Fidel Castro on Gorbachev

“I can’t say that Gorbachev played a conscious part in the destruction of the Soviet Union, because I have no doubt that Gorbachev’s aim was to struggle to perfect socialism.”

(Fidel Castro in: ‘Guardian’, 30 May 1992; p. 25).

“Do you think the Soviets are going to create opposition parties inside the Soviet Union? To think that is to delude yourself.”

–Fidel Castro, Havana Television Service in Spanish 0134 GMT 28 Feb 1988

“By moving towards a market, we are not swerving from the road of socialism. What had collapsed [in Eastern Europe] was not socialism but Stalinism.”

 — Mikhail S. Gorbachev: Report to 28th Congress, CPSU, in: Keesing’s Record of World Events, Volume 36; p. 37, 615.

“Communism means the dictatorship of the proletariat, the dictatorship of a class. I have fought my entire life against dictatorship.”

15. [Merlo] Do you consider Gorbachev a traitor?

16. [Castro] History will pronounce the final judgment on him. I do not want to be Gorbachev’s judge. I can only say that during the time I knew him, he behaved in a friendly manner toward me. He seemed to want to improve socialism, even if the final result was different. He wrote it in his book “Perestroyka” too, making it clear that he was not against socialism, indeed he wanted more socialism. It seems to me, however, that now there is less socialism than ever in the former USSR-and indeed the USSR does not even exist any more. Someone once said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

17. [Merlo] What did you say to each other when you met here in Cuba in 1989? What did you foresee? Did you put him on his guard?

18. [Castro] It is difficult to recommend anything to the leader of such an important country. Yes, I remember that I did give him one recommendation, an idea, an opinion. I told him that the USSR had to broaden its relations with
all the political forces and to that end, I advised him to hold a meeting with
the revolutionary, progressive, and democratic forces, and I think he accepted
my suggestion. I also advised him to base the USSR’s influence over other
countries on the quality of ideas rather than on tradition or, worse, on
hegemonic tendencies…. Gorbachev used to talk very frankly with me, he had a
talent for communication. At least at the beginning. It was an excellent
relationship. I believe he wanted to do good things. I never disputed his
intentions; what I can dispute is the results of his action: a tragedy. The
present single-pole world is not to anybody’s liking, no one wants it.

19. [Merlo] It is especially a problem for Cuba.

20. [Castro] Our basic problems are the economic blockade and the
disappearance of the socialist camp. Some 85 percent of our trade was with
those countries and we had reasonable prices, let us say the right prices. The
value of our sugar in fact, balanced the cost of the petroleum we got from the
USSR. Our exports reached 80 billion [currency not stated] or just under. That
trade has almost disappeared with the disappearance of the socialist countries.
We have had to turn to new markets. We have lost imports, credit, and
technology, and sought fuel, raw materials, and drugs elsewhere. Our sugar is
no longer quoted at that price…. To this must be added the fact that we are
under a severe economic blockade from the United States.

23. [Merlo] What is your judgment of Moscow’s current policy? There is talk
there of possible new adjustments….

24. [Castro] I do not want to judge Moscow this time either. I get different
and sometimes contradictory reports. It is true that there is a large number of
people who would like to put the brakes a little on the current policy, which
is having disastrous social consequences. However, one cannot see-it is not
clear what may happen. Over the next few days we will certainly get a clearer
idea. I do not wish to go on speaking of this because I do not want to
interfere in Moscow’s internal matters.

Published by Victor Vaughn

Anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist, National Secretary of the American Party of Labor (APL).

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