Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro on Efforts in Construction Industry

FL1411201788 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1248 GMT 14 Nov 88

[Text]  Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State
and Ministers, visited the (Obra Pia) house in Havana last night.  Here,
the main architects of capitals of socialist countries received the golden
insignia which designates them as illustrious guests of Havana.  Speaking
to the press, the top leader of the Cuban revolution, gave his impressions
on the development of the construction materials industry.

[Begin recording] [Castro] An enormous effort is being made in the
construction materials industry.  A tremendous effort is being made.  It
should improve the situation.

[Unidentified reporter]  We have seen in a recent visit we made to Arryo
Naranjo that Cuban technology is being applied...

[Castro, interrupting]  The Guasimas industry?

[Reporter]  Yes, Las Guasimas.  The tile factory and the two others that
are being built.

[Castro]  I visited them several weeks ago.  Construction is at an advanced
stage there.  The technology being used at the tile factory is ours.  There
is another one, a block factory with equipment imported from Spain.  There
is a white cement factory.  So, there they have tiles, blocks, and white

[Reporter]  We saw at La Guasimas the workers' enthusiasm to complete by
the end of the year the two factories under construction.  We noticed they
have a tremendous will to complete these factories which are so badly
needed for the development of the capital.  What is your opinion on the
materials industry situation which, as we reported in the news, is becoming
a reality?

[Castro]  Well, when there was talk about reorganizing minibrigades in
1986, the Micons [Construction Ministry] was asked--the old Micons because
there are two Micons, the old and the new one--that they study all the
needs and speed up the materials production.  The old Micons were incapable
of fulfilling this.  Last year, approximately in the middle of last year,
the Ministry of Construction Materials Industry was created.  There was a
time in which these were two different activities.  The construction
materials industry was left as the car's fifth wheel.  It didn't get the
attention it should have received for years. In addition, some of the
[words indistinct] plants were assembling had been in boxes for 10 years.
Since they did not produce enough they had material left.  There is not
enough material because a construction explosion has taken place.

[Reporter]  Of course, there was no demand.

[Castro]  There is a tremendous demand which is pressuring terribly the
construction materials industry.  So, the ministry was created during the
middle of last year.  It was given the mission of boosting all construction
material projects.  It was asked to present a program.  The program was
analyzed and it was approved.  The program is being fulfilled.  Resources
were assigned despite insufficient resources to do so.  Many of these
projects are being worked on.  They have not developed fully.  Some things
take longer.  I believe that the recovery of cement, although it has
increased some 400,000 or 500,000 tons, is still not enough.

As you see, it was decided only 15 months ago to build a Cuban rolling
mill, a steel rolling mill to produce iron rods.  That rolling mill is
being completed in Las Tunas.  A great effort has been made in the field of
steel in the old Antillana [de Acero] by expanding it, in the new expansion
project of Antilla.  All this is going to double our steel resources for
construction.  Enormous efforts are being made.

New carpentry shops have been built.  Work has been done in aluminum
carpentry shops [as heard].  New equipment has been purchased to produce
aluminum shuttering.  There are dozens of industries in which work is being
done.  But here is a problem when any of them fails.  If we don't take care
of the construction steel industry [words indistinct] You can have
everything else and lack cement.  We have problems if there are little
delays with gravel and sand.  All this can be solved.  You can have
problems with wood of wood imports are delayed.  If they arrive late in the
country--we have also had these problems this year.

As you know we are promoting wood purchasing from Siberia.  A few hundred
Cubans are working there.  But that does not yield results right away.  We
still depend on imported wood a lot.  We have to save more wood.  We have
to replace wood shuttering with metal in construction.  We have also made
analyses on how much steel we need to produce.  Because while wood is used
four or five times or three times in a wood shuttering, metal could be used
120, 140, or 150 times.  So, we are looking for ways in which wood can be
saved.  This is not a simple thing.  It is complex.  A construction
explosion has really taken place.  Now is the time that these industries
respond.  They are being given resources.  They are being boosted but this
has not worked out completely.  At least it has not happened in 1988.  The
situation should be better in 1989, much better.

[Reporter]  However, commander, we can see now that in November
construction materials production is larger compared to last year.

[Castro]  Yes, there is more but there is not enough.

[Reporter]  Of course, there is not enough.  But his shows the effort made
to guarantee...

[Castro, interrupting]  An effort has been made but we should not be happy
with the efforts we have made.  I believe that in November of next year it
should be much better than now and much better in November 1990.  To give
you an idea, the block production capacity in Havana was 12 million blocks.
Investments are being made to reach 60 million blocks.  This same thing is
being done with bricks, flat roof tiles, tiles, mosaics, everything.  You
can finish the cement block factory and if the cement factory is not
completed, you are left without cement blocks.  If you lack sand, [word
indistinct], and gravel, you are left without materials to make cement.
This is why you have to watch everything.

We gave instructions to the Construction Materials Industry minister to
oversee everything, including things it does not produce.  There are things
the ministry does not produce.  The mechanical industry produces some
things.  The light industry produces others.  So the ministry has to
oversee everything, everything that has to do with materials.

For example, the mechanical industry produces electric cables.  Machines
have been purchased and the production capacity of electric cables has
increased.  We have given the mechanical industry the task of boosting at
any cost everything that is related to construction materials, especially
[word indistinct].  Many of these things are of less value, but many times
slows construction projects.  The mechanical industry has bee given the
task of boosting all electric component production.  New machines have been
used to produce electric cable.  Investments are being made in plastic to
replace many steel pipes for plastic ones.  Cast iron production is being
increased.  Hundreds of things are needed in construction.  You have
problems if you lack pipes, pipe elbows, connections.  This is a serious
problem.  The amount of construction materials needed is great.  We have
to work on all of them.  If you lack one of them you are left in a bind or
spend a lot of money.  We want to develop everything.

I see that you are well informed.  Where do you work?

[Reporter]  Well, I work with the television newscast and I deal with the
construction sector.

[Castro]  With the construction sector alone?  I see you know quite a bit.
I don't even dare talk to you because [words indistinct] with being an
engineer.  [end recording]

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro [words indistinct].  Fidel also talked with
the 10 main architects of the capitals of socialist countries on the
problems of architectural renovation in the city.