Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-028-S Daily Report 27 Jan 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Mexican Newspaper Interviews Fidel Castro

Part II Views Miami Summit

PA3101042195 Mexico City EL SOL DE MEXICO in Spanish 27 Jan 95 Section A, p 1-20 PA3101042195 Mexico City EL SOL DE MEXICO Spanish BFN [Part II of "exclusive" interview with President Fidel Castro by EL SOL DE MEXICO Director General Mario Vazquez Rana in Havana; date not given -- first two paragraphs are EL SOL DE MEXICO introduction]

[FBIS Translated Text] Havana, Cuba -- Fidel Castro, a longtime and perceptive analyst of U.S. actions, has been closely following the Mexican financial crisis and the reaction of U.S. congressmen, questioning the conditions of the loan guarantees for Mexico. Fidel has characterized these conditions as humiliating and at odds with the spirit of cooperation of the Third Summit of the Americas held 9-12 December in Miami, Florida, from which Cuba was excluded by the event's host.

Fidel says the summit was just another of the "inventions" periodically created by American presidents to highlight their hemispheric policy, but that they have failed every time because they are not responding to true needs or true historical connections.

[Vazquez] At the end of the Summit of the Americas, a request was made for Cuba to attend the next meeting. Would Cuba be interested in joining this forum?

[Castro] "Look, Mario, I do not know if there will be another Summit of the Americas, but the United States had never hosted one. The United States used to participate in certain meetings and at times extended invitations. The OAS and other forums sponsored two or three meetings in Punta del Este. When the Ibero-American summits were established, for the first time the Latin Americans met on their own without having to ask the United States for permission, and they never excluded Cuba.

"I must say in all honesty that we are very grateful to Mexico for not having excluded us from the Ibero-American summits.

"Mexico held firm. It was the first country to host an Ibero-American summit, and it invited Cuba. Since then, Cuba has attended the Ibero-American summits. Three summits have been held: one in Guadalajara, another in Madrid, and the other in Cartagena; the next one will be in Argentina.

"Perhaps one day, mind you, Cuba may host an Ibero-American summit.

"I have insisted that the Ibero-American summits continue, that they be held every year, and that they be institutionalized as an important step toward integration.

"Apparently the North Americans became a little envious. They learned a little about the Ibero-American summits and decided to host one.

"They alone, unilaterally, using their power and influence, decided to call that summit.

"There was not even an agenda for that summit, nor a clear idea of what it was for. Moreover, it would have made more sense for the United States to hold that summit in a Latin American country. There are many cities in the United States and, of all of them, Miami was chosen, the capital of crime and drugs, a city with many problems.

"I do not believe that Miami can be imposed as a capital on the people of Latin America, not even for three minutes, Mario, and the United States chose Miami. The United States could not look for another city, it did not act intelligently, and after setting forth the idea it started preparing documents.

"When you read the final documents of that summit you have to laugh because those documents state exactly the opposite of what the United States has done throughout the past 100 years, throughout this century: The United States invaded Haiti years ago, I believe because of a $10 million debt. It has invaded Haiti, Santo Domingo, Nicaragua, Central America, and Mexico during this century, and I am not referring to the invasion years ago when it seized more than half of Mexico's territory.

"I am one of those who always remembers it, and I make it my business to keep it in mind constantly. It infuriates me when I think about what Mexico could be today, of the world power it could be, and how the U.S. took away by force, arbitrarily, with the use of weapons more than half its territory, including many regions that are today rich in hydrocarbons. Indeed, I always remember that.

"Those final documents looked as though they had been written by the Bolsheviks during Lenin's time. Did they have the poor in mind? Did they remember the sick? Did they remember that there is underdevelopment? Did they remember many other things? Yet there is not one single word to explain why all of this has taken place.

"There has not been one single word to explain why the United States carried out a dirty war in Nicaragua that cost thousands of lives. There is not one single word to explain why the United States intervened in Guatemala and established a dictatorship in that country when they imposed an invader mercenary such as Castillo Armas on Arbenz. This activated a political process that gave way to more than 100,000 missing.

"The backing they gave the death squads and the genocidal government of El Salvador by transferring scores of weapons and resources that resulted in the murder of 75,000 Salvadorans; the invasion of Santo Domingo during Caamano's regime; the invasion of Panama; the invasion of Grenada; the support for Pinochet that represented thousands of dead, tortured, and missing; the support to the military governments of Argentina where somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 persons disappeared -- no one knows the exact amount. The most terrifying things took place, and were carried out by people trained by the United States. These torturers were trained by the United States and resorted to the most sophisticated torture methods improved by the United States in Vietnam during its war of intervention. These same techniques were utilized by the Argentine military, their infamous Battalion 401, during the dirty war in Nicaragua, and in El Salvador. It was for this reason the Argentine military believed that the United States was obligated to support them when they decided to launch their Malvinas adventure.

"That is the history of this century. Not one word is mentioned. There is a tremendous amount of demagoguery in all of this. Deep down, in my opinion, lies the idea to transform Latin America into an ever-tightening embrace where they can exert total control. The most hypocritical documents that have ever existed are precisely those recommended during the Miami summit.

"We would have not objected to participate.

"I believe that not inviting us was an act of cowardice. The rest is mere pretext because they ran the risk of Cuba saying things that would be uncomfortable for the United States.

"If I had been invited I would have gone, despite the increasingly hostile climate we would have encountered from the Cubans, not all of them, but primarily those elements controlled by the fascist mafia that imposes terror in the Miami community. I am referring to people of the so-called Cuban-American Foundation, which reigns by terror, has tremendous resources, a lobby in the U.S. Congress, and exerts other influence.

"I repeat, I would have gone even though it would not have been a pleasant place. Yet I would have gone just like I have gone to many other places. I would have accepted the challenge because I could not have refrained from doing it. They would have thought that I was afraid of them.

"However, they were cowards. We would have been in the way.

"All things considered, to us it turned into an honor. Nevertheless, several of the Latin American nations adopted honorable positions, and Mexico conducted itself well, as did Brazil, Colombia, and several others. They adopted worthy positions with respect to Cuba because the intention was to judge Cuba, if it should be included in the agenda or not.

"Despite the pressure from those who strive to endear themselves to the United States, this did not occur.

"I am not unhappy, but what made me laugh were the documents because they were incredible. Now I know what demagoguery in this world is all about.

"I have become aware that every U.S. president has fabricated something. The first Roosevelt invented the "big stick" [preceding two words in English]. The second Roosevelt established the Good Neighbor Policy, even though he did not refrain from meddling in certain affairs. When the revolution took place, Kennedy invented the Alliance for Progress. Bush invented the Initiative for the Americas, and now this president invents this Miami document, the name of which I cannot recall. I believe it was something like the Pact for Development and Prosperity.

"They invented another slogan. Everyone who gets there invents one. That is the custom.

"Despite such documents, look at what they now want to do with Mexico. It is incredible. As a result of the Mexican financial crisis a group in the U.S. Congress wants to impose more than 10 conditions on Mexico with regard to the financial guarantees it needs at this time. One of these conditions stipulates that they have to privatize everything, even oil.

"Is that really the policy the United States should follow regarding Mexico when the United States needs Mexico to become solvent again?

"Because the United States needs Mexico to become solvent again, because of its economic interests, it cannot allow Mexico to suffer an economic disaster.

"The United States is morally and economically obligated. It has to be interested. How can it take advantage of the situation of a country like Mexico to try to impose such humiliating conditions with regard to the loan guarantees it currently needs?

"That is the real policy, not the fictitious policy that is written in all those documents from the summit in Miami. It is a cause for concern; it is a cause for real concern. However, I believe the United States needs Mexico to become solvent again, and it must have substantial concerns regarding a financial catastrophe in Mexico.

"Clinton himself uses the immigration argument and says illegal immigration will increase 30 percent.

"They already have a wall between Mexico and the United States that is longer and more sophisticated than the Berlin Wall. Everyone talks about the Berlin Wall, yet no one talks about the wall the United States has built on Mexican territory because California, Texas, and all the rest is Mexican territory; it is U.S. territory after being taken by force and war. Now the United States has built a wall on Mexican territory to keep Mexican immigrants out.

"The Americans themselves say immigration is going to increase. An economic catastrophe in Mexico will not benefit the United States. However, they cannot come up with anything better than to impose odious conditions on Mexico.

"That would create a political problem for Mexico. Those conditions create a political problem for the government and seriously weaken the government.

"Mario, the things the Americans do seem crazy! It would be enlightening to compare the documents of the Summit of the Americas with the conditions they want to impose on the Mexicans to give them the minimum support they need in their current complex economic situation."

[Vazquez] What is your opinion regarding the next summit to be held in Bolivia, to which, apparently, Cuba will be invited?

[Castro] "This is the first news I have heard about this. Perhaps they intend to replace the Ibero-American summits and prepare this show [preceding word in English] every year.

"Well, all in all, if the Latin Americans want another meeting they should take advantage of it. The problem will not depend as much on the U.S. Administration as on the position the Latin American governments will take.

"Well, if they want to meet...

"A meeting is a place to speak the truth. I said in Cartagena that I would be happy if a meeting were held in Miami, despite everything, because it was an opportunity to speak the truth and present issues that are vital and fundamental to Latin America.

"I did not know they wanted to institutionalize the show [preceding word in English]."

[Vazquez] Mr. President, do you believe that the attitude of the United States is a government position, or is it acting under pressure of the Cubans in Miami?

[Castro] "At one time there was much prejudice toward Cuba and much hysteria because it was a nation that had revolted, that had fought and resisted.

"The United States thought it would solve this issue at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, or with the October Missile Crisis, or with the blockade. Mario, this is the accumulated hatred of 35 years.

"There are many Americans, including politicians of different persuasions, scientists, intellectuals, and journalists who see the blockade as an anachronism.

"As a result of the rafters crisis, hundreds of newspaper editorials stated it was time to revise the Cuban blockade.

"Many significant changes have occurred. I have spoken to many people who think this way; they see the blockade as being ridiculous. Why wage a war against Cuba and only against Cuba? The Americans made peace with China and Vietnam; they have practically made peace with even the DPRK. However, they continue to hate their neighbor, Cuba. They want to destroy us.

"Right now, many people are changing their minds on this issue; many people see the blockade of Cuba as ridiculous, unsustainable, and indefensible. On the other hand, there is a problem because they have turned, to a certain extent, the problem of Cuba into a domestic affair. Thus, the issue has become a matter of electoral politics.

"Every time they have a new government they say: `It will not be possible during the first phase -- this is what they said during the Carter administration -- but it will be possible during the second phase, once reelection is not at stake.'

"The same thing happened with Clinton; everybody started saying: `Clinton will not be able to do so now because he is up for reelection and because he needs the votes of the Cuban community living in Miami.'

"Actually, although Clinton lost in Florida, he won the U.S. presidential election.

"First, not all Cubans agree with this position, and in Florida, there are Haitians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and all types of Latin Americans who do not belong to that foundation or agree with that policy. In Florida, there are Americans of other origins; they are not of Latin descent.

"Well, during the elections, one of Bush's sons ran for governor in Texas and the other for governor in Florida. The latter did not win, but many people in Miami, where the fascist mafia is stronger, voted for Bush's son. However, a Democratic governor was elected in Florida.

"Actually, these people do not decide the elections. Many people and immigrants in that state have other interests. Those who are Americans by birth also have other interests. However, there is an obsession that the mafia-like group could influence the elections, and this obsession forces politicians to take steps and measures aimed at pleasing that group. I believe this position really fails to strengthen Clinton's government; it weakens it.

"Anyway, this is not an ethical analysis. There is nothing ethical or honest about this analysis, because the foreign policy of a country, life itself, and the fate of 11 million people cannot depend on the petty political and electoral calculations that take place in the United States.

"Thus, as they turn the Cuban issue into a domestic affair, the influence these groups have plays a role in preventing a change in U.S. policy on Cuba, beginning with an approach, I repeat, that is not, in my opinion, ethical and honest; it is wrong.

"A president who has a competent administration and who is concerned about the problems of the state should be concerned about all the residents of Florida -- I believe there are 17 or 18 million of them -- and should not involve himself in these games and machinations.

"We always have to wait until another president comes along, but then he is new and we have to wait another four years. This is how, in four-year intervals, we are waiting for that country to devise a rational policy.

"Mario, I do not have a bad personal opinion of Clinton. We could say the poorest people in the United States actually elected him. I believe he is a man who has good intentions. He wanted to help the unemployed, youth, older people, blacks, and Hispanics. He wanted to improve health and educational programs. I would say that Clinton's program is a good program for the United States.

"That is to say, I do not have a bad opinion of him, but I believe he has not been sufficiently firm in his positions. He has let the mafia-like group influence him a great deal. The has enabled his country's extreme right to exert pressure on him. Now, we have to see what will happen.

"As you have seen, there has been unrest fomented by the right and Clinton came out weakened. In this situation it is difficult to predict the future and say what will happen in the next two years."

[Vazquez] Mr. President, what do you think about what Mr. Montaner has been doing in Madrid and Mas Canosa in Miami?

[Castro] "They have been doing it for 20 to 30 years. They have done everything possible against Cuba. Mas Canosa has made at least a small fortune.

"I know that both are CIA people. Both were promoted by the CIA, and Mas Canosa, in addition, is involved in big businesses. I think he has a lot of money. The policy against Cuba has been good business for him.

"I have a most unfavorable opinion about the cynical and dirty work they do and about them as individuals."

[Vazquez] What do you think of the role Mr. Menem played in Miami?

[Castro] "Only Menem himself, who is constantly making public statements of an aggressive nature against us, knows why he behaved that way. We are not playing a game of polemics or responding to insults with insults.

"We remain calm and think this is the right thing to do. The Peronists were friends of ours and many Peronists sympathize with the Cuban revolution.

"There are people who support Menem and who at the same time are friends of ours. We have many friends in Argentina. If we were to engage in verbal confrontation, I believe no one would win and many friends of ours would be placed in a difficult situation. This is why we have avoided polemics.

"Personally, I get along well with Menem. At meetings he is always courteous and amiable. In other words, personal relations between us when we meet are very good, but publicly he is against Cuba. Our policy is what I told you: to ignore his words and insults.

"It has been said that he has made some serious claims. There is an unconfirmed report according to which Menem is in favor of tyrannicide, referring to me.

"This is a call to commit murder. I had always thought this was reserved for the CIA and the fascist mafia and for no one else, but this has not been confirmed.

"It has been reported that he said this during a conference; if so, this is very grave. I hope it is not true, that he did not make any such suggestion, because it does not fit with the excellent personal relations he has maintained with me.

"I repeat, we have tried to avoid polemics and verbal confrontation that will lead to nothing and that, on the contrary, could weaken Cuba's relations with many good people in Argentina and with many Peronists. I should say that the huge majority of Peronists show us friendship and sympathy wherever we meet.

"That movement treated Cuba well when it returned to power after a long exile abroad. The Peronist movement was very respectful toward us.

"Men pass but the people stay. We feel great fondness for the Argentines and appreciate this relationship, which we will continue."

[Vazquez] Jose Marti said: "For the cruel man who tears from me the heart with which I live, I do not plant nettles or shrub, I plant the whitest rose."

[Castro] "Maradona is our friend."

(To be continued)