Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Further on Castro at Hemoderivatives Plant

FL091400 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1145 GMT 8 Apr 88

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, upon concluding his tour of the
hemoderivates plant, spoke with reporters on several matters.

[Begin recording] [Castro] This is a very important center because of its
production.  An infinite number of products derived from blood, which are
called hemoderivates, are used in medicine.  They are of great importance
in the treatment of a number of health problems.  The institute is needed
to satisfy our needs.  The workers explained to me each of the products and
noted what they are used for.  The products may also have some export
possibilities.  The institute will not only be able to satisfy our needs
for a number of products, but it may also have some surpluses and we will
be able to export products such as albumin.  They have begun a production
plan of 40,000 and hope to take it to 80,000.  I think they told me they
will finally reach about 100,000.

[Reporter] One hundred thousand liters of plasma?

[Castro] to process 100,000 liters of plasma and to produce different
products with it.

[Reporter] Yes, of course.

[Castro] This is very important for health.  This center had been under
construction for quite some time.  They have already been able to put it
into operation, work in it, and begin to produce.  However, we still want
to do some additional things.  We want to make some additional investments,
such as refrigerator compressors.  There are some areas in the operation
which need to be improved.  Necessary equipment has already been purchased
in order to improve the operation's weak areas.

This is the first time we have had this kind of plant.  We also aim to
gradually modernize it.  The equipment comes from various places.  They
will be able to evaluate which equipment is giving them better results.

The Soviet health minister was here because this investment was done with
the cooperation of the Soviets.  I spoke with him and he told me he was
thinking about helping us modernize.  He said that from the moment the idea
was conceived to the present, new and more efficient equipment has become
available.  I noticed he had great interest in helping us modernize this
newly inaugurated plant.

The plant is very sophisticated.  It reminds me a little of the electronics
component plant in Pinar del Rio because there are places here where they
have to work in a vacuum, they have to freeze-dry products and put them in
containers.  There are others who have to do this work in totally sterile
conditions in what we can call production halls, workshops.  They are
constructed in a certain way and use a particular procedure to guarantee
sterility in their work and for their personnel.

The center is impressive because of the complexity of the operation.  The
organization and quality of the personnel, the scientists, is also

[Reporter, interrupting] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] The staff is not just composed of women; there are also some men
in the scientific area.  However, in the laboratory production area, the
professional staff is basically composed of women.  The personnel are well
trained.  Above all, they are enthusiastic and dedicated to their work,
which is more important than training [corrects himself], just as
important.  It is an indispensable complement to training.

It is also noteworthy that this center, which had an initial planned
payroll of some 160 people, has reduced it to 105.  They said they still
have not been able to completely achieve certain goals such as
multiple-task jobs.  This means that they could reduce it a bit more.  You
must keep in mind that they have more than 15 person in the area research.
This is so because it is not only a production center but also a research
center that coordinates with other research institutes in the country.
They are doing very interesting things in that field, in research.

They also need some resources in research; I have already asked them.
Every time we go into a research center we find a researcher who needs a
small lyophilizer or a small centrigugal machine of a certain type, or a
certain refrigeration machine.  Generally, every time the country is able,
it helps these research centers which are always doing better work.

[Reporter] Will the plant be linked to the largest blood bank that is
currently under construction in the country?

[Castro] It will be linked to that one but it will certainly be linked to

[Several people speak simultaneously] It will be linked to all the blood

[Castro] I was told that for some of the products that will be made here,
certain conditions must be established in the blood banks.  They were
telling me about a product for hemophiliacs.  It is very important.  This
product requires certain conditions to be manufactured.  The blood has to
be frozen briefly, at minus 30 degrees, or something like that.  it
requires a process of rapid freezing.  Even though it is a new product, it
has its requirements for the blood bank.  It has to be frozen quickly and
some extra work has to be done with it.  It is very complex but extremely

[Reporter] Another matter that I wanted to discuss with you is the
rectification process that you and the party have guided the country
through.  You stated that it was going to be a long-term process.  However,
the first results can already be noticed in projects which used to take a
long time to complete and are finally being finished.  Nevertheless, we
still have a long way to go because the rectification process is a
long-term process and not everything good can appear rapidly in terms of
the quality of the projects which have been completed and in savings of
materials.  Would you like to comment on that idea?  Do you agree?  What is
your opinion?

[Castro] Well, it doesn't have much to do with health day but it pertains
to the fact that some of the projects are health-related projects.  Of
course, I think that this is a long-term struggle.  There are many old and
new things which have to be rectified.  There are things that are almost
millennial which have to be rectified, for example, discrimination.  Some
things are centuries or millennia old.  However, I think that the first
fruits of that rectification process are seen in a number of things, in the
much more serious work on the part of everyone.  You can see it in all
organizations.  You can see individuals, all officials, much more
committed, in the sugar harvest, agriculture, construction, everywhere.
There are many examples beginning to be noticeable, not only in the capital
but in all the provinces of the country.  You are all putting forth a very
serious effort.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to read a report sent to me by the
comrades of Pinar del Rio on the water conservation projects, to recover
water.  But there are projects which are ahead of schedule by 2 years from
the initial completion plan.  It is incredible; people are working 12, 13,
14 hours with much seriousness, enthusiasm.  I will give you an example.

They had an accelerated plan so that the Pinar del Rio highway reached the
city on 26 July.  That was already a very intense program.  They had
planned to inaugurate it on 30 April.  You can get to Pinar del Rio using
two roads now.  That long trip which used to last 2 1/2 or 3 hours, because
of the many curves, now can be done in approximately 1 1/2 hours, even up
to 1 hour 25 minutes, 1 hour 20 minutes, all the way from Havana to Pinar
del Rio.  They were determined and now have really done a great feat.

Those who are working at the dams are doing the same thing.  Those working
at the canals are doing the same thing, those who are working on the roads
and aqueducts in Pinar del Rio are doing the same.  You find this in other
areas as well.  Big efforts are being made in the sugar harvest, big
efforts are being carried out in tobacco.  They are even struggling so that
the time will come when it will no longer be necessary to mobilize forces
from the capital to the province to work on the tobacco harvest by applying
science and technology.  You can see a number of things which are being
done in the plains, the mountains, in all sectors.  It is really something
noteworthy.  It gives the impression that by working like that fast
progress can be achieved.

[Reporter] Do you think that....

[Castro, interrupting] You see many things, you notice this happening in
Camaguey, in Oriente, in the former eastern provinces.  You can already see
the first fruits.  Not in everything.  We cannot be satisfied.  It would
be a great fallacy to say we are doing well.  The problem is not only to
continue building but to continue with this spirit, to extend, for example,
the spirit of the minibrigades to all activities.  Now we can find many
factories, factories which had been set back quite a bit, rising again.
There are a number of activities in which you can begin to see improvement.

You can see these improvement in health services.  But we are not
satisfied.  I remember the past three year-end meetings I have attended, in
1985, 1986, and 1987.  Sometimes they have not been at the end of the year
but at the beginning of the next one.  These meetings were held with
representatives of all hospitals in the capital.  I remember the first one
which was held around December 1985.  There were huge problems.  There was
a total paralysis.  They didn't have maintenance supplies, they didn't have
anything.  If you went back to the third meeting--they are recorded on
television as usual--you could compare them.  The first meeting lasted 2
days, and the last one lasted a few hours.  However, you can see in a very
concrete example of the never-ending rosary of calamities presented in the
first meeting, the matters that were already being discussed.  You saw a
rosary of things done by the hospitals.  This year, in 1987, we have done
this and that; we have resolved things with our own means.  We have fixed
and recovered beds with out maintenance brigade.  At the other meeting, it
was said we have lost beds.  Suffice it to say that in that other
meeting.... [does not complete thought]

At the Salvador Allende Hospital, where the employees performed very good
work, we found out that there were 14 warehouses.  This is just to give you
an example of a different organization.  Because one, I don't know for what
reason, the tunnels, [corrects himself] basements had been used for
storage.  This was happening.  Imagine this happening in a hospital.  It is
an incredible thing.  I have some examples, to give you an idea of some
concrete things in terms of how work is being done.

In how many areas must work be done?  In 50, 100 areas.  I would say we are
making progress in a number of areas.  But I think this progress should be
contagious.  It has to be like dynamite.  It is said that dynamite explodes
in the manner of a chain reaction; when there is an explosion here, there
is another explosion there.  We also, just like a chain reaction, must have
this explosion of enthusiasm, seriousness, and effort extend to all areas.
In other words, it is a process which is in its beginning stages but shows
much promise.  The good thing about it is that the results you see show all
that this process promises.

Look at how they are working in agriculture this year.  There was only a
brief period of good weather.  There were not enough people to pick the
potato, garlic, and tomato harvest.  We expect all vegetable production to
continue during the entire year by fighting against the heat of June, July,
August, September.  Different varieties are being studied.  Research is
being conducted to see which vegetables... [changes thought] Not all,
because there are some vegetables that cannot be harvested here in August
or September.  They do not grow, they get pests, weeds grow fast and
compete with the plants.  In general, I am watching.  We are very far from
being satisfied.  We are excited because we are seeing the first results of
this process.

[Reporter] Without claiming victory, could you sum up all this by saying
that Cuba is getting ahead [Cuba va]?

[Castro] Cuba?

[Reporter] Is getting ahead.

[Castro] Well, I believe that Cuba is making progress.  The most notable
thing about this process is that it is being carried out at the time of
greatest limitations of resources, in terms of convertible currency.  It is
being done with practically half of what was available previously.  You
know what that means; waiting for the little ship to arrive, and the like.
Through savings, people make efforts to substitute exports, build parts,
find other kinds of solutions.

At a center such as this one I saw a gold cap and I asked--because I saw a
small group--where it came from.  I was told it came from France.  I saw a
little cap with rubber and asked how much it cost.  I was told it is cheap
compared to how expensive the produce itself is.  But it you do not have
that cap you cannot manufacture the product, so you need the cap.  You need
that little thing and many others to have production, thousands, tens of
thousands, and many of them have to be obtained through convertible

As a rule, the goods from socialist countries are guaranteed.  Sometimes,
some of them are delayed, but we do not lack them because of problems
involving finances.  We have more difficulties with the goods from the
convertible currency area.  Of course, sometimes we also have problems
with socialist goods.  It happened with transportation.  I asked that it be
published because they didn't want to mention it.  Nobody has to be hurt or
offended.  Let's explain the truth objectively.

There were difficulties in sugar prices in our relations with Hungary, in
the trade agreements.  There were obstacles that blocked the signing of the
agreements.  We did not want trade relations to change.  We have discussed
the concerns that country has, we had to discuss them at length.  It
couldn't be solved.  The problem of the supplies for the games was not
solved; it was not solved [repeats himself].

The Czechoslovaks had problems with the plant that produces gear boxes, and
the gear boxes are from the CSSR.  All those problems began to accumulate
and resulted in a transportation crises.  We did not want to blame anyone.
The laborers, the mechanics, were making big efforts and the people were
not being told there was a problem.  I said:  Explain it well.  No one
needs to be hurt or offended to explain the truth.  Indeed, when it was
explained, even the Hungarians made a big effort to help us with a problem
created by factors that were beyond our control.  It was pleasant to be
able to say that although these factors were related to the problem, the
countries made serious efforts to help.  But people need to understand that
it was not due to negligence.