May 10, 1963: Fidel Castro Interview

Cuba's prime minister answers questions on communism and the missile crisis.
3:00 | 12/07/09

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Transcript for May 10, 1963: Fidel Castro Interview
Without them. Move amid broad base in Cuba. The price of crude -- one of the media. But because you for them in other words in this situation well would be initiative. -- And it gave -- still remain. In the -- If they have that in effect when the parliament. Tell but I do not feel. That this is the right moment to hold a detailed discussion. On -- those historic events. However up. She must also understand. That -- at the same time I'm extremely interested. But all those details should become known. But tell the following. After a few days and the Soviet and the Cuban government both realize. That we had to take certain measures. Because of the imminence of an invasion of the country. That we felt had been planned. And was going to be carried out. These measures had to come from the idea. Of persuading the aggressors. That an invasion of Cuba would inevitably lead to -- third world war. -- on the strength of that conviction. That we took the de facto measures we took we did not waste time -- mere words. We merely had to stop the possibility of aggression. From that point of view you can say that it was simultaneous action on the part of both governments. The government also looking back. On the October crisis. With hindsight. Do you think it -- -- To have permitted in the book to be placed on Cuban soil in the fifth place. Be the number of. Gave -- another. People in them are not being. Tell that looking backwards and placing ourselves in the same circumstances. As those of the time. I still feel that it -- correct. -- Got any impediment because so little. Beyond the -- that involved. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- That we began with the need to take certain measures in order to force the United States. To put aside their ideas of invading Cuba. The fact that aggression was being -- ahead. Was made albeit late -- was -- By no -- a person and the chairman of the counter revolutionary council himself. Surely that is the best proof that anyone could expect. Or offer. What did the president. Of the Soviet troops that now remain. On Cuban well. Do you. Do you really feel that this law and a military presence is necessary. Part of -- and from the island to be available. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- That if they called in troops. The technicians. That are still in Cuba at this moment that's an entirely different thing I think. And what anybody but you must explain to. That these experts and these technicians. Are here in our interest. In the interest of Cuba. We are having both our personnel. And our armed forces trained by these technicians. I consider. And you must make understand this but in the present circumstances. And until we are truly and sincerely a -- -- a policy of peace talk to us. We will have need of those technicians. To train our personnel. And our armed forces. I think you're telling me about this there are no Soviet troop and armaments and -- It was voted for the we've both been -- in the defense. And I really gave out. Is finding out what groups. Is being. -- yet but I knew what it. The he's -- -- -- but people do and they are not Soviet troops themselves the other -- then. I think. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- gain an 800. No member out of the Communist bloc. -- nobody ever widening ideological chasm. Between. Red China. And Soviet Russia. But nothing terrible -- of the group on wall. As a youthful and -- national pride -- being. And the different god conviction. That the world must develop a long lines of people -- -- and at the -- -- schools of thought. -- you again there. If he would pavilion room. The cutting. Yes it is true -- There are certain differences between the points of view. Of the leaders of the Soviet Union. And the leaders of that People's Republic of China. But I do not believe. That those differences of view. -- in any way different. From those that exist between for example the goal -- Kennedy. I believe that that is no absolute or insoluble contradictions. Between the views expressed. By the Soviet Union. And the view -- expressed by the People's Republic of China. And I do not believe for one minute. Nor -- I accept. All be convinced. -- the policies of China. Are intended to set up war. And as part of a national policy. Since that is what I believe. And obviously. Opposition. Must be. To struggle in order to strengthen and improve the relations. Between these two great countries of the socialist camp. That is opposition. -- -- and been reported. That's your -- as -- -- inside Cuba. Into the -- one. And in January of 1950 billion denounce the Cuban continent. But suddenly five -- lifted. And taking all the -- -- for them out. What in the situation. Without the bay in Cuba between that -- -- -- And the old -- -- Tell but as the revolution advances. The unity of all the revolutionaries. -- becomes great and stronger every day. The criticism that we leveled -- fast. Against the -- -- and positions that existed in the country. What intended merely to overcome. And to correct certain mistakes that -- -- time divided us. Once we've overcome those mistakes. -- in. Basically then the unity among all the revolutionaries in Cuba today is great. Than it ever was -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- If someone the united babies being -- our program made it no deviation. From. I think I -- in an interview in. Did you criticize their leaders in the Soviet satellite countries for their -- the Caribbean from Moscow. Are you able could be any more independent. When you are all very heavily dependent on Moscow. Economic revival. Didn't -- It didn't think he -- about it. Tell -- that I don't know whether she's aware of the fact. But when those interviews were published in the French newspaper Le monde and -- I made a clarification right away. I stated that I had given no interview to any report of that newspaper. We did hold an informal conversation. At the home of the direct out of the newspaper -- young. And during that conversation. We talked of many subjects. But the when no translators present while we were talking. And since the reporter did not know Spanish very well. Many of the subjects that we did referred to in our conversation. -- misunderstood by the report. And he then publish them in a completely different way from the way in which we had discussed them -- the home of the director of the newspaper. It was that misunderstanding on his part. Got misled the readers. They -- question -- -- the government will be. We get very let me -- -- -- and then -- happy all the hoopla I think I won't win rephrase my question and I feel. Do you feel. -- Cuba. Have any concept being independent of lock -- when you're almost totally dependent on Moscow for your economic revival. You can both. -- Soviet. -- -- -- Tell about that as far as we are concerned. The Soviet Union. Never attached any political conditions whatsoever to the economic assistance she offers us. -- It is true we received. And we are still receiving assistance. But this is a system that is basically economic. And it comes primarily from the Soviet Union and we are extremely grateful for the help. But I repeat that assistance has never been sent to us with any conditions. You can tell that to that in the United States they use certain slogans certain cliches. Set -- ideas. That they accept almost as though they went -- -- true isms. But I believe that what is -- in the United States and the way things are analyzed them. Will finally lead them to understand exactly how and why Cuba is acting as she is. We are merely -- completely exercising our right to self determination. -- now find it felt isolated in the -- -- -- -- No longer are seeking to -- -- Bloomberg Latin American -- The victim of an economic blockade. And -- -- a majority of support coming from port -- 7000 miles away. Can Obama had possibly continue doing this as a viable economy. In this -- related yeah. I mean that had. Been nearly half of social -- human and yes it is true. It is entirely true but we are the victims of a great economic blockade. We are the victims of a general program of isolation. On the part of a powerful nation. -- -- -- no matter. -- and I wanted to secret. National and believe me but anyway. Despite all this. We have met the difficulties. We have overcome many of these obstacles. And despite all this again we are -- that we will manage to get ahead. While the couple. Do you approve of how -- Given 300000. People fled the island. And even we've been emigrant who have been adopted nor is he hinted at -- look good. How do you account for this a good and we -- -- Indicated. Tell. But I think cut figures well shall we say a exaggerated. Not that many have left the out. Nor is it true. That they were all rich. Or old -- The majority of the Cubans that have left the island. Where of the high and middle classes they were people who in the past occupied typos. But for them -- remember. But from Cuba to the United States -- has always been a very great current of immigration. However before the revolution. There was a limit set to the number of Cubans that could -- to your country. -- to the revolution. There was no limit. There was no -- to the Cuban immigration to the states. I'm convinced. But if the doles out all the other Latin American republics. What to be allowed to open fall completely free emigration. To the United States of America. -- people would leave those countries. Then have so far left Cuba for the United States. -- -- -- I'll give you an example take Puerto Rico for instance. The United States constantly -- who says that -- the recall. They enjoy a very high standard of living. That that is set top of that -- found social and political system. And yet we know. But more than one million Puerto Ricans have fled from -- island to the United States of America. Now if we're going to judge the system. -- the state of a country. On the strength of a number of persons. That leave or escape from that country to go somewhere else then we must realize the Puerto Rico. -- the west country of. All. I could face because I think many happy -- -- none of them and I thought that he had been in Miami. I hope we're not people that money. And many of them had originally. Been with the revolution. He advocated a the only man woman and the political. And should go hit the -- -- -- And -- that you have how do you explain that haven't been. When the book is beginning here Ibrahim. -- get any -- socially involved in my doing that what. Well but because there are some people who desire to emigrate to the United States. In such -- a better standard of living perhaps. And also. There -- cases of persons. Who because of disagreements with the revolution. Decided to leave the island. To go to foreign countries. But in many cases. That argument. Is a mere pretext. The political pretext. Is merely added. Patrol reason underlying that immigration. Is economic. Now I can assure you that those who left the island before -- the revolution. -- purely the poorer classes. That was part of the revolution. The immigration that followed the revolution. On the whole is the immigration of the -- -- classes. When the revolution -- in the United States of America for example. Don't forget. To what many Americans who left -- country. And who went to Canada. They were people who didn't like the American way of life. They were people who didn't agree with the independence. Of the United States. Back about. Won't go. I don't know what I'll let alone. Informed. About. Who's a problem. Of -- revenue from other -- from. Haven't. Praying at the bit below them. The envelope of good -- material throughout the and the death. And in fact the fab hood the only important that that -- Who had gotten a lot of bad propaganda. Who have been located -- kind of some Cuba. Why hadn't -- -- -- early and -- a couple of and development that is not good -- -- -- -- your revolution. To other nations throughout Latin America. You'll -- -- -- -- I thought it was the other way around. I had thought that it was those countries. That were more concerned with exporting counter revolution to Cuba. Rather than we -- them. Tell two. But that is no proof an existence. That we have sent weapons or arms. To any other country of Latin America. In order to stopped revolutions them. On the other hand. We do have thousands of proves. That the arms and the weapons. Stand by the United States. And many other countries into Cuba. Have all been intended. To raise Contra revolutions -- in Cuba in our island. That is the truth of the story. Moscow why they always look at things from a different angle. If they want to know what we think we'll tell them. We think that revolutions cannot be exported. We believe that revolutions. Either do walk all they don't Erica. If conditions -- of an objective nature are conducive to the revolution. And the revolution will take place in that country. For the mall. There has also to be an adequate degree of political awareness in the people of a country. So that they are able to carry out such a revolution. But that you cannot export. Any more than you can export counterrevolution. Now I don't myself a question. If a country fields but it has the right to export counter revolution. -- light of that country to deny another country equal rights to export revolution. I don't know I don't I didn't argue that put on another revolution -- that -- they needed. The San Jose leaving. Read it to stop the flow of armed men find it carry out. The bed is thousand cubic Babbitt mentioned now why do you think they've made such a bad are you ready for the -- are -- not a foot eleven. Is it possible that the that the local bank said it over thankful for pick up. Obama made so that we and ruled them out. The book but beyond that they had a wonderful present -- that is it okay for -- formal. Not only want credit for somebody who couldn't put -- about weekend will be -- Morgan. Something that cannot be good. Failure good that you are not coming men and you are not -- -- -- the carry out. Other countries to create evolution. Famine and -- home room. That is one thing you must bear in mind -- She spoke -- propaganda. That's one thing we do have radio stations. We do have speeches of the -- really -- And information from Cuba itself. And we make oldest known in Latin America. But this is something very similar to what -- 'cause with the radio stations. In the United States and Florida for example. And many other -- to the country. Where you -- -- programs. What you publish what you make known the point of view of your country at the United States of America. And when all is said and done. You know we do not possess the enormous -- offices of the United States government. Nor do we possess the training centers but the United States has. So we cannot compete with your country. In the training our people from all over -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And he -- that is important domestic banks report their revolution isn't that part of your philosophy. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And although -- -- I think that would need then go get benefit valuable. Do what they think because India. -- will be. That the bill became. We believe -- And the people of new group. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Mail your idea of being. Real. Random volume liberal opinion in the United States which -- If you head of the Soviet Russia. Because you have no -- candidate. -- -- and I didn't think the the United States compared to yours you. And they believe that if the United States could look -- -- the appropriation. With a court propelled by you for compensation. He would have rather. Live in the wet. Or at least would -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Go to his head in this radical -- direction. -- They didn't. Some -- from the global that you. The practical and political mentioned it will be important. It. Tell -- that it is true. But when the United States suspended -- of a quote of Cuba. When the United States closed all the Dole's to trade between Cuba and the United States. Cuba had no alternative from the economic standpoint. Then to tighten its economic relations with the Soviet Union. She now wants to know what would've happened if those measures have not been taken. If the United States had accepted -- appropriation well I don't know. But I don't believe that you couldn't -- -- a question like that just categorically. We can't know. Exactly how events would have followed it's such a stand had been taken by -- country. But I do believe and of this I'm convinced that relations would have been very different from what they are now. They certainly would not have been the same. When she wants to know whether our revolution would have been a radical revolution. I believe it would have been. It was going to be a radical revolution. But naturally. I believe. That it was the hostile attitude of the United States that contributed to making it more radical. Then you're saying that in the very beginning did not intend to break off relations with the United States. Do you in fact ever intend to issue compensation. For the expropriated land and businesses -- home. Through the united -- company. Because we have to compensate for many Cubans. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But UBS the American. Interest they -- those big -- about about. If they want to speak gave. -- also. Many Asian -- And Robin invasion. Of Cuba and communities they can speak. But I think you're willing to -- this is. Before you revolution succeeded gothic have to have you often spoke of that revolution and the pain of that revolution -- of liberty and freedom. UK election. Within eighteen months. And you pledged to uphold the right for the opposition parties even during the transitional stage. But there have been -- pre election. And there -- no opposition party. Why. The continent. Did you create a revolution feel completely different from the one that you promised -- -- complete them. Continue to believe in the capital of the vote. And landed him and he. Tell her that we made a revolution. One that has meant freedom for the exploited peoples of -- island. For the people who had no schools who had no hospitals. Who had no employment -- jobs. Who did not possess the land they wept. We did not plan and we did not carry out a revolution. Granting freedom for the exploit does. -- for the privileged classes. We -- stop people agrarian reforms. We've carried that -- out. We promised them an urban reforms. We've lived up to that promised to. And we promised that we would wipe out illiteracy. And that promise we have also fulfilled. Preelection a lot of opposition parties because that was part of the pledged to -- you're going beautifully the only way to pretty them. We -- thankful I had no I'm way I'm quoting here I'm quoting you those were your words in the half life death. He says there will be elections -- -- an eighteen month opposition parties go independent nearly eight feet below woods not a. A mine is completely change. This equation changed. Because he's busy evening we have. Being on the completion of warning these problems. No big enormous inflation and that inflation an illusion if you and I can -- equally -- revolution. It -- illusion. Unmanned. Soviet regular revolution and the board that it -- assume he's -- you can keep -- this situation change. Very much. -- -- -- -- -- He if you are -- we weren't doing that evolution the only stipulation that the F. I think -- we have. We have. What could loan. Long deep and it was. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I don't know the only idea of the people who know how -- lately I have pre election -- opposition parties in the -- Paul -- didn't -- ballistic. Well you know not in the -- -- concept of elections. We have a revolutionary concept. And I believe. That for those faults. Democratic institutions to exist but the world now that they can't really exist in the middle of a state of exploitation. They simply cannot exist. Ignorant and want can exist. You have first of all to liquidate one in order to allow -- conditions of freedom. Really to exist. We we simply don't use the same blueprint. Basically I would one day. -- -- inevitably have to go in the direction with the Communist bloc if the situation have been different had a particular point. -- you have not gone live Soviet Russia. Where do I hate being the very temptation. It -- I think education. Many couples. -- if -- keep this from him. Eight was our very own necessity that led us to it. Our on our needs made us forced us. To improve our relations. With the Soviet Union. Anyway anyway. We. Truly believed -- And we felt. That our country should enjoy relations. With all countries. -- all nations. And we should enjoy all types of our nation's diplomatic relations. Political relations. Commercial relations. But. It was the attitude of the United States to all of us. That. Forced us to this the United States only -- one single type of relations fundamentally economic. I have been a great deal of can -- here at the -- privately -- who became a Communist. -- in 1916 the late 1960 was built saying that you're not a Communist. And that you felt that communism violated basic freedom. The bet on December 2 1961. You declare that you were eight -- that lead in this. Why can't win did you change your mind about communism. You're -- -- I mean truly were getting reunited Ingrid. -- that the idea -- marks. -- influence and today have great influence all over the world including among men. Statesmen politicians who don't call themselves Communists and all marxists. At least that -- -- publicly many of his ideas have been quoted an accepted. I received. My first impressions of marks. Doctor profits and can't mind why he told Clinton lied about communism. In the that he -- to get at the end. Believe the American bishops and get -- -- he added. Well but tell that from a time when I was a student. When I first began to read the text books of marks. I could see the influence of Marx and his idea although at the time I was not a Communist. I did however have a growing conviction of the advantages of the socialist system. I -- against the idea as our capitalist systems. -- -- in my mind too. That took place a process of development of the idea. But. What contributed most to -- my change was the revolution itself the experience we gathered during the revolution itself. And then of course especially -- all that we learned from the United States of America. How -- capitalist and powerful country -- very weak and an underdeveloped. Nation. -- comparing that with the way a socialist country like the Soviet Union behaved towards our underdeveloped nation. I'm confident do you feel there is any basis forward -- -- normal relations. We'll be United States and Cuba when he was prime minister. And you do I had such a rapprochement. -- -- -- people. It didn't do you have this big government -- That case. We. Would. Be all the people who speak and it's kind of -- -- community -- -- our format. Oh behind falling. Could have been. The completion. Of the -- appears. We'll review I have not been -- Double punitive. But they being. After basic. Data that point of Cuba. An average when the price. And I think that's something happening -- bombed it is indeed they didn't have given summed it. -- -- -- -- -- I'm happy. You'll get that is that. We will die. You think right now with the -- -- You're pregnant and I'll definitely got very few -- -- -- and event chair that there is going to be getting a rapprochement. People can be being persecuted if we can use. If you -- maybe they won't. Into the beginning of the -- relation. Big day is coming -- Tell us that it's a way of diminishing tension. That. It's one way and just as all the other steps that the United States government has given. Our other steps -- stopping the -- radical attacks. Against Cuba. All he -- steps in the right direction. I believe that there wise. And intelligent steps. Because the enemies of Kennedy who want to -- him. Into -- -- -- into and others. About others in the case of war with Cuba. -- -- -- they were willing to end of the blockade -- in exchange for a withdrawal of all Soviet troops guard however you call them technician. And armaments from -- style. And an end here the F fourth annual revolution. On -- other nations in the hemisphere. Would you be be willing to agree to these cute thing. -- -- -- But as sort of a commitment from. Motel that I've already until. Regarding the exporting of revolutions. And I've also spoken to her about the question of technicians. But I think that all these problems all these problems of the technicians -- the Soviet technicians. Are of interest to us. To the Soviet Union that an interest to the United States of America. And of course -- also to Cuba of great interest they can be discussed. And we should discuss them among all three of us. I you actually did that -- talking academy. General I don't think this group connect that they want to dispute the Soviet Union which doubles. -- believe gives me how close we -- we don't we spoke with fellow Soviet Union. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- and I think we must discuss all these problems. Between all of us. Then you would like to sit down and talk with president Kennedy. The coming -- -- I don't know what they haven't done but they didn't. Finally -- let us know what you think. The prime minister do you think it would be possible Sunday in the future but uses fear -- neutral court. To become the key -- of the Caribbean. The economic reality hopefully. Tell that our ideal is not euphemism the peace when there is peace among all countries when there are no blocks. -- -- -- -- -- That is our ideals. -- -- I don't certainly want to set myself up as a Tito. The Caribbean area. Bob minute bit if you could live overblown. -- -- all DEA. Would you do things differently. I think now we have received. These people -- that we couldn't do that that. Both. I think -- became conventions. Somebody had to -- prime time. Policy like that he said he would leave a game how he got me -- -- this man.

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