Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks at El Gato Aqueduct Dedication

FL261714 Havana Tele-Rehelde Network in Spanish 1238 GMT 25 Dec 87

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the dedication of the El Gato Aqueduct
on 24 December-recorded]

[Text] [Applause] Workers who have participated in the construction of this
project, Comrades, Everyone:

This project we are dedicating today cannot be seen because it is almost
entirely underground.  We can see no more than the equipment on site, the
administration center, these tanks, and a few other things that must be
buried, or whatever it is you call it.  They must be covered with dirt.
Everything needs to be covered with dirt, right?  Everything.

Some are like viaducts, like the section located just before the central
road to the highway.  I can see some pans of it there.  They're splendid,
aren't they?  They're not covered but they can be maintained well without
any problem.  That area is very flat and nothing could be buried they had
to make a mountain out of it, a little hill so they could be buried.  A few
small parts of these can be seen.  That is why we are meeting here where
the tanks are located.  They are a kind of symbol because the water is now
being distributed or water continues to flow, as was explained to me.

If this project had been built using the old methods, we would only be
one-fifth done.  I estimate the project would have taken not less than 10
or 12 years, or perhaps 15 or 16, if we had done it with the spirit
prevailing in the years between 1976 and 1986.  That is, the spirit
prevailing prior to the rectification process.  We could say that this
project was a prelude to that process; it was one of the first steps taken
to solve some problems.

The comrade was recalling my statement of 1985 in connection with this
project.  We said it had to be finished by mid-1988.  That was already an
enormous challenge because we planned to finish the project in almost 2 and
1/2 years.  I said, this project cannot take 10 or 12 years.  The needs are
too great.  The drought is too severe.  When we said that in 1985, no one
could guess that 1986 would be tremendously dry and that 1987 would also be
tremendously dry.  It was the 1986 drought and the diminishing water
resources for the capital that determined a special construction effort
between the end of 1986 and the end of 1987.  That was the great
achievement of our party in the capital, of the people's government, and of
the party in Havana Province.  They were bent on responding to the
situation.  They decided to make an even bigger effort than the one
demanded.  They decided to speed up the construction of this project so
that it could be completed ahead of time.  It was a minimal schedule, a
brief time for a project of this kind.  They decided to finish it 6 months
ahead of schedule.

This is not a simple project.  You don't just lay a tube down from one
location to another.  It is not just a pipe, a canal.  This is a very
complex project.  As Comrade Alvarez [not further identified] said, this is
the most complex project undertaken, as well as the largest.

I don't mean that our predecessors did not build anything of merit because
they did build the (Alviar) aqueduct and other solutions were implemented
at other times.  These were good, engineering solutions.  Water was closer
then.  Now one has to go further, a greater distance to find water.  We had
to use the reserves that are practically at the Matanzas limits to create
or exploit a new source of water.  We had to construct dozens of kilometers
of pipeline with wide diameters.  The problem of constructing those tubes
had to be resolved.  Their diameter is very large and they had to be
constructed with the appropriate quality.  Some of them are made out of 14
mm steel; others are made of steel and wrapped in concrete.  Factory
production had to be organized.  The transportation of all these pipes had
to be planned as well as the corresponding excavations.  They had to be
soldered one by one.  That is why we spoke here of 100 km of soldering.
Each one had to be installed.  All the necessary factory projects had to be

Very sophisticated engineering procedures are needed to make the water flow
through corresponding levels; to establish and create the equipment on
site; do the drilling, build the installations, make all the necessary
calculations to ensure that the the wells are being made where there are
sufficient amounts of water; construct the structures for the wells;
install the most modern pumps used in this type of activity.  The country
imports these pumps.  In addition, all these tanks had to be constructed,
as well as all the other installations.  As was mentioned here, this
required a great effort.  It required the movement of 1,701,000
approximately 170,100 cubic meters of earth.  More than 60,000 cubic meters
of concrete were needed.

The work on this project has been done well.  We can say the workers have
done an excellent job.  The ECOI [Industrial Projects Construction
Enterprise] workers from ECOI 22, as well as the construction workers from
all the MICON's [Ministry of Construction] enterprises that participated in
this project made a great effort.

Special mention should be made of the youth contingent that was created by
the party at the end of 1986.  As Comrade (Mario Arcina) explained at the
PCC provincial assembly meeting and as other comrades have said, this
contingent became a vanguard unit, an example that extended to other
Construction workers.  They influenced even the older construction workers
who were dragging along certain habits, certain negative tendencies.  They
influenced their comrades.  There is no doubt they are vanguards and they
became the standard bearers of the new spirit of labor, the standard
bearers of the rectification process.  All other ECOI construction workers
embraced this.

This is how this project has unfolded in less than 2 and 1/2 years.  This
explains why a true construction record was set.  It explains why these
comrades from the construction sector and all others who participated on
this project deserve the gratitude and recognition of the 2 million
residents of Havana. [applause]

One thing, however, that our generation, the current generation, youth, has
to understand is the need to conserve this fundamental resource.  We will
not be in need [of water].  If we conserve it, we will have more than
enough.  We will have a surplus.  When we talk about conservation, we talk
about everything.  The reconstruction of the network, everything.  It is
the area where we have the most possibilities.

We will seek new sources for water, treat residual water to prevent losing
them in the [words indistinct] in the south.  We will dam new sources, each
small stream and river, everything.

In addition to expressing the joy, happiness, and recognition of the work
accomplished, I think we should take advantage of an event such as this, a
meeting like this to develop an awareness of the topics we discussed today.
We hope, however, the spirit that developed during the construction of this
aqueduct system is maintained in 1988 and in the future, and this
enterprise and these brigades will be collectives of workers in which the
Construction Ministry and the capital can take pride.

I wish you a happy year's end and a new anniversary of the revolution, as
well as happiness, satisfaction, pride, and the hope that arises from the
legitimate and noble feeling of knowing how to fulfill an obligation.
"Fatherland or death, we will win!" [applause]