New constructions should be carried out within the framework of the credits received by the government and
other modalities, such as the modernization of the railway by Russian companies. The
foreign investments approved are low, the government take long time in negotiation of foreing proposal and projects included in the Portfolio 2017-2018, although it recognized urgency of 2-2.5 billion yearly. Since 2014 when the new Foreign Invedtment Law was enacted, only 2 billions have been reported.
In addition, the maintenance and repair of the destroyed and obsolete infrastructure throughout Cuba is a urgent need.
In the port of Mariel and tourism, among others, the construction entity of the Group of Business Administration (GAESA) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces has carried out the
works, and probably execute the larger ones, fundamentally related to
investments with total or mixed foreign capital.
However, there are many difficulties, enhanced by the internal blockade due to inflexible directives, outdated legislations and low salaries, which affect compliance with schedules and quality, and discourage workers, endemic evils nourished by the totlitarian system.

Since 1959 tradition has been annihilated and the talents of Cubans have been curtailed, among the most
advanced of their times, evidenced in the 7 wonders of Cuban civil engineering: the
aqueduct of Albear (1893), the sewer tunnel of Havana (1912), the central highway (1931), the Focsa building (1956) and the bay tunnel (1958) in Havana, executed in little
more than 2 years, and the Bacunayagua bridge (started in 1956 and inaugurated in September 1959). The viaduct of La Farola was built in 1965, afterwards no works have been carried out with
such quality and speed.

The First National Conference of the Trade Union of Construction Workers (SNTC), carried out on November 16 and 17, and the previous meetings on site with criticisms and proposals of delegates of the bases, seem attempts to undo the large
wrongdoings, accompanied by guidelines and the usual harangues of political leaders,
as the general secretary of the Workers Central of (CTC), Ulises Guirarte de
Much courage, according to the weekly Trabajadores, had María del Carmen
Rodriguez of the Provincial Construction Union of Holguin, who "recognized that her territory at the beginning of the year presented serious problems with the affiliation, the linking of
cadres to the base and the completion of the structures, and not without much effort came to the event with those difficulties resolved. "
The skilled workforce almost does not exist; from engineers and architects to teachers and skilled workers have left to better paid jobs, maimly in tourism and selfemployment.
For the construction of the Manzana (de Gomez)Hotel, they imported workers from India with just salaries, amazing compared to the
nationals, but Cubans can not be allowed to be displaced and continue without

Vice President Ramiro Valdés, at the end of the event, reiterated the need to produce with quality and confront crime, corruption and indiscipline…

The problems have been entrenched for decades in construction. Engineers, architects and other specialists, need to rely on skilled workers and technicians, whose formation declined when Fidel Castro decided that Cuba had to be a country of university graduate.
Finally, in recent years, these studies ae back, but they are insufficient.

As in most spheres in Cuba, the sector is said to be in a "recovery phase", and
workers may have the greatest willingness, but as long as the prohibitions and low salaries are maintained from the highest spheres of party and government, it will not be achieved.

Miriam Leiva
Independent Journalist

Havana, November 21, 2017

(Also en Spanish in this blog)

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