Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Addresses Water Resources Group 25 Dec

FL061250 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1419 GMT 26 Dec 87

[Speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the PCC
Central Committee and president of the Councils of State and Ministers, to
close the national meeting on developing water resources held on 25
December at Havana's Place of Conventions--recorded]

[Text]  Comrades, this is a meeting of veterans, of those who know the
history of water projects, of serious, experienced, trained people.  This
is a meeting of water project veterans, of old revolutionaries.  Yes, old
revolutionaries, but not so old they can't straighten all this out.  I
believe that by straightening all this out now we will be able to work
better than before.  We won't have the brand new equipment we once had,
when we had almost everything new.  But we possess invaluable experience.
Many of us have had more than 20 years of revolution.  We have learned a
great deal, we have learned to find solutions with a spirit reflected in
the things you have accomplished this year.  You looked for the equipment,
you put it together.

I say we are at a meeting of men of honor.  You are not all men; there are
some women comrades as well.  That is why we should say a meeting of men
and women of honor. [applause]

We have the task of straightening all this out, in this area we have called
developing water resources.  It is all part of one thing, the rectification
of errors, of negative tendencies in order to move the country forward.  We
can do it with these resources.

This is like a war.  Today, we have rifles, cannons, rockets, and who knows
what else.  But I remember the war when we went around with those
small-caliber rifles.  They (?were) automatic rifles.  I remember us, more
than once, fixing the rifles because we were missing a screw.  We even had
to use a piece of wood for the pin lost by one of those small-caliber
rifles.  I saw some of our weapons, automatic weapons, which worked only
because we had fashioned the missing pin out of wood.  We never let a rifle
go to waste.  Neither did we throw it out.

There are some people around who have received many rifles to wage wars of
[words indistinct] but all they do is throw them away most of the time.  We
never received a small-caliber rifle from anyone.  We had to take it away
from the enemy.  We had to fix it, keep it oiled, and make the most of it.
We saw that Batista had his planes, tanks, and cannons, and we, with our
small-caliber rifles and our mines, won the war.

So, the thing now is to make do with what we have; to come up with a big
program, an ambitious program.  We have to come up with ambitious programs
because I am sure everyone here wants to see the project finished.  Isn't
that right?  Everyone wants to see the dam built, the agricultural plans.
Everyone wants to see us win the battle of the drought.

We don't have the necessary water.  We have to see how best to use it.

It was a great satisfaction for all yesterday to see El Gato Dam.  It was a
complicated, complex, and difficult project; but it was well planned, with
all its substations.  They could not be seen on the surface because they
are underground, but you could see the substations for the 17 wells, the
automatic controls, the water tanks for chlorination and for peak demand
supply.  It was a well thought out, well-executed project.  It was built
fast.  From the time we decided to do it, we built it in 2 years--6 months

You have saved the capital from a terrible (?fate) because, Comrades, the
situation in the capital was unbearable.  After several years of drought it
was becoming a tragedy.  I don't know what would have happened in 6 month's
time if we had not had El Gato Dam.

It was a good job and the people realize it.  The people are grateful.
This shows we can accomplish great things when we work in earnest.  We
should never again allow anyone to disturb our work with strange ideas.
They turn us into idiots, into irresponsible fools.  They make us stop
being revolutionaries, because they make us play around.  The revolution
was not made that way.  The revolution was not defended this way.

We must say that patriotism in these past years took refuge in the defense
of the country, in that readiness to fight, to make efforts.
Unfortunately, in the economic area we had been losing the best habits, the
best principles, the volunteer work that had disappeared.  That spirit that
today fills us with admiration had been languishing.  We truly did not know
where we were heading.  I do know where we are heading on the course we are
on now.

I have seen it.  I see it everywhere these days.  I want you to know that I
have seen 24 child care centers.  It is not that I like child care centers
more than I do aqueducts, dams, or micro-dams.  It's that the child care
centers became a symbol of the new spirit.  I want you to know, Comrades,
that we are going to inaugurate child care center No 54 on 29 December.
[applause]  There's one detail I must correct.  I meant child care center
No 50 on the 29th and No 54 on the 30th.  That's the difference.  We have
four more centers, built without any problems, built with quality, with the
people working.  That is why I wanted to see them.

I visited many of those child care centers in the early morning hours.  The
people were working day and night.  There were many people, young women who
had children, members of the Union of Young Communists.  They went with
their children to another municipality where their workplace was.  But
since it was nighttime and they could not leave their children in the
center, they took the children to their mothers.  They went to the site of
the child care center under construction, they worked all night, and the
next day they took the children to their own child care centers and went on
to their jobs.  They did this once a week--a sleepless week.  Many people,
many young people, youngsters working, the elderly.

And we met a lot of admirable, amazing people.  The other day I met a man,
a 68-year old man who had retired last year from a tobacco factory.  He was
given a diploma for 1,685 hours of voluntary work at the child care center.
When I asked him why that had not been announced, he didn't want me to even
talk about it.  He was embarrassed.  Another young man, a member of the
social minibrigades, worked 1,000 hours.  A party member in Old Havana
worked 1,500 hours.  Now when a female member of a minibrigade works 1,500
hours, it means 1,500 hours over the 10 hours. [sentence as heard]

There was a teacher who was a member of a social minibrigade who worked
1,080 hours.  I found this admirable.  I asked her:  How did you manage?
What time did you start?  At 0700.  There was no stopping.  We went on
until 0700 the next day, until 1900.  That is, she started today at 0700
and finished tomorrow at 1900.  Saturday, Sunday.  I saw a series of
impressive things.

This is the spirit I am talking about.  If it spreads all over, who knows
how far we can go.  I have seen a lot of these heroic feats in my visits to
the child care centers.  They have become commonplace, everyday things.
Now that we are rectifying.  I feel we can do much better than ever before.
We have made mistakes of one kind or another.  If we take advantage of all
the experience we possess, we can do better than ever, better than ever
[repeats himself].

We have much better trained people, more serious, responsible, and
experienced people.  We have tremendous resources.  We don't have to change
men.  What we have to change are concepts.  The people who are performing
feats in Pinar del Rio are not specially selected people.  They are the
same people who were there before.  That is what we want you to do; go
back, take these ideas with you, think about everything that has been
discussed here, and think what each one of you has to do to implement this
program in this field.

Next year we will take the time to make a complete analysis of how this
year went.  We will prepare an account.  It is a very good method.  We have
done it with the enterprises [words indistinct].  We have done it with the
doctors and hospitals here in the capital.  We will draw up a working plan
and then meet to see how it has gone.  We will discuss everything, each one
in his own field.

We will meet again in about a year.  I am very impressed.  I did not attend
the whole meeting but I know that you have done an excellent job this year.
The party has worked hard.  It has held hundreds of meetings.  The problems
of each one of the brigades, of the projects, have been examined one by
one.  You have come here with your work done.  I believe next year...
[changes thought]  You can see the progress of this year already.  We will
be able to see a leap forward next year.  I feel the biggest leap will take
place in 1989.

It will take us some time to organize these minibrigades.  When we have 10
or 12 new brigades, it will be 1989.  When we are able to send the modest
resources we are going to send to the rest of the brigades, it will be
mid-1989 or late 1989.

At any rate, I believe there will be a big leap next year.  I think this
has been a good year, a historic, decisive year for water resources
development, but next year will be better.

I leave you with this conviction.  I would like to take this opportunity to
wish all of you, professionally and personally, a better year in 1988, a
happier year. [applause]