STATEMENTS MADE BY RAÚL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCILS OF STATE AND MINISTERS ABOUT THE DEATH OF THE PRISONER ORLANDO ZAPATA TAMAYO, MARIEL, FEBRUARY 24, 2010

We very much regret the occurrence.

He was sentenced to three years but had committed crimes in prison and so his sentence was increased.  Later, he was taken to our best hospitals.  He died: we regret it very much.

Unfortunately, in this confrontation which we have with the United States, we have lost thousands of Cubans, particularly the victims of state terrorism.  There have been around 5,000 among those who died and were wounded, not to mention another few thousand who were able to recover, including diplomatic personnel who were also murdered abroad and including the disappeared in other countries.

The day the United States decides to live in peace with us, all those problems will cease and we shall overcome many other problems.   Quite simply, we have to get used to living with respect for each other.

They say they want to have talks with us and we are willing to discuss any problem they like with the US government; I have repeated it three times, in our Parliament, all, all, all.  We are not going to accept talks unless they are with absolute equality on both sides.  They can make inquiries or ask about any Cuban matter, but we too have the right to ask about all the United States problems.

We do not recognize the right of any country, no matter how powerful it may be, to meddle in our internal affairs.  Nevertheless, we are willing to talk about everything.

In half a century, we have not murdered anyone here, we have tortured no one here, we have not carried out any extra-judicial execution.  Well, here in Cuba there have been tortures, but they have taken place at the Guantánamo Naval Base, not on territory governed by the Revolution.

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