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The Speech

Steel bars. Deliveries as of June were 38 percent under the figure for 1969 due to lack of transportation. On June 30 there were approximately 25,000 tons in the yards of the Antillana de Acero steel works. Nearly 60 percent of the first semester’s [six months’] production is lying still there in the steel plant’s yard.

Fertilizers. This refers to the fertilizer that is mixed here. The production plan shows a 32 percent delay, that is, 130,000 tons, originated mainly by limitations in transportation of the finished product.

Farm machinery. Deliveries to the agricultural sector included in the national farm machinery production plan have been fulfilled only by 8 percent as of May.

Nickel. According to the plan, exports of this product represent 217.8 million pesos in 1970. As of July, the plants in Nicaro and Moa have fulfilled 96 percent of their plan for the first half of the year. Therefore, there has been no problem in general in nickel production. There are no problems, either, in regard to fuels and lubricants, that is, in the refining industry. That sector is meeting its plan.

Electric power. Electric power output as of May was approximately 11 percent above that for the same period last year; at the same time, there was a high increase of roughly 17 percent in maximum demand.

In other words, electric power production has increased by 11 percent while the demand has grown by 17 percent.

The existing deficit in relation to maximum demand results in power interruptions—which will tend to become more frequent—caused by a shortage in the manpower needed for maintenance service and delays in the installations of new generating capacity.

The manpower shortage has an adverse effect on the laying of power lines and the construction of power substations. The installation of the 220-kilowatt Renté-Nuevitas power line to Holguin does not look as if it will be concluded by the end of the year, as had been planned. In other words, it may take a few months longer.

Rayon. In view of the critical manpower situation it has been necessary to cut down production plans, a measure which has principally affected the manufacture of tires. Reconditioning of the plant will be begun shortly for completion this year.

This plant, which is very important to our economy, the base for the production of tires which, in turn, are essential in such a critical sector as transportation, is facing a special kind of problem: contamination of the environment by sulfocarbon, as a result of the chemicals utilized in the plant.

What was the picture in the past? In the past, contamination was three times as high as it is today. Nowadays, the contamination has been cut down to one-third. However, the owners and managers of that plant kept quiet about the harmful effects of sulfocarbon upon the workers’ health. And yet many people wanted to work there, and considered the work a good, well-remunerated job. Today there is no secret about the contamination because a revolutionary management cannot deceive the workers. Efforts were made to reduce the degree of contamination, and it was cut down to one-third.

But it is not easy to keep workers on the job even by rationalizing working conditions, which is feasible, by not prolonging the stay of workers in the plant beyond an established number of hours, rotating them from one department to the other, and other measures. That is the plant that is allotted the best food and the largest amount of food in our country. So the difficulties there do not stem from mobilization to the harvest but rather from this special problem. And investments of more than one million pesos are being made in imports to totally eliminate the phenomenon of contamination by sulfocarbon. But the fact remains that this phenomenon has had an adverse effect on an important plant.

Paper and cardboard. Production has been affected in the amount of 5,900 with regard to the plan by limitations in the supply of bagasse and by delayed reception of imports of aluminum sulfate and caustic soda. The fulfillment of this year’s plan depends on the transportation of 30,000 tons of bagasse from Camagüey to the paper manufacturing plant of Damuji and the arrival of the caustic soda. In turn, difficulties in the transportation of products from the paper manufacturing plant to corrugating plants have led to non-fulfillment in the plan for the production of cardboard boxes—which, in turn, has an adverse effect on the production of condensed milk, beverages, paint, pharmaceutical products, etc.

Bottles. Production has been affected by manpower problems and by difficulties in the transportation of raw materials to the various plants and of removal of the finished product. Imports of some two million dollars in convertible currency have been made to make up for insufficient production of medicine bottles. Larger imports are foreseen for 1971.

Tires and batteries. The tire production plan will fall short by 216,000 units, that is, 50 percent of the plan. Of these 150,000 are tires for passenger cars. Deliveries to the shipping agency for light cargo transportation will also suffer. This is due to the reduced supply of rayon cord which, in turn, stems from problems in the rayon plant in Matanzas. In addition, irregularities in the arrival of imported raw materials have obliged us to make changes in the formulas to the detriment of the finished product.

Naturally, not all the tires used in our country have ever been produced here by any means. Large numbers are imported. But the adverse effects on the production of tires are felt.

The production of batteries is also 33 percent—approximately 16,000 units—below the aggregate plans as a result of delays in the delivery of lead oxide and casings. The low percentage in the recovery of casings—and the bad condition of these casings as a result of excessive use and the bad condition of the equipment—has also had an adverse effect on the fulfillment of the plan.

Leather footwear. The plan for this year was scaled down from 15.6 to 13.9 million pairs. As of May, production had fallen short by approximately a million pairs, due to delays in the start-up operation of a new factory in Manzanillo, absenteeism, and mobilizations for agricultural work. Some 400,000 pairs of work shoes and boots are included in this production lag. Moreover, there has been a deterioration in the quality of this footwear, due to changes in the technological process and the time needed for the curing of the hides.

Together with this, it should be pointed out that the factory that is turning out plastic footwear is nearly in full production, and no fewer than ten million pairs will be manufactured within the next twelve months. This will be a considerable aid in supplying the demand for women’s and children’s shoes. Such is not the case with men’s work shoes or with closed shoes, because the material being worked with is still impermeable. There is a type of material being analyzed, called polyurethane, of which shoes can be made, and its technology is already being studied.

These machines were acquired and installed in a very short time. They are run by 300 workers—the overwhelming majority of whom are women—and these 300 workers will produce some 12 million pairs of shoes a year. In Santiago de Cuba the foundations are being laid for a similar plant. So that, while 600 workers—the majority of whom are women—in four shifts…because it must be pointed out that this plant already has, on a test basis, due to its great productivity, a shift system according to which the women who work the midnight shift are only required to work five hours.

The longest shift is seven hours; the shortest, five; and there are two six-hour shifts. That is, there are two six-hour shifts, one five-hour shift, and one seven-hour shift. Six hundred workers—almost all of them women—with these machines and this chemical product will produce 24 million pairs of shoes a year. At present, all types of footwear considered, some 19,000 workers produce between 18 and 19 million pairs. This is perhaps indicative of the way—the only way—to solve the problems to which we have already referred.

Fabrics and garments. As of June, there was a production lag of 16.3 million square meters, due principally to a labor shortage, which was aggravated by mobilizations for agricultural work. This implies an adverse effect on the supply of textiles for personal and domestic use, which, in turn, caused delays in garment manufacture and resulted in a reduction in direct distribution to the population. The delays in garment manufacture are mainly in children’s school clothes, men’s underwear, sheets, pillowcases, and dresswear.

Toothpaste. Eleven percent of the production plan has not been met, mainly due to a lack of aluminum tubes, because of the mobilization of workers to agricultural work.

Soaps and detergents. There is a 32 percent lag in the production plan, due to transportation problems abroad with raw materials such as dodecilbenzene and delays in the shipment of caustic soda.

There has also been a delay in the production plan for soaps, due to delays in shipments of raw materials and a lack of transportation facilities abroad for purchases made in the capitalist market.

Bread and crackers. In Havana bread production is 6 percent below plan for the first semester of this year and 2 percent below the first semester of 1969. This is due to absenteeism, breakages in the bakeries, and power shortages. Cracker production has been affected primarily due to mobilizations for agricultural work.

Consumer levels. The following increases in distribution have been recorded. Rice: the quota was raised to six pounds per person per month throughout the nation for home consumption in April and for state agencies in January. Fresh fish: the supply to the population was increased in April. Eggs: there was an indirect consumer increase.

Nevertheless, there has been a considerable restriction and decrease in other consumer goods: root and other vegetables, fresh fruits and fruit preserves.

Meat and poultry. Consumer levels have been restricted, due to certain priorities, and, furthermore, there have been delays in distribution to the population, due to transportation problems.

Beans and edible fats. There has been a slowdown in distribution, due to delays in imports, difficulties at the ports, and internal transportation difficulties. Soft drinks: there has been a decrease in the supply, due to a shortage of bottles. Beer and alcoholic beverages: there has been a decrease in the supply, because of a slowdown in bottle return, due to limitations in the consumer network and the accumulation for the July festivities.

Cigars and cigarettes. An increase in the demand and a shortage of tobacco have been responsible for the rationing of these products.

There have also been difficulties in the distribution of industrial products such as detergent, toothpaste, textiles, and clothes of all types, including underwear.

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