Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Closes Construction Workers Congress

FL0707161088 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1145 GMT 7 Jul 88

[Excerpt] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the PCC
Central Committee and president of the Councils of State and Ministers,
closed the 6th Congress of the Construction Workers Union which met for 2
days at the Lazaro Pena Theatre.

[Begin Castro recording] [Passage omitted] I can tell that good preparation
and organizational work was done for this congress and speeches.  I can
tell that excellent comrades were chosen at the (?base) to come here.  I
can assure you that it is an excellent congress.  But let's take it as a
starting point for all the tasks that we have to carry out in the coming
years.  We are confident that we will complete them.  And I repeat, don't
be impatient.  Let's not change what we have overnight.  Let's do it a
little at a time.  I don't know who it was who said this, because I have
heard it attributed to several people, but there was a historical figure
who said:  Dress me slowly because I am in a hurry.  That is what we have
to say in construction.  We will dress ourselves slowly because we are in a
great hurry.  I think that if the (?premises) are met, we will have the
materials.  I am sure we will have them.  How can we not have them?  When
the revolution triumphed, cement production, for example, was 700,000 tons.
This year, we are already going to produce 3.8 million.  How much more is
this?  Over five times more.  We have to make better use of what we have
now.  We did not produce iron rods; now we produce hundreds of thousands
of tons.  Soon, at the (?Antillana) steel enterprise, with the expansion of
the old workshop--and it's a large expansion--we will produce half a
million tons of steel.  From that, we can produce approximately 300,000
tons of iron rods.  Materials are increasing.  The perspectives for
construction are truly brilliant.

All this will depend on us.  The country is turning into a country of
construction workers.  Those are the students who built the house-office or
the ones who will build the child care center next year.  What are those
tens of thousands of students from secondary, pre-university, and technical
schools?  What are those students, even university students, who on a
Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the week, go to the projects to help?  What
are those children, housewives, and retirees who go to the Miguel Enriquez
or the Albarran?  What are those who, wherever there is a house-office for
the family doctor, a clinic, or child care center under construction, are
there?  What are those millions of citizens, men and women, young and old,
who contribute to construction?  What are they if not construction workers?
What are we today, if not a people of construction workers?  What are you?
You are vanguards, the laborers and workers of construction. [end

Among other subjects, the commander in chief referred to the importance of
economic problems in the branches of construction.

[Begin Castro recording]  Therefore, I think this is a key, key, key
[repeats himself] idea in the process of rectification--the accountability
regarding costs.  We also need another thing, which is a key (?idea).  We
need a basis for calculations to define the value of what we do, so that
when we compare the value of what we do to the cost of what we do, in
construction and in any other thing, we will be able to measure the
efficiency with which we are working.  If it is not done like this, the
more efficient we are the less value we would produce. [sentence as heard]
If we make what costs 10 [unit not specified] with 8, or 7, then it looks
like we... [changes thought] If we confuse value with costs, we say we are
producing 7 million when we could actually say that we are producing 15 at
the cost of 7.  That is why the basis for calculations of the value of what
we create with our work is very important.

But I have been thinking that in the future we will have to radically
change the concept of the enterprise.  Because today, the concept of the
enterprise is associated with a very large head attached to a very small
body [laughter, applause].  The concept of the enterprise is associated
with an illness called macrocephaly [laughter].  That is a human illness
and a social illness called parasitism.  That is why what we make
inexpensively here in the brigade becomes expense--because the large
apparatus of the enterprise is enormous.  One of our [word indistinct]
errors from the revolution, characteristic of almost all revolutions, if
not all, one of its negative tendencies is the tendency to put the cart
before the horse.  Well-being, wealth, and abundance is placed before work,
when it is actually work, and only work, that can provide well-being,
abundance, and wealth.  We must be very clear about this:  these are work
years.  We do want workers to earn good (?compensation).

The contingent is more than just that.  The contingent is a revolution
involving (?conceptions).  It has a different kind of discipline.
Discipline is maintained through different mechanisms.  Attention to man is
a key factor, trust in man is a key factor, appeal to man is constant.  Not
even in capitalism can that appeal be done away with.  When you analyze the
capitalist countries that are most developed, such as the Japanese, you
will find that they are concerned about man.  There is attention to man.
Attention to man does not only mean to have a better sleeping place and
food, but it is the fraternal treatment which is given to man and the
concern for his problems and all his other considerations, not only
material.  Many times these are spiritual concerns, moral concerns.
Attention to man is essential.  And capitalists who exploit workers often
take pains regarding attention to man, to (?pat) them so that they forget
that they are being exploited and working for them.

But the socialist leader, because of other motivations, must be concerned
about man more so than the capitalist.  It is not because he is exploiting
him but simply because he is doing his fundamental social moral duty.  The
attention and concern for man is a duty based on revolutionary

Construction work is the most noble, honorable occupation.  Without that
job, there is no development.  Without that occupation, there is no
revolution.  Without that occupation, there is no country, there are no
universities, schools, technical institutes, research centers, highways,
dams, ports, cultural centers, housing.  Be aware that it is one of the
most noble jobs that man, citizens, and compatriots can engage in.
Everything that you can see in our country is the work of construction
workers.  What was built in the past, what is being constructed at present,
and what will be erected in the future was, is, and will be the work of
construction workers.  A revolutionary people must not only be a combatant
people, but also a people of construction workers. [applause] [end