Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC



Castro Speaks To Juragua Power Plant Workers
Havana Cuba Vision Network

Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     FL1009223092
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-177          Report Date:    11 Sep 92
Report Series:       Daily Report             Start Page:     3
Report Division:     CARIBBEAN                End Page:       7
Report Subdivision:  Cuba                     AG File Flag:   
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       10 Sep 92
Report Volume:       Friday Vol VI No 177


City/Source of Document:   Havana Cuba Vision Network 

Report Name:   Latin America 

Headline:   Castro Speaks To Juragua Power Plant Workers 

Author(s):   President Fidel Castro to the workers of the Juragua Nuclear Power
Plant in Cienfuegos on 2 September-recorded] 

Source Line:   FL1009223092 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0125 GMT 10
Sep 92 

Subslug:   [Speech by President Fidel Castro to the workers of the Juragua
Nuclear Power Plant in Cienfuegos on 2 September-recorded] 

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE: 1.  [Speech by President Fidel Castro to the workers of
the Juragua Nuclear Power Plant in Cienfuegos on 2 September-recorded] 

2.  [Text] Comrades, I want to know if you can hear me.  [crowd answers: Yes.]
Together we can accomplish a lot.  That is very good. Now lower the sign so I
can see the people in the back. Thank you very much. [applause] That is good.
It has been said, it as been said [repeats] that it hardly ever rains here, but
today it is raining.  Anyway, this meeting has nothing to do with the 26 July
celebration. It has nothing to do with the 5 September celebration. This
meeting has to do with the disaster that occurred within the former socialist
bloc which, naturally, affects us a great deal. It has consequences for this
project that we are building here. 

3.  I have visited this place many times. I have invited important people to
visit it. I have talked with you. I was concerned, as was my duty as a party
and government leader, about your situation: your living conditions, wages,
food, clothing, and transportation. We did many things throughout the building
of this project to improve the workers' living conditions. We even built a
camping area so you could go there with your families. With great patience and
hope, we watched for many years as it was being built, stone upon stone. 

4.  Tons and tons of cement, sand, and steel were invested in this project.
When the disaster of the socialist bloc came about, we did everything possible
to continue this project, almost beyond what was possible. We have been
investing great resources; in the first place, your hard work, as well as
cement, rocks, sand, materials, time, and energy. We have invested all this to
this day. 

5.  Nevertheless, we have had to consider whether, under the current
circumstances, we could continue (?investing resources) in this project since
the equipment was coming from the Soviet Union: reactors, motors, and much of
the most important materials. Some of the equipment continued to arrive during
the crisis period, until one day the USSR split up. Even though the USSR split
up, we continued to study, along with those who call themselves the heirs to
the USSR, to see whether this project could continue. We did not want to stop
the project. Our desire was to stop the project only when it was completely
impossible to continue its construction. 

6.  That is why I have come here today, to tell you that we must stop the
project, even if temporarily, even if temporarily. [repeats] But if we have to
defend it...[corrects himself] if we have to suspend it for good, we must be
willing to suspend it for ood. It is not our fault, comrades. We have worked
here with seriousness, energy, and enthusiasm worthy of better results. But our
country does not manufacture nuclear reactors. We have to receive them from
over there, and you know of the very serious problems we have had with

7.  Now, I want to explain the specific reasons that make it impossible to
continue the project under the current circumstances. We also need to decide
what we are going to do when we make this decision and when to take these steps
related to suspending the project. I have some papers there, if you would do me
the favor of handing them to me. We have the national ceremony on 5 September,
and we must inform the people that this project is going to be temporarily
suspended, since we hope it will be a temporary suspension and that we will be
able to resume the building of the project later on. I did not want the
marvelous workers of this contingent and this workforce to learn about this at
the 5 September public ceremony. That is why I proposed to the comrades that I
come here to explain it to you so you would know all the factors and all the

8.  We have analyzed these factors; I do not want you to think that it was a
decision that was made on the spur of a moment. Rather, it was something that
we thought about and analyzed a great deal before reaching the conclusion that
it was crazy to continue investing human and material resources in this
project. It was crazy.  Comrades, we cannot do crazy things. We waited as long
as it was possible for us to wait. When we saw that it would be impossible to
wait any longer, we spoke to the Soviets. We spoke to them clearly about the
reasons we needed to suspend, at least temporarily, or at least temporarily
suspend, [repeats] this project. 

9.  It is raining and these papers will probably become pulp for the (?paper)
industry, but I am going to mention the essential points. 

10.  In 1972 ... [changes thought] I ask you to be a little patient, because I
want you to have as many criteria with which to judge as possible. When the
highest authorities of the Cuban Government and the Soviet Union agreed to
begin cooperation, with a iew toward introducing nuclear energy into Cuba, an
opportunity arose that presented advantages not only for Cuba but also for the
Soviet nuclear industry: to develop and perfect its technology in a country
with conditions very different [words indistinct], which would allow it-as did
indeed happen-to expand its export markets to other regions. The steps toward
building the CEN [Nuclear Power Plant] in Juragua began within that context of
mutual advantages for both nations. 

11.  The basic element in reaching an agreement of that kind was the
relationship of friendship and trust established between our two peoples, the
Soviet and the Cuban-a relationship that had existed for many years-as well as
the political will to support fair exchange which would include reasonable
credits for an investment of that type. 

12.  On that basis, a serious, solid commitment was established for design,
construction, start-up, fuel supply, and maintenance during the useful life of
the CEN, as well as for guaranteeing the safe operation of the plant. The
intergovernmental agreements for economic and technical cooperation included
the delivery of two nuclear reactors ... [pauses] What happened? Is it thunder,
or this mike? 

13.  It says: The intergovernmental agreements for economic and technical
cooperation included the delivery of two 440-megawatt nuclear
reactors-actually, the project was larger: four reactors, although agreement
for only two had been reached at that time-Project B-318, under appropriate
credit conditions. You must understand that this kind of thing is extremely
expensive. How could we do it except with credits? The obligations of both
parties in carrying out this work were established. The Soviets would provide
all the technology and technical aid.  Successive agreements were signed,
because, as you know, this has been postponed several times. It has had first
one completion date and then another. This happens with many projects, and also
happened here. 

14.  The 14 April 1976 accord established payment terms of 25 years, beginning
on 1 January 1981, or the year following the year of delivery, for deliveries
after 1980- because we expected to finish sooner-with an interest rate of 2.5
percent. The 17 April 1981 accord established a 12-year term, starting two
years after the final delivery required for the start-up of operations, with an
interest rate of 4 percent. The 10 April 1986 accord established a 12-year term
with a five-year grace period-grace period means you have five years before you
must begin to pay-a five-year grace period following the time of delivery, with
an interest rate of 4 percent. The conditions for the 29 December 1990 accord
were the same as those of the 1986 accord-that is, the last one I told you
about-so, a five-year grace period, beginning with the deliveries, and an
interest rate of 4 percent. This agreement was ratified on 29 December, and was
the same as the 1986 agreement. Finally, on 6 October 1989, the
intergovernmental (?accord) was signed for construction cooperation on the
Juragua CEN in the Republic of Cuba. 

15.  An analysis of the current status of the construction of the CEN reflects
Cuba's serious and sustained effort under the most difficult conditions [words
indistinct] to fulfill [words indistinct]. So we see that the first block of
the CEN is in the following condition: 90 percent of the civil engineering has
been completed; more than 95 percent of the auxiliary sites are close to
completion and some are ready to begin operation; more than 350,000 cubic
meters of concrete have been poured; 7,000 tons f equipment, and almost 3,000
tons of technical pipes [words indistinct]; and we have 80 percent of the
supplies needed to begin operation of the block. 

16.  More than $1.1 billion has been invested to-date. That is how much has
been invested here to-date. A city of more than 2,000 housing units has been
built. An industrial base that supports the construction of the CEN, roads,
railroad tracks, a polytechnical school, a port for large ships, and all the
other projects required for the technical and service infrastructure of this
colossal project have been built. Our country has not spared any effort in
creating a solid foundation of scientific and echnical support for the
assimilation of nuclear energy and the introducion of nuclear science and
technology into the national economy. Toward that end, approximately 2,000
professionals and thousands of skilled workers have been trained in this field.

17.  A legal and regulatory base has been created for this activity and for the
institutions and entities that support this program. Cuba has set a magnificent
example of respect for what was agreed to, despite delays in building the CEN
resulting from uncertainty about the automated system to be used to monitor the
plant, as a consequence of the tragic accident at the Chernobyl CEN, which
forced the Soviet organizations to modify the design. It forced them to improve
the design. As you know, the technology we are using here is nothing like the
Chernobyl reactor.  The technology we are using here is the same as what is
used throughout the world, and there have been no problems with it. The
Chernobyl reactor uses different technology. 

18.  But in spite of that, the Chernobyl accident forced the Soviet
organizations to analyze, elaborate, and further improve all the safety systems
and specifications for this kind of equipment. To these delays were added other
delays that resulted from the prolonged and serious internal difficulties in
the Soviet Union-when the disaster began in the Soviet Union, everything
concerning deliveries began to be delayed and get complicated-and later from
the radical and dramatic changes which had been occurring in the cooperative
relationship between Cuba and Russia, for which we are not in the least
responsible. What fault do we have for all the confusion, problems, and
mistakes they have made?  [pauses] I am going to wait until the thunder passes.

19.  Under the most difficult conditions, the Cuban Government has harbored the
hope that we could preserve the conditions of cooperation on the Juragua CEN in
order to conclude its construction even after the cancellation of other vitally
important accords. Based on these considerations, we have been working toward
that aim, and during the first part of April 1992, we met with the Russian
delegation responsible for reviewing cooperation on the Juragua CEN. 

20.  Unfortunately, the Russian authorities, after completely altering the
trade relations between our two countries and unilaterally suspending all
cooperative relationships, had proposed continuing construction of the CEN
under terms and conditions that ake this completely impossible, since we have
verified that even though they are offering us credit to cover part of the
Russian organizations' expenses, the new conditions under which the project
would have to be completed would be as follows. 

21.  The credit would not cover all the supplies and services from [words
indistinct] and other countries, nor the delivery of equipment, instruments,
and materials additionally produced under agreement between the parties,
including replacements for broken parts. Cuba would have to obtain part of the
automated system directly from a third country without being able to rely on a
Russian guarantee. The conditions and payment terms for the special assembly of
the basic equipment, adjustment and start-up ork, the training of personnel who
would work at the plant, installation, testing, and start-up of the automated
control system-this is known as the famous (?SAT PT); I am sure you must have
heard Montalvo [not further identified] mention it many times-supplied by the
Russians; services; and technical assistance would be very different, and the
supplies would be delivered f.o.b.-from there-instead of c.i.f.  as had been
previously agreed upon. Do you know what it is to transport all that equipment?
On what ships? 

22.  To propose that Cuba must pay approximately $200 million in cash to
Russian organizations and arrange for credits in addition to those that were
previously agreed to, and for approximately $200 million more from third
countries for the completion of the CEN, means that one is not taking into
account the fact that Cuba is resolutely confronting the intensification of the
economic embargo which the U.S. Government has imposed on us for the last 30
years. We do not have access to credit resources from international financial
organizations or any other type. This, moreover, does not take into
consideration the country's economic difficulties, which have forced us to
declare a special period in peacetime due to the 60-percent reduction in
imports because ussia suspended the traditional trade relations between our two

23.  We expressed our objections to the new conditions proposed to finish this
project, to the delegation that visited us in April. They advised us that the
definitive, official version of the Russian proposals would be completed in
May.  We decided to wait for this version before making a decision on the
problem. Time passed and the documents that were promised were never submitted.
Meanwhile, with every passing day, we invested more human and material
resources in the project. For us, it is too burdensome to wait any longer. 

24.  These facts have brought us to the painful conclusion that to continue the
project under the new conditions proposed-and with so many obstacles,
difficulties, and delays in defining the path we should follow, on a solid,
realistic basis-is something that our economy cannot bear under the current
circumstances. Therefore, we have decided to propose to the Russian Government
that this project be totally suspended ... [corrects himself] be temporarily

25.  A lot of thought has been given to taking this step. Our country has
always considered the building of the CEN one of our most important projects,
and the Cuban people had labeled it the project of the century. The functioning
of the two blocks planned for the CEN's first stage would have allowed Cuba,
which is lacking in significant energy resources, to have saved 1.2 million
tons of oil or fuel per year in generating electricity. It was on that need
that the joint effort of almost 20 years was ased. Furthermore, as you know,
there were going to be four reactors, and the new CEN that was to have been
built in the eastern region was already being studied. 

26.  These are the arguments that we put to them. I have wanted to read them to
you so you would be well informed. Do you really think, comrades, that under
such conditions we can continue working here to have electricity sometime in
the distant future? [crowd answers: No!] Pouring cement, sand, rocks,
everything, here without being certain of the result? [crowd answers: No!] To
see if in four, five, six, seven, or 10 years we can perhaps light a light bulb
with energy from this nuclear power plant? [crowd answers: No!] Under these

27.  It is very sad, very tough, but the truth is that we did everything we
could to maintain hope up to the last minute. But we cannot do it any longer.
Will that country be capable of supplying us with the equipment? With all the
problems you know they are having there? Can we ourselves pay cash, go barefoot
in order to be able to pay in cash? [crowd answers: No!] Find hundreds of
millions [currency not specified] in other, third, countries-if they would give
us credit-for the automated control system? Can we continue a project that was
contracted for under different terms, with up to 25, or 15, years to pay for
it, once it was up and running? 

28.  No, we cannot. It is painful and sad, but we must find the courage to be
realistic about things, to see things as they really are. Now, is this the last
word? No. It is in their interest, in some ways, to have their technology
progress, to be able to ave the world as their customer. But do we have to bear
the cost of such an experiment? 

29.  After this is finished, we have the matter of the fuel. Who can guarantee
us the fuel? Who can guarantee us that terrible pressure from the imperialists
in this unipolar world will not prevent people from delivering the fuel to us?
Can we continue to nvest millions and millions of hours, and hundreds of
millions [currency not specified] in resources-considering the needs we
have-without any guarantee that this will indeed get off the ground, that fuel
will be available? Truly, in order to be certain of this, we would have to wait
for different conditions, different circumstances. 

30.  We have thousands of men and women working here.  Can we keep them engaged
in a fruitless effort, an effort with uncertain results? Would it not be
better, at the present time, for those thousands of men and women to be doing
things with guaranteed results? Things that would guarantee the nation
considerable income in a short time, things that would permit us to buy a bit
more fuel for agriculture, transportation, or whatever? Would it not be better
for us to invest our efforts in getting more oil out of our wells? To invest
our efforts in joint ventures with certain companies to seek more fuel?  Things
that are certain to bring results for our economy in these very difficult

31.  This is, then, a very important issue. It is not a matter of getting this
far and saying: The project has been stopped.  No, it cannot be that way. There
are a few things we must do. First we must build a few things to protect what
has not been completed so they will not be ruined. If we leave them as they
are, we will lose them, and we will lose the hope of being able to continue the
project in the future, with the Russians or with somebody else who may be
interested in it. So, there are still some investments that we must make in
order to preserve what already exists. All those tens of thousands of tons of
equipment must be protected and preserved, so we still need a work effort. We
still have to invest in concrete and other construction materials to preserve
things, and this cannot be done overnight. This is not a thatched hut we are
building here! We cannot stop building it today only to start building it again
in a year, building it all over again. This is a gigantic project that requires
effort to maintain it, so as not to make us give up hope. This must be done in
an organized manner. 

32.  On the other hand, we have to progressively transfer this work force to
other fronts. What we are interested in is making sure that this formidable
work force does not fall into disarray. The CEN is an army. Its workers are an
army that we cannot allow to disperse in disarray. We want to keep this work
force organized to accomplish each one of the tasks: first the tasks that need
to be accomplished here; then, whatever new tasks we may take on in different
places; and later, the task of building here again, should the problems one day
be solved and we need to continue building this nuclear power plant.  We must
therefore commit ourselves to preventing this army from disbanding, to ensuring
that this formidable army of builders does not fall into disarray. The transfer
of this army cannot be accomplished overnight. Perhaps we may be able to
transfer a part of them in the next few weeks. 

33.  Where would we want you to build? We would like you to build in an area
where we can obtain many resources quickly, such as tourism projects, tourism
projects.  [repeats] [applause] First of all, first of all [repeats] tourism
projects in Varadero, tourism projects in Cayo Coco, and on the Isle of Youth.
We are working on projects, plans, and other things there. [applause] 

34.  We would like all of you in the same place, but it is impossible. We must
be like a real army, with one regiment here, another over there, and another
one in a different direction, just like contingents, like contingents,
[repeats] with the same spirit as a contingent, with the same spirit as veteran
soldiers, the spirit with which you have worked here. 

35.  There are assembly workers. We cannot put everyone to work building
hotels. Some of you, we can. Hotels have elevators, air conditioners, and many
other things. Some of you are welders, but we have other tasks in the sugar
industry, and we have yearly plans. We do not want-we are not frightened by the
lightning- we do not want-because there was a tremendous flash of lightning
over there- we do not want the assembly personnel to organize themselves. We do
not want that. That is why we need to have an organized effort. If we send a
detachment here, a detachment there, and another someplace else, it is as if
they were part of the same contingent. 

36.  I imagine that you understand our idea. We do not want to resign ourselves
to disbanding these forces. We want to maintain one family and one army, and
like an army, to work together, united, and organized, wherever you are needed,
and to be ready for the next task. That could be the resumption of the work

37.  A number of workers must remain here also for maintenance and certain
jobs. We must leave them here. But we also have another force, comrades: those
who were going to operate this plant. There are hundreds of engineers and
thousands of mid-level technicians. We do not want to separate them either. We
want them to remain organized, part of them here doing all these maintenance
tasks and another part doing other tasks, but always ready so we do not lose
that force that has cost us so many resources nd so much time to train. We must
have them ready at any time. 

38.  That is our problem. The same thing I am telling you now, I must say to
the people of Cienfuegos and the people of Cuba on 5 September so they will
understand what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why we are doing it. We
are not going to let this discourage us. We are never discouraged. We are not
going to become demoralized because of this. We never become demoralized. We
have faith in the people, and we have faith in our workers, builders, and this

39.  I know that this saddens you greatly because of all the millions, the tens
and hundreds of millions of hours you have invested in this project. It saddens
us. You can imagine how much it saddens all of us, all the men who have devoted
a considerable part of their lives to building this project and organizing and
training the personnel. Our sadness is terrible. But no sadness can kill us. No
sentimentality can kill us. We can only be killed in battle. We can only be
killed in the struggle. [applause, chanting] We will continue moving forward
and fighting hard as we are doing now. We will look for solutions to our
problems. We will work with courage and intelligence. That is what we need to
be: courageous and intelligent. 

40.  Today we are the freest people in the world, I can say with pride as I see
the way we confront these problems by ourselves, that we are the most
courageous people in the world. [applause] Nature is weeping today, during this
meeting. We could say that Nature is sad. Nature may weep, but we cannot weep.
[applause] When we cry, we cry out of emotion. We cry because of our dignity.
We cry because of our patriotism. But we will never cry out of
(?sentimentality) or cowardice. We will never weep in the ace of any adversity,
no matter how hard it may be.  We will never weep in the face of any problem
that may arise, because for good reason we are the children and heirs of those
who fought so hard for the independence, dignity, and freedom of this island.

41.  I exhort you to keep your spirits high and to cooperate with the leaders
and organizers in all the tasks we will have to do in the coming weeks, months,
and years. We will stay in touch with you no matter where you are because (?we
are) proud of the efforts you have made. I invite you to be present-if there is
no room we will make additional room-at the 5 September ceremony here in
Cienfuegos. [applause] 

42.  There, they will be able to hear your spirit. They will hear your spirit,
courage, determination, and strength. You- who might be the most saddened by
these blows of adversity-will be the example and vanguard there.  There you
will shout with great vigor and energy: Socialism or death, fatherland or
death, we will win!  [applause, chanting]