Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Interview

FL251642 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0100 GMT 25 Dec 87

[Text] [Announcer] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the
PCC Central Committee and president of the Councils of State and Ministers,
has presided over the inauguration of the "El Gato" aqueduct.  Here is part
of his speech at the inaugural ceremony:

[Begin recording] [Castro] 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 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.  We said that [words indistinct] in 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 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 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. [end recording]

[Announcer] Our commander in chief toured the new aqueduct in the
afternoon.  The visit began at the social-administrative building, where he
was thoroughly briefed on this important water project. [After briefing,
Castro is seen outside with young man standing next to him, microphone in

[Begin recording] [Reporter] We know you have a long day today, but we
would like you to briefly comment on this project and describe the workers'

[Castro] Well, I think the project is important.  Everybody knows the
importance of water supplies, especially in a period that has been so
exceptionally dry.  We will perhaps not supply all the water the public
needs, but at least the minimum they require.  That is important.

I hear they have worked well here. [Word indistinct] when this project was
completed.  At a normal pace, this might have taken 3 years.  Thanks to the
effort of (?these people), they have completed the project in a year.  We
have water now.  There are things still to be done, but the water is
already (?flowing).  Generally speaking, I hear very good reports about the
project.  Everyone has reported favorably.  My own impression is good, but
I need to round out my information by talking to the technicians the
construction workers, and observing the hole project.

[Reporter] We noted that you were very concerned about the use of cement.

[Castro] Yes, that's very important.  If you report that, you will be doing
us a favor.  I have the impression we are using more cement than we should,
that we use more than we need.  Since there are so many projects, we must
make a special effort at managing the cement.  We must be more aware about
economizing on cement.  That's why I was asking how many cubic meters of
concrete, how many kilograms of cement are needed.  What percentage of the
total.  It's easy to figure that out.  If you take the weight as the
measure, it's 2.4 tons.  It has 500 kg of cement, a bit more than (?23
percent).  Someone here said 26 percent.  The cement is measured in
kilograms per cubic meter of concrete.  Gravel is measured by cubic meter
and sand by cubic meter.  I'm told it takes 900...[rephrases] 0.9 cubic
meters of gravel, (?6) cubic meters of sand, and 500 kg of cement.  The
cement is measured in kilograms and the rest in cubic meters.  In the total
weight it comes out to 26 percent more or less.

I asked them those questions because I am worried about the way we consume
cement.  We have consumed 3.5 million tons this year.  Next year it will be
3.8 tons.  Then you hear reports about projects that are barely getting by
with their cement supplies.

[Reporter] Havana has 1,500 projects for next year.

[Castro] That's right.  You know what it means to have 1,500 different
places consuming gravel, sand, and cement?  We must make people aware we
must economize on cement so we won't use more than necessary.  There are
some people who think that the more cement you pour in, the stronger the
building.  The technical plans exist, but I am sure in actual fact we are
using more cement than we should.  Cement consumption has been discussed at
the projects and in TRABAJADORES.  I believe cement can be saved in the

[Reporter] For our part, we...

[Castro, interrupting] You could help.  Do you work for the television
newscast?  You could help us in...

[Reporter, interrupting] We are working here...

[Castro continues]...this rectification process and, fundamentally, this
development process.

[Reporter] But the year is ending well, Commander, isn't it?

[Castro] I believe so.  What is your opinion, you who are everywhere?  You
surely visit more places than I do, talk with more people.  What do you

[Reporter] This old year has been so good that...

[Castro, interrupting] Yes, I think so.  Many of us have the same

[Reporter] The new year will surely be better.

[Castro] It better be; otherwise, we'll be in really bad shape!

[Reporter] Thank you very much.

[Castro] Right! See you later. Thanks. [end recording]

[Announcer] Our commander in chief then toured one of the eight wells
already in operation at the aqueduct.  He was briefed there on the
equipment.  Fidel was particularly interested in the way the water program
in the Havana Province area was coming along.  He also made reference to
the rest of the country.

[Begin recording] [Castro] We'll leave that.

[Speaker] The dike [words indistinct] the canal will be when [words
indistinct] I feel it is better to use it all.

[Second speaker] You know it consists of a kilometer covered with [words

[Speaker] Monthly, monthly.

[Second speaker] We'll have a very definite schedule.

2[Speaker] A strict one.

[Second speaker] That's right, so we can meet your deadline.

[Castro] You are giving me all these explanations.  What you have to do is
not take that out until we finish.  When you do finish, you tell me where
we go next.  Each person does his own thing.

[Speaker] Oh, no, chief...

[Castro] And if you have trucks left over or anything else...[changes
thought] I don't want to take something away from where it is needed.  If
you have trucks left over, you take a few more trucks, you find a crane...

[Speaker, interrupting] We really don't have any surplus. [passage
indistinct] Artemisa needed two bulldozers and two trucks so they could
have a volume...

[Castro, interrupting] We'll talk about that later.  We'll do things little
by little. [Words indistinct] water.

[Speaker] [Words indistinct] construction of each one of the country's
brigades: dams and canals.  That is, so that everybody knows where each
brigade goes.

[Castro] What I want to do is establish the basic dam forces.  We have
already finished in Pinar del Rio.  I Imagine that it is working at twice
the pace.  We are making progress in Havana with the most important things.
[Words indistinct] we have [words indistinct] over there in the east, the
first one.  Camaguey is...

[Speaker, interrupting] Complete.

[Castro] No, not complete.

[Speaker] Not complete, because there are still some things left.

[Castro] No, we have to give equipment to Camaguey.  They rounded up some
old equipment and started working on the San Pedro Dam.

[Speaker] Yes, with the repaired Hitachis, Commander.

[Castro] Repaired Hitachis, because there is a lot of equipment here that
can be repaired.

[Speaker] It's been done all over the country.

[Castro] They are working with the old equipment everywhere and with a new
will. [laughter] Old equipment and a new will, you hear?

[Speaker] And discipline.  That's what is basic here.  Discipline.

[Castro] You yourself said, if one day you need 5 more trucks, you know you
can find 15 there.  You step up the work.  A bulldozer, a truck, you can't
do it when everything is all mixed up, when you have the kind of tossed
salad, the stew you cooked up with all the equipment and forces.  Well,
let's keep going. [end recording]