Transcript of Castro’s radio chat with Chavez


Richard Moore

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Sunday » March 4 » 2007

Hello Presidente? This is the Presidente

Full transcript of Fidel Castro's radio chat with 
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez

National Post

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chavez: Let's see who is calling from Havana. Bring me some coffee please.

Castro: Hello. Hello. Do you hear me?

Chavez: Who is calling?

Castro: Can you hear me?

Chavez: I hear you.

Castro: Distinguished and dear friend, how are you?

Chavez: [Words inaudible]

Castro: I am listening to you on Hello President. 
All the figures you have cited, I find your 
argument very good regarding the growth of the 
GDP, over the drop in unemployment. Many 
interesting things.

Chavez: How are you?

Castro: Go ahead, go ahead. Ask me.

Chavez: [In English] How are you?

Castro: [In English] Pretty well. [Laughter]

Chavez: You have no idea how happy it makes us to 
hear your voice and to know you are well.

Castro: Thank you.

Chavez: We are surprised. We are pleasantly 
surprised. We were, as almost always, talking 
about you a while ago. Now, you know that.

Castro: I always knew I would end up on Hello President.

Chavez: Now we broadcast daily.

Castro: No. [Words inaudible. Laughter] I am studying a lot, above all.

Chavez: What are you studying?

Castro: I see that you do not let go of the books. When do you sleep?

Chavez: I sleep a little in the early morning. I 
sleep some. I study a lot. That is one of the 
responsibilities of every revolutionary. We 
follow your example. I am now reading -

Castro: [Interrupting] Yes. You have been reading 
for a long while. You have great talent to keep 
it all in, to remember everything. The only thing 
you sometimes forget is figures.

Chavez: I forget numbers but not that much.

Castro: However, you have them all bookmarked and 
never miss one. It is not easy to keep up with 

Chavez: Do you know how many hectares of corn are 
needed to produce one million barrels of ethanol?

Castro: To do what?

Chavez: To produce one million barrels of ethanol?

Castro: Ethanol. I believe you told me about that 
the other day. Somewhere around 20 million 

Chavez:[Laughing] Just like that.

Castro: Go ahead, remind me.

Chavez: Indeed, 20 million. You are the one with an exceptional mind, not me.

Castro: Twenty million. Well, of course. The idea 
of using food to produce fuel is tragic, is 
dramatic. No one is sure how high the price of 
food will rise when soy is being used for fuel, 
with the need there is in the world to produce 
eggs, milk, to produce meat. It is a tragedy. One 
of many today.

I am happy to know that you have taken up the 
flag to save the species because... there are new 
problems, very difficult problems and therefore 
to see someone become a great preacher of the 
cause, a champion of the cause, an advocate of 
the life of the species. For that, I congratulate 
you. Continue fighting [words inaudible] to 
educate the people so they can understand.

There are things that I read and review every 
day. I am very aware of the threat of war, 
environmental threats and food threats. We have 
to remember that there are billions of people 
famished. These are realities, and for the first 
time in history, the governments are getting 
involved. Governments that are able and have the 
moral authority to do it, and you are one of 
those rare examples...

Forgive me for extending myself. I have stolen half of your show.

Chavez: No. Not extensive at all. It is 1949. We 
were remembering you today. As you know, today is 
27 February. One of the reasons of the Caracazo 
is that when you came that time, you left here 
hundreds of agitators that set the flats on fire, 
as we say. We were analysing the causes including 
the topics of the foreign debt, Black Friday, the 
plundering of the country, the flight of capital, 
privatisation, inflation accompanied by a 
horrible recession, unemployment, the collapse of 
the middle class. Well, as Einstein said, we were 
reading it a while ago, I do not know if you 
heard it, when he reflects on socialism and 
concludes that capitalism generates chaos.

So, Fidel, we were remembering you in connection 
with the Caracazo [violent looting and 
disturbances in Caracas on 27 February 1989]. I 
was thinking that in those days I saw you from 
afar and I wanted to get close to greet you, but 
I could not, but we were already involved in the 
revolutionary movement. I wanted to tell the 
world I thought this Hello President programme, 
now that I am listening and talking to you, what 
an honour. Well, that day, the entire people rose 
against neo-liberalism. Fidel, as you know, the 
Caracazo was the first overwhelming and worldwide 
response to the neo-liberal plan as the Soviet 
Union and the Berlin Wall were falling, and the 
onset of the end of history.

And 4 February stems from the Caracazo. You know 
that one does not make sense without the other. 
Then came this whole path, our revolution in 
which Cuba has always and will always be present, 
Cuba with you at the helm. There is so much to 
thank Cuba for. Without Cuba, the energy 
revolution would have been impossible. Now, we 
will continue to move forward with you...

Castro: I think it is all wonderful... Venezuela 
has a territory of nearly one million square 
kilometres. We are just a nut shell that the Gulf 
current pushed too close to our friends to the 
north. [Chuckles]

Chavez: [In English] Our friends Fidel, listen.

Castro: Well, you say that I know English. I did at one time.

Chavez: Did you forget it?

Castro: The trauma afterwards has made me forget 
it. This is why I no longer have that excellent 
memory you have, the capacity to summarise or 
your musical ear, your talent to remember songs. 
I cannot believe that you have partied so much as 
to remember all those songs.

Chavez: I never partied as much as you.

Castro: I envy you that.

Chavez: Not as much as you. Not as much as you.

Castro: I am talking about the essence of ideas. 
You have the right words. I have noticed that the 
[word inaudible] the exact words. In the end, you 
will be one of the greatest writers in this 
hemisphere. Do not worry, writers have 
increasingly more power with time.

Chavez: Can I ask you something?

Castro: Yes.

Chavez: What do you think of the latest news to 
have reached us? That 67% of Americans disapprove 
of Bush's policy in Iraq. You know that we are 
preparing to welcome Bush in South America?

Castro: Ah, you are going to welcome him. Yes, I 
have heard something. That there will be mass 
organisations all in a very peaceful and 
respectful spirit, but I bet that you do not know 
about two big news today.

Chavez: Tell me.

Castro: For example, the Shanghai Stock Market 
fell 9% today and the New York Stock Exchange, 
the queen of all stock markets, fell 4%. It is 
one of the greatest drops in recent years and 
that really proves our ideas.

Chavez: Well, those news -

Castro: [Interrupting] They lost there $800bn 
(409bn). It is the queen of the stock exchanges. 
The fall was greater than during the South East 
Asia crisis. So, I do not know what will affect 
US leaders or whoever leads the US by Moto 
Propio, if the news of what happened there or his 
tour of South America.

Chavez: Yes. No. I tell you. I did not know the 
news of the fall of the Shanghai or New York 
markets. However yesterday, you should already 
know because you know everything, the 
[International] Monetary Fund is in a crisis. I 
said yesterday and today that they may have to 
ask [for] a loan from the Bank of the South. The 
Monetary Fund does not have funds to pay wages. 
They are selling their gold bars.

Castro: Yes. They are selling gold because that 
is the only thing worth anything today. What they 
should be selling is paper. Paper for the US to 
pay, or sell something. Well, the Bank of the 
South is a serious bank. It aspires to be a 
serious bank.

Chavez: It will be a serious bank.

Castro: The International Monetary Fund was never 
so, the crisis proves it. This happens three or 
more days before the fall of the stock exchange.

Chavez: It is the same crisis, as you already 
know, the crisis of the world economy, the 
capitalist system. Well, the alternative at the 
national level. Each one has its own model. We 
have socialism there in Cuba and here in 
Venezuela. [Words inaudible] at the international 
level, we have the Alba [Bolivarian Alternative 
for the Americas]. As you know, we are moving 
forward quickly.

Well, everyone asks for you. Yesterday I was in 
Martinique, pardon, in Dominica. We went by 
Martinique. We were in Dominica and Saint 
Vincent. The prime ministers sent their 

Everyone asks about you and I tell them what I 
know about your recovery, of your new Sierra 
Maestra [Cuban mountain range which Castro used 
as a base for starting revolution], of that 
struggle you are waging and in which we accompany 
you every day. Praying to God, whom as you said 
is helping Chavez and his friends, to continue 
helping you in your recovery. All of us. We are 
millions, as you know, in the world that want to 
see you again fully recovered as I am sure will 

You are an example of resistance and now of 
offensive, Fidel. I do not want to let go of the 
opportunity of your surprising phone call that so 
encourages us and makes us happy to continue 
reminding our people of the courage of 
Revolutionary Cuba and your courage, your 
courage, your conscience. We were remembering 
that you were here in 1959 when the so-called 
democracy experience here, which failed 
miserably, was beginning. That failure led to the 
Caracazo and that to 4 February, and from there 
to what is happening here today. But you, Cuba 
and its example of dignity, of battle, courage 
and its infinite solidarity has always and will 
always be with us as an example.

Castro: Hugo, I wanted to tell you that I met the 
head of your delegation and we were talking when 
the news from over there arrived. So I am very 
happy. I will see if I can talk to him personally 
or some of the other figures later on. They are 
working a lot with great enthusiasm. Taking 
advantage of the short time we have left. Time 
cannot be overlooked. In my opinion, we have 
limited time.

Chavez: As you know -

Castro: [Interrupting] We are increasingly more 
aware of that. I thank you very much for your 
greetings, for your thoughts. Overall, I 
remembered to give you back the microphone 
because if I do not, I get going like you. I 
could not compete, but I can imitate you a bit. I 
also want to thank you for the greetings from the 
people of Venezuela, such heroic people that have 
undertaken the responsibilities that it has now.

History is being rewritten. Two hundred years ago 
everything was very different. The world has 
changed so much, especially in the last 70 years, 
that is the time we must take advantage of and 
over which we have to meditate a lot. I set time 
for that. I feel good because there is nothing 
more important...

I cannot promise you that I will visit you soon 
and accompany you one of these days, but I am 
gaining ground. I feel more energetic, stronger 
and I have more time to study. I have become a 
student all over again.

Chavez: Morals and Lights.

Castro: Morals and Lights. Those two words are 
stuck in my head. I do not forget that. This is 
the first time I see someone trying to win that 
moral battle on a foundation of winning the 
hearts and minds of the people. I do not know if 
you still have more time, but you were supposed 
to talk to Ramirez.

Chavez: No, I can talk to Ramirez tomorrow.

Castro: He is saying: what do I do?

Chavez: I can talk to Ramirez tomorrow. We are 
happily listening to you and we are happy to hear 
you and to hear about your recovery. Continue to 
recover. Do not forget about the tsunami.

Castro: No. No.

Chavez: Go ahead.

Castro: I almost forgot one thing. Everyone 
thanks you for relaying news about me. I speak 
and then silence. Total silence. I cannot be 
talking every day. They have to break the habit, 
the vice of having news every day. I appeal for 
patience and calm from everyone. I am happy. 
Everything is quiet. The country is marching 
along, which is what matters. I also ask for 
tranquillity for me so that I can fulfil my new 
tasks nowadays.

Chavez: Yes, Fidel. I have become, well, you have 
turned me into an emissary, a source. Anyone who 
wants to know how Fidel is doing, can come here, 
can call me, can talk to me. I always give them - 
Well, I tell them the truth about what is 
happening. Your recovery, your example, your 
perseverance. You have said that you cannot 
accompany me here soon on a trip, but it is not 
necessary because you are always here with us. I 
hope to return to Havana soon so we can continue 
talking, working, and gaining ground as you have 
said... Do you know how many people listen to the 
first hour of the programme? Forty per cent. As 
you know, the audience of Hello President is 
huge. Let's gain ground. We will win the battle 
for life. We will win that battle. Thank you for 
your call.

Castro: A million thanks.

Chavez: Let's give Fidel a round of applause. 
[Applause] A hug. Comrade, companion, and you 
know, I do not have any qualms about calling you 
father in front of the world. Onward to victory.

Castro: Onward to victory.

Chavez: We will prevail.

Castro: We will prevail. [Applause]

Transcript courtesy of the BBC

Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division 
of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All 
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