Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-089 Daily Report 7 May 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Gives News Conference

FL0705184194 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 1700 GMT 7 May 94 FL0705184194 Havana Radio Rebelde Network Spanish BFN

[Text] Today, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro placed a wreath at the spot where a Cuban plane crashed in 1976, victim of a criminal sabotage. Outstanding sportsmen who were returning home bringing many trophies for the fatherland died in this accident.

In Bridgetown, our top leader assessed some aspects of the Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island States with the local and foreign press. Conference special correspondent Gisela Bel Heredia has provided a portion of the news conference granted by Fidel Castro in Bridgetown:

[Begin recording] [Heredia] Do you feel satisfied with this first visit to a Caribbean state?

[Castro] Yes, very much so. And now I would like to know this island better because during the days of the conference one gets to know only the streets and buildings. But the people are very friendly, very educated, and hospitable. I am taking home a very good impression of them.

[Unidentified reporter] Would you ratify the idea that Cuba has attended this forum with a very broad political commitment with the people of this island?

[Castro] Of course. It could not be otherwise. It could not be different. These contacts began in Rio de Janeiro with the group of island states, and I was able to perceive a great concern conveyed by all those countries, namely over the climatic changes and the increase in water level. The situation of these islands is very dramatic. It is a situation of life or death because a phenomenon of this nature is much more serious for them more than for anybody else.

[Reporter] But many developed nations have been absent or are absent from this conference.

[Castro] Yes, they were absent, but I have noticed a little more awareness concerning this problem, more than what I saw in Rio de Janeiro.

[Reporter] Do you think this conference of the Caribbean states will pave the road for closer relations?

[Castro] Well, the path was being paved, and we hope it will contribute to a tighter relationship. It is very important to get to know the leaders, to become aware of their way of thinking, and as you know, I was not absent a single minute from this event. I do not know whether you have been here all this time and seen everything.

[Reporter] Yes, we have been here. The Barbadian prime minister has said he will try to overcome all differences seeking Cuba's integration into the organization of Caribbean states. What are those differences?

[Castro] He was not referring to differences between us; between us there are no...

[Reporter, interrupting] No, but to some obstacles that could exist in...

[Castro, interrupting] The obstacles are well known. [end recording]

The Cuban president today held a meeting with Governor General Nita Barrow, sister of the late Barbadian Prime Minister (Harold) Barrow. Fidel said that for him, it was a commitment to make this visit because the current governor general is the sister of the former president who had excellent relations with Cuba. Today, he has scheduled meetings with reporters from the regional news agency CANA and from the Caribbean Broadcasting Union [preceding words in English] television station which transmits for the entire area.

Today, Fidel Castro is scheduled to visit the Rainbow Warrior boat of the ecologist group, Green Peace. This boat has anchored at Bridgetown port with an onboard fair on sustainable technology in environment preservation.

Bridgetown, capital and main port of the Barbados islands, with a little more than 20,000 inhabitants, has just been the place of one of the most important meetings this year for the not very much publicized alliance of small island states.

The first Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island States, which concluded its sessions yesterday, approved its plan of action and the Barbados declaration as the guide for sustainable development of the smallest islands.

But can there be sustainable development in one single part of the world, and development in all other countries? And can there be such development in extremely wealthy societies which believe that only by growing will they survive, and which can grow only at the cost of all its natural resources? Why do they need more wealth? President Fidel Castro referred to these questions in the speech he delivered at the conference held at the (Cherbrum Center) in Bridgetown.

From the very beginning, Fidel said the poor and the small countries always try to know how are we going to survive in the next decades, while the powerful nations discuss ways for a new distribution in the world. For the super developed societies, the problem is not to grow but to distribute, and not only to distribute among themselves but to distribute among all.

The Cuban president then said that sustainable development is impossible without a more just distribution among all nations. Whether we want it or not, today, mankind is a single family, and we will all have the same fate. We must use less deceitful words and change the current philosophy because this selfish philosophy has only served to cause the catastrophies we are suffering today and the worse ones we will suffer in the future.

Shortly after the Cuban president's speech, Barbadian Foreign Minister Branford Taitt told Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina during a bilateral meeting that no foreign pressure can prevent the Caribbean community from taking the necessary steps to reinstate Cuba into the economic mechanisms of the Caribbean Community and into the future Association of Caribbean States.

He also said that Fidel Castro's speech to the plenary session of the conference was brilliant. He added that his presence in Bridgetown has enhanced the conference and has helped to establish fundamental elements in the strategies for sustainable development of small islands.

Expressions of solidarity were also conveyed to Roberto Robaina during bilateral meetings. Robaina said: We hope and wish that ties will be strengthened between Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean islands, and we can cooperate to help Cuba overcome its current problems.