Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-089 Daily Report 8 May 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Views Barbados Visit

PA0805161194 Havana Radio Havana Cuba in Spanish 0000 GMT 8 May 94 PA0805161194 Havana Radio Havana Cuba Spanish BFN [Report on an interview with President Fidel Castro by station reporter Gisela Veleredia in Georgetown; date not given -- recorded]

[Text] In what was considered the most important aspect of the Cuban delegation's visit to Barbados, President Fidel Castro placed a wreath at the very place where a Barbados airliner [as heard] crashed in 1976. Several members of the Cuban fencing team died in the accident, along with other Caribbean citizens. The commander in chief, visibly moved, said he had thought about this moment from the time he decided to travel to Barbados. He also gave us his opinion on the decisions made at the First World Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island States.

[Begin recording] [Veleredia] What do the expressions of solidarity you received from the Caribbean leaders at this conference mean for Cuba?

[Castro] Such expressions of solidarity and friendship have always been extremely important to us as this [words indistinct].

[Veleredia] Did you think of this moment when you decided to come to Barbados?

[Castro] Yes, it was the first thing I thought about.

[Veleredia] Do you think that every Cuban who travels to Barbados thinks of the events that took place here?

[Castro] What is this place called? It is not very far from where the tragedy occurred.

[Veleredia] [Words indistinct] opportunity?

[Castro] There always is and there always will be.

[Veleredia] Could you comment on the other activities of the day in this first visit to Barbados?

[Castro] I have been able to do several things. I met with the media and had several other individual meetings. Later today I will visit the governor, who is the [word indistinct] and the minister of justice.

[Veleredia] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] They were very friendly toward Cuba. I expect to see a few other things and meet some of the country's leaders of [words indistinct].

[Veleredia] Are you pleased with this first visit to an English-speaking Caribbean nation?

[Castro] Very pleased, but I have not really had a chance to get to know the people. I have only seen the streets and buildings. The people here are very warm and welcoming and very polite. I have been very impressed.

[Unidentified reporter] After meeting with the people of this island, do you still maintain that Cuba came to this forum with a broad based political commitment?

[Castro] Or course. You cannot come to this meeting or this country with any other idea. Contacts with these island nations were initiated in Rio de Janeiro. I felt the enormous concern these nations have about the changing climate and the rising waters. They are experiencing a dramatic situation. This is a matter of life or death to them. Any natural phenomenon would have the same effect on any country, but it has a greater importance for these people.

[Reporter] Even when many developed nations [words indistinct].

[Castro] They have been absent, but I perceive a greater degree of awareness about these problems than there was in Rio de Janeiro.

[Veleredia] Do you think this meeting and your visit will pave the way for closer relations?

[Castro] The road is already being paved. Anything that works in that direction will contribute to closer ties. It is very important to talk with the leaders and learn what they are thinking. You know I did not miss a minute of the conference. [Words indistinct] I congratulate you because you were there all the time.

[Veleredia] The prime minister of Barbados said he would work to solve the differences that prevent Cuba from becoming part of the Organization of Caribbean States. What are the major differences?

[Castro] There are no differences between us.

[Veleredia] I meant the obstacles to Cuban integration.

[Castro] The ones that already exist and are known. [end recording]

The commander in chief defied the ridges and climbed down to the beach to allow the (?waves) to touch his feet, thus honoring the martyrs who died in Barbados. Today the commander was to continue his agenda here in Barbados, which includes a visit with Governor Nita Barrow.