15.  [Unidentified speaker] We knew you would have an explanation. There was
another occasion, I think it was the visit by Alfonsin. 

16.  [Unidentified speaker] Yes, after you said goodbye to Alfonsin you came to

17.  [Castro] Yes, but this time I was up until about 0600 looking at things I
had to see, a document I had to review. 

18.  [Unidentified speaker] Here there is a chance that there will be no second
round, unless they are tied, because there are two candidates. 

19.  [Castro] That could happen. 

20.  [Unidentified speaker] It could happen. 

21.  [Castro] Well, it is possible, because I always have to vote in a second

22.  [Unidentified speaker] The two candidates are very young. One is 27 years
old and the other is 32. 

23.  [Unidentified speaker] They are both university graduates. They are both
party members. One belongs to the Union of Young Communists and the other to
the Communist Party of Cuba. 

24.  [Castro] Well, it seems that this time the candidates were stronger, in
general, in almost all the places I know of.  Before, because of their work, or
for one reason or another, many people would say no. This time, however, the
good people were urged to accept. There are some tight contests, we could say,
in many places. There are very good people, and I imagine it has been a dilemma
for the voters to choose. [words indistinct] in your place.  What did you here
first today? Have you already voted or are you going to vote later? Have you
all voted? 

25.  [Unidentified speakers] [words indistinct] 

26.  [Castro] Some will vote later. Did you already vote? Was it far from here?

27.  [Unidentified speaker] In Cerro Municipality. 

28.  [Castro] Oh, that is far away. 

29.  [Unidentified speaker] On the subject of the young people, Commander, 15
percent [of the candidates] are young and 20 percent are women, nationally. 

30.  [Castro] We old ones come here. Starting at what age are people old? If 15
percent are young, I think that if they are 35, 36, or 37 years old they are
called young, or what?  At what age are people called young here? 

31.  [Unidentified speaker] From 16 to 30 is the category. 

32.  [Castro] Those are Pioneers! [laughter] 

33.  [Unidentified speakers] The first voter at this polling station, Guillermo
Hernandez Diaz, is 67 years old. He was here before 0500, and it seems that he
has that record, as I was saying to Hector Rodriguez. 

34.  [Castro] But is 67 a lot of years? I think you are saying it is very old.
Now I will have to think. 

35.  [Unidentified speaker] On the contrary, I am saying that no one could.... 

36.  [Castro, interrupting] A 67-year-old man who came here to vote early. 

37.  [Unidentified speaker] He was the first. 

38.  [Unidentified speaker] No, he is still young. 

39.  [Castro] Not that he is still young-that man is young! 

40.  [Unidentified speaker] There are also many presidents of people's councils
who have been nominated as candidates. That is very important, and has been
reflected in almost all the provinces. 

41.  [Castro] I think that is a new characteristic of this process, right? The
existence of the people's councils, which did not exist before. It is
unquestionable that in the elections of the people's council presidents they
have chosen the best (?of the est), as a rule; that is, those they considered
to have the best aptitude, the best abilities to lead the councils, and they
are elected by all the district delegates. In addition, the councils are an
institution that is providing an important service, 

carrying out important functions.  We must also look at the tremendous
authority the councils have, and their ability to handle problems which
previously fell to the isolated delegates.  So this has made selection

42.  That is why I imagine that many, a large number, of the council presidents
have been nominated again. I also imagine that for some young and valuable
people who have had to run against a people's council president, it has been a
hard contest. One can ssume that the people's council presidents are much
better known, and that they should .... [pauses] it is possible that they will
get most of the votes. However, that is also important, especially for the next
elections, which are the elections for deputies [to the National Assembly of
the People's Government, ANPP], since the people's council presidents are a
very important pool of candidates for deputies. They can be up to 50 percent.
They may be a little less, possibly, because mathematically they will be a
little less, because it says ``up to.'' For example, where there are three,
maybe one will become a deputy. Where there are two, one will become a deputy,
no matter what. 

43.  [Unidentified speaker] But Commander, that has also been the motivation of
the candidates, the nominees, because the people know that when they are
nominating a possible delegate, at the same they are also nominating a possible

44.  [Castro] Yes. 

45.  [Unidentified speakers] Commander, this is the seventh.... 

46.  [Castro, interrupting] Every day that goes by, as I observe-pardon me-this
process, I realize how just the measures approved by the ANPP have been for the
election of.... [pauses] to perfect the process. Sometimes participation even
in times as difficult as we are experiencing....  [pauses] I realize that the
procedure really attracted and motivated people. The reports I have on all the
work by the candidacy commission are similar. They have done wonderful work, as
I think has never been done anywhere, in the process of selecting the
candidates. Without question they have asked everyone's opinion. They have
asked everyone's opinion. [repeats] I understand that they have been approving
lists of candidates at the different levels, because we must see that the
municipal candidates, those that are up to 50 percent, are of course people
above all who are known in the municipalities. Among them there may be many who
are not nationally known, or most of them are not nationally known, since they
are people who are right there and are in a position at the base level to do
the work. Perhaps some person with national responsibilities is too high up and
cannot do the work. 

47.  [Unidentified speaker] [Foreign Minister Ricardo] Alarcon stressed that
today, that there is no legislature in the world that gets 50 percent from the
base level, like here. 

48.  [Castro] From the base level, and there at the base level they are known.
They are promoted there at the base level. There at the base level, the
candidacy commission promote them, from among themselves. However, there are
also the provincial candidacy commissions, promoting candidates.  They go
beyond the limits of the municipalities and they find out about outstanding
provincial figures. Lastly, the national commissions promote people who are
outstanding at the national level. I think there has been a proportion in the
lists the electoral .... [pauses] the candidacy commissions have drawn up as
candidate pools. I make that mistake every so often and say electoral
commissions when I should say candidacy commissions. 

49.  So, I was talking with the comrades and asking how the process has been
going. I find it really very interesting, the way that they propose candidates
at each level. Now, the provincial and national levels are very similar,
because there are many talented people on the national level who are proposed
on the provincial level. There are many repetitions; they are repeated at the
provincial and national levels. There are some who are on three levels, because
there are municipalities that have nationally talented figures. It is very
interesting, extremely interesting.  This is the first time a process like this
one has been implemented in our country. Everything is new to us in this
process of selecting the candidates to the ANPP. 

50.  Really, however, it is impossible that anything more popular, more
democratic, than this could be done. 

51.  [Unidentified speaker] Qualitatively superior. 

52.  [Castro] It must be so, because in addition, there is no stuffing in the
candidate lists. They have consulted a lot of people. There has been an
interminable process of consultations, in spite of the short time, because,
well, there was not so much time. We also wanted to make 24 February the date
of the elections for deputies, which is very important. So the candidacy
commissions have had relatively little time. It is possible that the next
elections can be set for dates that do not coincide-as these have-with the
sugar harvest, the cold season planting, the time of most activity and work. I
have often thought how much this Sunday's mobilizations have meant-
mobilizations of contingents, mobilized workers, students working in the
fields-and in addition the number of people who are not in their municipality
or province, because in Varadero, how many thousands of people are working in
construction (?from) other places in Cuba. 

53.  [Unidentified speakers] They made special districts.  [words indistinct]
first delegates, certainly. 

54.  [Castro] They made special districts, but also the scholarship students
are in a similar situation. It turns out that those who are not residents do
not participate in nominating the candidates for delegates. They vote, but they
are not so linked to the place. That was the only way they would be able to
vote without having to travel to the eastern region. How many people from the
eastern region are working in Varadero? I think the formula they came up with
was quite correct, that they could vote there, because they can vote. Now the
legislative bodies have a different nature, and it is more reasonable, right? 
The result is that now the legislative bodies do not cover an area or a
district but the entire municipality. 

55.  But really, I have thought and reflected on this procedure, and it is very
good. I was saying that we are putting this into practice for the first time
and time has been short. This has driven the members of the candidacy
commissions crazy, because of the number of consultations they have had to do,
and the number of biographies they have had to read. 

56.  [Unidentified speaker] Just at the municipal level there are (?3,875) who
would become delegates from the municipalities and are in the pool of
candidates, up to 50 percent.... 

57.  [Castro, interrupting] Yes, and the same process is going to take place
for the ANPP. They discuss it in the provinces and municipalities. Of course,
some mass organizations, such as the Federation of Secondary School Students
[FEEM], are not present n the municipal level, but the other mass organizations

58.  [Unidentified speaker] You said at the Scientific and Technical Forum a
short time ago that the revolution has really done what had to be done at each
particular time, speaking about the literacy campaign and the results we see
today. Do you not also hink that these elections had to be held? 

59.  [Castro] I think we have done what had to be done on this date, and not
delayed, not waited just because we are in a special period situation. Of
course, it is also an expression of great courage by the revolution, and of
confidence in the people. There has been a truly admirable reaction, from what
we have seen. We must continue to observe the results, because we must keep in
mind that these are the worst conditions for elections. 

60.  [Unidentified speaker] Even the sugarcane workers, Commander, the
agricultural workers, were going to be given time off so that they could vote
today and tomorrow very early [words indistinct]. 

61.  [Castro] They told me there are different formulas. On Saturday and
Sunday, the people are in the fields. That is, those are days for planting
potatoes, tomatoes, and December vegetables that would be completely lost. I do
not know what time they are oing to go. Do you know when they are going to go?
They are going to go after the workday, but that starts at four or five. Then
there is Monday. We must also think (?that we must not lose) Monday. We have
thought about this, but it was unavoidable, inevitable. So Sunday, 20 December,
is election day. 

62.  Now, in the sugar harvest, since they are also preparing soil for planting
and all that, what they have come up with is that the machinery operators
should vote early and then begin work. They have planned a special day of work
to make up for the time. That can be done. They do not usually halt the sugar
harvest even on 31 December or 1 January. They will work continuously. They are
preparing the soil, and there are two 12-hour shifts or three eight-hour
shifts. They are going to try to keep the machinery moving. 

63.  Now, with the rest of agriculture, we must distinguish between the
contingents and the workers mobilized for two weeks. Everyone is already off on
the afternoon of 31 December. They are off on 31 December. But the workers
mobilized for two weeks are not organized the same as the contingents. I think
the contingents have- wait, wait, wait-they have 31 December and 1 January off,
and they go back to work on 2 January. I think 2 January, Sunday ....[pauses]
no, Saturday. The workers mobilized for two weeks have more time, because they
are off on 31 December, 1, 2, and 3 Janary. The workers mobilized for two weeks
have four days. They will be away from agriculture, and that is unavoidable. On
24 February, which seems to be the date they have definitely ecided on
....[pauses] It is not a Sunday; it is a Wednesday, but such a historic and
important date cannot be changed and moved to a Sunday. So we must face the
consequences. We must work well on the other days in order not to lose time and
to be able to use that time. So [words indistinct] special period, sugar
harvest, cold season harvest, and elections, all at the same time. 

64.  [Unidentified speaker] But this is a people with mettle, as you said,

65.  [Castro] Yes, the bigger the tasks, the better they are done. 

66.  [Unidentified speaker] The construction workers gave up their day off and
were there for the Granma landing.  There was a row of national vanguard
workers. They even voted there in the ordinary district of their projects. 

67.  [Castro] Yes, and that is doubly important because there are very great
difficulties with national transportation, you can imagine. They have to finish
that center they are building more or less in January or February, the first
weeks of 1993. If they went to the eastern region, with all the transportation
problems, there would be no way of knowing when they would return. Because that
would be three, four, or five weeks. All the work would become disorganized.
They went to the Granma landing ceremony, but they gave up the day off they
would normally have had on that date. Those are very good construction workers,
in the Granma Landing Brigade. They are from Granma, although there are some
Havana natives among them. Are there some from Guantanamo? 

68.  [Unidentified speaker] There are some from Guantanamo, vanguard workers in
the Granma Landing Brigade. 

69.  [Castro] Well, there are people from the eastern region in many
contingents. They are everywhere. I joked the other day that the people of the
eastern region should feel proud that Havana had been declared the host for
Construction Workers' Day. They elebrated here. 

70.  [Unidentified speaker] Now they are in a contest to have the first
delegate, who they said was from Santiago de Cuba on the border with
Guantanamo, but Holguin came out immediately. 

71.  [Castro] First? 

72.  [Unidentified speakers] [words indistinct] 

73.  [Castro] How was that? Had everyone voted? 

74.  [Unidentified speaker] Everyone had voted. 

75.  [Castro] That was a rural district. It is more difficult. 

76.  [Unidentified speaker] A forestry town. 

77.  [Castro] I think that some sugar mills are also going to extend it until
1900, because some voted ....[pauses] I see you every once in a while on the
``Today'' [Hoy Mismo] program. 

78.  [Unidentified speaker] Do you watch the ``Today'' program? 

79.  [Castro] Yes, every time I can. Every time I can- unfortunately, I cannot
always watch it. 

80.  [Unidentified speaker] Well, I should tell you, Commander, that I think
you will have to issue a special resolution so that television will not be
misused in the election campaign. It has already been said publicly that Hector
Rodriguez is a candidate, nominated by one of the organizations. 

81.  [Castro] He has been nominated by a few places, but he has not been
nominated as a district delegate, which would have a lot of obligations. I
think he could do both things, right? 

82.  [Unidentified speaker] He does not have Perot's millions. 

83.  [Castro] He does not have Perot's millions, but he has millions of
listeners, and people who value his work. He also has a medium in which
responsibility and merit predominate, not demagogy or vulgar publicity. 

84.  [Unidentified speaker] The ``Today'' program is going to be on today until
late, and it would be nice if you visited us. 

85.  [Castro] I did not know that the ``Today'' program was going to be on
today in the morning. 

86.  [Unidentified speaker] Since 0700 today. There has also been a parade of
well known people on it. 

87.  [Castro] I saw that they were interviewing some athletes.  I think Milian
was there, and some others. I was watching the ``Today'' program, and I said: I
am making those people wait, so I will go and vote. [Rodrigo] Alvarez Cambras
was on. 

88.  [Unidentified speaker] Alvarez Cambras was also on.  Albertico Pujol, an
actor, was on, the only Latin American .... 

89.  [Castro, interrupting] You were watching television? 

90.  [Unidentified speaker] On the monitor. I was here watching on the monitor.

91.  [Castro] You were watching on the monitor over there. 

92.  [Unidentified speaker] There is a monitor here, and we have followed
different polling stations. There have been cameras at different polling
stations, and Alarcon and [Roberto] Robaina were on. 

93.  [Unidentified speaker] Ricardo Alarcon was interviewed, and he said
something very interesting. I think what Ricardo said was very interesting,
because he said, speaking about the two candidates at his polling station, that
they were both simple people, both of the people, and either of the two could
win, and that this is the pool for 50 percent of the Cuban legislature, Cuba's
legislative branch. He said that this occurs in no other country in the world;
not even 5 percent in those democracies.... 

94.  [Castro, interrupting] Are base-level people. 

95.  [Unidentified speaker] Exactly. I think it is quite interesting. 

96.  [Castro] Yes. 

97.  [Unidentified speaker] It is impressive, even the geography [words

98.  [Castro] Yes, of course, but we must not forget the number of talented
people this country also has on the national level. That is, the other people,
the provincial and national comissions, have a tremendous pool of candidates.
That is precisely what akes the ANPP well-balanced, the fact that it can be
made up of those three categories, we could say: municipal, provincial, and
national. On the national level it is more difficult (?to know) how many
talents have been accumulated over the course of the years. 

99.  [Unidentified speaker] I think the resolutions of the Fourth Communist
Party of Cuba Congress, the changes to the Constitution, and the new electoral
law are very important, because there is a broader spectrum of the people
participating now, Commander, and I think this is very important. 

100.  [Castro] I realized that there is a detail in the electoral law that is
contradictory. This is that the minimum age to be a deputy is 18. 

101.  [Unidentified speaker] Exactly. 

102.  [Castro] I know some people who are not 18 years old, in the student
sectors, who are very valuable, very mature, capable, hard-working people. But
they cannot be on the list, the pool of candidates. They are more than 16 years

103.  [Unidentified speaker] That could be discrimination. 

104.  [Unidentified speaker] They can be district delegates. 

105.  [Castro] Yes, they can be district delegates, but they could be deputies.
I know people who have the qualities to be deputies. I said: This law does not
set any limits on anyone except the deputies. Because for the other posts, the
country does not set any limit of 18 years of age or older. I say if the right
to vote is granted at age 16, the right to be elected should also be granted at
age 16. 

106.  [Unidentified speaker] The law can be improved, also. 

107.  [Castro] Yes, fortunately, it is not a part of the constitution. But I
realized this, seeing and receiving information and news and meeting with
people. I asked for the names of candidates and I realized that some very
valuable people ....[pauses] You can see that the FEEM is participating in the
candidacy commissions, and there are FEEM cadres who are younger than 18 years
old, so they cannot be among the pool of candidates. I say that this is a
contradiction. What is this two-year difference supposed to mean?  If they are
granted the right to vote, they should be granted the right to be elected. 

108.  [Unidentified speaker] Commander, and about the participation of the
union movement? 

109.  [Castro] I think the participation of the union movement is key, because
it chairs these candidacy commissions.  This is natural, because it has the
greatest strength and is the most representative, we could say, of our
revolution.  I think it is very good that the union movement chair the
commissions. This was the right thing, absolutely right. 

110.  [Unidentified speaker] An interesting thing, Commander, is that in the
commissions, on these (?levels), it is not only people from those organizations
or cadres from those organizations who have been nominated.  Rather, candidates
have arisen and been nominated from the whole range in the municipalities, the
whole range in the provinces. It is very interesting. 

111.  [Castro] The vast majority of the nominations are not from the sector.
Otherwise, they would have fallen into sectorialism, we could say. I asked the
FEEM students how many they had nominated from the FEEM. They had 10, out of
130 plus. I asked those from the Federation of University Students [FEU] how
many they had nominated from the FEU. They had nominated on their national
list-I am referring to the national list; I do not know how things went in the
provinces and municipalities-they had nominated 14, out of 134. The list of
candidates drawn up by the Cuban Workers Federation [CTC] is much longer. I
think it is double. I think it is 268. 

112.  [Unidentified speaker] Commander, these elections coincide with
Educators' Day and also with the 70th anniversary of the FEU. 

113.  [Castro] That is strange, isn't it? So many things have come together,
and all because it was a Sunday. If 21 December had been a Sunday, the
elections would have been on 21 December. 

114.  [Unidentified speaker] [words indistinct] but today is the FEU

115.  [Unidentified speaker] With that pretext, they got up early to wake up
people, the FEU people. 

116.  [Castro] The FEU people, right? There are a lot of them, because there
are large numbers of university students in this country. 

117.  [Unidentified speaker] More than 120,000. 

118.  [Castro] Yes, counting those who study directly, as regular students ....
[pauses] There are fewer regular students. There are about 100,000. The number
has been going down a little. Otherwise, everyone here was going to be a
university graduate. 

Then there is always the exodus from the rural areas to other kinds of
activities.  There are a lot of people with degrees, but enrollment has been
going down. The number of regular students is wonderful, but there is also an
impressive amount of talent. This is shown in events like the [National Spare
Parts] Forum. We have proposed changing its name to the National Science and
Technology Forum. We will have to improve its name, because it is no longer a
spare parts forum. That is how it started, although hey improved it by adding
equipment and advanced technologies. It is more complete to say National
Science and Technology Forum. However, it is impressive. The things that were
discussed .... [pauses] The main content was discussed in the commissions, not
at the plenary sessions. That is why I like the commissions a lot, because the
commissions go right to the heart of the problems. But at the plenary session
they could have discussed how each of the programs was being fulfilled. I
mentioned some examples: how the program to assemble the turbogenerators was
going, the sugar industry, how they are applying.... 

119.  [Unidentified speaker, interrupting] You were critical of that. 

120.  [Castro] Of course I was. How they are applying the sensors to see how
much oxygen is in the boilers. We cannot sit around waiting. It must be done
quickly. The example I gave about interferon is often a good test. I was
talking with an American doctor who is very friendly to Cuba and is a cancer
specialist. That was in 1981. He visited here; that is not the only time he has
visited. I asked him: What is being worked on the most now in the United
States? What is the basic outlook for that disease?  Then he told me: Well, we
are working with new products that have these characteristics; we are doing
these experiments. He said: Why don't you send a doctor to us so that he can
become familiar with these experiments?  We sent two. There, they heard from
that American doctor about (Kanter), the Finnish scientist who had developed
the technology to produce interferon from white cells. He was a very noble and
generous man, and he said to send two. We sent six. That was what we did.  They
were the ounders of biotechnology. We sent six, so that there would not be only
two, so that there would be more people. While they were there, they saw the
possibility of producing that product, which was not very difficult to do. 

121.  You need to have certain equipment and certain things.  While they were
there, we were here, preparing a building and gathering the equipment,
purchasing some of it. So when they returned with the technology, a laboratory
had been set up. That is why I said not more than four months went by ...
[pauses] We would have to pin down the exact amount of time that went by, but
it was very short, and we were already producing interferon when the dengue
epidemic broke out. Dengue is caused by a virus. We used .... [pauses] I do not
know whether they suspended the vacations at the Pioneers' camp. They did not,
and they were safer there than at home, because if they had any symptom of
fever, it was noticed right away, more quickly. The doctors were on the alert.
They used interferon then. There was not a single serious case among the
children who got sick there.  Interferon was effective. 

122.  Well, if you know there is a medicine that can cure cancer, can you waste
a single minute? That was the view, the philosophy, the spirit. This shows how
even in science, things can be done quickly. Because in an epidemic, emergency
situation, you 

cannot wait to do a protocol. Now, our scientists are often the first to take
the product. They give themselves the vaccine. That is what the ones working on
the meningitis vaccine did.  They gave themselves the vaccine. What country is
in a better situation with meningitis B than ours? There was no vaccine before.
Now with hepatitis B, we are also the first country to vaccinate massively
against hepatitis B, which causes terrible damage. Because it is progressive
damage, because the problem is the later consequences in hepatitis B cases. 

123.  They are working on a cholera vaccine, to find an effective cholera
vaccine. The scientists are the first ones to use the vaccines. They are
working on the AIDS vaccine, all kinds of vaccines. Just now a viral vaccine
center has been completed to produce the triple vaccine.  It seems to be very
well done. Many people have helped in that construction project. It was the
people from Cubalse [expansion unknown] who connected a set of buildings and
remodelled all the rooms so that it could be a center or viral vaccines. Now at
the beginning of the year, Plant No. 3 of the Finlay Institute will be
completed. That is a tremendous plant for producing vaccines. [words
indistinct] prestige and recognition of Cuba with products [words indistinct] 

124.  [Unidentified speaker] You said that they are doing many things without a
lot of publicity. 

125.  [Castro] Yes, without a lot of publicity. Well, we are doing what can be
done, but we are also not making a lot of noise about the pain we carry inside
because of so many things we have had to halt. We had created the conditions in
the materials industry to be able produce 100,000 housing units per year. This
includes production of steel rods, bricks, cement, stones, sand, and
everything.  Suddenly, we have had to halt that program, cut it down to a
minimum. This really hurts. We are carrying very great pain inside without
making noise about it, waiting for the time when we can resume that. 

126.  [Unidentified speaker] These are notes from your speech, Commander. You
also said that we have the presence of mind, that we live in a difficult world,
but this is a people with mettle, and that we are putting ourselves in the
vanguard in a number of fields, speaking about medicine and biotechnology. Now,
are we also in the vanguard in the field of our democracy? 

127.  [Castro] I am absolutely convinced of it. Whether they want to
acknowledge it or not is another question. But everything you can read about
the famous elections in the capitalist world, where there is almost no
democracy, because it is money that prevails, and advertising, publicity [words
indistinct]. Some uprisings against that have been occurring. Because in Peru
there was a general uprising against all those election methods and they
elected someone who had not been known before. They became tired of it. These
phenomena may be repeated in some other places. However, when one sees how the
advertising works, the resources spent on those campaigns, the interests that
are being defended, you realize that no person of the people, truly of the 

people, has the opportunity to be a deputy or anything. 

128.  In addition, it is the parties who draw up the lists and rank the
candidates. The people do not vote for a candidate. They vote for a party. So
the party nominates and elects. They carry out surveys to calculate how many
votes the party has, more or ess, and they know that the top one, two, three,
four, or five candidates will be elected. The rest are just stuffing to get
votes, to get publicity, but in those cases the parties nominate and elect. 

129.  In our case, the people nominate and elect. That is the essence of our

130.  [Unidentified speaker] In the Batista period, there were 14 parties. 

131.  [Castro] There are countries that have 30 or 40 parties.  There is a
complete atomization of society. Now, the formula we have come up with here is
precisely one that reconciles a democratic electoral process and the existence
of a single party, in which the party's role is to ensure that all the
principles and standards are complied with, and the masses' role is to nominate
and elect. That is being complied with rigorously, strictly. While we have
this, we should not wait for them to acknowledge it, because they will still
ask whether there were elections or not. They will ask that. There are many
people to whom I explain what we do, and they are amazed. They say: Why is this
not known? I say: Do not blame us for why this is not known. Do not blame us
that the transnational media companies are in the hands of imperialism. They
are amazed when we explain in detail how the elections are carried out. The
participation is incredible. 

132.  In the United States, with all the billions spent on advertising....
[pauses] Because they talk about 100 million or a bit more, but that is what
they have spent officially. Each candidate and everyone has spent incredible
amounts of money. In spite f these billions, 52 or 53 percent voted. Because
there were three candidates.  There is no doubt that Perot appeared and moved
the gameboard a bit, when he ran as the third candidate without a party. He got
quite a few votes. We must say that he got quite a few votes, which is a sign
of discontent in American society. This candidate appeared and got 19 percent
of the vote. But, well, he moved the board a bit.  I think 52 or 53 percent
voted. Often less than 50 percent vote. They elect the president with 23 or 24
percent of the vote, of the people who have the right to vote. 

133.  It is a disaster, at least that is what I think. I am absolutely
convinced that the electoral system they try to present as a model, and impose
on the world, is a disaster. They want to impose it on the Africans, the
Asians, and everyone. The whites 

nvented it, as the saying goes. They invented it, and they want to impose it on
everyone else. 

134.  [Unidentified speaker] Commander, in your opinion, what is the
significance of Bush's defeat? 

135.  [Castro] I have not wanted to talk a lot about the U.S.  elections. I
have explained them publicly. But, well, they voted against a pitiless policy
which neglected the unemployed, the poor, the retired, young people, women, and
everyone. To see the significance of these elections, you have to analyze who
voted for Bush and who voted against Bush. It must be said that the vast
majority of the black population, for example, voted against Bush. The vast
majority of the Hispanics-with the exception of the Cuban exile community
[gusanera]-voted against Bush. The vast majority of those who earn less than
$75,000 per year voted against Bush, and the lower the income, the higher the
percentage that voted against Bush. Most women voted against Bush. Young people
from 20 to 30 years old and people more than 60 years old voted against Bush. 

136.  So all the less favored and most neglected sectors in the United States
voted against Bush. This was what gave Clinton the victory. They voted against
the neoconservative policy, that policy they are trying to impose on the rest
of the world, everywhere, with budget deficits and all that. Of course, this
policy is very complicated. The economic situation in the United States is
extremely complicated, and you do not know.... [pauses] I am curious to see how
they are going to try to find a formula for all these problems, the budget
deficit, reducing the gigantic public debt, and at the same time improve health
care and education, and find jobs. Well, it is almost impossible. It is like
trying to square a circle. So one is curious, and one reads the news about the
measures they are drawing up. 

137.  However, the economic situation in the world is very difficult. It is
very critical everywhere, in the Third World. What has happened in Somalia
could be the future of all of Africa, because the deserts are expanding,
(?drought) is increasing, the population is growing. It is a terrible, truly
terrible, situation. We do not have to talk about what is happening in the
former socialist countries because it is very well known. It is dreadful,

138.  [Unidentified speaker] Nevertheless, Commander, we are finishing 1992. It
has been a truly difficult year, but we are finishing it with elections and
great optimism about the scientific results of our researchers. How are we now
going to face 1993? 

139.  [Castro] We must be prepared for a difficult 1993 also. I think we must
face it with the same spirit with which we have faced this year. It is possible
that people do not even imagine the efforts that must be made every day to
respond to the needs 

and problems we have on a daily basis, with limited resources. Because what
happened in the socialist bloc and the USSR has affected us in many other
areas. They reduced their oil production, it dropped, and this will contribute
to raising oil prices. This touches us very directly. Their food production
dropped, they went to the international market to find certain foods, and this
raises the prices we have to pay for food. They are no longer a sugar market at
the level they were, and this also has an affect and exerts pressure on sugar
prices. So everything that happened there has harmed us directly, really, in
many areas. Really, (?it has been) a terrible year. 

140.  Now, perhaps one of the greatest problems we have is that a population
that was almost half .... [pauses] There were about 6 million Cubans and now
there are almost 11 million [words indistinct] about 18 million, and before
about half of the population had electricity. Now with double the population,
everyone has electricity.  Everyone means more than 90 percent have
electricity.  Oil does not have the prices it had in 1959 or 1960. Oil has a
monopoly price. If we had the same oil prices as in 1959 and 1960-which were
the normal market prices, not monopoly prices-with 1 million tons of sugar we
would get all the oil the country needs right now. We produce sugar almost only
to buy oil. 

141.  [Unidentified speaker] We spend 40 percent of our (?exports). 

142.  [Castro] Possibly more. Almost 3 million [dollars] per day. So that you
will have an idea, we spend the equivalent of 10,000 tons of
beans-approximately 10,000 tons of beans-per day on fuel. It depends on the
beans; sometimes a ton is worth $500. Well, when a ton is worth $500, 10,000
tons means $5 million. When a ton is worth $400, then it means $4 million. At
$300, we spend almost the equivalent of 10,000 tons of beans on fuel, so you
can see the importance of fuel. So, what can you do? The country will become
totally disorganized if you reduce electricity even more. All the health care
and education services will become disorganized. Production will become
disorganized. Everything will become disorganized.  Because we had reached, on
a solid foundation, a level of electricity use that has become the major share
of our spending. Because even with 2.2 billion [unit not given], if we were in
1959 or 1960, we would have had a much better time. 

143.  Our problem, however, is that we have to use almost all the sugar we
produce for buying fuel. All the rest of the country's needs come later. That
is the problem. Only a country like this one could remain organized under these
conditions, could resist under these conditions, only a country like this one
in its moral aspect, its dignity, courage, and heroism, and with a system like
ours.  Otherwise there would be the most absolute chaos and anarchy in any
other place in the world that had received the blows our economy has received.
That is why I have said that these are among the most brilliant pages in the
history of our country. That is why I say that no one has a right to rest, to
waste a single minute, a single second, of this effort. 

144.  Work is being done, a lot of work, but we are also working with
discretion. Because if we publish what we have done, we create obstacles, we
provide information to the enemy, who is acting unceasingly, relentlessly. We
can say that the entire U.S. 

Government is working on the embargo. All the U.S. embassies in the world are
working on the embargo. This is not the Torricelli Law.  It is more than the
Torricelli Law. The Torricelli Law is a formalization of what they have been
doing. But they harass every trade operation done with us. They pressure any
businessman who visits Cuba, any businessman who wants to do a deal with us, a
joint venture, a trade operation. One by one, throughout the world. You can
imagine such a powerful, hegemonic country exerting pressures on an individual
merchant or businessman.  Some defy them, but there is a large number who
cannot afford to defy them. You can say that there is a whole apparatus working
on this. It is not that this is in the laws or regulations, but rather in
imperialism's daily actions against our country. 

145.  That is why any information they receive in this regard.... [pauses] We
have given a lot of warning so that none of the organs will say anything. We
tell them: Do not publish this. However, they are somewhat ingenuous. They
think that since everything we are doing is proper, moral, and legal, why not
publish it? They have no idea of the scope of the U.S. pressures, and how far
the U.S. pressures reach. So we had the socialist bloc as a pillar, it
disappeared, and we are left with the embargo.  Think how right we were during
the October missile crisis to demand an end to the embargo. The embargo could
have disappeared during the October missile crisis.  We were unhappy with the
concessions and mistakes that were made, because they should have returned the
base to us then, because no one was going to be willing to start a world war
because of a Yankee base or an embargo, or crazy things like that. 

146.  I have studied that historic period a lot now on the occasion of the 30th
anniversary, and many things have been learned about that time, many plans.
This has been learned because of the publication of documents in the United
States, how they continued preparing their plans after the Bay of Pigs. But the
October Missile Crisis was one.... [pauses] The embargo could have disappeared
then. It is much more than regulations, I repeat. It is a systematic, constant,
relentless operation against this ountry. 

147.  Nevertheless, we are resisting, and we are the only ones, the only
country in the world, who are subject to this pressure. We are the only ones. I
think the merit our people are earning at this time has no parallel in history.
That is my opinion, and I think it is an objective one.  There have been more
difficult moments, much greater suffering. There is no doubt that this was so
during the war for independence. There is no doubt that this was so during the
concentration plan. But in any case, a nation in modern times, a nation that
has reached the level our nation has.... [pauses] Because things are relative.
I see the sacrifices it is making at a time like this [words indistinct] 

148.  [Unidentified speaker] Commander, (?to take advantage of what) you are
saying. We are reaching the end of the year and we may not have the opportunity
to see you again. What message do you have for the people in evaluating 1992,
now that we are reaching the end of the year? 

149.  [Castro] I say that we should continue to struggle with the same spirit
of struggle with which we have struggled in 1992, and with the same confidence
in victory. 

150.  [Unidentified speaker] The will to unite, as Marti called it, seems to me
to have grown to a peak on this election day. 

151.  [Castro] That is a Cuban thing, right? We do not know ourselves well
until we have difficult problems, but it seems that we have always been like
this. All our lives we have admired what happened in other eras, what happened
in the last century. All ur lives we have admired the war of 1868 and their
ability to resist, and we have admired Maceo, who in spite of his 10 years of
exhaustion opposed and rose up against the Baragua pact. All our lives we have
admired the Cubans of 1895, I would say. Then there were the Cubans of the
struggles of the republic and the final war of liberation. 

152.  But our admiration was always bent with great respect towards the former,
and still bows with great respect towards them, because of what they did,
because of what they were. The nation did not even exist then. I think that is
great proof of the importance of moral values, and how those values which were
already being expressed in that era are widespread now and seen in the entire
nation. At that time, only part of the people fought. In our war for
independence, the first one, only part of the people participated. Then in 1895
a larger part of the people participated. In this struggle, all the people are
participating. If we admire those people for what they did, we have reason to
admire these people for what they are doing. If we admire those people's
ability to unite, we have to admire even more these people's ability to unite. 

153.  I must also take advantage of this occasion to congratulate you for the
excellent work you are doing in the special period, and wish you a 1993 also of
great dignity, heroism, and success. 

154.  [Unidentified speaker] If any country has a right to succeed, it is ours,
you said at the Forum. You still say that. 

155.  [Castro] I am convinced of it. 

156.  [Unidentified speaker] Thank you very much, Commander.