Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-157 Daily Report 12 Aug 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Fidel Castro Rejects Killing `Traitors'

FL1208191194 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 1700 GMT 12 Aug 94 FL1208191194 Havana Radio Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Remarks by President Fidel Castro during an impromptu meeting with reporters "minutes after" 12 August television news conference in Havana; from the "National Radio News" -- recorded]

[Text] This has strengthened the Revolution. It has not weakened it because when the people react in the manner they did the other day in confronting that violence or rioting, it is because the Revolution is grounded on principles, it has morals. We would rather be the ones enduring loss of lives. We prefer this in certain circumstances. However, if you are speaking about a foreign invasion, then it is a completely different matter. However, when we have to confront unarmed people, then we have to exercise great self-control and cannot abuse our power. I am convinced that such political practices....[pauses] However, I am aware that our people are radical, our people always want the so-called iron fist, and harder and harder iron fists because they hate them, they abhor them. Yet, if we acted on that hate and repulsion, we might be giving the enemy a very powerful tool to shape international opinion. They would use this to isolate us, portray us as repressive and murderers and all that.

A police battalion could have easily handled the incident of a few days ago. Can you imagine how advantageous it would have been for them if a police battalion would have dissolved the riot by firing a few shots and killing 10 or 12 people. However, when the people are the ones who respond, it is completely different. Has this ever happened anywhere else in the world? I have always believed in the importance of the masses being the ones confronting such challenges and that weapons be reserved for invaders and mercenaries. Now, if they are armed, it is a different thing.

I would say that this type of people are deserving of many sanctions. They are traitors, and our people always seek the harshest treatment for traitors and turncoats. In reality, a goverment's responsibilities does not allow it to order violent measures, repressive measures, even less....[pauses] There are many people who wish we would kill those people, but we cannot do so. We cannot relinquish our standards, our principles and advocate violent repression. On the contrary, we try to avoid it, not only as a matter of principles but also because this is what they want. They want to drag us into violent repressions.