Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-051 Daily Report 16 Mar 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro: `I Feel I Am More a Revolutionary Than Ever'

FL1603033295 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 16 Mar 95 FL1603033295 Havana Cuba Vision Network Spanish BFN [From the "NTV" newscast]

[FBIS Translated Text] A visit to the French Liberty Center made today by President Fidel Castro highlights the cooperative relations offered to Cuba by that institution. Its director, Danielle Mitterrand, and her husband, French President Francois Mitterrand, have openly voiced their opposition to the U.S. blockade of Cuba, considering it unfair and contrary to the principles that should govern international relations during the complex times in which mankind lives. [words indistinct]

Following dialogue between Danielle Mitterrand and the Cuban president, both held a news conference with the French and Cuban correspondents who have been following this visit.

[Begin recording] [Castro in Spanish, with superimposed translation into French] In Cuba there have not been any missing people. There has never been a political crime. There has never been torture. But Cuba has written one of the noble pages in matters of respect for man, in matters of respect for human rights. [Words indistinct] illuminate us all. Those are the truths about Cuba. [Words indistinct] is what I can respond to your question.

I have known Danielle personally for some time now. I truly believe that she is one of the most noble and generous persons that I have known. She is sensitive toward human drama [words indistinct] not a caricature of Cuba but a [words indistinct] in Cuba in the areas of education and health care, and for the people in the midst of a ferocious blockade. [Words indistinct] does not know a caricature of Cuba. [Words indistinct] for her sensitivity on human issues.

[Unidentified correspondent] The French businessmen are determined to break the blockade.

[Castro] The French businessmen broke the blockade many years ago. They established businesses in Cuba long ago. I have talked about my visit to France as a result of UNESCO's invitation, which was possible at this moment because of France's courageous attitude, especially the courageous attitude of President Mitterrand who did not object to UNESCO's invitation [words indistinct] quality that characterizes the French people on the conditions in which a guest is received.

I should also mention, without hesitation, that I have great admiration for President Mitterrand -- for his courage, for his firmness in opposing the unfair and cruel blockade that the United States imposes on Cuba.

I visit not only those I want to visit, but those places where there are brave people not frightened by U.S. pressures or the United States' dislike.

[Unidentified correspondent] [words indistinct]

[Castro] That is why I have always respected President Mitterrand. I can see that his prestige increases and his role in France's history becomes more important. Permit me to say that I believe Mitterrand has written a brilliant page in the history of France. He will be recognized among the great statesmen of France.

[Unidentified correspondent] Do you regret not coming to France before?

[Castro] Since I was small I would have liked to come to France. If I had not been born in Cuba, I would have liked to have been born in France. If I would not have been born in this era, I might have liked to have been born in the era of the French Revolution, the era of [words indistinct]. They were all revolutionaries, but have made the Plaza of Concord and have forgotten all those things. But for me, becoming a revolutionary, reading books on the French Revolution, if I had not been born in this era, which is so interesting, I would have liked to have been born in that era.

I know that perhaps some may not agree with me for being a revolutionary, but there are many more who agree with me for being one. And that is all your fault because you were the inventors of the modern revolution. First of all, you inspired the North Americans in their struggle for independence. And [word indistinct] participated, and the Cubans also participated in the United States' struggle for independence.

You inspired the great philosophers. You provided the theories of revolution. You inspired Marx, Engels, and Lenin. You are also responsible for the Russian Revolution and many other revolutions around the world.

I admire France and I believe the French are proud of their history. That is why I say that as an alternative Fatherland, even though above all, I love Cuba, I would have chosen France. And as an alternative of [words indistinct] France. That is why I say that [words indistinct] perhaps I have some revolutionary genes.

I remember my father was a landowner who had much land. When I was a student I would read books on the French Revolution. My father [words indistinct] in the lower level of the house a revolutionary was evolving, inspired by France's history. Later I had to promote revolutionary laws. We nationalized the lands - that belonged to my father. By then, my father had passed away but he had a sense of history and I am sure that he would agree with what his children did.

[Unidentified correspondent] Do you feel you are still a revolutionary?

[Castro] Today, I feel I am more a revolutionary than ever because everyday I am more convinced that what we did was right. [end recording]