Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-011 Daily Report 13 Jan 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Interviewed on Future of Ties With Paraguay

PY1301210495 Madrid EFE in Spanish 0006 GMT 13 Jan 95 PY1301210495 Madrid EFE Spanish BFN

[FBIS Translated Text] Asuncion, 12 Jan (EFE) -- In the course of an interview with Fidel Castro released today by an Asuncion radio station, the Cuban president said he hopes that his country and Paraguay will resume diplomatic relations "as soon as possible."

Castro told a Radio Primero de Marzo correspondent that "we are entirely in favor of that (of resuming diplomatic relations), and hope that the Paraguayan people and authorities decide to do so."

He went on to say that "in a way there is communication, a sort of relationship between our peoples, between delegations visiting both countries, and in meetings between heads of state at Ibero-American presidential summit meetings."

Castro believes that these contacts will lead Cuba and Paraguay toward another kind of relations, but he clarified that his country does not wish to exercise any kind of pressure in that direction, and that he has opted to "wait patiently and let matters turn out in a natural way."

The Cuban leader expressed his satisfaction for the support that his country had received last year from the Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies, which condemned the extension of the U.S. economic blockade against the Caribbean island.

"It was a very great stimulus, because we have suffered so much from this blockade, with these adversities, with this threat, and when from a distance we observe a people who remember us, who express their solidarity and support us, our fortitude for keeping up the struggle, our spirit, and our hopes are multiplied," Castro stressed.

Regarding Paraguay's current political climate, he indicated that this country has taken a great step with the process of democratization, although he considers "there is still a long struggle ahead for justice, equality, and progress for the Paraguayan people."

Castro made these remarks last night in Havana after meeting with a group of Paraguayan congressmen headed by Deputy Nery Filemon Gonzalez, vice president of the lower chamber, which is paying a courtesy call this week to the Cuban capital.

Paraguayans and Cubans have maintained no diplomatic or trade relations since the Caribbean nation was expelled from the OAS in 1962.