Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Construction Workers Day Speech
Havana Tele Rebelde Network
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000000491
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL0401170090
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-90-005          Report Date:    08 Jan 90
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     13
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       20
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       30 Dec 89
Report Volume:       Monday Vol VI No 005


City/Source of Document:   Havana Tele Rebelde Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Construction Workers Day Speech

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro Ruz on 28 December at the Antillana de
Acero steel plant in Havana marking the day of the construction

Source Line:   FL0401170090 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish 1857 GMT 30
Dec 89

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz on 28 December at the
Antillana de Acero steel plant in Havana marking the day of the
construction worker--recorded]

1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro Ruz on 28 December at the Antillana de
Acero steel plant in Havana marking the day of the construction

2.  [Text] Comrade construction workers. I have arrived late here. That is why
I was surprised not to see more speakers. [someone from crowd shouts: It is not
late, commander!] I don't know; sometimes there are other things that need to
be done. I can see there are no more speakers. At the other places, there were
several speakers. Anyway, this is a ceremony that has been postponed twice.
First it was going to be held on the first [of December], but we had the storm.
Then, it was going to be held on the 22d [of December], but we had the
imperialist invasion of Panama. Finally today it looks like nothing has
happened and we are going to hold the ceremony.

3.  This is part of three ceremonies. One ceremony was for the presentation of
the banner to the 13 March student contingent which supported the construction
of the Jose Antonio Echeverria projects [CUJAE]. This also included the
completion of the Jose Antonio Echeverria University City.

4.  Then, we had to inaugurate a project that had been finished. It was a true
construction feat by the Blas Roca contingent and by a group of outstanding
sugarcane manual cutters; they built the bus terminal in 4 months.  It was the
last one to be started and the first one to be completed. As I told them, they
should also keep in mind the size of the contingent as well as its resources,
means, organization, and efficiency. There is work being done on the other
seven terminals, progress is being made.  Some of them will be finished in
January and others in the first quarter of the year. This means that around
April, the last of the eight terminals will be finished. This is important to
guarantee the efficiency of transportation in our city.

5.  An now, we have this third ceremony. I would not be too concerned if we
took our time, but the youths have also planned for this night a great ceremony
at 1900 on 12 and 23d Streets. I would have liked for you to have time to go to
the ceremony. It seems it will not be possible.  However, you do have the time
to make it to the party which is after the ceremony. So, that is better than
nothing. This way, we did not postpone once again the ceremony we are now

6.  It seems like Havana City Province deserves to be congratulated, especially
the construction workers, laborers, and the construction project leaders in the
province. They earned the honor of hosting the construction workers day
ceremony. They shared this honor with another province which is Camaguey, I
know they have worked well. I believe this is a high honor and an important
step for progress. However, this should not lead us to believe that everything
is going perfectly well.  This honor means progress and it is an incentive.
Certainly, throughout the country during the past 2 years construction has
progressed considerably. We are producing a sort of revolution within the
sector. It is a decisive sector for the development of the country. If
construction projects do not go well, nothing will go well.  If construction
does not go well, we cannot guarantee the development of the country.
Construction is the most basic of all sectors of a country for its economic and
social development. Without construction workers, there are no industries,
factories, steel industry, cement factories, tile factories, mosaic factories,
refineries, thermoelectric plants, nuclear power plants, mechanical plants,
pasteurizers, cheese factories, or food industry.

7.  Without construction workers, there are no [word indistinct], nickel
factories. The Che Guevara factory, for example, would not exist. The new plant
in Camarioca would not exist. There would not be expansions, or remodeling such
as what we see at the refineries. There would not be new constructions like in
Cienfuegos.  Without construction workers, there would not be a biological
industry, pharmaceutical industry, sugar plants [passage indistinct] irrigation
system. Without construction workers, there would not be homes, schools, child
care centers, polyclinics, hospitals, movie theaters, specialty markets, bus
terminals, hotels, recreation facilities. Without construction workers, we
would have primitive agriculture. It is precisely the inventions and creativity
of the construction workers that creates development of intensive [as heard]
agriculture. That is why I always think that without construction workers,
there would be nothing. If construction fails, everything fails.

8.  Unfortunately, at one time our country's construction sector reached a
major peak when the construction brigades were created. They built thousands of
schools, kilometers of roads, tens and tens of dams, livestock farms,
industries, many things. But at one point, that peak began to decline. I recall
that at the beginning of the revolution the most (?ignored) sector was the
construction sector.  It was believed that the sector took all those who had no
other job alternative. I recall that in the 60s and first half of the 70s,
thanks to the efforts of the revolution, a large construction increase took
place in the countryside and cities. Thanks to the attention that was given to
the sector, the new job of a construction worker began to be more respected and
appreciated by everyone. It was under these circumstances and by looking at the
progress made by the construction sector that we talked about, or mentioned the
phrase: the honorable men with the white helmets.

9.  We were able to highly industrialize the construction sector. The sector
had earned great prestige, until the arrival of those times of confusion, times
of copying the examples of others, times of all kinds of inventions which
brought negative consequences to the sector. We had started using a remodeling
method which was starting to directly affect quality, and without quality it is
not worth building anything. We were using pay methods which allowed things to
be done in quantities, if they were done at all, without taking into
consideration quality. We had organizational systems and ideas which took into
account the values but not the completion [of projects]. We had an incentive
system which led to conflicts with the interests of the country. If we only
paid for digging holes and putting in columns, we would fill the country with
holes and columns without finishing a single project. This was tied to erratic
planning which was done by many of the theoreticians of these mistaken and
copied ideas.

10.  We began to discover problems everywhere. It was said that the system
needed time to mature. Frankly, if the system and that style and ideas
continued moving ahead, we would have had more than enough time for the system
not to mature but to rot. The projects would take an eternity to complete. We
discovered roads that were going to take tens of years to complete. I recall
that one of those roads was going to take 65 years to build. It was a road with
several tens of kilometers in length. One road would get 100,000 pesos, another
one would get 100,000 pesos, and another would get 100,000. The same brigade,
or the same group--because brigades were beginning to disappear--would work 2
months on this road, 2 months on another, and 2 months on yet another. It was
total madness.

11.  When one asked about the progress of the construction plans, the reply was
that they were being completed in value but not in objective. Everything
appeared to have a slight delay of 2 or 3 months to finish whatever had to be
finished. But that was not the case. It was going to take years and even tens
of years to complete projects. It was going to take ten years to complete a dam
or a road.  It was going to take 10, 12, or 15 years to build a hospital or a
hotel. We began to loose construction capabilities.  There was strong
opposition to the minibrigades because it was an idea that was not in the books
of the empty-brained theoreticians who had invented those things.  Since it was
not in the books, the theoreticians had to fight the idea. The minibrigades
were the best way to distribute human resources, but the minibrigades were
slowly eliminated. The minibrigade movement deteriorated. The number of houses
that were being built declined. This was true especially in the capital where
we had almost 4,000 homes; we had been increasing homes by 1,000 per year. The
houses were popping-up everywhere in the Republic.

12.  But the hope that the minibrigades once represented as a solution to this
crucial problem began to disappear. The projects that were finished were not
really finished. I remember when I visited the supposedly finished Santiago de
Cuba distillery. Out of the 20 refrigeration units, only 1 had been completed.
The shop in a plant for the production of parts was not finished. The flat roof
got soaked every time it rained. The roof was an imported project and it was
stupidly accepted by our own planners. [Words indistinct] flat roof, and when
it rained, it rained more inside than outside. So, a roof over a roof had to be
built and who knows how many tons of [word indistinct] had to be used. Only a
few homes were for the workers. A housing plan for them had not been drawn up,
or there was a plan that had not been fulfilled. It was necessary to begin
building housing units at full speed.  We needed to build 300 or 400 housing
units so that today we could have approximately 2,000 homes. At the textile
enterprise, not a single project had been finished.

13.  The comprehensive development idea disappeared.  Prior to the application
of those other ideas, the brigades would build whenever there was a plan. Some
brigades would build roads, others would build livestock farms, and others
dams, irrigation canals. The brigades that would build the houses would also
build the stores, schools, medical services, medical facilities or whatever,
and child care centers so that women could work. We had aqueducts, sewers,
streets, everything.

14.  But then ghost towns began appearing when the other ideas started being
implemented. One group would do the buildings because they had a contract with
someone else. Someone else would build the street when there was a contract, if
there even was anyone at all who knew how to build them, or if there was even
anyone bright enough to figure out that a town needs streets. There were no
aquaducts, sewers, roads, barber shops, stores, or other facilities. Everything
was really disorganized in an incredible manner.

15.  This made it necessary for us to become fully aware of the situation and
rectify it. Today, we are back to the idea of the comprehensive towns. In other
words, we have towns that have houses, streets, aquaducts, sewers, child care
centers, schools, stores, industrial centers, family doctor homes, and
recreation areas. We have plans that have people, roads, dams, minidams,
canals, irrigation systems, electricity, and everything that an comprehensive
really needs, the way plans in socialism should be. If this concept is not
applied, there is no socialism, there is nothing. You can only have rubbish or
complete trash.

16.  The revolution had already discovered how to make comprehensive plans,
such as the plans and ideas with which we work today in the development of the
country.  How is it possible for an industry to be developed and not a single
house be built, or houses to be built but no roads?

17.  All those things have passed. That is why a large effort was needed. The
worst things used to happen in the capital. There was great disorganization.
There wasn't even an authority for the construction workers in the province.
The ministry had everything: cement mixers, [word indistinct], asphalt plans,
truck supplies. The materials industry became the fifth wheel of the car. It
had been ignored and totally forgotten. Everything was done [word indistinct].
When the party needed to talk to someone in the capital, he had to wait until
the minister was available to discuss the problems of a cement mixer, street,
or a brigade. A lot of construction ability was lost.

18.  The brigades in the capital were getting full of workers from the eastern
and other provinces. There are still some here. I know, they are right here.
[crowd laughs] I have visited them and chatted with them, they are really nice
people, but they are (?courageous) to stay here. How is it possible that the
capital with 2 million people was not capable of building its own projects,
buildings? The fewer [as heard] houses that were built, the more houses
sprouted-up, and more workers from the eastern provinces would stay here. Thus,
the capital's problems became more serious. That is what was happening. There
was no work force. The province that had 800,000 workers had a large number of
them in bloated personnel rosters, [word indistinct] everything all mixed, with
that unfortunate idea of the specialized profile. Who knows the number of
people that were needed just to do the simplest thing.

19.  We had absurd, stupid methods which conspired against the development of
the country. They conspired against the building of socialism. There was not a
single chief of construction for all that. The minister would be touring our
provinces, or on a trip, or on a more or less justified mission. The party had
no one to talk to. All those things happened and why not recall them. It is the
construction worker's day. Changes of cadres became necessary, changes of
ministers became necessary. It became necessary to find a chief for the city,
the capital. We needed a party cadre to help the minister. Thus, the party had
someone to talk to, to organize the effort. We had to reconstruct the
minibrigades [passage indistinct] but special minibrigades, unhealthy
neighborhoods, the maintenance of the houses. Then we created the industrial
minibrigades such as the one for the steel industry which in the capital has
approximately 1,000 workers working on expansions and constructions.

20.  Many things have been created. The contingents have been created. We did
new things we did not have 15 years ago. One of the most promising things we
did was the creation of the contingents. The first contingent was formed from
the minibrigades. The contingent was an extraordinary revolution in
construction. It has meant a new road for accelerating the development of the
country. The first workers contingent has become an example. The ideas that led
the organization of the contingent are now being used in other work areas. For
example, the brigades that build the partial draining systems for the sugarcane
industry work with the motivation of a contingent, at least they work as long
as it doesn't rain. Those who work in the [words indistinct] system are working
with the spirit of a contingent. There are some materials industries where it
is possible, and they have started to work with the spirit of a contingent. 
[passage indistinct] The Mariel cement factory applied some of the contingent's
principles, not all because it is not easy. There are no two activities that
are the same.  You cannot mechanically apply the principles of one activity to

21.  Some of the principles, however, were applied wherever possible. The
Mariel cement factory fulfilled a plan which it was not expected to fulfill. It
produced excess cement which the country needed so much. It increased
productivity by 33 percent. It reduced its personnel roster by 150. It improved
the workers' salary by almost 50 pesos. Everyone benefited: The industry, the
country, the workers. All of this was related to the ideas of the contingents,
such as the attention to man which is a key factor and an essential principle
of the contingents. This idea is spreading. There are approximately 35,000
workers who may become incorporated into this contingent. I do not know if the
35,000 are included in these workers. [Unidentified person is heard saying they
are included] They are already included. There are more than 60 contingents.
This opens promising prospects for our country. As I was telling the students
today, 100,000 men organized into contingents are doing now what 400,000 men
used to do in the past. It is not very fitting to say what 400,000 used to do.
It is more fitting to say what 400,000 men used to do poorly in the past, what
400,000 men tried to do in the past without finishing the job or finishing
poorly. This is the truth.

22.  We have gradually slowed down the contingent movement. One of the things I
proposed is that we go slowly so as not to discredit the idea of contingents,
which is a treasure that will provide decisive resources for promoting the
country's development. We were going to provide better treatment for the men,
the best lodging facilities, the best attention, and medical care. This is
important. Ah, I know how some disguised worms think, who criticize everything:
When the revolution developed the idea of the family doctor, they began to say,
well, why the family doctor? They managed to subtly attack the best
achievements of the revolution. Now, they see that the contingent movement is a
revolution and a solution for the country because it expedites development. It
is not a system of work that should be adopted for life, that is, with the same
intensity, with the same duration, but it is a vital effort we need to make
during these years to pull our country from under development and make it move
ahead, promote its progress.

23.  There are some people who complain, for instance, that there is a shortage
of houses; that there is a shortage of this or that; and when contingents are
organized, they say: This is not good, because they will take a long time. 
They subtly begin to criticize the contingent workers, who are the healthiest
collective of workers in the country, [repeats] who are the healthiest.
Contingent workers are also the best fed workers in the country, and they get
the best rest during their time of rest. These workers are also among the best
paid. They have not asked for this, but we proposed that it would be useful to
set up a special rate for contingent workers. Thus, we established a special
rate for contingent workers. This is why I say that the contingent movement has
brought about a true revolution, it has yielded spectacular results in reducing
the time for completing projects, in raising productivity.

24.  It should suffice to mention that the CUJAE contingent has increased
monthly productivity by a factor of 4 by increasing it from 250 pesos to nearly
1,000 pesos. It should suffice to say that the large number of workers who were
assigned to the Corojo Dam had a production cost per peso of 2.70. Today, after
a few months, the contingent reduced the production cost to approximately 70
centavos. The contingent reduced it by 2 pesos. How can a country move ahead if
its production cost per peso stands at 2.70 pesos? How can a country move ahead
if it takes it 25 years to build a dam, or 50 years to build a road? How can a
country move ahead amid such disorder, amid such laziness imposed by mistaken
systems, ideas, or concepts; due to indiscipline by cadres, chief, or by the
workers themselves?

25.  We must have the courage here of putting the blame for the bad things
happening on all those responsible. The workers were not, of course, the
principle culprits. The principle culprits were those who designed the system,
those who directed the project, those who did not impose discipline. The
workers are also guilty because they got used to that, they adjusted to it.

26.  Many of them liked that. They liked to report to work at 0800 and leave at
0830, as soon as roll call time passed; or to work in a construction brigade
and, 2 hours after reporting to work, leave the work site to go to work for a
rich illegal street vendor, who paid him a salary to build with the
construction materials he bought with the money he stole from the people; or
with a notorious bandit who made a lot of money and was able to obtain
construction material because he could afford to buy it in the capital where
they also created a free market for construction materials. This could be done,
of course, because nothing was being built here. They could even sell the
entire cement factory because they did not need it.

27.  Illegal peddlers from Villa Clara or from Pinar del Rio would come with a
truck rented from another individual and would take not only cement, reinforced
rods, but even sand and stone with which to build. Those things were happening.
There were workers who were working 1 hour or 2 hours, or who were leaving the
work site to go to get the money from the peddlers who had the privilege of
being able to build houses. Those things should not have happened, and you know
that better than anyone else. We had to rectify all that and we are rectifying
all that and many other things as well, so that we may truly build, at an
accelerated pace, our new fatherland. The way we were going, we were going to
destroy our fatherland instead of developing it.

28.  This just shows the significance of ideas. It also shows how serious it is
when some people yield to the temptation of copying little things from
capitalism. What did the peasant free market, that had so many defenders,
produce? How much meat was supplied by that famous market, which created
millionaires? It supplied 100,000 tons of meat per year, which were sold at any
price. The pork plan of the revolution alone--building 50 integrated centers,
using food waste enriched with a product obtained from sugarcane--in
approximately 3 years will build facilities to produce 100,000 tons.

29.  The free market method is a capitalist method, which promotes plundering
and theft, while the method producing 100,000 tons in a meat line alone is a
socialist method. Can you imagine the stupid idea that that was going to
resolve our meat supply problem. Our supply problems can be truly solved
through socialist methods using sugarcane. The free market disrupted the
cooperative movement in the country.

30.  How can you make plans that will affect small lots? How can you build a
canal or a dam? You could not find a place to build a canal unless you wanted
to design a labyrinth with 500 turns to take water from one place to another.
How would you apply the engineering system for rice crops? How would you apply
the plot drainage system for sugarcane crops, which has nearly doubled the
sugarcane production just as the enginnering system has nearly doubled the rice

31.  The capitalist system has its methods, while the socialist system has its
own methods. The capitalist methods create bandits, create thieves, create
people who get rich at the expense of the work of others. For capitalists, it
does not make any difference to have someone working for them on a salary or to
sell something very expensive to a citizen. It is still fair to have expensive
items, because a cigar is expensive. Alcoholic beverages are also relatively
expensive, but this will not make any bandit rich. These prices are designed to
help the people; so that they may have schools, so that they may have day care
centers, so that they may have houses, so that they may have jobs; so that
their country may develop; and so that the citizens may have transportation

32.  The funds collected by the state are directly earmarked for projects and
services that are beneficial to the citizen; but who knows which will be the
ultimate destination of the funds collected by the individual. These funds are
used to promote corruption and theft and to make the people pay high prices.
Those ideas that were also associated with ways of organizing production have
also contributed to creating problems such as the ones I have just mentioned.

33.  Today there is more order, or we are restoring order in the construction
area. We have much more order now and, little by little, we may suddenly find
that we have solved what has been promoted for 10 years, what has been
corrupted for 10 years, what has been disorganized.  We are now making
progress, even though there are still pockets of laziness in a few places. I
have seen that. I immediately notice when people are sitting around, just
talking. When you get there, you wonder if they are on strike because they are
just standing, or they are having a snack. No one knows anymore when their
snack times are, or that it is lunch time. All this talking takes place because
the chief is either complacent or is an idiot, because he does not impose
discipline. Yet, as I have time and again said, a worker must demand that he be
disciplined. Workers like to be disciplined, they like discipline, they like to
work, they like progress, they like to see the project moving. Every man likes
that. No man likes filth, except for those who, having the soul of pigs, are
capable of rolling in the mud.

34.  All men have dignity, some more than others, but all men have it. All men
have a sense of shame, some more than others, but they have it. I have seen men
who, despite not having a high sense of shame, are even capable of giving their
lives, because their little sense of shame becomes a driving force to uphold
honor and behavior. We need, however, people who will impose demands on others.
We also need people who are willing to take orders from others so that we can
get things organized.

35.  Whenever I visit a work site I can tell what is going on just by listening
to the noises. If there were only two men there, not 40, there would be
complete silence. No concrete mixer is moving; no hammering can be heard.  All
of a sudden we can hear bang, bang, bang: Three hammers pounding. Then, there
is silence. Then, two hammers pounding again. Even by listening to the noises
one can tell if the workers are working. I have experienced tremendous noises
in some places, a symphony of work: A concrete mixer over here, a wheelbarrow
over there, a worker hammering over there, another worker cutting the edges of
something, another worker nailing something. Even by the noises they make one
can tell whether the workers are working or not.

36.  We still have enterprises that will have to improve, improve, and improve.
There are also isolated unsupervised groups that operate at will. We have not
yet completely won this battle. We will win it, there is no doubt about this,
through the cooperation and support of the workers. Contingents in many places
were not created with new people, but with the same workers. There, where in
the past one could notice tremendous laziness, where laziness was
institutionalized, all of a sudden one can notice an extraordinary activity,
and those same began to produce much more. All this shows the importance of
concepts, the importance of ideas regarding organization.

37.  I am very happy for you having stimulated Havana City with this honor. I
hope we can continue to make progress because we still have a long way to go.
Sometimes we are stopped by objective factors, sometimes we are stopped by lack
of construction materials. We have made an extraordinary effort to supply the
materials needed for construction projects. In 2 years we have invested more
than $100 million, [repeats himself] more than $100 million in hard cash, to
foster the construction materials industry. Thus, we have built dozens and
dozens of factories for floor tiles, for mosaic tiles. We did not have to spend
anything to set up some of the new floor tile lines because the equipment had
been stored in boxes for 10 years. The same happened with the grinder, which
had been stored in boxes for 10 or 11 years, for the Purio mill. When I say
$100 million I am not including the equipment already stored in boxes and which
are now being mounted.

38.  I am talking about sanding facilities, stone mills, cement block
factories, of factories for small tiles for archways, of floor beams, of roof
tiles, of bricks, in sum, of all basic construction materials. I am talking
about tripling our capability to melt aluminum for construction; about new
factories for wooden furniture; about new methods to save materials. I must say
that much cement used to be stolen from our construction projects. In some
cases they were using 600, 700 and even more than 700 kg of cement per cubic
meter of concrete. Even if they were using cement in those places where they
should just use sand and stones, it was impossible to use so much cement.
There, there must have been some quick hands that were supplying cement to an
illegal peddler or to somebody else.

39.  Stealing was the order of the day in construction. We were losing both
cement and lumber. This year we have used less than 450 kg of cement per cubic
meter of concrete at the Construction Ministry, where they are planning to
further reduce this ratio. There were years when we were using nearly 700 kg of
cement per cubic meter of concrete. How can a country move ahead in this way?
We do not even know about lumber. We used to make 28 cubic meters of concrete
per cubic meter of lumber. Today, we are making 50, 60, and expect to surpass
100 cubic meters, because we will not get any more lumber. With the same amount
of lumber that we were wasting, we can now build three times more. In reality,
this is what we have been doing.

40.  We used 380 cubic meters of cement to build the bus terminal [corrects
himself] no, it is not cubic meters, but kilograms per cubic meter of concrete.
Just think what we can achieve if kept to this rate. We can build nearly 200
cubic meter of concrete per cubic meter of lumber.  To do this, we would of
course be also using steel molds.

41.  We are inventing whatever should be invented to resolve our problems and
move ahead. This project is an example. We have wasted time here. This project
fell behind schedule at times because we were short of supplies, sometimes
because we ourselves fell behind schedule. Some time ago we started to work in
such a way to get this project moving. I visited some places. I visited this
place more than once. To tell you the truth, it used to be quite disorganized
here. There was equipment misplaced over here, there were bindweed and brushes
over rusted equipment. I have seen all that here.  This was a gigantic project
that could be compared to an elephant giving birth to a rabbit. We were
investing 300 billion pesos to produce 200,000 tons of steel. We have made
efforts in some uncomplicated investments to double the production of this
plant, so that the elephant may deliver a sheep, not a rabbit.

42.  Later, we will have to continue to do other things so that this monster
can produce even more steel. The fact of the matter is that here we have wasted
time. It is undeniable that we have worked badly here for years. This project
is behind schedule and we intend precisely to make it move ahead. We were
talking about completing it in 1992. We are trying hard to see it as the famous
(IBC) [not further identified], if the first one is completed in 1990. We will
try to finish the second one [words indistinct] an important part of that
rolling mill, to see how much time we gain.

43.  We cannot waste any time. Our country needs the steel.  Our country's
economy needs the steel. Steel is needed for construction as well as for the
steelworking industry.  We must accelerate it, we must organize it well. The
first thing I notice in a project is the degree of order or disorder existing
there, of sand piled up in one place, of equipment spread all over. These are
signs indicating whether there is order or not in a project site.

44.  We have decided to promote the idea of the contingent.  Today, we
presented it with the banner. I believe, however, that the contingent must earn
its banner now.  You have made some achievements, but it will be within the
next 2 years that we will know if it is worthy or not of having received the
banner. [Unidentified worker shouts: We will not fail you, Fidel] [applause]

45.  I have seen the results produced by men who work well, I have been able to
test the honor of workers and builders in many places. Moa is one of those
places. There, the workers are building much more with half of what they used
to have 10 years ago, when they had 15,000 men there. Can you imagine what we
can accomplish with all the men we have throughout the country? The Moa
contingent consists of 8,000 or 9,000, and it is yielding extraordinary
results. Contingents have yielded extraordinary results everywhere. This is why
I expect that here, too, it will yield similar results. I have no doubts, but I
deem it my duty to remind you that we have wasted time here, and that,
therefore, you have to make us forget the bad things that happened here.

46.  There, at the old Antillana, we have also introduced technological
innovations, that is, two (IBC) lines that will increase the production
capability of the old facilities by 100,000 tons.

47.  Today, those two (IBC's) are almost a reality. This is why at a certain
moment we asked the workers here to send some reinforcements over there to be
able to rapidly produce 100,000 tons. Today, this is almost a reality.

48.  Now, we must promptly seek to produce the 440,000 tons we will obtain
through the enlargement of Antillana de Acero. The country has a great need for
this. It is in your hands. You have virtually all the equipment you need. It is
true that we had to enter into new contracts to replace some equipment that was
destroyed under the brushes during the delay period. We had to enter into new
contracts. When all this is completed, the country will be producing nearly 1
million tons of steel. Part of this production will be exported, but only one
part of it.

49.  The steel produced here will be fundamentally earmarked for construction
projects and for our steelworking industry, so that the country may have a
ready supply of steel, a raw material that is fundamental for promoting the
development of our fatherland, and the well-being of our people. This is a key
industry. You must work keeping in mind that this is a key industry.

50.  I hope that with the creation of the contingent we may have also created
the conditions that we always wanted to exist to meet the needs of the
contingent members, that is, conditions regarding the facilities where food is
prepared; where food is served, in the dining rooms; in the lodging facilities;
the working environment; in the medical care of the workers.

51.  I cannot think now of a larger project than this one in the capital. I
cannot think of an industry that is as of such strategic importance as this
one. There are nearly 2,000 workers here, in addition to, the brigade charged
with the earth movement work. Here, [words indistinct] contingents of
mini-brigades. We must complete the (IBC) at the old Antillana plant and we
must work at full speed to expedite the projects here. We must also build the
rolling mill. We will be alert. Rest assured that 1 week will not elapse
without us asking the minister, comrade Lage; any of the two Lages, Carlos and
Marcos, who usually come here, what is the status of the Antillana projects,
how is the new contingent doing?

52.  I understand you decided to call your contingent Julio Antonio Mella, a
glorious name in our history, an exemplary man. Remember that the tyranny that
was at the service of imperialism took his life when he was still very young.
He was the founder of our first Communist Party. You must honor his name.

53.  We will be closely following the project and we will do everything we can
to help make the work go smoothly, so that you may have everything you need to
fulfill the mission entrusted to you, that is, to accelerate this project until
completing it and thus supply an additional half a million tons of steel to our
country. Then, we will see which way to go, because 2,000 men is a big number
of men. I am sure other important tasks will surface. I said I was not going to
speak long. The rally of the young people at 12th and 23d Streets is probably
already underway. It has probably already started. I would have liked to watch
it at least on television. I asked that it be recorded to see it later. Like
boxing matches, baseball games, or volleyball games, I like to watch these
things live. This time, I will have to see it recorded.

54.  There are other projects we have to implement around here. We need to
build a sand unloading facility for the sand that will be required to build
this monster. We also have work related to the railway system, and other
projects. We will do whatever needs to be done.

55.  I am certain we will have nothing left to do here. I am certain we will
finish our projects. We may modernize it later. That will no longer be your
task. When I visited the (IBC), the first line was almost finished and I asked
what we could do with the Martin furnaces. Then he reminded me we had already
discussed the possibility of the electric arc. Maybe one of the innovations we
can make is the introduction of the electric arc to produce more steel. The two
[words indistinct] have the capacity to produce more than what the Martin
furnaces can produce. So, we will have innovations here. We will have more
progress here.

56.  I would have liked to have this industry a bit farther from the capital.
We know it uses a lot of water and water is something we do not have an
abundance of in this area of Havana City and Havana. But it started here as a
small installation which grew and grew. What we have to try to do in the future
is to ensure it produces good quality steel. We do not want it to grow too
much.  We want it to grow in technological inventions but not in size.
Although, it has been said that a couple more furnaces would fit in the
expanded area. There is danger here, even the danger of expanding this. But we
will see.  Once we thought about a steel mill elsewhere, over by the Mayari
Municipality. The location has not been chosen yet. We also have started
building a workshop to support construction. Now we are transferring the
workshop to Ciego de Avila so that it produces steel structures like the ones
produced in Las Tunas. We must [word indistinct] one thing, part of these (IBC)
lines. In old Antillana, they were imported; however, a major important part of
the components of that line were produced in our country.  They were produced
in mechanical plants, in Cubana de Acero, and in other places. It is pleasant
to see how this mechanical industry produces this equipment. It also produces
the main components for a sugar plant. It was also able to produce the two
rolling mills we have in Las Tunas which are going to use the steel from this
plant.  This is what is important. We already have two which have the capacity
to produce 100,000 tons each. [Words indistinct] small expenditure in
convertible currency, buying components. Our mechanical industry built two
rolling mills. We have also pointed out...[rephrases] assigned the steel
mechanical industry to produce for factories. We have not yet met the challenge
of producing the first line of cement of 300,000 tons. We got involved in other
tasks of such as the development of the auto industry which is so important for
the country.  However, it is good to point out that many of the components of
those two lines were made in Cuba.

57.  This is how we will have to work. We will have to make in Cuba whatever
can be made here, and we must bring in whatever is not possible or convenient
to make here.  For that development, we need this steel. We need all this steel
for the machinery industry; this steel will not be solely for construction.
This helps the future of the country. Thanks to the developments the revolution
is making, thanks to the graduation of the tens of thousands of engineers and
of the hundreds of thousands of university professionals, and hundreds of
thousands of mid-level technicians, and thanks to the progress of the
revolution in the social arena, the progress of the education of our people,
and to the training of professionals and technicians, today we are reaping the
fruits of the schools we built and of the efforts that were made in the past
years. We will need those efforts even more every year. Should the country have
to go through difficult times, as I have explained earlier, no one knows the
worth of all that accumulated talent and experience and of all those new
generations that have been trained in science and technology.

58.  I think we have enough reason to remember this ceremony and this day in
the future. This is a day in which we celebrate the province's achievements in
the construction sector.  This is a day in which we have presented the banners
to three brigades [as heard]. However, it is the day in which we have presented
the banner to the Julio Antonio Mella brigade, and as we see the progress it
makes, we will see our satisfaction with it. As I was telling you, I will
remain attentive. I will come as many times as my limited time allows me to
come to these areas. And I promise you I will be here with you in the not too
distant day when we can say that the expansion of the Antillana de Acero has
been finished.  [applause] Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we shall