by Bill Bantey
Source: Montreal, The Gazette, Monday, April 27, 1959
Photo credit: (Gazette Photo Service)
Caption: Said Castro: “That’s an old question.”
Fidel Castro pointed an accusing finger at the light on a television camera and said:
“Is that camera Communist because it has a red light?”
Each time someone brought up the question of Communist influence in the Cuban revolutionary government, Castro became impatient.
At the airport, seconds after his arrival, a television newsman stuck a microphone in front of Castro’s face and demanded:
“Is it true there are many Communists in your government?”
“Aw,” said Castro, waving the man aside, “That’s an old question.”
But at a press conference later, he took the time to answer a similar question.
“Do we have to kill the Communists in Cuba, or persecute them, because of their political ideas?”
he asked fervently
“If we don’t kill them or persecute them, does that make us Communists? The whole thing — it’s absurd!
“It is no good to confuse fear with truth. We are for humanism, not Communism or capitalism.
“We are truly democrats. But there can be no freedom without bread, and no bread without freedom.”
He said his rebel movement has “no agreement” with the Communists.
“Our ideas are far from Communism,” he asserted.
Castro was accompanied at the press conference by members of his cabinet and Claude Dupras, president of the Chambre de Commerce des Jeunes [Youth Chamber of Commerce], the organization sponsoring his visit here.
He complained that the Batista regime had left only $70,000,000 from national bank reserves of $400,000,000.
Seven hundred thousand people are jobless and Cuba is looking to Canada for its example of economic development.
He said Cuba’s problems cannot be solved alone. A Latin-American overall formula will have to be found. Private enterprise alone is too slow a process to rebuild his country.
His aim, he went on, is to create a domestic market. Cuba is capable of producing many of the foods it now imports.
He said his government plans a policy of non-intervention in other Latin American states when he was asked about reported plans to overthrow the government in the Dominican Republic.
“Oppressed peoples everywhere have our sympathies,” he said, “but we can only call on public opinion to rise against dictatorship. We cannot make the sacrifice of intervention.”
– 30 –
This was 1959 — doesn’t it sound to you like there’s sympathy up here in Quebec where the Lesage Liberals in 1961 will try to construct a communist PLAN for state-managed economic development….?
Transcribed for research purposes by Kathleen Moore on 27 March 2009 4h10 a.m. from a photocopy of the article provided by Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa in a brown envelope postmarked 2008-03-31.