Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-152 Daily Report 7 Aug 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Interviewed on Emigration, U.S.

FL0708025494 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks in Spanish 0000 GMT 7 Aug 94 FL0708025494 Havana Tele Rebelde and Cuba Vision Networks Spanish BFN ["Excerpts" of impromptu news conference by President Fidel Castro and unidentified reporters at Tele Rebelde studios on 6 August in Havana "minutes after" Castro's 0100 GMT televised news conference of 6 August -- recorded]

[Text] [Castro] I saw you today on the television newscast at 2000 at a ceremony in Regla. I saw the newscast and the interviews conducted. This is psychological warfare. I saw what you did, the interview with the women and relatives.

[First reporter] It shows it is truly an act of piracy. Terrorists!

[Castro] Did you see Sullivan! He gave importance to the NTV newscast.

[First reporter] He heard your comments.

[Castro] Did you see how he threatens us, that it would have serious consequences if I said the same thing. [chuckles] I said more. Can you believe they pretend to intimidate us with the boogey man at this point in time!

[Second reporter] Commander, I believe he is the one who became scared by the statements you made this afternoon.

[First reporter] Never mind that the audio was bad, he must have made a great effort to hear.

[Castro] He brought the issue to the forefront with his threat. How dare they make such a stupid threat!

[Third reporter] And contradictory.

[Castro] Let us see what happens in the next few days. Let us see if vessels start coming. The world knows no one is going to kill them.

[First reporter] Do you think that events will rush forward after what you said? That they might try to launch vessels from here this very day and vessels from there might set to sea tonight?

[Castro] Anything is possible.

[First reporter] What would we do in that case?

[Castro] Let us wait and see what they do and what they say. They provoked this. I expect they will tackle the headache of holding back the vessels at the ports because it is very hard to do so once they set out to sea.

How many Haitians have drowned, how many have died in such attempts?

[Third reporter] As I mentioned to you this afternoon, I have known Dominican reporters who say that every day people take to the sea; what happens is that nothing is published about it. A Cuban leaves in a raft and makes the front page headlines.

[Castro] No knows what might happen tomorrow. This situation is imponderable.

[Fourth reporter] Carter taught much to the Democrats. I believe that they will not get involved blindly.

[Castro] They will have to make sure that vessels are not launched. We will try to ensure that our vessels are not stolen. We have to take measures. We have to protect our fishing vessels, or any kind of vessel. If anyone leaves in their own boat, we have no reason to get involved. In reality, the police, as result of all these campaigns, and in order to avoid incidents, the patrols have been much more flexible in these things. In other words, they have made everything possible to prevent accidents. Becoming more flexible, allows more people to leave. Before, they were obsessed with ensuring that no one left. They became more flexible to prevent accidents.

[First reporter] You said that we must not use weapons against domestic lumpen.

[Castro] That we do not want to use weapons.

[First reporter] Yet, the way you said it might embolden the lumpen. We prefer not using them but....

[Castro, interrupting] It depends. Their strategy is to provoke incidents, massacres. They have been warned. We do not want this and will do everything in our power to avoid it. But if they come and start shooting at the police and begin doing that kind of thing, the police will have to defend themselves.

The people must know our philosophy. We do not want to use weapons against those elements.

[Fifth reporter] And if it can be resolved among the people it is even better.

[Castro] Then, I am sure we would disarm them.

[First reporter] Commander, how is this period different from the sixties and the eighties in terms of the dangers it represents for the Revolution as well as the support of the people. what is your opinion?

[Castro] I believe there is a certain drop overall but an increment in the peoples' commitment. I saw many greatly committed people out there. Their commitment is more profound than that, even more than at the beginning of the Revolution. At the beginning of the Revolution the support was more widespread. These events are taking place in the area with the most difficulties and problems -- Havana. It is not the same in other regions of Cuba. This reminds me of Giron, and Granma. It has brought all that back because you see there are people truly committed to fatherland or death. This is not a slogan for them. It is the truth. The attitude of the people is harsh; they want to ship out everyone tomorrow. To ship out everyone wanting to leave.

[First reporter] Is the Revolution not afraid that many people might leave?

[Castro] No. People seek to emigrate worldwide. It happens in Mexico and other countries. What harm does that do us? All the campaigns being waged against us are more harmful when in an effort to prevent the theft of a vessel it sinks as happened with the Trece de Marzo tugboat. The Border Guard had absolutely nothing to do with it. Yet, they are accused of being criminals. They accuse them of having hidden away the bodies. It is repugnant.

[Sixth reporter] They might try to tie this situation to the Haitian crisis.

[Castro] Yes. They would like to tackle us after Haiti, but we are not going to give them the opportunity.

[First reporter] That policy of avoiding accidents is aimed at that?

[Castro] There are a bunch of cannibals, murderers over there. Yet, that does not give them the right to intervene. All these are mechanisms they are inventing in order to legalize interventions. They would like to do so next with us.

[First reporter] Thank you commander. [applause]