Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Stresses USSR Ties

FL031834 Havana Television Service in Spanish 1800 GTM 3 Nov 84

[Text] The fraternal friendship and multilaterial cooperation between the
USSR and Cuba has been, is at present, and always will be the basis of
Cuba's foreign policy, said our highest leader Commander in Chief Fidel
Castro to the Soviet newspaper PRAVDA. In an interview granted to PRAVDA
correspondents to the 39th CEMA meeting held in Havana, Fidel underscored
that it was specifically the USSR which provides Cuba with all that was
indispensable for defending the revolution's gains and for the economy's
accelerated development. The first secretary of the party also told PRAVDA
that at present Soviet workers have a special responsibility, to decisively
contribute to the struggle in preventing a nuclear war and to stop those
who pursue this in their tracks. He said that in this way it was fully
justified that the people of the underdeveloped nations increasingly tie
their destinies closer to the nation of Lenin and the October Revolution.

Lauds Industrial Production

FL021621 Havana Television Service in Spanish 1305 GMT 2 Nov 84

[Impromptu press conference held by President Fidel Castro while touring
Las Camariocas CEMA I Nickel Plant on 1 November; reporters unidentified --

[Text] [Reporter] Commander, could we ask a few questions?

[Castro] Yes, of course.

[Reporter] We would like to hear your opinion as to the impact this Punto
Gorda nickel plant will have on the country's development.

[Castro] We have made a great effort in this plant, one of the greatest in
recent times. This is a isolated area. It was necessary to import manpower
from all parts of the country. This project was developed in the Soviet
Union for out country. It will be the biggest nickel plant in Cuba. It is
of great importance for us. We hope to produce 30,000 tons. This will
require a very great effort, because making a plant produce at full
potential is just as difficult as building it. Technicians, engineers, and
qualified workers have been training so that they will be able to make the
plant operate at full capacity in the shortest period of time. This will
bring large profits to the country, as well as broaden the economic
relations and expand trade. This raw material is very important in modern
industry for the manufacture of all types of equipment. Thus, it is very
useful for the USSR and for us. CEMA I will be very useful to us and to the
entire socialist community. Now we have to work very hard. We have gained
experience building this plant. Not only is this plant's economic aspect
important, it will also provide employment for many thousands of workers.
It implies a great, intensive development in one of the poorest regions in
the country, an areas with the least development. This will bring to the
area dams, roads, communications, housing, hospitals, and all kinds of

The construction of this plant was a great challenge for us, for our
workers, for our builders. We have been put to the test. We have never
built a plant as big as this one. In the past U.S. firms had to come to
build small plants for us. The sugar mills, the Pedro Soto [nickel plant],
the Nicaro plant were built by U.S. firms. Today we have many enterprises
which can build projects such as this one. They have been developed by the
revolution, and they have highly qualified workers. It is very satisfying
to know how much the revolution can build.

[Reporter] Commander, one more question. Do you remember that during the
15th congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers the Moa workers
pledged they would complete some projects in honor of the 39th CEMA meeting
held in our country? What is your evaluation of those efforts?

[Castro] All the work done here in Moa is very impressive. Not only did the
workers make an effort, the students also worked here. They came and stayed
several months, living in tents. The workers set very high goals to honor
the CEMA meeting. They worked many months, and what they produced is the
equivalent to the work of 2,000 additional men. That is why we were very
sorry that as a result of the tragic event in India, Indira's death, we
were forced to move forward the closing of the meeting and cancel the rest
of the program. We had planned an afternoon session and, the most important
part, the inauguration of this plant as a culmination to the CEMA meeting.
Tikhonov and other delegations were going to come to observe the efforts we
are making. But it could not be that way. Many of the heads of state had to
return home; others were going directly to India. It was impossible to do

We will have to postpone the inauguration. The project is 83 percent
complete. We have to select another date and organize a ceremony. The
workers who participated in this project deserve to be honored; they made a
great effort. There should be an official inauguration. This was going to
be an exceptional inauguration attended by the heads of government of
socialist countries. We will have to invite them again, but I doubt they
will be able to come. At least some representatives from socialist
countries will attend, perhaps 10 months or 1 year from now. We must set a

[Reporter] They are trying to complete the project by the time the party
holds its third congress.

[Castro] It could be done sometime around the October Revolution
anniversary. We would do it then inasmuch as it was built with Soviet

[Report] Then it will not be this year.

[Castro] It cannot be this year, but next year, I believe 7 November next
year will be a good date.

[Reporter] The plant's workers plan to honor the party congress...

[Castro, interrupting] We will have to inaugurate it first. Sometimes we
inaugurate projects when construction had not been completed. Many times we
inaugurate them after they have been completed and are already in
production. In other instances we do not even inaugurate them. But this
project means a lost to us and it deserves an official inauguration on a
proper date.

We are worried because the Moa workers and population in general were
enthusiastically awaiting the inauguration. But it was necessary to cancel
it. We discussed this with the Soviet delegation and yesterday we decided
to come here and tour the project. Hundreds of Cuban workers, Soviet
specialists, and many specialists from other countries have participated in
this project. We have come here to fulfill a duty, to show solidarity with
the workers. That is why we are here today.

Since television reaches here already, I want to take the opportunity to
congratulate the workers, thank them, and express our admiration of the
great work they have done. In the old days television did not reach this
remote area. Even though we were unable to have the ceremony, the feat they
have accomplished will never be forgotten. It was a great satisfaction for
me to unveil and inaugurate the Guevara monument. I have met the sculptor,
a young man 23 years old, who was born after the revolution. This is his
first work. I find it excellent. I told him that if he wanted to make the
monument resemble Che, then he had done it. We hope in the future we will
make other monuments.

We want to take this opportunity to participate in pouring the foundation
of Las Camariocas project today.

[Reporter] Now we are in the year of the 67th anniversary of the October
Revolution. Between two important dates, the 39th CEMA meeting and the
inauguration of this project of Cuba-Soviet cooperation, what [words

[Castro] I have talked about Soviet cooperation. I mentioned as an example
this project. What I meant was that of all the ongoing projects in the
country, this was our major project. I can cite the nuclear power plant
which has a decisive importance for the country's future, because all the
electricity we produce requires oil, excepting the Hanabilla hydroelectric
power plant which produces 45,000 kilowatts and operates a few hours [no
further specification]. Four units of the nuclear power plant will produce
more than 1.7 million kilowatts. We are developing many areas such as
energy, economy, machinery. That is why this has a colossal significance.
This is a Soviet project, with Soviet equipment, Soviet specialists. In
addition to the thousands of workers participating in this project, there
will be many others, hundred. How could our country complete a project of
this magnitude without Soviet cooperation?

Right there, a refinery is under construction with Soviet equipment. We are
also expanding the Santa Clara machinery plants, building tandems for sugar
mills and a great deal of other equipment with Soviet cooperation. We built
a boiler factory with Soviet cooperation. In Matanzas [words indistinct].
Each of Havana, in Santa Cruz del Norte, we are building a [words
indistinct] with 1.1 or 1.2 million kilowatts, the biggest on the western
end of the island. That plant will guarantee the electricity needed in the
western region. It will help us stop operations at some old plants, some of
which were already old in the days of capitalism. They were old the, and
they burn 450 grams of fuel per 1 kilowatt of electricity. These new Soviet
plants burn less, 150 grams. Not only are we building new plants, but we
are saving fuel. We are stopping the use of the old ones that in addition
contaminate the environment.

In Havana we are also building piers and docks following Soviet designs. We
are expanding the Antillana de Acero steel mill in Havana. When it is
completed, it will produce 900,000 to 1 million tons [words indistinct].
You can image the importance of those industries. In Havana itself, we
recently completed the [word indistinct].

In Santiago de Cuba, we recently completed a textile mill with a capacity
of 80 million square meters of material. It is already in operation. The
Santiago de Cuba thermo- electric plant is almost completed. We are
expanding the Santiago de Cuba oil refinery. We are also expanding Havana's
oil refinery, the Nico Lopez, with Soviet cooperation. In addition, we are
maintaining trucks, and building projects in the mechanical industry which
are very important. [passage indistinct] We have increased our production.
It used to amount to 250,000 tons a few years ago, it now amounts to more
than 700,000 tons. We hope to reach the 2-million-ton-mark in oil
production. There are very important projects.

With Soviet cooperation, we have laid the coaxial cable. There are many
other fields of Soviet cooperation in science and technology. There are
only industrial development projects. There are other areas such as
consolidating and advancing the revolution in which the Soviet Union has
helped. There have been instances of Soviet cooperation in the midst of the
blockade over a 25-year period. We have grown by 4.7 percent during those
25 years and at a faster pace during this 5-year period. With Soviet
cooperation we have obtained [words indistinct]. With Soviet cooperation we
have established the foundation of the country's future development. I am
giving you this answer because you asked. I am not trying to express our
gratitude because I have no words with which to do so. The Soviets have
helped in many fields, including defense. They have loaned us the benefits
of their experience. They support us politically. I could go on talking
about many other things which have contributed to our social and economic
development during the past 25 years. [passage indistinct]

Each generation has to fulfill a historic task. The generation of October
1917 had the great task of conquering power and building socialism in the
Soviet Union. The Soviet Union only had a few industries. It was not an
industrialized country. It was an agricultural country. Another generation
had the task of Great Motherland War, and of rebuilding the coutry. Now the
present generation's great task is peace, the struggle for peace, how to
avoid the holocaust. An intelligent peace policy and the economic struggle
make checking the warmongering and adventurous policy of the Reagan
administration possible. That is the main brake which guarantees peace in
the work. That is the great tasks. They have to continue to make more
progress in science and technology and [words indistinct].

[Reporter] What is your opinion of the imperialist attempts to obstruct
Soviet-Cuban relations?

[Castro] Obstruct them?

[Reporter] Yes, that is, to create some provocation.

[Castro] That bronze is hard, is it not? [points to Guevara's statue] The
nickel we produce is hard, is it not? The steel with which nickel is used
is hard, it it not? The friendship and ties between the Soviet Union and
Cuba are harder than any of those. [passage indistinct] They have lasted 25
years. They would not do that at the beginning; how could they do it now
when we have advanced so much? There is no possibility.

[Reporter] here is this magnificent terrain where the rebel struggle took
place; what is the main result of the 25 years of the Cuban revolution?

[Castro] Are you referring to the entire country?

[Reporter] Yes, and the region, too.

[Castro] Well, our people's dignity, socialism, our great social gains, our
public health [words indistinct], sports, [words indistinct]. I believe
those are gains which many countries would like to have. In those fields I
mentioned, I believe education and health [words indistinct]. All countries
in the Third World and some industrialized countries [words indistinct]. We
continue to advance. What we have not is not important, what is important
is what we will have. We began with few teachers, how many do we have now?
We have 252,000 teachers. In the next 15 years we will graduate 50,000 more
teachers. We are already practicing family medicine. [passage indistinct]
There are new developments, great advances. No one can be satisfied with
the advances. History and life teach us that when we believe that we have
achieved a lot, new problems, new needs emerge. Comrade Baybakov gave me a
good example. We were discussing the production of fuel. At the end of the
war, the Soviet Union undertook a huge program to produce 80 to 90 million
tons of fuel, and not they produce more than 600 million tons and the
problems are greater and the needs are greater -- how to save fuel, how to
find other energy resources. Can you imagine what the earlier Soviets would
have said if they had known that someday their country would be producing
600 million tons and now has to find other ways to solve the energy
problem? Life demonstrates that all you struggle and attain is nothing but
a starting point toward more difficult goals.

I want to ask a question now. [passage indistinct] In 20 years that plant
has produced more than 350,000 tons of metallic nickel and thousands and
thousands of tons of cobalt. Comrade Ryzhkov mentioned instances when he as
asked to produce special parts made of titanium [words indistinct].

Here in Cuba and Soviet cooperation had been vital. The question I wanted
to ask is: How do you expect us to complete our program here if we have to
answer all these questions?

[Reporter] We want to thank you on behalf of Tele-Rebelde.

[Castro] You have a responsibility. It requires a lot of common sense and a
lot of knowledge to criticize. It is important to investigate, to ask so
that criticism may be constructive. Sometimes I have seen writings with
wrong figures; where it should read 40,000 its reads 4,000. Nobody reviewed
the figures. Criticism can help in pressuring [words indistinct] and
revealing what is wrong. You must criticize and educate. You must demand
improvement. Thank you very much.