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Castro Outlines Steel Progress

FL261610 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1200 GMT 26 Dec 86

[Video report from Havana's Palace of Conventions]

[Excerpts] [Reporter] During the discussions of the report submitted by the
Ministry of the Steelworking Industry to the National Assembly regarding
its activities during the last few years, an interesting debate was held
which dealt with the main problems this industry is currently facing. Our
commander in chief made reference to the need to focus its industrial
development on eastern provinces and make a thorough analysis of its
investment plans so priority projects can be completed. [passage omitted]

[Begin Castro recording] ... so it does not release to the market any
product, any item, any equipment -- I am talking about equipment and not
about a nut or a little washer -- we should not release even into the
domestic market equipment that does not meet the requirements. It should
only release equipment in good working conditions. Poor quality equipment
should not be released even into the domestic market, much less to the
export market. It has to be equipment that meets quality guidelines.

Right now you are going to manufacture cranes, they are planning to
manufacture cranes and that is very important, because the price of cranes
has increased from 30,000 to 150,000 [currency not specified], for 140,000,
for a 30-ton crane. Those Spanish [lunas] that used to cost $30,000 now
cost 140,000 while sugar still costs the same, 5 cents, 6 cents, 5.5, 6.25
cents but everything we import, from the ice cream machine, which costs
from $2,000 to $8,000 -- I believe you are going to manufacture ice cream
machines of the kind the Japanese manufacture because if I remember
correctly domestic trade workers are manufacturing one like the Italians
manufacture. The only thing that is required of this equipment is that they
make ice cream and that the mixture does not come out from one side and
water from the other. [Castro chuckles] That is what is required of the
equipment. They used to cost 2,000 and now they cost 8,000. The crane that
used to cost 30.000 now costs 140,000. This happens with everything. It
does not make sense.

This the advantage of countries that have a developed steelworking
industry. They have steelworking industry goods and sell them to Third
World countries at very high prices. We have to get rid of many of those
imports, of all that is possible. Even those kitchen stove valves, cement
mixers, [word indistinct], all those things that we have spent millions in.

I believe the industry has made progress, the steelworking industry has had
a dynamism and a desire to do things, and of boosting production sometimes
with a certain degree of subjectivity. Sometimes because it has looked too
far, it has overlooked some things that are more attainable, closer. The
steelworking industry cannot only be criticized because it has made great
efforts. Not only the SIME [Ministry of the Steelworking Industry] has done
this, the Ministry of the Sugar Industry has made considerable efforts, the
Ministry of Agriculture has made efforts to produce things, the Ministry of
Construction is making efforts to also produce equipment. There are many
ministries that are making efforts. I believe that if the steelworking
industry [word indistinct] these points -- the ones that-are in the report
but especially these three that have been discussed -- I believe it can
make a very important contribution to the country's economy because this is
a very important industry.

This is the industry from which the Czechoslovakians and Germans live --
they also have chemical industries and other things. It is the industry
which has made possible Bulgaria's development. The one that has made
possible the development of socialist countries in general. It is a
decisive industry for development.

We can see a good example of the steelworking industry in the 200-a rolling
mill to which Lage [minister of the steelworking industry] referred that is
next to Antillana de Acero. It was entirely built by our country. It
already has a considerable production. It is a shame they built that
rolling mill there, they should have built it in Santa Clara or in the
interior. The next one should be built far away from the capital. We can
send them ingots and have them produce iron bars there. But the project and
equipment were built by the steelworking industry. The fact that a country
is capable of building a rolling mill is important. Over 60 percent of
sugar mill components are produced between the SIME and the sugar industry
ministry. It is a great thing to be able to say that the projects and most
of the equipments are Cuban made. That is why we could even build a sugar
mill in Nicaragua with their cooperation.

The steelworking industry ministry has made an important effort. It has
also made efforts in the automobile industry and bus industry. It has
developed trucks and engines. It has made a number of positive and
important efforts.

Right now Antilla de Acero has become one of the country's primary sources
of income. We are building there an Egyptian pyramid [as heard) to produce
200,000 tons and it has been discovered that by changing the transformers,
putting...[changes thought] that could cost over 100 million [currency not
specified] and with an additional investment of $2 or $3 million, that
plant's production could be doubled. Instead of producing 200,000 it could
produce up to 400,000 tons of steel with a very small investment. Antillana
de Acero is an industry that is operating well. We could say it is an
exemplary industry. Its workers have a very good attitude, they are
determined to fulfill their plans and surpass them.

I believe it is one of the industries in the country that is operating the
best. I believe, well, the problems that the steelworking industry may have
had are similar to the ones the textile industry has had at the Santiago de
Cuba textile plant, the balance spinnig mill. Lack of coordination. They do
not have enough housing facilities considering the place where they are
located. The ones that were built [words indistinct] for the number of
laborers that has and the ones it will have where not even conditioned to
the job [vinculadas]. I asked the Antillana de Acero director, are those
housing units tied to job? They had not even though about it. I made a
criticism. How are you going to maintain the work force here? What good do
the houses make if when they are built and you distribute them they are not
conditioned to the job? They move there and go to work elsewhere, maybe at
the brewery plant or some other place. They are left without the house and
the worker.

The houses they had in the balance spinning mill -- they had a few more
housing units -- were not tied to the job. I want you to know that there
were some people who had been working there who had already received
houses, then left, and where going to the small town on weekends. I call it
small town to call it something because the grass was very tall. The grass
was so tall where the store and other facilities were supposed to be that
it could cover a man riding a horse. That is one example, It did not have
any streets. So a town with 800 apartments -- which is considered a lot, or
something compared to the few others have -- have most of the apartments
for people who are sheltered [albergados]. The sheltered did not have
dining rooms and they ate at the factory. They did not have stores to buy
things did not have allowances [quota] and had to shop at the parallel
market if they wanted to buy something. The town did not have a grocery
store, drug store, child care center, schools, nothing. It was a shoddy
work. Now they are building streets and other facilities. They used to use
apartments for a barber shop and drug store. I am referring to other
problems we have had in all these investment processes in large factories
with large problems. Moa had them until they were given such a boost that
almost surpassed us because we were building 1,200 housing units a year.
They built 300 more than the 1,200 and that is what I call to redistribute
a little the resources we have to build 300 plus 150, 450 at Santiago de
Cuba's textile plant to see, if within 4 or 5 years we have 2,000 or 2,500
housing units where the main work force lives and that they are conditioned
to the jobs. So many of these mistakes, many of these absurd things have
also been hindering the development of all those industries. That has
happened to all. It has happened to the steelworking industry.

It has also happened to the sugar industry. They built the Crito de Yara
sugar mill. Was it not the Grito de Yara? But they did not build housing.
That was desolate. Nobody can explain how a new sugar mill with 1,500
caballerias, a lot of space, had no housing. Who knows how many years are
going to go by before they build housing because the housing allowance
given to granma Province is not enough to solve that problem. Many
investments have been made like that. I believe this is another of the
things we have to definitely rectify. This is an old problem. This problem
began in Nuevitas where industries were built and house were not built. The
housing program was built later. This happened with Mariel which.built
industries and failed to build housing. This was happening with Santa Cruz
del Norte where the rum distillery was built, the cardboard plant was
built, and the thermoelectric power plant is being built, and did not have
any social program. Luis de la Nuez was in the province. We had to make
efforts to start building a housing program there in Santa Cruz and thanks
to it that town is growing and problems are being solved.

I believe the steelworking industry is affected by all these problems, all
these planning mistakes we have been correcting. However we must be aware
that this is a decision industry. It is decisive. One cannot talk about
development without steelworking industry. I believe that despite the
difficulties we have all these industries can continue to develop because
they are basic, fundamental.

Lopez Moreno Castro Speak

F1262016 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 1800 GMT 26 Dec 86

[Video report from Havana's palace of conventions] [Text] [Reporter] In his
report Jose Lopez Moreno [Vice president of the Council of Ministers and
minister president of the Central Planning Board] insists that an
accelerated development of the production of quality export goods and
solution of marketing difficulties are definitely the tasks which require
the greatest attention and highest priority.

The state budget will allocate some 347 million pesos to subsidize basic
goods that are sold to the people at below cost prices. The country will
spend 245 million pesos to guarantee the right of a proper nutrition to all
its citizens. Work should be done to guarantee the development of important
social programs. The greatest increase will be in public health, housing,
and community services, security and social assistance, financing of
science, technology, sports, culture, and arts.

It is important to note that this is the first time a single report has
been submitted that analyzes the economy's behavior during 1986 and makes
comprehensive considerations about the implementation of the main aspects
of the plan and budget. The circumstances in which this plan has been
elaborated need to be considered because it is especially determined by
foreign financial difficulties, adverse weather factors, and mistakes and
difficulties which have been made evident during this year and have been
strongly noted by our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro. He has repeatedly
said that it is absolutely necessary to make a precise and comprehensive
review of the economic outlook for next year by identifying the main
problems making easier the decision making process.

Immediately after Lopez Moreno finished reading the report, the deputies
began to ask questions regarding the details of the plan and the figures of
the budget for 1987. All that motivated the participation of our commander
in chief. Following is a portion of his participation. Fidel comments about
some feelings that some could have regarding the country's current economic

[Castro] Our country had to solve this problem with its own efforts, with
its own resources, and above all, with its own sacrifices. Some people
became discouraged with these difficulties and discouragement or feelings
of failure [derrotismo] are the only things that do not have a place in the
mind and heart of a revolutionary. [applause]

Not even in the most difficult times was discouragement allowed among
revolutionaries. A revolutionary has to adopt the necessary measures when
he is faced with each situation.

Castro Announces Savings Plans

F1262044 Havana Radio Reloj Network in Spanish 1912 GMT 26 Dec 86

[Text] Speaking at the plenary session of the National Assembly of the
People's Government [ANPP], Fidel has announced the 30 measures that will
be adopted to save convertible foreign exchange and find internal financial
stability. He stressed that these are minimum measures and that no one can
assure that they will be the only ones, because it might be necessary to
adopt others in the course of 1987. If we are wise, we should prolong this
radical policy to save convertible foreign exchange. These measures will
eliminate the assignment of domestic appliances and mattresses to social
programs to increase sales to the population, and thus revenues; adjust the
system of liquid milk distribution; adjust by a fraction boned beef to a
fourth of a pound; eliminate the afternoon snack in the administrative
sphere; reduce the sugar quotas assigned to the ministry of the food
industry and the people's government; and substitute 2 months' worth of
rice by potatoes in the western provinces.

Other measure cited by Fidel require that we adjust assignments in workers'
lunchrooms in the Agriculture Ministry; replace the afternoon dinner with a
heavier afternoon snack in the child care centers; adjust the planned
excess of students mobilized to the rural schools; keep the number of
students eating at boarding schools at the same level as in the 1986-87
term; not increase the assignment of the kerosene quota to consumption
nuclei; adjust gasoline used in administrative activities by 20 percent;
produce 5 hours of TV programming from Monday to Friday and 2 hours a day
on Saturday and Sunday; give up the purchase of 10 square meters of fabric
so we can export them instead; increase electricity rates to 9 cents;
regulate the assignment of the use of state transportation, eliminate the
link [vinculacion], and define who will possess official plates.

In addition: reduce per diems and personnel expenses by 5 percent; reduce
by 15 percent travel expenditure in foreign exchange; eliminate gratuities
in all workers' lunchrooms in the country; increase retail prices of
products coming from self-sufficient areas in sugar farms, agriculture, and
so forth; increase transport fares from 5 to 10 cents; ensure the
self-financing of popular fiestas; revise the awarding of medical per
diems; reduce work - related events and meetings by an overall 50 percent
at least; and increase some prices in the parallel market. Along with these
measures, pensioners who receive less than 100 pesos will be given an extra

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro stressed that these are the measures
adopted in consideration of the country's economic situation which to a
greater or lesser extent affect the people's consumption and expenditures.