Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-092 Daily Report 10 May 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Continues Official Visit to South Africa

Castro Holds News Conference

FL1105222594 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 2300 GMT 10 May 94 FL1105222594 Havana Radio Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Report by correspondent Gisela Bel Heredia]

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro granted a news conference to the Cuban reporters accompanying him on his visit to South Africa. Fidel discussed possible Cuba-South Africa ties, and Mandela's historic victory.

[Begin recording] [Unidentified reporter] Earlier this month, an ANC [African National Congress] representative discussed the preceding events, and explained that once Nelson Mandela was inaugurated, South Africa would proceed to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. That is their intent. They even included this in a document known as the New South Africa Foreign Policy Charter.

In view of the fact that we have already attended the inauguration and that certain talks have been held with cabinet representatives, what are the prospects that this will become a reality?

[Castro] [Words indistinct] of our relations with Mandela, the ANC, we have more than diplomatic relations. We have had close ties of brotherhood for many years. I believe we are family. Regarding foreign relations [words indistinct] conditions, the closer our friendship with a country, the less we ask to establish ties. We allow circumstances and the appropriate moment to determine the establishment of ties to occur. In the special case of South Africa at this time, we could not make a definitive statement.

I have been received here like a brother, like a son. We have not pressed the issue of formal ties, however. I believe that perhaps tomorrow, it will be brought up in the talks with the foreign minister. Robertico [Robaina] has been talking with the foreign minister. Tomorrow, I will again meet with Mandela. Perhaps, he will bring this up and ties will be established immediately. We will not bring it up however. We must bear in mind what is good for them, and the appropriate moment to formalize ties, rather than bringing it up like a demand or as a request from us.

It seems something, however, [word indistinct] that those ties will be established quickly because there are few countries with whom we have stronger ties in common -- kinship and fraternal ties.

Today I greeted almost every minister. I did not speak with ministers from other countries. We talked like old relatives. I am convinced all of them want the quick establishment of ties, but out of a basic sense of courtesy and respect, we should not exert pressure. They can do it whenever they are ready. Relations, de facto, are very strong between South Africa and Cuba.

[Reporter] Commander, for many years, Cuba and South Africa had great differences because of Angola. Did you ever think then, or later, that you would be here today in the former capital of apartheid?

[Castro] Well, there are two South African nations. We have to return to its history. For specific reasons, strong clashes took place. Now, however, there is a new South Africa in which such clashes no longer exist, just peace, harmony, respect, and affection.

Your question dealing with Angola is very difficult to answer. [Words indistinct] the independence of Angola. We were in Angola for 15 years. From the beginning of intervention by foreign forces in Angola, we gave it our support -- for 15 years. So many things happened. We did not have a strong presence, but it was strong enough because we could not, nor did it depend on us alone, to attain a position was the problem. [sentence as heard]

In Angola, we fought with the greatest selflessness. The rest was the responsibility of the Angolan people. We were not Angola's only supporters. Nevertheless, we can say that we helped, selflessly and with great loyalty. I would said that our support was very efficient, and that Cuba's support was not only efficient, but intelligent. We have no reason to regret anything we did. Rather, we could say that several difficult times were confronted, difficult but not through our fault. Cuba fulfilled its duty. Cuba contributed to solve the highly difficult problems that arose. I do not want to criticize anyone. I believe today is not a day to criticize. Perhaps history will record this. [end recording]