Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-95-173-S Daily Report 5 Sep 1995 CUBA

Castro Discusses Trade `Monopoly' at ANPP Session

PA0609054895 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish, 2300 GMT 5 Sep 95 PA0609054895 Havana Tele Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Remarks by President Fidel Castro during the debate on the foreign investment law by the National Assembly of the People's Government session in Havana on 5 September; from the "This Very Day" newscast -- recorded]

[FBIS Translated Text] The country must receive credit reference information on potential investors, because it is trying to make sure that it is dealing with responsible and solvent parties. The service should be paid for by the one who receives it. And it is good that this has to be paid for, because there are people here ready to hear stories by anyone from anywhere. There are millions of stories about this and that and about business propositions. Furthermore, those people feel insulted, vilified, or offended if their nonsense is not readily accepted. And they seek friends, relationships, parents; a business proposition can come in any form these days. And some are crazy.

There is one thing we have maintained: monopoly over trade. This network of stores selling in foreign currency is a state-owned network. We do not even know how many people have requested to establish a supermarket network to sell in dollars. If we did not even know how to sell...[pauses] we do not know how to do this real well, but this is older than the colonization of Cuba. And many have tried to take over the commercial networks. But commercial networks belong to the state; and many more things.

The state reserves the right to maintain control over some areas, some sectors. Surrendering them would be absurd. The investment would be minimal; it would only be a matter of remodeling the buildings. And then the other thing is a certain standard, because at first, everyone paid a different price for the same item.

We have a comrade devoted exclusively to standardizing purchases, because one bought the same box of cigars for 70 [currency not specified], another for 35, another for 30, another for 50. The first thing we must learn is how to shop around in order to obtain the lowest prices and prevent them from deceiving us. Merchandise on consignment is also many times charged at very high prices. It may be to our advantage that a number of pesticides are sold on consignment, for instance, if we do not have the money and later need it and use it. But sometimes they charge very much.

Another violation that may be committed is that some retail sellers may begin selling at the wholesale level. We must have an organization, necessary inspectors, strict control. Otherwise, they will violate all the norms we are applying in this regard. They may deceive us, exploit us, rob us. This is hard. It is a difficult task, and we are aware of how very hard it is, but we are also learning from each example.