Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


F1050314 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 0200 GMT 5 Dec 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the first energy forum, held in
Havana's Karl Marx Theater -- live]

[Text] Distinguished guests, dear comrades:

The objective of this forum, the intense process by which it was conducted,
was in the first place to create a profound consciousness regarding energy
problems, to analyze the measures adopted, elaborate new ideas, concepts,
and ways of saving energy, to analyze the perspectives of energy
development in our country, and how we should work in that direction.

I believe that meetings that took place -- 48,000 local meetings, the
meetings at the local and provincial level; the 87,000 agreements and
suggestions that were adopted at the local level; the 3,283 reports; the
677 reports that were brought before the forum's tribunal; the reports that
won awards; the discussions; the participation of the delegations that have
been meeting here for these days; the idea of enthusiasm and seriousness
with which the work has been carried out in this direction...[does not
complete sentence]

For my part, I am going to take the opportunity of this invitation to make
the concluding speech at the forum to speak with you, with our workers, who
are listening to us, and with our people about these subjects of energy, of
the vital importance of the saving of energy, and not only about the saving
of energy but also about the necessity of saving material and of saving in
all aspects, and to which I am going to add some final conclusions about
the way in which we should work in this field, and in the field of
economics in general.

I believe that in this way, in this meeting, we (?will reach) very
important conclusions for the future of our country. I believe it would
help our country to comprehend the importance of this subject if we
analyzed some data, beginning with electricity.

How the generation and consumption of electricity has increased! In 1968,
our country had a generating capacity of 397 megawatts. For the people to
better understand what a megawatt is -- you [in the audience] know
perfectly well -- it means 1,000 kilowatts. Before, they designated
generation capacity in 100,000 capacity or 200,000 or 300,000. The figures
however, got so large they began using megawatts instead of kilowatts. In
the same way that they do not measure the distance from Havana to Santa
Clara in meters, or perhaps they never measured it in meters, but rather,
it is measured in kilometers. No one today says it is 300,000 meters from
Havana to Santa Clara but 300 km from Havana to Santa Clara.

This is now taking place around the world in electricity and in many other
areas and naturally in electricity [as heard]. Now, in order to clear up
some concepts, I want to tell you that when the term conventional tons of
fuel is used -- sometimes the terms tons of petroleum and conventional tons
are used in order for the public to understand the terns the same way all
of us learned them in order to understand what a conventional ton meant --
it means 100,300 kilocalories. We then have to explain what kilocalories
means, well we can well imagine that. [laughter]

In our case, this is equivalent to the energy contained in a ton of fuel
oil [preceding two words in English]. This measure has been adopted here,
other countries have other measures, instead of 100,300, they use 7,500
kilocalories. In Cuba, we have adopted 100,300 conventional tons as
equivalent to a ton of fuel oil. [as heard] Some fuels have slightly more,
others slightly less, but this approximates one to, of petroleum. These
measures are used because fuels vary considerably. If, for example, we wish
to compare a ton of molasses to what caloric energy it contains, we must
use a measure, saying it has approximately 2,500. Then one knows that a ton
of molasses is the equivalent of some 250 kg of fuel oil, and that 4 tons
of molasses is equivalent to a ton of fuel oil. All these energy
measurements are important to understand.

Coal has its own measure, but all coal is not the same. At present, coal is
mined which have come to 3,000 or 3,500, others have much more 6,000,
7,000, and so on. In order to standardize and have a clear idea of the
value of each of these sources of energy, the terms kilocalorie or the
conventional ton are used. You all know this, I am not talking to you about
this, but to the people who are listening.

How has energy and especially petroleum and its derivatives consumption
risen in our country? Let's start with electricity. The installed capacity
was of 397 megawatts as I have already said. That is 397,000 kilowatt
hours, this is the generating capacity of all of our plants.

Over the past few years, a very intensive investment program has been
conducted which was not enough, because of an increase in consumption. You
remember the number of electrical outages which occurred, especially in the
west, in Havana in years past.

This happened because all the power plants which were built did not
suffice, because the so-called electricity peak or electrical crest grew so
much that it brought on outages due to insufficient power generation.

That peak rose in 1982 to 2,333 megawatts, that is, it increased six times.
That must be added to any unit which has been operating since 1983. There
are two figures, some say that it grew 5.9 times, and others that it grew
6.2 times in installed capacity, it is possible that the 6.2 figure refers
to the year 1984. This is a considerable increase.

The maximum demand during the night -- I believe it is night now -- grew
from 343 megawatts to 1,673 megawatts. Another notable increase. According
to statistics, the number of consumers in 1958 was 614,000. The present
number of electricity consumers comes to 1,633 million homes, not people.
This means that approximately 50 percent of the population, the way it was
56 percent, had electricity before the triumph of the revolution.
Currently, more than 86 percent of the population has electrical service.

Not only did residential consumption rise, but industrial electric
consumption rose. Practically all industries consume electricity, from
refrigerators to textile industry plants, numerous manufacturers, and food
industries. Social development also required a considerable increase in
consumption. Schools, nursery schools, boarding schools, all-day schools,
universities, hospitals, clinics, and stadiums all demanded a considerable
increase in electricity. You also have to take into account agriculture and
livestock farms, almost all of which need electricity. Warehouses also
require electricity.

All of them not only required large amounts of investments into the
thermoelectric plants, but also into the distribution networks. The
220-volt lines did not exist before the revolution. Today, there are 220
lines extending over more than 1,000 kilometers. The 110-volt lines covered
some 550 km, today they cover some 3,500 km. Before, there were some 12,000
km of 33volt-lines, or less, today the figure is 40,000.

Per capita electricity consumption has increased considerably. Included in
this per capita figure is residential consumption, but the per capita
figure also takes into account the country's total consumption, where each
person is apportioned a part of the electricity. For the number of
electrical home appliances which exist today, you need only point to one
figure. In the 1981-83 period, more than 2,300,000 electrical home
appliances were distributed to the people. That only takes into account
such appliances as: 490,000 televisions, 232,000 refrigerators, 388,000
washing machines, more than 700,000 irons, everyone knows how much energy
they consume, more than 400,000 fans, and several thousand air
conditioners. These are just some of the figures. Other appliances are not

All these factors indicate a notable increase in electricity consumption.
Electricity which is basically produced by petroleum. Each time we see a
light bulb on, an appliance on, a television, or a fan running, means that
they are using electricity produced by petroleum.

A percentage of the electricity is produced by the sugar refineries, at
harvest time of course, but we are talking about systems. Now then, from a
ton of fuel oil, the energy contained in a ton of fuel, how much of it is
actually used in a power plant? In Cuba, out of every 100 kilocalories, 32
kilocalories are actually used, meaning 32 percent is energy. Caloric
energy is converted into mechanical energy, and this in turn into
electrical energy, therefore, only 32 percent of the energy contained in 1
ton is used. I mention this because it is an important point. Our system is
still composed of relatively small units, and consumes more, or converts
less, than the average socialist country, which is approximately 37.5
percent. We have different types of units, and they harness only 32

Of course there are thermoelectrical units in Cuba which consume more than
400 grams of fuel per kilowatt of electricity. The plants in Taya Pierda,
En un Tendido, and I believe also the Regla, all consume more than 400. The
units which are currently being installed consume less per kilowatt. We
already have some which consume (?225) and I understand even as little as
220, but this is the stage they are at. We do have units in the system
which use approximately double this amount of kilowatt fuel. We will be
happy on the day that we can close some of those units, and keep them in
reserve, or give them to the Antillana de Acero, or keep them for an
emergency or something special, because they consume double the amount of
fuel. The problem of how much fuel is used by each unit is extremely

We can also point out that before the triumph of the revolution, we
consumed 398 grams per kilowatt. At present, 273.5 grams per kilowatt are
consumed, although there is disagreement on this figure. Some say the 1984
figure is slightly less. But, we will take the more conservative figure of
273.5, and this is a considerable reduction per kilowatt when compared with
what was used before the revolution.

At present, almost 3 million tons of fuel oil are used to produce
electricity in Cuba. More than $500 million [U.S.], at the international
price, is needed to produce electricity in our country.

Do we have any abundant energy resources to produce electricity? We do not
have coal deposits, or important deposits of natural gas or petroleum.
Because of the length and configuration of Cuba, we do not have large
rivers to produce hydraulic power for our basic electrical demands. Many
other countries have large rivers, ours are small and mainly used for
agriculture irrigation, although we do have the Toba River, in the extreme
eastern part of Cuba, which some calculate to have a 300,000 kilowatts
capacity. I believe we should seriously think about how to use the Toba's
power. We will have to diverge the river, but near it we are developing
important nickel plants. All of our fuel to produce electricity is
imported, and imported from a distance of more than 10,000 km. Most of it
comes from the USSR, although we do produce a small amount of petroleum.

When you think of all of the machines which run on electricity, the
dairies, warehouses, all the industries, and public services, and you
understand how and under what conditions electricity is produced, I believe
all this helps to make one conscious of the importance of saving energy,
because petroleum does not fall from the sky like rain. This is important
to remember.

Cuba's fuel production has developed very well. At the time of the
revolution's triumph, we had a refining capacity of some 4 million, some
say around 3.6 -- it is somewhere between 3.6 and 4.

These old refineries today process, after some repairs and improvements,
approximately 6.5 million tons of petroleum. We do not refine all the fuel
we consume, only approximately 60 percent, but of course, this can
increase. After recent investments in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, the
processing capacity increased by 1.5 billion tons. A refinery in Cienfuegos
Province is under construction, which over the next 5 years should have a
3-million ton capacity to process our crudeoil. About our crude we can say
what Marti said about our wine: Our wine is sour, but it is our wine. Our
oil is heavy, up to now, but it is our oil. It contains a considerable
amount of sulfur but this can be extracted and turned into a source of
sulfur. We may also find deposits of light crude, but the second phase of
the Cienfuegos refinery must have the technological capability to process
our petroleum.

It is important to refine petroleum, because many products are obtained
from it such as liquid gas, for domestic use, gasoline, for industrial use,
and various fuel grades in different proportions. Fuel consumption has
increased considerably, rising from 3.5 or 4 billion tons before the
revolution and in 1958, to more than 10 billion tons at present.
Consumption has increased differently for various products, and I am going
to give several examples. Before the revolution 100,000 tons of domestic
kerosene were used daily. At present, 600,000 tons are consumed. Before,
25,000 tons of liquid gas were consumed annually. Today, 100,000 tons are
consumed, and it is still not enough. In the past 25,000 cubic meters of
natural gas was consumed. Today it reaches 136,000, and it is not enough.
Sometimes, when you go to a club or restaurant there are problems because
there is not enough liquid gas for this increased need.

The per capita fuel consumption before the revolution was equivalent to
approximately 533 kgs, today it is 1,051 kgs. This is per capita
consumption, it does not mean that one drinks oil like beer or soda, but it
is consumed. It is consumed by industries, hospitals, and schools, and in
the transportation, production, light industry, food, and manufacturing
sectors, and this figure is per capita. We have a population of 10 million,
and consumption is more than a ton per capita. It is important to know
about this matter, but even more important is to know how much fuel cost
before and how much it costs now. I remember that when the revolution
triumphed, petroleum cost between $15 and $16 a ton, but in 1973, before
the spectacular price increase, it cost approximately $20 a ton, in other
words, slightly more. Over seven barrels are in a ton of petroleum. The
experts should know exactly, but I always figure in tons when someone talks
about tons or barrels. If it is 1 ton, it is over 7 barrels. I tried to
find out how many gallons are contained in a ton of petroleum, fuel oil,
gasoline, or diesel, but it is almost impossible to know because they have
different volumes, and different weights. Fuel oil is heavier, and is much
less in gallons. Gasoline weighs less, say per liter, therefore, a ton has
more liters and gallons. This also changes for diesel and gasoline, it
changes with everything. So I can not tell you a ton has a certain number
of gallons. One can figure it out, but you would need a small computer.
But, we do know that in oil, the ton makes over 7 barrels. In 1973, a
barrel of crude petroleum cost $3.22. In energy it is good to speak of
dollars instead of pesos, which are also measured differently. To be clear,
let us speak in international prices. In 1982, the barrel of oil cost
$32.80. It increased suddenly in 1973, 74, 76, and reached that price. Oil
prices increased tenfold between 1973 and 1982.

Let's assume the dollar also declined somewhat. But doubtlessly, one would
need to make calculations, international oil prices increased between six
and eight times. I am making conservative estimates. It is incredible, no
product, no raw material, no good in the world reached these drastic
increases. It never happened with an energy component or transporter, with
no raw material.

Naturally, to develop countries which imported oil, this meant a disaster
to add to the disasters they already had. The disaster of unequal exchange
or low prices for its products was compounded by the oil disaster. I know
of countries which imported 1 million -- African countries -- 800,000 tons.
When the price increased abruptly, one figured out how much all of its
exports cost.

Take, for example, a country like Tanzania, a friend of ours, a respected
African country: They exported hand-picked cotton, henequen cut plant by
plant, you know how the henequen is grown, maranon seed is picked one by
one, Zanzibar clove, which is picked from tall trees, flower by flower,
some coffee, because its climatic conditions are not very favorable for
that product, and some cattle. When you added the value of all those
exports it was not enough to pay for the 800,000 tons of oil. It is
incredible how there are some countries that have to make a living, leaf by
leaf, plant by plant, seed by seed. For a consumption over ten times less
than Cuba's in a much larger territory, where people have to be transported
to the products. And with a population almost one and-a-half times larger
than Cuba. I am giving you an example because this happened to many
countries. The prices of their export products remained the same or
dropped. Any kind of imported product, a truck, tractor, industrial
machine, increased. Industrialized capitalist countries immediately
transferred the oil price increases to their exports. How much did the
price of a 180 horsepower bulldozer increase? From $25,000 or $30,000 to
$70,000 or $80,000. The price of tractors, trucks, equipment, etc.,
increased the same day.

Industrialized capitalist countries transferred the oil price increase to
exporting products. The non-oil producing developing countries saw that
their product prices were maintained and they had to pay many times more
for oil and had to pay several times more for imported products. That is
the reality and the tragedy of many Third World countries. It contributed,
along with the unequal exchange, to the restrictions. The imports of those
countries' products the incredible increase of foreign debt, which in a few
years increased from over 200,000 to 800,000...[changes remark] If you add
the interest, imagine how those countries could solve their economic

Therefore, one has to consider how oil prices have increased what we are
spending at the world level, in international market prices: To travel a
kilometer, to produce a kilowatt of electricity, these are the realities.
Because of other reasons, it has affected us much less. Of course, the
price of a 180 or 200 or 300 horsepower bulldozer affects us, or the price
of some transportation equipment, machinery, and all that. Because of our
relations with socialist countries however, and especially because of our
relations with the USSR and the type of exchange we have, we could better
bear this catastrophe, which for the Third World countries meant all these
factors, including fuel price.

Any country, every country has to face the energy problem in the future,
any country. But an oil-importing developing Third World country must face
much more. Even countries with great energy resources are making big
efforts. Of course, oil has been consumed in an irrational way. It was
being misused. Such a cheap product... [changes remark] Many industrial
countries stopped consuming coal and started to consume oil because of its
low cost. It did not cost a lot to produce oil, the production cost was
sometimes $6 or $7 per ton. The problem with oil is that it runs out.

Oil is a nonrenewable source of energy, which accumulated in the earth over
hundreds of millions of years. It is said that petroleum began to
accumulate 300 million years ago. Man however, has been using it up in 100
years. At the rate he was using it, it would last 100 or 120 years.
Consumption increased barbarously, year by year to a rate of about 3
billion tons per year. The consumption rate doubled and doubled again.

At the end of World War II, it was a few hundred million, perhaps 200 or
300 million. In the year 1959 or 1960, it was less than 1 billion. Each 5
or 6 years, it doubled. [Words indistinct] perhaps someday man will
consider this period as one of humanity's most atrocious periods of
irrationality and waste. These resources could be useful for many things.
It was used or has been used to produce steam for steam engines, which use
only about 30 percent of the caloric energy and pollute the atmosphere. It
has been wasted in an atrocious manner.

Perhaps the only positive thing about that increase, apart from the fact
that it meant very large revenues for certain countries, much of which
ended up in the banks of capitalist developed countries, what was positive
about it is that it signified an awakening and a desperate search for other
formulas that could give way to the prolongation of the existence of
petroleum for much more time.

However, countries that are rich in energy resources, such as the Soviet
Union for example, which is the world's richest country in energy
resources...[changes remark] First, its hydraulic resources are abundant.
The Soviet Union has 50 percent more hydraulic resources than the United
States. And these resources have been used from the first dam at the
beginning of the revolution to the present. And they continue to complete
numerous hydroelectric projects.

The Soviet Union produces about 620 million tons of petroleum per year. It
has been calculated that that figure could be as high as 630 at the end of
next year. The figure is between 620 and 630 million tons.

The Soviet Union produces about 600 billion cubic meters of natural gas
each year. It is estimated that next year they will produce 630 billion
cubic meters of natural gas. To have an idea, once again, of what a cubic
meter of natural gas is and what 1,000 cubic meters of gas means, I can
tell you that 1,200 cubic meters of gas have approximately the caloric
power of 1 ton of petroleum. If they tell you 1.2 million cubic meters of
gas you can call it 1,000 tons of petroleum. If they tell you 600 billion
cubic meters of gas per year, it means approximately 500 million tons of
petroleum. If we add up the petroleum and gas we see that the USSR produces
approximately more than 1.1 billion tons per year.

Now the petroleum extraction requires increasingly higher investment per
ton. In the USSR they are developing gas rapidly, at an accelerated rate.
They even have plans so that in a relatively short time they will have 1
million trucks running on liquid gas or compressed gas, with all the
necessary distribution stations. It is seeking ways, to save oil.

It has possibilities, proven reserves and potential reserves. They are
exploring the edges of the Arctic region, but each new increase in
petroleum production is at a higher cost and in very remote areas. But it
has enormous resources.

The Soviet Union has approximately 40 percent of the world's coal deposits.
The quantities of the different kinds of this solid fuel are measured in
trillions of tons. A million millions is called a billion. There are two
kinds of billions: the Spanish billion and the U.S. billion. The U.S.
billion is 1,000 million, the Spanish one is 1 million million. I remember
this from primary school. A million million is called a billion. Others
call it a trillion. But to understand each other, and speaking with Soviet
leaders and Soviet planning leaders, I always ask them about these

One of them calulated that about 5 -- let's call them billions -- 5 times a
million million, to give an idea: Consuming each year a thousand million
tons -- the Spanish billion -- of solid fuel is equivalent to 1000 years of
consumption. [as heard] They have an enormous quantity of energy resources.
I have mentioned water, gas, biomass. They are also using biomass to
produce gas. And despite these enormous resources, the No 1 concern of the
Soviet Union, as it should be for a socialist state, a state that is not
thinking about the short range, about the next 20 or 30 years, but rather
about the future, about the coming generations, the basic center of its
efforts today is energy conservation and the development of new energy

The Soviet Union was the first country to use atomic energy for peaceful
purposes because the first small electro-nuclear power plant was produced
in the Soviet Union if I correctly recall, in 1953.

Then they began their nuclear energy development programs and now they have
an intensive, highly secure nuclear energy development program. Of course,
they invest much more in each reactor and in the means of protection so
that if the radiation permitted by the body is 100 units of something
[also], what there is around the nuclear plants is 1, that is, the normal
level plus 1, the tolerance margin being 100. They have developed very safe
designs and plants, which of course demand much larger investments. They
are broadly developing nuclear stations and carrying out a broad nuclear
development research program. They are even using nuclear energy in some
places to heat water and provide heating. There are large cities -- of
between 300,000 and 1,000,000 inhabitants -- which are already being heated
by nuclear energy, and they are combining, what could be called
cogeneration, to put it in the terms used at the forum, of heat and
electricity. They are already building dozens of nuclear energy units for
these purposes -- electricity and heating.

It is a cold country. They estimated that for heating purposes alone they
are investing the equivalent of 400 million tons of conventional fuel. I
think that the conventional Soviet fuel [yields] 7,500 kilocalories, or
perhaps a little less. However, it must be the equivalent of some 300
million tons of our conventional fuel. This is only for beating purposes.

This is a substantial amount. However, they are struggling to economize.
Every 5 years many gas and oil pipelines are built. They are trying to have
better boilers, better installations. Virtually the entire country is
linked by the electricity network, by the gas pipeline network but despite
this, there are tens of thousands of community boilers, which use up much
more, several times more fuel per home than the most modern boilers.

They are consistently struggling, and making enormous investments, in a bid
to save fuel, particularly hydrocarbons. And this is the country with the
largest amount of reserves in the world.

Should we, or should we not by concerned over the energy problem? Should
we, or should we not be concerned about economization? We do not have such
water, gas, coal, or oil resources. Should we, who bring oil from a
distance of over 10,000 km, be or not be concerned about saving energy in
today's world, in which the price of oil has risen so much? Not only that,
but this is a question of great economic importance, of elementary common
sense, of elementary consciousness about the value of things, of elementary
discipline in the use of the resources we have.

How should we face the energy problem in the future? This is a question all
of us must ask ourselves -- all of our peoples, all workers, all of our
youths, all of our students, even our pioneers. They must become conscious
about energy and the fact that it is their future. They must ask themselves
how they are going to produce electricity, heat, and transportation in the
future. Even children must ask themselves this question in our country,
more than in any other country.

How are we going to work? In the first place, we must continue with our
efforts to make our thermal units more efficient. However, this forms part
of the overall set of measures you have analyzed and which I am going to
list in broad terms. First, we must pay full attention to nuclear energy.
Fortunately, we are already building our first nuclear power plant, which
will have four units with a capacity of some 450 megawatts each. Each unit
will generate electricity in an amount equivalent to that which can be
produced with 600,000 tons [as heard] of oil through conventional methods.
That is to say, each unit will save 600,000 tons of oil. When the four
units [are completed] the country will save in oil -- that product which is
more and more scarce every day, that rare product, that product which had
been wasted up to now, that product which comes from such a long distance
-- 2,600,000 [not further clarified].

To give you an idea of what a nuclear power plant saves in transportation
costs alone, suffice it to say that one of these reactors operates with a
few tons of enriched uranium. It can travel in a railroad car. This example
appears in the book by Tikhonov, president of the USSR Council of
Ministers. He explained that to save a few... [changes remark] To generate
heat in a city, they are generating nuclear energy equivalent to the use of
1 million tons of oil. To move the 1 million tons of oil they would need
50,000 cars, 50,000 railroad tank cars. Moving 1 million tons requires a
trip by 50,000 railroad tank cars or 50,000 tank car trips. However, a
single car can carry the nuclear fuel required to produce that much energy.
A single car.

I think this gives you an idea of what can be saved in transportation costs
alone. Imagine the transporting of oil a distance of more than 10,000 km by
ship. We began with ships of 20,000-30,000 ton capacity. For each 1 million
tons, 40 ships of 30,000 tons each were required. For 10 million, 400 ship
trips would be required. A single ship, with a small part of its capacity,
would bring all of the nuclear fuel required by that nuclear power plant.
You can see now all of the savings this method alone entails. This is what
this plant will mean to us.

This means that our future electrical development must be fundamentally
nuclear, on the basis of nuclear energy. We are building the thermoelectric
plant in east Havana and the thermoelectric plant in Matanzas. We are
completing the one at Nuevitas and are beginning to build one in northern
Oriente [Province]. We expect these to be the last ones, although we may
install some plant in some place or another for reasons of adjustments, or
whatever. However, once these thermoelectric units are completed, we must
think only of nuclear plants. The one at Cienfuegos is already being built
and studies are being made on the one to be built in the country's eastern
region and a third one that will have to be built later on the country's
western region.

Fortunately, we count on Soviet technology, on the assurance of Soviet
equipment, and on cooperation and credits from the USSR to build those
nuclear plants. Their construction is so complex that we will require a few
hundred very qualified Soviet technicians to build them, particularly
specialists in soldering, etc. These are our prospects.

Our future development must be based on the development of nuclear plants.
As soon as possible, we must stop using plants that consume more than 400
grams per kilowatt. Not only do such plants use too much energy, they also
contaminate the environment. We are going to benefit in every way because
these plants are located in the centers of cities. Whenever the nuclear
units begin functioning, we will be able to reduce the utilization of the
thermonuclear plants. We would only use then at times of peak demand.

There is the combination of the electronuclear plants and the
hydroaccumulators [hidroacumulador]. This is very important. In Cienfuegos
I explained what a hydroaccumulator is. Since those plants are in operation
24 hours a day for almost the entire year, there are times when they
produce too much electricity. How is this utilized? In part we use them as
a substitute for thermonuclear plants part of a day. We also use them to
impel water upwards in order to accumulate it for use at times of peak

Hydroaccumulators and the electronuclear plants have a common purpose,
especially in our case, since we are an island and we cannot export
electricity. In other countries, and in the Soviet Union, for example they
have the advantage of having staggered peak hours: When the demand is great
in Siberia, it is evening in Moscow. The peak hour shifts. This can be
organized through a unitary system directed by computers. The entire
production of electricity can thus be organized. The Soviet Union exports
electricity to socialist European countries. It could also export
electricity to Western Europe.

We cannot export electricity anywhere. If at a given moment we produce too
much, we must transform the excess into something else to be able to later
transform it back into electricity for use. This is one aspect. In the
nuclear sphere the Soviet Union is not alone. There are many other
countries. Some European countries, like France, have programs for the
rapid construction of nuclear plants. Of course, this is taking place,
primarily, in the industrialized world. Very few Third World countries have
engaged in such plans. Nowadays there are many small countries that have no
use for a 400 megawatt reactor and the reactors being built now are of the
600 megawatt and up to 1 million or 1.5 million megawatt type.

It has been proposed that smaller plants be built so that small countries
and islands may be able to use this type of energy. One thing is a fact:
Uranium is also relatively scarce, although it is true that there is a
certain amount of it and that new fields are being discovered.

We have already mentioned ton percentage of fuel used by a thermoelectric
plant. We utilize 32 percent and the socialist countries utilize an average
of 37.5 percent. An electronuclear plant utilizes only 1.5 percent of the
energy contained in a ton of enriched uranium. This is much less than the
energy utilized from of a ton of oil. However, this energy is not lost, it
can be transformed into another type of fuel.

In the most developed countries, scientists are working hard to produce the
so-called fast-breeder reactors. These reactors are capable of utilizing 20
to 30 times more of the energy contained in uranium than the electronuclear
plants can.

I believe that the oil crisis and the awareness that has been gained
because of it, has served to speed up research to produce a technology that
will function with basis on fast reactors.

There is a third category: [as heard] thermonuclear reactors. Efforts are
also being made in this direction. This implies that an unlimited amount of
energy could become available to produce energy. This is a possibility that
research and science are opening for mankind.

There is a fourth category: nuclear reactors. Their objective is to produce
intense heat for the metallurgic and chemical industries and for the
production, possibly, of elements such as hydrogen. Research is going on in
this field. This would permit the availability of fuel for automobiles,
plants, etc, and would be much cleaner than gasoline and diesel.

In the future, man will march toward the production of easy-to-handle fuels
through nuclear energy. The nuclear energy problem is greatly discussed in
the world.

Man's first experience with nuclear energy was the dropping of bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is also the risk of continuation, the
residue, problem, etc. All this will be solved once nuclear energy is
developed on a serious basis, and with responsibility and not from a
strictly commercial criterion that calls for reduction of costs in
investments, material, and so forth.

In the Soviet Union nuclear energy is not developed with this type of
criterion. It is developed under the most responsible dispositions that the
socialist state can implement to procure its technological development with

This is a subject of great discussion throughout the world. Future
generations will have to solve energy problems along this path, which of
course will not be the only path. Meanwhile, we are working hard on oil
exploration, on the search for oil and gas. This has been done since the
beginning of the revolution, at the very beginning.

In 1959, we created the petroleum institute. The first Soviet ship carrying
petroleum for Cuba arrived at the port of Casilda on 17 April. It was the
(Vichinskiy). It arrived on 17 April, does that date tell you something? A
ship docked at Casilda, that is, in southern Cuba exactly one year later,
the Playa Giron mercenary expedition arrived in southern Cuba not far from
Casilda. Since then, we have had the Soviet petroleum supply. It began with
4 million and has surpassed 10 million. [units not further clarified]

One would have to calculate how much Soviet petroleum has entered through
Cuban ports in these past 25 years -- 24 and 1/2 years. We never lacked a
ton of petroleum in this country. I think this is a very important matter
we must bear in mind. [Cuba is] the only country... [interrupted by
applause] of the Third World and the only developing country which did not
experience the most minimum energy crisis, which has been the tragedy of so
many countries, in these past years. They have also helped us very much in
oil exploration, the development of cadres, geophysical studies, and all
the necessary research involved in the search for petroleum.

One must bear in mind that at the beginning of the revolution we had only
one university-level technician in the area of petroleum.

During those early days, we saw the arrival of some technicians from other
countries -- Venezuelans, Mexicans, and so forth. Now, our country has more
than 500 high-level technicians in the areas of oil exploration and
exploitation. We also have more than 800 medium-level technicians and many
more who are undergoing training.

The first deposit was found in Guanabo in 1968. In 1969, we discovered one
in Boca de Jaruca. In 1971, we discovered the one in Varadero. We have been
discovering various deposits, not too big but they add up.

Before the revolution we produced x amount of petroleum. I am saying x
because there are two figures. Do you understand? Some say it was 27,000
tons and other claim the figure was 50,000. This must be established to be
historically exact. One must establish if the figure was 27,000 or 50,000.
There were six deposits. At the beginning of the revolution we looked into
these areas.

Our production will reach 770,000 tons this year. There is a program to
increase reserves and production to make production reach, by the end of
the next 5-year period, 2 million tons per year. [applause]

We have been conducting thorough studies and vast exploration in the most
promising area in the country: geological studies and exploration show that
in the west, the Province of Pinar del Rio, there are large areas that have
the right geological conditions for the accumulation of gas and petroleum.

The researchers and the technicians, Cubans as well as Soviets and other
nationalities, even Mexicans, have been helping us in this exploration.
They are optimistic and drilling is confirming these geophysical
characteristics and there geological pecularities in this area.

There are already two wells, which are more than 5,500 meters deep. This is
the deepest drilling ever done in the country. We need to do more
exploration to find a few more wells and the country's west is a truly
promising area for the production of gas or petroleum.

We cannot assume that there are deposits at this point; not until all
research is finalized and it is absolutely confirmed. We must act as if an
additional source of energy were nonexistent. However, we are working
intensively to prepare ourselves for the possibility that those predictions
might materialize. Even without these additional sources, our current
production will increase to 2 million tons during the next few years.

We are also working on the construction of a port for supertankers in
Matanzas Province. This will force us to build pipelines to carry those 2
million tons of petroleum and derivatives toward Cienfuegos and Havana
because it would no longer be feasible to carry it in any way possible.
This production was not expected, but projects to make the corresponding
pipeline are already under way.

For example, if in the western area, a significant amount of gas should be
found, we would also have to carry it through gas lines to thermoelectric

However, we have to use what we have on hand. We will still have to import
oil for an indefinite period of time. The importance of the supertanker
port is seen in this fact.

Third, [as heard] we must consider the use of biomass. Currently the
country's top and most important energy source is sugarcane. We practically
import all of our other energy needs except for small amounts of oil,
energy produced by the (La Nabanilla) hydroelectric plant, and firewood
that we use. However, sugarcane bagasse today constitutes 29 percent of the
country's energy sources. In other words, we are using some 29 million tons
of bagasse. That is equivalent to about 4.5 tons of oil.

I believe that an important possibility was discussed in this forum. A very
important one. I will further comment on the use of bagasse when we discuss
energy saving. The optimal analysis and use of this resource is one of the
country's future possibilities.

Other possible energy sources have been discussed and outlined here. The
sun, wind, water, and biogas were mentioned. There has been work related to
these sources. There has been work on biogas digesters to facilitate the
use of cow manure. There have been some experiments on the possible use of
solar energy. We have promoted the revival of windmills. There are plans
for mini and micro-hydroelectric plants operated by Cuban-made turbines. I
believe there are 134 projects and 7 of them are already built.

There is an intensive program aimed at exploring the possibilities of using
mini and micro, hydroelectric plants, because they can help solve problems
in the country's most isolated areas and also constitute a strategic energy
source for the country's defense.

Of course, all these program are in addition to possibilities that the Toba
could have with research and implementation of all kinds of other
possibilities without excluding a single one. I believe there are some
5,000 windmills that could be used to pump water and produce electricitity.

Research at the Science Academy in Santiago de Cuba must be accelerated
without under-estimating any energy source, especially solar energy and
other renewable sources. The use of all these energy sources, regardless of
potential is a part of a culture. I believe that we must continue to train
personnel, especially for the future development of nuclear power. All
these things demand our attention and increased efforts.

Where are our greater immediate possibilities? They are undoubtedly based
on savings. We have already been implementing energy saving measures that
have produced results. For example, it is said that as a result of efforts
and discussions the grassroots level, as a result of Energy Commission
efforts, and the understanding and support for workers, an estimated
212,000 tons of fuel were saved this year. Some examples were mentioned

An award-winning technician explained to me how he saved 600 tons in the
Hermanos Diaz Refinery. He said that his work is increasingly difficult,
because he is asked to further cut consumption. That is, he is saving even
more. Truly serious work to save even more energy will come when the
easiest possible sources have been fully exploited. The world has done it;
both the socialist and Western world are doing it. This is reflected in

For example, even oil production has dropped because of the OPEC countries.
Other countries increased production. In some countries, oil wells
producing little because production was too costly when oil was valued at
$15 per ton are now producing more economically because a ton is valued at
5200. Many previously unprofitable fields have resumed exploitation.

I must stress other things happening in the world, in the USSR as well as
in other countries. Oil exploitation techniques are very important, in
fact, I would say that they are decisive. This is why I do not want to miss
this opportunity to comment on this.

As for extraction techniques, and I refer to programs for the extraction of
two million tons Companero Baybakov, chairman of the Soviet Gosplan,
explained the importance of those techniques. He said that they have
carried out explorations in many Soviet regions. He said that with the use
of traditional techniques, only 10 percent of a well of heavy oil, of which
the USSR has several kinds, can be exploited. With the modern techniques
with which the Soviets have pledged to fully equip us, up to 60 percent of
the oil can be extracted from a well. Therefore, oil extraction techniques
are essential aspects of oil exploitation.

Well, I said that all countries are making great efforts to save energy
especially in the wake of the crisis of 1973 or 1974, when it actually
exploded. We are discussing incredible savings. The following is evidence
of this: In 1979, OPEC produced 1,499 million tons of regular petroleum,
that is 47.4 percent of total world production. Currently, it produces 869
million tons. That is a significant drop of almost half, that is 32.4
percent of world production.

Now, although other countries as a whole increased production in 1979,
production totaled 3.128 million tons of regular petroluem in that year. In
1983, production totaled 2.675 million tons. Notice the significant drop
from 3.125 million to 2.675 million. The world consumed 450 million tons
less in 1983 compared to 1979. That is 450 million less during the past 5
years. Conservation is being sought everywhere through new technology and
innovations mentioned here; through research of other kinds of fuel, such
as coal, nuclear energy but mainly through conservation. It is very
important to conserve. There was a drop of 450 million tons in 5 years.

I repeat, conserving energy is our greater immediate possibility.
Implementation of electronuclear power takes a long time; extractions and
exploration in the country's western area takes time, but there are
possibilities for conserving.

In sum, I believe that the sugar industry is a good example of
conservation; of conservation efforts and of energy conservation programs.

It could also be said that the habit of wasting oil had developed. In the
past, we were not using the bagasse correctly. The easiest thing to do was
to open the valve and let the oil flow. An energy conservation campaign was
begun several years ago in Cienfuegos Province. In fact, a comrade lady
engineer who is here now worked a lot on that and they wound up eliminating
the oil valve in Cienfuegos. This is to say that the possibility of oil at
the sugar mills was eliminated. [Cienfuegos] was the first province. It led
the way. Then, this movement spread to the rest of the country. This
savings in fuel or petroleum has amounted to 400,000 tons of fuel oil per
year during sugar harvests of no less than 8 million tons. This much
petroleum was used in harvests of 6 million tons. This means that we are
not producing much more sugar and using much less petroleum. This is a
large figure: 400,000 tons in fuel savings.

This encouraged the comrades of the sugar industry much in the suggestion
of ideas, the drafting of plans, and in the search for solutions in this
area. They set out to save another 400,000 tons of fuel oil, that is, the
amount used in the production of refined sugar, at the alcohol factory, and
at the Torula factory, as well as other areas of the [Sugar Industry]
Ministry. Thus, they are planning to save another 400,000 by using the
bagasse optimally. They have a realistic and viable program to save another
400,000 tons. These are not the only possibilities in this area. The sugar
industry can produce much more energy and this is what they are studying.
These savings do not involve much investment. The others may imply a bit

Based on a 9-million ton sugar harvest, it can be estimated that we can
produce an equivalent of 2.5 million tons of oil. This is a gross figure.
They say that perhaps it will be more. It will be achieved by drying the
bagasse using the heat from the chimneys, by turning the bagasse into
pellets [peletizacion del bagaso], and by using other residue of the
sugarcane harvest.

We are thinking of using this bagasse not only for the sugar industry, but
also as fuel for other types of boilers. If to this we add the idea of
making pertinent investments for the use of high-pressure boilers, than it
is possible that the sugar industry may give the country 2.5 million tons
of petroleum, especially if it uses what it has more efficiently and uses
bagasse in the production of paper pulp, wood pulp and so forth. This is a
resource that promises as much or more than the 2 million tons of petroleum
that we will extract in 1990. This is equivalent to 2.5 million of fuel
oil. I think it is worthwhile to pay close attention to this program and to
give it any support it may need.

We have spoken of an area that implies saving and also developing new
sources of energy. Saving requires our greatest immediate attention. It
implies saving in all areas. I think that the ideas, suggestions, and
agreements of the rank-and-file meetings, the 87,000 agreements and
suggestions, and what has been discussed here at this forum, the
recommendations and the final declaration, can make a contribution that
cannot be determined yet as to an immediate savings in the near future with
few investments. I think the extent of this will mean a lot more as we look
upon the future in regard to what we have to do in our country to save

I think that this path must be cleared to make this country a truly
energy-saving country, one of the most energy-saving places, because of the
reasons I explained. The scarcity of those resources we have more
obligations which are economic, moral, and revolutionary obligations. We
like to be considered a revolutionary people. We eased with it. [applause]

I would even say that it satisfies our national pride. However, as long as
we have not become a truly energy-saving country and have not learned to
use wisely and responsibly each resource, then we cannot be called a
completely revolutionary people. [applause]

Resources can be dilapidated. These are resources needed by the country.
How much do they cost? What do other countries need? What kind of effort do
they require? If we deplete them. can we call ourselves revolutionaries?
No. We have acquired many virtues in these past years, but there are still
more virtues to acquire. This is one of them.

What other conclusion must we draw from this forum? What must we learn from
this? This policy concerning energy must be applied to all raw materials
and all resources in the country. This is essential. I think that this
question concerning energy must be made in regard to all our future
development. The current times are not easy for any country. They are not
easy for any of them. One must look at the world panorama to become aware
of this. The current times are more difficult for developing and Third
World countries. They have been very difficult for us, haven't they? Does
the fact that we are a socialist country and that our ties with the
socialist community have cleared our path better and offered certain
prospects, mean that we must ignore these perspectives and the great
possibilities available to us?

I don't want to make comparisons. I don't want to recall how the early
years of the first socialist revolution passed. That was the time when
there was nobody who could make a contribution. That was the time when that
country was facing a complete blockade. Development had to be started under
very difficult conditions and based on what they had. This occurred there
and in other countries.

We've had the privilege of developing our revolution in an era, moment, and
circumstance when it has been possible for us to count on great
international cooperation. The question we must ask and the answer that
history requires from us is: Have we done the best or achieved the optimum
with these possibilities we have had? Have we been aware of this historical
privilege? Or does the fact that this path has been easier for us make us
negligent, unconcerned, and forget a little bit about our basic duties?

We were saying that we must economize all the country's resources. We must
apply it to the steel used in machines, the wood used in construction, the
cement, and all material resources. We have been doing something about it.
Much has been done in the past few years. It still seems to us that it is
still not enough.

As for raw materials, a few years ago, we succeeded in saving the
equivalent of $19 million. This figure is now $60 million. We have tripled
the activity in the recovery of raw materials. We have saved wood in
construction. We have replaced lumber with fiberboard. Several measures
have been taken in certain packaging activities. We have created bulk
distribution, there have been paper savings, and many other activities
could be cited. These things have been an effort to save raw materials.
Work has been made in the recovery of spare parts. A considerable effort
has been made in this regard. We have made a great effort in making new
parts. But I think that this is not yet sufficient. I am not referring to
the physical effort. I am not referring to the effort or whether we are
using more or less energy in this. We must decide which is the most
intelligent effort we must make, not only with regard to energy, but with
regard to the entire economy as well.

One must periodically stop and analyze what one is doing. One must look to
the future and decide what must be done. We have been made subject to
difficult tests in recent times.

We have been aware of the international situation and the risks of
aggressions that have hovered over our country in the past 4 years. In the
past 4 years, we have made enormous efforts to strengthen the country's
defense. We have made notable progress in this regard. I would say that
this is our number one commitment because if our country is destroyed, we
will no longer have one. If the enemy could take over our country, we would
have no country in which to continue our work, implement our programs in
all areas, and make our achievements.

In this effort we have cried out: attention, energy, resources, materials,
and financial and human resources! There is no doubt that we are stronger
now. Our potential adversaries must take this very much into account.
Undoubtedly, they are increasingly taking this into account, especially
after the Grenada incident. I believe that on 2 [December] we showed the
intensity and the quality of the effort made by our people to become an
impregnable fortress. We are aware that we are becoming an impregnable
fortress and that we are already an impregnable fortress. [applause] Who
knows how many times stronger we are now than we were 4 years ago.
[applause] This does not only refer to the number of men and weapons, but
to the extent of the development of the people's ideas, concepts, and

It was clearly stated that the two watchwords are production and defense.
Our party did not forget production. It is remarkable that we have made
important achievements in the production field in these part years,
especially in these years of crisis when most countries' economies,
especially the Latin American countries, had experienced a downward trend.
Our economy however, as we explained in Cienguegos, has been growing
consistently during this 5-year period.

These achievements, savings, and the increase in raw material have been
secured in these past few years without a doubt. Since we are sure that we
will win the country's defense battle, since we are sure that we live in an
unconquerable and invincible country, and since we have earned for
ourselves the right to peace, we also have to seriously and responsibly ask
ourselves how are we going to face the future in these difficult days for
the energy, raw materials, and economic sectors.

What have we achieved during these past years? During the past 25 years,
our country has made extraordinary social advances. In the education sector
we are ahead of all the Third World countries and we continue searching for
quality. We don't have many resources, but we must do much in these fields.

We are ahead in education, in public health. There is no argument about
that. In those two sectors we are even ahead of some industrialized
countries. We are ahead of them and we continue searching for quality in
personnel, we continue working to master the new techniques and there are
excellent prospects for the near future. This applies to sports, culture,
and our people's standard of living. There is no comparison at all between
our situation and that of many Third World countries.

When we put together all the factors that figure in the standard of living,
we also find that we are in a top position. The nutritional condition of
our people cannot be compared with the situation that exists in other
countries. When I spoke of consumer goods, home appliances, and so on, I
mentioned some figures, for example, the construction material production
that has been tripled and quadrupled in recent years to solve the housing

This does not mean that we don't know about many other things, factors, and
needs that must be resolved. But the truth is that in social development we
are way ahead. In some social aspects we are way ahead of all the Third
World countries and in other aspects we are at the same level or very near
the top countries. This was made evident at the pediatrics congress and at
the government and nongovernment women's meeting.

This is so because of the advancements that our country has made in the
social field, in the struggle against discrimination against women not only
against discrimination in general. For technical reasons, we have not
achieved all our goals in the struggle against discrimination against women
and inequality, but we have advanced considerably.

We have also made considerable advances in the struggle against situations
that strike capitalist societies and other Third World countries: begging,
prostitution, gambling, drugs, and so forth. All this is part of the moral
and spiritual factors that contribute to the happiness or disgrace of a
nation. All this has been eliminated from Cuba. We don't have to dedicate
our greatest efforts to produce changes there. This is clear. In our
opinion, what we have to do in this field is to consolidate what we have
achieved, to secure what we have achieved, and to create conditions to
advance further.

I am convinced that for the next 15 or 16 years our main efforts must be
made in the economic field. What we have been discussing is part of the
effort we must make in the economic field. This is the point from which we
should take the first step.

A second fact we must realize is that our country has had, in comparison
with the other Third World countries, a privileged position, at a moment of
crisis anyone can see and in the midst of the problems we can see in the
heart of Latin American society, among our sister nations, including those
that have many resources, those that export more than 1 million barrels of
oil daily, those that with the work of 20 or 25,000 oil industry workers
receive more than $10 billion annually. Countries with more natural
resources, with more foreign exchange income than we, have very serious
problems, unemployment, budget cuts, striking teachers and doctors, even
unemployed teachers and doctors. Twelve, 15, 20, and even 30 percent of the
population is unemployed. There are cuts in the public health budget, cuts
in schools, cuts in social security. We have seen this even in the United
States. In recent years we have seen this happening in capitalist developed

One of the most important plagues they have, one from which they cannot
find a way out, is growing unemployment. There is the problem of industrial
transformations and they face huge social conflicts. We can see this
throughout Latin America, these terrible social problems. We have a
privileged situation. We must be aware of this. Our situation is due to our
socialist system and to our relations with the socialist camp. [applause]

I will tell you frankly: The system alone would not have sufficed because
when we begin with the situations prevailing in an undeveloped country, as
was the case with Cuba, neither the revolution nor the system is
sufficient. The system is extremely important because, according to it, the
entire society has to work toward a single goal. In the system, man becomes
the center of all concerns and activities of the state and the party, as
well as of leaders.

Nevertheless, however important the system was,the existence of the
socialist community was likewise important and decisive, as was the
relationship that our socialist revolution set up with the rest of the
socialist community. This is so because of the support we received,
including our commercial exchange. I would like to know what would have
happened to Cuba should the capitalist system and the 1958 situation have
prevailed in the country. The price of sugar was 4 cents. This was the
lowest price in the history of this country, in this century, and perhaps
since sugar was discovered.

As you know, sugar quotas had been limited. The quantities that could be
exported every year had been established at such an amount on the world
market. What could the nation have done? The country had 3, no,4 million
tons of sugar and would have had to sell them at this price of 4 cents. Had
there been a market for this sugar, things would have been different.

But there wasn't any. Part of this sugar was sold to the United States,
part to this world market. What could we have gotten for it? Perhaps 5400
or $500 million, for all the sugar we could export? Gentlemen, at
international prices this country spends more than $500 million on fuel for
electric energy production alone. That is to say, all the sugar that we
could export could not suffice to pay for the necessary fuel to generate
energy in the current world situation, particularly in Third World

Still we would be lacking fuel for all the rest of our activities,
transportation and cement production. We invested more than $2 billion in
fuel alone for this production. Just imagine what would happen if our
economy had to depend on (?sugar) exports at world market prices. We can
experience so many other things along these same lines. We can have
education, health and social security systems. We can have practically full
employment and can carry out all our activities, as well as the country's
development plans.

Well, we must realize that we have enjoyed and still enjoy a privileged
position. We have plans for the future. We are taking full advantage of
these possibilities with an eye on the future in a world whose problems we
have tried to analyze today. This is another question.

There is still a third consideration. Our economic relations with the rest
of the world are important for us to some extent Commercial relations,
technology, and raw materials are also important for our development to a
certain extent. Over these years, we have acquired obligations in these
fields when, for example, we encountered low production and sugar prices.
We never decreased our imports of spare parts, raw materials, foodstuff,
milk, and grains for the production of eggs, meat, etc. We never decreased
our imports for our development plans because we had to build a
glass-manufacturing plant. The supply of containers was not sufficient; we
could not get them from socialist countries. We also required a
paper-manufacturing plant; that was so costly, and we could not purchase
it. We also required many other industrial facilities for the processing of
raw materials. All this required investments.

We were granted credit and made commitments. Now we have to honor those
pledges. This is not only an economic matter, it is also a moral issue. Our
unconvertible foreign debt is relatively small as compared to that of the
other Latin American countries. This foreign debt is about $300 per capita.
That of Costa Rica is $2,000 per capita, about $4 billion for only 2
million inhabitants. That of Panama is about $2,000 per capita, that of
Argentina, about $2,000; those of Mexico and Venezuela, about that of
Colombia is a little smaller that $800, while ours is only $300 per capita.

When I analyze this situation, I see that many Third World countries will
not be able to pay their debt. In fact, we think that very few countries
will be able to pay their debt, and something will have to be done to solve
this problem, by either inventing new formulas, or by postponing the
payments. We are one of the few countries that can and must pay our debt.
[applause] Now, there are economic and moral reasons for which the
country's debt is very important. The country's moral status is also very
important. We have relations with western companies, western banks, and
also with some socialist banks. Part of this inconvertible debt is owed to
socialist banks. These companies and banks trusted us, despite a U.S.
blockade and pressures. They trusted us, and our country's seriousness, and
therefore, we consider it a sacred duty to honor these commitments. This is
clear. Furthermore, I think it is the best thing for our country's future.
We should always bear in mind that the future is most important. [long

Based on these three considerations, those of us in the party's directorate
and in the government have been planning, on a strategic basis, our
country's work for the next 15 or 17 years, including 1985. We must decide
what we must do and how we should work, based on all these realities, and
after all the enormous efforts we have made to strengthen our country, to
guarantee our security, and independence. What should we do in the economic
field? We have arrived at conclusions that, in my opinion, are correct and
wise. How can we take advantage of Cuba's privileged situation in order to
do our work? How can we take advantage of these possibilities, despite the
extremely serious problems in the world today?

We can mention the tragedy affecting entire continents, such as Africa,
affected by drought and famine. We also realize that a large part of the
world lives without real and objective hope, and with such enormous debts
that they do not know what to do. They live in a capitalized and
industrialized world, increasingly selfish, with more restrictions, and
many problems for which they cannot find any solution, such as the
unemployment problem I mentioned before. Despite slight advancements, they
have great fears that the crisis could repeat itself, perhaps more acutely.

What should we do under these circumstances? We belong to a socialist
community which, of course, also has problems. We should not idealize and
say that everything is marvelous and perfect. No, the socialist community
is facing difficulties and problems. There is a tremendous difference
between the perspectives and the situation of capitalism and those of the
socialist community. The socialist community has been affected by the
increase in the price of raw materials, equipment, the high cost of energy
in the world, and the international economic crisis. The socialist
community made investments based on plans for exporting to Western
countries, but these markets have practically disappeared.

The socialist countries also have debts, and a large part of these debts
are affected by the high interest rates. However, there is a profound
difference between the two sides, and the socialist countries have been
able to overcome these difficulties, and have continued with their
development and future plans. How have they reinforced their ties and trade
exchange? Undoubtedly, the socialist field offers an unlimited market for
products, because these countries work for the population, to solve their
problems, to improve their living standards. The socialist community has
also analyzed these problems, and is preparing itself for the future, in
order to overcome any deficiencies, update technological knowledge in some
fields, conduct investigations and promptly take advantage of the results
of scientific investigations for economic development. No socialist country
has had to face the problems of unemployment, or has had to lower the
population's living standards, or sacrifice their social development plans.
Their economies have grown in the past few years, and they continue moving

All the socialist countries, particularly the GDR, have adapted themselves
to the energy crisis by saving a considerable amount of fuel. These
countries have shared their experience with us, and have managed to make
radical savings in this field.

However, taking into consideration the Third World's chaotic economic
situation and that of the capitalist world with its highs, lows and
periodic crises, the only area in the world that has a clear, sure, and
steady future -- be it at a fast or slow pace -- is the socialist world,
without any arguments. [applause]

We have the privilege of belonging to this area. As a nation that has
developed the least, as compared to most of these countries, this position
means a lot to us. I repeat: We have been analyzing what we must do with an
eye to the future and starting from these opportunities. First, we must
stress the country's production effort. We must give absolute priority to
two things in our investment program. Bear in mind that we mean absolute
priority. We mean all of those investments that save imports or generate
exports in conversion areas.

There are numerous plants under construction. Many of them save imports
because they either make optical lenses or save raw materials, as is the
case in a Santa Cruz del Norte paper manufacturing plant. Dozens of
investments either save convertible imports or generate exports. The effect
is the same and it is even easier to save imports. There are dozens of
plants with small investments -- real funnels that prove indispensable to
starting production in enterprises that either save imports or generate
convertible exports.

This is important. Of all the CEMA countries, today Cuba is the nation
where the lowest percentage of imports originates in conversion areas. This
percentage has been reduced to 15 percent, while it was 13 percent during
1983. We have an important, steady commercial exchange with socialist
countries amounting to 85 percent or more. Yet, that 13 percent or 15
percent is important because it deals with raw materials, spare parts, some
foodstuffs, medicines, and raw materials for medicines that are
indispensable to complementing production.

Sometimes, we have raw materials from the socialist countries but lack the
other raw materials that we require from Western countries. In addition, we
must take into consideration certain invisible expenses and our foreign
debt that must be paid in convertible currency. We have satisfactorily
renegotiated our foreign debt. The nation's prestige was not diminished
because of this renegotiation. We might even say our prestige increased
because other nations began to fall in arrears on the payment of their
principal, as it is called, then the interest. There are many nations in
arrears that have not been able to pay even the interest. When other
nations tried to ascertain their foreign debt, they could not because their
private debt was to be added to their public debt. Their immediate problem
was to try to determine and consolidate this debt, particularly the amount.
We keep exact records of our foreign debt.

We have been able to renegotiate our foreign debt without terms being
imposed by the IMF. We have renegotiated our foreign debt under
satisfactory terms and the country's prestige has soared. We also require
these exports, not only for our indispensable imports, but as payment for
our unconvertible foreign debt. In addition, and looking toward the future,
perhaps 15 percent of Western world imports will not be enough. We must
consider the possibility of increasing this to 17 percent or even 20
percent in the future. We and the workers in all plants know what is
necessary to manufacture this or that article. This raw material problem
comes up at all meetings. Everyone knows -- the Council of Ministers and
enterprises -- which raw materials they require. When we decide to reduce
(?prices), it is through severe restrictions.

Perhaps, we will need additional resources in the future for our
development plans. We have a solution to this -- the only one: We must
increase exports in the convertible area by at least $500 million in the
coming years. We must increase exports or revenue one way or another.
Construction projects abroad generate revenues, as do exports and fishing

We have analyzed all measures that must be adopted so that in a relatively
short period of time we may increase exports by $500 million. This will be
done without including sugar, since the price of this product is sometimes
calculated at 8 [currency not specified] but is at 6 or could be calculated
at 8 and go up to 10. It is practically impossible to calculate exactly.

We must diversify exports and increase them at least by $500 million per
year. Well, from the studies we have made on the measures that could be
adopted we have reached the conclusion that not only could we increase
exports by $500 million, but we could double this figure to $1 billion in

In the convertible area there are more than 100 new products being
exported: however, this calls for an extra effort and the product quality
must also compete in this production. Yet, it is necessary -- and I will
say something more. Savings become income and currently every gallon of
fuel oil [preceding two words in English] we save represents 63 cents in
income; every gallon of gasoline represents 67 cents in income; every
gallon of diesel represents 6Y cents in income. Why? Because, due to an
agreement with the USSR any savings in the amount of fuel pledged becomes
convertible exchange. [applause] That is, the savings we spoke of have
become income in convertible currency. Cuba and the USSR have already
agreed on the delivery of fuel from 1956 to 1990. All of this fuel that we
can save becomes convertible exchange. [applause] I have already given you
the current prices for every gallon we save. If we waste a gallon, we are
wasting so many cents. When you see someone wasting a ton of gasoline they
are throwing away $236 per ton and this is why we speak of gallons and
grams. This is very important because it is something that can help us. As
we increase oil production I believe that we can save because this becomes
convertible exchange. This is very important. What we can save from the
waste pulp and what we use to substitute for the waste pulp -- substitute
oil for waste pulp -- becomes convertible exchange. I believe this
information was important at the energy forum. It is very important. This
helps us with our programs to increase exports and we have real
possibilities; however, we must work in that direction. All of the people
must work in that direction.

Until now, the world has had an import mentality. I need this, I need that;
I lack this, I lack that; I want this and that equipment or machinery; I
want this and that computer or scientific equipment. No one ever said I
will give this or I will produce this to export. We have been accustomed to
requesting imports; every time we face a problem we want to resolve it with
imports; every time we find ourselves faced with some need we want to
resolve it with imports. At times, we create necessities that generate
imports and we hardly ever think of the other side of this: generate
products to export; generate exports.

Therefore, it is essential and we have been working toward this; we must
not lose a single minute. We have been putting forth efforts but now we
must do this with much more awareness, efficiency, and wisdom, and the
investment plan must be an absolute priority. I repeat: The investments
that generate imports must be substituted for investments that generate
exports in the convertible area. It has already been said that all
investments are a number one priority.

There is a second matter which is also a maximum priority. This has nothing
to do with the productions that generate exports in the convertible area;
it is a second matter that is of maximum priority and that is sacred for
us. These are the exports intended for the socialist area. The attention
given to productions for the socialist area and the investments that
generate exports for the socialist area are also sacred. This must be made
very clear.

As I said, we have excellent relations and exchanges with the socialist
area. The products we export to the socialist area are worth much more.
With these products we purchase the fuel, those 2 billion [currency not
specified] are to purchase fuel, raw materials, machinery, and food. This
is why we have an unavoidable obligation to them, a tremendous moral
obligation that represents strict compliance with the commitments for the
delivery of merchandise we have to the socialist countries, [applause], the
delivery of sugar, nickel, citrus products, and the other merchandise we
send to the socialist countries.

For example, there have been times when we have had to face diseases such
as rust and we were not able to keep up our deliveries of sugar to the USSR
that year or for 5 year following, but we received all the merchandise they
had promised for those 5 years.

This has never failed. It could be that we failed with some other kind of
product, with citrus products for example, yet they have kept up their
deliveries to us. It is a matter of a country's honor, a country's
responsibility, and we want to fulfill our obligations and maintain those
ties with the socialist community, and we must fulfill our commitments to

At certain times we have experienced a drop in production because of one
reason or another; at times we estimated a production of 5 to 8 million
tons but the actual production was only 2; at times we reduced a delivery
to the socialist area to sell to the convertible area. This system has to
be totally eradicated. [applause]

If we are hit with a bad year, if it rains too much -- unfortunately, this
has happened twice in the past 2 years -- and the production is lower than
estimated, the solution must not be to tell the socialists that we are
going to send them less sugar and turn around and export it to the
convertible area for 4, 5 or 6 cents. If faced with such a situation we
must say, we will meet our commitments with the socialist countries and the
surplus can be exported to the convertible area. It is simply a principle
we must establish and for this reason other sources of convertible income
must be sought. For example, today the price of sugar is much too low, the
price of lobster is very high, the price of shrimp is high, the income
received from tourism grows, and I will not mention here all the
possibilities we are studying but we have reached the conclusion that we
can increase exports, the policy must be to increase those exports and not
sacrifice the socialist countries. It would not be a revolutionary attitude
to do any different. It would not be the attitude of an internationalist,
would not be proper of socialists and communists. [applause]

Therefore, investments for exports to the socialist area must also be
priority. We have the Punta Gorda nickel plant that will produce 30,000
tons of nickel. Lately we have been putting forth great efforts in this
area and we must continue to do so. We plan to inaugurate the plant this
year which is already 83 percent completed, on 7 November 1985, that is,
next year. This 30,000-ton nickel plant is a product of great importance to
the socialist countries. It is a basic raw material that allows them to
improve the quality of steel, machinery; it is a highly appreciated product
among the socialist countries. It is our responsibility to work hard to put
this plant into operation as soon as possible.

A second nickel plant is under construction. This plant will also supply
30,000 tons. It is being built with CEMA cooperation. We have already begun
to build this plant and we must speed up the work as we must speed up the
installation of sugarmills and other industries that generate exports for
the socialist countries. I feel that this increases the respect the
socialist countries have for Cuba and it increases Cuba's prestige among
the socialist countries; not like those younger brothers who when faced
with a problem say, I will not send you the sugar or the nickel because I
have to export it to the convertible market because I was faced with this
or that problem. We must protect this and I say that Cuba's prestige is
strong in the socialist community and respect for Cuba is strong in the
socialist community. [applause]

This has been demonstrated with facts; it was demonstrated at the CEMA
meeting attended by the heads of government.

We have discussed short-term merchandise delivery with practically all of
the socialist countries until the 1990's. We have signed cooperation plans
until the year 2000 with the Soviet Union. You can picture the tremendous
possibilities this means for the country -- a cooperation plan that will
last until the year 2000, including all facilities.

Sometimes, Westerners ask whether we owe the Soviet Union money. Yes, we
do. Our first debt is one of gratitude, a big one. [applause] It is true
that we have experienced a financial imbalance with them many times and
still have been granted credits. Yet, we have never experienced financial
difficulties with the Soviet Union. Some years ago, the Soviet Union
granted a delay in the payment of our debt for many years and eliminated
the payment of interest. Imagine, interest rates sometimes run as high as
14 or 15 percent. Yet, the Soviet Union granted us a delay in our payment
schedule more than once. We don't have any financial problems with the
Soviet Union.

The debts that have resulted from the imbalance, as well as credits, have
not affected us in the least. Whenever we have asked for extending credit,
we have received it and payment has been delayed for 5, 10, or even 15
years without interest. There is a difference between the socialist
community and private Western banks. The Soviet Union has been
exceptionally friendly toward us. They have even adopted a more respectful
and favorable stance toward us because they see our efforts. [applause] I
am sure that oil producers in Siberia, where it is 20 or even 30 degrees
below zero, will feel much happier knowing their efforts help us. If they
learn that we have been saving the last possible drop of oil and that we
don't squander it, they feel happy because they see that the (?results) of
their effort are quite beneficial for our country, people, and development.
This is clear.

When workers are waiting for nickel in a steel plant, they know that they
can count on that nickel because they have already seen sugar in a refinery
and fruit that is to be distributed among the population. In winter, a
Soviet citizen appreciates a Cuban grapefruit the most, just as we do
Bulgarian apples. This has been demonstrated. [applause]

Therefore, we have all of the facilities, and credits for all investments
have been guaranteed. This represents several billions of rubles every 2
weeks for the oil refinery, the electronuclear plant, future plants, the
thermoelectric plant we are building in the east, the supertanker port, the
Antillian steel plant, and all of the other plants that we build with aid
from the USSR. Everything has been considered and ensured: cooperation
until the year 2000 and excellent trade conditions. I don't entertain the
slightest doubt that the Soviet Union will continue its development at a
sure, steady pace. We can't tell what they will have in 15 years.

Now, let's talk about gas. In 15 years, they will be able to produce more
than a trillion cubic meters of gas, just to mention an example. In other
areas, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries have continued to
make steady progress and we benefit from this. This is really a privilege
for us as an underdeveloped country. However, having the privilege is not
enough. We must know how to use this privilege and this possibility
correctly. [applause]

Although these investments have received their due priority treatment,
there are others that we cannot neglect. Can we neglect and subtract
resources from this industry that will mean a savings.of 2.4 million tons
of fuel? No. The nation's basic industries must receive our full attention
through investments. This industry requires priority treatment and it will
receive it. Social investments, which have a most direct bearing on the
population, must also receive priority treatment. Here is an example. At
the Julian Soler Hospital, a surgical room for children's cardiovascular
surgery is being built. This is critical because this facility can save the
lives of hundreds of children every year. Its importance is tremendous, not
because this center can treat 400 or 500 children, but because the children
treated can be from any one of the millions of Cuban families. All sectors
have an interest in this. For instance, we can mention investments such as
research centers that are of great importance for the country's future, a
technological school being built for oil workers, technological faculties,
even the medical sciences that belong to the future. It is unquestionable
that this kind of work be sacrificed. Priorities must be maintained.

It has been said that we must do so many things and that we have many other
needs. Once we have fulfilled all of these priorities, we will determine
which of the many other things we must and can pay attention to. This means
that we must relinquish all subjectivity.

Every day we want many things for our people in the capital, in the
provinces, in the municipalities. We want things for them. We want to have
palaces for pioneers in all of the municipalities, and we want to have
other things. Therefore, perhaps for now, we will settle for some very
modest, adapted installations.

What we cannot do is make these things compete with an industry that saves
imports or generates exports that yield foreign exchange or guarantee the
fulfillment of export commitments to the socialist countries and other
things, or guarantee our vital needs which are not forgotten. We must not
lack the cement, lumber, steel bars, gravel, or sand for this investment,
mainly in the capital, where we need much more labor and materials.

We are building 600 projects. Of these 600 projects, we must see which have
priority and see to it that none of them is delayed 1 minute due to a lack
of materials or labor.

Imports for export must have priority, too. We are working under this
criteria. At first, we said that we have had an enormous social
development. In truth, we would like to have 10 more meters of fabric per
capita, or 20 meters per capita. However, this is not our concern now.

Our problem is development. Our problem is the future. We cannot mortgage
our future for 10 square meters of fabric. [applause] We must make the
Desembarco del Granma factory produce at maximum capacity. It was facing
difficulties because it lacked some parts for maintenance and some raw
materials from the convertible market. We must make it produce at maximum
capacity either because it saves fabrics that come from a convertible area
or because we export all of its products. Therefore, without hesitation [we
must see] how many raw materials or parts are lacking, how much fabric it
is going to produce for export, and export all fabric from the Desembarco
del Granma factory. [applause]

The same thing applies to other industries. There is some equipment for the
book printing industry pending installation. This takes time. Other
equipment has already been installed. Sometimes they do not operate at full
capacity because we lack paper.

We know what our book needs are; they are substantial. Approximately 50
million books such as texthooks, university texts, and specialty books are
indispensable. Some are indispensable technical and literary works. We may
have the capacity for 80 million books. We must know how to say: Well, we
must become accustomed to and adapt to the idea of having 50 million books
for 5, 10, or 15 years. Of course, all of us would like to have more books
and, therefore, the more paper the more books to read. We must use the
libraries and other means more, but know how to freeze them at a point. If
we make 80 or 100 million books, we would export 30 or 50 million books. We
must know how to do this. If we go on anxiously hoping to reach 80 million
or 100 million books, there will be more imports and expenses and fewer
exports each time.

Fortunately, we have made extraordinary progress in the social, education,
and health fields. We will continue to advance. Our teachers will be better
each year. Year after year we will have thousands of graduates holding
bachelor degrees in primary school education and thousands of female
professors. We will continue to graduate teachers as well as improve their
teaching quality. Years ago when there was an explosion of primary and
secondary school age children, we built all of the schools the country
needed. Now, we must build factories in the same way that we built schools

As for public health, we have achieved great progress and will continue to
make extra-ordinary progress. We will continue to train more and better
specialists, and more and even better physicians. We will continue to
improve our preventive and therapeutic medicine.

We will build installations as they are needed. However, today we must
think of building factories just as we were determined to build hospitals.
In doing this we will not sacrifice the health sector; we will continue
working to improve health care and will acquire new technology with a small
portion of our resources. In fact, the achievements made us feel at ease
because our good health is ensured. We will have better health as time goes
by and in the year 2000 we will probably be healthier than any other
country. New physicians and hopefully better clinics, better programs, and
medical school classes do not consume foreign exchange.

We can train better athletes in our sports installations and schools, and
we can obtain more efficiency from the thousands of physical education and
sports professors. That does not consume foreign exchange. Some people will
say that the foil and saber cost foreign exchange, but someone said that
foils and sabers will be produced in Cuba. [applause] Our social
achievements afford us the opportunity to fully tackle problems that very
few countries have been able to solve.

We will work using those criteria, those priorities looking to the year
2000. Oh, I believe that we will prepare, first we will move ahead in a
world that is really in chaos. There are dozens and dozens of countries,
including some that have more mineral and energy resources than Cuba, that
are having very serious problems and do not know what to do. The capitalist
world is having serious problems, although not quite as serious as the
problems the Third World countries are having, because the capitalists have
better ways of defending themselves technologically, financially, and
otherwise. Yet the capitalist countries do not know what to do.

The thing to do is to guarantee the economic and production base for
exports to obtain foreign exchange that is convertible in the socialist
area, as well as to meet our other needs. Thus, we guarantee the future; we
guarantee the acquisition of merchandise and raw materials that we cannot
produce here and we guarantee development.

We are working intensively on the basis of these criteria and ideas, and we
can say that we are making all kinds of investments. The 1985 plan has
incorporated these criteria. This is something all the workers should know
because we discussed the plans at length with them. These criteria must be
incorporated into all the plans for every industry. These criteria must be
incorporated into all the investments.

Yes, we will accomplish that in such a way that no worker will be adversely
affected. We will work so that if production is reduced in one area, the
worker will not be hurt. That is our duty. We must make all the necessary
readjustments and strategic efforts without hurting anyone. Perhaps these
readjustments may dampen our expectations; perhaps some problem that we had
intended to solve by 1957 will take until 1990; perhaps some things that we
had planned to work out by 1990 will have to wait until 1995, or 2000 or
until 2005 -- 2 or 3 more years, that is not important. The basic thing is
to guarantee the future.

We are aware of, we are not oblivious to, the fact that we need everything,
housing for example. We will not abandon that goal. More than 150,000
houses have been built through personal initiative. We will try to maintain
and to complete housing programs, especially in areas where housing has an
impact on production, such as Moas, Cienfuegos, and Santa Cruz del Norte,
that is, in production areas.

We will have to wait to solve the housing problem, to wait for a period
longer than we expected. Perhaps we had planned to solve it in the year
2000, perhaps it will take until 2005. Right now, the revolution has just
enacted a housing law -- a housing bill -- which will be debated at the
National Assembly. The law will benefit all the families that own houses.
That is, the law that was enacted during the first years of the revolution
affected homeowners, who were the proprietors. In this case, the law
affects that state. Yet it will not go bankrupt. It is true that we will
receive very little income from the low rents, from all the fees. I do not
think that the state will be hurt. but we have set the guidelines so that
everybody can have a house, protect it, and care for it.

Housing is not a means of production. The founders of socialism have always
known this. It is not a factory. It is a benefit, a benefit to the
population. In no way does this go against the principles of
Marxism-Leninism. To the contrary, it enhances them. In our present
circumstances, that law is perfect, because [words indistinct] it is a
liberal law. Liberal in what way? It is the law. We have authorized, or
rather, we seek to authorize the renting of a room or two. That would help
to solve our present problems. When a citizen is able to own an apartment,
he will no longer be living in a rented room. It is a temporary solution to
a temporary need. It is not a business. The people will regulate all this.

Then, we will be able to say to the capitalists that are in Cuba, housing
is not a business. In Cuba, no one profits from housing, neither private
persons nor the state. The construction of housing is a social service. If
an apartment is worth 7,000 pesos, that is what the citizen will pay for
that apartment. It will be like putting money in a bank. Of course, there
will be a modest interest rate, but there is no profitmaking spirit in the
construction of housing in our country. The objective is to recover what is
spent in order to continue to build, and this law will help the housing
development programs. The housing programs will continue to develop on
their own. However, we cannot give housing priority over production that
generates exports for the country. That is basic. As a matter of fact,
housing always involves the expenditure of a little bit of convertible
foreign exchange. We have to continue to establish industrial installations
that produce all the items required for housing that we formerly imported.

We have increased our production capacity of cement from 700,000 tons to 5
million tons. Now we hand]e it very carefully, essentially using the dry
process method of production. In the last 4 years, we have reduced the
expense of fuel per ton of cement from 0.17 tons to 0.2 [unit not
specified], by doing better work. We have increased our capacity to produce
cement to almost.5 million tons, the production capacity of bathroom
fixtures has increased to tens of thousands a year, the production of steel
bars has increased. so, too, has the production of tiles, and pipes for
construction. However, we still need more. We have to continue developing
this industry to manufacture the products that we have to import to build
houses. We have to use our work force rationally. This is what I wanted to
explain to you, our workers, or people as basic viewpoints of what we are
planning and what we are doing. All these ideas are linked to a greater
economic efficiency, to apply methods to direct the economy, with
emulation, and with incentive. It does not mean we will renounce any of the
advances that we have achieved so far. It simply means that we should make
an optimum effort, an optimum use of our resources, our organization, our
plans and our programs. It simply means that we must make an optimum
effort, looking to the future. We have earn,d the right to conquer that
future. Through our heroism, courage, and steadfastness of our people we
have earned the right to conquer the future. [applause]

Inasmuch as we have earned that right, we must know how to conquer the
future. [applause]

We must make the most of these brilliant possibilities. This has been the
best place to achieve that, this has been the most opportune time, here
where we have discussed at length how to save a gram of oil, how to
introduce technologies to the people, how to convey that ideal to the
people. Precisely here in this already historic forum, it seemed to me that
this was the time not only to talk about energy and conserving energy;
about materials and conserving materials; about human resources and the
optimum use of human resources; and not only about energy and conserving
energy, but also to talk about the effort we must make in the next 15 or 16
years, the country's strategic effort. This is also the time for you energy
experts who have debated and worked so hard towards that goal, to become
the leaders in the revolution's future economic strategy, the leaders on
the road to a safe future which we have earned through our revolutionary
spirit, conscience, and heroism. Fatherland or death! We will win!