Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-96-156 Daily Report 9 Aug 1996 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Cuba: Castro Speaks at Holguin Factory Anniversary

PA1008022496 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish, 0238 GMT 9 Aug 96 PA1008022496 Havana Tele Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro on 27 July during the 15th anniversary of the 26 July Factory in Holquin; "This Very Day" news program -- recorded]

[FBIS Summary] Fidel Castro begins this 28-minute speech by praising the factory's "impressive" output of tools, spare parts, and machinery as outlined by its director, Salvador Ramirez Rodriguez.

Castro tells the workers: "We are beginning to move forward. I imagine how many difficulties you have faced with electricity, raw materials, spare parts, and all that, and with steel and equipment delivery. I am also happy to see your great enthusiasm, satisfaction with what you are doing, and awareness of the importance of your job. The value of what you are doing cannot be measured only by the amount of pesos earned, but by the effect your production has on the nation's economy."

Castro notes that the 2,000 carts the factory plans to build this year will be used to transport more than 3 million arrobas of sugarcane daily. At this point Castro debates whether it is 2 million or 3 million arrobas and finally wonders: "Am I mixing up my math or what?" The crowd laughs. Castro also says that taking into account the carts and tow trucks being repaired, in the future the country will have the capability to transport 8 million arrobas a day more than this year.

The Cuban president reports: "Another thing we are going to do is to establish communication systems in every sugar mill. These will link the directors, the entire factory, the sugar combines, the work brigades, and the workers doing the cutting." He explains that communication will now be immediate in the sugar mills and will better use all equipment.

Castro then says that depending on how Mercedes Benz "treats us and on how everything goes," the 500 sugar combines being built in a nearby factory will have Mercedes Benz motors, which are worth more than $20,000 each. He explains that Soviet motors are deficient and have to be repaired all the time, while those by Mercedes "can work an entire harvest without having to be repaired." Castro reports that 500 Taino motors are being built as well.

After pointing out the efficiency of the Mercedes Benz and Taino motors, Castro predicts: "We will be able to achieve the kind of harvest we used to have, and this, using half the sugar combines."

Castro notes that the production of agricultural tools and plows are of great importance for sugar and agriculture in general. "The production, modernization, and reconstruction of rice harvest machines is of great importance to the country," Castro notes.

The Cuba president explains that one important aspect of this factory is that it serves the entire country, not just Holguin Province.

Castro reminisces about the days of the Soviet Union, without mentioning it by name, wondering who could have imagined 15 years ago that Cuba's "friend, brother, would collapse in spite of its huge resources." He then notes that Cuba has the will to win and to defend its firm ideas. Castro lists the merits of the Soviet Union, which "for many years helped us resist the craving giant [United States] that wanted to swallow us, until we acquired the strength to stand alone and struggle and work in the face of the giant."

Castro closes his speech congratulating the workers and wishing them success. He is greeted by loud applause. He then tells the workers that standing before people like them it is most appropriate to proclaim: "Socialism or death! Fatherland or death! We will win!"

The people applaud and shout: "We will win! Viva Fidel!"