Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-231 Daily Report 1 Dec 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Interviewed Upon Arrival

FL0112040294 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 1 Dec 94 FL0112040294 Havana Cuba Vision Network Spanish BFN [From the "NTV" newscast]

[FBIS Translated Text] This afternoon, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro arrived in Mexico to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, Mexico's new president. Upon his arrival in Mexico City, Fidel Castro stated:

[Begin recording] [Castro] Good afternoon. Have you been here very long? It is cold. You do not look too cold. We were colder aboard the plane; they made us wait about 40 minutes.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] Very well. It is getting better, in every sense.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] Excellent.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct] at the Miami summit so they lift the blockade against Cuba.

[Castro] What?

[Unidentified reporter] Will you ask Zedillo to intercede in the Miami summit?

[Castro] I should not place Zedillo in such a difficult situation. He has just been elected. He is going to take office and go there, to Miami. It would be asking too much.

[Unidentified reporter] What do you expect from the Miami summit?

[Castro] We do not expect many things, but we will watch how it develops to see what happens. It is an interesting show [preceding word in English].

[Unidentified reporter] What is needed to normalize relations with the United States?

[Castro] For the United States to respect Cuba's sovereignty and for them to want to normalize relations. It depends on them, not on us because we do not have the United States blockaded, nor do we plan to do so -- really. We do not plan to impose conditions on them to establish relations with us.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] What we have expected from past governments, who have developed very good relations with Cuba.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] According to information, the Cuban rafters in Guantanamo are in good health. Many of them have crossed the minefields to return to Cuba. That has been a problem. Now...

[Unidentified reporter, interrupting] What is your opinion on Mexico's current political situation?

[Castro] It is very difficult to become a judge and give an opinion on Mexican policy. The most I can say is that I think it is a phase of transition and change. It is a new phase, and under these circumstances, all I can say is that I wish success, progress, and peace to the people of Mexico.

[Unidentified reporter] Commander, when do you expect the blockade to end?

[Castro] The Twelfth of Never, perhaps. There is a saying that goes -- nothing lasts forever -- nor blockaders who can endure it.

[Unidentified reporter] Commander, your opinion on the 187?

[Castro] Well, what can I say? I have the worst opinions. It is a fascist, racist, inhumane, and unbelievable law. I honestly thought this law would never be approved.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] I will meet those who want to meet with me, if we have time to meet with one another. Understand that I have come to a swearing-in ceremony; this is not a summit meeting.

[Unidentified reporter] Commander, when will the United States withdraw from Guantanamo?

[Castro] One of these days they will get tired and realize that it is insane, that all of this is not worth anything. The day that they quit trying to humiliate us, they will withdraw from Guantanamo.

[Unidentified reporter] What does Gorbachev's support mean to you?

[Castro] What support?

[Unidentified reporter] He has stated that he supports you.

[Castro] When?

[Unidentified reporter] That the blockade against Cuba be dropped.

[Castro] Well, I thought it was very good.

[Unidentified reporter] Do you have any meetings planned with Mexican businessmen?

[Castro] If I have time. I would enjoy it, especially now that we are partners with certain Mexican businessmen.

[Unidentified reporter] Are you going to discuss anything special with Zedillo?

[Castro] No. No special issue. Greet, congratulate him, and wish him success.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] [Words indistinct] we would have to ask him [words indistinct] at a point where we are both worried about the environment.

[Unidentified reporter] Did the rafters' crisis serve to improve relations with the United States?

[Castro] Well, the rafters' crisis served to correct certain things that were happening, among others, the constant enticement to leave the country illegally, to mass exodus. This went on for 35 years, but with much more emphasis during the last few years, when our economic situation was very difficult. This was added to the constant enticement. That is not happening now.

[Unidentified reporter] In 1995, is Cuba's economy going to improve?

[Castro] If not improve -- none, in any part of the world, have improved -- but, yes, we will begin to recover in 1995. Well, many thanks for your questions. I must go, because I have a quick meeting....

[Unidentified reporter, interrupting] With whom?

[Castro] Well, I should not say, because among other things, I must be discreet. This is a very important person and I want to greet him.

[Unidentified reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] What?

[Unidentified reporter] Are you going to hold a news conference?

[Castro] Well, let's see. Let's see how much time we have. I believe there are about 4,000 reporters here, and it's impossible to hold a news conference. Good bye, it has been a pleasure to meet you. Thank you. [end recording]