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Granma:Sth African president visit.Fidel-Argentina. Czechs

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  • John Clancy
    from: jclancy@smartchat.net.au subject: Granma:Sth African president visit. Fidel-Argentina. Czechs © Copyright. 1996-2001. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. GRANMA
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2001
      from: jclancy@...
      subject: Granma:Sth African president visit. Fidel-Argentina. Czechs

      February 7, 2001
      Way prepared for South African president's visit to the island
      BY MARELYS VALENCIA (Granma International staff writer)

      ALMOST at the end of her official five-day
      visit to Cuba, Nkozasana Diamini Zuma,
      foreign minister of the Republic of South
      Africa, signed an agreement for the
      creation of a joint commission, together
      with Marta Lomas, Cuban minister for
      foreign investment and cooperation.

      Minister Lomas explained to the press that
      cooperation between the two countries
      commenced shortly after Fidel's visit to
      South Africa for Nelson Mandela's
      investiture as president. The reciprocal
      investment protection and promotion
      agreement and others in the fields of
      transportation, chambers of commerce,
      education, sports and health were signed in
      1995 and more than 1,300 Cubans
      have served in South Africa since then.

      Specifically in the health sphere, 370-plus
      doctors are currently working there. In
      relation to education, 226 young South
      Africans have completed university studies
      in various parts of the island, and 176 are
      still here. The foreign minister met with
      them in a tour of Villa Clara province.

      "In other words, cooperation already
      existed, but the new agreement will make it
      profounder and more extensive," Lomas
      affirmed, having announced the possibility
      of establishing medical cooperation via
      South Africa with other African nations like
      Mali. For her part, Dr. Nkozasana Diamini
      Zuma emphasized that the signing of this
      document is only the beginning of what both
      countries could do.

      She also spoke of preparations for the
      upcoming visit of President Mbeki which
      would be a short one, she noted, but which
      would reinforce relations in all spheres
      and create new spaces for cooperation. In
      reference to her meeting on February 4
      with President Fidel Castro, Nkozasana
      Diamini Zuma spoke to the press of her
      satisfaction and how interesting their
      conversation was.

      Since her arrival on January 31, Nkozasana
      Diamini Zuma has met with various
      Cuban ministers. After an interview with
      Raúl de la Nuez, minister of foreign trade,
      the South African leader spoke of the need
      to explore various fields to increase
      trade which, according to official sources,
      diminished notably in 2000.

      The African nation mainly exports minerals,
      manufactured goods and engines for
      the sugar industry to the island. In the
      foreign minister's opinion, her country is
      interested in Cuba's experiences in tourism
      and could import biotechnological and
      genetic engineering products, cigars and
      rum; these latter, she affirms, are much
      enjoyed by her compatriots. The spectrum is
      a wide one, she pointed out.

      Cuba's goods and services exchanges with
      other countries grew particularly in the
      export of tourism services, by 12% in 2000,
      as compared to the year before. For
      the first time in many years, De La Nuez
      stated, the island's exports grew
      proportionately more than its imports.

      A trade delegation is shortly to travel to
      Havana from that country with a program
      of contacts with various Cuban agencies.

      The South African foreign minister met with
      her Cuban counterpart Felipe Pérez
      Roque, who described bilateral relations as
      excellent and the political dialogue as
      wide-ranging. He likewise highlighted their
      concurrence on themes such as the
      Non-Aligned Movement, headed by that nation,
      and in relation to the Group of 77.
      Pérez Roque informed the South African
      minister of Cuba's willingness to organize
      the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, scheduled
      to take place in Latin America in

      In the meeting, referring to the armed
      conflicts affecting various nations, Dr.
      Nkozasana Diamini Zuma observed that it
      would be terrible for Africans and the
      rest of the world to leave Africa as an
      unstable region. For his part, President
      Mbeke has discussed some initiatives with
      the European Union to counteract the
      current level of poverty in that continent.

      South Africa is preparing to hold a world
      conference against racism which Cuba will
      support, according to Pérez Roque,
      especially in terms of the position that it
      shares with various African nations in
      supporting recognition of the slave trade as
      a crime against humanity.

      The South African foreign minister also met
      with Ricardo Alarcón, president of the
      Cuban National Assembly; and José Ramón
      Balaguer, member of the Political



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      © Copyright. 1996-2001. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. GRANMA

      February 7, 2001
      Fidel's comments on the critical situation in Argentina

      * With the aim of not letting the Argentines be deceived by the
      affirmation that Fidel's speech in the closing session of the 3rd
      International Encounter of Economists constituted an offense to the
      Argentine people, as Argentine Foreign Minister Adalberto Rodríguez
      Giavarini stated on returning from Washington after imploring the
      U.S. government for aid, utilizing his country's vote against Cuba in
      Geneva as a lever, 'Granma' is publishing Fidel's words in relation
      to that sister country's critical economic situation at the
      Encounter's closing session:

      "There are countries currently in crisis,
      for example, Argentina. I trust that nobody
      will be angry if I say that, in relation to
      the uncertainty over when they are going
      to receive the $39.5 billion USD in order to
      get out of the crisis, somebody recently
      made some shameless statement affirming that
      they are going to maintain the
      same position that they adopted at the Human
      Rights Commission in Geneva last year.

      "I know what our neighbors are doing
      have sent ambassadors all over in search of
      promoters; because even the Czechs
      are going about meddling in other people's
      affairs. Right now there is a dispute on
      account of two Czechs who, sent here by
      persons who receive U.S. government
      funds for destabilizing and subversive
      activities in Cuba, were arrested because
      they had seriously violated our laws, which
      has been totally proven. There's been
      a big scandal; however, it would appear to
      be a European scandal, because
      Alarcón-who was at the Porto Alegre World
      Social Forum-told me: 'There in Porto
      Alegre I had about eight interviews and
      nobody referred to that subject.' The
      scandal is over there. Mechanism: lying and
      falsified statements, little messages
      for foreign ministers and attempts in vain
      to pressure people.*

      "It [THE UNITED STATES] is looking toward
      Argentina for these adventures, yes, it
      has sent representatives to various Latin
      American countries seeking out recruits
      to present its motion. To date nobody has
      agreed to do so. I don't think anyone
      would dare, because the shameful position
      adopted last year provoked much
      opposition in Argentina. There were people
      from the administration itself who
      expressed their discontent and I am sure
      that if the country does play that sad
      role it's going to come up against a lot of
      discontent in Argentina, because we
      have many friends in Argentina from the
      various political parties; and that task we
      will leave to the Argentines, who are not at
      all pleased at what's going on.

      "The Argentine debt at one given point stood
      at $61 billion USD. That was before
      neoliberalism, which started with Menem and
      continued with those who came after
      him, and it is going to get much worse.
      During Menem's period in office, he
      embraced the idea of dollarization, the
      greenback. What joy: credits, consume,
      buy! What a marvel of development! How happy
      everybody is buying refrigerators,
      televisions, automobiles, everything! And,
      on the other hand, the government
      selling off everything, even the parks.

      "I am sure that 99% of the Argentines here
      are completely in agreement with me.
      I am not claiming that everybody thinks the
      same as me, or that everyone is in
      agreement with what I am posing here. I am
      only saying that, from $61 billion
      USD, it has gone up to a debt of $145
      billion USD. Everything changes daily.

      "I asked two or three days ago and they told
      me that the debt was $148 billion. I
      am offering conservative data, basing myself
      on conservative data; it's better not
      to be accused of exaggeration; the debt has
      gone up 2.4 times and they are
      asking for $39.5 billion USD. Spain offered
      them $1 billion USD and promised to
      advance them $500 million USD as quickly as
      possible; a little oxygen so as not to
      die of asphyxia, so as not to drown when the
      water's reaching up to here [POINTS
      TO HIS NECK], and the World Bank offered
      them $2.225 billion USD and the
      promise to hand over some $200 to $250
      million USD very soon, I think. They need
      $750 million with all speed and the
      Argentine government is still extremely anxious
      about what could happen. Nothing more than
      optimistic statements. Nothing
      seems to be at all certain.

      "I think it's very bad timing for the
      statement made by the foreign minister two or
      three days ago, which I saw on the cables.
      What's worth asking is on what day
      and at what time he was called from
      Washington, independently of the direct
      approaches made by the United States in its
      quest for promoters in relation to
      Geneva, and to one other country that was
      visited and that doesn't need to be

      "It doesn't make us angry, but rather makes
      us want to laugh or feel pity, because
      we realize the degree of weakness, of
      surrender and desperation. But under that
      neoliberal policy it is impossible for a
      government even to maintain its honor and

      "Now it needs almost $40 billion USD more.
      That's licking the Yankees' boots. And
      why? 'Please advance us the $39.5 billion
      USD, we can't hold on anymore! With
      30% of Argentines wanting to emigrate and
      massive unemployment* ' Can you
      I have the figure of at least 9%
      unemployment. It's higher? [He is told that
      the official figure is 9%, but in real
      terms unemployment in Argentina is over

      "What a brilliant future for our peoples!
      Long live the dollar! Long live the Free
      Trade Area of the Americas! Long live the
      flag of the stars and stripes! You'd only
      have to add on a few more stripes. That
      would appear to be the way some people
      think, but they are not reckoning with the
      peoples. And this is not a simple
      expression of a wish: it is that the peoples
      are not having it and will not have it.

      "The Argentine debt will soon reach $200
      billion USD. And paying it religiously,
      maintaining parity and selling off
      everything, although there's nothing left to sell
      now: oil, airlines, telephones, parks,
      trains, streets, everything has been sold,
      even the land.

      "They are buying up everything over there,
      and there are many foreigners who
      have devoted themselves to buying even the
      country's natural resources there,
      not just buildings, but natural resources.
      Everything has been sold! I really don't
      know if there's anything left to sell. Do
      you have anything left to sell over there?
      OF A FOUNDER]. No, you don't have to sell
      it, you have to park it facing the empire,
      and drape it with a little flag with the
      stars and stripes. There couldn't be any
      greater insult to the memory of the
      founders! And they think that the people don't
      realize that and that they are stupid, on
      account of all the propaganda and the
      many conditioned reflexes that they have
      tried to create in people's minds."

      End ************

      February 8, 2001
      Czechs detained in Cuba admit their guilt

      IVAN Pilip and Jan Bubenik, who were
      arrested for violating Cuban laws, have left
      the island for Prague via Madrid, after
      admitting their guilt and apologizing to the
      Cuban people.

      The two Czech citizens were detained on
      January 12, on charges of acts of
      aggression against the country under
      instructions from the subversive U.S.-based
      Freedom House organization.

      Anders B. Johnsson, secretary-general
      secretary of the Interparliamentary Union
      (IU), and Juan Pablo Letelier, president of
      that institution's Human Rights
      Commission, who interceded with the Cuban
      government on behalf of the accused,
      stressed that the two Czechs had
      acknowledged their offenses.

      Both parliamentary leaders emphasized that a
      solution had been found in the case
      in virtue of the Cuban government's
      comprehension and humane nature.

      Previously, Petr Pithart, president of the
      Senate of the Czech Republic, had also
      made representations to the government in
      search of a solution to the conflict. He
      positively influenced the outcome with a
      different perception from the one initially
      adopted by his country.

      Pilip is a member of parliament and an ex-
      minister of education and finance.
      Bubenik was a student leader during the
      rebel movement that brought an end to
      the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia in

      The Cuban authorities offered facilities to
      IU members and relatives of the two
      Czechs to investigate and contribute to the
      resolution of the case.

      Pilip and Bubenik appeared before the
      embassy of the Czech Republic in Havana
      on Monday February 5, to acknowledge the
      documents they signed declaring
      themselves guilty on the charges.

      The two Czechs were arrested in Ciego de
      Avila, in the country's central region,
      while meeting with counterrevolutionary
      elements and handing over to them the
      resources needed to carry out acts of

      © Copyright. 1996-2001. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. GRANMA
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