Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-028 Daily Report 8 Feb 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Discusses `Right-Wing' Cubans

PA0902180595 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 2117 GMT 8 Feb 95 PA0902180595 Havana PRENSA LATINA Spanish BFN

[FBIS Translated Text] Havana, 8 Feb (PL) -- President Fidel Castro has said the destiny of 11 million Cubans cannot depend on the political and electoral machinations taking place in the United States.

The leader of the Cuban revolution spoke on a number of issues in an interview with Mario Vazquez Rana, president and general director of the Organization of Mexican Editors. Extensive versions of this interview have appeared in the Mexican press and today GRANMA published the text.

Fidel Castro believes it was "an error and unethical" that the issue of Cuba has been turned, in a number of ways, into a domestic political issue in the United States because of the influence of right-wing Cuban extremists in Florida, which Castro described as a "fascist mafia."

The Cuban leader stressed that there are small groups in Miami directed by petty politicians who have made a fortune by turning the struggle against the island into a lucrative business.

Castro indicated that Jorge Mas Canosa and Carlos Alberto Montaner, both of whom have done everything possible to destroy the Cuban revolution, are sponsored by the CIA.

However, not all Cubans hold this view, and many U.S. citizens see the 30-year-old U.S. blockade of Cuba as anachronistic.

Castro said that today many people ask themselves: Why is there a war against Cuba and only Cuba? The United States made peace with China, Vietnam, and has almost made peace with North Korea.

In a reply to Vazquez Rana, Castro concluded that the Cuban issue has become, in a number of ways, a domestic political issue in an attempt to get the votes of the "mafia."

Castro agreed that this obsession drives them to take steps and adopt measures to try to please the "mafia," which "I do not believe strengthens the Clinton administration, but rather weakens it."

In Castro's opinion, a president who has a good administration and dedicates himself to resolving the country's problems would be concerned for all Floridians -- which Castro estimated at approximately 17 or 18 million -- and would not play this game speculating whether or not it benefited him.

He recalled that William Clinton was elected by the common people of the United States.

"I personally do not have a bad opinion of Clinton...," Castro said. "I think he is man with good intentions..., but I think that he has not been firm enough in his decisions," he said.

Notwithstanding, Fidel Castro indicated that as a result of the famous rafter's crisis in August, hundreds of newspaper editorials have expressed that it is time to modify the blockade on Cuba, which Castro said would be an important change.

During the extensive conversation between the Castro and Vazquez Rana, the two discussed the causes of the Cuban-U.S. migration dispute and the signing of the bilateral agreement reached in September 1994 regarding this dispute.

In discussing this issue, Fidel Castro said for some time Washington had issued an almost unlimited number of visas to deprive us of technicians and qualified personnel, but that later the United States changed its policy and encouraged illegal exits.

Cuba was the only country in the world whose citizens could enter the United States and automatically receive U.S. residency and aid, which encouraged illegal exits, even though the emigrants' reason for leaving was now basically economic.

Castro added that with the disappearance of the USSR and the hardening of the blockade, the economic situation in Cuba became difficult, demanding strong sacrifices from the people.

Castro said this situation, combined with U.S. encouragement, caused a year-long increase in the number of people attempting to leave the country illegally.

They could steal a boat or an airplane, commit murder or other crimes, and be welcomed in Miami with a great deal of publicity and honors, which would then be used as propaganda and a destabilizing tool against Cuba, Castro added.

Castro said that when a large number of people began to emigrate through their own means, the United States became aware of the problem and began to invent things to prevent it.

Imagine if this were to happen in Mexico and all of the people who crossed the border automatically received a visa, he reflected.

The causes of this emigration prove it is an economic phenomenon, Castro said. He believes the blockade is the fundamental factor which encourages illegal exits.

According to Castro, since an agreement with the United States was signed in September 1994, now, it must be kept.