Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Holds Talks With Sports Leaders
Havana Cubavision Television
BRS Assigned Document Number:    000006475
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     PA0205031991
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-085          Report Date:    02 May 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     2
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       7
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       30 Apr 91
Report Volume:       Thursday Vol VI No 085


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cubavision Television

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Holds Talks With Sports Leaders

Source Line:   PA0205031991 Havana Cubavision Television in Spanish 2336 GMT 30
Apr 91

Subslug:   [Dialogue between President Fidel Castro and unidentified leaders of
the Executive Committee of the Pan-American Sports Organization,
PASO, and PASO President Mario Vazquez Rana at the Revolution Palace
in Havana on 25 April; recorded--monitored in progress]

1.  [Dialogue between President Fidel Castro and unidentified leaders of the
Executive Committee of the Pan-American Sports Organization, PASO, and PASO
President Mario Vazquez Rana at the Revolution Palace in Havana on 25 April;
recorded--monitored in progress]

2.  [Text] [Castro] This is how we gained time. We were behind in Santiago. The
people of Santiago decided they had to make up for the time that had been lost;
now they are among those who have made the most progress.  There is still work
here to be finished. There is a project that needs more work than others. It is
scheduled to be completed 30 May. We are constantly working on it. I am talking
about the Polivalente Plaza. This work is scheduled to be completed 30 May.

3.  A special effort has been made regarding swimming pools. There has been
ingenuity in this regard. For example, a wall was demolished to speed-up
roofing work. I visited the place and promised the workers I would act as their
agent. I was there once. I have to go back soon because they have been asking:
Where is our agent? He does not come around.

4.  Much progress has been made on the Olympic Villa. I have already explained
here that the villa has become an architectural model in Cuba. Yesterday,
Wednesday, we had a meeting. We are going to build 43 agricultural communities
in Havana Province to produce vegetables and tubers. This will be hard labor,
which is what gave rise to slavery in Cuba. The Indians were enslaved first and
then the Africans. Immigrants were brought in later.

5.  We are going to build 43 communities, using the Olympic Villa as a model.
Yesterday we were looking at the projects, eight of which have been completed.
The total size of all these projects will be eight or nine times the size of
the Olympic Villa.

6.  [Unidentified speaker] Will these be cooperatives?

7.  [Castro] No, they will be state enterprises. There are many opportunities.
There is everything. We have cooperatives also.  Cooperatives have been given
resources.  The cooperatives have done a great deal of building and are still

8.  Manual work by individual peasants is required in the tuber sector. In the
sugarcane and livestock sectors, we do not have that kind of problem because
machines resolved the problem of sugarcane harvesting and because the work
involved in the livestock sector is another kind of work: there is electricity
and mechanical milking. However, the manual work required to plant, harvest,
and transport yucca and sweet potatoes is very hard. The same goes for tomatoes
and vegetables in general. Many of those people, the children of the peasants,
have been able to study and have become doctors, engineers, and teachers.
Therefore, the number of peasants has decreased. We decided to move people from
Havana City to the country, and they are moving voluntarily. Some people go for
two weeks and some for two years. They are working well. We still need a larger
work force, so we decided that the only possible solution is to build
communities there. We need many people to work in the country.

9.  As everywhere, there are people who move from the country to the capital,
although in Cuba the movement is smaller than in other places. We do not have
the situation of Caracas, or Lima, for example. We are not dealing with an
exodus, but quite a few people have migrated. Some of those who have come to
the capital have housing problems. They have come from such places as Oriente.

10.  The communities we are building are very comfortable.  This attracts the
people. We are just starting; it will take five years to build all these
communities. We are starting with 43. We plan to build some 80 or 100 houses
annually because many of the people who have moved there for two years want to
stay there and live. This is a definite solution. We are mobilizing people.

11.  They are going to have sports fields. They will surely have a baseball
field. I am sorry you have not been able to see one of our baseball field
plans. The sports field is going to have an olympic-size swimming pool, without
diving platforms, of course.

12.  [Vazquez Rana] Fine, but do so after the games.  [laughter]

13.  [Castro] Wait until we use all our potential. To do this, we will use the
architectural design of the Villa.

14.  [Vazquez Rana] The Villa's architecture is beautiful.  Looking at it from
the outside, this looks like what we in Mexico call colonial-style
architecture. This complex has, in my opinion, a somewhat high level. When I
say high, I do not mean tall; I mean high economic value.

15.  [Castro] They have either two or three rooms. Fifty percent of them have
two rooms, and the other 50 percent have three rooms.

16.  [Vazquez Rana] The architectural design is different.  The buildings are
not all the same. There are many differences.

17.  [Castro] This is very important, and they were built with prefabricated
units. The 43 communities will be different. Each has different architecture,
as with the Villa.  In each community, the buildings are also different.

18.  [Unidentified speaker] How many people will live in each little community?

19.  [Castro] Approximately 400. That is an average because some communities
will house 450 and others 350. They will be in the heart of the farm land.
Right here where we are standing, I have had to argue a lot in favor of placing
them there because there was a tendency to say: this land here is poor, so let
us move them there. But I told them: Just think how many thousands of
kilometers they will have to walk in a year. We have 24,000 hectares, plus
other land in the 43 towns. This amounts to 30,000 hectares. I said: What does
it matter if we use 300 hectares out of 30,000 hectares to build communities? 
We can use one out of every 100 hectares to guarantee that the families live
close to the farm land. The towns will be beautiful. I would say they will be
good for tourism. There will be swimming pools, and this will help a lot
because not everyone will want to go to the beach. Each community will have an
olympic-size pool.  This will help develop our swimming potential.

20.  We are also introducing something new. By the time the Pan American games
comes aroung there there will be almost 500,000 bicycles in Havana.

21.  [Unidentified speaker] [Question indistinct]?

22.  [Castro] No, not in the country. Right now we have 140,000 bicycles in
Havana, but when the Pan American Games start there will be approximately
450,000 or 500,000 bicycles in Havana.

23.  [Unidentified speaker] [Question indistinct]?

24.  [Castro] Yes. We offered the North American group some bicycles. They
asked us for some bicycles. We told the others that we would provide a bicycle
to anyone interested. There will be many bicycles. This comes to my mind
because although at this point we have distributed only 150,000 bicycles, on
Saturdays and Sundays the highways to the beaches are filled with people on

25.  [Unidentified speaker] How do they travel from Havana to the beaches?

26.  [Castro] I do not know how they manage; they are far away. There are at
least 10 km more to go, after you pass the Villa...

27.  [Unidentified speaker, interrupting] To get to Santa Maria Beach.

28.  [Unidentified speaker] And the tunnel?

29.  [Castro] We do not have a solution to this yet. One possible solution
might be to assign specific hours to use the tunnel. There are two tunnels and
two separate lanes, but the cars emit fumes. Bicycles and cars cannot use the
tunnel at the same time. You cannot say, lets use one lane for bicycles [30-
second break in reception]. This proves what the people can do. They do not
worry about riding their bicycles 30 or 35 km. They just go. This bicycle thing
has been a revolution. I think we will have it forever. Now everybody wants a
bicycle. At first, we were issuing them to factory workers who live 2 to 12 km
from their jobs. Some people travel 15 km--and up to 20 km--and get to work
earlier than those who take the bus.  Those who take buses have to wait for
buses. The others move faster.

30.  [Unidentified speaker] I do not have the slightest idea about this, so I
am just asking: The Villa is in a good location--as far as distance goes--but
the distance from the farthest point of the Villa to the stadium, for example,
is no easy walk. Would it be possible to have bicyles around the Villa? I have
one that I could use and I would leave it somewhere.

31.  [Castro] That is a good idea.

32.  [Unidentified speaker] No one would steal the bicycles.

33.  [Vazquez Rana] ...To ride a bicycle when it is over 30 degrees

34.  [Unidentified speaker] It would be worse to have to walk.

35.  [Vazquez Rana] In the Villa?

36.  [Unidentified speaker] No, no, not at the Olympic Villa.  I did not say
that the current methods should be replaced. I think they are efficient and

37.  [Castro] The Villa is a revolution in architectural design, and it was
unexpected. There has been a revolution in the construction of the Villa and in
the architecture of the houses. We know that there will be (?a new era)--
before and after the games.

38.  [Vasquez Rana] I said precisely this in a speech. You have combined
serviceability and aesthetics. Architecture has played a basic role because it
is not only a matter of having a house; you must feel comfortable and the house
must look comfortable. That is the important thing and that is what has been
achieved there. A beautiful harmony in the lack of harmony...

39.  [Castro, interrupting] We will deliver a bit more. Seventy percent goes to
the construction teams, meaning the minibrigades, and 30 percent goes to the
state. We will combine the state's assets with the small hotel. This affects
the interests of the people [words indistinct] but we will combine the small
hotel with the buildings closest to it. Approximately 450 rooms will go to the
state, so we will combine them with the hotel and will have 1,200 rooms for
sports events and other events.

40.  Those who are given rooms will have to make a pledge.  First we wanted to
leave everything intact for national and international tourism, but we saw
later that the people in charge of the construction--the minibrigades--were
full of illusions. We should have made houses for them elsewhere, but we said:
We will give them what belongs to them. They--the ones who have been in charge
of the construction--should get over 1,000 housing units. But we plan to state
in the contract--that is why they are chosen through the work centers--that if
the installations are needed at any given moment, they will have to be returned
[words indistinct].  They will obviously be better off because they will get
new furniture, but if there is an event that requires use of the Villa, we will
be able to use the Villa again. At least one-third of the apartments will
become international and national tourist lodgings. It is simply a matter of
taking 450 of the 1,400-odd apartments we have there.

41.  [Vasquez Rana] In other words, one-third of what already exists in the

42.  [Castro] Yes, that is what goes to the state because the state....[changes
thought] prior to the agreements, the state got 40 percent because the state
provides the materials, the land, everything. The state provides everything.

43.  [Vasquez Rana] The workers provide the labor.

44.  [Castro] They provide the labor and the salary is paid by the state.
[Words indistinct] [Castro laughs]

45.  [Vasquez Rana] The state gets 30 percent of what is built.

46.  [Castro] There are other people who cannot build there.  A doctor,
surgeon, teacher--those people cannot build there--but we have increased what
we give them to 80 percent, except for the highrises and the Villa. We have
given them 70 percent in the Villa, so now they will get more housing units. We
have given them a higher percentage in recent months, but we had to cut the
figure because of the problems we have had with fuel, energy, cement
production, and housing construction. We have given them a higher percentage.

47.  Today, one of our buildings....[changes thought] many people who worked
there will not be living on the premises because there have been mobilizations
every weekend, and thousands of people have helped. Nevertheless, certain
groups began work and they have the right to seven out of every 10 housing
units. The state gets the others but does not keep them. The state distributes
them or has the right to distribute them. The workers distribute the other
10....[corrects himself] the other seven among themselves once the work is
done.  They say: This one goes to that worker, this one to the other, etc. They
distribute them among themselves. The state distributes the other part, but in
this case we will not distribute them. No one is affected because none of them
are pledged, and we have one-third of the Olympic Villa left. It will be turned
into hotels with apartments.  Of course, we will have to build a restaurant
there, because the hotel restaurant will not be sufficient. It will be a
restaurant for those who do not wish to cook. The Villa includes installations
for everything: a school, child care centers, a big kitchen that can be used as
a cafeteria.  Everything was planned to include schools and everything else. It
will be necessary to enlarge the schools, but we will be able to expand the
installations because there is land available between all the hotels. Also, the
parking lot is presumably big enough to build a large hotel with 300 rooms.
Once the Olympic Villa is vacated, we will have 1,200 rooms for tourism, but if
there is an event....

48.  [Vasquez Rana, interrupting] The Olympic Games.

49.  [Castro] The Central American games, whatever. There will be no need to
build another Villa, repair the installations, or do maintenance on the
installations; the people have the right to use them. The people now have many
facilities and did not spend a cent. In fact, [Castro chuckles] they earned a
salary while they worked. The thing is that there were not enough workers and
they were given....[changes thought] this is a movement that we created to
encourage the construction of houses, but the contract must specify [that the
government has] the right to use their houses in case of an event requiring the
use of the houses.

50.  You have to say: Well, here is the Olympic Villa and it must have new
furniture and everything else in a month.  When the people return....[changes
thought] the people receive furnished housing units, including the furniture
that is used by the state.

51.  [Vasquez Rana] Are the top floors assigned to younger people and the first
floor to older people?

52.  [Castro] The older people should be given the top floors because they need
the exercise. [laughter] The young people do not need the exercise.

53.  [Vasquez Rana] No, they do not! [words indistinct] [laughter]

54.  [Unidentified speaker] Send them to 23d Street.  [laughter]

55.  [Castro] Well, I said that Mario's [Vasquez Rana] visits have helped us
very much. I must be honest. He helped us maintain the necessary pace. He told
us when something was behind or on schedule. The simplest problems sometimes
caused conflicts; the project overseer argued with the construction teams, etc.

56.  [Vasquez Rana] That is terrible.

57.  [Castro] One would say: This beam goes like this. The other would say: No,
the beam goes like this! Once a conflict arose, everything would be delayed.

58.  [Vasquez Rana] There was no swimming pool 60 days ago. When I saw it
yesterday....[changes thought] I think it is still behind schedule, but I leave
in a happier mood.  When I saw it yesterday, I could not believe it. [Name
indistinct] went to visit it instead of having lunch, and he told me: Mario, it
is behind schedule. [Words indistinct].

59.  [Castro] I recently met with....with how many North Americans?

60.  [Unidentified speaker] Ninety-eight.

61.  [Castro] They came here. Almost all the sports directors were here in a
room downstairs because they did not fit here. I met with them and they were
very amiable. They were very enthusiastic and they praised the installations. 
In fact, they invited me to attend each one of the games.  I said: I do not
know. [laughs] I may have to see some of them on television. The bowling
director wanted me to be there when the bowling event was inaugurated; the one
in charge of the cycling events also wants me to be there. I will see what I
can do. I will have to be at the service of sports during those days.

62.  [Vasquez Rana] We had a problem with the inauguration because there is an
alternate site. An inauguration is made the next day at the alternate site. The
question we have is: Will you be there?

63.  [Castro] The organizers have not said anything about this to me.
[laughter] I am willing to fully cooperate; I am at the full time service of
the Pan-American Games.

64.  [Unidentified speaker] They have forgotten [to tell] you.  [laughter]

65.  [Castro] Santiago is very nice. Some of the events are very interesting
but one cannot go from one place to another every day.

66.  [Vasquez Rana] I think that, more than for the sake of a sports event,
your presence in Santiago would represent support for the people who have
worked hard and exerted themselves. I want to tell you that I want you to go, I
would love to see you go.

67.  [Castro] [Words indistinct] two inaugurations?

68.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct]

69.  [Vasquez Rana] There is an official inauguration and the opening ceremony,
so to speak, in Santiago. We must give them a chance to do something, but we
cannot call it an inauguration.

70.  [Castro] Of course, it is not an inauguration.

71.  [Vasquez Rana] I think...

72.  [Castro, interrupting] A ceremony.

73.  [Vasquez Rana] Yes, a ceremony.

74.  [Castro] A ceremony will be held in Santiago.

75.  [Vasquez Rana] I think your presence there would greatly encourage the
people because we know Santiago was behind schedule--I was afraid to go
there--and suddenly they solved everything better than here in Havana. I think
it was a problem with the local people.  [laughter]

76.  [Castro] [Words indistinct]. [laughter]

77.  [Vasquez Rana] Are you provoking me again? [laughter]

78.  [Castro] Your battle now is...

79.  [Unidentified speaker, interrupting] I think that his battle is at the
[name indistinct] square, where, we admit, the swimming pool is being built at
a steady pace.  He has accurately said that the pace is such that it will be
finished before 30 May. We have no doubt about this.  The hardest work has to
be carried out at the [name indistinct] square to finish it by 30 May. Santiago
has also been working at a tremendous pace and it is no longer a problem.

80.  [Castro] I visited the construction site in Santiago. A hotel is also
being built there. I do not know if this hotel will be ready for the
Pan-American Games?

81.  [Unidentified speaker] It will be ready in June.

82.  [Castro] In June. It has a theater too.

83.  [Vasquez Rana] I believe [words indistinct] Santiago in late May.

84.  [Castro] Will the theater be ready too?

85.  [Unidentified speaker] Also in June.

86.  [Castro] (?For) the Pan-American Games?

87.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct]

88.  [Castro] Santiago residents will shine because they will put to use all
those facilities that they have been working on during the party's congress.
They will have finished all those facilities by then. I do not know whether
construction of the Tropicana of Santiago has been finished. They have been
busy with other works for other events. They also built an olympic villa and a
building there. They also built the ones in Havana. I learned about all the
things they have done later. We used the pretext of the Pan-American Games and
you know all the things that involve the sports federations and sports

89.  One day, that dam will be ready. But as I said, that is a borrowed dam.
They built facilities and now the dam must permanently remain there. The dam is
here and there are plans to build dams higher up. Some will be built higher up
and others lower down to take advantage of the water. The dams built for
agricultural purposes cannot be used anymore because they are permanently used
for sports. However, since there is surplus water, we decided to store the
extra water up there or open the dam to let the water out.  How can we use the
water for agriculture? We must now invest in dams again. They made investments
[words indistinct] we cannot dismantle those facilities; we cannot use the
water for agriculture. They had borrowed the dam [words indistinct].

90.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct].

91.  [Castro] They wanted the hotel that was there. We had offered to discuss
[words indistinct], because it was advisable to turn the hotel into the center
as we incorporated the housing units. But the hotel is equivalent to nearly two
Havana Libre Hotels.

92.  [Unidentified speaker] How many rooms does the Havana Libre have?

93.  [Castro] What?

94.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct]

95.  [Castro] There are 1,200 rooms. We can also use them for sports events. We
could also use the gymnasium for tourism. We will collect funds. We will begin
to collect after the... [laughter] [changes thought] (?not from) television
transmission rights. But we will collect funds. In a relatively short period of
time we will recover the foreign exchange invested. This can be accomplished by
investing a third; the state spends 30 percent and the hotel is used for
tourism. We would recover our expenditures this way.

96.  [Unidentified speaker] During the meeting other interesting aspects of the
games were discussed, including the antidoping laboratory.

97.  [Vasquez Rana] I believe we can all feel proud of the way in which the
agreement that we signed with the [word indistinct] has been handled. It will
be the most complete antidoping equipment ever used in any games. Manned by
very capable people, a Barcelona laboratory will handle the Olympic Games. A
Mexican laboratory handled the Central American and Caribbean Games.

98.  The two have a lot of experience. We must recognize the help and support
given us by President Samaranch. If it had not been for his help we would be
facing problems at this time. Samaranch, the prince of (Merode), and [words
indistinct]. The two want to host the winter games.

99.  [Unidentified speaker] What about Spain and the United States?

100.  [Vasquez Rana] The two have burdens. One has the burden of Barcelona and
the other the burden of Atlanta.  However, both of them are working very well.
I hope that the best one will come out on top. I like very much to talk about
host cities, but we need people who really want the Olympic or Continental
Games to win the right to host them. Requests to host the games should not be
based on business purposes or on many other reasons that we have noticed
lately. The games must be viewed with a different philosophy. I hope we will
see beyond business at the Pan-American Games.

101.  [Castro] We must take advantage of the factors I told you about; for
example...[changes thought] Not only will the facilities remain for posterity,
but certain construction concepts will also remain; this will be known as the
Pan-American construction style. A revolution in architectural concept.

102.  We have learned much. With our diverse manufacturing plants we could make
a great combination of materialss; materials that add beauty and quality to
things. The stadium could be enlarged. Outsiders do not understand this. They
say the stadium lacks certain things, that the stadium...(changes thought], but
it is ready to be enlarged. This could happen any time. I like the velodrome
very much. It is very, very pretty.

103.  [Unidentified speaker] [Words indistinct] housing at the velodrome?

104.  [Unidentified speakers] [Passage indistinct]

105.  [Castro] We can house the people there; we can house them in the hotel
and even at the Olympic Villa. For smaller competitions we will have a hundred
or hundreds of housing units available, as the need may arise.  We will not
only have the facilities, but housing facilities for all kinds of events.

106.  [Unidentified speakers] [Passage indistinct]

107.  [Castro] [Words indistinct] the people because of the large number of
bicycles that will be in Havana.

108.  [Vasquez Rana] I believe, Mr. President--and I have mentioned this to you
before--that Cuba, with its facilities, for example, its swimming facilities,
will improve the level of competition considerably. The same with the velodrome
and many other facilities that have (?been rather poor) in Cuba. Also in

109.  [Unidentified speakers] [Passage indistinct]

110.  [Vasquez Rana] The bowling facility will become a downtown recreation
center. Are there 16?

111.  [Unidentified speaker] Thirty-four [words indistinct].

112.  [Castro] I am pleased about that. All this is very encouraging for us. We
commit ourselves to doing even more between now and the beginning of the games
to please everyone.