Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-191 Daily Report 3 Oct 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Views Measures To Overcome Economic Crisis

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[FBIS Editorial Report] London ITV Television Network in English at 2140 GMT on 27 September broadcasts the "Network First" program. The 60-minute report entitled "Inside Castro's Cuba" is billed as an intimate and timely look at Cuba as it goes through changes following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The program includes an interview with President Fidel Castro, with superimposed English subtitles.

The report opens with shots of street scenes in Havana, followed by footage of Castro at various venues, including a hospital.

Castro begins speaking: "Of the 6000 doctors we had when the revolution triumphed, 3000 left. The U.S. opened its doors so that we would be left without teachers, professors, and doctors. And at the time we said, whoever wants to go, go. We were left with 3,000 doctors, and now I think we have 51,000. We have a network of local doctors that is the pillar of our health care system and one of the reasons why even in difficult times our healthcare statistics continue to improve."

The report continues with scenes of children being taught at various schools, Castro meeting with former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev several years ago, and people waiting for transportation.

Castro continues: "We are facing a mountain of problems; it is only because of the spirit and courage of our people that we have decided to fight on and not surrender."

The report continues with further footage of state run newspaper offices, and exodus of Cuban's lining up for U.S. visas.

Castro then says: "Most of the Cubans who want to leave want to do so for economic reasons. But in order to enter the U.S. they have to do so illegally. If they get across they are granted resident's status and citizenship. This is unique for Cubans, it happens to no other nationality in the world. This policy is aimed at encouraging illegal migration. There are thousands of Cubans wishing to visit the U.S. legally who are prevented from doing so. If any of them arrives illegally, they are accepted immediately."

The report goes on to show dockyard scenes following the U.S. intensification of the economic blockade.

Castro continues: "You can't imagine the struggle we face; it's worse than any war. But the psychological and economic weapons that the Americans use against us are harder to fight against."

The report then shows Castro visiting a farm, and speaking to farmers, going on to show scenes at a pharmaceutical laboratory.

Castro then says: "The blockade makes everything harder. All our attempts to find solutions such as joint ownership enterprises are sabotaged. For every ten deals we try to set up they somehow manage to sink nine.

The Americans feel that allowing visits from the exile community will have a destabilizing effect. Exiles arrive with photos of their fancy cars and tales of their high living standards. The first exiles who left were those with experience in running a business and with the help they received from the Americans they were successful. Of course, they've also received another kind of exile, some of our dregs, in considerable numbers. But the businessmen were successful and the U.S. feels that these trips we've authorized will erode morale. Of course they do some harm. For example they encourage a desire for loose living."