Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Discusses Tourism Plans, Medical Issues

FL2709155388 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1331 GMT 27 Sep 88

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, first secretary of the PCC
Central Committee and president of the Councils of State and Ministers,
presided over a working meeting last night during which the progress and
future plans for tourism development in Varadero were thoroughly analyzed.
At the conclusion of last night's session, though early this morning, Fidel
held a meeting with a group of journalists at the management office of the
Varadero enterprise.

[Begin recording in progress] [Castro] ... [Words indistinct]

[Reporter] We know that today you held a meeting here, in Varadero, to
analyze the development problems of oil and tourism.

[Castro] Yes, however, I analyzed the oil situation last Friday over there.
It was Friday, right?

[Reporter] Yes, it was Friday.

[Castro] Friday, in Havana.  Here, in Varadero, oil and tourism are
related.  Because, fortunately or unfortunately, the largest oil deposit of
the Matanzas Province is here in the zone of Varadero.  This requires a
reconciliation of the two things.  We do not intend to drill any more in
the peninsula.  Instead, we will drill in the area outside of the
peninsula.  We must exploit that deposit without drilling in the province,
and it is not necessary to drill in order to exploit.  The other deposit in
this province is not so large.  Furthermore, there is no comparison
between what the peninsula can produce in oil and with what the peninsula
can produce in revenue for the country.  There is no comparison.

[Reporter] In tourism?

[Castro] In tourism.  That is why we have arrived at a clear understanding.
We discussed it the other day with oil workers.  We are also going to give
great support to the oil workers for the work they have to do.  Some of
that involves getting rid of the airport that is here, within 1 year.  The
airport is practically on top of the population.  Furthermore, it is the
area that the oil workers need.  They need that area to drill, and for
their installations.  That is why (?we) have taken all the measures to
(?seal it off).  For a time, there will be oil derricks, then there won't
be any.  There will only be drilling using modern methods which will allow
us to get all the gas and the oil without the environmental contamination
problems.  It will not smell like oil.  In 2 or 3 years, there will not be
any oil derricks, not even outside the peninsula.  All the wells that need
to be built will have already been built.

[Reporter] Has the idea of drilling in the peninsula been (discarded)?

[Castro] There will not be any drilling in the peninsula.  Furthermore,
there are three open wells which will not be tested.  Calculations have
been made for an estimate of fuel; however, it's very risky.  Besides,
it's too much of a shock to tourism.  Tourists come looking for air, not to
look at oil derricks which reminds them of their daily lives.  We have
cautiously and purposefully decided not to drill in the peninsula.

At the same time, we have have decided to intensify the work in the area
where the greatest oil deposit is.  A lot of work will also be done in the
bay, in the [word indistinct] areas, and in the Cardenas Bay.  We will also
be working in the Cienega de Majaguillar, where a causeway is under
construction; it's already approximately 9 km long.  They are working very
hard there.  There may even be a few more causeways in the bay.  However,
we must also take measures so to ensure that under no circumstances there
will be [shifts thought].

We are conducting studies for the control of this canal.  This canal, which
did not exist, was man-made prior to the revolution.  It connects Varadero
Beach with Cardenas Bay.  However, it could also cause the water which
passes through it to contaminate the sand.  Therefore, we want to control
that canal.  Above all, we want to ensure that if there is ever a problem
with the oil of the bay, it will not pass through that canal.  We are
studying the ways in which to control that canal with a lock gate, or a
floodgate.  They call it a lock gate, but it's really a floodgate,
something which seals off the canal but also controls it.  This is being
studied keeping in mind the quality of the sand and protecting the beach
from any contamination which could come from the bay.

Furthermore, all the measures to be taken will be very strict.  Who can
give a 100- or 200-percent guarantee that there will not be an oil spill?
We must foresee everything so that it won't happen.  We must also have the
means to clean it up, so that it won't go to the other side.  We must have
very strict measures in Matanzas.  That is where the supertanker port is
located.  We are still need two ships, we will eventually have four of

[Reporter] You insisted on that?

[Castro] Yes.

[Reporter] When you visited [word indistinct]?

[Castro] Yes, and now there is absolute control of oil, especially to the
east of Varadero.  The Majaguillar oil deposit may be the most productive
of this whole area, but we'll have to test it.  We have also drawn up an
accelerated drilling plan for the wells.  This is to outline the oil
deposit areas which are to the east of Cardenas and of the beaches in that
area.  Those are two areas in which tourism and oil could have clashed, but
we have reconciled them.  The other day, we examined not only the program
in Varadero but the whole national oil program.  We looked at the problems,
the measures to be taken, in all areas, and we agreed on a set of measures
to give impetus to the search for oil.

[Reporter] The search and extraction?

[Castro] Of course.  We must search but without breaking the cycle.  We
(?can) accelerate it.  Instead of taking 2 years to drill a well, we can do
it in 7 months.  That is the type of acceleration we can [word indistinct].

[Reporter] Are extraction plans currently behind schedule because of
drilling problems?

[Castro] We are having some problems of both types.  We are having some
problems in the Boca de Jaruco zone.  We are having technical problems and
water contamination.  Therefore, we have some problems which are forcing us
to reduce oil extraction in the Boca de Jaruco area.  If forces us to close
some wells, open others, and to apply certain techniques to resolve the
problem where water has appeared in certain wells.  We are studying all of
this.  [Word indistinct] also have a program to work there.  We have also
analyzed in great detail the situation of Boca de Jaruco wells.  We have
analyzed measures to be taken there, the strengthening of means of
construction, the brigade for the land-platform movement, the facilities
which must be built to support the whole national oil activity.  We have
also included support for the brigades which build platforms.  We agreed on
a very good camp program for the oil workers.

[Reporter] To improve living conditions?

[Castro] Yes, to improve their living conditions.  They will have units
which will include kitchens in each of the camp (?areas).  It will be
comfortable and have all the facilities, recreation, and everything.  We
examined the program, and it's very good.  We also looked at salary issues
and other matters regarding the workers.  You must understand that there is
great competition here between tourism and oil.

[Reporter] That's logical.

[Castro] This tourism will result in high wages for workers.  We must keep
in mind that the conditions of the oil workers are difficult.  We also have
had to look at the fact that the most important oil deposits of the
country are in this area.  So, we must look for a way to avoid harmful
competition between the tourism and oil industries.

[Reporter] So, commander, today's meeting was about the development of
tourism here in Varadero?

[Castro] Tourism, basically.  However, we had already resolved some
problems.  At the oil meeting, we have already decided to stop drilling
here.  We have agreed on a 1-year deadline to get rid of the airport here.
We used to stop every time we opened a well, then we would operate it
again.  Since we have made a lot of progress in the construction of
runways, we have drawn up a program for the accelerated construction of the
facilities which are needed in the airport.  We want to see if in 1 year
[interrupted by reporter]

[Reporter] One year from today?

[Castro] Yes, 1 year from today.  We have set 25 September.

[Reporter] Of next year?

[Castro] Next year.  We have set a high goal.  We believe we can reach it
with all the measures [shifts thought].  You will have an airport operating
perfectly in 1 year.  We will finish expanding the runway, we will build
the taxiway, what is it called?  All the lateral roads.  And where we have
nothing now, there will be facilities to welcome personnel.  We have
already made the plans.

[Reporter] With regards to oil, is it possible for the country to reach 1
million tons [words indistinct]?

[Castro] The country will not reach 1 million tons right away.  Because of
the problems we had at Boca de Jaron, we had to reduce the production to
half.  We had problems with the water contamination, the water was mixed
with the oil.  There are technical but complex solutions to that problem.
Furthermore, we should not do this in a hurry.  If for a particular
exploitation we need 50 wells, we should not try to extract that oil from
30 wells.  This could result in some imbalances in dynamic factors, as they
call it.  It could be damaging.  It could reduce the amount that could be
extracted and cause some problems.  That is why you can't hurry this.  If
you need to build a causeway, you should build it quickly, and quickly
install the machine.  We are conducting studies on time reduction for
drilling.  We know what factors are involved.  Some of those factors have
to do with materials, so some tests will be run, especially in exploration.
We have already calculated the number of machines we have now, and how many
we will have in 1989, 1990 for a truly accelerated program but without
skipping stages.  We cannot skip stages.

[Reporter] Commander, going back to tourism.  Are there plans to continue
increasing the rate of construction for hotels?

[Castro] Almost everything we basically agreed upon here was on tourism.
During the agenda, we looked at the state of the construction forces, their
equipment, and the supply of construction materials.  We thoroughly
examined that today.  We also adopted all the measures to fulfill a very
ambitious program which will increase room capacity by over 5,000 between
now and 1991.  In the next 3 to 4 years, there will be over 5,000 rooms
[interrupted by reporter]

[Reporter] [Words indistinct] special, besides the facilities, the work of
man.  As a matter of fact, a few days ago, the training plenum was held
here in Varadero.  I would like to clarify in this area, especially the
work of [Castro interrupts]

[Castro] [Words indistinct] put things in order, exploitation and services.
I was answering a question regarding the construction aspect of this.  We
plan that by next year there will be over 5,000 [passage indistinct]
organized forces some of which are working now in Havana.  There are other
organized forces which are working in Villa Clara, some contingents with
very high productivity.  We have [word indistinct] from Havana and another
one from Santa Clara.

We have also reviewed the total state of the equipment and how to add to
this.  Above all, we have given much attention to assuring the supply of
material.  These forces will be organized as a contingent.  They will
have a spirit, a special work regiment and the human factor here allows the
perfect organization of a contingent.  In the near future, groups focused
on serving man's needs such as housing, food, and other factors will be
organized as contingents.  The food here is good.  It could even be better.

You question referred to the other problem.  The enterprise spoke here and
explained all the results, the evolution from 1985 to the present, the
incomes from 1985 to the present, and the possibilities for greater income
if certain needs in transportation, shipping, supplies for attention to man
were resolved.  We have developed certain interesting ideas on this that
indicate what the province, the country has to produce or what would have
to be certain cases to give the tourist what he wants, what he needs.

We discussed training plans.  We'll have three different types of
enterprises here, those of the Intur [National Institute of Tourism]--in
addition to the constructions planned by the Intur--those of Cubanacan, and
the mixed enterprises, hotels that will be joint property.  There won't be

Development will primarily occur between Intur and Cubanacan with hotels
that are not comprised of mixed societies.  Cubanacan is a corporation that
acts as an independent unit.  I do not want to give an advanced definition
of what it is, but it is an independent institution that has extensively
considered the interests of the country.  It is responsible for its own
credit, its own debt, and the credit payments it makes.  It is really an
institution that acts independently but is extensively associated with the
interests of the country.  It is a necessary type of institution for the

Cubanacan will also have some hotels that are mixed enterprises...
[corrects himself] mixed hotels in partnership with capitalist
enterprises--some of them.  The majority of them will be property of
Cubanacan or Intur.

The hotels that are property of Intur or Cubanacan may also be used by the
country's nationals during the time of year when there is so much demand.
Foreign demand decreases in the summer while national demand increases

[Reporter] Foreign demand is also increasing.

[Castro] Surprisingly, it is increasing and that's not bad because this
creates a solid economic base for the great development plan we have for

There will be... [changes thought] We'll have 30,000 rooms.  How many rooms
were there when this program began?

[Reporter] There were 2,800.

[Castro] There were 2,800.  It will increase 15 times.  If there is
sufficient external demand, we will be able to carry out this plan
completely.  The more hotels we have for international tourism,, the more
we'll also have for national tourism in the summer months when the people
come here.  We're going to assume that 30 to 40 percent of our
international tourism will benefit from this.  If you have 10,000 rooms,
6,000 of them may be used for national tourism.  If you have 30,000 rooms,
12,000 of them may be used for international tourism and 18,000 for
national tourism and the personnel will be much better trained.  In order
to compete in international tourism, there is no doubt that the personnel
have to be very well trained and of high quality.

[Reporter] We don't have it.

[Fidel] No, we don't have it.

[Reporter] We were talking about this with one of our comrades who did a

[Castro, interrupting] It is a great challenge.

[Reporter] One of our comrades here from the AIN [National News Agency] was
telling us he did a survey.  He interviewed some foreign tourists and they
spoke to him about some of the problems we have with the quality of

[Castro] They know.  They know and we're aware of it.  It is a great
challenge for us because the quality will allow us to compete.

The country has many advantages.  The country is sound; it is orderly.  It
is a healthy country.  There are many things.  The natural environment is
excellent.  However, we've lost the idea of how to treat a tourist during
all those years without them.  It is a culture we must acquire.  I stated
this during the Matanzas ceremony.  It is one of our great challenges and
we are confident that this situation is improving.  We are progressing in
this.  In addition, these workers will have important incomes.  There is no
doubt.  We are seeking formulas, roads that will lead to much better
quality but there are some things that do not solely depend on the workers.

Sometimes a tourist here will not get any fruit.  We have to guarantee the
availability of national fruit.  It may also be necessary to guarantee some
imported fruit.  Either way, you're performing a trade operation.  It's not
right for tourists to come here in January and February.... [changes
thought] There are no mangos then.  It's not mango season.  During mango
season, they'll eat many mangos.  In avocado season they'll eat many
avocados.  Pineapple also can't be supplied all year long.  Citrus can be
supplied all year long.  Plaintain can also be supplied all year long
unless a hurricane passes over the length of the island as the last one
did. We can guarantee it.  It's a matter of working on this.

Conversely, I've said the same thing to the party.  I've expressed the idea
of developing an industry around tourism, of crafts, industrial products,
and handmade garments with all the quality that is required.  We should
provide options for the tourist.

There are some things that do not depend on tourism workers.  If we don't
have fruit, if we don't guarantee it.... [does not finish sentence].  We
must guarantee it all and when national production can't be guaranteed, we
must guarantee imports, which are always better because they're treated as
a trade operation.  We must also give more careful attention to the

[Reporter] Commander, you spoke about a tourism culture.

[Castro] Yes.

[Reporter] I think it's an extensive concept that not only pertains to
tourism work but applies to the entire population.  The tourist does not
only interact with the tourism worker.  For example, the tourist arrives
here in Cardenas, in the city of Matanzas in Matanzas Province.  Then this

[Castro, interrupting] They might get in a car there or they may see people
riding bicycles in Cardenas.  They might go to Las Cuevas de Bellamar.
They are many places to go.  Many of them want to visit places like
schools.  The problem is that the school people complain.  They say that is
they have tourists visit the schools every day, we'll have to make
adjustments, too.  Many people want to visit the schools and certain

[Reporter] They take advantage of our health services.

[Castro] I think that this service will become an independent branch.

[Reporter] An important source of income.

[Castro] Yes, a source of income for the country.  It will become an
independent branch.  We now need to establish the appropriate institutions
right here now that we have tens of thousands of tourists.

[Reporter] We have the prestige for this.

[Castro] They should provide medical services, doctors, and sufficient

As you also know, we're building a highway.  We'll later connect the
airport directly with Matanzas on a much shorter road.  However, the
highway will extend to Matanzas.  Something else we'll have to do is go
around the dike.  The road will have to go around this.  It's a headache;
the city is a labyrinth when you have to drive through there.  There's a
tremendous amount of traffic.

[Reporter] Through the bridge....

[Castro, interrupting] I think I'll have to speak to Luis [Luis Alvarez de
la Nuez, first party secretary in Matanzas Province].  What are we going to
do to get to the other side of the dike?  The solution will have to be
construction in the city of Matanzas for those people who are coming from

[Reporter] There's an old project, a viaduct.

[Castro] We're going to do it.  Yes, yes, we're going to do it.  It's
indispensable.  Have you seen the traffic congestion that is produced....

[Reporter, interrupting] It's because the city's bridges are so old now.

[Castro] Yes, that is also true but the solution for the dike and the
viaduct will tremendously relieve the situation.

[Reporter] [word indistinct]

[Castro] (?yes)

[Reporter] If would also greatly benefit Matanzas.

[Castro] Of course, and I think it will help develop tourism.

[Reporter] We also know of....

[Castro, interrupting] We need thousands of workers.  In time, this can
produce hundreds of millions of dollars for the country.  This is a gold
mine.  We must proceed and make the proper use of it.

[Reporter] It indirectly develops all the [words indistinct].

[Castro] Tremendously.  We have a great source for employees.  We have a
great source for employees [repeats himself].  There is no shortage of
workers but there is the possibility of better rationalization, higher
production, and increased income.  The ideal would be for the majority of
workers to come from Matanzas Province.  That would be the ideal.  They
would have high incomes.  Of course, we need stability from these people

Oil also generates a high income for the province.  The province is very
privileged in that sense to have two very important economic sources.

[Reporter] Commander, there are tourist centers that are not exactly in
Varadero and this development requires that they be improved, such as

[Castro, interrupting] Yes, in the province, but we also have plans in
other areas of Cuba.  We have tourism plans for the entire island.

[Reporter] In the (?Cayeria del norde).

[Castro] We have plans everywhere.  However, today we discussed Varadero
because it has to be the experimental center of tourism here.  If we can
find solutions for Varadero, we can find solutions everywhere else.  We had
an extensive plan and we have fulfilled it all.  Problems have been
resolved.  They have been strengthened.  Equipment has been assigned [word
indistinct] meeting without losing any time.  We only had two very brief
breaks, nothing more.  We spoke.... [changes thought] I'm sure you've seen
the results.  We spoke of material industry, transportation so that
Varadero can have its own means without having to depend on anyone else.
It has to bring in rock, sand, bulldozers, tile, bricks, and nails.  They
have to go get it.  They shouldn't have to depend on anyone to guarantee

The brigades have been strengthened in equipment and new brigades will be
created.  We estimate that the Sixth Congress Contingent will have close to
500 members.  They are professional workers that we are currently
organizing.  They are the ones building the Miguel Henriquez Hospital.
They will come here to build the airport.  When the brigade that is working
in Purio finishes building a large windmill from sand and rock, they will
also come here.  We will thus move all the work force we need here.  We
will meet here again in 6 months, not just to control the plan; it must be
controlled every day.  We will not meet to assess the progress of the plan,
but we will meet to once again analyze the strategic matters of this

[Reporter] Commander, speaking of the strategic plan, which do you think
would produce the highest income--tourism or oil development in Matanzas?

[Castro] Tourism should produce more.  We are assuming we will accomplish
these goals.  These are hypotheses.

One million tons of oil produced at the current prices may be worth $50
million.  If we produce 2 million tons of oil, it may be worth $100

Coinvestments are costly.  Let me tell you, coinvestments are very costly.
We can do it; we're doing it with the Soviets.  We are carrying out this
plan with our own resources.  National resources are being used to carry
out the Varadero plan.  While we need large investments, we are receiving a
large amount of international cooperation.

If we produce 2 million tons, it will be worth $100 million.  We estimate
that in 8, 10, or 12 years, Varadero can generate between $300 and $400
million using its national resources.

Studies have indicated that one of the greatest demands as of the year 2000
will be in the tourism field on the part of those capitalist countries and
other countries that are highly developed and have high incomes.  As we
have explained many times, their incomes have largely been the result of
pillaging the Third World.  Nevertheless, plans are being made for this

The other day, I read that it is estimated that in the year 2000, thee will
be approximately 6 billion tourists in the world.  If we take 1 percent of
1 billion, that's 1 million.  If we take 3 percent of 1 thousand,
that's.... [corrects himself].  No, if we take 3 out of every thousand
[corrects himself] 1 per thousand, we would have a million tourists for
ever billion.  If we take 2 out of every thousand, we'd have 2 million
tourists and if we take 3 out of every thousand tourists, we'll have 3
million. [all figures as heard]

For example, we're not talking about 20 or 30 million tourists.  However, 3
million tourists can generate important income for the country.  Tourism is
the area of the economy where convertible income can immediately be made.
It is the most promising area.  We should not work on this area alone.  We
should work on all areas and we will, but this is one of the most promising
areas.  That is why this is worth the effort.

Now you have asked me which would bring more income to the country.
Varadero's possibilities are five or six times greater than that of the oil
industry.  We have a large resource there in tourism.  Matanzas has a large
mine in tourism.

We have to seek efficiency, productivity, and quality in services.  This
will require thousands and thousands of workers.  The province....

[Reporter, interrupting] We will need workers that are highly skilled.

[Castro] They will have to be well trained.  They will need to know
languages.  They will have to know many things.  The workers will have an
important income.  That is why I think this is very promising for Matanzas

[Reporter] Commander, tourism has become a mineral deposit in several

[Castro] Yes, it has become an oil mine, a tourism mine.

[Reporter] And the citrus industry?

[Castro] Matanzas has one of the largest citrus plantations in the world.
It has very good possibilities.  I think it's one of the things that we can
be proud of.  The harvest is good.  [Video shows Castro looking down at

Hurry, change your cassette.

[Reporter] I've changed it, commander.

[Castro] I was saying the harvest had good possibilities and there is a new
center.  As I said here, Matanzas has one of the highest productions in the
country.  We also have hydraulic plans.  One of the things we discussed was
water.  We discussed measuring water because there has been a tremendous
waste of water here in Varadero.  We need another aqueduct to double the
availability of water.  We are developing all those sources, hydraulic
programs.  The province has resources.  Varadero will not be lacking water
but there is a need to conserve it.  The costs are tremendous.  The network
must be reconstructed.  It must be reconstructed because much water is lost
in the Matanzas network.

These are some ideas we discussed.  We discussed the aqueduct and we
organized a brigade to construct the aqueduct and reconstruct the Varadero
aqueduct [as heard].  There will be much work here between the oil and
tourism industries.

[Reporter] Commander, there is an old saying among the people of Matanzas.

[Castro] Yes.

[Reporter] We think that in the measure that we comply with these plans in
the citrus, oil, and tourism sectors, would we be able to hold a national
event [words indistinct].

[Castro] I'm sorry but you have much competition.  Thee are other provinces
who are strongly competing.  Camaguey is competing strongly.  Of course, I
think it can occur.  It would be a great pleasure for all of us.  We
should estimate the date after these plans are a little more developed....

[Reporter, interrupting] It depends on how we work.

[Castro] You will soon have an international airport.  It will be
beautiful, big, roomy, and secure.  It will be a tremendous airport.  The
people of Matanzas will be able to travel directly and many of those who
have to disembark in Havana will no longer have to do so.  They have a
port.  They have an airport.  Products for tourism will pass through here.
They won't have to go to Havana.  They'll land here.  We'll have a....
[changes thought] What do you call the section building?  It holds 600
people simultaneously.

[Reporter] [Words indistinct]

[Castro] It will be able to hold 600 people.

[Reporter] Per hour.

[Castro] Per hour.  That's big; isn't it.

[Reporter] It's big.  When we visited that area with you....

[Castro, interrupting] The Matanzas airport will also be a source of
employment.  We will communicate this.  The double highway will go from
here to Matanzas but there will also be another highway that connects with
it because the workers will certainly live in Matanzas.  How far is it to
Matanzas, Luis?

[Luis Alvarez de la Nuez, first party secretary of Matanzas] It's 5 km on
the highway you're speaking about.  It exits in [word indistinct].

[Castro] Matanzas will connect directly with 5 km of road.  You won't have
to turn around.  You won't even have to use the highway if you don't want
to because the highway is [word indistinct].  The causeway that connects
with the airport will also be a double highway from here to Matanzas.  It
will be a double highway to the airport.  Thee will be a single highway
from the airport to Matanzas.  We will have good communications.

You'll have to leave something for the next time.

[Reporter] Yes, of course.  Commander, well....

[Castro, interrupting] Do you think this is good news? [Words

[Reporter, interrupting] Yes of course.  On behalf of my comrades, we would
like to thank you....

[Castro, interrupting] [Words indistinct] no just for the people of
Matanzas, but for the entire country.