Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Mexico City EL DIA in Spanish 12, 13, 14 Jun 85

[Interview with Fidel Castro, president of the Council of State and the
Council of Ministers of Cuba, by Lourdes Alvarez on 7 June in Havana;
passages enclosed in slantlines printed in boldface]

[12 Jun 85 pp 1, 19]

[Excerpts] This newspaper, EL DIA, sent correspondent Lourdes Alvarez to
cover the Meeting on the Current Situation of Women in Latin American and
the Caribbean, held in Havana, Cuba on 3-7 June.  During her stay there,
she requested an interview with Cmdr Fidel Castro.

The president of the Cuban Council of State and Council of Ministers agreed
to the request, and granted to EL DIA the exclusive interview which we are
publishing here today.

Havana, Cuba, 11 June--"It is not enough for Latin America simply to cancel
the debt and achieve the New International Economic Order; it must also
seek economic integration, without which real development and survival as
independent nations would be impossible," claimed Fidel Castro during the

The Cuban head of state indicated that three types of factor make payment
of the debt impossible: economic, political (because it is impossible to
apply a restrictive policy so that the creditors can collect the debt), and
moral.  Among other reasons, the money that was lent returned to the
borrowers through different channels.

Castro added a fourth factor, that of force majeure: "We should not pay
because we cannot."

"I understand that the word /cancellation/ is very strong," he said, "but
that word doesn't necessarily have to be used; we can use the word
moratorium, for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years; we could even begin with 10, and
then prolong it indefinitely," added President Castro.

In essence, he indicated, that amounts to the same thing as cancelling it;
he stressed: "I have said on other occasions that the moratorium is an old
and respected tradition of Roman law.  Why get so upset about a

Emphasizing his idea again, he said: "When I speak of cancelling, I mean
simply not paying the debt, starting again from scratch, forgetting about
the debt, that is what I mean."

Going into another issue, still within the sphere of economics, Castro
mentioned the desperate situation that has emerged in the United States
with respect to its trade relations with Japan.  He noted that he had
recently read that the U.S.  Congress was trying to pass a package of 86
measures designed to put up barriers against Japanese products.  He
explained, "The Japanese are more frugal than the Americans, and in the
past 25 years they invested their money not in battleships, not in aircraft
carriers, not in missiles; nor are they dreaming of star wars, because
among other reasons, they have been prohibited from dreaming of such
things.  Therefore, they have spent their money on technology."

Taking up the issue of U.S. economic difficulties again, the Cuban
president recalled that that country will spend $2 trillion on weapons over
the next 8 years.

He warned, however, that as "Reagan's miracles run out" because the U.S.
economy is grinding to a halt rather than growing, the world's economic
situation will take a turn for the worse, "if it is possible to be any
worse than it already is."

Regarding the problems of building the new society, Fidel Castro declared:
"We need not invent capitalism to resolve the problems of socialism; what
we must do is overcome a certain idealism, a certain extremism, certain
illusions, certain errors and a certain inexperience; we must arrive at the
proper mix of moral and material stimuli, and we must also apply the
socialist formula."

[Question] What can you tell us about the experience in China?  Is it
really opening up to capitalism, or not?

[Answer] Well, I think the Chinese first went over to the extreme left, and
generally when errors of leftist extremism are committed, the next step is
a swing to the right.  I have no doubt that the Chinese had good intentions
when they carried out these extremist measures in their desire to advance
toward communism, and all revolutionary movements have made these mistakes
at a given moment, even our own.  We committed errors of idealism by trying
to skip historical stages.  All of this has its price, but fortunately, we
have not had to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum.  We have
rectified our idealism, and we have found a happy medium, applying the
principles of socialism.

I think that the errors of extremism committed by the Chinese also brought
them to a change of position in which they are opening up too much to the
West.  They are trying to accelerate their development to make up for lost
time, even at the price of introducing elements of capitalism.  But I do
not believe that the Chinese have renounced their socialist objectives; I
even believe that many of these reforms fit within a socialist perspective.
It appears to me that in one way or another, they will also seek their
happy medium.  They used to speak only of moral stimuli; now they are also
mentioning material stimuli.  They used to speak only of socialist
enterprises; now they speak of socialist enterprises, mixed enterprises,
and even some private capitalist enterprises, both national and foreign.

What do I think of all this?  In the first place, we should let the Chinese
develop their own experience and see what the outcome is.  We should not be
pessimistic; I have no reason to believe that they want to march toward
capitalism, although there have been a series of broad reforms and a
certain rapprochement with capitalism.  But the system is not capitalist,
it is socialist; the government is not a government of capitalists, but a
government of workers and peasants, undeniably.  That is what defines a

If you ask me my options or my personal preferences, I have great
confidence in socialism and not very much confidence in capitalism.  I
believe that socialism offers fabulous possibilities for development, as
our country's experience has shown.  What we need to do is to perfect
socialism.  I have no hopes for capitalism, nor do I believe in capitalism
in the slightest.  Sometimes men encounter problems because of subjective
errors in the process of building a new society, and they may begin to
invent capitalism all over again.

Capitalism was invented a long time ago; there is no need to reinvent it.
Capitalism represented a progressive society in its day; it provided a
tremendous impetus to the forces of production, but it eventually became a
drag on those forces.  Capitalism has experience, it has formulas, and
sometimes it is easier to administer.  By this I mean that in capitalism,
the blind laws of the market and competition are unleashed, and the reserve
army of workers emerges; it is easier to organize production when there is
a reserve of unemployed workers and when people are anxious to work,
because they depend almost exclusively on their wages to solve vital
problems such as health, education, food, housing, and the like.  They get
nothing from society.  I am talking about an extreme case of capitalism, as
it was during the early days.

When our Revolution triumphed, we ourselves found that we had a half a
million people out of work in a population of 6.5 million.  It was very
easy to organize a sugar harvest; it was a cyclical job that provided
employment for 300,000 workers in the cane cutting operation.  When we
implemented measures of social justice under the initial programs of the
Revolution, when labor became humanized and many new jobs emerged, this
reserve of workers began to disappear.  Then it became very difficult to
organize a harvest, because it was no longer enough simply to advertise
that the harvest was about to begin for everyone to show up with a machete
to cut cane.  Then you had to organize the harvest, because there were no
more jobless workers, and you had to mobilize industrial workers, you had
to mobilize students, soldiers, volunteers of all types to harvest the

Under capitalism here, the sugar harvest was much easier than it is now for
us.  Now we have brought in technology and mechanization, and we no longer
need 350,000 cane cutters as we did in 1970.  We only need 70,000 cane
cutters, because the machines are doing the basic work; mechanization is
solving the problem.  In an underdeveloped country without mechanization,
it is very difficult to solve this problem; that is a difficult period.
Now those 70,000 workers who remain in the non-mechanized areas are the
ones who used to cut the most cane; they are much better paid, and their
living standards are much higher because there are 70,000 of them and not
350,000.  That period is tough, but we have already solved the problem
through technology, mechanization.

Now, when the Revolution did away with unemployment and the sugarcane had
to be cut by hand, organizing a harvest was much more difficult under our
circumstances than under capitalism.  Now that is not the case; now it is
much easier than under capitalism, because the mechanized or manual worker
is much more productive, and many fewer people are needed.

Well, then, there is no need to invent capitalism to solve the problems of
socialism; what we need to do is overcome a certain idealism, a certain
extremism, certain illusions, certain errors and a certain inexperience; we
must arrive at the proper mix of moral and material stimuli, and we must
apply the socialist formula.

At a given moment, we tried to apply the communist formula, and pay wages
in an egalitarian manner.  Thus, the person who loaded 10 tons at a port
would be paid the same as the one who loaded 3; the one who yielded three
times as much would be paid the same as the one who yielded a third as
much.  These were some idealistic errors that we made.  We eliminated those
errors and began to apply the socialist formula of paying according to the
quantity and quality of work.  Consequently, we began to find solutions to
our problems without resorting to capitalism.  I have a great mistrust for
capitalism; it stimulates selfishness and corrupts people.  It does not
develop a spirit of solidarity and fraternity among men, but rather
promotes selfishness, individualism.  That is why I prefer the socialist
formula, even within an underdeveloped country.

If Marx conceived of socialism as one step beyond developed capitalism, and
life obliged us to follow the socialist path to development, then we must
really forget about capitalism and follow the socialist path to
development.  In my opinion, that is the only way for the countries of the
Third World.

If you ask me about Latin America, I d0 not want to provide recipes for
that.  I already admitted that there can be development and integration
with capitalism, but that is not my favorite option, of course.  Moreover,
social justice can never be achieved that way; capitalism is a decadent
system in history, and it will have to be surpassed by socialism, even
though socialism still has a lot of flaws and deficiencies.  The
deficiencies lie not in the system, however, but in mankind.  That is what
I can tell you about that.

[Excerpts] Havana, Cuba, 12 June--"I always cite the example of Mexico,
because it exhibited exemplary behavior toward Nicaragua.  It provided
generous assistance, more economic aid than we ourselves have given," said
Cmdr Fidel Castro in an exclusive interview with EL DIA.

The president of the Cuban Council of State and Council of Ministers added:
"We have given more aid in other areas, but Mexico gave them significant
and decisive economic assistance.  The Nicaraguan people will always be
grateful for that, and we ourselves also owe a sincere debt of gratitude to
Mexico for the generous assistance it lent to the people of Nicaragua."

Referring specifically to the kind of assistance provided by the Cuban
Government to the Sandinist Revolution, the leader emphasized aid in the
areas of education, public health, technical assistance in different
fields, development projects, and loans (such as the one for the
construction of the Tipitapa-Malacatoya sugar complex, a debt that was
later forgiven by Cuba).

"We have also provided some military assistance, with regard to training
cadres and troops in the mastery of certain techniques."

Regarding the site of this training, Castro asserted that "we have trained
civilian and military cadres in Cuba, and we have helped to train military
cadres there in Nicaragua, as well."

With reference to the invitation he extended to Ecuadorean President Leon
Febres Cordero to visit Cuba, the first secretary of the Cuban Communist
Party explained that the basic aim of this kind of contact is to coordinate
ideas and to join efforts for the improved defense of the overall interests
of Latin America and the countries of the Third World.  He stressed this
point: "What I can say about this is that none of what we are doing is for
our own country's benefit, because we are the ones with the fewest problems
in this dramatic crisis."

On the latter point, the Cuban leader summed up: "This is a confirmation of
the notion that ideas do not create crises, but crises generate ideas.
This profound and extraordinary crisis, the worst we have seen in the
history of our nations since independence, has generated many ideas.  It
has generated awareness, it has generated unity, it is generating programs
for struggle, and it is generating united action to solve Latin America's
problems:" He commented that "these expressions of unity are coming about
without regard for ideology, religious beliefs, even without regard for
social differences."

Regarding the meeting of Latin American and Caribbean women that took place
in Havana, Castro stated, "Never, in 26 years of revolution, have I seen
an event of this nature, so far-reaching, so united." Commenting on the
participation in the event and the speeches that were made there, he said
that they reflected not just the economic and social tragedy, but a more
profound tragedy, in the case of the speeches by the delegates from Chile,
Paraguay, Haiti, El Salvador and Guatemala, who told of the bloody drama
that is unfolding in their countries.

"They reflected that enormous economic and social crisis that has no
solution," emphasized Castro, "except through the formulas that are being

[Question] Commander, what assistance is Cuba providing to Nicaragua at
this time?

[Answer] We have provided broad-based assistance in a variety of areas:
education, public health, technical assistance in different fields.  We
have helped out in some projects, some development programs, some loans,
such as the one for the new sugar complex, It was built with Cuban credit,
Cuban plans, and much of the equipment was built in our country.  In the
end, as a result of all the aggressive acts by the United States, Nicaragua
began to have problems and we forgave Nicaragua's debt for that industrial
project.  In other words, we have provided some economic aid and technical
cooperation, and we have also given some military assistance, in terms of
training cadres and troops in the mastery of certain techniques.

[Question] Does that training take place here in Cuba?

[Answer] Well, both.  We have trained civilian and military cadres in Cuba,
and we have helped to train military cadres there in Nicaragua as well.

But Mexico has also provided a great deal of aid to Nicaragua, and I know
that Mexico has helped that brother nation tremendously.  It is one of the
countries that have helped the most, more than we have in the economic
sphere.  But then Mexico has more resources than we do; it is an oil
exporting country, and one of Nicaragua's greatest problems for years was
obtaining fuel.  I know that Mexico provided 50 percent of its fuel for
more than 5 years; it also provided major payment facilities until
recently, when Mexico's difficulties grew worse and it was too hard to
continue supplying petroleum under those conditions.  But during that time,
it supplied more than $500 million of oil on credit.

I always cite the example of Mexico, because it exhibited exemplary
behavior toward Nicaragua.  It provided generous assistance, more economic
aid than we ourselves have given.  We have given more aid in other areas,
such as the types I mentioned; but Mexico gave them significant and
decisive economic assistance.  The Nicaraguan people will always be
grateful for that, and we ourselves also owe a sincere debt of gratitude to
Mexico for the generous assistance it lent to the people of Nicaragua.

[Question] Why did you invite the president of Ecuador to visit, and for
what purpose?

[Answer] I will explain it to you: We have normal diplomatic relations with
Ecuador.  The president of Ecuador was elected constitutionally; he is not
the product of a coup d'etat, obviously.  He won the elections.  In the
interest of developing economic relations between the two countries,
delegations have been exchanged, primarily trade delegations.  On the
occasion of the visit of an Ecuadorean trade delegation to Cuba, I met with
them and talked extensively with them about these economic problems in
Latin America, above all those related to the foreign debt.  We also talked
about our points of view.  They showed a great deal of interest in my
analysis of the problems and conveyed it to the government.  That was what
made it possible for Febres Cordero to visit Cuba.  We invited him
specifically in the interest of analyzing with the Ecuadorean Government
the economic problems that all our countries have in common, and of
developing bilateral relations in the economic sphere.  We also want to
pursue a strategy that we have been following in Latin America and the
Third World, of establishing contacts and exchanges in order to seek common
criteria on the way we should confront this economic crisis, the foreign
debt that has put Latin America in a truly desperate situation.

From my standpoint, the visit was useful.  The exchanges of opinions were
important and interesting, and they are in absolute agreement with the
ideas we have been putting across with regard to the crisis.  We feel that
internal unity within and among the countries of Latin America is necessary
to deal with this problem.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule,
as is only natural.  I think that in countries like Chile, internal unity
between the opposition and the Pinochet regime is impossible; I think such
internal unity is impossible in Paraguay.

[Question] Just in those two countries?

[Answer] I think there are more, but it is better not to make too long a

I think that under the current conditions, if a negotiated political
solution to the internal conflict is not achieved first, it is very
difficult to apply this solution in countries such as El Salvador, to cite
another example.

I will simply say that there are exceptions to this principle, but I see no
reason why Ecuador should be excluded from this principle of internal unity
and unity among Latin American countries to cope with the problem of the
economic crisis and the Latin American foreign debt.

The Haitians will also say that it is very difficult to accept a formula
like this under the current conditions in Haiti, but I say that here we are
defending a general principle that applies to the vast majority of Latin
America countries as a political formula for joining internal and external
forces to wage that great and decisive battle against the economic crisis,
to solve the problem of the foreign debt, to establish the New
International Economic Order, and to implement a policy of economic
integration in Latin America.

No doubt there are problems in any country, and sometimes there are harsh
confrontations.  There are also passions, which influence the citizens'
state of mind, naturally' I understand that; I do not want to analyze
internal situations, but I can see perfectly well why some who are friendly
to Cuba and who oppose Febres Cordero's government do not fully understand
the objectives and terms of that visit.  I also know that many people who
did agree with the visit thought that it was useful, since we broke the

What I can say about this is that none of what we are doing is for our own
Country's benefit, because we are the ones with the fewest problems in this
dramatic crisis.  We are not suffering from economic stagnation or
recession; on the contrary, we are progressing at a magnificent economic
pace.  Our hard currency debt is small, our economic relations with the
socialist countries are excellent, the prices we receive for our products
are satisfactory, and nothing we are doing is in response to a national
economic interest or any political goal of breaking the ice.  We are
fighting for loftier goals than mere national economic interests or
political interests; we are really fighting for the interests of Latin
America and the Third World, for the interests of our peoples.  We are not
motivated by any national reasons in this regard.

[14 Jun 85 pp 1, 14]

[Text] Havana, Cuba, 13 June--"There is no cause for concern: After Fidel
there are tons of people better than Fidel, and the Party is with Fidel.
The Revolution is not based on any 'caudillo' ideas or a personality cult;
the Revolution is based on principles."

This was Fidel Castro's response, during an exclusive interview with EL
DIA, to a question about his eventual retirement from the political
leadership of Cuba.

On this same point, he asserted: "None of us could rest easy if we thought
that when we died or retired the Revolution would be in any danger."

At another moment, referring to the drop in sugar prices on the world
market, Castro indicated that among other adverse factors on the world
market are the protectionist policies pursued by the industrialized
capitalist countries, and the dumping practiced by the European Economic

He stated, however, that Cuba's situation in this regard is different,
"because we have a huge market in the socialist sphere.  We have already
sold all our sugar, as well as whatever is produced in the next 5-year
period, and in the next 15 years, he asserted.

Another factor that has helped drive down prices is the low demand in the
United States.  The Cuban leader pointed out that until 1981 that country
was still importing some 5 million tons, but in the last 3 years it has
reduced total imports to 2.7 million tons.  In 1985 just 2.5 million tons
was imported, and the number is expected to drop to 1.5 million in the next
3 or 4 years.

"It doesn't seem right for me to express opinions on matters that are
exclusively the internal affairs of Mexico," answered the Cuban leader in
response to a question about his view of the left in our country.

Finally, when the EL DIA correspondent thanked the president of the Cuban
Council of State and Council of Ministers for the interview, he said: "EL
DIA is a newspaper for which we have always had a great deal of respect and
admiration.  We esteem it highly, and it is with great pleasure that I
agreed to answer your questions when you told me that you represented the
newspaper EL DIA."

[Question] In view of the crisis on the international sugar market, what is
Cuba's strategy?  There is a lot of talk about a sugar glut, with
indications that only 40 percent is actually sold, and the remaining 60
percent is a surplus.

[Answer] Part of the sugar that is produced is consumed by the producers,
and part is exported.  I don't know, I couldn't tell you right this minute
exactly how much is exported, what percentage.  There is also a certain
amount of excess sugar on the market.  But there is a surplus not because
there are no potential consumers; billions of people in the world eat very
little sugar, but they simply do not have the buying power to purchase

Another factor that contributes to this drop in prices is the protectionist
policies of the industrialized capitalist nations and the dumping that
takes place.  The European Economic Community, for example, which used to
import millions of tons of sugar, now wants to export millions of tons on
the basis of subsidized sugar.  That is bringing dozens of countries to the
brink of ruin and starvation.

Cuba's situation is different, because we have a huge market in the
socialist sphere.  We have already sold all our sugar.

Whatever we produce in the next 5-year period, and in the next 15 years, is
already sold, primarily to the socialist countries.  Since the Cuban
Revolution began, those that had programs to step up sugar production
moderated those programs, channeling their investments into other products
and reserving a major portion of their market for Cuban sugar exports.

This can be done and is done in socialist countries.  The capitalist
countries do not do this; on the contrary, as a consequence of the system's
contradictions and of national selfishness, they carry out policies that
are often demagogic, even uneconomical, producing goods at a very high
cost.  Not only that, but they produce surpluses with high subsidies,
forgetting that many countries in the world depend on that product for
their survival.

That was not the formula the socialist countries applied to our country,
and for that reason Cuba has sold all the sugar it can produce.  In
addition to its quota on the world market, it has sold all the sugar it
will produce in the next 5-year period, in the next 15 years, to the
socialist bloc.  Consequently, we are developing sugar production, and are
even building new sugar mills.

Now, as for the sugar we sell to the world market, of course, we have not
managed to improve the prices.  We are suffering all the effects of that
problem, you understand?  But that is only a small part of the sugar we

[Question] What percentage is it?

[Answer] It must be around 25 percent of our exports.

[Question] It is said that in the United States, for example, they are
using /fructose,/ which is something like a . . .

[Answer] Yes, what they are using most is corn syrup.  Since they have a
corn surplus, they also convert it into syrup to sweeten soft drinks and
foods.  And that product is competing with sugar, because of the U.S.
policy of protectionism and subsidies, of course.

In addition, in 1981, for example, the United States was still importing 5
million tons of sugar.  At one time, much of that imported sugar came from
Cuba.  When the Revolution took place and it imposed the economic blockade
on us, the United States took away our sugar quota and divided it up among
the other Latin American countries.  It even used our sugar quota, which
was around 3.5 million tons, to bribe many Latin American governments,
which traitorously supported the economic blockade against Cuba.

There were some countries, such as Mexico, that were allocated part of our
sugar quota but nevertheless maintained diplomatic ties, because they held
firm.  They received the quota, of course, which was part of what had been
stripped from Cuba, but they did not break off ties.  Many other Latin
American governments broke off relations, like merchandise that they sold
to the United States in exchange for the Cuban sugar quota.

Despite that, now the United States is taking the quota away from all of
them, reducing it gradually, even though no revolution has taken place in
those countries.  Thus, in the last 3 years, the United States has cut its
total imports from 5 million to 2.7 million tons.  In 1985 it has cut them
to 2.5 million tons, and continues to reduce them.  At this rate, in 3 or 4
years the total will be down to 1.5 million tons.

In this way, many Latin American sugar producing countries have suffered
huge losses, and some sugar mills are shutting down in Latin America.  This
is one more proof of their selfishness; it also shows how the devil pays
those who served him well at one time.  I don't want to offend anyone, but
I have an obligation to tell the truth.

[Question] What is your view of the left in Mexico?

[Answer] Well, you will understand that I prefer the left to the right, but
I would not venture to make a value judgment at this time, because really,
in the last 2 months, I have been very involved in this problem that we are
talking about.  I do not have enough facts to evaluate how the Mexican left
is progressing.  For example, in years past during the Echeverria and Lopez
Portillo administrations, when I visited Mexico or when Mexican leaders
visited here, I had the honor of seeing the Mexican presidents in Mexico or
in Cuba, along with the comrade who represented the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the representatives of the left.  I think
that in the last 10, 12 or 15 years PRI has had relatively close and good
relations, if you will, with the left.

I have heard that the right is gaining strength.  That concerns me,
naturally, although I understand that it is a consequence of the profound
economic crisis that our countries are undergoing.  Nevertheless, it
doesn't seem right for me to express opinions about these issues, which are
exclusively the internal affairs of Mexico.  In discussing all these ideas
and all our proposals, we are trying above all not to get involved in
internal affairs.  If we are advocating a policy of unity within and among
countries, any statement regarding an internal matter, any interference or
analysis of internal problems or measures, would not be seen as merely
theoretical; it would really be detrimental to the unifying purpose that
lies behind the ideas and principles that we are proposing.

Therefore, I cannot help you.  Let us leave that question for another time
in the perhaps distant future, when one can act not as a politician or
statesman, but rather as a theoretician, and in that capacity analyze the
problems that are involved in the internal processes of each country.

[Question] Very well.  There is one very broad concern that we hear in the
streets when we talk to Cubans about the leadership of Fidel Castro.

[Answer] You say there is concern here?  And why haven't I seen it
anywhere?  I see everyone very calm, very confident in the Revolution, in
the Party, in the continuity of the revolutionary work.

[Question] Not concern, in the sense of a lack of confidence.  We always
ask, when we talk with people . . .

[Answer] What do you ask?

[Question] How are you?  Are you happy?  We see happy, contented people,
contrary to much of the propaganda we get there

[Answer] And what are they concerned about?

[Question] We wonder: After Fidel, what?

[Answer] There is no cause for concern: After Fidel there are tons of
people better than Fidel, and the Party is with Fidel.  The Revolution is
not based on any "caudillo" ideas or a personality cult; the Revolution is
based on principles.  What is the key to guaranteeing the Revolution?  The
fact that the ideas we defend have been the ideas of the entire nation for
a long time now.

When an idea is accepted by an entire nation, by the masses, when the
revolutionary idea becomes the conscience of an entire nation, then there
is no risk; when these principles also become the conscience of the entire
nation, then no one can violate them.  I stated this in a phrase that I
said once: "Men die; the Party is immortal."  We could add: "Men die, the
people are immortal; men die, ideas are immortal, they are perennial, they
are even renewed, enriched, developed."

Therefore, I can assure you that there is not even the slightest cause for
concern, and there is no concern among the people.  They may be sad, of
course, if we die or retire.  There may be some sadness, but that would not
produce a lack of confidence, or fear, or insecurity.

[Question] Commander, we thank you very much for granting this interview.
It means a lot to us to have an opportunity to talk with you and listen to
you.  We could listen to you all night long.

[Answer] I couldn't talk all night long, because I gave a 2-1/2 hour speech
at the conference.

[Question] Of course. That's why we don't want to impose on you.

[Answer] But you said you represented the newspaper EL DIA, and that is a
newspaper for which we have always had a great deal of respect and
admiration.  We esteem it highly, and it was with great pleasure that I
agreed to answer your questions after the ceremony this evening, when you
told me you were representing the newspaper EL DIA.  I promised you not a
long interview, but a 1-hour interview, and I almost fulfilled my promise.
Maybe I went over by a minute.

[Question] Thank you.