Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


[Speech; Havana, Granma Weekly Review, English, 30 July 1972, pp

Speech given by Major Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of the
Revolutionary Government and First Secretary of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, at the ceremony held
to celebrate the completion of the installation of a unit of the
electrical enterprise at Tallapiedra, July 23, 1972 year of
socialist emulation.

(Translation of the transcript made by the Department of
Stenographic Transcripts of the Revolutionary Government)

Comrade Ambassadors and Representatives of the Socialist Republic
of Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic and Bulgaria;

Comrade Technicians from Those Countries;

Comrade Construction and Industrial Workers from the Agency for
the Development of Social and Agricultural Buildings and from the
Electrical Enterprise; Comrades of the Committees for the Defense of the

All of us feel a great sense of satisfaction today on seeing a
goal met, the virtual termination of the installation of this
60,000-kilowatt unit at Tallapiedra within the programmed time.

As has already been explained here, the completion of this work
required overcoming great difficulties of all kinds, including getting the
supplies that were pending and replacements for the parts that had been
used in other installations; classifying all the equipment; determining
exactly what equipment was still needed; and arranging with the Government
of Czechoslovakia, the political and social institutions in Czechoslovakia
and the workers in the factory where that equipment is produced so as to
get it -- to cite just a few examples of what had to be done. And thanks to
the determination, tenacity and tremendous cooperation of all the factors
which had anything to do with this task and to the tremendous enthusiasm of
the workers and of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the
job was finished.

This unit will go into service around September 28, for even
though this task, the essential work, is done, there are always some
details that have to be wrapped up, such as making the test runs. Therefore
in about two months we will be able to count on the energy that this plant
will generate. But, in view of our needs in the electrical sector, this
still won't solve the problem. It will be an improvement.

You must have noticed that this summer the situation was much less
critical than last year. In large measure, this was due to greater
efficiency in the plants already in operation; to the progress of
maintenance; and to the addition of some units, such as a unit here at
Tallapiedra which-was undergoing repairs last year.

When winter comes, we have to use much more electricity. So, even
though we put this unit into operation on September 28, we will still have
problems with electricity. Moreover, there's the maintenance work and the
fact that some of the units now in service aren't very new and -- as was
the case with this unit here, which was out of service for an awful long
time -- we've had serious technological problems with them, which have been
gradually solved at the cost of great efforts. There's no guarantee that at
any given moment one of these plants won't turn into a headache. Therefore,
we know we can expect still more difficulties.

The other unit in Regla, of the same capacity, is already under
construction and it is hoped that next year we'll have that unit in
service, too. Problems of parts will have to be solved there, as well --
especially as some of the equipment for that unit was used here to get this
unit into operation. We'll have to keep on working on the arrangements in
Czechoslovakia and with the workers, enlisting their cooperation so as to
finish the other unit as soon as possible and get it into operation. And
when we've achieved that, keeping maintenance up to snuff -- which we
shouldn't have to mention any more -- we still won't have all the
electricity we need guaranteed, and we'll continue with a huge consumption
of electricity in the winter; an increase in consumption; and, in addition,
the risks inherent in the facts that some units aren't as efficient as
might be hoped and service may be interrupted.

Work will be begun in Mariel this year to install our first
100,000-kilowatt unit, which will be followed up right away with a second
and a third unit of 100,000-kilowatts. (Applause)

Therefore, in 1975, what with Regla -- which will be finished next
year -- plus the three new units, if we had a plant similar to this one
which is going to be installed in Nuevitas -- though the eastern region
doesn't have nearly as bad a deficit in electricity output as the western
region -- plus a plant on the Isle of Pines that should be producing around
20,000 kilowatts -- for the Isle of Pines is growing and developing space,
and we can't send it electricity from here, as it's an island -- and, in
addition, a unit which has to be built in Matanzas, taking all this
together, in 1975 our country will have four times the capacity for
producing electric power that it had in 1959. (Applause)

By then the capacity for generating electric power will have
covered, basically, our increases in consumption. We'll be better off, for,
with three units of 100,000 kilowatts each, we won't have to worry if one
of the other units runs into any trouble. Some day we'll have to cut out
some of those units that aren't so efficient, that burn more oil. But we'll
have to be very careful if we're going to do that. It'll be better to have
one of them out of service but ready to switch back in case of emergency,
as a reserve to meet any situation, than to cut it out on a permanent
basis. We aren't going to take anything out permanently. (Applause) If any
of those units are going to be dismantled, they'd have to be in such a
state that it would be positively antieconomical to maintain them and they
wouldn't be of any possible or even hypothetical use for the economy.
Moreover, our capacity to generate enough electric energy to meet our needs
would have to be underwritten first.

This Job Was Also Carried Out in a Revolutionary Manner

This job was also carried out in a revolutionary manner,
considering the efforts put forth by the workers; the work done in
coordinating the various forces; and, especially, the participation of the
masses through the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. (Applause)

I know that all of you must feel very satisfied today, when your
efforts have been turned into a reality. You are aware of the importance
and usefulness of this unit, and you know that progress, advance, the
Revolution and victory can only be attained through struggle and work.

Now you have a good idea of all these problems of electric power
and the economy. You've had the opportunity to learn, to understand what
the electric power industry is; how much expense and effort is involved in
that industry; how the equipment is produced; how important every part,
machine and ton of material involved in that industry -- whether steel,
cement, stone or sand -- is; the number of cubic yards of earth that must
be moved; the number of cranes, bulldozers, and trucks needed; and the
laboratories and control equipment, the miles of piping and the other
electrical installations involved. And the expense all this entails! And
you know that, once all this is set up, it has to be maintained and kept in
running order. You are aware of the number of men and women required for
this kind of work -- to say nothing of the fuel that has to be used to keep
these plants running. And the fuel is oil, an important raw material which
we still lack even though intensive work is being done On a painstakingly
drawn program of geological investigation and exploration with a view to
finding out what the possibilities are for finding oil in our country and
the quality such an oil might have.

A considerable amount of oil is used all over the world in the
production of electric power.

There's no such thing as waterpower in our country, for we don't
have any large rivers, and whatever water we store up in reservoirs in the
summer must be held in reserve for use during droughts. We don't have any
coal, either. We never had any sources of power of our own. In fact we even
lack wood, which must be imported from distant places, because our old
forests served as a source of power for the sugar mills and, in the early
years of the Republic -- in the first decades -- were razed by the foreign
companies, which burned cedar and mahogany -- any kind of wood --
indiscriminately, to feed the furnaces of the sugar mills. they didn't care
how much they squandered. When, back in 1905 and 1907, the United States
began to replant its own forests and put into effect a policy for the
conservation of forests, here in Cuba the U.S. companies continued to raze
our forests, using the trees as fuel, and neither they nor anybody else
bothered to plant a single tree. Therefore, when it comes to sources of
power, we won't even have wood. We must recognize all these things and
realize how much expense is involved in the production of electric power in
our country.

Take waterpower, for example. When you have large rivers, once the
installations are set up, once the generators are installed -- which, of
course, involves a great deal of expense -- your fuel expenses are nil.

This is why it is so important that the people know these things,
that they develop an awareness of these things. Above all, the development
of our economy is aimed not at bringing profits to monopolies or
capitalists but rather at benefiting the people themselves -- and this
means every factory, school, hospital, warehouse, park, power plant and
transportation enterprise of every type. Otherwise, this phenomenon of the
masses participating in this work would never have taken place, for, in a
society of exploiters and exploited, where the people are exploited right
and left, nobody would move a finger to solve a problem that concerns only
to profiteers and privileged individuals. Here, all of you who participated
in this project, know that you will be the beneficiaries of this plant as
soon as it goes into operation, (Applause) that either you yourselves will
be using the power it puts out or it will be used by our economy in its
plants and factories and in other lines of the country's development, which
means development for you and your children, for you and the future

We are all well aware of the bitter hardships and inconveniences
caused by a power failure when we are watching a movie or are at home
resting or when we are working in our offices. We know of the headaches
that a power failure can cause in a plant, and the loss in production
involved. We know what a power failure means in a school. We are well aware
of the inconveniences involved in the case of...well, we won't say a
hospital, because hospitals have priority. But you are now fully aware of
the importance of electric power, a kind of power that is of vital
importance for everything from the running of an operating room or
laboratory in a hospital to the machines in a large number of industries,
in textile plants and in the operation of cranes. This is the power on
which the operation of an oil refinery and other basic industries is based;
the power that makes it possible to do arc welding; the force that, in sum,
makes the operation of an entire country possible -- even the operation of
the large cranes at our ports and construction sites. This is the power
behind refrigeration, the preservation of foodstuffs, the operation of
household electric appliances -- refrigerators, TV sets and electric stoves
-- even though considering its great expense in terms of electric power, an
electric stove isn't the kind of stove we should use, as it turns out to be
the most expensive one. (Applause) But we should use electricity to listen
to a radio or TV program or for any other use at home -- running a
refrigerator, for instance. At any rate, we're already turning out 30,000
refrigerators a year, (Applause) and they are being distributed, as you
know, through the work centers, just like the TV sets, radios and pressure
cookers. There aren't enough refrigerators for everyone, but a rigorous,
fair procedure is being observed, taking into consideration the social
merits and conduct of the recipients. (Applause)

And we shouldn't dismiss the possibility that, as soon as our
economy makes it possible, the refrigerator-manufacturing plant will be
enlarged and a day will come when a refrigerator in every house will be an
everyday thing.

The same method is being employed in building houses. The housing
projects, too, call for a great deal of electric power for the new houses
and establishments -- their individual lifting systems; the water supply,
for supplying water to the houses and pumping the water up to the tanks on
the roof; street lighting systems in the towns; light in the school and
children's day-care center; and so forth. All that requires a great deal of
electric power.

We Are Very Happy to See the Progress that the Masses, the Workers and Our
People Have Made

Our people, our masses, through their participation, are becoming
fully aware of all this. It's no longer the case of an alienated people,
such as existed under capitalism, when they had no reason or justification
for taking an interest or being concerned about what didn't belong to them
-- the economy, the factories and the resources belonged to others, who
used them as work tools and exploited them as simple creators of surplus
value, biological machines to create riches for the exploiters. That is why
the people in a capitalist society neither understand the economy nor worry
about it -- they are in fundamental contradiction with it and must struggle
against exploitation. And, in the final analysis, the people must fight for
an end to exploitation. There's no other alternative or conclusion.

When the contradiction disappears, then we can see these
extraordinary phenomena. You can be sure that a people will not only be
richer by having more factories, minerals and raw materials. Above all, the
more politically cultured the people are, the richer they are; the more
information, training and unity (Applause) they have; and the more
cooperative efforts they will engage in. (Applause)

Anyone can see that nobody could have built this project alone.
Anyone can see that one, two, ten or a hundred people wouldn't have been
able to do the job. Hundreds have been needed, with the cooperation of
thousands: the ones who turned out each of the basic materials, the men who
produced the cement, quarried the rock and loaded the sand; and the ones
who unloaded equipment at the docks and brought it here. Only the force of
the people, only the force of millions of people, can make a revolution and
overcome backwardness and poverty.

I repeat: the people will really be stronger and have a more
certain future as they have more culture and training in every field; but
especially as they are more politically cultured and have a greater
revolutionary understanding. (Applause)

We are very happy to see the progress that the masses, the
workers, our people, have made and the levels they have reached. We are
certain that their culture and spirit will continue to grow and that those
levels will be raised even higher as we progress along the road we have

We will be faced with even more complex tasks in the future, for
which more and more technicians, more skilled workers and more cooperation
will be needed. In the next five years we will have to install 100,000-and
200,000-kilowatt units. When the time comes to install 300,000- and
400,000-kilowatt units, we'll be able to use another form of energy, a form
that will be very important for our country: nuclear energy for the
production of electricity. (Applause) We can't be thinking of that as yet,
because we can't build a 50,000- or even 100,000-kilowatt atomic power
plant. The smallest atomic plant must be in the 300,000- to
400,000-kilowatt range. If we installed units of that size in Cuba today,
we would have to paralyze nearly the entire country when maintenance time
comes. Any little problem would leave us without 25 or 30 percent of our
electrical capacity.

That can be done when a 300,000- or 400,000-kilowatt unit is about
five percent of the total -- that is, a tiny portion of the total capacity
in operation -- so the plant can be stopped for repairs or to take care of
any little problem that might develop.

In the Soviet Union, in the city of Voronezh, we visited some
atomic power stations. One of them produces more than 200,000 kilowatts in
each of its first two units and more than 400,000 kilowatts each in the
third and fourth. The control room of the first 200,000-kilowatt unit is
three times the size of the control room of the 400,000-k