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History and geography have made us your neighbors The U S would gain a very important lesson from [bilaterall relations with Cuba, and in a way I think it is already drawing that lesson. For instance, in Nicaragua, the U.S. does not look for a confrontation but for understanding.
Latin America has to change. Is the U.S. going to forbid revolution to take place in Latin America? That's absolutely impossible! Even the U.S. had its revolutionary era. Then you were at war with the British, but later you became allies. For a long time it was said that China was a Moscow satellite and look how things have turned out. Revolutionaries have a moment of great fever and passion combined with a lack of experience. So you have to be very patient with them.
Q. Do you expect that the Carter Administration will end the economic embargo against Cuba?
A. Not immediately. Carter took some positive steps regarding Cuba. But whenever there was an advance in relations between Cuba and the U.S., a new incident took place that stopped this process. For instance, at the time of Shaba [in May 1978, when Angola-based Zaïrian rebels struck across the border into Zaïre's Shaba province] there was an unjust attempt to blame that event on Cuba, in spite of the fact that I explained to the U.S. representative here that we were absolutely opposed to what had happened. On the eve of the sixth summit [of nonaligned countries in Havana last September] the problem of the Soviet "brigade" was created. It seems to me that there are people interested in preventing the improvement of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Q. What should Cuba do to change its image in the U.S.?
A. As for concrete measures, we almost have nothing left to do. We had some American political prisoners, and they were released. No one cooperates more than we do to combat drug traffic in the area. There is no other spectacular measure we can take in order to show our good will.
Q. You could withdraw your troops from Africa.
A. We cannot withdraw our military personnel unilaterally because we have commitments to these countries. Our wish is that when these countries [Angola and Ethiopia] feel secure, we will be able to withdraw our military forces. We do not have any interest whatsoever in keeping them endlessly there.
Q. The Soviets and other socialist countries profess to think that the Soviet military presence in, say, the Horn of Africa, is not a threat to peace.
A. Look, I think these policies are being magnified. For instance, the main problem for Ethiopia is not military. It is a problem of economic development. The Ethiopians got rid of Hade Selassie. They conducted a revolution. They are not interested in attacking any country. They are interested in getting rid of the tremendous misery that exists there. The military assistant was provided only to defend the integrity of the country
Q. Europeans feel threatened by the Soviets' increased theater of nuclear weapons. What is your comment?