Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-114 Daily Report 14 Jun 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Meets With Salinas, Talks About Mexico

PA1406015094 Mexico City Radio ACIR Network in Spanish 0000 GMT 14 Jun 94 PA1406015094 Mexico City Radio ACIR Network Spanish BFN [Report by Oscar Navarro Cuevas from the "ACIR Radio News" newscast]

[Text] President Carlos Salinas de Gortari met privately with Fidel Castro, president of the Cuban Councils of State and Ministers. Cuban President Fidel Castro accompanied the Mexican president to the Protocol House of the Cuban Government where Salinas rested a few minutes before beginning his meeting with his host. Prior to this, at the Jose Marti International Airport, Salinas reviewed a Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces honor guard.

Salinas also did something unexpected. He walked to where a group of people were standing behind the security line and personally greeted them. The Cuban and Mexican national anthems were played during the official welcome ceremony at the airport. Salinas stood with his arms down while President Castro saluted with his right hand.

The presidents left the airport in a limousine adorned with the Cuban flag on the right side and the Mexican flag on the left. The limousine drove down the main runway from where a huge placard with Salinas' face could be seen as well as other placards reading: Long Live the Friendship Between the Peoples of Cuba and Mexico, and Welcome, President Salinas de Gortari.

All along the route to the Protocol House were placards reading: Long Live the Friendship Between the Peoples of Marti and Juarez, and Long Live the Unbreakable Friendship between Mexico and Cuba. Cuban radio stations carried live coverage of the Mexican president's arrival in Cuba and his arrival at the Cuban Government House. Here, the two presidents met privately. At the end of the meeting, Castro hosted a lunch for the Mexican president. After lunch, the two presidents met again to discuss the many topics on the bilateral agenda.

According to statements by Castro during an interview, the most important subject discussed was attracting Mexican capital to Cuba. While at the Protocol House, Castro told the press his country's foremost relations with the hemisphere are precisely with Mexico.

During the meeting with the Mexican press, Castro also talked about the situation in Chiapas, the blockade Cuba is experiencing, the recent incidents in Mexico, and his life. Castro said the incidents that have occurred in Mexico saddened and pained him.

[Begin recording] [Navarro Cuevas] I have seen with concern and pain the problems Mexico has experienced, Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, said. Interviewed shortly before the arrival of Mexican President Salinas, Castro said he would not be a realist if he were to say all is rose-colored in Mexico, especially in light of the situation it is experiencing. The Cuban leader explained, however, Mexico is not an isolated case; he said similar things are happening in other countries as a result of the lost decade [decada perdida]. Regarding Chiapas State, Castro said:

[Castro] You have asked me a very difficult question. Why? Because it is a question that concerns Mexican domestic affairs, and I am not the one to analyze those things. I do believe, however, [words indistinct] social problems and conflicts, but the situation is not only a Mexican situation; it is a situation that affects the whole hemisphere. [Words indistinct] the famous lost decade [words indistinct] problems. For example, [words indistinct] per capita is the same as 16 years ago. [Words indistinct] many social and economic problems that have accumulated. I would say those are factors that cause an [word indistinct] imbalance and create problems as the ones we see in Chiapas.

[Navarro Cuevas] Regarding the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba, a blockade that has lasted more than 30 years, Castro said it is the oldest blockade in history and it has been confronted by the longest resistance. He said investments are slowly returning to Cuba and are being consolidated on the island. Castro said if he were born again, he would do the same all over again, only better. Castro also said he would love to live more than 100 years. When asked if he hoped to do more in his life, Castro said he has been commander for more than 30 years. He said this title was given to him in Mexico.

In conclusion, the president of the Councils of State and Ministers said he is not a neoliberal and he would not talk about that because some of the countries that will attend the fourth Ibero-American Summit in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, would not like it, and those countries are his friends. [end recording]