Loading...
Monday, 07 January 2013 15:00

HSCA Interview with Fidel Castro

Continuation of narration by Chief Counsel G. Robert Blakey and the playing of excerpts from a tape recording of an interview with President Fidel Castro.


INVESTIGATION OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1978 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS, Washington, D. C.


KENNEDY SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS
Name: Fidel CASTRO RuzDate: April 3, 1978 Time: 6: 30 p.m.
Address: Havana, CubaPlace: Presidential offices
Interview: Present were President Fidel CASTRO and his interpreter, Senorita Juanita Vera, Captain Felipe Villa, Senor Ricardo Escartin, Zenen Buergo, and Alfredo Ramirez (representing the Government of Cuba). Also present representing the Government of the United States were Congressmen Louis STOKES, Richardson Preyer, Christopher Dodd and staff personnel of HSCA: G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel, Gary Cornwell, Deputy Chief Counsel and Edwin Lopez, Researcher/Translator.


Interview of Fidel Castro Excerpt A

STOKES: Mr. President, did it come to your attention shortly after the assassination that Lee Harvey oswald, who was the accused assassin, had had contact with your Embassy in Mexico City?

CASTRO: Yes. In fact, it was after Kennedy's death that he caught my attention. Because here nobody receives news about anyone filing applications for a visa. These things are always solved through the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. So it never is taken to the government. You know, it is not necessary. This is normal routine work. None of us has anything to do with visas. Some officials knew about it when somebody in particular filed an application there. But tens – or maybe hundreds of thousands of people file applications. But when Kennedy was assassinated and Oswald's actions were published in the newspapers, the officials who had handled visa applicaitons realized that this Oswald could be the same Oswald who had gone to the Consulate in order to apply for a visa. That is why we had news about it, you know? After Kennedy's death we learned that a man by the name of Oswald had gone to the consulate and filled out an application for a visa - that he had been told that we did not normally give an intransit visa until the country of destination granted one. And, then we were told that a person had gotten very upset and had protested in an irate manner because he could not receive a visa. This was the news I had, more or less. the rest you know.

STOKES: We were wondering your...

CASTRO: There is something I would like to add in that connection. You see, it was always very mcuh suspicious to methat a person who later appeared to be involved in Kennedy's death would have requested a visa rom cuba. Because, I said to myself – what would have happened had by any chance that man come to cuby – visited Cuba – gone back to the States and then appeared involved in Kennedy's death? That would have really been a provocation - a gigantic provocation. Well, that man did not come to Cuba simply because that was the norm we rejected visa applications...like that. In those days the mechanism was very rigid because, of course, we had suspicions of anyone who tried to come to Cuba. People in charge of granting visas asked themselves: Why does (this applicant) want to come to Cuba? What kind of counter-revolutionary activity could he carry out in cuba? Maybe the people thought that the person was a CIA or FBI agent, you know, so it was very difficult for a north American, just from his own wishes, to come to Cuba – because systematically we denied the visas. So, I think that there could always be an exception, but in those times it was very, very difficult to have anyone from the United States come into Cuba because there was a tremendous suspicion and because in general permits to (travel to cuba) were denied. Now, if it was a transit visa going toward another country – let's say had the Soviet Union granted the visa, you may be sure that our Consul would have granted the transit visa because the person would not be coming to Cuba only, but would be going to another country. The person would have to come (here) and if the Soviets would have granted the visa, then that would have accredited the person..like, you know, the person would have been given a transit visa because I feel that if the Soviets had granted the visa, then he would have come here. (In that era) it was not so crazy (that he tried) to come to Cuba because if he had obtained the visa from another country, it would have been for certain that our Consul would have granted him the visa to stop here. Now, can you imagine if that person had been to Cuba in October and then in November the President of the United states would have been killed? That is why it has always been something a very obscure thing – something suspicious because I interpreted it as a deliberate attempt to link Cuba with Kennedy's death. That is one of the things that seemed to me very strange...

STOKES: Let me ask you this question, Mr. President. One of the persons that we have talked with since we have been here in Havana has been your former Consul, Mr. Azcue, who was produced at our request by your officials here. He told us that with reference to the man who appeared at your Embassy and who filled out an application for an intransit visa, that the photograph which appears on the visa application is the photograph of the man who died in the United States as Lee Harvey Oswald, but, that this man was not the individual who had appeared at your Embassy in Mexico City. And, my question would be in two parts: One, have you had an opportunity to talk with Mr. Azcue? And secondly, from all the information available to you, would this be your opinion alsothat the man who appeared at the Embassy was an imposter?

CASTRO: Actually, I don't have an opinion about that. I wouldn't be able to say whether I've met Azcue once. I don't remember now. I have no recollection at present of having met Azcue. Because I had been given the information about all that, I myself did not know whether he was in Mexico or here. It is very likely that I have seen him some time; however, I don't recall having met Azcue those days. Secondly, about the idea of an imposter, I have no special theory on that. As far as I have understood, Azcue has an idea on that. I've heard those comments before comments about the possibility of a difference, that he noticed the difference between the person who appeared requesting the visa and the person known as Oswald. But, I don't have a theory on that. It is likely that there could be two different people. But, now I am thinking if the person had obtained the visa, would he have visited Cuba? That is a hypothesis. What did he want the visa for? From my point of view, the individual could have come to Cuba and compromised us. He would have us compromised. It seems to me that to apply for the visa had the purpose of having the individual come to Cuba. Now, we would have to enter into many conjectures to reach a conclusion on that. Because where did he get the passports? Where did he find the passports that he was taking there? Where was Oswald's passport? What became of Oswald's passports? Those papers should be somewhere. I don't know what could have been the sense of sending another man, but I wouldn't dare deny that posibility. Actually, we would have to know what would have been the purpose. Why would another person have been sent? I don't know whether you would have a theory about that. Personally, I don't have a theory.

Villa: About the possibility of an imposter, in public sources we have read that the possibility exists that there could be a double that carried out some actions that the real Oswald did not on some occasions in 1963.

CASTRO: There is something that I can guarantee. The Cuban government believes that Azue is a serious and honest man; and that he has never said something differently from what he said the first time. He has more or less kept his story as far as I know. I mean, he is a person you can trust. He is a trustful man. That is all I can say about Azcue. But, I amy say that if many people have elaborated theories, I am not among them.


EXCERPT B

Comer Clark's Allegation


Cornwell: One passage reads as follows: An interview in July 1967 with a British journalist, Comer Clark...do you have the translation of it there?

Villa: Yes.

CASTRO: Let me see it. I have it here.
Pause: (Approximately one minute while President CASTRO reads it.)

CASTRO: This is absurd. I didn't say that.

Cornwell: Did the interview ever occur?

CASTRO: It has been invented from the beginning until the end. I didn't say that. How could I say that? It's a lie from head to toe. If this man would have done something like that, it would have been our moral duty to inform the United States. You understand? Because if a man comes here, mentions that he wants to kill Kennedy, we are (being provoked), do you realize that? It would have been similar to a mad person. If somebody comes to us and said that, it would have been similar to a mad person. If somebody comes to us and said that, it would have been our moral responsibility to inform the United States. How could we accept a man from Mexico to Cuba who tells us that he is going to kill President Kennedy? If somebody is trying create provocation or a trap, and uhwe would have denounced him. Sure, a person coming here or even in one of our embassies saying thatand that never happenedin no part, as far as I know.

Escartin: That refers to the interview you spoke about in the beginning.

CASTRO: But how could they interview me in pizzeria? I never to to public restaurants and that man invented that. That was invented rom the upper to the bottom. I do not remember that. And, it is a surprise for me to se because I couldn't have said that. You have to see who wrote it. And, what is the job of that journalist? What is engaged in? And, what prestige has this journalist? Not the one that wrote that book, but the origin of that version. You should have to find who he is and why he wrote it, and with whom he is relatedand which sense they have to attribute those words which are absolutely invented. I think it is possible that you would be able to find out who that journalist was. Do you have some news about about that journalist in that newspaper?

Villa: He was in Cuba and tried to carry out an interview with you.

CASTRO: Let me tell you. of every one hundred interviews that are requested of me I only grant one because if I were to give all the interviews that I am requested to, you can be sure that I would not be able to have anything but twenty-four hours of my life to have interviews. I would not have enough time to do anything else. Barbara Walters waited three years for an interviewjust almost three years. And even that of Moyers. I didn't want to have that Moyers interview. He started talking and the truth is that he was very insistent form the time he came down from the airplane and in spite of the fact that there was no commitment from me regarding the interview. I granted one. There are a lot of interview. I granted one. there are a lot of interview requests and it is very difficult, but I would never have given a journalist an interview in a pizzeria.

Dodd: I don't even give interviews in a pizzeria. (back)

Villa: Another element commander. That interview was published in a sensationalist or yellow press from the United States. It is a non-serious newspaper.

CASTRO: Especially at that time, a lot of barbaric things were publisheda lot of lies.


EXCERPT C

Use of Assassinations As a Political Weapon

CASTRO: ...................It was really something inconceivable - could have the idea of killing the President? First, because that would have been a tremendous insanity. The Cuban Revolutionaries and the people who have made this Revolution have proven to be intrepid and to make decisions in the right moment. But, we have not proven to be insane people. The leaders of the Revolution do not do crazy things and have always been extremely concerned to prevent any factor that could become a kind of an argument or a pretext for carrying out agression against our country. We are a very small country. We have the United States 90 miles from our shore which is a very large, powerful country economically, technically, militarily. So, for many years we lived concerned that an invasion could take palce..I mean, indirect and at the end a direct aggression. We were very close to that. Yet look at the conclusions we draw. If the elections of 1960 had not been won by Kennedy, but Nixon instead, during the Bay of Pigs, the United States would have invaded Cuba. We mean that in the midst of the fight that Kennedy followed the line that had been already traced.

There is no doubt that we appreciate very highly the fact that Kennedy resisted every kind of pressure not to have the Marines land in our country. Because, there were many people who wanted the Marines to land here. Nixon himself was in favor of that. Had Nixon been President during the Bay of Pigs invasion, a landing by the military army of the United States would have taken place. We are absolutely convinced of that. However, Kennedy resisted all the pressures and he did not do that. What would that have meant for us? The destruction of the country? Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of deaths? Because, undoubtedly the people would fight. The people I am absolutely sure about. An invasion of Cuba by the United States would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, maybe millions of lives. We were aware of that. We have an American military base in our territory, by force. And, it is not assumed that anyone is going to have a military base on someone else's territory, if it is not on the basis of an agreement. However, the United States has military bases in many places of the world, but here, it is by force. From that base, many provocations have been carried out against Cuba. There were people wounded..there were people killed. What did we do?

We brought our guards away from the lines, from the fence. We never shot at them. Why? Because we made every possible effort so that an incident of that kind would not become a pretext to be attacked. So, we have followed the policy. We had an American boat just three miles away from us for years, a warship full of electronic communications equipment and never a hostile action was carried against that warship. So, there are many events that have proven how careful Cuba has always been to prevent the perpetration of an invasion. We could have died heroically – no doubt about it. Now, that would have been a victory for our people. They're willing to be sacrificed and to die. Yet, it would have been just another page in history..nothing else. So, we have always been very much aware to not give The United States the pretext..the possibility..for (an invasion.) What was the cause of the missile crisis? The need we had to seek protection in case of an (invasion) from the United States. We agreed on the installation of the (stategic) missiles, because undoubtedly that diminished the danger of direct aggression. That became a danger of another kind, a kind of a global danger we became, but we were trying to protect our country at all times. Who here could have operated and planned something so delicate as the death of the united States President. That was insane. From the ideological point of view it was insane. And from the political point of view, it was a tremendous insanity. I am going to tell you here that nobody, nobody ever had the idea of such things. What would it do? We just tried to defend our folks here, within our territory. Anyone who subscribed to that idea would have been judged insane..absolutely sick. Never, in twenty years of revolution, I never heard anyone suggest nor even speculate about a measure of that sort, because who could think of the idea of organizing the death of the President of the United States. That would have been the most perfect pretext for the United States to invade our country which is what I have tried to prevent for all these years, in every possible sense. Since the United States is much more powerful than we are, what could we gain from a war with the United States? The United States would lose nothing. The destruction would have been here. The United States had U-2 air surveillancing for almost fifteen years. The planes flew over our territory every day. The women said that they called not go over their terrace naked for the U-2 would have taken a picture of them. That thing we could not allow to happen, you know, because it was demoralizing. So, there were, you know, those flights just fery close to the soil. Those kind of flights was really demoralizing for our people. It was impossible to let them continue to do that, so we had to shoot at them. On the following day after the missile crisis, we had the need to shoot at those planes, because to have allowed that would have created a demoralization among our people. And, I say that if we allowed that, you wouldn't have been able even to play baseball here. Because those planes came just twenty meters from here, so it was really demoralizing. See, the U-2 came very high, you know, and I tell you, Cuba has been characterized by following a firm policy, a policy of principles. Our position was known after the missile crisis. We were not in a position to make any concessions. That is a known position, but Cuba, the leaders of the Cuban Revolution, have never made that kind of insanity, and that I may assure you. And the biggest kind of insanity that could have gone through anyone's mind here would have been that of thinking of killing the President of the United States. Nobody would have thought of that. In spite of all the things, in spite of all the attempts, in spite of all the irritation that brought about an attitude of firmness, a willingness to fight, that was translated by our people into a spirit of heroism, but it never became a source of insanity. I'll give you practical reasons. Apart from our ideology, I want to tell you that the death of the leader does not change the system. It has never done that. And, the best example we have is Batista. Batista murdered thousands of our comrades. If there was anyone in which that kind of revenge was justified, it was Batista. However, our movement did very difficult things, but it never had the idea of physically eliminating Batista. Other revolutionary groups did, but never our movement. We had a war for twenty-five months against Batista's army and spent seven years under Batista's dictatorship with thousands dying. But, it never came to our minds..we could have done it, very well, but we never thought about that, because it was different from our feelings. That is our position. That is why we are interested. That is why I was asking you whether you are really hopeful to give serious conclusions on this. On your part, if there is something we could give you, we would, without any kind of precondition. The information we have offered you is not conditioned to anything. In spite of the fact that the problem is thorny, that doesn't stop this Committee here from giving the impression that we are being judged here, that we are being tried.


EXCERPT D

Statements Made By Fidel CASTRO At the Brazilian Embassy on September 7, 1963

CASTRO: ...................Then a journalist asked me...and the purpose I had...I don't remember literally what I said, but I remember my intention in saying what I said and it was to warn the government that we know about the (attempted) plots against our lives. I mean, in one way or the other to let the United States government know that we knew about the existence of those plots. So, I said something like those plots start to set a very bad precedent, a very serious one that that could become a boomerang against the authors of those actions...but I did not mean to threaten by that. I did not mean even that..not in the least..but rather, like a warning that we knew; that we had news about it; and that to set those precedents of plotting the assassination of leaders of other countries would be a very bad precedent..something very negative. And, if at present, the same would happen under the same circumstances, I would have no doubt in saying the same as I said (then) because I didn't mean a threat that. I didn't say it as a threat. I did not mean by that that we were going to take measures - similar measures - like a retaliation for that. We never meant that because we knew that there were plots. For three years we had known that there were plots against us. So, the conversation came about very casually, you know, but I would say that all these plots or attempts were part of the everyday life.

I do remember about being in the Brazilian Embassy at that time..that I did make a statement in that sense...in the sense that I was informed of the plots and that that was a very bad precedent to form the various principles in relation to..


KENNEDY SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS
Name: Fidel CASTRO Ruz
Date: April 3, 1978 Time: 6: 30 p.m.
Address: Havana, CubaPlace: Presidential offices
Interview: Present were President Fidel CASTRO and his interpreter, Senorita Juanita Vera, Captain Felipe Villa, Senor Ricardo Escartin, Zenen Buergo, and Alfredo Ramirez (representing the Government of Cuba). Also present representing the Government of the United States were Congressmen Louis STOKES, Richardson Preyer, Christopher Dodd and staff personnel of HSCA: G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel, Gary Cornwell, Deputy Chief Counsel and Edwin Lopez, Researcher/Translator.
The meeting opened and President CASTRO stated:

CASTRO: Do you have the supposed statements that I have made? I have tried to remember. There is an individual who says that he interviewed me in a restaurant. That is very strange. I tried to recall him, you know. I tried to recall (the proposed) interview and on one occasion (he) said that it was in a (pizzeria). I just reached a conclusion not only because of the circumstances in which he says the interview was made, but also because of the content of the interview...or the alleged interview. I am absolutely certain that that interview never took place. Now, I will have to check that about the (alleged interview at the Brazilian Embassy) because that is true. I mean it's true that I went to the Brazilian Embassy. I've been trying to remember, and I recall the following: It is not that I found out that an attempt was being plotted. Villa, when did the interview occur?

Villa: On September the seventh, 1963. You spoke about the topic with Bill Moyers.

CASTRO: Then I had know for a long time. It was not recent because the attempt against our lives started to be planned here a long time before that. I could say that from 1959 that was known to us. We were constantly arresting people trained by the CIA and being provided equipment by the CIA that would come to the country with explosives, with the telescopic target rifles, even bazookas every kind of weapon. Here they organized, since very early, plots at Grantanamo base. So, that was very well known to us. Then a journalist asked me..and the purpose I had...I don't remember literally what I said, but I remember my intention in saying what I said and it was to warn the government that we know about the (attempted) plots against our lives. I mean, in one way or t he other to let the United States government know that we knew about the existence of those plots. So, I said something like those lots start to set a very bad precedent, a very serious onethat that could become a boomerang against the authors of those actions...but I did not mean to threaten by that. I did not mean even that..not in the least..but rather, like warning that we knew; that we had news about it; and that to set those precedents of plotting the assassination of leaders of other countries would be a very bad precedent..something very negative. And, if at present, the same would happen under the same circumstances, I would have no doubt in saying the same as I said (then) because I didn't mean a threat by that. I didn't say it as a threat. I did not mean by that that we were going to take measures - similar measures - like a retaliation for that. We never meant that because we knew that there were plots. For three years we had known that there were plots against us. So, the conversation came about very casually, you know; but I would say that all these plots or attempts were part of the everyday like.

I do remember about being in the Brazilian Embassy at that time...that I did make a statement in that sense...in the sense that I was informed of the plots and that that was a very bad precedent to form the various principles in relation to...I remember (another nefarious precedent) was that of the hijacking of planes. The first planes hijacked in this area were Cuban planes, and the hijacking of the planes was encouraged by the United Stated government. Even an amount of money was offered as a reward to the people that hijacked a Cuban plane. And later what happened? well, it was all the way around terrorist elements and insane elements and every kind of people. (Once) the precedent was established, these people started to hijack planes. And that is what I may tell you is part of that experience. And I repeat again that if a similar situation would come about, I could say just the same words I could say just just same. Now, I cannot guarantee because I don't have the exact recollection. I don't have the exact copy of what I said literally. And, of course, one always has to be careful with the versions even on a given statement. But that he had interviewed me in the restaurant, and writing the things he wrote? There was a deliberate purpose of creating confusion, of planting confusion and trying to have Cuba involved in these events.

STOKES: Mr. President, as a result of the statements or the conversation you had with this gentleman at that time, did you ever hear from President Kennedy?

CASTRO: I am trying to recall the date. I can tell you that in the period in which Kennedy's assassination took place Kennedy was changing his policy toward Cuba. I mean by that he was not adopting measures, not in fact. The whole style and aggressive measures against Cuba existed for many years. First of all, the Bay of Pigs; then the missile crisis; then the pirate attacks those attacks which were organized in central America and Miami, at a time at which they sent the mother boats to attack the refineries, the warehouses, boats, merchant ships, port installations and even the (innocent) population was also attacked in those days by these people. It has been known later - more or less - for how long these actions lasted. Now at that time, Kennedy was starting to question all these things. One of the facts, one of the events, was that an American official from the United Nations called my house. I don't speak English, so he spoke to one of my comrades who was with me there. After that, I've been able to go with more accuracy through those things. And, I think it was Atwood. I think it was Atwood because later he was appointed Ambassador to Guinea, and that was very significant because it was the first time such a thing happened - - the first time such a gesture came about. And, you could see undisputably that a new trend was coming (into) existence in the sense of established contacts. So, it was a sort of a change (in) policy. I don't recollect exactly what month it was. Have you been able to reconstruct the time at which Atwood (phoned me) at my house?

Escartin: We have been able to reconstruct that date around (inaudible).

CASTRO: Well, that was after the missile crisis, I think. That was after the Bay of Pigs and the missile crisis. I was of the opinion that the only man who could change that policy was Kennedy himself, because it seemed to me that at that time it was not a time of the Bay of Pigs. At that time he had more experience. And, he had much more authority. Maybe after the missile crisis, he had much more influence. I was convinced that Kennedy was the man with enough talent and enough courage to question and change that policy. And, people started to (feel) about it. And I felt that a positive act was that famous speech he made at the American University. It was a speech about the need for peace, the need for prevention of war, the destructions that Hitler's invasion on the Soviet Union had caused. (He expressed this) in terms that he had not used for a long time that had not been used in the American theory for a long time. I have read all over that speech again. I cannot say that that's a perfect (speech), I feel that it had some gaps, but if you bear in mind what he said, at the moment he said it, in the midst of the cold war, there is no doubt that those statements were of a tremendous value. Now, in addition to that, the unfortunate circumstance happened that in the days previous to Kennedy's death a french journalist visited our country Jean Daniels. Then he told me..he said that he was interested in having a discussion about a special topic with me. I remember that I took him with me to Veradero. Then, in the morning it was the morning on the way to Verado and also at the beach he was explaining to me his purpose. We were taking about all this. And, I would say that he was bringing a kind of message from Kennedy. In substance, as far as I remember now, he himself has spoken about this on several occasions. But, the most important thing was he told me that Kennedy had explained to him the great danger that existed during the missile crisis, and that Kennedy asked himself whether I (also) was aware of the whole danger that was announced at the time of the missile crisis. But, he was (somewhat) traumatized with all the remembrances of those days. When Kennedy found out that this journalist was coming to Cuba – he had a long talk with this journalist. (He asked the journalist to talk with me, and then return to Washington with a response). We were just talking in those terms. He had to finish explaining to me everything he had talked about with Kennedy and I had to give him an answer about all this. But then at lunchtime or after lunch I don't remember quite well the first news started to arrive by radio that an attempt against Kennedy had taken place and that he had been seriously wounded precisely at the moment that we were having that talk and that came to be another symptom, that Kennedy was questioning the policy that had been followed so far. Maybe he was elaborating some formula in order to have that policy changed. (From our) point of view, Mr. Kennedy was the only man that at that point had the authority and enough courage in order to bring about the change in that policy. That was my opinion at that time.

STOKES: Do you remember the name of the journalist?

CASTRO: Jean Daniel, a french journalist very well known enjoys prestige. He (had) met with Kennedy for some time, and he was well impressed with Kennedy and he was precisely letting us know (about) the whole interview with Kennedy, and the things that he had talked about with Kennedy regarding Cuba. It was assumed that I had to tell him something so that he would go back and convey it to Kennedy. But, before we had just finished with our conversation, the news arrived of the attempt against Kennedy's life. Actually, we were very much concerned and immediately we suspected that an effort could be made in order to try to link us...to link that death attempt with the Cuban problems. Because immediately, you know, it seemed to (us that) also within that atmosphere of a cold war, some people could try to have us linked with Kennedy's death to the point that we were very concerned and we thought about the measures that we could take in the face of a danger of that sort.

STOKES: Mr. President, I think perhaps in that respect that it might be good for you to tell us what your reaction and that of the Cuban people was to the assassination of President Kennedy.

CASTRO: I have no objection in telling you my reaction. It was a natural and logical reaction. Actually, I felt sad about it. I received that news with bitterness. Reasons? First, I think an event of that nature always produces that reaction even when it is a political adversary. It's kind of a repulsion, a rejection. In the second place, I think I have said before that Kennedy was an adversary that we had sort of become used to. I mean that political, a strong political struggle existed. But, he was a known adversary. He was somebody we knew. We had (undergone) the Bay of Pigs, we had had the missile crisis so many things had happened. And, at least he was an adversary we knew about. And all of a sudden, you have the impression that something is missing...that something is missing. (Thirdly,) on the basis of very deep political feelings, I think the first thing I learned from Marxism was the idea that situations, societies and social processes do not depend on men, but rather that there is a system; and the system cannot be changed by changing the men even on the basis of an old controversy. For the very past century among revolutinaries, between these who thought that the Czar should be eliminated or that the emperor had to be eliminated because they were the chiefs. That was the theory of dictatorships. Marxists always have been opposed to the idea of killing or having a person killed. That was a very much debated topic among the Marxist (elements). That is one of the first things the Marxists learned; and that it doesn't make sense to kill the political leaders...to such an extent that in our own experience here (in Cuba) it never came to our minds the idea that Batista's regime could be eliminated by eliminating the person. We attacked a regiment with 120 men...over 120 men...one of the strongest regiments of the country...in order to take hold of the weapons and to start a struggle against Batista. And, it never came to our minds the idea of killing Batista. If we had wanted to eliminate Batista, we would have been able to. Later 82 men came back to the country from Mexico in a boat that was barely 60 feet long. We traveled 1500 kilometers. We started a war in Sierra Maestra and it never came to our minds the idea of eliminating Batista physically. (Some) people thought that killing Batista would change the system.

And finally, maybe one of the things that I regretted the most was that I was convinced that Kennedy was starting to change, himself. And, I was going by the (impression) that I was here talking to that man who was bringing a message from him. Actually, I was sad. I was very badly depressed. The impression I got was very bad. I was very sad about it. He was an adversary; a man with his personal characteristics..being intelligent..you may always have the adversaries, but you have an assessment of them as a person, as an intellectual, as political leaders. To a certain extent we were honored in having such a rival. He was not mediocre. He was an outstanding man. And, that was my reaction.

STOKES: Mr. President, did it come to your attention shortly after that assassination that Lee Harvey Oswald, who was the accused assassin, had had contact with your Embassy in Mexico City?

CASTRO: Yes. In fact, it was after Kennedy's death that he caught my attention. Because here nobody receives news about anyone filing applications for a visa. These things are always solved through the Office of The Minister of Fieign Affairs. So it never is taken to the government. You know, it is not necessary. This is normal routine work. None of us has anything to do with visas. Some officials knew about it when somebody in particular filed an application there. But tens – or maybe hundreds of thousands of people file applications. But when Kennedy was assassinated and Oswald's actions were published in the newspapers, the officials who had handled visa applications realized that this Oswald could be the same Oswald who had gone to the Consulate in order to apply for a visa. That is why we had news about it, you know? After Kennedy's death we learned that a man by the name of Oswald had gone to the Consulate and filled out an application for the visa - that he had been told that we did not normally give an intransit visa until the country of destination granted one. And, then we were told that a person had gotten very upset and had protested in an irate manner because he could not receive a visa. This was the news I had, more or less. The rest you know.

STOKES: We were wondering your...

CASTRO: There is something I would like to add in that connection. You see, it was always very much suspicious to me that a person who later appeared to be involved in Kennedy's death would have requested a visa from Cuba. Because, I said to myself – what would have happened had by any chance that man come to Cuba - visited Cuba – gone back to the States and then appeared involved in Kennedy's death? That would have really been a provocation – a gigantic provocation. Well, that man did not come to Cuba simply because that was the norm we rejected visa applications ... like that. In those days the mechanism was very rigid because, of course, we had suspicions of anyone who tried to come to Cuba. People in charge of granting visas asked themselves: Why does (this applicant) want to come to Cuba? What kind of counter-revolutionary activity could he carry out in Cuba? Maybe the people thought that the person was a CIA or FBI agent, you know, so it was very difficult for a North American, just from his own wishes, to come to Cuba because systematically we denied the visas. So, I think that there could always be an exception, but in those times it was very, very difficult to have anyone from the United States come into Cuba because there was a tremendous suspicion and because in general permits to (travel to Cuba) were denied. No, if it was a transit visa going toward another country - let's say had the Soviet Union granted the visa, you may be sure that our consul would have granted the transit visa because the person would not be coming to Cuba only, but would be going to another country. The person would have to come (here) and if the Soviets would have granted the visa, then that would have accredited the person..like, you know, the person would have been given a transit visa because I feel that if the Soviets had granted the visa, then he would have come here. (In that era) it was not so crazy (that he tried) to come to Cuba because if he had obtained the visa from another country, it would have been for certain that our Consul would have granted him the visa to stop here. Now, can you imagine if that person had been to Cuba in October and then in November the President of the United States would have been killed? That is why it has always been something a very obscure thing something suspicious because I interpreted it as a deliberate attempt to link Cuba with Kennedy's death. That is one of the things that seemed to me very strange. (The facts of the events) seemed very strange also. As it was published, Oswald would have shot several times at a car that was moving with a telescopic (rifle). (I remember) when he trained in Mexico in order to come to Cuba to make revolution we had several guns like that and it could be that we learned almost everything that could be learned about telescopic pistols, even the differences between different pistols; a normal pistol with a trigger, an automatic pistol and a telescopic (rifle). It is much more practical if you use a normal sight...when you try to focus a moving target and you (do it) more accurately..with that kind than with a telescopic sight. A telescopic sight view gun should be used against a fixed target not a moving one It is very difficult. And, I tell you it seemed very strange that he used that weapon and that those shots could have been made with that kind of weapon. Because, when you shoot the first charge you have to take the weapon away from your face to (focus) it again, to try to find the object again..the target..and you lose time it is quite difficult. I don't know whether later things were technical proof - technical tests were made to see whether - just a normal shooter at that distance and at that speed of the car could have (accurately made such shots). That was something else that was very suspicious to me. But, as far as we are concerned, what was most strange was Oswald's attempt to visit Cuba.

STOKES: Realizing, Mr. President, the enormity of the appearance of Oswald at your Embassy and realizing the significance that it had relative to the assassination itself, was it important enough that you summon individuals who would have knowledge about his appearance to talk with you or to submit written reports relative to this matter?

CASTRO: I think what happened was the following: Nobody knew that. The comrades who had news of that, after the events took place, they reported it, I think, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. So, the only thing we did was when the Warren Commission was created and it requested information bout this, it was agreed to send all the information we had at that time...I recall that we were consulted with something about the visa application and we were willing to offer all the information they wanted. Now it was assumed that they were conducting the investigation. If they had wanted some additional action on our part (material from us), they should have (requested) it. But, they did not request any other (information) since...as far as I have understood...here we spoke with the people (our people) who had been in Mexico and our people went into the details of what really happened. And, that was very well clarified. Beyond this, there was not much more that we could do. You can imagine there was not much that we could contribute. As far as I have understood, the Mexican lady who used to work at the Consulate was later the object of many pressures even some kind of persecution.

Villa: She was arrested by the Mexican police with the purpose of finding out what he had said at the Consulate.

CASTRO: All that they said it was assumed that they wanted her to say that also while at the Embassy he had made reference to killing Kennedy. So the Mexican police had the purpose of having the Mexican declare that.

Villa: Exactly.

CASTRO: And, who were the people interested in that? Who could be the people interested in that?
Villa: To us that is very clear.

CASTRO: But, that is something worth to be taken into account. Why would that lady become the object of that oppression? What do you know about this lady now?

Villa: She lives in Mexico at present. She used to work in the Consulate and she was sympathetic of the Cuban revolution.

CASTRO: She, of course, has a very high meritand that after that, knowing how these things are, a person that did not enjoy the diplomatic immunity could have been coerced. She could have been blackmailed and she could have been submitted by fear, you know, in order to have her make a statement that would be against Cuba harmful to Cuba. So, it was a tremendous merit that this Mexican lady did behave the way she did because you know how the people are in some countries of the world. They take a helpless woman without any kind of protection and then she can be forced to say anything. One question I would like to raise with you because we are speaking about that topic about which we are very pleased to give you all the opinions and all the cooperation that you might request that is in our hands. Now, do you think you are going to be able to bring out something really clear on the whole work you're doing? Do you think you are going to be able to reach a clear conclusion?

STOKES: Mr. President, that is the precise reason why we are here in your country. One of the things we said to your top officials Friday morning at our first session was that we came to your country without any preconceived ideas or notions or conclusions of any type. We have tried to pursue the entire investigation in a fair and objective manner, searching only for the truth. The assassination of President Kennedy was a traumatic experience for the American people. And in addition to the trauma which was incurred by them, we found that a Gallup Poll in January of 1977 revealed that 81% of the American people believe that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald participated in the assassination of President Kennedy. Only 19% believe that he was a lone assassin. Consequently, the mandate given this Committee by the House of Representatives was for us to investigate all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. Precisely, it is our job to ascertain who killed the President. Did such a person have help either before or after that assassination? And then to ascertain in that respect whether there was or was not a conspiracy to kill the President. Additionally, we are charged with the responsibility to ascertain the performance with the responsibility to ascertain the performance of our own agencies in the United States; that is, the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, all of the American agencies that participated in some way in the investigation conducted by the Warren Commission. And then lastly, our mandate is to make recommendations to the United Stated congress based upon our findings as a result of the total investigation. So we have approached the investigation in that way hoping that we will be able to ascertain the truth of these facts and then be able to put to bed the theories, the rumors, the speculation that presently exists around the assassination of President Kennedy.

CASTRO: Have you had a broad access to all the pollible sources of information?

STOKES: Yes, we have. If you have reference to our own agencies and our own files, the answer is yes, we have.

CASTRO: Are you optimistic about the fact that you'll be able to reach a sound conclusion on this problem? Are you optimistic about it?

STOKES: We are optimistic that even though the job is an awesome responsibility for the eleven men and one woman who are members of this committee, along with the staff of 115 people, all of whom we feel are dedicated to this task, our final report will be one that will be a highly professional and competent job.

CASTRO: Any other question that you would like to raise I would be pleased to answer.

STOKES: Could we for a moment, Mr. President, go back to the moment you learned about Lee Harvey Oswald having been at your Embassy in Mexico City? Do you recall a speech that you made on the 23rd of November?

CASTRO: This is on the twenty...the speech on the 23rd. Did we have the data at that time that Oswald had been at the Embassy?

Villa: No. No.

CASTRO: So very likely we did not have it. I think I learned about that some days later and not immediately.
Villa: You mentioned that in the speech on November the 27th.

STOKES: 27th - all right. Then my question would be firstly in two parts. One, if he remembered the speech he made on November 27th, and then secondly....

CASTRO: But, you should not confuse the man with the system.

STOKES: Yes, right, right. That's what you told us earlier, right.

CASTRO;That would be a negative fact for the interest of humanity. These ideas I've always had about this.

STOKES: And with reference to the second part of my question regarding the matters which occurred at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City which you referred to in the November 27th speech. Do you recall from whom you learned what had transpired at your Embassy?

CASTRO: I cannot recall. It should have been through foreign Relations or maybe the Minister of the Interior. Somebody reported to me. We were just reported to about the facts that a gentleman had appeared at the Embassy requesting a visa by the same name as the man accused of having assassinated Kennedy. I don't remember how it was told to the American authorities. I remember the Warren commission requested through the Swiss Interest Section all the information we had about it. And, immediately, we put at their disposal all the materials we had. Because of course, we were interested more than anyone else in those events being clarified. We were more interested than anyone. At the first moment we were somewhat, you know, uncertain about what was behind this whether there were some people that wanted to use that in order to promote an aggression against Cuba. We had many reasons to suspect that because tremendous things had happened in that sense. We thought that maybe some very reactionary element could have wanted to eliminate Kennedy and just on the way try to eliminate Cuba, you know. That's why we were observing the whole development of events. But, some days later it started to be clearly seen that it was not a campaign orchstrated against Cuba. But, I'm not - I have no doubt in the least that if they had had the least evidence to link Cuba, that would have been done. A tremendous campaign would have been made and a very dangerous situation would have been created for us. But, now you have to bear in mind, at least to the extent that we know, that the Warren Commission did not make any charge against Cuba, nor did it conduct any effort in that sense. We were under the impression though, that they were working objectively or that if they were able to discover something, they would handle it. They would expose it. But, we thought that the danger that we were concerned about in the very first moments were then no longer so bad. The fact that somebody went to the Embassy was what brought about the suspicion that somebody had tried to link Cuba. The other theory is that this individual decided himself just because of his initiative to visit Cuba – with what purpose? That nobody knows. You would have to have good doses of naivete to think that he was the one who planned the trip to Cuba that he planned the trip to the Soviet Union himself. Actually, all of that is very strange, you know, very rare that he tried to go to the Soviet Union; that he tried to go through Cuba no other place, but through Cuba; because to go to the Soviet Union you don't have to go to Cuba necessarily. And to this we could add the further event that this individual who could have been able to clarify all because who could have shed more light on this than he himself – Oswald – 24 or 48 hours later. How many hours after the event?

Villa: 28 hours.

CASTRO: He was killed 28 hours after the event. And the only explanation given by the assassin was a sentimental reason. As far as I recall from what I read at that time he said that he had seen Kennedy's widow crying and seen the whole drama. He decided to take revenge with his own hand. And later on it was known that he was not a kind of a sentimental man; I mean to say he's a psychotic character and in the very face of the policemen - killed the supposed author of Kennedy's death. Because, who could have verified that better? Why was this man killed? I do know that you have more information than I do much more information than I may have on Jack Ruby's personality..and, if Jack Ruby for a kind of strictly sentimental reason would have gone there to the very police station and in the face of the policemen killed the supposed author of Kennedy's death. All this seemed to us very strange. And that is why we have such importance to the effort he made in the Cuban Embassy. It was a kind of an attempt by somebody to have Cuba involved in the whole affair, in the whole issue. Another reasonable fact which I think deserves attention, a fact that deserves attention – and that is something that was known after wards when the Senate Committee conducted their investigations was that practically the same day that Kennedy was killed, a CIA agent was going to have an interview. I do not know whether he had planned that interview with an important agent (Cubela) in order to assassinate me. I felt that a poison was going to be given to that person who was supposed to kill me. So, that is another element which is very suspicious. The same day Kennedy is killed, well about those same days, I get an attempt, a very urgent attempt by an individual with a plan to assassinate me. The Senate (Intelligence Committee) did not give his name, but we know who he was. And, there is no doubt that if one person had the possibility to carry out that attempt, it was that person. Because, he was a man who came from the revolutionary ranks and he had very much good relations with us. So, I would say that among the very many attempts, plans, plots, collaboratins of the CIA, this was one that had many possibilities of success because that individual had access to us. And that visit practically coincided that's a very suspicious coincidence with the Kennedy assassination – very..We did not learn this until the Senate Committee investigation was conducted. Now, in connection with this Embassy, what were you interested in in connection with the Embassy and the visit?

STOKES: Let me ask you this question, Mr. President. One of the persons that we have talked with since we have been here in Havana has been your former Consul, Mr. Azcue, who was produced at our request by your officials here. He told us that with reference to the man who appeared at your Embassy and who filled out an application for an intransit visa, that the photograph which appears on the visa application is the photograph of the man who died in the United States as Lee Harvey Oswald, but, that this man was not the individual who had appeared at your Embassy in Mexico City. And, my question would be in two parts; One, have you had an opportunity to talk with Mr. Azcue? And secondly, from all the information available to you, would this be your opinion also that the man who appeared at the Embassy was an imposter?

CASTRO: Actually, I don't have an opinion about that. I wouldn't be able to say whether I've met Azcue once. I don't remember now. I have no recollection at present of having met Azcue. Because I had been given the information about all that, I myself did not know whether he was in Mexico or here. It is very likely that I have seen him some time; however, I don't recall having met Azcue those days. Secondly, about the idea of an imposter, I have no special theory on that. As far as I have understood, Azcue has an idea on that. I've heard those comments before comments about the possibility of a difference, that he noticed the difference between the person who appeared requesting the visa and the person known as Oswald. But, I don't have a theory on that. It is likely that there could be two different people. But, now I am thinking if the person had obtained the visa, would he have visited Cuba? That is a hypothesis. What did he want the visa for? from my point of view, the individual could have come to Cuba and compromised us. He would have us compromised. It seems to me that to apply for the visa had the purpose of having the individual come to Cuba. Now, we would have to enter into many conjectures to reach a conclusion on that. Because where did he get the passports? Where did he find the passports that he was taking there? Where was Oswald's passport? what became of Oswald's passports? Those papers should be somewhere. I don't know what could have been the sense of sending another man, but I wouldn't dare deny that possibility. Actually, we would have to know what would have been the purpose. Why would another person have been sent? I don't know whether you would have a theory about that. Personally, I don't have a theory.

Villa: About the possibility of an imposter, in public sources we have read that the possibility exists that there could be a double that carried out some actions that the real Oswald did not on some occasions in 1963.

CASTRO: There is something that I can guarantee. The Cuban government believes that Azcue is a serious and honest man; and that he has never said something differently from what he said the first time. He has more or less kept his story as far as I know. I mean, he is a person you can trust. He is a trustful man. That is all I can say about Azcue. But, I may say that if many people have elaborated theories, I am not among them. I have not operated on a theory like that. I just see many strange things that are not logical. It started with the very attempt of the person to come to Cuba; the calibre of weapon used, the absolutely abnormal way in which those people behaved. I mean there have always been many strange things that made me (suspicious) about other people. I tell you, I read the book. I read that book "The Death of the President" written by Manchester. Manchester had the theory that this man acted alone and he argues a lot. He makes a kind of psychoanalytical (study) of Oswald and he defends the (lone assassin theroy). Many people have a different theory. So, I have not been able to elaborate I wouldn't dare elaborate a theory for with me, everything would be speculation. On our account and because of our interest, some time ago we started gathering elements in order to have a better founded idea, you know. And, that is why our people started to gather materials and information. A group of comrades has been working in this direction. But, I am very much aware that we don't have access to (sources: of information which are fundamental. We have no access to the CIA archives or the FBI archives. We don't have access to the Warren Commission's files. How could we do something really well founded? When the Cuban government saw the senate Committee Report, it was something real and it was that that individual who was the man to be given the weapon to kill me in Paris. This man never spoke about that. He was tried and was sentenced on account of the attempts, the plots against our lives. Those plans (had been continuous) and he sent weapons to Cuba until he was discovered. He confessed and told us the truth, but he never spoke about that interview in which he was going to be given the weapon to kill me and that was published by the Senate Committee. He never made reference to that. That person is alive because I had to request some leniency. I mean, because his crime was very serious. It was a tremendous betrayal. It was treason, and at that time to participate in such an action was very severely sanctioned. And, following a tradition with individuals that had participated in the revolution, whenever it has been possible to prevent drastic measures, we have done so. This gentleman had been a revolutionary leader. He had been a good revolutionary fighter, and the public opinion was very irritated about it. His crime was really very serious. I wrote a letter to the Cuban Tribunal morally condemning him (but asking for leniency). I did it for the public opinion...That is Cubela's case. We learned that later when the Senate committee report appeared. But, all these elements made us think about the advisability or organizing some investigation on our account. We had hoped that being in contact with your Committee could give us some elements of judgment for our own information. But, as far a I know, you don't contribute many elements of judgment because as I have been told you cannot make use of most of the information you possess. I have been told that one of our hopes was to receive some information. We are giving as much information as we have and we are receiving nothing.

STOKES: One thing I would like to say and I think you ought to know is that many Americans are ashamed of the CIA and the degrading attempts that they've made on your life. And, that's something that disturbs many, many decent Americans and I think you ought to know that. Mr. President, with your permission I'd like to defer to my other colleagues, if they have any questions, if that is agreeable to you.

CASTRO: Yes, please.

STOKES: Mr. Preyer?

Preyer: Mr. President, you mentioned that you believe that you could transfer power of chains of government without killing the head of the government. That is the tradition of our country also. I speak personally and not forour government, but I join Chairman STOKES in saying that when I read about AMLASH, Cubela and the church Committee reports I was shocked and outraged. I am confident that is the overwhelming reaction of the American people. I am convinced that the President did not know about that; the head of the CIA, John McCone, did not know of that; or our other high officials; and that this was an aberration of small group and that it would have shocked our high officials just as it shocks me if they had known of it. The fact that the Church Report on AMLASH came from the Agency from the government itself rather than being leaked through a newspaper story or something of that sort.

Interpreter: Excuse me, I didn't get that last part. I am sorry.

Preyer: Well, the fact that the information on AMLASH and Cubela was revealed by our government agencies themselves and was now brought out against their will through a leak or newspaper story, I think, indicates the strong feeling in our government that this kind of thing must never happen again. And, we have set up now a House Intelligence Committee and a Senate Intelligence Committee, both new, to insure that it does not.
On the question of our not giving information, but receiving it, let me say we have a common interest in arriving at a final answer, a clear answer, to the question of the assassination of President Kennedy. We are seeking your help in that and your officials have indicated to us they are willing to continue working to help on that. Our Committee goes out of existence at the end of this year. When we file our final report, there will be a great deal of information in it.

CASTRO: Is it going to be public?

Preyer: It will be public which will be of interest to you. Until that time, because of our different jurisdictional problems, there is some evidence which does not belong to us which we cannot release. But in the final analysis, the full report will make available much information of interest to you and may answer many of the rumors. In the meantime, one reason we press so hard for information is that this is the last opportunity that will probably be made in our country to reach a final answer. The last chance where an official body of Congress an official governmental body will make a judgment on this question. That is why we hope that any information that bears on this subject that may come up in the next few months and any effort that could be made, even strenuous effort, would be justified because this opportunity may not come again. And I hope very much that we will be able to give clear answers to the questions. Your help will assist very much.

CASTRO: I think you are right in what you are saying. When I spoke about the hope of obtaining some information, it was not but a hope. It is absolutely our curiosity, you know. But, it is absolutely evident that we have the duty of handling over all the information we may gather. We are very much interested in having Kennedy's assassination clarified because in one way or the other attempts have been made to try to have Cuba involved in it. We have our conscience clear. There is nothing so important as having your conscience clean absolutely clean. That's why it is not a matter of conscience, but rather a matter of political, historical interest to have all these problems clarified. It is also true that the fact that the United States has conducted an investigation on the (attempts on our people) and the fact that (it) has been made public is a very correct thing to do very right. Of course, I (hear) that in that publication many names were not disclosed on reasons of safety. When we conduct an investigation, in general, we publish everything because..anyway..but I would have liked for the Senate report to have been more complets. It should have not protected so many people in the interest of the national security because that, you know, diminishes its moral value. It diminishes the moral value of the publication. However, I coincide with you that the fact that the investigation had been conducted and that all those materials were released is something highly positive. Now, you see, I was recalling Bill Moyers' report. Bill Moyers made a very important report of all these attempts all these logs on terrorist groups. Now, then, there is one point in which an intimation is made that Kennedy's death could have been a result of all these attempts against our lives. It is to say to a certain extent Moyers' report which has many positive things can leave the doubt that Cuba could have had some participation in that because there is a Representative of Congress speaking I thing I spoke later, and at the end a senator spoke that said that he had no doubts about that topic. So, we are very much..we are highly interested in that party being satisfied. Because, even when the Senate Intelligence Report was released, in some people the idea could have become stronger that Kennedy's death could have been our revenge for all that had been planned against us. If Cuba had something to do with Kennedy's death, it would have been indirectly because many people were trained in hanling weapons and many things that were not normal were done, and under the shade of these irregularities, terrorism (arises and) develops, so (that) all these acts become the (norm). It was precisely in that sense that I said that it was a nefarious precedent. Can you imagine that in the (entire) world I was one of the naive people who thought that these things could not happen. Not in the Middle Ages, but now in this era in which the whole apparatus of the government can remain very quiet and promote the killing of leaders of other countries? What is to happen to the world in the nuclear era if that becomes a practice? Now we are lucky that all those plans were a failure. We have not had to (regret the) death of any comrade leader of the revolution. Our attitude is not given that of hatred or resentment. On very rare occasions do we talk to visitors about these problems. That belongs in the past. It happened a long time ago and still the prints existstill the poor things exist. You have to see he terrorist attack against a Cuban plane in flight a plane that exploded. Before that plane fell down, all the people got burned alive. Seventy-four people died. Who perpetrated that crime but people who ere trained by the CIA? We suspect that some CIA agent had to do with that terrorist act. It's very strange, because that happened after Angola. The United States had adopted a very violent attitude towards us and Nixon made forceful statements against us. One of the individuals who was recently arrested in Miami because he was involved in the preparation of terrorist activities was just declared non-guilty in a trial and he defended himself by saying simply that he had been in the White House. He said who he had spoken with and who gave him the weapons, and precisely those facts, those events, took place a week before the attempt before the sabotage on the cuban plane in flight. And, he is just defending himself by saying that in the trial. He is one of the persons that was in the group who perpetrated the sabotage. Now, I am going to tell you something. I think that now Carter is - I don't know what Party you belong to - and it is not interesting to the part of what I'm going ot say, if I hurt someone's sensitivity I apologize for that, but I would have not trused Johnson. I may say sincerely, I sincerely believe that Johnson would have followed that line, of the attempts against people's lives, terrorism, subversion. I have no doubt that Nixon was a man without scruples. I was always under a bad impression. I was convinced of that. But now, I see that this President of the United States would not be capable of resorting to that kind of action. There are two things in this connection: One, I think there is an attitude in the public opinion as to that Watergate affair, and the Senate investigations have contributed to create a sort of consciousness. I also think that the politicians have taken that into account, and I think also that personally Carter is a man of a differently mentality. If I am asked whether I think Carter would be capable of plainning these kinds of actions, I would say no. I would say I don't think him capable of doing such a thing. I am quite convinced. In that sense, we feel more relaxed. We had to defend ourselves from these actions for many years. You should not think that I like to be surrounded by people. I think you have to be alone. I would like to have a normal life. We have taken many measures in all these years preventing attempts with different kinds of explosives and weapons, attempts with poison, and actually we are not saying all. I will tell you something. I would even say that I underestimated the CIA somewhat because I thought them capable of many things, but when I read the Senate Committee Report, I confess that I had not thought so much. because, all that from bacterias, viruses, poisons, a shell with explosives, I don't know how many tremendous things. But it was not only that. I want you to know that if we would have been careless, they would have brought a microphone and put it over there in one of the ashtrays and one mike over there in that seat and everything. There were not only subversive activities, but also espionage. There were many activities related to espionage. I remember that around the day in which the sabotage against our plane took place, the CIA asked in a question, to one of their agents here, whether I was going to travel to Africa, whether he could find out what place I was going to visit, what means of transportation I was going to use, I mean, a whole set of investigation which was not political, but rather that could be used for anything else. Now, going back to this topic, one of the things I've gone into recently with some people, is why Cuba – it was realy something inconceivable – could have the idea of killing the President?

First, because that would have been a tremendous insanity. The Cuban Revolutionaries and the people who have made this Revolution have proven to be intrepid and to make decisions in the right moment. But, we have not proven to be insane people. The leaders of the Revolution ot not do crazy things and have always been extremely concerned to prevent any factor that could become a kind of an argument or a pretext for carrying out aggression against our country. We are a very small country. We have the United States 90 miles from our shore which is a very large, powerful country economically, technically, militarily. So, for many years we lived concerned that an invasion could take place. I mean, indirect and at the end a direct aggression. We were very close to that. Yet look at the conclusions we draw. If the elections of 1960 had not been won by Kennedy, but Nixon instead, during the bay of Pigs, the Unites States would have invaded Cuba. We mean that in the midst of the fight that Kennedy followed the lined that had been already traced. There is no doubt that we appreciate very highly the fact that Kennedy resisted every kind of pressure not to have the Marines land in our country. Because, there were many people who wanted the Marines to Land here. Nixon himself was in favor of that. Had Nixon been President during the Bay of Pigs invasion, a landing by the military army of the United States would have taken place. We are absolutely convinced of that.

However, Kennedy resisted all the pressures and he did not do that. What would that have meant for us? The destruction of the country? Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of deaths? Because, undoubtedly the people would fight. The people I am absolutely sure about. An invasion of Cuba by the United States would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, maybe millions of lives. We were aware of that. We have an American military base in our territory, by force. And, it is not assumed that anyone is going to have a military base on someone else's territory, if it is not on the basis of an agreement. However, the United States has military bases in many places of the world, but here, it is by force. From that base, many provocations have been carried out against Cuba. There were people wounded..there were people killed. What did we do? We brought our gruard away from the lines, from the fence. We never shot at them. Why? Because we made every possible effort so that an incident of that kind would not become a pretext to be attacked. So, we have followed the policy. We had an American boat just three miles away from us for years, a warship full of electronic communications equipment and never a hostile action was carried against that warship. So, there are many events that have proven how careful Cuba has always been to prevent the perpetration of an invasion. We could have died heroically - no doubt about it. Now, that would have been a victory for our people. They're willing to be sacrificed and to die. Yet, it would have been just another page in history..nothing else. So, we have always been very much aware to not give the United States the pretext..the possibility.. for (an invasion.) What was the cause of the missile crisis? The need we had to seek protection in case of an (invasion) from the United States. We agreed on the installation of the (strategic) missiles, because undoubtedly that diminished the danger of direct aggression. That became a danger of another kind, a kind of a global danger we became, but we were trying to protect our country at all times. Who here could have operated and planned something so delicate as the death of the United States President. That was insane. From the ideological point of view it was insane. And from the political point of view, it was a tremendous insanity. I am going to tell you here that nobody, nobody ever had the idea of such things. What would it do? We just tried to defend our folks here, within our territory. Anyone who subscribed to that idea would have been judged insane..absolutely sick. Never, in twenty years of revolution, I never heard anyone suggest nor even speculate about a measure of that sort, because who could think of the idea of organizing the death of the President of the United States. That would have been the most perfect pretext for the United States to invade our country which is what I have tried to prevent for all these years, in every possible sense. Since the United States is much more powerful than we are, what could we gain from a war with the United states? The United States would lose nothing. The destruction would have been here. The United States had U-2 air surveillancing for almost fifteen years. The planes flew over our territory every day. The women said that they could not go over their terrace naked for the U-2 would have taken a picture of them. That thing we could not allow to happen, you know, because it was demoralizing. So, there were, you know, those flights just very close to the soil. Those kind of flights was really demoralizing for our people. It was impossible to let them continue to do that, so we had to shoot at them. On the following day after the missile crisis, we had the need to shoot at those planes, because to have allowed that would have created a demoralization among our people. And, I say that if we allowed that, you wouldn't have been able even to play baseball here. Because those planes came just twenty meters from here, so it was really demoralizing. See, the U-2 came very high, you know, and I tell you, Cuba has been characterized by following a firm policy, a policy of principles. Our position was known after the missile crisis. We were not in a position to make any concessions. That is a known position, but Cuba, the leaders of the Cuban Revolution, have never made that kind of insanity, and that I may asssure you. And the biggest kind of insanity that could have gone through anyone's mind here would have been that of thinking of killing the President of the United States. Nobody would have thought of that. In spite of all the things, in spite of all the attempts, in spite of all the irritation that brought about an attitude of firmness, a willingness to fight, that was translated by our people into a spirit of heroism, but it never became a source of insanity. I'll give you practical reasons. Apart from our ideology, I want to tell you that the death of the leader does not change the system. It has never done that. And, the best example we have is Batista. Batista murdered thousands of our comrades. If there was anyone in which that kind of revenge was justified, it was Batista. However, our movement did very difficult things, but it never that the idea of physically eliminating Batista. Other revolutionary groups did, but never our movement. We had a war for twenty-five months against Batista's army and spent seven years under Batista's dictatorship with thousands dying. But, it never came to our minds..we could have done it, very well, but we never thought about that, because it was different from our feelings. That is our position. That is why we are interested. That is why we are interested. That is why I was asking you whether you are really hopeful to give serious conclusions on this. On our part, if there is something we could give you, we would, without any kind of precondition. The information we have offered you is not conditioned to anything. Inspite of the fact that the problem is thorny, that doesn't stop this Committee here from giving the impression that we are being judged here, that we are being tried.

STOKES: We certainly don't want in any way to convey that, in fact, uh,...

CASTRO: No, no, no. I mean not you. I am not thinking of you. I mean that some people could see it that way; that Cuba has been investigated by the Committee.

STOKES: Well, Mr. President, one thing we have done in that respect, we even said to your Cuban Interest Section in Washington when we first began that we wanted to come down here and do this part of the investigation very quietly without any fanfare, without any publicity, and this is the overall way we have tried to conduct our whole investigation.. everything is being done quietly in executive session until such time that we compile all he data so that we don't in any way declaim or degrade anyone. Then, hopefully, at the end we can come out with a report that everyone will respect.

CASTRO: There is something which is not secret. If I may ask you, is there anything true, or how much could be true about those publications which state that many people who could have had a part in Kennedy's death have died in accidents and things like that?

STOKES: This is one of the difficulties of attempting to conduct an investigation thirteen years after the event has occurred. Obviously, there are people who in the normal course of the investigation we would have wanted to talk with, we cannot talk with because they are now deceased. This is one of the difficulties that we face. I yield to Congressman Dodd.

Dodd: Mr. President, I won't take much time. I think most of the questions have been asked. I wish we had...

CASTRO: I have time. Please don't mind about my time. I made no other commitment today, so I would have time. Nobody is waiting for me.

Dodd: I wish we had an evening just to talk about the Peace Corps, but we will save that for another time. A tape is played?

There are a couple of things here. The question you asked of Chairman STOKES – the one regarding the optimism we have over reaching a final conclusion in regard to this effort is one that I think we all ask ourselves almost every day. It is the question that is very important in the minds of many, many people, not only in government, but also of course, the American people are concerned about our efforts. I said today in one of our meetings that I strongly suspected that your grandchildren and my grandchildren will be reading books about the assassination, just as we read them today about the assassination, just as we read them today about the assassination of Lincoln, another historical figure that had been assassinated, and where the suspicion of conspiracy has existed. I think we would be fooling ourselves if we tried to suggest that at the conclusion of our hearings we were going to end once and for all, all of the speculation for all time. I don't think that is possible.
But, what we are going to try and do, and I think that what we have done successfully over the past year and a half, is to approach this case with an open mind and not prejudge the case. And, the temptations are great to do that. For every day we almost see a new theory. But, we are determined to proceed through this process listening to all sides and then using that evidence that we are able to collect, to reach as definitely as we can, regarding those points that have been nagging at the consciences and minds of the people all across the earth.

Two other points: One is that we intend not only to publish our hearings and the conclusion that we reach. We also intend to use every available means of communication in the United States, hopefully television, radio, to conduct open public hearings, not only showing our conclusions, but how we arrived at those conclusion. We suspect that many, many people do not want to read a boring report, but would rather be better informed by radio and television and newspapers. We intend to hide nothing, to release all information without any fear whatsoever as to where that information leads or what our conclusions would be. I think, I know I can speak for myself, and I'm sure I can speak for everyone else on this Committee. I wouldn't serve on this committee if I didn't think in the end that I could say to my constituents that I had done an honest and thorough job and that I wasn't hiding anything from them. And, my last point is, Mr. President, that had some of your government officials not mentioned it today, we would have, but it was very encouraging to hear it come from them, that they would like to continue to keep the lines of communication open between themselves, your government and our Committee. And, as that old Chinese proverb goes – a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And I think this is a good beginning and I want to just say here and now that I have been deeply impressed by your statements. I find your logic compelling and I gurantee you that we will do the very best job we can, including the final report.

CASTRO: How many legislators do your have on this committee?

STOKES: There are twelve in all, one lady and eleven men.

CASTRO: Don't you all have to be involved in elections at the end of this year now?

STOKES: Uh huh. Yes, we do.

CASTRO: And how would you be able, how would you manage to carry out all this work, and take care of the election campagins at the same time? How would you?

Dodd: He doesn't have any trouble at all. (About another Congressman.) (Laughter)

CASTRO: And you work personally in the campaigns, don't you? I mean, with all this? The twelve, I mean the twelve people on the Committee work together, perticipate in all hearings and all the interviews and all that?

STOKES: The committee...I have been in Congress ten years, Mr. President, and I serve on several other committees in the House. And, I know in general they are hard working committees. but, I have never seen twelve people who have worked together the way this committee has. We work extremely long hours, we have worked into the night when the occasion necessitated it. We have worked Saturdays and Sundays when it was necessary and remained in Washington to work on Committee matters. We just have twelve people who are dedicated to the fact that this is an opportunity to do something of historic nature and they are dedicated to devoting the time that it requires. In addition to the twelve Members of Congress, we have a staff of 115 people. The staff is headed up by Professor Blakey. You might be interested in knowing that we spent three months searching for a director of the staff. And, we were extremely concerned that we get a person of the highest professional ability, along with integrity that cannot be compromised in any respect, and one who would direct the staff in a way that we would let the chips fall where they may in the final analysis. And to that degree, I am sure...

CASTRO: Now he as to continue working while you run the reelection campaign.
(Laughter)

STOKES: But, when we go home he has to keep on working right here.

CASTRO: You would have to go to meet your constituents and then..that would be the most important moment of all these efforts, you know? The moments to draw the conclusions...Would it be possible for you to finish up the report when due? Don't you need more time?

STOKES: We promised the House of Representatives (laughter) that there would be no further requests for time. I am not worried about time; it is the money part. The House is appropriating about five million dollars over the two-year period forus to complete this investigation...and

CASTRO;And only 115 people?

STOKES: Well, Mr. Barber of Maryland who watches the purse strings of the House says it involves a lot of money. We have had to face that kind of opposition on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Blakey: Mr. President, I have no questions to ask of you, but less we as guests only asked questions and did not respond to any of yours, let me answer at least in part that question you asked.

You expressed some interest in what we call the mysterious death projects. The literature about the Kennedy assassination is filled with instances of people who have in some way been connected to the assassination and have themselves died under mysterious circumstances. We are looking into those deaths and seeing whether there are sinister explanations for them. Let me comment on one of them: Now, this is not from our investigation, but from my own information, and he may be a man of some interest ot you. Let me put it in context for you. I cannot comment on many of the facts in the investigation. As you put it, much of the information is limited by matters of national security. For example, in our country, it has never been officially acknowledged that AMLASH was Rolando Cubela and nothing that we say here today should be read as an indication on our part that that is true or not true. But to continue..Sam Giancana, who was a Mafia leader in Chicago, who according to the Senate Intelligence Report, directly plotted on your life, was a person who was under investigation by myself in the department of Justice and ironically on November 22nd, 1963, I was with the Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, in a meeting of the Organized Crime session and among the subjects taken up at that time was the Attorney General's personal interest in my work in seeking to prosecute Sam Giancana. I bring this to your attention for two reasons: First, to express to you the feeling of one who has spent a great deal of his life working to see to it that members of the Mafia in the united States consistent with due process receive justice. I know from personal knowledge that Robert Kennedy shared those concerns. He would never have been knowingly involved in using those people to plot an assassination of you. And, while I cannot speak of personal knowledge of the President of the United States, there was not difference between them. I say that to express my sense of shame and outrage that members, according to the Senate intelligence Report, of the CIA were involved in that. Those people who were in charge of our government at that level in my judgment had no knowledge. But to respond more particularly to your question, it is unlikely that Sam Giancana died because he testified before the Senate Intelligence committee. As I indicated to some of the members of your staff, Mr. Giancana was responsible for the death of hundreds of people in Chicago, and the remarkable thing is not that he died then, but that he had not been killed much earlier.

STOKES: The last gentleman here, Mr. President, is Gary Cornwell. Gary is the deputy Chief Counsel for the Kennedy Subcommittee and he would have direct responsibility in terms of the final work product related to the Kennedy investigation. I separate out the Kennedy assassination because as you know we are investigating also the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Two murder investigations are going at the same time.

CASTRO: The five million dollars is for both?

Blakey: You ought to also know, Mr. President, that this is the budget attributable to the Committee itself. In fact, the United States Senate, particularly the people who were responsible for the Church Committee investigation, have been helping this Committee. The Federal Bureau of Investigation ahs a relatively large staff devoted to getting their foles made available to us. We have actually received cooperation form the Central Intelligence Agency. Some members of the staff would say not as fast and as full as we might like, but the final report is not in. The police departments in Dallas and in Memphis have been helping us and if you consider the work that was done in 1963 and 1964, the actual available resources in the United States devoted to these investigations are considerable more than five million dollars.

CASTRO: May I suggest something? Why don't you investigate also Oswald's personality in one sense, whether Oswald was also a member of any intelligence agency in the United States?

Blakey: That is among the issues that we are looking into.

CASTRO: I think that is a very important thing. Because, for me, Oswald's personality – it's a mystery.. that first he was in the Army, the Navy,[Marines] and later he appears in the Soviet Union. He married a Soviet citizen. He came back to the States. I still get the impression that this individual's personality is that of a spy. It is the typical way you recruit a spy and send him to another country. This seems to me very important. I think it is very important to go very deeply into his past, to see if at any time it was possible to really know about his personality. That would be very important.

Blakey: Of all the questions I think we will answer, that I feel with a degree of certainty, we will. I should also add, Mr. President, that if you consider the resources that your staff has also devoted to this organization and the time and effort they have put into it, the five million dollars grows even more.(laughter)

CASTRO: Sure, they have been working. But as you know, our contribution is very modest because I think that the fundamental things for the investigation could be conducted only in the United States. And, what we can do is very little, very little. But from the first moment we made the decision to make available anyone you wanted to talk with. I think that your task is a hard one. Hard, because your prestige is at stake with the investigation. You face a task of tremendous responsibility and in that sense I think avery hard job has been assigned to you.

STOKES: We share your feelings on that, Mr. President.

Blakey: Their job is harder. They are politicians. They must run for reelection. I can always go back and teach.

CASTRO: Will the report be many volumes?
(Laughter)
How big is the Warren Committee Report? When will the Warren Committee Report be published?

Blakey;The Warren Commission has already been published.

CASTRO: Warren Commission?

Blakey: Commission. Yes.

CASTRO: Warren Commission, what was it?

Villa: It was twenty-six volumes. We had two copies of the summary, but we have not seen the twenty-six volumes.

CASTRO: Have you read all that?

Villa: Yes, we have.

CASTRO: We have to say that the Warren Commission was objective. They did not try to commit Cuba. You were a Federal Judge. Then, are you the man with the most experience in this kind of business.

Preyer: Well, in the federal courts we didn't have to deal with anything as complex as this with so many remors and so many facets to it. Usually, we had a narrow question, so this is really a new experience for me.

CASTRO: They would give their lives to discover something decisive, you know?
(Laughter)
Is there anyone else you would like to meet?

Villa: Piniero. Piniero worked at the Ministry of Interior at that time. They are interested in speaking to Piniero because he met with Santo Trafficante in the early sixties and gave him 24 hours to leave the country, and also because he met with Ascue.

CASTRO: We did not even have a Ministry of Interior at that time. He worked as some kind of investigator, but at that time we did not have a Minister of Interior. I think it was for the Army. Some things we have now that w e did not have then. They were created, you know, in the course of the years. The first year everybody did whatever they wanted. There was chaos, you know. The state was not organized, so the people came in and out, absolutely free. There were not the controls that existed later, that were created later, especially in the first year of the revolution. I recall a social problem. All the casinos were closed and thousands of people were unemployed without a solution to the problem. So, we had to take back that measure to gain time to find an economic solution for the people who would remain unemployed when the casinos were closed. So, the state had to cover the salaries of all the people who worked there. And, I want to tell you something else: As you know, recently there was a television conference where efforts were being made in order to have the Cuban government involved in drug traffic, smuggling drugs. That is very curious, you know. I don't know why that theory is expounded now. It is a very recent invention. It happens that we are the one country in this hemisphere that has cooperated the most with the United States without any purpose, I mean, we have no intention of doing the United States a disfavor. but, anyway, on the basis of Cuba's belief with regard to drugs, very severe measures were implemented to prevent them. We have become the number one cooperators of the United States in this area. You don't know how many boats we have captured here that come along Cuban coasts carrying drugs. You don't know how many planes we have taken here carrying drugs and, of course, over the past twenty years the individuals who have been involved in drug traffic have always been sentenced, always. These were not people that could affect us. They were just going and coming from South America and Central America to the Untied States. And, they just happened to come here by chance. Dozens of people have been searched on account of drug traffic, on account of the international drug traffic laws. We have eliminated drug use in cuba and I myself wonder why it is we have to cooperate with the United States if when the embargo was imposed on our country we could have planted ten thousand acres of marijuana and become the largest supplier of marijuana to the United States in combination with all those people. We did not do that since we were blockaded and knowing that in the United States there is a market for marijuana even though the government in this country has fought the most against drugs. Besides in Cuba we don't have drug problems, but we had to even uproot the last plants of marijuana planted in the mountains. And actually, look at how we're being paid back now; they pay us back by trying to link us into the drug traffic. It's incredible, you know. We can say it like that; this is the government that has fought the most against drug traffic in this hemisphere. No discussion about it. And, we are lucky that we don't have that problem ourselves because unless the State imported cocaine and marijuana, that problem has almost disappeared.
(Laughter.)

Translator left; said she would be around.
Second translator arrives.

CASTRO: Well, we have almost finished.

Escartin: Who was the one who made that impeachment about the drug problem where Reprsetative Wolff participated?
He was the head of the Committee.

CASTRO: Why did he do that? Do you know the address, because I am going to write them a note.

(Laughter. )

CASTRO: And, I am going to ask a budget for stamps and paper. I'm going to sabotage the next election.

Escartin?Even though he made some political statements with a certain prestige, he is deceitful. It seems that there are some statements made by him on the basis of an investigation and that this man used them as he wished trying to attain certain political objectives of propaganda because you have explained our stand regarding that. And, there is something strange there: A Cuban Counter-Revolutionary was mentioned who made an operation with Columbia which seems to have serious drug problems...and they tried to link him with us. Afterwards, Hernandez-Cartaya who was a Counter-Revolutionary, particiated in the Bay of Pigs. He made some declaration saying that he was anti-CASTRO and that he had nothing to do with this.

CASTRO: Just two old friends down there defended me. The President of Columbia defended me also, so I have to thank some two persons who defended me.

Escartin: It is interesting that Hernandez-Caraya was retained there by the FBI. It seems that somebody is trying to solidify this story...that's the situation.

STOKES;Mr. President, before we continue, Gary Cornwell, I think, has a couple of questions to ask you.

Cornwell: Mr. President, there was a book published by Daniel Schorr called "Clearing the Air". If you haven't read the book, I would like to read one passage.

CASTRO: I haven't read that. You know about that book?

Villa: I haven't.

Cornwell: One passage reads as follows:

"An interview in July 1967 with a British journalist, Comer Clark..", do you have the translation of it there?

Villa: Yes.

CASTRO: Let me see it. Yes, I have it here. This is absurd.

Pause: (approximately one minute while President CASTRO reads it.)

CASTRO: This is absurd. I didn't say that.

Cornwell: Did the interview ever occur?

CASTRO: It has been invented from the beginning until the end. I didn't say that. How could I say that? It's a lie from (head to toe). If this man would have done something like that, it would have been our moral duty to inform the United States. You understand? Because if a man comes here, mentions that he wants to kill Kennedy, we are (being provoked), do you realize that? It would have been similar to a mad person. If somebody comes to us and said that, it would have been our moral responsibility to inform the United States. How could we accept a man from Mexico to Cuba who tells us that he is going to kill President Kennedy? If somebody is trying to create provocation or a trap, and uh...we would have denounced him..sure, a person coming here or even in one of our embassies saying that..and that never happened..in no part, as far as I know.

Villa: That refers to the interview you spoke about in the beginning.

CASTRO: But how could they interview me in a pizzeria? I never go to public restaurants and that man invented that. That was invented from the upper to the bottom because you asked me about the Brazilian Embassy and I have no obligation to that and never said it was true. That in the Brazilian Embassy I talked about this problem of the attempt. That was true. I could deny it, but I don't because it was strictly the truth. I didn't remember who the journalist was nor...but I have the idea that something like that was discussed and that there was a declaration at the Brasilian Embassy. I can't assure it because I don't remember it, but it probably occurred...Later on they tried to present it as a threat and I didn't do it with that intention. Of course, I didn't do it with that intention. But, not that other interview. I do not remember that. And, uh, it is a surprise for me to see because I couldn't have said that. You have to see who wrote it. And, what is the job of that journalist? What is he engaged in? And, what prestige has this journalist? Not the one that wrote that book, but the origin of that version. You should have to find who he is and why we wrote it, and with whom he is related....and which sense they have to attribute those words which are absolutely invented. I think it is possible that you would be able to find out who that journalist was. Do you have some news about that journalist in that newspaper?

Villa: He was in Cuba and tried to carry out an interview with you.

CASTRO: Let me tell you. Of every one hundred interviews that are requested of me I only grant one because if I were to give all the inteviews that I am requested to, you can be sure that I would not be able to have anything but twenty-four hours of my life to have interviews. I would not have enough time to do anything else. Barbara Walters waited three years for an interview..just almost three years. And even that of Moyers..I didn't want to have that Moyer interview. He started talking and the truth is that he was very insistent from the time he came down from the airplane and in spite of the fact that there was no commitment from me regarding the interview. There are a lot of interview requests and it is very difficult, but I would never have given a journalist an interview in a pizzeria.

Dodd: I don't even give interviews in a pizzeria.

Villa: Another element commander...That interview was published in a sensationalist or yellow press from the United States. It is a sensationalist newspaper.

CASTRO: Especially at that time, a lot of barbaric things were published. They are still being written. Yesterday I was reading an English paper, I don't remember its name, speaking about Angola, and saying that we in military operations against the blacks killed thousands of women and children and so forth. And, I also mentioned before the declaration of that Representative about the drug traffic. Previous to that incident they tried to implicate us in that. If there is somebody in this world that has accustomed himself to listen to the worst things without losing sleep, it is us. The campaigns that were carried out, directed campaigns that were carried out throughout the world – in western continents and also in the United States - against Cuba and all of us had no precedents. There are a lot of people that are badly informed about Cuba, and we have nothing to hide, nothing. They have spoken about tortures in Cuba, and that was a tradition from the war..during the Revolutionary War. We never put a finger on another person because we created an awareness in our people. We condemned torture and I can assure you that this is a principal that knows not a single exception in our country, because it would have the repulsion of all the world..Why are our policemen so efficient..especially the security policemen who protected all of us? Do you know why? Because, it was precisely a police which did not carry out torture. There are a lot of countries where they apply torture and they never discover anything. They never became policement in themselves. Now our people couldn't be able to receive any information by means of torture, and they develop intelligence, and the technique of investigation and of prevention. There is a time in which we had more than one hundred counter-revolutionary organizations and all of them were penetrated. We knew more than the counter-revolution armies when a person was arrested because there were some things that he didn't remember: who he met, which places and so forth. I'm going to tellyou, there was a time in which penetration of our people increased so much that in turn they became the heads of some of those counter-revolutionary organizations. The police wouldn't be able to develop a technique of investigation and they wouldn't have investigated anything if they just took one person and tried to destroy him. That tradition will never serve. A true police is one which is developed and that will seek intelligent ways of obtaining information. Batista's policement tortured and didn't discover anything. And, for us there is no problem. Security has a lot of advantages because all of the people are militants within the Revolution – country people, children, neighbors, students, peasants and the women. Everybody is organized and, that is why. Through the agents we know everything that is going on. Let me tell you something. One day a parrot was lost. In Havana, we told this to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution - about trying to find out where this parrot was, and they found the parrot. Some other time, a woman was at the hospital. She had a daughter. Her daughter was robbed from the hospital, so we had to find the girl. Everybody assumed that it was a mental case of somebody. Of course, that was not published in the newspapers. Why not? We did not want any panic. We called up all the CDRs and forty-eight hours later, the girl appeared. One person in one place had a child and they hadn't seen that she was pregnant. That woman was obsessed about having a child and she went to the hospital dressed up like a nurse and she took the girl. And, after forty-eight hours, they found her. There was something else: Here we never have a political kidnapping. Here we never have a terrorist activity. We find out earlier. There were some counter-revolutionaries. But, there is something. The greatest part of them went ot the United States, especially the wealthy people. The social base of the counter-revolution was transferred to the United States. The United States wanted to take from us the doctors and the professions – they got half of the doctors. Out of six thousand doctors, they got three thousand. But then that forced us to concentrate on a school of medicine. Now we have twelve thousand doctors – almost one thousand are abroad in different countries working. We have thirty-five hundred students at the Cuban Medicine School. By 1985 with the new facilities now in progress we will enroll some seven thousand students every year. We are going to train thirty-three thousand students at the University. Our doctors are distributed throughout the country, and before they were all located in the Captiol. So, if the United States wanted to take our professional personnel, they forced us to develop a new system. Fortunately, they didn't take only technical people, but also wealthy people, deliquents, pimps...
(Laughter).

and exploiters of vices such as drugs, gangsters and all that type of people. They went to the United States. They opened the doors because before the Revolution they had a limit. The United States couldn't receive more then ten thousand and there were a lot of people who wanted to go there trying to find some jobs or social programs. Then, when the Revolution triumphed, the United States opened its doors. Can they repeat that procedure with some other countries? No, they can't. What would happen if the United States opened the way for all those Mexicans who want to go to the United States trying to find jobs? What about all the Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians..? They opened the doors and they took the social ground work of the Counter Revolution. So, they left the houses. Those houses were turned into schools and dwelling houses for humble people. You understand? And all those who left here, they left these houses for humble people..and, in the country, the most humble people stayed. You understand? What resources they need to carry on the Revolution and what social ground work they need for making Counter Revolution, they don't have. That is why the country is defending itself. And that is why we were able to depend on intelligence, and not torture. Thousands of times, they have sid that in Cuba we torture. It is like that, but people of all nations know how things were and are in Cuba. We never had any persons disappear. It wasn't a new invention. We would never have that. We never found a dead man in the street. We were forced to legisate tough laws, but nobody was ever sanctioned except through the courts and through previous law. Since we were in the Sierra Maestra, we started making the first law. We said to the people..Well, the assassins and torturers are going to be punished. Nobody will take revenge in their own hands. That was a promise we made to the people. The torturers were punished and also the criminals, who generally are not punished. You can see now that things are going on in Chile and in some other countries. They are doing unbelievable things. Sometimes I have heard some stories about things going on there, and they are unbelievable. That is why we are not in agreement with their thinking. We have been accused of denying a man his human rights; that is to say that things are worse here then in Chile, Brazil and so forth. Who are they going to tell that story in this case? But, in spite of it all, we have survived. And the campaigns did not manage to destroy us.

REST OF INTERVIEW CONSISTS OF PERSONAL REMARKS

Find Us On ...

Sitemap

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.