Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-130 Daily Report 7 Jul 1995 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro on Mexican Politician's Visit

PA0707032395 Havana Radio Havana Cuba in Spanish, 0000 GMT 7 Jul 95 PA0707032395 Havana Radio Havana Cuba Spanish BFN [Report by Isidro Parrales from the "Evening Information Review" newscast]

[FBIS Translated Text] On Wednesday [5 July] evening, Cuban head of state Fidel Castro received Mexican National Action Party [PAN] President Carlos Castillo Peraza at the Council of State facilities. Today, Castillo is concluding a one-week official visit to our country at the invitation of the supreme Cuban leader. During talks, which were carried out in a friendly atmosphere, Fidel Castro and Carlos Castillo discussed issues in their respective countries and bilateral ties.

Just before the dialogue began, the Cuban president held a brief meeting with Cuban and foreign media covering the session.

[Begin recording] [Castro] I am very satisfied with this visit. We already had a visit by a delegation of senators. We talked extensively with them, and on that occasion it was agreed that an invitation would be extended for Castillo Peraza's visit. I think it is a very interesting issue because, obviously, we did not previously have relations. I recall that when I visited Mexico for the change of government, we were talking with various parliamentary representatives at a meeting. I said: Well, it is impossible for us to be here and [words indistinct]. Why not go to Cuba? We will talk more leisurely there. That is what they did and the [word indistinct] occurred. Obviously, for me... [pauses] historically, we did not have relations -- you understand Mexican history and the role of each of the parties better than I do -- and we felt we were somewhat distant.

I think we have a better understanding of the party's decisions and the party's evolution throughout the years. It is a new and interesting element for use. The truth is that I think this is a step forward, which guarantees and strengthens the historical relations we have with Mexico. We have had good relations with Mexico, the people and the country, but we did not have them with all of the political groups. This is an opportunity to exchange opinions, viewpoints, get to know one another better, and it is an opportunity to further strengthen relations with that country.

[Reporter] Sir, the PAN has achieved progress in Mexico.

[Castro] What did you say?

[Reporter] The PAN has achieved considerable progress.

[Castro] Yes, that is undeniable. This can be surmised from the electoral figures, the elections, the progress achieved in the (?victories) in government, and the electoral victories achieved in various states. It is a phenomenon that must be observed with great interest.

[Reporter] They claim they will rise to power in 2000. This could be the groundwork for relations between the Cuban Government and the Mexicans.

[Castro] It would sound opportunistic if I said we have relations and contacts. They were so spontaneous -- just as I have told you -- during my visit to Mexico, the last time.

[Reporter] Commander, why does the Cuban Government now receive parties representing different ideologies? One might think that the revolution has shed its ideology [desideologizado].

[Castro] All of our life we have received parties with different ideologies, or all kinds, and those who have not come to talk with us have refused because they did no want to talk with us. Obviously, I am speaking in general terms; I am speaking about ideologies. We would not have relations with, let us say, repressive political forces or such. Nevertheless, these are political parties with the most diverse ideologies. They think quite differently, and yet we have had relations, and not only with communist or socialist parties.

[Reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] For example, Chile. Chile has a wide range of political ideologies and we have relations with practically all of the Chilean parties. In the past... [pauses] the world has changed. We are not the ones who have changed. [chuckles] The world has changed. I want to tell you that a larger number of political organizations... [pauses] this is logical after the Cold War ended. The Cold War divided nations and parties. Now the Cold War is over, and now there is more curiosity and rapprochement in the world, and among the different political groups. Take the case of [name indistinct]. He is the president of the region of Galicia, the land of my parents -- of my father. He has visited Cuba, and various Spanish parties, representatives of various parties, have visited here.

[Reporter] It has been said the world has changed. Mexico has changed. How do you view this situation?

[Castro] I think no one can escape changing this or that way, or in this or that sense. I see Mexico struggling, and I see the Mexicans struggling and going through a difficult moment that, of course, is a source of concern for us because of our feeling of love and sympathy for Mexico. We know it is going through difficult times.

We are not going to recommend [words indistinct]. The best we can do is to hope that you overcome the difficulties you are going through. You have serious difficulties, but we are going through a more difficult situation. Your difficulties are nothing like ours. You have oil, gas, and many other things. We have none of that. We have no resources. We are also facing a U.S. blockade. So we are in a position to talk at length about difficulties. However, we can understand other people's difficulties.

To a certain extent we are better prepared than the Mexicans in this regard. The Mexicans have had a better standard of living than us. You have more resources, more wealth.

[Reporter] What will your other Mexican friends, the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party] and the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution], say about you strengthening relations with a center-right party such as PAN?

[Castro] It depends. I have read statements about PAN. Some say it is a center-right party, while others say it is a center-left group that is very concerned with social problems. Anyway, the fact it is sending a delegation here, under the circumstances we are facing, is very fulfilling and deserving of our recognition.

Likewise, how could I question the PRI's relations with other organizations, with the United States, with the Democratic Party, with the Republican Party, or with Johnson, or Bush, or Reagan? I cannot question the PRD either for having relations with the Democratic Party in the United States or with other political parties. They would never question our relations. I am certain that they have absolute respect for, as well as understand, the right we have to maintain relations [words indistinct] as possible. They know that this does not harm Mexico at all. This makes foreign policy and relations with Cuba more general. [sentence as heard] PAN is opposed to the economic blockade against Cuba. It has fought it bravely and openly, and we appreciate this.

Here is one point on which all Mexican political parties agree -- their opposition to the blockade.

As a neighbor, we have a country dearly and historically close to us, a neighbor with whom we get along, and it is very important for us to know Mexico well and to understand Mexico well.

We deeply appreciate, we really appreciate very much, the fact we can have this broad relationship with Mexico's political forces.