Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-060 Daily Report 30 Mar 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Discusses Relations With U.S.

BR2803112895 Paris PARIS MATCH in French 30 Mar 95 pp 62-63 BR2803112895 Paris PARIS MATCH French BFN [Interview with President Fidel Castro by Jean-Francois Chaigneau in Chailley; date not given]

[FBIS Translated Excerpt] [Passage omitted] [Chaigneau] You feel like a pilgrim traveling the world preaching the crusade against the embargo?

[Castro] Yes, I am indeed this pilgrim.

[Chaigneau] And what are the arguments you use to try to convince people?

[Castro] First of all, the right to live, the right to equality, to justice, and the duty to fight against a crime, because this blockade is a crime.

[Chaigneau] But when the blockade will be lifted, do you not fear falling back under the influence of the United States?

[Castro] The United States is very powerful. Many people are under its influence. But I think that we can develop an adequate capacity of resistance to maintain our spirit of independence.

[Chaigneau] Will we see a Castro-Clinton handshake before the end of the century?

[Castro] Clinton would have to be reelected first. And I would have to be in the government for several more years. And finally, that depends on the decision of my fellow citizens.

[Chaigneau] After 36 years in power, do you feel tired?

[Castro] I do not lack either enthusiasm or conviction, but of course I do not have the energy that I had some time ago.

[Chaigneau] Could one imagine a Fidel Castro in retirement?

[Castro] I have a hard time imagining it myself. But it all depends on what you mean by retirement. One can write, think, develop ideas. And when one does that, one is not retired. Someone who can work in his own manner and according to his abilities is never in retirement. In our country, we facilitate the arrival of new personnel, of young people, so that they can replace us. We make it possible for them to increasingly participate in affairs. We yield place to them progressively. We gradually become advisors, consultants for our successors.

[Chaigneau] Have you dreamed of leaving power?

[Castro] It is not we who leave power, it is power which leaves us. [passage omitted]

[Chaigneau] Are you annoyed when someone speaks to you of human rights?

[Castro] That does not annoy me. Our consciences are clear. There is no room for slander. We cannot let ourselves be discouraged. I think that we have worked not only for our own people, our workers, our peasants, our children, but also for other peoples. Because we have shed our blood. We are the only country to have sent combatants against apartheid and racism. And for the end of colonialism in Africa. We have taught multitudes of children throughout the world, we have cared for the sick...we have given everything.

[Chaigneau] In politics as in life, is it not a sign of weakness to not accept opposition?

[Castro] That depends on the type of opposition. Because if it is a North American opposition, it is not a proof of weakness to not tolerate it. But just the opposite, the proof of an extraordinary strength. And it is that type of opposition which we have known. We have defied the strongest power in the world.

[Chaigneau] Have Cuban-U.S. contacts already been established?

[Castro] A long time ago. Various types of contacts, but these are not serious negotiations. It is possible that that could happen. It depends on the government which will win in the United States. There are two types of government in the United States: that of Clinton and that of the Republicans.

[Chaigneau] Which do you prefer?

[Castro] I prefer the government of common sense, the civilized government, the government of good intentions. And I think that Clinton is a man of good intentions. Like Kennedy was also, by the way, like Carter, like Roosevelt. I feel sympathy toward this type of politician. Not toward those who believe in a hegemony. But it is not up to me to take part in their business. After all, I do not vote in the United States.