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Posted January 30, 2010 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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Rail workers, with the skill of knowing where to place their feet after constant work on the railroads, wedged the rail with a thick piece of timber and removed the deteriorated rail using a lever and a sledgehammer. They then changed it for a new one. They were encouraged by the strong purpose of putting the track two from the Los Elevados railtrack into function. This provides access to the Central Train Station in Havana City.

Jose Angel Reyes Guilarte, head of a Roads and Bridges Brigade from Havana belonging to the Road Works and Railroad Constructions Company, (VOC), talks to Granma newspaper: “We are carrying out a major repair of the railroad two to improve the circulation and speed of trains along this track, which was in a dreadful state and could not be used for four years. We are also working on the metal structure, especially the aisles. Height? Well that is another challenge, but we have to carry on working and get this line to work.

The earlier repair of Los Elevados, very important to the operations of the trains that transport passengers to and from the Central Station, dates back five years. Then, work on the structure of the bridge was carried out.


The Penichet crossroad is at the foot of Los Elevados, which links the city with the Havana Port zone. Road-repair workers also worked there and tried to reestablish the technical parameters of the area and guarantee the safety of the motor and railroad vehicles that go by that place.

The level of deterioration of this level crossing could have caused accidents. It was totally closed for some days, while a major repair—which included the demolition of the concrete and the setting of a new one—was being undertaken.

Members of the Young Workers Army (EJT) worked hand in hand with fully-fledged soldiers from the VOC.

Sergeant Eduardo Camejo from Matanzas, Corporal Carmelo Ezequiel and Juan Miguel Valera from Havana City and Erick Espinosa from Villa Clara say that this work is really useful. They know that with the work they do they are helping to put the railroad back into function.

“I have been here for over a year and except for putting up a bridge, I have done everything. If I am given the chance to stay here when I finish my military service I will certainly do so,” said Corporal Carmelo.

Operators Miguel Molina and Raymundo Carvajal, with more than 20 years experience in this railroad work, look at them, listen to them and smile. “These guys are worth teaching,” they said.


Based in the Cristina Station, 40 soldiers from the EJT are now working on the repair of the rail roads of the area of Nudo de la Habana.

According to Rolando Navarro, Director General of the Cuban Railroad Company, Cuba’s decision is to integrate 2,000 soldiers from the EJT this year into railroad work. “Today, we have 300 and we will increase that to 700. By December, 1,300 more will be incorporated mainly involved in the repair of track, as we hope to revitalize the railroads by 2012.”

This idea has been renewed. Early in the 1970´s, these people worked hard to rebuild the railroad. Some of them then went to work at the Railroad Construction Company, where they took executive charge. Currently, the contribution of young people to the construction of railroads has come to be a number-one priority.

Navarro said that those inmates included in the Tarea Confianza membership will be incorporated into these activities. In addition, political and mass organizations are gradually joining clearing up activities on the railroads.

Navarro said: “It is necessary to do this, as these railroads have not been properly cared for in a long time. So, they are full of grass and solid waste thrown out by the nearby population and workplaces. The results can be clearly seen in those places where the community has joined the cleaning activities, such as in the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Río, Guantánamo, and Havana.


The current process of rebuilding the railroad—- in operation till 2012—-began last October near the Havana junction, a very important area for the Cuban economy since it carries more than 60% of railroad activities to every area, said deputy director of VOC productions Alfredo Paredes Sánchez, Once this area is finished, the 2010 plans should aim at restoring two stretches of the Habana-Santa Clara Central Line ( the one with most technical flaws), as well as an area in Palo Seco in Camaguey.

From his standpoint the program is “a challenge for our workers, but the most important thing is that the 80 percent of the resources can be found in Cuba, including the stone. The construction materials are guaranteed.

The receipt of cutting–edge technology will help to boost the restoration process of the railroads, said Paredes.

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on February 01, 2010 by howarde12

    If the Castro government was so good, why were the railroads allowed to deteriorate?  Oh yes, the blockade, right?  Yet, they specifically state that 80% of the materials used can be found in Cuba.
    They mention solid waste thrown in the roadway by the local people.  If Castro had maintained the railroads, this could not have happened.
    The criminality in Cuba is by the government, which has restrained the people, restrained those with ability to solve the problems, restrained those who could do a better job than government bureaucrats, while the old windbag has lectured them on how to run the country, run the world, for hours a day for the past 50 years.  That’s socialism for you.  Yes, socialismo o muerte.  Socialism is death, death to ambition, death to freedom, death to intelligence.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 01, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Well said but the good Communists will say that the 20% is what kept the railroads from being maintained… even though the article didn’t say it.

    China is giving Cuba buses and appliances and free money. You think they could give them some railroad parts.

    It’s not Castro’s fault though.

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on February 01, 2010 by howarde12

    Having worked for the NYNH&HRR;back in 1942, that smattering of knowledge is enough to know that all the equipment, including rails, need constant maintenance and attention seven days a week.  But when you select the managers for their knowledge of Marx and not their proficiency with the running of a railroad, then the inepitude erodes the system more than the usage and weather do.

    The Marxists in Russia did the same thing with the tractors on the farms, discussing long into the night about quotas, while leaving the equipment where it stopped at 5 or 6 PM, so that the elements took over and destroyed it, much as the Cuban railway system has sadly been allowed to deteriorate.  For those who were born after 1960 and have lived with it all their lives, they know no different, so today’s conditions are normal to them.  Anything that changes is due to the genius of La Cucaracha, to their minds, even though it may be but10% of what is was.  Sadly, they have nothing to compare it to. They’ve not been abroad so that they can make any comparisons, and their TV is controlled so that again, they are limited to what they know and experience in Cuba.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on February 01, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    great insight. Thanks.

    Same thing happened to the sugar industry in Cuba. How a country like Cuba can’t make money on sugar is really pretty sad.

    Cuba was (and will be again someday), the sugar capital of the world once Castro let’s the Cuban people make money from their efforts and investments.

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  5. Follow up post #5 added on February 01, 2010 by howarde12

    I’m well aware of the demise of the sugar industry, and why it happened.  I had a letter from a former school teacher in Cuba who told me about the students being required to cut cane, and the sex that took place in the fields, the seduction of young girls by teachers - but that there were no rules for proper conduct between student and teacher, that he did not know it was wrong until he lived in the U.S. for awhile.
    It is the misuse of resources by the commies, who are elitists and believe that their knowledge is always superior in all respects to the rest of us.
    It is the same with such luminaries as Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, who see nothing wrong with their acquisition of wealth, with their living in luxury both at home and in Cuba, while the average citizen in Cuba lives on $20 a month and waits in long lines for food rations, or even such a simple luxury as an ice cream cone.  I was but a kid of 16, a merchant seaman, when I first stepped ashore in Cuba, and a guide, another kid of about 17 or so, who spoke 7 languages, learned from guiding sailor and tourists around Santiago, acquainted me with Cuban ice cream and recommended the mago flavor, a fruit I had never tasted.  Delicious!
    They also ruined their oil production, using all government equipment without propoer maintenance, as if such a word was not in the Spanish language, and the cadres spent endless hours, as they do in all communist countries, in arguments and discussions that lead nowhere.  The same thing is happening in Venezuela today, the oil industry sinking into a morass of debt, losing $8 billion last year.  The ranches are being occupied by people with limited mentality and ambition, who do little more than build huts and restrain development rather than assist in building up the economy.
    The U.S. bought sugar from Cuba at a .02 cent premium price for years, until Castro destroyed the relationship.  The biggest military blunder by the U.S. in our history, I am convinced, was Kennedy’s decision to withdraw support for the brave men at the Bay of Pigs.
    Today there is a malaise, which is visible on the Youtube videos of Cuba, because without ever experiencing freedom, the young people do not understand what has happened to their country, only that they love it (which is correct), and after hours and hours of Castro’s blandishments and exhortations (which Obama is now doing to this country) they know little or nothing else.  Only the old know the truth, and they dare not speak out.
    But at one time there was a busle in the streets, there were shops with small independent businesses, there was energy, there was vitality, there was life in Cuba.  The young will know and when the doors of opportunity open, they will explode with all that restrained mental and physical energy that has so long been chained to the whims of a despot.  LaCucaracha should hang by his heels as Mussolini was hung when the Germans were driven out of Italy and the Fascists surrendered.  In three words, Castro sums up his life’s work: socialismo o muerte.  This should be his epitaph when they cut him down from public display.  He has killed more than 15,000; what else should his punishment be? Is there anything else more fitting?  Why doesn’t anyone else say it?  Why did the World’s Liberals demand punishment of Pinochet for the killing of 4,000 or so, but not for Fidel Castro for the killing of more than 15,000 Cubans?

  6. Follow up post #6 added on February 01, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    You keep writing like that and Goldbuster’s head is going to explode.

    Nice job.

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  7. Follow up post #7 added on February 02, 2010 by howarde12

    Lordy, can you reach in there and spell “mango” correctly for me?  And make “guiding sailors”, adding the s for plural. And I made another error in “proper”.  And, it’s “bustle in the streets”.  Please, I hate to leave typos scattered behind me!

    Without proper trials, there were 15,000 ILLEGAL executions in Cuba, and the guilty ones were Fidel, Raul and Che. The International Press said nary a word about it. Yet, Fidel and Raul can travel anywhere, with impunity, while the Liberal English jerks held Gen. Pinochet in jail for trial and retribution.  Tell me, what allows socialists to execute millions (try to count those that Chairman Mao sanctioned), while Gen. Pinochet was trying to prevent a violent take-over by Liberal murderers (well, potential murderers), yet had the condemnation of that same International Press?

    That absolute two-bit socialist wimp, Ed Asner, still champions the Pennsylvania cop killer, Mumia Abu Jamal, but will not, absolutely refuses, to say one word about Castro’s 15,000 executions in Cuba, a complete mental pygmy when it comes to a matter of conscience.  Oh, they excuse Asner because he’s an actor and almost all actors today have strong Leftist tendencies, right (no, Left). 
    I saw the commies take control of the NMU meetings on shipboard, and I saw them call for a stevedores strike in Venezuela, Marxists, who believe in doing as little as possible for wages paid by an employer, even when that employer is their own Marxist government, which too, pays wages, and thus, by definition, is slavery.  Cuba, for example, where the government pays a full $20 a month, when private industry in Cuba would pay that and more for a day’s work!  Does it make any sense? 
    Justify, for example, Fidel holding power for fifty years.  Were it a King, the Marxists would execute him, as they did the Czar in Russia.  Has any Marxist ever decried the slaughter of the Czar’s daughters, his wife, his doctor, his servants, and his son, along with the Czar?  Was this not a wilful criminal act? 
    Che, by any international standard, like Raul and Fidel, was a common ordinary criminal, a thug, a murderer, but has any Liberal ever stood up and admitted it? He has written a confession to his criminal acts, but no one says a word of condemnation from the Liberal side of the aisle. We’ve even got some loony Congressional members who hold him in reverence.
    Liberals have a double standard; murder, even genocide, is sanctioned as long as it sends a political message.  Ed Asner, in his twisted little brain, sanctions a murder if it can be construed to send a political message, and supposedly, Jamal’s cowardly killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner can be taken as a political message.  Ed Asner is a deluded old man.  I’m older than he is, but I have never suffered from illusions or delusions, nor the dementia common among socialists.
    The same can be said of Glover, Belafonte and their ilk, as they kiss the hand (and fanny) of the western hemisphere’s leading rascist, Fidel, in Cuba, where the white hierarchy rules over the brown and black.
    During my lifetime I’ve heard much socialist rhetoric, but it has never made any sense; they want to take from those who are willing to work and give, give, give it to those who have not the will nor the ambition to do their share of the work.
    While freedom can be restrained for many years, when the fetters are let loose, the natural instincts of the ambitious will bring Cuba to its feet and it rise again. 
    The Fidelistas will not go away though, and when Cubans become free they will sit back and suck off the efforts of those who work, even attempt again to take it all away again, but I’m sure that Cuba will not fall for another Castro, nor a silly little Che.

    Thanks for the platform.  Sorry if I have taken undue advantage of it.  If I can plug my site, since it adds to these words: http://www.fidellacucaracha.com

  8. Follow up post #8 added on February 02, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    Thanks for the insight, very interesting. I just ask that your comments be on topic.

    It’s easy to get off topic and onto Fidel and/or communism etc. There are always more stories where you can write up more general comments. Don’t burn yourself out grin

    Cuba consulting services

  9. Follow up post #9 added on February 03, 2010 by howarde12

    Hell, at 85, if I am not burned out by now, do you think it’s possible?

    I’ll have to go back to writing poetry!  I’ve even written one about Cuba, Martyrs of the Sea.

    Here’s another strange coincidence, me writing about executions in Cuba tonight and the code word that I must enter below is “shot17”.  Weird.

    Do you know what a Gandy Dancer is?  It’s this subject, and I spent a Christmas eve drinking vodka with 50 of them, all women, in Russia, in 1945. Check it out.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on February 04, 2010 by MiamiCuban

    How typical on this site for bloggers to attack everything Cuba does, even when it’s a positive move on their part.  There could be many valid reasons why this project wasn’t undertaken before…...maybe the focus was on grounding a healthcare system, for one thing.  Or maybe because building the tourism industry was critical for the past 15 years.  Whatever the reasons, no one on this blog could possibly know.  But the fact is that the postponed work on the railroad is now being done…..can’t we just say this is a good thing and leave it at that?

  11. Follow up post #11 added on February 04, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    “can’t we just say this is a good thing and leave it at that?”

    I would tend to agree with that but as you know, we can’t believe everything Granma tells us.

    Cuba consulting services

  12. Follow up post #12 added on February 04, 2010 by MiamiCuban

    ....just as we can’t believe most of what’s written in mainstream newspapers either (remember the WMD’s?).  What it comes down to is relying on plain old logic and common sense.  Genuinely wishing for Cuba to make progress will do more for the Cuban people in the long run than trying to thwart all their efforts at every turn.

  13. Follow up post #13 added on February 04, 2010 by Miguel

    Note publisher’s aggressive tone, when he comments goldbuster’s at times somewhat exaggerated statements, and his friendliness, when he adresses howarde12, who believes that Obama is heading a conspiracy to introduce communism in the USA. No need for comment.
    Some people are apparently not aware that Greece, a member state of the European Union with capitalist economy and until november 2009 with a conservative government “teeters on the verge of bankruptcy” (headline in the prestigious German weekly magazine “Der Spiegel” 04-07-2009). Or that parts of the railway system of Denmark, also a EU member with capitalist economy and a conservative-liberal government since november 2001, are “in so bad conditions that it has been necesary to reduce allowed train velocity” (“White Book on Infrastructure”, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, 2001). Of course in these two cases decay is from a higher level than Cuba ever had, but this does not contest the principle: Such things happen in all kinds of countries.

  14. Follow up post #14 added on February 04, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    From EFE

    The Cuban government plans “significant investments” in the island’s railway system in 2010.

    Cuba has purchased 112 new locomotives, 52 of which have already been delivered, for both freight and passenger trains, Cuban Railway Union deputy director Miguel Acuña said.

    Passenger cars, freight cars, cement cars and a railroad telecommunications system will be acquired this year, Acuña said.

    State media have labeled Cuba’s railway communications system “destitute.”

    Transportation Minister Jorge Luis Sierra said in December that Gen. Raul Castro’s government spent $595 million on rail lines and equipment in 2009.

    Excessive use of equipment, lack of trained workers, shortages of cars and irregular service are among the problems plaguing Cuba’s railroad industry, state media has reported.

    The Cuban government periodically announces investments in the industry, including the purchase of 100 locomotives from China in 2008 and the acquisition of 28 more locomotives from Russia last year.

    Cuba consulting services

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