Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro on Transportation

FL041040Y Havana Domestic Television Services in Spanish 0100 GMT 4 Oct 77

[Text] In his closing speech at the meeting to assess the work and renew
and/or ratify mandates of the party in Havana City, our Commander in Chief
Fidel Castro, first secretary of the PCC Central Committee and president of
the Council of State, referred to the work which the party must do in this
province to solve different difficult and complex problems.  Among these,
he stressed the transportation problem.

Fidel outlined the work being done to help solve this problem, which is
more soute in the capital.  He said that since 1959, demand for
transportation has tripled as a result of the population growth in Havana
City, but the number of buses has not been increases in the same

After explaining that it was planned to improve transportation during the
1976-80 5-year period but the drop in sugar prices forced a reduction in
the acquisition of transportation equipment and spare parts, he pointed out
that the prices for these have at least tripled and they must be purchased
with foreign exchange.  Fidel also said that we have slightly more than 400
chasis available with which the Giron-11 buses are being built and that the
Transportation Ministry and iron and steel industry reached an agreement to
accelerate the construction of these buses.  In this way, 67 new Giron-11
buses were added to Havana City service on Saturday and about 350 more will
be added from now through February.

Fidel noted that the total pool in the city amounts to 1,750 buses and that
about 750 are not in operation for different reasons, such as maintenance
or repair problems.  He added that from 100 to 150 more can be put into
operation from among the buses that are inactive because of parts problems,
and this would raise the figure to about 550 or 600 buses put into service
in the next few months.

Our commander in chief reported that certain additional measures can be
adopted, such as the addition of a dawn shift in repair shops, and that
personnel with certain qualifications are required for this.  Such a
measure would help to put into operation between 120 and 150 more buses

He added that in this way we would have about 700 more buses operating if
the three outlined measures were implemented and that, at the same time,
this is more than 50 percent of the buses now operating.

Fidel also announced that other measures are being considered, such as
adding to service some 450 Giron-4 buses, which are the small school buses
with a Soviet chassis.  He explained that our production plant already has
a 2-door design and that the comrades in the Ministry of Transportation
have been asked to study ways to use about 450 buses of this type on
passenger service.

In his closing remarks at the Havana City party meeting, Fidel announced
that the Russians are studying the possibility of furnishing big chassis
for the Giron-11 buses, which would be the solution since we would not have
to purchase such equipment in capitalist countries with all the sequels of
subsequent expenditures on spare parts.  However, these negotiations and
tests of the chassis take time; therefore, there is no other recourse
except to make investments in convertible currency areas.

Fidel also mentioned the conduct, spirit, work capability and
conscientiousness necessary among transportation workers and said there are
some drivers who do not take care of the buses, use them badly and break
them.  He said that political work is required with them so that they gain
greater awareness.  Fidel added that this is a task for the party and
especially the trade union.