FBIS-LAT-94-003 Daily Report 5 January 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Interviewed in Santiago de Cuba FL0401020494 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 2320 GMT 3 Jan 94 FL0401020494 Havana Cuba Vision Network Spanish BFN ["Excerpt" of interview with President Fidel Castro by unidentified reporters in Santiago de Cuba on 1 January -- recorded] [Text] [Reporter] I am from Santiago de Cuba and I, like my people, recently experienced the same difficult times other eastern provinces experienced. Have you been able to learn what is being done? What aid has the country received from the international community? [Castro] Not much here in Santiago de Cuba. The country provided the money needed, especially to rebuild homes, repair mattresses, to give the people back what they lost, to purchase cement. Almost all has been done with money provided by the country. Much has been done in Guantanamo, the most affected province, Sagua, and Santiago. Guantanamo was strongly affected by the rains. Just imagine what it was like to have 700 millimeters of rain fall on the area in 36 hours. This happened in one municipality. It was tremendous. If affected the coffee, tuber, and orchard crops. However, the storm of the century caused more damage than these rains. The storm of the century affected many provinces. However, this recent storm caused much damage in Guantanamo. It destroyed thousands of homes. [Reporter] Years ago you made a speech at Cespedes Park. You said that there was much for the Revolution to do in the future. At that time, you said that the people had all their hopes set on the rebel army and on you. However, you told them you did not want to be a demagogue and admitted that difficult times lay ahead. A few minutes ago you repeated those words. [Castro] When I entered Havana on 8 January, I stressed that even more. I warned the people that even more difficult times lay ahead. I told the people that. [Reporter] And you have repeated those same words today. [Castro] I did. Being a demagogue would be lying to the people. It would be a lie to tell the people that the problems are small and that the path ahead is an easy one to travel. [Reporter] Comparing.... [Castro, interrupts] We are enduring a test no other country has ever endured. We are the only country to endure it; it is a tremendous test. [Reporter] In your opinion, [words indistinct] the Revolution? [Castro] As if we were starting all over again. The struggle is much harder, but we have more people who are more revolutionary, more aware, better prepared. This revolutionary contingent must win this battle. It is better prepared and more aware. No other country in the world has waged a battle as difficult as the one Cuba has waged. We have been resisting the empire for the past 35 years. That is an unheard of prowess. We do not really realize what this has meant, what victoriously resisting the United States for the past 35 years has meant. The United States is trying to take advantage, opportunistically take advantage of the fact that the socialist bloc has disappeared. The most extraordinary thing is that despite the disappearance of the socialist bloc, we continue to challenge the United States and continue to wage our battle. This is a first in the history of Cuba. I have no doubts that this generation is waging the most difficult and most heroic battle in Cuba's history. You, all of you, are waging this battle. [Reporter] Tell us how you spent the last day of the year. [Castro] I spent the last day of the year meditating a bit about today's event. I rested. I rested on the last day of the year. It was a hectic and tiring month; I was tired. I knew that I had to be here today, that I had to come here today. I spent almost the whole day reading, but I was reading about other things. I read about economics and international matters. I also read a bit of fiction. What I did was rest. At midnight I went to visit some friends.