Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-105 Daily Report 31 May 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Spanish Magazine Interviews Fidel Castro

PA0106040794 Paris AFP in Spanish 1334 GMT 31 May 94 PA0106040794 Paris AFP Spanish BFN

[Text] Madrid, 31 May (AFP) -- In an interview published in the June edition of Spain's ELLE magazine, Cuban President Fidel Castro talks about his life, his struggles, the current problems his country is going through, U.S. President Bill Clinton, machismo, and harassment against gays in Cuba.

In an interview entitled "The Last Revolutionary," Castro emphasizes that he has had a "fascinating" life and denies that he wants to retire. "It is not my fault that I have not died yet, or that the CIA (U.S. intelligence service) has not been able to kill me. I am a revolutionary, and revolutionaries do not retire, just as writers do not retire," Castro says. He adds, however, "no one is indispensable, and I am in need of rest."

The Cuban leader denies he is concerned about the place he will be assigned by history. "Personally, I am not concerned about myself. All of the world's glory can fit into a single kernel of corn," he points out. Castro adds that it is more important to worry "about what happens in terms of ideas than about what happens to individuals."

After 35 years in power, Castro indicated to ELLE that he has "the same spirit" he had 48 years ago, when at age 19 he began his struggle. "I believe that if I started my life over again, I would do everything exactly the same," he insists.

With respect to what will become of Cuba after his death, Castro replies, "The CIA should be asked that question." Nevertheless, he adds: "Honestly, I do not believe anything will happen. The government will adapt to the situation. We have all of the necessary political and legal instruments set up for it to continue the way it is going."

When asked about his opinion of Clinton, Castro says his opinion on the U.S. President is "positive, but that if he says something good about him, some officials in the administration will complain because he has enemies who whine that he is too soft on Castro. If I say something bad, then the situation will be worse. So I better not say anything."

Castro says he would be delighted to see Ted Turner, the head of CNN network, become president of the United States. Turner, according to his biographer, considers Fidel one of the two great influences of his life. "Ted enjoys life and beauty. I would relish seeing him become president of the United States, although I should not say this because then he will never get elected."

When asked by the reporter -- who wrote that Cubans are "puritans" and that "the rule is that no one asks Castro about his private life" -- Castro acknowledges that he has "less than a dozen children." He says there not enough to be considered a "tribe."

With regard to homosexuals, Castro stresses, "Revolutionary homophobia is a simple extension of Latin American machismo." Nevertheless, he adds that "he has never shared this feeling."

According to the reporter, the Cuban leader "turned pale" when asked if his brother was behind the work camps for homosexuals. It is said that Raul Castro was impressed with how Bulgaria had handled the undesirables (homosexuals) issue. "This is false," Castro says, roused to indignation.

The magazine also reminisces on the Cuban president's "great admiration for feminine adroitness and fortitude." During his years in the Sierra Madre, the revolution's crack troops were comprised women only because they "are better soldiers" than men, Castro points out.

The interview concludes with Castro's rowdy laughter to a joke by the ELLE reporter. "What are the Cuban Revolution's accomplishments? [no closing quotation marks as received] Education, health, and sports. And the revolution's failings? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Anyway, Castro replies that "to eat too much is bad for one's health."