Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Havana PCC Meeting Discusses Construction

FL101645 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0158 GMT 3 Dec 87

["Highlights" of the Havana Province PCC Assessment Meeting presided over
by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State
and Ministers, held at the Palace of Conventions in Havana on 27, 28, 29
November; delegates identified by caption--recorded]

[Excerpts] [Castro] What we--the ministry in this case--want to do, is have
the Miguel Enriquez Hospital workers form a contingent like the Blas Roca
Contingent.  The Blas Roca Contingent is working on a People's Government
project.  We assigned the People's Government the task of building the
freeway.  We have decided not to give the MICONS [Ministry of Construction]
more work than it already has.  Every time a new project comes up, we
assign it to the minibrigades.  Their human resources are practically
unlimited.  Furthermore, what we really tried to do was create something
that could be emulated.  We wanted to awaken the honor and pride of the
professional construction workers.  We had some groups which were not
properly organized, groups that had reached a chaotic point.  What we
wanted to do was show that the construction of roads in the capital city is
very important, not only socially, but also economically.  An example of
this is that the East-West freeway, or avenue, will help us save much money
in fuel as well as time, etcetera.

[Vivencio Gonzalez] As we have said at previous assemblies, and mentioned
in our report to this assembly, the industry was not prepared to face the
broad program for the construction of social works that began during the
latter part of last year.  This has been a great challenge for us because
we have done all the work without extra manpower.  The only outside help we
have received has been three different kinds of Spanish blocks.  The rest
of the material we produced, and we were able to do this by better
organizing the factories, setting up double shifts, and training our
workers.  Our industry has 72 installations, and 69 of them are working on
double shifts.  The other installations will be on the double shift program
in December.

[Castro] [Words indistinct] you have not mentioned the production of
aluminum products.

[Gonzalez] We are producing them.

[Castro] What?

[Gonzalez] They are on the production line.  We had to expand...

[Castro interrupts] They are very important because your factory depended
on the Lenin Casing Factory for its products.  The Lenin Casing Factory
began the year with one production line and without spare parts.  Today the
damaged line has been repaired, a new one set up, and yet another one is
being purchased.  I have told the minister of the construction materials
industry that his ministry is not only responsible for the products it
supplies, but also for the products other organizations supply.  The
Ministry of Construction is also responsible for reporting to us on the
kinds of products the SIME [Ministry of the Steelworking Industry]
produces; on how the investments made by the SIME are going; and how the
other products, produced by other organizations, are going to be

[Words indistinct] any other organization involved in construction.  Other
organizations come under the Ministry of Basic Industry [MINBAS].  The
production of electrical wires and other products come under the MINBAS.
Yet other organizations come under the Ministry of Light Industry.  The
ministry is responsible for attending all matters related to construction
materials.  The ministry must warn us when we will have some problems
getting the products produced by the MINBAS or SIME.  They must warn us
when there is a problem or when some kind of investment is necessary here
or there.  Therefore, if you only worry about your own industries...[leaves
thought incomplete] I don't know how the ministry handles this; it may be
at the level of ministers.  You should be mainly responsible for supplying
the Construction Ministry with all the material they need to cover the
needs of the capital city.  This is very important, and we should not
forget it.  We will get nowhere if some industries supply their quota of
construction material while others remain behind in their production.

[Arnaldo Diaz] We began the year with a total of900,000 meters of sand.

[Castro] How many?

[Diaz] A total of 900,000 cubic meters.  In October we had approximately
40,000 cubic meters.  The truth is we do not have doubts regarding the
Havana construction plan and the minibrigade construction plan because we
participate in all of them.  But we were caught off guard by the new
completion goals and the greater demands for sand.

Commander, I think we have an explanation for all that has happened.
However, we can do nothing with a pile of documents when what we really
need is a pile of sand.  I must agree with you when you say it has been our
fault.  I think all I can do is explain how we feel this problem can be

I believe with the measures we have adopted--and I still think we were at
fault because [words indistinct] we could have called Comrades Pepin, Levy,
Homero, Comrade Pedro Ross, or Comrade Lezcano...

[Castro interrupts] Or you could have called on the party through Comrade
Lezcano or Comrade Maximo.  There were many things you could have done.

For example, Arnaldo, in the 19 November letter you sent to the
minister--to the former minister, the change had not been made yet--you
stated: Our sand production plan was for 600,000 cubic meters.  However,
only 57 percent of the plan was fulfilled and 339,400 cubic meters were
produced.  In January we had 90,000 cubic meters; therefore, we will be
supplying the consumers with approximately 419,000 cubic meters.  This
means that only 63 percent of our year's goal will be fulfilled.

Does this mean that you are not going to fulfill your sand plan, a plan you
drafted for the year and which we believe was based on our current
situation and on estimates of the demands?  What was your 1986 production?

[Diaz] A total of 520,000 cubic meters and 420,000 cubic meters were used.

[Castro] Right.  You produced 520,000 cubic meters and 420,000 cubic meters
were used.  However, in 1987, the year when the demand for the product
grows, when we need more sand, our most critical year, you are only going
to produce 339,000 cubic meters.  You drafted a plan that will only be
fulfilled by 57 percent.  The truth is that this is very serious.  The plan
for the year was drafted late in the year and it was a year when we did not
have too many hurricanes.  It was a normal year as far as the northern
winds are concerned.  I remember that the northern winds were very strong
last year.  It has been a normal year except for that small hurricane that
passed near us, that mysterious hurricane that no one knows where it went,
[laughter] or where it may be.

The fact is that you are going to fulfill your goal by 57 percent.  To what
degree can the country rely on an enterprise, an institution, or a
ministry, that commits itself to produce 600,000 cubic meters of sand and
only produces 339,000 cubic meters.

[Delegate] As Arnaldo said, we studied this situation.  If we produce only
those amounts; we are going to find ourselves having problems with our
commercial fund and the social minibrigade's plan.  When the plan was
studied, figures showed we needed--without including the needs of the
minibrigades or the trade union--16,000 cubic meters a month, 192,000 cubic
meters a year, for our commercial fund.  In order to cover all the needs of
the People's Government projects, we need 200,000 cubic meters; and to
cover the sand needs of the trade unions and the minibrigades, we need
504,000 cubic meters.  All this adds up to 912,000 cubic meters.  According
to the figures I have heard here today, I see that everything has changed.
We had estimated a monthly need for 100,000 cubic meters.  What he said
about the comrades at the Science Academy...

[Castro interrupts] One hundred thousand meters of what?

[Delegate] Of sand.

[Castro] And where are you going to get that?  From Rio de Janeiro?  Where?

[Delegate] No, Commander.  He did not explain that several suggestions were

[Castro] What we are going to have to do is find a way to substitute sand
wherever it can be substituted.

[Delegate] Regarding cement, next year we plan to produce 3.8 million tons
of cement.  This year...

[Castro] Just to have an idea, please tell me how much was produced in 1986
and how much in 1987.

[Delegate] In 1986 we produced 3.3 million tons.  This year's plan was for
3,290,000 tons; we increased it by 100,000 tons, and we are currently
suggesting the production of another 150,000 tons.

[Castro] How many tons will be produced this year?

[Delegate] A total of 3.5 million tons.

[Castro] A total of 3.5 million tons.

[Delegate] This year's construction plan is backed by 3,290,000 tons.

[Castro] Are you exporting?  You are backing this year's construction plan
with 3.2 million...

[Delegate interrupts] With 3,290,000 tons.  We agreed to produce more
cement for two reasons: for next year's housing and social works projects
and to start January with a surplus.

[Delegate] I want to talk about value and volume.  Six months ago we
started drafting the 1988 plan.  According to that plan, the 1988 volume
will be [words indistinct] real value.  We explained how at Antillana de
Acero we were selling a ton of steel for 1,200 pesos; however, this year we
are selling the same ton for 580 pesos.  This is the result of a price
adjustment policy.  We were selling our conductors at 2.23 [pesos] a kilo,
whereas this year, we sold them at 23 centavos.  I don't think this year's
plan should be based on value.  I think that it should be based on volume.
This year we are going to be mixing 6,000 meters of concrete more than we
did last year and we are producing...

[Castro] How many?

[Delegate] Six thousand meters.  We have also increased our reinforced
concrete production by 5,000 tons; however, we are selling all this at a
lower price because of the new price adjustment policy.

[Castro] When was this price adjustment implemented?

[Delegate] The prices were adjusted because we surpassed our maximum
production capacity but cannot reach our value goal.

[Castro] How could you if all the prices were lowered?  When was this
decision adopted?

[Delegate] In July.

[Castro] Was this your decision or did the ministry decide this?

[Delegate] We both did. It was the result of a study that...

[Castro interrupts] Well, the rules must have been changed.  Now we don't
know whether we are producing more or less.  We are seeing that we are
making, in value, less than in 1986 even though we are using up more steel,
cement, and other things.  That is crazy.

Just to get an idea of all this, why were you selling the cubic [meter] of
concrete for 1,200 pesos?

[Delegate] Not concrete, that was the price of a ton of steel.  We had the
same problem with the crane-lifted concrete [hormigon con grua].  We were
selling it at 43 pesos a cubic meter, but this year, because of the price
adjustment decided by the price directorate, we are selling it at 34 pesos.
But I would like to give you...

[Castro interrupts] But those 1,200 pesos and 580 pesos you mentioned

[Delegate] Those were the prices for a ton of steel products.

[Castro] For the ton.  Why was it being sold at 1,200 pesos?

[Delegate] That was the established selling price.

[Castro] Why was that selling price established?

[Delegate] It is the base price established by the SPU [expansion unknown].
[Castro] To steal, to make a profit, to distribute awards.  Why was it so
expensive?  How much does it cost you to produce a ton of steel?

[Delegate] The construction enterprises take their prices for those
established by the Price Directorate.  It is based on a budget; however,
that budget system is obsolete and is being revised.  Up to now, the
revision has only served to establish there can be a price adjustment.
Prices are being revised and that is our selling price.  I would also like
to add that...

[Castro] Yes, yes; but you still haven't answered my question.  How much
does it cost you to produce that ton of steel products?

[Delegate] The price of the ton of steel products...

[Castro interrupts] I am not asking about its price, I want to know its

[Delegate] The cost...

[Castro interrupts] There seems to be some confusion here.  I am asking how
much it costs you to produce that ton of steel products not how much you
get paid for that ton.

[Delegate] The cost of that ton of steel products is the suppliers cost,
plus labor, plus use of the equipment; this gives us the...

[Castro] I wonder if there is a crazy person around here who can understand
what you are saying.

[Delegate] I will try and explain it to you.

[Castro] Yes, please. Tell me the cost.

[Delegate] The cost of a ton of steel products is the sum of what we have
to pay for the product, plus the wages of the workers who must produce the
final product, plus the use of the equipment.  The sum of this is our cost
for the production of a ton of steel products.

[Castro] Fine, but how much does it cost?

[Delegate] Today it costs 573 pesos.

[Castro] It costs you 573 pesos to produce it and you get paid 580 pesos
for the final product?

[Delegate] There is an extra charge placed on these 573 pesos and this adds
up to 580 or 585 pesos but the price...

[Castro interrupts] What a mess [words indistinct].

[Delegate] The price depends on the structure and there are two kinds of

[Castro interrupts] This means that when you were selling this product for
1,200 pesos you were actually making a 100 percent profit.

[Delegate] We were reporting a 100 percent profit.

[Castro] Why were you reporting a 100 percent profit?

[Delegate] Because it was the system we had.

[Castro] Why would they want to sell at these prices?

[Delegate] I simply see it as a way things were done.  We have been
studying this with the Price Directorate...

[Castro] But you were charging a lot for your product.  Why?

[Delegate] I agree it was expensive.

[Castro] Only to show a false efficiency; to make a profit; to appear as
though you were being profitable; to distribute awards; for all those
things.  What was the reason for this?

[Delegate] I don' have...

[Castro interrupts] Why were costs increased? If, as you said, the real
cost was 573 pesos, why was it sold at 1,200 pesos.  Who received those
1,200 pesos?

[Delegate] Those 1,200 pesos were charged by the enterprise that
contracted the enterprise to build the structure.

[Castro] When I said they had all turned into shoddy capitalists...[leaves
thought incomplete] They were playing at being capitalists but no one
really saw through this.  Can we now hear from a social minibrigade or
someone else?

[Lezcano] I call on the president of People's Government in Mariano [words
indistinct].  She knows about this.

[Zita Batista] We have gained our experience from many projects.  We have a
delegate who heads a minibrigade that begins working at 1600 because the
residents of that block have their responsibilities and they have to work.
Since the experience is broad, massive, and educational, we decided to
create minibrigades with these characteristics. [passage omitted]

[Castro] How many hours do they work?

[Batista] From 1600 to 2200; when they can, they work until 2300.

[Castro] That minibrigade only works those hours?

[Batista] Yes, Commander.

[Castro] They are all workers?

[Batista] They are residents of the area.

[Castro] And their chief is the area delegate?

[Batista] Not really chief; he encourages the workers and answers their
questions.  We have a group of four comrades...

[Castro interrupts] He is the political commissar.

[Batista] Yes.

[Castro] And the residents also start working at 1600 or do they start

[Batista] If there is a retired person, or a housewife--on this block there
are not too many, and later I will speak of this...

[Castro] Then the delegate and the group are all volunteers?

[Batista] They are all volunteers.  This group does not get paid for their
work, and the group that can work during the morning...

[Castro] It is a minibrigade that does not get paid for its work.

[Batista] They don't get paid.

[Castro] If a housewife wants to join a minibrigade she may be assigned to
another one?

[Batista] Yes. [passage omitted]

[Lezcano] A representative of the Julio Diaz Contingent, brother of the
Blas Roca Contingent, (Fillo) has the floor.

[(Fillo)] Comrades of the presidency, delegates: On the occasion of the
assessment assembly, the Julio Diaz Contingent decided to complete the work
at the Julio Diaz Hospital.  We have expanded the hospital and have added
an extra 200 beds.  The contingent decided to do this because it was aware
of the fact this was necessary and because this was our way to greet the
assessment assembly.

Comrade Fidel, the members of the contingent have asked me to inform you,
and the government, that the hospital has been completed just as we
promised during your 15th visit to the site.

[Castro] You did this in 14 months?

[(Fillo)] You created that contingent on 11 June 1986.

[Castro] And when did you start working?

[(Fillo)] A month later.

[Castro] August, September, October, November.  You did it in approximately
16 months.  You did it all in 16 months and the quality of the work is also
excellent.  Could this have been done without that spirit and effort?
These were men and women who were not construction workers.  This was a
contingent mobilized by the party.  Now they will stay on on a permanent
basis.  Perhaps for a few years, 8 or 10 years.  Right?

[(Fillo)] For as long as we are needed.

[Castro] What?

[(Fillo)] For as long as we are needed. [applause]