A Door Slammed
IN SEPTEMBER 1973 FIDEL CASTRO attended the Fourth Conference of Nonaligned Nations, in Algiers. He went prepared to back the cause of the Soviet Union and to convince the more than seventy countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America represented there that nonalignment did not signify neutrality. Leonid Brezhnev had sent an urgent personal message to Houari Boumedienne, the meeting's presiding officer, assuring him that the Soviets were their "natural allies." Castro appropriated Cubana's Il-62 again and flew to Algeria by way of Georgetown and Port of Spain. In the Guyanan capital he picked up the prime minister, Forbes Burnham, and the Jamaican leader, Michael Manley. On the island of Trinidad he conferred with Eric Williams and with Errol Barrow of Barbados about the impending meetings. Brazil and Bolivia also planned to send observers, but Cuba's staunch ally in the hemisphere, Salvador Allende, was confronting a crisis of monumental proportions and could not attend. Castro proposed to persuade the strongly nationalistic leaders of the newly independent British colonies to join him in asserting their exclusive fishing rights in the Caribbean, barring the Americans, and to use their huge bauxite deposits as a weapon against the industrialized Western countries. He made few converts at the meetings. Instead, his impassioned special pleading led to harsh criticism of the Cubans and the Soviet leaders by other Third World leaders.
Moderates such as Boumedienne and Indira Gandhi hoped to achieve a consensus on a declaration of economic principles that could help end what speaker after speaker referred to as the "pillaging" of the underprivileged peoples by the rich and powerful nations. In his opening address the Algerian leader called for "concrete measures" to provide support for anti