Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-028-S Daily Report 3 Feb 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Mexican Newspaper Interviews Fidel Castro

Part IX Comments on Insurgencies

PA0802010995 Mexico City EL SOL DE MEXICO in Spanish 3 Feb 95 Section A, pp 1, 20 PA0802010995 Mexico City EL SOL DE MEXICO Spanish BFN [Part IX of nine-part "exclusive" interview with President Fidel Castro by EL SOL DE MEXICO Director General Mario Vazquez Rana in Havana; date not given -- first three paragraphs are EL SOL DE MEXICO introduction]

[FBIS Translated Text] Havana, Cuba -- When the Chiapas rebellion broke out over a year ago, we all wondered the same things: Who are they? What do they want? Who pays them and organizes them? Who trained and armed them? Most of these questions remain unanswered, and that is why we raised the issue with President Fidel Castro, who for over 30 years has been a moral and political leader for virtually all of Latin America's insurgent movements.

Nevertheless, we found President Castro as devoid of answers as ourselves, entrenched in Cuba's traditional position toward Mexico, which for over three decades has consisted of not sponsoring subversive activities in Mexico because, as he himself says, Mexico was the only country in all Latin America that did not break off relations with the Cuban revolutionary regime and displayed respect and friendship toward its government.

But Fidel's point of view is interesting in any case, and even though he recommends a political solution and dialogue, he still acknowledges that in all regions where there is backwardness and poverty, there can be rebellion.

[Vazquez] Mr. President: Cuba has officially ceased advising the armed movements of Latin America.

Are there any connections with the group that rebelled in Chiapas?

[Castro] "Actually, the uprising in Chiapas surprised us just as much as it surprised all of you. It happened that one day there were indicators that events of this kind were about to occur. We were as surprised as you.

"We did not have any connections of any type. I think that the organization, preparation, and implementation of that uprising in Chiapas was kept very secret.

"As for any advising, there could not have been any of any type, inasmuch as Mexico has always been something very special for us -- even when there was general hostility throughout Latin America against Cuba, when everyone was joining the blockade and the subversion against Cuba, and when our cooperation with the revolutionary movements in Latin America peaked -- because Mexico was the only country that maintained its relations and did not join the hostility against Cuba.

"We took special care to not ever do anything that could appear to be an intervention in the domestic affairs of Mexico or offer any cooperation that could affect our relations.

"Thus, we have complied with the principle of absolute respect for Mexico, and there is not a single case in which we have provided any type of cooperation, advice, or supply of weapons to the various movements that came up in Mexico throughout these 36 years.

"We have a truly clean record, free from any responsibility in actions of that nature. For us, Mexico is the object of special treatment because it was the only country that was at peace with us, and we could not be in conflict with the only country in Latin America that was acting like that, with the country that we consider an example of respect for our sovereignty, a country that did not meddle in the internal affairs of Cuba.

"Sometimes, the CIA has tried to use some Mexicans in some counterrevolutionary activities against us. That type of incident did take place, but never, ever did any of the governments that came and went during the years of the Cuban revolution have anything to do with any of the subversive activity against us. Therefore, we followed the same rule with relation to Mexico.

"We were as surprised by the events as you were. We must admit that we were just as surprised by the devaluation of the peso. Actually, we did not have the slightest inkling about that; we were not expecting that."

[Vazquez] The EZLN [Zapatist National Liberation Army] has followed a pattern not typical of other groups in Latin America. It seems more political than military. What are your impressions?

[Castro] "Look, since the Chiapas affair pertains to Mexican internal policy, I believe it would be very inappropriate for me to analyze that problem. From a political point of view I would prefer not to violate the norm that we have followed thus far.

"But, Mario, I can tell you some things in general. I believe that the influence of five centuries of the suffering of Indians in the hemisphere is at work there. Five centuries! Since the conquest began.

"Guayasamin told me that he estimates that 70 million Indians died.

"We know the history of Mexico. What our ancestors did, because you and I are both of Spanish, Iberian origin. You and I, of Galician origin. But the Galicians had little to do with the conquest and colonization. In truth, I believe it was the Castilians, the Extremadurans, and all those people, who participated most. It was terrible.

"This is not the first time I have said this. I expressed my opinions at the Madrid summit because I have always had the notion that a critical study -- from a historical-legal aspect -- of the discovery and conquest should be made. That is part of the problem.

"During the celebration of the Quinquecentennial there was a lot of information disseminated on the Indian people and Indian groups, on the social and economic status of the Indian groups who have really suffered very much. These people live in very harsh conditions. That is part of the problem.

"I will tell you very frankly that another part of the problem in Latin America is social inequality, poverty, and neglect.

"Now, even the World Bank talks about social problems; the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank] talks about social problems; the International Monetary Fund talks about social problems. It has become fashionable to talk about social problems because these is no stability.

"One cannot talk about a country's stability unless one deals with the issue of its tremendous inequalities, the need for better and more equitable distribution of wealth. Those problems need attention. That is another part of the problem.

"Now, it seems to me the people of Chiapas acted on their own. I have heard no indication of any international cooperation by another political movement in the region.

"Although I cannot guarantee you anything on the issue, that is the information we have received. I do know, however, that the most far-fetched theories have arisen about the issue. At any rate, what I can tell you is that ever since the problem broke out we have been convinced that a political solution should be sought instead of a solution by force.

"When it first erupted, I noticed that Chiapas caused quite an international uproar. I have never seen a movement break out in such a way that caused such international furor. The campaigns against the Mexican Government were very strong during the first days of the conflict when there were clashes and confrontations.

"It attracted my attention. There is no doubt whatsoever that the international community is very sensitive to the Indian problem. On very few occasions have I seen a campaign as violent as that one.

"I was thinking about Mexico's problems: an election year with all sorts of difficulties. Even with all our experience, I just could not even imagine such a thing. Regardless of the difference in military strength, a group of irregulars that is receiving popular support is very difficult to wipe out. I just cannot imagine Mexico involved in military operations while the media broadcasts the image to the rest of the world.

"I believe that it is to no one's advantage. Not to the people of Chiapas, neither to the Mexican Government nor the people.

"That is why I strongly believed that the problem required a political solution, that an adequate amount of economic resources had to be invested in justice. My idea did not end there. It was my theory that areas of extreme poverty as well as places facing similar situations should get special attention from the government. I believed that Mexico had the necessary funds for that. That was my opinion.

"I believe I was right, because after that there were other problems. Colosio's murder, for example. One problem after another, kidnappings. We heard all that news, and then other bloody incidents shook the nation. It was necessary to prevent the use of violence.

"I believe the government's position was correct. Some people in Mexico might think differently, but I have no doubt that it was the right thing to do.

"The Chiapas movement undoubtedly acquired more political than military force because of its leaders' ability to communicate. Nowadays any problem has repercussions in the press and mass media, and I believe they showed political ability.

"Then the convention was held, which was a relatively large event. I read about the meeting, the rainshowers, the tents that fell, the whole story, all the details, in magazines.

"I was glad when I learned that, during a brief speech to Congress, Zedillo remained cool-headed and calm about the problem and did not mention the war. There is always the tendency to try to solve problems all at once, by force. I am convinced that that would not have produced the best results.

"He proposed two things. When I talked to him, I praised him for those proposals: One was seeking political solutions for the problem, and the other was paying adequate attention to social problems.

"In my opinion those were two good points expressed in a brief message that was in no way arrogant.

"I believe facts show that he was right. A few days ago I read two reports in EL SOL DE MEXICO -- it was a day of good news! -- one saying that a truce, an indefinite cease-fire had been reached in Chiapas, which was a significant accomplishment; the other announced a political agreement among political parties.

"Those were two positive and very important news, especially now with the outbreak of a financial crisis.

"I believe that in keeping with national unity, it is everyone's responsibility to prevent those things that today could further aggravate the current situation in Mexico.

"I have answered your question in general terms based on the events without elaborating much, because it is a sensitive topic."

[Vazquez] It is said that Rosario Ibarra de Piedra delivered a letter to you from the so-called Subcommander Marcos. What did Marcos want from you?

[Castro] "Dona Rosario, the former [Revolutionary Workers Party] presidential candidate?

"Well, it was a solidarity meeting attended by representatives from many parties and international organizations. Approximately 3,000 representatives participated.

"I have been sent greetings, but I have not received any letter."

[Vazquez] Greetings from Subcommander Marcos?

[Castro] "Not exactly. I have received greetings from "the Zapatists." Dona Rosario and I briefly discussed the convention in Chiapas and mentioned specific concerns about the situation.

"I believe I perceived in her a desire to seek a political and peaceful solution for the problem. I perceived this during a brief meeting with her. There were many other people at the theater, I cannot remember what Mexican delegation she came with, but it was a very brief meeting.

"There were people who had attended the convention, including people from the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution] and from other parties and organizations who had participated in the convention.

"I was introduced to some delegates, and that is how I met Dona Rosario, who I understand led the convention in Chiapas. She told me about the tragedy of her missing son, but this all lasted just a matter of minutes. That is all I can recall."

[Vazquez] But there was no such letter, was there?

[Castro] "No, there was no letter, really! There was no letter.

"We talked to Dona Rosario standing up; we didn't even sit, and there were many people. I called her over to the side. She told me she wanted to tell me something.

"I did not see a spirit of violence in her. Quite the contrary, I sensed her desire of finding a peaceful solution to the problem.

"I do not know why she told me of her concern, if in those days we could have talked about military operations. I do not know why, but she talked about it, which was something with which I agreed -- the fact that the problem needed a political solution. I am not being indiscreet, nor do I think I am doing any harm whatsoever to Dona Rosario by telling you about our brief and friendly conversation.

"Those Mexicans who know me, whom I have talked to, including ambassadors, are aware of Cuba's position on this issue. I still think there must be a political solution to this problem; I believe they must attend to the causes that might have triggered this situation not only in Chiapas, but anywhere in Mexico where there could be similar situations.

"I believe it is a matter of high politics, or, at least, it is something I would do if I were in the shoes of the Mexican government."

[Vazquez] Some EZLN leaders appeared bearing RPG and RPG-7 weapons during the Chiapas rebellion. Do you have any idea on the possible origin of these weapons?

[Castro] There was a river of weapons throughout Central America, and there was a time of ongoing armed action. The United States was waging a dirty war against Nicaragua. There was a current of weapons for the counterrevolutionary groups.

"Many weapons also entered Nicaragua -- the country and the state -- during the times of the dirty war. Revolutionaries were fighting in El Salvador and Guatemala.

"Then, large amounts of weapons swarmed all over Central America; all sorts of weapons were represented: RPG, RPG-7, rifles of one type or another, including many U.S.-made weapons.

"Weapons of the type used in other wars have ended up in Nicaragua as a result of the many types of cooperation that existed.

"Everybody took weapons to Central America, Mario. In addition, U.S.-made weapons arrived in Central America, in some parts of Central America. U.S. revolutionaries themselves also bought weapons here. In short, the weapons in Central America came from many places and have proliferated everywhere.

"I do not believe the amount of weapons that have swarmed over Mexico is even remotely close to the amount of weapons that swarmed over, for instance, Colombia. We have to acknowledge that many groups, the guerrilla groups, or the groups linked to drug trafficking in Colombia, were heavily armed. They obtained them.

"Gunrunning has been profitable everywhere. I do not have -- I am being honest here -- the slightest idea of how the Zapatists obtained weapons. Even if I had, I could not tell you; I would have to say: 'Mario, I am very sorry, but I cannot explain it to you. I cannot play the role of telling anyone where the Zapatists got their weapons.' The truth is, however, I do not have the foggiest idea about where they obtained their weapons.

"I saw all sorts of weapons in the picture. On the one hand, I see a rifle and a Galil. I also see a modern U.S.-made rifle, an AK-47, or a harquebus from the times of the Spanish conquistadors. All types of weapons appear, which is usually the case in situations of this nature.

"From the documentaries broadcast on television and from the pictures in magazines, we can see a level of discipline. They have a concept different from that of Salvadorans, or that of Nicaraguans when they fought Somoza. These are different concepts. Their organizations is rather similar to that of an army, as they have repeatedly stated. I truly believe their weapons are varied. We are unaware of their origin, but I believe they will tell us the story some day."

[Vazquez] Do you believe, Mr. President, that since no country in America has a de facto government, any attempts by guerrilla movements in Guatemala, Colombia, or even Chiapas have been thwarted?

[Castro] "The situation is different from the situation that prevailed during the time of the military governments in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Central America, and other countries.

"Since the beginning of the revolution, we always proposed -- in several manifestos we drafted, including the First and Second Havana Declarations, that the armed struggle of the revolutionaries was legitimate where de facto, repressive, oppressive and illegal governments were the rule; and

"That peaceful struggle was the desirable option in those places where constitutional guarantees and conditions for a peaceful fight existed.

"Although discontent can emerge and military uprisings -- including those by revolutionary military or guerrilla movements -- can occur anywhere, there is no doubt that optimum conditions under which they occur are bred in a system of force, violence, and oppression. This atmosphere draws and leads many people and gives the revolutionaries the moral justification to choose that path if all others are closed. Although this is not the norm, the breeding ground for violence and armed struggles can also be present under normal conditions if there are social difficulties involved.

"It is possible that you had some of these breeding grounds -- even within a constitutional, legal system -- or that other countries could have them, but the conditions may not be ideal for an armed struggle.

"The ideal conditions have been present in several countries. In Central America, for instance, those ideal conditions existed in Guatemala with genocidal governments, in Nicaragua with Somoza, and in El Salvador with bloody regimes. In all these places, suitable conditions for an armed struggle were bred.

"For a revolutionary who wants to go on with the armed struggle, suitable conditions involve de facto and violent regimes that close all paths to fighting for the nation's progress.

"It has been demonstrated that those situations can occur in specific regions within a country. I believe the responsibility of the governments is to prevent this."

[Vazquez] Yes, Mr. President, but do you believe that this remains a fertile area for igniting a guerrilla movement or a war?

[Castro] "When we were discussing the foreign debt, I recall I told you that the key element in this decisive stage of our history was not fighting for socialism, but fighting for the unity and development of Latin America.

"Throughout these years of revolution, we have assumed specific positions because we believed that conditions existed for an armed struggle. In general, we do not believe that circumstances exist today for that type of struggle.

"In addition, forms of coexistence have been emerging in Latin America and the Caribbean among countries of different political and economic systems.

"Most of the countries have an attitude of respect for and nonintervention in the internal affairs of Cuba. Mexico's traditional policy of respect and friendship toward Cuba is today being implemented by many governments.

"New problems and new vital goals have emerged for our people, and that determines our country's new views and positions. We are not cooperating with armed actions by guerrillas in any country of our hemisphere.

"For the time being, we can assert that we are not collaborating in military actions in any part of the world. But, and I honestly tell you: We are very careful.

"Many have asked us to speak, talk to, and advise those armed groups that persist. We reject and avoid this because we know the nature of revolutionaries and those who engage in revolutionary activities in general, and they do not appreciate paternalism or people advising them or meddling in their affairs.

"We maintain a policy of absolute respect for the situation prevaling in each Latin American country. We are always seeking rapprochement and collaboration among the various countries, and trying not to interfere, for any reason, in these kinds of internal affairs.

"If I give my views on what these revolutionary movements should or should not do, anyone could brand it as interfering. I believe this is a very delicate situation.

"Awhile ago, we talked more about this. I gave you several opinions. I gave you several general ideas on how, in my view, those problems should be resolved.

"I support political solutions for the armed conflicts. I support negotiations and the search for solutions in any part of Latin America. I believe that the motives and reasons should be analyzed and that serious efforts should be implemented in that direction.

"This is what I believe should be done. I cannot assume the role of a theoretician or a strategist on what should or should not be done regarding these movements, but I do believe that we should not solve the problems through the use of force, but through negotiations, wherever those problems exist.

"I believe it is very important to try to find solutions to the social issues. I was saying that now even the World Bank and the IMF are aware that social problems in any country can seriously deteriorate quite easily.

"There are still no guarantees about the future of the countries in Latin America. Nothing is yet clear. This is the region of the world where there is the greatest disparity between the incomes of the richest and the poorest. We have more disparity in Latin America than in Africa, more than in Asia, and more than in any other place.

"International economic institutions have become aware that social problems and the deterioration of the social situation are closely linked to neoliberal policies that mercilessly sacrifice and disregard the needs and vital interests of the people.

"You are well aware of what I think. I am not neoliberal. My ideas are in exact opposition to neoliberal policies that do not care if the people are left without hospitals, without food, without anything.

"So far all these institutions have been doing only macroeconomic estimates. I do not defend such a policy, and I contend that if neoliberal policies are allowed to continue, tremendously unstable situations might be created in Latin America.

"There is now 12 percent unemployment in Argentina; that gives cause for concern in that country. They have become aware that if unemployment continues to grow, there will be additional problems, especially if devaluation or a financial crisis occurs, and that the country could become unstable.

"Latin American countries are far from reaching stability. The fundamental threat to social peace in Latin America is precisely neglect and inattention to the problems of the people.

"Latin America now has two and a half times as many people as it did when the Cuban revolution triumphed. The region also has more problems, more unemployment, more poverty, more people living way under the critical poverty level. In other words, there has not been much progress in Latin America on social issues; there has been reversal.

"Therefore, this is all a reality. Institutions like those, that have never been known for looking out for the needs of the poor, are now recommending that attention be paid to these issues because they have become aware that there could be instability.

"I was saying that I do not believe the United States has a solid argument. It seems absurd to me that in order to help it would try to impose rigid conditions on Mexico -- whose economy can recover and whose economy the United States needs to have recover -- when the Mexican economy is having such a difficult time. If those difficulties are not solved the situation could get worse.

"Clinton said that the number of immigrants might increase 30 percent; it might increase 100 percent. The destabilization of Mexico does not benefit the United States.

"If Mexico does not solve its problems that would be a reason for more serious instability and for more serious problems. Serious political problems could arise in Mexico: first, because of what we know about Mexico's history and the way Mexicans are. An economic debacle would sow instability in Mexico, like it would sow instability in Brazil. Like it has sown instability in Venezuela.

"Look at Venezuela. It is an extremely rich nation with a relatively small population. Venezuela has land, water, agriculture, oil, and mineral resources. It is amazing! How can Venezuela's instability be explained? Look at us, who produce only 1.5 million tons of heavy crude.

"Let me tell you, if we had the energy and the natural resources that Venezuela has, we would have absolutely no problems. Without a doubt, we would be the most stable nation on Earth -- with the same wealth, with the same development.

"Venezuela had reserves of approximately 12 billion. I remember Tinoco, the president of the Central Bank who died recently, used to tell me that they had 12 billion in reserves.

"Venezuela produces almost the same amount of oil as Mexico, only it has a population of between 12 to 15 million inhabitants -- almost one-fifth of Mexico's population.

"It also has great potential for hydraulic energy, huge rivers, wood, minerals: aluminum, iron, gold. That country has everything. How then could a country like that become unstable?

"If Mexico's economic problems are not solved, instability could result. That is undisputable.

"I only want to convey that idea to you, independently of what you may believe. You are asking me about difficult issues, complex issues, some of which are very delicate. I am telling you what I really believe about the situation in Latin America. That is how I believe many people are viewing the situation.

[Vazquez] Some time ago I had the opportunity to interview Eduard Shevardnadze, president of the Republic of Georgia, who told me that with $250 million he could get his country out of difficulties. What do you think?

[Castro] "It is very little money. I fear Shevardnadze's estimate is wrong and that he would need much more. He would need $2.5, or $3, or $5 billion, to rebuild the country. But he knows the Georgians. They are going through a very difficult situation, and of course Sheverdnadze sees $250 million as a huge sum.

"There are many countries in the same situation, that need money. There are many countries competing for those resources. Mario, I believe that the Soviet Union should never have broken up.

"A large state that worked for an integrated economy for 70 years. A state that played a balancing role in the world and that is now going through a terrible situation economically and in every other area.

"I believe it absurd that that state broke up. I believe that this was to the detriment of the rest of the world because it is better if two are disputing and competing than that one should determine and decide what the fate of the world will be.

"The balancing role of the Soviet Union has been lost. It did great things, and I believe that it had extraordinary merit in many fields. I will not belabor this point.

"They were able to defeat intervention during the Russian Revolution. They were able to defeat fascism. They committed all kinds of errors. It is true that aberrations like Stalinism occurred, but I will never accept the complete negation of the great historical merit of the Russian Revolution and the significance of its sacrifice and contributions, its struggle for today's world -- including a world in which colonies were liberated, a world which has undergone many changes.

"Not only because of the specific experience of Cuba, which has greatly suffered the consequences of the disappearance of the Soviet Union, which remained alone to face the threats of the United States, but in the interest of the rest of the world. I am convinced that the Soviet Union should never have broken up because it was not beneficial for other nations or for the states that made up the Soviet Union."

"Right now there is a war in Chechnya, a sad, painful war. Why?

"The economy of those countries was integrated. Today it is disintegrated. The whole world is suffering the consequences of that.

"At least they were able to find their own resources for their development. Today all those countries are competing for the world's money. They compete with Third World countries in Latin America, with all the rest who are absorbing a large amount of wealth.

"I believe they could have reached peace, disarmament, and peaceful coexistence without engaging in that disaster. It is not that I am a supporter of the Cold War or anything less, but I am a supporter of a better balance and a better distribution of power in the world.

"I absolutely agree with the efforts that were being made and was well aware that the Soviets were sincerely making an effort to end the arms race and the Cold War. They knew they needed those resources for their development.

"The United States now recognizes this. One of the strategies of McFarlane, who was one of Reagan's aides, was to unleash the arms race to ruin the Soviet Union. Now what?

"At the beginning, there were all sorts of illusions. Right now, there are all sorts of concerns. No one knows how it will end. We are concerned about stability in the former Soviet Union and the integrity of Russia itself, because the situation there now is risky.

"Russia is a large and powerful country with nuclear weapons. But Russia has been unable to recover from the bad economic difficulties triggered by the events. Its indices are unfavorable and getting worse. This situation is not convenient for anyone.

"Nowadays, many countries in the former USSR, like Georgia, have been left to their own devices. Who will get money for them? Who will get resources for them? I knew Georgia; I was there, and met Shevarnadze when he was secretary of the party. That country was working then; it had its universities, everybody had a job, and they did not lack gas, food, and security. They lacked nothing. What did Georgia win with the disintegration of the Soviet Union? No one won anything there."

[Vazquez] How are Cuba's relations with Russia and its president, Boris Yeltsin?

[Castro] "Normal. They have a diplomatic mission here, and we have a diplomatic mission there. Trade is at the lowest level not because of the authorities' lack of political resolve but because of the lack of organization. Everything is more difficult because of their economic situation, because of the lack of organization prevailing there, because of the chaos created there. This situation hinders trade development.

"Our relations are normal, as is the case with our relations with other countries in the former USSR. The policy we followed was: If they broke up, we would maintain relations with each one of those countries."

[Vazquez] With how many republics of the former Soviet Union do you maintain relations?

[Castro] "I can tell you we maintain relations with almost all of them. We maintain relations with Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Georgia; we maintain relations with them all."

[Vazquez] Mr. President, are the relations only diplomatic or are there commercial exchanges too?

[Castro] "Mario, in some cases diplomatic relations are at the ambassadorial level, while in others there are no ambassadors. There are a minimum of commercial exchanges and some contacts.

"We have recognized all the republics from the former USSR, without exception, and we do not have problems with any in particular."

[Vazquez] Mr. President, General Humberto Ortega is leaving the post of commander of the Nicaraguan Armed Forces.

What changes do you expect with this move?

[Castro] "I do not think there will be any spectacular change. It is almost a natural process. One must bear in mind that after the opposition's victory over the Sandinists in Nicaragua, no one believed that Humberto would remain in the post all this time, but nevertheless, nearly five years have passed since then.

"I think the Sandinist Army has played a stabilizing role in Nicaragua; it has kept its word; it has respected the government; it has respected the constitution.

"Of course, a very special situation was created in Nicaragua. The dirty war on the one hand; the victory of the opposition coalition on the other; the Sandinists were defeated in the elections, but they sought the means to coexist, and they have coexisted.

"The Sandinist Army is unquestionably a reality. It has played a positive role, a constructive role. I think that with the development of that situation and the development of events, it will increasingly play an institutional role, a constitutional role.

"I believe they themselves proposed a replacement in the Army. They proposed a chief that we know well, Cuadra, a very serious, very capable young man, and the only thing this means is a step further in the country's real institutionalization, amid its great economic problems.

"The case of Nicaragua shows once again what we were talking about regarding the inconsistencies and lack of logic in U.S. policy.

"Even though they spent billions of dollars on the dirty war, they were incapable of helping Nicaragua afterward to deal with its serious problems. They also spent billions in El Salvador and when peace came, they have been incapable of providing the resources the country needs to develop.

"They have money to wage dirty wars that claim tens of thousands of lives and destroy the economy of a country, but later they do not have money to help the countries rebuild. They have not helped any country. That policy is incongruous.

"In any case, I think the Sandinist revolution has left its mark there. They were responsible for many social projects and worked for justice. History will take all that into account.

"Now the Sandinists are divided. The only thing we can hope for is that they again unite, that they continue playing a positive and constructive role in Nicaragua, equal to the historic role they played by ousting Somoza and carrying out the revolution.

"But there is nothing exceptional in the situation you noted. I would say this change in the army has been natural, a natural development."

[Vazquez] Mr. President, early morning is upon us but neither you nor I are sleepy. That means the dialogue we have held has been of great interest. That is all I have. Do you wish to add anything?

[Castro] "Mario, these have been pleasant hours. With much pleasure I have tried to answer your questions which are very complicated, some complex and difficult, but I have tried to answer all your questions with the greatest honesty, without eluding any and with the utmost liberty that an individual in my place, in my situation may take.

"Thank you very much. Let's hope the interview will come out well!"

[Vazquez] Thank you Mr. President. It is going to come out very well.