Fidel Castro continues to have nice things to say about the United States. The Cuban President, visiting Nicaragua for celebrations marking the first anniversary of the Sandinista guerrilla victory, has heaped praise on the Carter administration for its support of the new Nicaraguan leaders, Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell reports.
Many Cubanologists say that Dr. Castro still wants closer ties with the US, despite results from Washington and even though he continues to be critical of some US policies. His remarks and actions in Managua tend to confirm this view.
Although Dr. Castro publicly said the US was not doing all it could to help the new leftist leadership in Nicaragua, he praised President Carter for adopting "a more intelligent and constructive policy" toward Nicaragua than that of earlier US administrations.
Moreover, at a reception, he talked informally for nearly 40 minutes with William G. Bowler, assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, and Lawrence A. Pezzullo, US ambassador to Nicaragua. The talk appeared amiable.
Dr. Castro's presence was clearly the highlight of the ceremonies marking the anniversary of the Sandinista victory July 19, 1979. Looking back on the year, Daniel Ortega Saavedra, a member of the all- powerful Sandinista directorate, said that "the progress made is less than we had hoped and more than we forecast."
Recovery from the 18-month civil war that preceded the Sandinista triumph was the major task of the year, he said, and was aided by help from the US, Cuba, and other nations. The US has already sent $70 million in aid and committed another $105 million for the next 15 months. Moreover, the US will soon send 500 Peace Corps volunteers. Cuba has 2,000 teachers, doctors, and technicians on the scene.