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Castro Participates in Planning Meeting Debates

FL2904235888 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 1700 GMT 29 Apr 88

[Passages within quotation marks recorded]

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, first secretary of the PCC Central
Committee, has actively participated in the debates of the second national
planning meeting held at the Palace of Conventions.

[Castro] "How is the question of valuation to be solved?  This is very
important.  I am talking about valuation, not the cost.  That is one of the
things we are most confused about.  I can see it in the projects and I read
it in the newspapers every day.  They talk about such and such a cost.  No
one knows what that means.  They don't know if it's the inflated cost, the
stealing in between, the price inflation, the playing fast and loose with
alleged earnings, the sharing of these earnings, and the prizes, etc, or
whether it's the real cost.  The first thing is that we don't know what
anything costs here.  We don't know what the projects cost.  We are going
to start learning how much a project costs.  For me, one of the most
serious problems in construction itself is just that one, there in the
plans-- the fact that it looks as if we are producing more in terms of
value each year.  We come out producing much more and appearing to produce
much less.  You can't go by the cost plus a 10 percent in earnings in
construction because each time you reduce the costs, you are reducing the
value of production.  If instead of costing me 10 million [currency not
specified].  I add 10 percent, bringing the figure to 11, and it costs me
8, then a brigade can appear to be working much harder and producing less.
And then the country looks as if it were underdeveloped instead of
developed.  It is producing less value, when perhaps a building that we
erect for 100,000 costs 500,000 or a million in France, the FRG, or
Britain, which report such and such a growth and such and such a gross
product.  Our problem is to be able to discern what values we are really
creating with a greater productivity."

The 500 participants in the meeting discussed the aesthetics and
functionality of projects, the dedication of planners, and something very
important:  the role that our planners must play in saving materials.  In
this connection, the chief of the revolution called on these specialists to
supply fast solutions to new problems:

[Castro] "Perhaps we might take our time to complete 80 or 90 percent of
the projects.  All these standards and methodologies that you have brought
up should be applied so we can do things at our convenience, so we can
choose among the alternatives.  However, 10 or 15 percent of the projects
will respond to new problems, new situations, new needs."

Later, the leader of the Cuban revolution said that if we are not capable
of responding quickly to the plans we make, these will become like
straitjackets.  He praised the work carried out by the Blas Roca Calderio
Contingent in highway construction, and urged the reconciliation of the
positive capabilities of socialism to plan everything it does with the
prompt response to problems that arise.  He assessed the work carried out
by the planning front as follows:

[Castro] "I believe that we have made progress.  The report, the proposals,
the work, the progress made--all these show that the idea of creating the
planning front was correct.  We have not taken anyone's autonomy away.  We
have not affected any organization's authority.  We have helped all of
them.  I believe that this demonstrates how new ideas can come about.  They
do not have to take the form of an organic institution.  It can come about
with just the work that everyone is doing.  To each his own."

It was past 2030 when our top leader began a tour of the projects
exhibition located in the Palace's lobby.  He stopped at the model showing
the highways now under construction in the capital.