Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-118 Daily Report 18 Jun 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Further on Castro Remarks on Summit

PA1806030494 Havana Radio Havana Cuba in Spanish 0000 GMT 18 Jun 94 PA1806030494 Havana Radio Havana Cuba Spanish BFN [Report on news conference by President Fidel Castro with domestic journalists at the conclusion of the Fourth Ibero-American Summit in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia; date not given; from the "Evening Information Review" newscast -- passages within quotation marks recorded]

[Text] After completing his activities in Colombia, where he attended the Fourth Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, Cuban President Fidel Castro granted a news conference to Cuban journalists who covered this important meeting. In his first reply, Fidel said he does not believe there were substantial differences between the summit in Cartagena de Indias and the previous ones held in Guadalajara, Madrid, and Salvador de Bahia.

[Castro] "I believe that there have been (?advances) in all of them, and that altogether, they are positive. They have improved. One is never satisfied with everything discussed at the summit, or everything that is said. The mere fact that the summits are held constitutes an important historical step in Latin America. As I was explaining today to solidarity groups, it is the first time in history that [words indistinct]. There have been several summits, this was the fourth. These meetings have been consolidated and have been institutionalized. These Latin American summits have been institutionalized. Each one has [words indistinct] and each one ends with specific agreements, has promoted specific actions, but they have a general [word indistinct]. I believe that a [words indistinct] among Latin American leaders has been created, with greater understanding, a greater spirit of cooperation reflected in the various activities of Latin American countries in favor of [words indistinct].

``We should not analyze the summits only by what they achieve, but for what they promote. They have helped promote things. In my opinion, these summits are so important that they have triggered the Miami Summit. Our northern neighbors got worried [words indistinct] specific results in subregional integration organizations. Therefore, they decided to call a summit; we still do not know if it will be an annual summit. Of course, you know what the exclusions are [words indistinct] they know that even though the summit is in Miami, I would go [words indistinct] I believe this is a cowardly exclusion, which reflects the [words indistinct] because it is an opportunity, we cannot deny it, of creating a Latin America [words indistinct] the presumed owners of this hemisphere. I hope there will be enough enthusiasm -- and there is always [word indistinct] and enough courage -- and there are always courageous men -- to mention some truths in that summit. I hope that the interests of Latin America and the Caribbean, which are many, are defended.''

Fidel Castro also pointed out that having given intensity to social development issues is one of the modest contributions Cuba made to the Ibero-American summits.

[Castro] "[Word indistinct] we have made a strong effort to raise the summits' spirits and to give meaning to them. I believe the Cuban delegation has no reason to be (?ashamed) of these statements, and [words indistinct], especially at this summit because we are looking at the so-called Miami Summit. We already started discussing the Miami Summit. We believe these summits have created awareness. Integration awareness is one such issue created by these summits. We should measure the success of the summits by the number of tangible issues, not by the awareness they have created, the rapprochement they have generated, or the contacts achieved by the Latin American rulers. [Words indistinct] of the Cuban contribution; Cuba has made a modest contribution. You were asking about the summits' contribution to Cuba. I can tell you they have contributed to fighting Cuban isolation, to creating awareness of the blockade, to giving a lesson to the United States, and to [words indistinct] Cuba's expulsion. Cuba recently improved its relations with the rest of Latin America; Cuba has encountered a more propitious climate for economic relations and trade."

As for the Miami hemispheric summit, the Cuban president was asked what issues the Latin America should stress there.

[Castro] "We must promote the defense of sovereignty and the principle of nonintervention in Latin America. In addition, those pretexts used to intervene in Latin America's domestic affairs, such as drug trafficking, must no longer be used to violate the Latin American countries' sovereignties. We must change armies into police bodies. In other words, there is a number of economic and political issues that should be stressed at the Miami summit. I was thinking that if the United States indeed wants to have more mature relations and if it wants to close its military bases in Latin America, it should not forget the Guantanamo base; the United States should comply with the agreements signed to remove all military bases in Panama and in any other country. There are security, political, and economic problems that must be discussed at this summit. I would say there is a world to be discussed there.

``I urge the Latin American countries to discuss these issues at the so-called Miami Summit. I know very brave Latin American and Caribbean politicians. I met them at these Ibero-American summits; they are valuable and capable people. I hope they will bring these issues up at the Miami Summit. The slogans that were uttered from decade to decade and from century to century were just lies and more lies.''

To this effect, the top Cuban leader pointed out the United States continues to be the biggest obstacle to Latin American integration.

[Castro] "The United States wants to disintegrate us, because it opposes true Latin American integration. It wants the countries to move forward on their own. [Words indistinct] toward integration, the United States is promoting bilateral integration among the many Latin American countries. The same thing that happened with the foreign debt, when it opposed holding negotiations with an integrated Latin America, is happening now. The United States refuses to let Latin America integrate; it wants to sign agreements with individual countries to meet its own interests, thus preventing a true American union from forming. One thing, however, is what the United States wants, and another is what Latin Americans are doing on their own: promoting their own bilateral agreements.

``Mexico is promoting bilateral free trade agreements with different countries. It already did that with Chile. Although Mexico is a NAFTA member, Mexico also just signed a free trade agreement with Venezuela and Colombia, the Group of Three. They say the ideas of free trade and Latin American integration are slowly making headway.''

Cuban reporters were not an exception and also asked Castro about the guayabera shirt he wore in Cartagena, generating such great surprise and suspicion.

[Castro] "The tale of the guayabera has been quite a tale. [Words indistinct] some people disagreed, I mean some of the security people. (?A girl) asked why I took off my uniform. No, I continue to wear my uniform deep inside, [words indistinct] but I am already used to those boots [words indistinct] the first day I wore the slacks [words indistinct] and yesterday I also (?wore it) so she could tell me I was wearing the uniform [words indistinct], and that I was wearing a guayabera and slacks as uniform [words indistinct] navy blue plants and a guayabera, but I kept the boots. I only took my boots off to sleep. [laughter]"

[Reporter] "Commander."

[Castro] "[Passage indistinct] I did it heeding an invitation or the request made to everyone. I did not want to (?stand out) [words indistinct]."

[Reporter] "[Question indistinct]"

[Castro] "[Words indistinct] [laughter] I wear my olive green uniform again.

[Reporter] "People in Cuba are [words indistinct]"

[Castro] "I can [words indistinct], tomorrow I would not [words indistinct]."

[Reporter] "You are not going to have the final word. [laughter]"

[Castro] "No, that does not mean I will never again wear it, but (?I may wear it) to some reception [words indistinct] it is comfortable. It is truly comfortable. I do not know if [words indistinct] Robertico [Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina] with a uniform [words indistinct] [laughter]"

[Reporter] "[Words indistinct]"

[Castro] "I felt comfortable because it is truly hot there and [words indistinct] but I think I am going back to my olive green uniform. It is an old habit."