Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Speaks at Santiago Hotel Dedication
Havana Cuba Vision Network
Report Type:         Daily Report             AFS Number:     FL1710205091
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-91-202          Report Date:    18 Oct 91
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     4
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       8
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       17 Oct 91
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 202


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Network

Report Name:   Latin America

Headline:   Castro Speaks at Santiago Hotel Dedication

Author(s):   Cuban President Fidel Castro at the dedication of the Santiago
Hotel in Santiago de Cuba on 15 October-recorded]

Source Line:   FL1710205091 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0212 GMT 17
Oct 91

Subslug:   [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the dedication of the
Santiago Hotel in Santiago de Cuba on 15 October-recorded]

1.  [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the dedication of the Santiago
Hotel in Santiago de Cuba on 15 October-recorded]

2.  [Text] Dear Comrades: It was not on the schedule for me to make a speech
here, because there have been all kinds of speeches in recent days. But, in any
case, I feel I have a duty to say a few words. Dedicating a hotel like this one
can be very simple and take only a few minutes, but building it takes years of
work and millions and millions of hours of effort. I can imagine when you came
here for the first time and there was nothing but an empty lot where you had to
begin to prepare the ground for construction. I can imagine the architects
drawing up the first plans, working out ideas. I remember very well the
concerns we had about the hotel, whether it could be built in the required
time, whether it would cost more, the materials that were needed, where we were
going to get them, what each of them would cost, etc.

3.  We have followed the hotel's progress closely. We asked how the hotel was
going, and told you when it was behind schedule, that the hotel was at 5
percent, or 10 percent, or 15 percent of completion. This really became a great
challenge for the construction workers of Santiago de Cuba Province. This hotel
had two objectives. It was going to be used partly for the congress, then for
the Pan-American Games, and mainly for tourism.

4.  But obviously all the difficulties were overcome. As the chief of the
contingent said, one of the most notable things is the fact that those who came
to build this hotel had no experience in construction. There were not that many
construction workers in Santiago. There were many Santiago residents building
things elsewhere.  Therefore, we had to train the personnel. A hotel like this
was not just any old thing. A hotel like this was not a simple thing like the
buildings the minibrigades make, or a two-star or three-star hotel. This was a
five-star hotel.

5.  I am going to tell you the truth: I did not know what a five-star hotel
was. [laughter] A short time ago when I traveled to the inauguration of a Latin
American president, I stayed at a five-star hotel. I looked around, and looked
again, to see what a famous hotel was like, what the elevators, the rooms, the
furniture, the construction, and the landscape were like. But we had never had
a five-star hotel in Cuba. This is the first five-star hotel in Cuba.

6.  Now, how does it look to me? I find it more beautiful than any hotel I have
ever seen. [applause] I remember a few months ago I came here and it was in the
middle of being built. Many of these facilities ...[rephrases] they said here
is such-and-such, the pool is over there, something else is over there. But you
could not get an idea of what the hotel would be like, until I came here on the
eve of the congress. I went up to the terrace, or the observation place they
have up there. I observed the landscape.  I toured several rooms and
facilities, and really it seems to me to be a marvelous thing.

7.  I was able to see the furniture, which was built in our country, and it is
extremely beautiful. I felt proud that our country could make that furniture. I
was able to observe the concept, the organization, and it also seemed
marvelous. My attention was especially drawn to the hotel workers, and I saw a
whole generation of young Santiago residents, who are well-trained and
well-educated. They made a wonderful impression. They give one a feeling of
confidence that this hotel will have excellent service, that this hotel will
operate as it should.

8.  This hotel will operate as it should. I found out that the hotel was going
to be dedicated during these days, and the first people who were going to enjoy
this hotel would be 150 couples of outstanding workers. [applause] So although
it is for international tourists, Cubans are going to dedicate the hotel, and
they will be the Cubans who most deserve it.

9.  [Audience member says: We are here.] I am glad, and I hope you enjoy it, as
you deserve to. [applause]

10.  These hotels have been built mostly for tourism, for reasons you
understand. The country has great natural resources, but there is no easy oil.
It is not a matter of drilling a well and seeing the oil spout. We have spent
many years drilling wells, and we intend to continue drilling wherever there is
a chance until we find a little more oil. It is said that even around in the
ocean there may be some reserves, and we are negotiating with some companies
that have technology, machinery, and experience in that kind of work to see how
we can exploit the reserves in a partnership, as we cannot do it ourselves.  We
do not have the machinery, the experience, or the ability, and if the oil is
there, we need it for our development.

11.  We do not have those easy resources. We have to earn our daily bread by
harvesting sugarcane, cutting sugarcane, producing sugar. Which of you does not
know how much work it takes to prepare the soil, plant the cane, harvest it,
cut it, take it to the mills, get the sugar from it, transport it to the ports,
and export it, many times at ridiculous prices. The prices for the products of
Third World countries are ridiculous, which is the opposite of the prices for
the products of the rich countries. When they sell a pane of window glass like
those, they demand a very high price. They pay wages of 1,000 pesos or more. 
We have to pay all this every time we have to import that kind of materials,
and we have to pay them by cutting cane.

12.  We need resources, because we have to buy a lot of materials. We have to
buy manufactured goods; we have to buy food that cannot be produced here. You
know that here we are not producers of [word indistinct] for bread. We do not
produce malt, or barley. Our population is increasing; the need for food is
increasing. We are not a cotton-producing country. Our climate is not suited
for that. We have to buy cotton and cloth. We must buy all kinds of raw
materials to do anything. We need money to be able to ensure the supply of
basic goods for the people. We need medicines, because although we are
developing many new types of medicines, and they are going to become an
important source of income for the country, we do not have all the medicines we
need. No country has everything. Some of the medicines have to be imported. We
have to import medical equipment, because although we are producing more and
more medical equipment, we do not have all we need.

13.  We have to buy all kinds of equipment-transportation vehicles,
agricultural machinery, lathes-in short, all of you know we have to buy things.

14.  A lot of that used to come from the socialist bloc. We cannot talk about
the socialist bloc today. In the socialist bloc, they paid us fair prices for
our products. Such prices do not exist today. The deliveries were certain. 
Today deliveries are not certain. Before, there were deliveries of galvanized
steel pipe for building housing or anything. There were deliveries of steel
that was rolled for... [changes thought] today, none of that is deliveried.  In
fact, even when it has been agreed on, we are left here waiting for the ships
with the goods and they do not arrive.

15.  I am telling you this to explain to you that we need to find resources.
What we would like most is for everyone to enjoy these hotels, but we have to
choose between hotels and food, between hotels and clothes, between hotels and
raw materials for domestic use, between hotels and medicines, between hotels
and many things.  Tourism is not always understood by the people as well as it
should be. In some places, especially in Havana, they look at tourism as
something that is taking something away from them. If a new hotel is built that
did not exist before, and the hotel is for foreign tourists, they think that
the foreigners are taking it away from them. It is the same as if people
thought that the nickel we produce for export was being taken away from them,
or if people thought the sugar we produce for export was being taken away from
them. It is not as well understood everywhere.

16.  In the country's provinces there is generally a lot of understanding, and
people are glad to have new centers, new jobs, well-paid jobs. They have jobs
that, for better or for worse, are easier than going down in a mine or pulling
weeds in the summer or cutting cane, with the heat and humidity in our country.
I have observed that generally, development for tourism is well received in all
the provinces, and there is more understanding, and there are benefits. We are
building some of these hotels in partnership with foreign companies. We are
building others with our own capital. We always prefer the hotels that are
ours, because we can manage them better. We have more freedom in using them, so
that when there is extra capacity, we can use it in the summer for our people,
because we want our people to enjoy all these things as much as possible. If
the hotel is a joint enterprise, what we pay in pesos is converted into hard
currency, and we have to pay for the rooms partly in hard currency.

17.  For our part, we are building all the entirely Cuban-owned hotels we can.
We have to build other hotels in partnership with some company. We put up the
work force, the construction, a lot of materials-cement, stones, sand-but we
must buy other things, such as elevators, air-conditioning units, and that kind
of equipment. We have to buy them with hard currency. In any case, the hotels
are good business. The capitalists who invest quickly recoup their money, and
we also recoup our money, everything we have done on the hotel, in the same
period of time.

18.  It could become a great source of income for the country.  It could one
day become a source of income as important as sugar. Think of the more than
500,000 workers in the sugar industry: in agriculture, industry,
transportation, and all that. Through such exploitation of our natural
resources-which are our sun, our climate, our waters- we can develop great
wealth. We can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, good jobs, well-paid jobs,
for our workers. We can also create jobs that are pleasant, jobs in which you
work not only with your hands, but also with your mind, jobs that require a
high level of education, jobs that are easier than many other jobs we know.

19.  We are now thinking about all kinds of business deals.  We built this
hotel ourselves. There are some who say it will be difficult to sell the 300
new rooms, because a hotel at a beach elsewhere would be easier. Now we have to
market the hotel. There are some businessmen who have proposed a deal to us.
They say: We are willing to put up the capital to build three more hotels, and
we will go into partnership with you in this hotel. We are studying it, because
if we are going to use 40 percent of the hotel, and a partner comes along and
says he will go into partnership with us and build three or four hotels, or
five or six more hotels with us, we can make a deal. That is what they say,
that they can ensure greater use of the hotel. We are studying it. We do not
like to go into partnership in hotels we have already built. It would have to
be something very useful and very suitable for us to accept it.

20.  This is one of the operations we are studying. Santiago is something new.
It is not Varadero. Everyone wants to go to Varadero. A lot of people even want
to go to Havana, but there is not a lot of demand yet for Santiago. This
tourist center is not so well known, although I think it is one of the best. I
think the combination of the ocean and the mountains is wonderful, and the
hospitality of the Santiago residents cannot be beat. [applause]

21.  But we are inventing things, with these joint enterprise hotels. In Havana
we built a hotel called Viejo Caribe.  That hotel was for some so-called
scientists who were going to cooperate with us in developing genetic
engineering, but when we saw we were building that center and it was not going
to be done through international cooperation, and that Cubans were able to
solve the problems, we kept the hotel for ourselves. We said: Let us make a few
changes, alter it, and turn it into a tourist hotel also.

22.  It is there near the research center, and it turned out very well. A lot
of doctors, a lot of scientists, who come here for international events, stay
there. But there are also some rooms, and many of the scientists who work
there-workers at the scientific and technical complex- go there for a weekend,
a few days, or a week. In this case, the hotel has a double use. It is an
incentive for all those workers. It has to be controlled, and it must be
controlled because of the issue of who will be given the opportunity to stay
there. Imagine if the manager put an ad in the newspaper, saying we are opening
the hotel, we have 150 rooms, and whoever wants to can come.

23.  It would surely not be the workers who participated in building it who
would come. It would surely not be the outstanding workers. Those who would
come would be those who have the most money, one of those black-market sellers
who have a lot of money, one of those who steal a bottle of beer and sell it
for 40 pesos, one of those who deal in cigarettes. They are the ones who have
money. Who would come? The vagrants, those who do not contribute anything to
society. It would be better to have controlled tourism, like the controlled
tourism that has been done with the 150 couples who are going to be the first
to stay at this hotel. [applause]

24.  That is why we want hotels that are 100-percent Cuban.  We can manage them
better. Part of the year, at some time, we can also use them for Cuban
tourists. Of course, that costs us money, because if you have Cuban tourists it
is different. There may be a little hard currency store in a corner somewhere.
We do not have money to be buying those things and selling them to anyone who
has money.  Many people have money today. If we sell the things at high prices,
the tourists will not buy them. If we sell them at low prices, they will be
sold out in five minutes. So there may be a little store somewhere, out of
necessity, out of painful economic necessity.

25.  But we are thinking about our hotels in those months when they are not
full, especially in the summer months, about giving them some use so our fellow
countrymen can enjoy them, even if it costs us some money. It will cost us
something. It will even cost us something in hard currency, because some of the
food that is distributed at the hotels and everywhere always cost a little hard
currency. With a joint enterprise hotel it will take a little more work, but we
are improvising things. So we are improvising so that if there are 15, 20, or
25 rooms somewhere, even in a joint enterprise hotel, we can make some
arrangement with our partner, and reserve some rooms for controlled, Cuban

26.  But that must be earned, by good workers, good scientists, good teachers.
In any case, Santiago residents should also receive their part, not just
tourists.  [applause] We are improvising. We do not know if we will make a
deal. If we do business with this beautiful hotel, we will begin by asking for
the hard currency we have spent here on this hotel. If it is 20, then 20; if it
is 25, then 25; if it is 27, then 27, for our part. The rest is by halves. It
is just that we built everything here. We would be partners. We would take our
25 million [currency not specified], shall we say-or whatever it is, because
that would have to be discussed-and we would build another hotel like this one.
Or we would build two more. Wherever we could get a dollar, we would build a

27.  So we would not lose anything by going into partnership with the Spanish,
in this case.

28.  [Audience member says: Since it is in the heroic city, it has greater
value.] Of course, we have to charge for that, also. [laughter]

29.  We said: Well, how many hotels are you going to build and where? Bring in
the capital and we will build several more hotels in partnership. But with our
little bit of money-which is ours, which is what they will give us for this,
what we have spent to buy many materials-we are going to build two hotels
somewhere. Maybe they will not be five-star hotels, but they will be four-star
hotels, in different places. We may build 500 or 600 rooms more, which will be

30.  Because, I repeat, there will be two kinds of hotels: hotels that are
entirely owned by Cuban organizations, and hotels that are held in partnership.
Today most of the ones we are building are Cuban-owned. But of course, to build
all the hotels that could fit in this country, we need billions of dollars.
About 200,000 rooms could be built in this country. We would need about 700
hotels like this one, or as big as this one, in this country, to be able to
exploit the fabulous resources our island has. We have sun, clean air, clean
water, and clean people.

31.  Because Europe is poisoned. Thousands of factories pour their wastes into
the Mediterranean. There is no oxygen there, even. In addition, it is cold in
winter. They have spoiled all the beaches because they built on the beaches.

32.  The capitalists with their ambitions have no order. They have spoiled many
of the beaches, while each of the beaches we have are virgin, like the beaches
we have reached with the causeways. They have a guiding plan, an area for
beaches and sand, and an area where the buildings are. So things are done well.
Maybe we will not have as many rooms, but they will be more expensive rooms,
because you can build 200,000 at one price, or 100,000 for twice the price.
Because you should know that these days many tourists do not like high-rise
buildings. They feel as if they are in a cage.

33.  They prefer two-story or three-story buildings. They are a little more
human, and they cost less, because you do not have to pay for elevators and a
million other things.  If you have to spend $50,000 or $60,000 or $100,000 on
one of these [high-rise buildings]-in hard currency; I am talking about hard
currency, foreign exchange-we can build those [low-rise buildings] for $20,000
or $25,000 or $30,000. Of course, they take up a little more room, but you can
charge more for them. We have to think about all these things. We are thinking
very seriously about them.

34.  We have other deals, which are better than the hotels.  We are putting our
money there. We are not forming partnerships. Where we cannot do anything, and
there is no alternative, then the partners can come in. If they do not, what
would we do? Just leave it there? But above all, almost all of our money is in
scientific research and biotechnology work.

35.  So under the leadership of the party and the socialist state, under the
leadership of our working class, we are developing our country, even if there
is no alternative but to accept some foreign capital. As long as it is in the
investor's interest, and in our interest, either because the investor brings
the technology, or the market-because often a market is needed-or the capital,
we will make some of these deals. There are already some of these joint
enterprise hotels in operation. They are providing great results. They have a
90-percent occupancy rate. The partners have taught us how to run the hotels,
because really we did not know how to run a hotel. Sometimes we did not know
how to run a cider-making machine. You know how things are.

36.  They have their sciences, their organization, their style, their methods,
and their systems. There are now joint enterprise hotels that are involved in
the emulation campaigns, our hotels as well as the joint enterprise hotels.
There are now new hotels that are operating as well as or better then the joint
enterprise hotels. This kind of competition we have created has worked well for
us. The efficiency of hotel work can be measured by the amount of repeat
business. If you observe that 100 people have come, and of the 100 no one wants
to return, things are going very badly. They had soup spilled on them, the food
was bad, the room was not clean, things were stolen from their suitcases, or
any of those things that can happen.

37.  That is why the people who work at the hotels must be well chosen. They
must be well trained. They should have good wages, naturally. They must be
people with a lot of political awareness, because they are the first thing the
tourists see. The tourists are going to judge our country by the workers there,
by the workers' manners, the quality of service of those workers. Fortunately
there are a lot of new people, people who are starting for the first time.
There are always some who have experience and who teach them, but there are new
people who do not have the old vices. We must make an effort so that those old
vices do not reappear. By taking advantage of natural resources we can get as
much as we get from sugar, when tourism is fully developed. You know that there
are almost 160 sugar mills, that there are almost 150 caballerias [number as
heard] of sugarcane, that there are hundreds of thousands of sugar workers. The
work is hard. If we can get money through tourism, it would help our country so

38.  It is the same with biotechnology, the medical industry, the
pharmaceutical industry, and medical equipment.  They should give the country a
lot of funds, perhaps as much as sugarcane, perhaps more than sugarcane. That
is the development we are promoting now, at a rapid pace. We think that
Santiago is becoming a great tourist center. As you see, we already have a
Tropicana Cabaret.  When you take people to the Tropicana, they say this one is
as good as the one in Havana. Some say that it is going to be better than the
one in Havana. Who has more musical spirit than the people of Santiago?

39.  Who has these coasts and mountains? How many things we can do here, in
this beautiful countryside, where the ocean and the mountains are combined!
What other industries could be developed, here in Baconao, here in this
historic city, one of the oldest in America, here with this hospitable
population? Many of the things we sell to the tourists, the handicrafts-how
many jobs could we create around that? You can see that in addition to being
partners and sharing in the profits, the work force is made up of Cuban
workers. The water we serve is ours.  For many of the products we serve, it is
as if we were exporting them to this hotel. So there are many advantages. This
is something that is inseparable from the country's development.

40.  If we had great oil reserves, we would not have to be so concerned about
tourism. But we are not going to be contaminated. The tourism that comes to our
country is healthy tourism. It is not gambling, drugs, or prostitution. We are
already getting hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, and they have not
corrupted us. On the contrary; our country can exert a positive influence on
the tourists. Our country can gain a lot of prestige, and the prestige a
country gains in one field helps in other fields. It creates confidence in the
country. It helps in many other types of economic development [words
indistinct]. This has to do with the quality of service provided by the
excellent young people working at this hotel. This hotel no longer has an
extremely inflated payroll. Before, this hotel would have had about 700
workers. Now I think it has about 309. If they continue to study hard, and with
the ability to do several jobs, and all that, [words indistinct] If not, there
would not be enough people in this country to look after the hotels, if we had
to double or triple staffing.

41.  The service of the tourism workers must be excellent, and the management
work must be excellent. There must be discipline. There is special discipline
for the hotels.  There must be rigorous standards. There must be talent.  There
must be education. No one learns on his own. We must educate each of the young
workers in how things should be done. We must be demanding. We must teach them
discipline. There is nothing as beautiful as discipline. There is nothing
people like better than discipline.  Our workers like discipline. Our workers
do not like disorder. Our workers reject disorder. You know that it is with
discipline that we do great things. You can see what we are achieving with the
discipline of the contingents. It used to cost 2 or 2.5 pesos to produce
something worth 1 peso. Now it costs 80, 70, or 60 centavos. You can see what
is being saved in fuel, what is being saved in chemicals, what is being
achieved in quality, with this conscious worker discipline, this discipline
that the workers themselves impose.

42.  That is how we have to work. We do not get anywhere with paternalistic
discipline. We create chaos; we create disorder; we corrupt people. There is no
country that can develop itself without discipline. Capitalism has its
discipline, which is the discipline of hunger, the discipline of unemployment,
the disciplines imposed by the shortage of everything: medical services,
educational services. People die because a doctor will not care for them, or
they have to spend millions to pay a private doctor.

43.  We have all these things in our society, and they do not cost us one cent.
In socialism, discipline has to be conscious. In socialism, the workers
themselves have to apply discipline, and I think that rectification is yielding
very good results.

44.  We must congratulate those who built the hotel.  [applause] They have
built the prettiest hotel in Cuba.  They have built the first five-star hotel
in our country.  We must congratulate the construction workers and the
architects for the wonderful ideas they came up with for the construction of
this hotel, for the quality of this hotel.  Now we must maintain it. Now we
must conserve it, so that everyone who comes here will take away an
unforgettable memory, so that they will return, if not to here, then to
Varadero or other places. I have already said that efficiency in hotel service
is measured by return visits.

45.  This is a healthy country. This is a country where the population has a
high level of education. This is country with a health system that few
countries in the world have. This country has many attractive things. This
country has a history. This country has universal prestige. Many people want to
see our country, and the number is increasing. Next year, we will receive from
$500 million to $600 million from one source or another.  You can see how much
that has grown, and in such a short time. But we must continue to build without
respite. There is a group of people from Santiago who worked on this hotel, who
are now helping to complete hotels in Havana or Varadero.

46.  Now we have to build a lot here-hotels, the biotechnology industry, and
other things-because now all the efforts, 100 percent, are concentrated on
economics, things that will bring us funds, things that will help us overcome
the special period, things that will contribute to enriching our country. You
know we are experiencing difficult times, for all the reasons you know about. 
Things may get even more difficult, but we must have our spirits prepared to
overcome the problems. You must be like Maceo's soldiers.

47.  You must be like Agramonte's soldiers. You must be like the soldiers who
fought in Cuba's wars for independence.  You must be like the soldiers who
brought about the definitive liberation of our country in the mountains.  You
must be like our glorious and heroic internationalist combatants, ready to
continue to do things in the midst of whatever difficulties there may be. We
will always seek the best for you. We will always seek the best possible food,
within our capabilities, for the vanguard workers, as you are. We will try to
have the best care for the workers. But you are the generation of construction
workers who must fill this country with hotels like this one. You must fill
this country with factories. You must fill this country with buildings. You
must develop the country.

48.  That is why, while I congratulate you for what you have done and the
excellent quality of what you have done, I urge you, your chiefs, and the
architects, to continue to work with the same spirit. I express to you my pride
in knowing that we have today, in Santiago de Cuba, the best construction
workers in the country. [applause]

49.  I thank you, in the name of the people, for the work you have done.

50.  Socialism or death, fatherland or death, we will win!  [applause]