Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Inaugurates Projects in Pinar del Rio

FL0405201088 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 2217 GMT 30 Apr 88

[Speech by President Fidel Castro marking International Workers Day in
Pinar del Rio on 30 April--live]

[Text]  Comrades of Pinar del Rio:  In speaking of Pinar del Rio I am
referring to the city and the province of Pinar del Rio.

I was invited to inaugurate some projects on the occasion of 1 May.  In
this case, 1 May is being celebrated on 30 April.  I see that you have
organized a 26 July here. [applause]  That is the impression I get when I
see this enormous multitude of people.  (Tocayo) [no further identification
provided] had told me that 100,000 people would be here.  Here 100,000 is
mentioned as if one were talking about a dozen people and 100,000 people
are 100,000 people. [applause]

I am also aware of the sacrifices required by a gathering such as this; the
long hours spent on the highways, streets, and roads.  By the time we
arrived at noon, we could see mobilizations.  We were concerned with the
hot sun on this last day of April.  Fortunately, the clouds then rolled in
like an omen of early spring which we need so much.

I was not just thinking of the heat.  I was also recalling that today is
the day of the boxing match between the United States and Cuba.  I was
thinking that millions of compatriots would be watching the broadcast
because that type of sports event is followed with much interest.
Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people in Pinar del Rio will not be able
to listen to the match over the radio or watch the result of the fight over
television.  Some of us had the privilege of listening to part of it
because, when we visited certain areas, we had the radio on to see what was
happening.  They say the match will be rebroadcast on Monday. [laughter]
This way you won't miss it. [applause] In case you don't know, I can tell
you that out of 12 fights, we won 10. [applause]  Some say that two of
those fights were lost unfairly.  In general, however, I can tell you that
the judging was very efficient.

I was saying that we are marking 1 May, the glorious day of the workers, a
true day of festivity in our fatherland since the victory of 1 January
1959.  How are the people of Pinar del Rio marking this 1 May?

We are marking it with a real work festival.  We are marking it by paying
tribute to work.  We commemorate it by being able to express our efforts in
deeds and results.  We commemorate it by inaugurating a large number of
projects which the workers accelerated in honor of this date.  First of
all, it is historic that the national highway has reached the city of Pinar
del Rio. [applause] Adults, older people, remember when there was only one
highway on which to travel to Pinar del Rio and that it was one of the
longest and most dangerous routes in the country.  Who knows how many lives
were lost on that narrow road, how many resources, and how much time was
invested.  Now, we have completed a large part of the project, a wide
highway.  The rest of the way is covered by a [corrects himself] by two
very wide roads.  The half of the highway that is already built already
looks like a highway by itself.  Its beauty is truly impressive as you
enter the city on this highway.  Progress was being made on the two roads
but it was then decided to work on one in order to facilitate

I remember when I visited the province on the occasion of an exercise, a
military exercise, a defense exercise.  We arrived early in the city.  It
took a long time to travel between Herradura and the city of Pinar del Rio.
There was an interminable caravan of vehicles, buses.  One could hardly

When we came in June, we met with the leaders of the province and analyzed
the need to speed up the termination of this highway.  They were in the
middle of the rectification process.

This highway actually began more than 10 years ago.  I remember when it was
begun, when we organized the brigades.  I say it was 10 years ago but it
could have begun in the capital 15 years ago.  It took 6 days to get as far
as Artemisa.  Experience was not available when the road was begun.

This highway should have been finished earlier.  A lot of time was lost on
this project, as was done in the construction of dams and many other
projects.  A lot of money was invested.  Money was thrown into these
projects and none of them were finished.  This was a reality for many
years.  It decreased the rhythm of construction, including the quality of
construction.  The projects began to be interminable.

Vices, problems, and negative tendencies were also manifested in many other
activities.  Fortunately, we have a revolution, a true revolution, a
legitimate revolution that is able to rectify its errors.  It is able to
rectify in time its own negative tendencies.

The rectification process began when we became aware of these other
problems.  We saw that many things that had been very successful at one
time had lost their strength.  I am not going to discuss this here.  We've
talked about it on other occasions, the causes of these problems.

We knew that the roads had become extraordinarily bad.  I know of highways
that would take 65 years to construct at the rate they were going.  The
road from Santo Domingo to Corralio in Las Villas is an example of this.
Some road construction was paralyzed, while other construction maintained
the same pace.

Dams, which at one time were built in 2 or 3 years, were taking 15, 20, or
more years.  There were erroneous concepts in planning and there was an
insufficient allocation of resources.  Money was spent on projects every
year even though there were many millions of pesos that were supposedly
generated.  Nevertheless, you could not rely on any of those statistics
because no project was finished.

Water conservation fell drastically, among other things.  That is why one
of the tasks stated was the matter of water conservation.  There was
conservation for many years during the revolution and thinks to this dozens
and dozens of dams were constructed throughout the country, large and
medium-sized dams.  Minidams were constructed throughout the country.  An
irrigation system was developed, canals, and so forth.  However, water
conservation had fallen tremendously.  The decline of water conservation
united--coincided--with one of the most prolonged--or perhaps the most
prolonged--drought the revolution has experienced during these past 30

The revolution became aware very early of the need to build water projects.
There were no more than 2 or 3 dams in Cuba supplying water to some cities.
They were small dams with tens of thousands of cubic meters of water.  The
revolution has been able to make dams capable of holding billions of cubic
meters of water.

However, during the past few years, not a single dam was finished and we
suffered the consequences more each time.  That is why the need for water
conservation was stressed.

The necessity for conservation could also be applied to roads.  We could
also call it the conservation of routes, highways, roads, and streets.

As I mentioned earlier, we were here less than a year ago and we analyzed
these matters.  The province was already working hard.  It was working hard
on the construction of roads and it was working hard on the construction of
dams.  They were renewing those that were abandoned.  They were beginning
to work on these.  This provided the incentive to support the province in
this effort and it can be said that water conservation began in Pinar del
Rio Province and the province now heads the vanguard of the country in the
conservation of water. [applause]

The province also marches excellently in the construction of highways,
roads, and streets.  The desire and objective of laying the last few
kilometers to Pinar del Rio in a short time was stated on that occasion.
The date was moved up from 26 July 1988.  Some say that the date was moved
up 3 months but much more was moved up due to the rectification process.
The 26 July deadline was a very difficult goal that the province undertook.
It as a new pace, a difficult goal.  A goal that was already very difficult
was moved up 3 months from 26 July.  That gives you an idea of how hard the
construction workers labored in this final stage of the construction of the
northern segment of the national highway.

That is why we are able to inaugurate this project built by the
construction workers.  They deserve the most sincere and warm
congratulations for the exemplary effort they have made. [applause]

We will not, however, limit ourselves to building the northern segment of
the road.  I think that by the next work day, 3 May, the workers building
this road--the No 3 engineering projects enterprise--will be laying the
southern segment.  This time they will advance in the opposite direction,
from Pinar del Rio to the east.  We have 53 km left.  Part of the
excavations have been made.  Part of the bridges have been finished.  We
have a serious task ahead of us and we will not be content with those two
wide roads.  We want the highway to be complete, finished, with all its
connecting roads.

We have begun to see some support for that brigade, some resources.  Some
of their buses have been repaired.  Other equipment can be added to
reconstruct their force, to renovate their force.  We will continue using
the major part of the equipment we have, but some of them will be replaced
during the second half of this year.

They have set a good pace because we have to finish quickly.  We have to
finish this road quickly. How long will it take us?  We have 53 km left.
We think that by 1 May--we want to set a reasonable date--by 1 May
[repeats himself] 1990, the 53 km of the southern part of the road will be
finished.  I am confident that the workers will not only fulfill their
goals; they will overfulfill them.  I am absolutely sure. [applause]

I think the same thing will happen with that date as with the 26 July goal.
I am sure that with renewed energy and some new equipment, this brigade
will meet that goal.

[Words indistinct] We are not going to junk the equipment we replace.  We
are going to use it in the expansion of the Pinar del Rio-Guanes highway,
to make it wider. [applause]

However, there is another reason why we are interested in seeing the
brigade continue to work with this same big drive.  It should not only
complete this two-lane highway, but also, as soon as it finishes the
two-lane highway, it will have to start working on a two-track railroad
line between Pinar del Rio and Havana. [applause]

We are not only going to have a highway between Havana and Pinar del Rio,
but also a two-track railroad line.  Work is underway on the project and
there is already some progress on the Havana-Artemisa stretch.  Our plan is
that as soon as they finish this second road, these brigades will start
building from Los Palacios toward the east.  First they will connect
completed stretches.

This railroad transportation is very necessary.  The province has no big
port.  Practically everything brought to the province has to come over
roads or by rail.  Many of the province's exports also have to be
transported over roads, tobacco, citrus fruit, lobster, fish.  All these
are important sources of foreign exchange revenue for the country.  And
it's not only goods but also people who travel this way.

People are going to travel more safely on this highway.  It has an island,
two wide lanes.  In fact, we got here in approximately 1 hour and 20
minutes without speeding.  One hour and 20 minutes! [crowd stirs] I was
reading all the way. [Castro chuckles]  It's not a new thing, not a new
thing.  Several people told me that it took 1 hour and 20 minutes--I don't
mean from the capital; I mean from the point where the Mediodia highway
starts.  I don't think I broke any laws. [crowd laughs] At any rate, if
anyone broke the law it was the comrade who was driving. [crowd laughs]
They say that the man who kills the goat is as much to blame as the one who
ties it up. [crowd laughs]

So I was reading all the way.  All of a sudden I asked:  Where are we?
We're in Pinar del Rio, I was told.  I was used to 3-hour drives.  Curves
and more curves.  I was very surprised.  Before I realized it, we were
already in Pinar del Rio.  I'm not implying that the buses will make it
this fast, but I would say that they can make the trip in practically half
the time as before.

We will have a good two-track railroad in the future.  A portion of the
lines will be new.  There will be a new line from Havana to Artemisa.  From
Artemisa to Pinar, the new track will mostly follow the old one.  However,
it will also be a high-speed train, which will make it possible to travel
comfortably between the country's capital and the provincial capital.

And, of course, it will make possible large-scale transportation of goods.
There are raw materials here that must be transported to other areas of the
country.  Sand, rock, other products have to be transported elsewhere for
the production of bottles, glass plates, etc.  There are many industries
that require raw materials from Pinar del Rio.  At the same time, many raw
materials and products have to come [words indistinct]:  all of the cement
consumed in Pinar del Rio has to come from the factories in Artemisa and
Mariel; all of the iron rods used in Pinar del Rio; all the tiles used in
Pinar del Rio; all the bathroom fixtures used in Pinar del Rio; a large
number of the ironworks used in Pinar del Rio in housing and social works

Therefore, those two large projects are very valuable ones.  This one is
almost at hand.  With the effort of these workers we will shortly have the
two lanes.  I can assure you that it will not take us long to get to the
two railroad tracks.  We are going to push this project as much as possible
from our end.  It could happen, in fact, that some of these brigades will
start working on the railroad as soon as we have the plans.  For example,
the bridges brigades are far advanced.  The bridges brigades might be
building the bridges we need for those two tracks by the end of the year.
It's possible that reinforced land-clearing brigades might also start
construction work this very year from here on.  In other words, if not from
Pinar del Rio, at least from Los Palacious, halfway, to connect the roads.
It is always good to make the connections.  Even if we finish this or that
stretch, unless we connect them, they are of no use.  However, if we
connect Los Palacious with the capital, then we can start using that
stretch.  That's why the workers in the capital will start in this
direction and workers here will start toward the capital.

Therefore, we are not going to take too long.  We are not going to set
deadlines right now, but I can assure you that we are not going to take
long to finish those two tracks if we keep up the spirit and the
productivity we have achieved so far.

This is good news.  I feel that a noble, happy, honorable way to
commemorate 1 May is this 26 July of sorts that you have organized here.

But there is more good news in other fields.  I have already said that the
province is at the vanguard in the resumption of hydraulic works.  There
are three reservoir brigades.  They took on a heavy load.  They are ahead
of schedule in their construction plan by many months.  When we came here
in June last year, the brigade building the Guama dam was barely organized.
The equipment had just arrived.  The work had hardly begun.  It as
estimated that it could take 2 and 1/2 years.  In fact, they are going to
do it in 1 year and 7 months, according to the reports I have.  It appears
that they are going to finish the Guama dam in March 1989.

The Guama dam not only means around 40 million cubic meters of water for
public, industrial, agricultural use; it will also prevent tremendous
floods such as the ones that took place here during the last hurricane.
These hurricanes cause so much danger, cost so many lives, destroy so much

I remember the hotel--I can't recall the name--I visited in the days of the
hurricane.  I was told that a cow in the water ended up on the hotel's
second floor. [crowd laughs] She took a room there, just like any tourist.
Here where we are all standing was a veritable sea.  It affected many
families; a lot of furniture, mattresses, air conditioners were damaged.  I
recall that the revolution had to come up with a plan to sell, supply,
grant credits and low prices to thousands of families affected by these

After the hurricane, I remember thinking:  We won't take long:  someday
we'll have the dam.  The brigade was organized last year and this is the
last spring the river will get the chance to overflow as it did before.
The waters will be confined in the Guama reservoir.

But it's not only that.  Not only will the city have the water it needs but
it will have it without wasting it.  No one has the right to waste water.
The country will never be able to say it has the water resources Pinar del
Rio has, but the nice thing about all this is that it is not lost
afterward.  Instead, we treat it.  Through a diversion dam and through a
channel which is presently under construction, the water will end up at El
Punto Dam and its level will be raised to take in approximately 100
million.  Then all that water that the opera singers waste in a shower
here, in this happy city of Pinar del Rio, we will at least be able to use
afterward in agriculture.  Using these procedures, it will not be wasted.

The treatment plant will also produce fertilizers and water for
agriculture.  Look at what a logical thing this is.  That water will then
go to the ocean, just as all the water from the Guama River goes to the
ocean.  All that water that floods us now goes to the ocean.  We will save
that water, we will store it, there will not be any floods, and we will use
it for the population, industry, and agriculture.  Those are rationing

I tell you that soon, within a few days, the brigade which completed the
Paso Viejo and El Punto diversion dams and the Paso Viejo-El Punto Channel
will build that diversion dam.  That is why I think that as of next year
not a drop of water will be wasted in the river.  We will be able to take
all of it to the El Punto Dam which will soon increase its capacity.
Notice what that single project of Guama means.  It is also important for
the workers not to spend 10 years building that dam.  Let's not get that
ridiculous, absurd, and stupid idea of giving 100,000 this year, 100,000
the next, and 100,000 the next if it is not finished within an estimated
amount of time.  So how much time should they be given?  Only as much time
as they need to build.  Only as much time as is needed by the teams of a
brigade, and only as much time as the workers need to do the job.  That is
the most logical way of working.  As soon as they finish, they can prepare
another project.  If they take 10 years, we spend 10 years investing in
cement, sand, rock, fuel, engines, and work force, and we do not receive
anything in return.  We are still dry when it doesn't rain, and we still
get flooded when it rains excessively.  I think that our people, and those
of Pinar del Rio, understand perfectly the logic of this rationing.
Therefore, we will have a dam sooner.  Immediately after, another one, to
be called the Paso Viejo Dam, will be built on the same river.  It will
also be to store water.  On the occasion of this 1 January [corrects
himself] 1 May, the San Julian Dam has already been completed.  The dam was
completed way ahead of schedule.  Now that that dam is completed, our
comrades will go on to work to the west of Pinar del Rio.  For the first
time, we will begin building dams to the west of Pinar del Rio.  There
still remain a few to be built in the east; almost all of them are built
there.  I think that around 1990 or 1991 we will no longer need to build
dams in that area, unless other possibilities are discovered.  We will
soon build dams between Pinar del Rio and Guane.  We are already studying
the Cuyaguateje project, where the dam with the greatest flow in the
province will be.  It will have more than 250 million cubic meters.  You
know that the Cuyaguateje floods.  All that water can be turned not only
into centers to produce food, fish, etc, but can also be used for all the
citrus, tobacco, grain, and vegetable plans.  This will not be a matter of
another decade, no.  As these brigades finish here, they go on to the west
of the capital.  Now they will build El Rancho Dam; afterward, they will
build the one in San Juan.  Those also flood when it rains a lot, and they
take lives.  They cause a lot of damage, as they did in that hurricane.

Therefore, the workers of the water projects have completed the channel of
Punto Jiconal, from Paso Viejo to El Punto.  They have rebuilt an important
channel from Santa Clara to Herradura.  They have completed San Julian.
they are moving fast in El Patate and here in Guama.  These are three dam
construction brigades which we have to maintain and strengthen in whatever
way possible, so that they can continue working at an increasing pace.

What does this mean?  It means that when we are through, not a single drop
will escape to the sea.  We are working on minidams in the north.  Comrade
Gregorio [outstanding worker who preceded Castro at the podium] mentioned
here the time when he inaugurated a minidam in Vinales.  We plan to build
all the dams possible there.  The land is very fertile, but it doesn't
always rain.  Or if it does, the rain is late.  Or it can start raining in
January.  You can see what great advantage it is to have water from
November on to plant tobacco, vegetables, grains.  Everything has to be
planted at the same time now.  But if we have water, the planting can be
staggered.  The crops are more certain to be plentiful.

We sent a minidam brigade to Vinales.  The thing is, however, that it is
building a dam for 9 million, which makes it no longer a minidam.  I was
telling my namesake that if you build a lot of minidams, you have water
fast.  In a few months, water here, water there.  We should build the
bigger ones later.  The bigger ones include irrigation systems.  However,
after building a few medium-sized ones, the brigade moved on to bigger ones
and is now committed until the year 1990.  When we are able to, we will
organize another minidam brigade in the municipality of Matahambre, to keep
working on the idea of not letting a single drop escape to the sea that
could be dammed up otherwise.  Let the water escape to the sea only at the
end, there where we can't build a dam, there where we can't retrieve it,
get it back to the watertable.

I was noticing a model you have here in the province.  They were showing it
to me at noon.  The model consisted of all the projects and channels built
in the province.  It is really a nice model.  You can see all that's been
done over these years of revolution in the area of dams and channels.  I
don't know if you can get a picture out in the newspapers so that everyone
can see it.  You can not only see the dams that are built already but also
the few that remain to be built, the channels left to build.

But I tell you, in my opinion, in 2 or 3 years at the most, all the
(?eastern) projects will be completed in the Pinar capital.  We will do the
rest in a short period of time, North and south.  The best prospects in the
south, where there are more rivers.  Thus, in this sense, I feel the news
is good and encouraging.

The effort in building local mountain roads was also mentioned here.  Aside
from the several highways criss-crossing the province from south to north,
there is a central mountain highway which will make it possible to go from
Soroa, or before Soroa, to Vinales and beyond--to Matahambre by road.  This
without using either the northern road, the central highway, or the
national highway.

So, the province will have four highways crossing it from one end to the
other.  This will help the Turquino program, the reforestation program, the
program to plant coffee and other crops.  It will help to keep the peasant
population on the mountains.  It is a must to keep the population there.  I
am certain that with the excellent living conditions they will
have--electricity, communications, good housing, good living
standards--they will stay on the mountains.  That's a big plan.  I know
that the highway builders have also made a huge effort on the mountains.

Moreover, our province is not only making progress in highway and railroad
construction.  It is not only making progress in building mountain roads
and hydraulic works.  Our province is making considerable progress in
agriculture in general.  Gregorio was explaining here about the very good
harvest in both quantity and quality this year.  Important steps were taken
in the organization to enable the province to do without bringing in labor
as much as possible.  The enormous mass of dozens of thousands of students
that has to be mobilized from the capital is very costly and causes many
problems.  They have their own work to do there.  Vegetable and tuber
cultivation is going to expand by more than 500 cabalerias.

The plan is to build some 30 schools.  There are almost 20,000
pre-university students in the capital.  They are not attending rural
schools.  There are provinces that have almost all their pre-university
students in the rural schools.  They help supply the capital with tubers
and vegetables.  Therefore, with the introduction of technology, machinery,
organization, and with the incorporation of people into the work--which has
been made more feasible with the agricultural wages reform and which in
turn has made it possible for more than 10,000 people to join agricultural
tasks in Pinar del Rio Province--it will truly be a good thing for the
country to get the province to push ahead with these agricultural and
development plans without having to import labor at any time.

Agricultural progress is made, citrus cultivation improves, etc.

As explained here earlier, there is a program for 3 million quintals of
tubers and vegetables.  This means more than 4 quintals of tubers and
vegetables per capita.  There is a plan to plant more than 1,000
caballerias with short-cycle crops in formerly idle tobacco fields.

There are plans to produce up to 3 million quintals of rice in this
province.  There are plans to plant around 3,000 caballerias.  Depending on
the yield, production could be more than 3 million.  We thus make good use
of all these areas close to the coast.  Above all, we'll do this by the
proper utilization of the impounded water.  A lot of water is still being
wasted in agriculture.  Sometimes a hectare of rice takes 20,000 or 15,000
cubic meters.  The provincial first party secretary, Comrade Fidel Ramos,
was explaining to me that they have done some experiments and found that
with only 10,000 cubic meters a number of caballerias have been planted
with a yield of 1,400 quintals.  He as telling me that there were times
when the water was repumped three and four times.  The water used to go
from one level to another and then to the sea.  They repumped it.

They are also planning to plant several hundreds of caballerias in grains
and vegetables in rotation with rice in the dry months in those areas.  So,
there are big development plans for agriculture.

There can be no doubt that the province is making considerable progress in
industrial development.  The province today has the biggest, or at least
the most advanced, electronics industry in the country.  Believe me, the
comrades who work in these electronic component factories deserve to be
honored, because they have added to the province's prestige.  When you see
an industry as complicated and complex as this one, one that requires so
much technology, so excellently managed by the people of Pinar, you fully
realize how much our country has advanced.

This requires a level of education, technical training, and culture
undreamt of in the past.  This shows that any industry, no matter how
complex or difficult it may be, can be built and efficiently operated by
the people of Pinar. [applause]  Large investments will continue to be made
in the electronics industry.  It is said that the investments will amount
to some 50 million pesos.  The electronics industry is going to keep
growing.  It is the province's pride.

The mechanical industry will continue to grow in the province.  This is
also another good example of how the people of Pinar are able to work.
Continued investments will be made.  The industry will play an important
role in the development of our country's automobile industry.

Moreover, construction will soon begin in the northern part of this
province, in the Santa Lucia area, of a big lead, zinc, and copper
production plant.  It is a modern industry which we will build in close
cooperation with the Soviet Union.  The construction equipment will soon
start arriving in the province to begin clearing the land for the
Castellanos mining industry.  You know that the province has large deposits
of these metals in the northern part.

In addition, intensive work continues in the exploration for oil, since the
province's geological structure is a promising one.  There's a whole
drilling program.  Sooner or later, we will find the oil and the gas.  if
we don't find it under the ground, we will find it in the sea off the
northern coast of Pinar del Rio Province.  That is very important.

There is also a plan to build a big factory to manufacture plate glass,
which is so important in the construction of houses, hospitals, and social
works in general.  We were thinking of a plant with a capacity to produce
from 3 to 5 million square meters of plate glass.  The country's single
plant right now is in the capital and produces only a few hundred thousands
square meters of plate glass.  We have to import a lot of the glass that we
need.  You know what it means to have to import glass from thousands of
kilometers away.  Then, also, you can't really import in really large
quantities.  We are going to build this new plant in Pinar del Rio.

There are also plans to build a big bottle manufacturing plant soon.  This
way we can take advantage of the excellent raw material the province has.
And, in this vein, there are other industrial development projects.
Therefore, we can guarantee sustained industrial growth for the province.

We have talked on other occasions about social progress.  All of you know
how much progress this province has made in education.  I would say that
it's among the most advanced in the country today.  It has a large number
of schools and they are quality schools.  There is increasing quality in
this area.  Some negative tendencies are being rectified, overcome.

The province now has some university faculties.  It has the School of
Economics.  For the past few months, it has had a Mechanical Engineering
School and an Electronics School.  These are faculties or new branches of
higher education set up in recent months and which now have a few dozen
students.  Pinar del Rio will graduate engineers to work in its electronics
industry, those who will work in the industry.  The province also has
agricultural and forestry schools, producing forestry engineers.  In short,
higher education has grown considerably.

In my opinion, the jewel in the crown is Pinar del Rio's School of
Medicine.  The school is close to completion.  We toured the place and we
saw an Olympic-sized pool that looks like an ocean.  There's an excellent
gym whose (?roof) is practically finished.  We saw track and field and
soccer areas.  I think that there's even going to be a small baseball field
that they are going to build on a small piece of land ceded by [words
indistinct].  I protested a bit at first.  I said, this is too much
baseball, too much baseball influence, and this can be detrimental to other
sports.  But, they were so happy about it, I didn't want to disappoint
them.  I was told that the medical students were also good baseball
players.  I thought they were going to tell me they were good doctors, but
the medical students told me they were good baseball players.  Well, they
don't have to tell me they are good doctors because we'll take care of that

The truth is that this school has graduated around 1,200 doctors.  This in
a province that in the past only had 200.  Its school alone has graduated
1,200.  There are more than 1,500 medical students.  The province has so
many that in the future restrictions will have to be applied to enrollment

But the most important thing is that, of the students who enroll in the
medical schools, those from Pinar del Rio have the highest averages.
[applause]  Their average is 95 or 96.  The students with the best
averages, I repeat, are the ones from Pinar del Rio.  this has ensured a
high graduation rate, a very high one.  Of course, this is due to the
selection, the qualifications of the students who enroll.  Now, imagine
those students in that school.  They have all the resources, all the
laboratories, an enormous hospital next door, a modern hospital.  Imagine
what excellent doctors we will have graduating in the future.  They will
certainly be increasingly better prepared.

We are also developing the bachelor's degree in nursing.  We can also
develop bachelor's degrees in other health areas.  In the not too distant
future, they will enter medical schools with high school degrees and then
study for 5 years to obtain their bachelors' degree in nursing.  That's how
we are moving in education.  In the early years of the revolution, students
enrolled with a 6th grade education:  later, they went in after 9th grade
in order to become teachers.  We are now giving a higher education to many
of these teachers.  In the future, they will be enrolling in schools and
universities with high school diplomas in order to get a bachelor's in
elementary education.  I think we will be the first country to achieve such
a high level in the education of its teaching personnel. [applause]

Notice what a gigantic leap forward!  It is a historic leap in 30 years.

As I said, the nurses will have a bachelor's degree.  In other words, all
the personnel that used to attend a nursing school, a mid-level technical
school, will have to go to university.  In addition to our program to
provide more advanced development courses to our present teachers who have
no university degree, we will have a program to give advanced development
courses to people who are nurses now and have no university degree.  See
how we can garner the results of these great advances?  I ask myself:  Are
there many more countries that have this kind of thing?  Are there many
other countries that can say their students' first-grade teachers are
university graduates?  Or that nurses will graduate from university?  That
they will have to study almost as long as doctors to become nurses?  Are
there other ways to guarantee better health services to future generations?

We might even be envious, despite our own present progress, of what the
country will have in a few years.  In addition to all these efforts to
train doctors, we will have new institutions like the family doctors.  This
year, 107 family doctors will join the workforce in the province.  Some of
them will go to the mountains.  That will be approximately in 1993.  If not
1993, then 1994.  The whole province will have family doctors.  See what
gigantic.. [changes thought]  Hospital installations will continue to
develop.  A big surgical-clinical hospital was built in San Cristobal, and
another has been built here.  It is possible that a third will have to be
built in the western part of the province, similar to the one in San
Cristobal, so that the people of Guanes and all those other areas won't
have to come here.  A gynecology-obstetrics section is being built right
here in the hospital just finished.  It is always convenient to have the
maternity hospital next door to the surgical-clinical hospital, because the
most experienced surgeons are there and they always have resources and
equipment that can help the mothers.  Therefore, we have the ability to
combine maternity and surgical-clinical hospitals.

Now, what are we going to do with the old hospital?  We are going to
rebuild it, restore it.  We are going to build another maternity hospital
there.  The capital then will have two very modern maternity hospitals.
[applause]  One of the current maternity hospitals will be turned into a
rehabilitation hospital, another very important service.  Although this new
hospital has an excellent rehabilitation section, we want to develop
rehabilitation services in all surgical-clinical hospitals.  It suits us.
It is one of the most important and most appreciated services.  We are
going to turn the old maternity hospital into a rehabilitation service for
the province.  We will continue to build as many family doctors'
offices-homes as necessary, as many polyclinics as necessary, as many
medical facilities as necessary.  Stomatological clinics will continue to
be built.  I believe that the clinics now are linked with the
stomatological clinics.  Therefore, services for the province will continue
to be developed in a country that will surely have one of the best medical
services in the world.

We will continue to build child care centers, which had not been built in
years.  After this rectification process, the province will build 23 child
care centers in 1988-90.  The minibrigades are being organized.  All social
projects the province needs, in addition to housing, will be examined.  The
reason that a bigger push has not been given to the construction of housing
is because we are pushing the accelerated building of construction
materials plants.  The insufficiency of construction materials hampers us,
but we will give it a bigger push each year.  We will develop new
technologies.  In fact, I was shown how certain types of ironworks are
being produced in prisons, how the prisons are developing a construction
material based on ferro-cement.  There are very nice plans and models of
low-cost housing using these materials.  Mosaics production is being
developed to tile floors.  It can be said that everyone today is working
everywhere to find a solution to all these problems.

The prospects are good.  Who does this depend on?  It depends on us, on our

What will we have in the future?  We will have everything we are capable of
creating.  The facts--life itself--shows us that if we work well, if we
work with tenacity, organization, discipline, and efficiency, we will be
capable of achieving everything we set for ourselves to do.  Those who knew
this province and today visit the electronic component factory, the
hospital, the mechanical industry, a school such as the (?Engels) School,
or many other institutions, hospitals, and schools [applause] will
certainly be able to say that they could not even have dreamt about these
things in the past.

I am going to say that my promises have been fulfilled.  Once in a while
politicians promised roads, highways, a first-aid post, or something like
that and never kept their promises.  They were not even capable of ending
hunger, much less to create those projects.  They were not able to end
hunger.  This province was a landholders' fief.  They owned everything,
they charged rent for everything.  It is known by part of the population
and the young ones may have heard about it, how much they suffered, how
much poverty there was, how many illnesses, the high mortality rate, the
illiteracy there was in this province.  I am not going to say how it was
called because that is something from the past.  But a medical student was
telling me today:  It is no longer Cinderella, it is already the princess.
He was referring to the Pinar del Rio Province. [applause]

Its infant mortality rate was 12.2, 12.3 in 1987, and this year it is under
11.  I believe it is around 10.7.  It is less than in Washington, the
capital of the empire [words indistinct] Who would have said this?  Who
would have been able to imagine such a thing, that here in this western
province the infant mortality rate has been 10.7 in this first quarter?  We
have to continue to struggle because even with such low figures a small
number of illnesses has an influence on them.  We are talking about a
sophisticated type of medicine.  This shows that it will drop below 10
pretty soon.  So as all these medical institutions, the maternity center,
and family doctors continue working, the mortality rate can be reduced even
more.  Pinar del Rio may be among the first provinces to reduce infant
mortality to less than 10.  It should be one of its objectives, its aims.
Pinar del Rio's infant mortality rate is way below that of many developed
countries.  This is a reflection of social progress; it shows that we can
achieve what we set out to do.  How?  I repeat, by working in the same way
we are working now, working each time more and better.

It is not a matter of working many hours, although many hours of work are
needed in some areas now because we have to make up for lost time.  We
couldn't lose time in finishing this (?highway) which brings so many
benefits to the entire country, for all those who travel from the rest of
the country to Pinar del Rio, and for all those who travel from Pinar del
Rio to the rest of the country.  We cannot keep our arms crossed and say:
I don't care it takes 15 years or 1 year to build it.

We need to build those trains very fast.  The country needs them.  We need
to build dams and canals very fast.  The country needs them.  health
installations need to be built.  The country needs them.  The country needs
factories.  We cannot afford to wait; this is why we have to work on them.
Above all, we have to make good use of the work day.  it is very important
to make good use of the work day.

In many cases there is not enough work content in (?projects) because of
the problem of narrow job profiles and all those factors.  That does not
happen in other cases. [Passage indistinct] with a microscope, so it is a
very difficult job.  To do that for 8 hours requires a lot of patience.

We have said [passage indistinct] fortunately we will have, relatively
soon, automatic machines for that job.  The good use of the work day is
very important.  The quality of work is very important--quality of work as
a construction worker, or as factory laborer, or as a teacher, doctor,
nurse, health worker, [word indistinct] worker.  The quality of what we do
is very important.  It is very important.  Quality is a matter of culture,
the culture of quality in construction, the culture of quality.  There are
people who do not like to see a stain somewhere, there are people who do
not like to mix the colors of bathroom tiles, or a dark floor tile with a
light one.  This is the culture of quality.

We also have to acquire it just like the culture of service, which the
population complains about so much.  This happens precisely because a
citizen is not capable of waiting on another one as he should.  When that
citizen's child goes to school, he wants the child to receive the best
classes in the world, the best education in the world.  When he goes to the
hospital, he wants the diagnosis to be the best one in the world and he
wants to receive the best treatment in the world.  Everything.  If he goes
to a baseball game, he wants it to be perfect and wants to enjoy a perfect
game.  However, when he has to provide a service to another citizen, if he
works in one of those service establishments, he does not bother to give
the best attention.  This is a matter of culture, of culture [repeats
himself].  It is a battle I am sure we will win.  Some are more difficult
than others.  We cannot wage all battles at the same time.  We are winning
the battles in many fields.  We will win all the battles in one field after

This will depend not only on our conscience; it will also depend on
culture.  I see that our country is moving forward, it really is, in the
formation of that conscience, of that culture.  We have to fight
mediocrity, sloppy work everywhere.  We have to wage war on the useless.
We have to be implacable.

I was saying that the progress is clear.  It is a more educated people.  I
am going to say it, because I have it right here, I am looking at it--this
ceremony, this rally, its organization and discipline, the attention and
manners of this public, is very hard to find anywhere else in the world, I
can assure you. [applause]

We have been able to reach these levels of drive, enthusiasm, culture and
political awareness, these levels of patriotism that have us joining the
Territorial Troops Militia, the military units, the defense zones
everywhere, to defend the fatherland, the price of life.  We have been able
to achieve this power; we have been able to achieve the power of an
invincible country.  And this is not because we have nuclear arms, powerful
fleets.  The reason for all this is that this country has tremendous moral
weapons, an indestructible patriotism.  Its unity and spirit is such that
it would be impossible for any invader to seize this country.  If we have
reached such lofty moral, political, and revolutionary heights, how can we
fail to win the battle against those small things that still remain; win
the battle against the lack of culture that remains, the bad habits of an
exploited, underdeveloped, and poor country that we inherited from the

I have no doubt that we will win those battles, too.

This is why today, 30 April, 1 May, and 26 July, I want to congratulate all
Pinar workers [applause], young people, children, all men and women of this
noble and selfless province.  I want to say how happy we are to have been
able to participate in this day of joy, this day of enthusiasm and
celebration, along with all of you.  I want to express our affection, our
sympathy, our deep admiration, and our trust in the people of Pinar del

Fatherland or death, we shall win!  [crowd responds "We shall win!"]