Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-157 Daily Report 10 Aug 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Would Sacrifice `Political Preferences' for Peace

MM1508090094 Madrid EL PAIS in Spanish 10 Aug 94 p 3 MM1508090094 Madrid EL PAIS Spanish BFN [Interview with President Fidel Castro by five unidentified Colombian journalists in Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia, 8 August]

[Text] Santa Fe de Bogota -- "Those who have been able to do their duty need not fear death. When I die I will remain useful because I will serve as a banner." With these words, Cuban President Fidel Castro concluded his interview with five Colombian journalists on Monday evening. Castro went to Colombia in order to attend Ernesto Samper's inauguration as the country's new president.

[Question] Do you think about the tragic destiny of the solitude of power?

[Castro] That is a theory which refers to the power of an emperor, a Napoleon. I would say that to govern is to share viewpoints and to accept responsibilities when it falls to you.

[Question] Why do you not share power with your people through a plebiscite?

[Castro] To share it in the way that it is shared in the United States and in most of the world -- we will not share it in that way. We have a plebiscite every day. How do you think the revolution could be defended without the people who form a structural part of the power? That is why I ask myself how many so-called representative democracies could achieve the feat which our people are achieving.

[Question] Do you believe that there are good things about capitalism?

[Castro] Capitalism brought some good things of a technical nature, but it also brought colonialism, extermination, and slavery.

[Question] What would you be prepared to concede in order to achieve a reconciliation with the United States?

[Castro] If it is a matter of principles, of the country's sovereignty, of the revolution's gains, we are prepared to concede nothing. We do not wish to become a Puerto Rico. We would be prepared to sacrifice our particular political preferences such as socialism for integration, peace, and social justice. I am speaking of the hope that I have that Latin America will act in this way some day. Cuba is making a heroic effort to survive. Those who wish to leave the country can do so, but the United States receives only those who hijack ships.

[Question] What is your reply to those who wish to oust you from Cuba?

[Castro] Those people must know that the work which I am doing is no pleasure but a duty. To leave the battlefield would be a betrayal. Revolutionaries do not retire as long as their services are required. I wish that I could devote myself to reading and writing.