Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-049 Daily Report 13 Mar 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Interviewed on Visit

LD1303212295 Paris France-2 Television Network in French 1900 GMT 13 Mar 95 LD1303212295 Paris France-2 Television Network French BFN [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Francoise Joly in Paris on 13 March--recorded, in Spanish with superimposed translation into French]

[FBIS Translated Excerpt] The Cuban president is dining with Georges Marchais, former national secretary of the French Communist Party. [passage omitted] Fidel Castro considers his visit to France to be the reparation of an injustice: The apartheid practiced against us is over, he told Francois Mitterrand. Just after their meeting he answered questions from Francoise Joly and Philippe Jasselin. As you will hear, he is fulfilling something of a dream in coming to Paris:

[Castro] One must always have attainable dreams, and for a long time this trip to Paris has not been attainable, but it has been a dream of mine since childhood because of the great admiration I have for your country. I read a great deal, and I became a revolutionary as I learned French history.

[Joly] And why was this dream not realized earlier?

[Castro] The necessary international conditions were not in place. Now the world is in the process of changing.

[Joly] Is your not coming to France sooner perhaps connected with the human rights situation in Cuba?

[Castro] It is the United States which has developed to the greatest degree these campaigns and this theory about the supposed human rights violations in Cuba.

[Joly] How do you answer people who say to you that you are a dictator? What do you think about that?

[Castro] I pay no attention to it when there are more powerful people than I, and I am one of the heads of state with the least power in the world. It it true that I have influence. I am not the one who appoints ministers and ambassadors, or even many civil servants. We live in a country in which power is widely distributed. I do not have the sole exercise of power nor do I exercise absolutism. We govern by means of collective institutions.

[Joly] There will be presidential elections in Francein a few weeks. When are you thinking of holding presidential elections in Cuba?

[Castro] They take place every five years, but our procedures are different from yours.

[Joly] Are you considering a multiparty system?

[Castro] Not just now.

[Joly] Why?

[Castro] Because we are a united people and not a people fragmented into a hundred pieces.

[Joly] Why have you replaced your military dress with this suit?

[Castro] Because I am a little jealous of all of you here. I did not have one, and I was told by my entourage that I absolutely had to be well dressed to come here.