In Havana, Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin and Cuban Fidel Castro, continue their talks in secret.?
In Havana, Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin and Cuban Fidel Castro, continue their talks in secret. Though there's no firm date announced, it's expected here that Mr Kosygin will leave Cuba on Saturday. From Havana, JO:
Whether or not there's a communique at the end of this Russian-Cuban meeting it will be some time before full details of what actually's gone on here ever reaches the light of day. Behind the scenes-it's thought here that a lot of the two leaders' attention has been concentrated on difficult economics problems.
Moscow's support of Cuba is now estimated--by Western sources--to run ??? previous levels. Russia is now this country's biggest trading partner. Western sources estimate that 75 per cent of Cuban exports, mostly sugar, now go to Soviet bloc countries.
Most things are scarce here, ranging from cars, to cigarettes. Rationing is the order of the day....here, for example, is the card provided for me by the Revolutionary Administration at my hotel. With it, I can buy one Havana cigar a day: hardly of course a hardship, but nevertheless indicative of how closely all buying is controlled.
This is the first time since 1967 that Mr Kosygin's been in Cuba....why's he here now?
JO It's a fair bet that ??? a result of the news that Mr Nixon is going to Moscow next Spring. Cuba doesn't see the United States in quite the same way as the Russians. While Moscow and washington are talking to each other, Cuba still has no truck with what Premier Fidel Castro as recently as July described as "Yankee imperialism."
"We are not seeking conciliation of any kind"..he said... with that imperialism. At the time, some people thought he was rebuking Peking for allowing Mr Nixon to visit China; since then, news of the Russian trip has underlined Cuba's independence of policy.
Mr Nixon has also said he might discuss Cuba with the Russians as what he termed "a peripheral mater." Peripheral perhaps to the White Hose... but not to ten million or so Cubans. They see themselves as in the middle.
So, it would be no surprise if Premiers Castro and Kosygin try to work out an agreed position with which to face the Americans. And, on Cuba's part, it's hoped that the Russians would not dream of sacrificing any Cuban interests in exchange, say, for concessions by the United States in other areas.
So is housing; but in a uniquely Cuban way. Here, for instance, people meet in downtown Havana at a sort of open-sir real-estate exchange market. They advertise their ??? properties for ???... there's no private property since the revolution -- and, when they've agreed with each other on any switch, it's officially approved in an office nearby.
This all goes on in a main square which saw some fighting during the revolution against Batista. Now, it's a more peaceful scene as children of that Revolution go to their government-run schools in their government-??? uniforms.
The Revolution is everywhere; signs and slogans and heroes all over the place. One of those heroes was Camilo Cienfuegos, long-since dead; ??? name lives on in a government-built housing estate east of Havana. Fifteen thousand Cubans who formerly lived in slums now live here; and the country is understandably proud of this. But to visit the other place called Cienfuegos, is not so easy: for that is where there's said to be a Russian naval base.
This is one of the hardest countries in the world in which to get any solid information...and in which to film. Every scene you've watched in this report has been shot by a BBC crew under official eyes.....including that in which I speak to you now.