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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 09, 1979


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    Memorandum of a discussion of the future of socialism in Latin America. Castro expects that the social instability of the region will lead to increased socialist influence and revolutionary movements, specifically in Nicaragua and Grenada. He cites two difficulties in his quest to help the Latin American revolutionary forces: his weapons stockpile is running low, and he has agreed to not transfer Soviet weapons to other countries.
    "Memorandum of Todor Zhivkov – Fidel Castro Conversation, Havana," April 09, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 378-B, File 1140, Papka 7. Translated by Dr. Rositza Ishpekova, Edited by Dr. Jordan Baev. Obtained by the Bulgarian Cold War Research Group.
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Memorandum of Todor Zhivkov – Fidel Castro Conversation, Havana, 9 April 1979

Latin America as a whole continues to be a region of violent social cataclysms and the Socialist International, despite its great efforts, does not have long-term objectives to strengthen its influence on the continent. In the 20-year period since the victory of the Cuban revolution, the social and political processes in the region have not developed as quickly and successfully as Fidel Castro had expected them to develop, but he is convinced that the forthcoming two decades will bring new positive changes in Latin America.

The fall of the dictator Somoza in Nicaragua is inevitable. About a month ago, the three wings of the revolutionary armed organization, the Sandinistas Liberation Front, signed an agreement in Cuba for a unity of action, which is being fulfilled. Cuba is helping the soldiers from the Front, old friends of the Cuban revolution, by different means, including weapons. Since, due to obvious reasons, it cannot supply them with Soviet weapons, it supplies them mainly with the small amount of western reserves of guns it has. It has received from Vietnam about 500 to 600 American guns, which it has also given to the Sandinistas.

This help by Cuba is not carried out directly but via Panama's leader, Gen. Omar Torrijos. Fidel Castro finds this fact quite positive.

The Sandinistas rebels are mature revolutionaries, sharing Marxist-Leninist beliefs. Cuban comrades advise them against giving publicity to their beliefs and speaking publicly about Marxism-Leninism. They should be raising other slogans for the time being--for democracy, revival of the nation, etc. So far they are heeding the advice.

Grenada, a small Caribbean island of about 340 square kilometers and with population of about 120,000 people, has recently turned into a place of positive events. A group of revolutionaries, who share Marxist-Leninist beliefs and who are also Cuba's friends, led by Maurice Bishop, have succeeded in overthrowing the reactionary government of Eric Gairy--a US agent and Pinochet's friend. The position of the new authorities is still unstable mostly due to the fact that the means for defense are insufficient. The weapons, taken from the previous regime's armed forces, are no more than 600-700 pieces--all old English rifles. There is a real danger of a group of 200-300 well-armed foreign mercenaries raiding the island and restoring Gairy to power. Therefore, Cuba has offered Grenada military supplies. Cuba has given the revolutionaries a couple hundred Chinese, Korean and western European rifles. Yet this is insufficient because from now on Granada will have to create people's militia and Cuba will try to help in terms of armaments.

Regarding the necessity to help the Latin American revolutionary forces, comrade Fidel Castro mentioned that Cuba would find it difficult to provide the arms for several reasons. Firstly, its stockpiles of western-made arms are running low. Secondly, it has an agreement with the Soviet Union not to transfer Soviet weapons to other countries. Regarding the latter, Cuba is interested in receiving such weapons from Bulgaria, which will be very welcome even if the weapons are produced by Soviet, not Western standards, and as long as they don't bear any manufacturer stamp.

9th April 1979


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