[KS] Castro on Corea; Cuba and the Koreas. (Just for a change from rocks and God.)

Afostercarter at aol.com Afostercarter at aol.com
Sun Aug 3 05:01:18 EDT 2008

Castro on Corea; Cuba and the  Koreas 

Fidel Castro, who has opinions on most things  and the time and space to air 
them, has lately been holding forth about Korea;  see below. (Thanks to the 
Financial  Times for the tip.) 
Howlers and imprecisions would fail this as an  undergraduate essay; his 
first 8 sentences are each false, or questionable. The  tendentiousness too is 
depressing, if unsurprising. (Note the lazy relapse into  culturalism to ‘explain’
 South Korean development, rather than junking the  crudely static theories 
of imperialism according to which this just shouldn’t  happen.) 
Yet Fidel is Fidel, so this has to be of  interest; eg the criticism of North 
Korea’s nuclear test – but of nothing else  about the DPRK, or its leaders – 
and his saying: “With South Korea, we are  developing more and more ties.” 
(Cuba and Syria are the only two major nations  that still do not officially 
recognize the ROK, along with Macedonia (?) and  Monaco (!)) 
On Cuba’s growing links to Seoul, the articles  and pictures below offer 
further illustrations and food for thought. I commented  on Hyundai’s power 
stations at the time in Asia Times, as excerpted below: 
_http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HI06Dg01.html_ (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HI06Dg01.html)    
Moreover, at this very moment the Cuban  baseball team is training for the 
Beijing Olympics in Korea – South Korea, that  is – complete with Fidel’s son 
Antonio as their physician. 
In his latest flourish, hot off the press today  (August 1), Antonio’s papa 
refers (tactfully) to: 
“The proud Cuban athletes of the Olympic baseball team, who have been  
wonderfully taken care of by their Korean hosts and will be even better taken  care 
of in China…”  
Good old Granma, where you can read the thoughts  of chairman Castro on every 
subject under the sun – including on Japan, China  and more – these days 
also carries ads for South Korean cars (Kia and Ssangyong)  on the same page. O 
tempora… _http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2008/reflections-fidel-castro.html_ 
Happy summers to one and  all, 
                                      1 August 2008 
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology  & Modern Korea, Leeds 
New home address: Flat 1, 40 Magdalen Road,  Exeter, EX2 4TE, UK 
Yorkshire address: 17  Birklands Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3BY, UK  
Telephone (please use  mobile in the first instance): +44(0)  7970  741307 
Exeter: +44 (0)  1392  257753                                    Shipley:  
+44(0) 1274  588586    
[NB old fax and ISDN numbers will be  changing; tba] 
Email: _afostercarter at aol.com_ (mailto:afostercarter at aol.com)      (alt) 
_afostercarter at yahoo.com_ (mailto:afostercarter at yahoo.com)       website: 
_www.aidanfc.net_ (http://www.aidanfc.net/)  
[Please use  @aol; but if any problems, please try @yahoo too – and let me 
know, so I can  chide AOL] 
Updated Aug.14,2006 22:07 KST   
Fidel Hails Revolutionary Korean Efficiency   
The  ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro had high praise for Koreans in a 
meeting with  staffers from Hyundai Heavy Industries, who are building packaged 
power stations  in the Caribbean nation, the company said Monday.   
Right  before falling ill with intestinal bleeding, Castro and a group of 
aides made a  surprise visit to the construction site on July 11. The elderly 
revolutionary  was dressed in military uniform and limped a little, witnesses 
said. After  looking around the site, he told Korean workers it was extraordinary 
that such a  small number of workers can build a power station. A mere 11 
Korean workers are  involved in the construction. The Cuban leader was quoted as 
urging his people  to learn from the diligence and aggressive working style of 
Cuban leader Fidel Castro makes a visit to the  construction site of power 
stations built by  
Korea¡¯s Hyundai Heavy Industries. /Yonhap   
In  May, Castro met with management of the Korean company to sign the 
contract for  the station. At the time, he said Koreans were even more reliable than 
Japanese  people since they work fast and push toward the goal. Hyundai Heavy 
Industries  quoted Castro as saying South Koreans were also ¡°better than 
North Koreans and  Chinese.¡±  
Hyundai Heavy Industries won the US$720 million contract  to produce and 
install 544 packaged power facilities across the nation. Once  completed by the 
end of next year, they will likely supply one-third of the  total power 
generation in Cuba, the company said. Castro underwent surgery to  halt internal 
bleeding after temporarily handing over power to his younger  brother Raul late 
last month but is reportedly recovering.   
(englishnews at chosun.com )  
Updated Jan.30,2007 10:30 KST   
Korean-Made Power Generators Appear on Cuban Banknotes   
A  power generator built by a Korean company appears on new 10-peso banknotes 
 issued by the Central Bank of Cuba from the start of this year. After 
winning a  bid in 2005, Hyundai Heavy Industries has been installing 544 package 
power  stations, or PPS systems, in 41 areas around Cuba. A ceremony to mark the  
completion of the first installation is scheduled take place at the end of 
this  month in the capital Havana.  
The  newly-designed bills feature an engraving of the container-sized 
generators,  along with a Spanish slogan that translates to "energy revolution," on 
the  reverse side of the widely-circulated 10-peso notes.   
Suffering from chronic power shortages, Cuba is putting a  significant effort 
into developing its energy industry. The country's president  Fidel Castro 
last year personally inspected the installation site of one of  Hyundai's PPS 
(englishnews at chosun.com )   

>From Aidan Foster-Carter, “Seoul cleans up in Africa”, Asia Times Online,  
Sep 6, 2006  
If South Korea is in no rush to bag these last two scalps, that's because  
its commerce, if not its diplomats, is far from unwelcome in Damascus and  
For example, last year Cuba wanted to build a network of small local  power 
stations. That's a North Korean specialty, at least as Pyongyang tells it.  It 
was prowess in this area that brought ex-premier Yon Hyong-muk back from  
quasi-exile running Jagang province to be vice chairman and senior civilian on  
the National Defense Commission - the top executive body, outranking the cabinet 
 - before his untimely demise last October.  
So Fidel Castro called in the Koreans. Er, the other Koreans. The $720  
million contract went to Hyundai Heavy Industries, who set to work installing no  
fewer than 544 packaged power facilities - with just 11 workers. (I'll bet the  
North Korean version, by contrast, needs hundreds of scrawny peasants with  
shovels, and is grossly inefficient - if indeed it works at all.)  
Thus it was that the right-wing Seoul daily Chosun Ilbo marked Liberation  
Day on August 15 with one of its unlikelier headlines: "Fidel hails  
revolutionary Korean efficiency". A month earlier, on July 11 (but only now  revealed), 
the Cuban leader paid a surprise visit to Hyundai's site. He was  impressed 
that so few workers are needed for a project that, when completed by  end-2007, 
will supply one-third of Cuba's electricity needs, and was quoted as  urging 
Cubans to learn from the Koreans' "diligence and aggressive working  style".  
For good measure he had a photo taken with them, Kim Jong-il style. Two  
months earlier, signing the contract, Fidel (according to Hyundai) said South  
Koreans were not only "better than North Koreans and Chinese" but even more  
reliable than Japanese, because they work fast toward a goal. That won't have  
made pleasant holiday reading for the Dear Leader.  
But hang on. It was just after visiting Hyundai that Castro came down  with 
the mysterious intestinal bleeding that has sidelined him for the past few  
weeks. Among all the various medical and conspiracy theories flying around,  
might it have been something in the kimchi?  

Cuban  baseball players in Seoul 
Cuba's  national baseball team arrived Tuesday in Korea to train here ahead 
of the the  Summer Games in Beijing, accompanied by the high-profile son of 
former Cuban  President Fidel Castro, an official was quoted as saying by Yonhap 
News  Agency. 
The  baseball powerhouse that won three Olympic gold medals from 1992-2004 is 
one of  a host of Olympic teams that have come here after being lured by 
Korea's  environmental conditions, which are better than those of  Beijing. 
Antonio  Castro, the 39-year-old son of the retired Cuban president, 
accompanied the team  as a physician but declined to give an interview to journalists 
at Incheon  International Airport. Castro also serves as a vice head of Cuba's 
baseball  governing body. 
The  44-member team will train in environmentally pristine southern Korea and 
leave  for China just a day before the Beijing Olympics begin on August 8, 
Park  Geun-chan of the Korean Baseball Organization said by  phone. 
During  its training here, the team hopes to play friendlies with local 
professional  squads, Cuban coach Antonio Pacheco told Korean reporters at the  
July 16,  2008 

S. Korea, Cuba hold economic  talks 
March 19, MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Visiting  officials from South Korea's Korea 
Export Insurance Corporation,  including its head Cho Hwan-eik, holds talks 
with ranking Cuban  officials about purchases of Korean products in Cuba on 
March 18. It  was the first time in 49 years that the South Korean and Cuban 
flags  were displayed together. The nations have no diplomatic ties.  (Yonhap) 


C U B  A  
Havana.  July 22,  2008   

Reflections  of Fidel
The two  Koreas
Translated by  ESTI 
THE Korean nation, with its unique  culture that differentiates it from its 
Chinese and Japanese neighbors,  has existed for three thousand years. These 
characteristics are typical of  societies in that Asian region, including those 
of China, Vietnam and  others. There is nothing like it in Western cultures, 
some of which are  less than 250 years old.
In the war of 1894, the Japanese had seized  from China its control over the 
Korean dynasty and turned its territory  into a Japanese colony. Protestantism 
was introduced into this country in  the year 1892, following an agreement 
between the United States and the  Korean authorities. On the other hand, 
Catholicism was introduced in the  same century by missionaries. It is estimated 
that today in South Korea,  around 25 percent of the population is Christian and 
a similar percentage  is Buddhist. The philosophy of Confucius had a great 
influence on the  spirit of Koreans, who are not characterized by fanatical 
religious  practices.
Two important figures stand out in that nation’s political  life in the 20th 
century: Syngman Rhee, born in March of 1875, and Kim Il  Sung, born 37 years 
later in April of 1912. Both personalities, of  different social background, 
confronted each other due to historical  circumstances that had nothing to do 
with either of them.
The  Christians opposed the Japanese colonial system. One of them was Syngman 
 Rhee, who was an actively practicing Protestant. Korea changed its status:  
Japan annexed its territory in 1910. Years later, in 1919, Rhee was  appointed 
president of the provisional government in exile, headquartered  in Shanghai, 
China. He never used weapons against the invaders. The League  of Nations in 
Geneva paid no attention to him.
The Japanese Empire was  brutally repressive with the Korean population. The 
patriots took up arms  against the Japanese colonialist policy and succeeded 
in liberating a  small area in the mountain region of the north at the end of 
the  1890’s.
Kin Il Sung, born in the vicinity of Pyongyang, joined the  Korean Communist 
guerrillas to fight the Japanese at the age of 18. In his  active 
revolutionary life, he attained the position of political and  military leader of the 
anti-Japanese combatants in North Korea, at the  young age of 33.
During World War II, the United States decided the  fate of Korea in the 
post-war period. It joined the conflict when it was  attacked by one of its own 
creatures, the Empire of the Rising Sun, whose  tight feudal gates were opened 
by Commodore Perry in the first half of the  19th century, aiming his cannons 
at the strange Asian country that refused  to trade with America.
The outstanding disciple later became a powerful  rival, as I have already 
explained on another occasion. Decades later,  Japan successively struck at 
China and Russia, additionally taking over  Korea. Nevertheless it was an astute 
ally for the victors of World War I,  at the expense of China. It amassed 
forces and, transformed into the Asian  version of fascist Nazism, attempted to 
occupy Chinese territory in 1937  and attacked the United States in December of 
1941; it brought the war to  Southeast Asia and Oceania.
The colonial domains of Britain, France,  Holland and Portugal in the region 
were doomed and the United States  emerged as the most powerful country in the 
world, matched only by the  Soviet Union then destroyed by World War II and 
by the heavy material and  human losses resulting from the Nazi attack. The 
Chinese Revolution was  about to conclude in 1945 when the world massacre ceased. 
The united  anti-Japanese combat was taking up its energy then. Mao, Ho Chi 
Minh,  Gandhi, Sukarno and other leaders later carried on the fight against the 
 restoration of the old world order which was already unsustainable.   Truman 
dropped the nuclear bomb on two civilian Japanese cities; this was  a 
terribly destructive new weapon whose existence they had not reported to  their 
Soviet ally, as has been explained, one which had been the major  contributor to 
the destruction of fascism. Nothing justified the genocide  committed, not even 
the fact that the tenacious Japanese resistance had  taken the lives of almost 
15,000 American soldiers on the Japanese island  of Okinawa. Japan was 
already defeated, and that weapon, had it been  dropped on a military target, would 
have sooner or later had the same  demoralizing effect on the Japanese 
military machine without any more  casualties among U.S. soldiers. It was an act of 
indescribable  terror.
Soviet soldiers were advancing on Manchuria and North Korea,  just as they 
had promised when fighting ceased in Europe. The allies had  defined beforehand 
the point each army could reach. The dividing line  would be in the middle of 
Korea, equidistant between the Yalu River and  the southern end of the 
peninsula. The U.S. government negotiated with the  Japanese the rules that would 
govern the surrendering of troops on their  own territory. Japan would be 
occupied by the United States. In Korea,  annexed to Japan, a large force of the 
powerful Japanese army would  remain. South of the 38th Parallel, the established 
dividing line, U.S.  interests prevailed. Syngman Rhee, reincorporated into 
that part of the  territory by the U.S. government, was the leader the Americans 
supported,  with the open cooperation of the Japanese. That is how he won the 
 hard-fought election of 1948. That year, the soldiers of the Soviet Army  
had pulled out of North Korea. 
On June 25, 1950 war broke out in the  country. It is still unclear who fired 
the first shot, whether it was the  combatants in the North or the American 
soldiers on duty with soldiers  recruited by Rhee. The argument does not make 
any sense if one analyzes it  from the Korean angle. Kim Il Sung’s soldiers 
fought against the Japanese  for the liberation of all Korea. His armies advanced 
irrepressibly to the  far reaches to the South where the Yankees were 
defending themselves with  the massive back-up of their fighter planes. Seoul and 
other cities had  been occupied. MacArthur, commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in 
the  Pacific, decided to order a Marine landing at Incheon, at the rearguard 
of  Northern forces which by then were in no condition to counterattack.  
Pyongyang fell into the hands of Yankee forces, preceded by devastating  air 
strikes. That fostered the idea of the U.S. military command in the  Pacific to 
occupy all of Korea, since the Peoples’ Liberation Army of  China, lead by Mao 
Zedong had inflicted a resounding defeat on the  pro-Yankee forces of Chiang 
Kai-shek, supplied and supported by the United  States. The entire continental and 
maritime territory of that great  country had been recovered, with the 
exception of Taipei and other small  near-by islands where Kuomintang forces found 
refuge after being  transported there by vessels of the Sixth Fleet.
The history of what  happened then is well known today. It should not be 
forgotten that Boris  Yeltsin handed over to Washington the Soviet Union archives, 
among other  things.
What did the United States do when the virtually inevitable  conflict broke 
out under the premises created in Korea? It portrayed the  northern part of 
that country as the aggressor. The Security Council of  the recently created 
United Nations Organization, promoted by the  victorious powers of W. W. II, 
passed a resolution that none of the five  members could veto. Precisely in those 
months, the USSR had expressed its  disagreement with the exclusion of China 
from the Security Council, where  the United States was recognizing Chiang 
Kai-Shek, with less than 0.3  percent of national territory and less than 2 percent 
of the population,  as a member of that Council and with a right to the veto. 
Such  arbitrariness led to the absence of the Russian delegate, with the 
result  that the Council agreed to give the war the character of a UN military  
action against the alleged aggressor: the Peoples’ Republic of Korea.  China, 
completely outside the conflict, which was affecting its unfinished  fight for 
the total liberation of the country, saw the threat hovering  directly against 
its own territory, this being unacceptable for its  security. According to 
public information, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai was  sent to Moscow to inform 
Stalin of China’s point of view as to the  inadmissibility of the presence of UN 
forces under U.S. command on the  banks of the Yalu River which marks Korea's 
border with China, and to  request Soviet cooperation. At the time there were no 
profound  contradictions between the two Socialist giants.
It has been affirmed  that China’s response was planned for the October 13 
and that Mao  postponed it to the 19th, awaiting the Soviet reply. That was as 
long as  he could put it off.
I intend to finish this reflection next Friday. It  is a complex and 
laborious subject which requires special care and  information that is as precise as 
possible. These are historical events  that should be known and remembered. 
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 22,  2008.
9:22 p.m. 
- _Reflections_ 
(http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2008/reflections-fidel-castro.html)  _o_ 
(http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2008/reflections-of-president-fidel-castro.html) _F Fidel_ 

C U B  A  
Havana.  July 26,  2008   

The  two Koreas 
Part II 
ON October 19, 1950, more than 400,000  voluntary Chinese combatants, on 
orders from Mao Zedong, crossed the Yalu  and waylaid the US troops that were 
advancing towards the Chinese border.  The US units, surprised by the vigorous 
response of the country that they  had underestimated, were forced to withdraw 
toward a region near the  southern coast, pushed back by the joint action of the 
Chinese and North  Korean forces. Stalin, who was immensely cautious, offered 
far less  support than Mao had anticipated, though the MiG-15 aircrafts 
piloted by  the Soviets over a limited 42.5-miles front, proved valuable help 
during  the initial stage of the conflict in protecting land forces during their  
intrepid advance. Pyongyang was again recovered and Seoul re-occupied once  
more, attempting to fight back the incessant onslaught of the US Air  Force, the 
most powerful that has ever existed.  
McArthur was anxious to attack China with  nuclear weapons. He called for 
their use following the shameful defeat  they had tasted. President Truman saw no 
other choice but to dismiss him  from his command and appoint General 
Matthews Ridgeway head of US air, sea  and land forces in the theater of operations. 
Next to the United States,  the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, 
Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece,  Canada, Turkey, Ethiopia, South Africa, the 
Philippines, Australia, New  Zealand, Thailand and Colombia took part in the 
imperialist adventure.  Colombia, then under the unitary government of conservative 
Laureano  Gómez, who was responsible for the mass slaughter of peasants, was the  
only Latin American country involved. As we said, the Ethiopia of Haile  
Selassie, where slavery still existed, and a South Africa still under the  
domination of white racists, also took part in the invasion.  
It was barely five years since the world  slaughter that began in September 
1939 had come to an end on August 1945.  Following bloody combat in Korean 
territory, Parallel 38 once again became  the border separating the North and 
South. It is estimated that, in that  war, about two million North Koreans, nearly 
half a million or one million  Chinese and more than one million allied 
soldiers perished. Around 44  thousand US soldiers lost their lives. More than a 
few of them had been  born in Puerto Rico or other Latin American countries, 
recruited to take  part in a war they were driven to by their condition as poor 
Japan was to reap many benefits from the  conflict. In the space of one year, 
industrial output grew by 50 % and,  within two years, it again reached 
pre-war production levels. What didn't  change, however, was how the acts of 
genocide committed by the imperial  troops in Korea were perceived. The governments 
of Japan have paid tribute  to the acts of genocide carried out by their 
soldiers, who, in China, had  raped tens of thousands of women and brutally 
murdered hundreds of  thousands of people, as was explained in a reflection. 
Hard-working and tenacious, the Japanese have  transformed their country, 
bereft of oil and other important raw  materials, into the second most powerful 
economy in the world.  
Japan's GDP, measured in capitalist terms,  though the data varies according 
to different Western sources, is today  over $4.5 trillion, and the country 
has over one trillion in hard currency  reserves. This is twice China’s GDP, of 
$2.2 trillion, even though China  has 50% more hard currency reserves than 
Japan. The GDP of the United  States, of $12.4 trillion, for a country with 34.6 
times more territory  and 2.3 times Japan’s population, is only three times 
that of Japan. Its  government is today one of imperialism's main allies, at a 
time when it is  threatened by economic recession and the sophisticated weapons 
of the  superpower put at risk the entire human species.  
These are historical lessons which cannot be  forgotten.  
The war, however, took a considerable toll on  China. Truman instructed the 
6th Fleet to prevent the landing of Chinese  revolutionary forces that would 
result in the complete emancipation of  their country by reclaiming the 0.3 
percent of their territory that had  been occupied by the rest of the pro-Yankee 
forces of Chiang Kai-shek that  had fled there.  
Sino-Soviet relations were to deteriorate  later, following the death of 
Stalin, in March 1953. The revolutionary  movement split nearly everywhere. The 
dramatic call issued by Ho Chi Minh  made evident the damage that had been done, 
and imperialism, through its  immense media apparatus, fuelled the fires of 
extremism among false  revolutionary theoreticians, an area in which US 
intelligence agencies  were to become experts.  
With the arbitrary division, North Korea had  been dealt the most mountainous 
part of the country. Every grain of food  had to be reaped through sweat and 
sacrifice. Pyongyang, the capital, had  been razed to the ground. Many people 
who had been wounded or mutilated  during the war were in need of medical 
attention. They were enduring a  blockade and had no resources available. The 
Soviet Union and other  countries of the socialist bloc were in the process of 
recovering from the  war.  
When I arrived in the Democratic People’s  Republic of Korea on March 7, 
1986, nearly 33 years following the  destruction caused by the war, it was still 
difficult to believe what had  occurred there. That heroic people had 
constructed myriad things: large  and small dams and canals to store water in, generate 
electricity, service  cities and irrigate fields; thermoelectric plants, 
large mechanical and  other types of industries, many of them underground in the 
depths of the  bedrock, all created through hard, methodical labor. Because of 
cooper and  aluminum shortages, they had been forced to use iron to create  
electricity-guzzling transmission lines, iron which, in part, was produced  from 
coal. The capital and other cities that had been devastated were  
reconstructed, inch by inch. I estimated that millions of new homes had  been built in 
urban and rural areas and that tens of thousands of other  kinds of facilities 
had been set up. Countless hours of work were  contained in stone, concrete, 
steel, wood, synthetic products and  machinery. The fields that I had the 
opportunity to see, wherever I went,  looked like gardens. Well-dressed, organized 
and enthusiastic people were  everywhere, ready to greet visitors. The country 
deserved cooperation and  peace.  
There was no issue I didn't discuss with my  illustrious host Kim Il Sung. I 
shall never forget him.  
Korea was divided into two parts by an  imaginary line. The South was to have 
a different experience. It was the  more densely populated part and endured 
less destruction during the war.  The presence of an enormous foreign military 
force required the supply of  local manufactured goods and other products, 
from crafts to fresh fruits  and vegetables, not to mention services. The 
military spending of the  allies was huge. The same thing occurred when the United 
States decided to  retain extensive military forces in the country indefinitely. 
During the  Cold War, Western and Japanese transnationals invested 
considerable sums  of money, siphoning out incalculable wealth from the sweat of South  
Koreans, a people who are as hard-working and industrious as their  brothers 
and sisters in the North. The great markets of the world were  open to their 
products. They were not blockaded. Today, the country has  high levels of 
technology and productivity. It has suffered the economic  crises of the West, 
following which many South Korean companies were taken  over by transnationals. The 
austere nature of its people has allowed the  State to accumulate significant 
reserves in hard currency. Today, it is  enduring the United States' economic 
depression, particularly the high  prices of oil and food, and the 
inflationary pressures from both.   
South Korea's GDP –$787.6 billion– is almost  equal to that of Brazil ($796 
billion) and Mexico ($768 billion),  countries with abundant hydrocarbon 
reserves and incomparably larger  populations. Imperialism imposed its system upon 
these nations. Two fell  behind; the other made much more progress.  
There is hardly any emigration from South  Korea to the West. There is 
emigration en masse from Mexico to what is  currently US territory. From Brazil, 
South and Central America, people  emigrate everywhere, in search of employment 
and lured by consumerist  propaganda. Today, they are being rewarded with 
rigorous and contemptuous  laws.  
The principled position on nuclear weapons  supported by Cuba within the 
Non-Aligned Movement, ratified during the  Summit Conference held in Havana in 
August 2006, is well known.  
I met the current leader of the Democratic  People’s Republic of Korea, Kim 
Jong Il, when I arrived at the Pyongyang  airport. He was standing discretely 
beside his father, to one side of the  red carpet. Cuba maintains excellent 
relations with his government.   
When the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc  collapsed, the Democratic People
’s Republic of Korea lost important  markets and sources of oil, raw 
materials and equipment. As in Cuba’s  case, the consequences were severe. The 
progress that had been attained  through great sacrifices was at risk. In spite of 
this, they showed  themselves capable of constructing a nuclear weapon.  
When the nuclear test was conducted around a  year ago, we conveyed to the 
government of North Korea our points of view  on the damage this could cause 
poor Third World countries that were waging  an unequal and difficult battle 
against imperialist designs at a decisive  moment for the world. It might not have 
been necessary. Kim Song Il, at  that point, had already decided beforehand 
what he had to do, mindful of  the geographic and strategic characteristics of 
the region.  
We are pleased to see North Korea’s statement  of its intention to suspend 
its nuclear weapons program. This has nothing  to do with the crimes and the 
blackmail of Bush, who is now touting the  declaration as proof of the success of 
his policy of genocide. North  Korea's gesture was not aimed at the 
government of the United States,  before which it never yielded one inch, but, rather, 
at China, a  neighboring ally, whose security and development is vital for the 
two  States.  
Third World countries are interested in the  friendship and cooperation 
between China and the two Koreas, whose union  need not be from coast to coast, as 
was the case of Germany, currently a  US ally in NATO. Step by step, 
unhurriedly but indefatigably, as befits  their culture and history, they will continue 
to weave the ties that will  unite the two Koreas. With South Korea, we are 
developing more and more  ties. With North Korea, these have always existed and 
we shall continue to  strengthen them. 
Fidel Castro Ruz 
July 24, 2008 
6:18 p.m. 
Translated by  ESTI 

Havana.  July 24,  2008  

Reflections  of Fidel
The Olympic baseball  team  
THE indignation of the fans at  Sunday’s serious setback thundered. That says 
it all:  fan-at-ics! 
But people forget the fact that they [the players] are now in South  Korea, a 
country where we do not even have an embassy and where our  athletes are 
continuing their  training…. 

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