May 20, 2008
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba plans to build 14,000 plastic homes a year to help ease a national housing shortage, a government news agency reported on Tuesday.
Set to begin in September, the program will use polyvinyl chloride from a petrochemical facility to be built with Venezuelan aid at a refinery in Cienfuegos, Prensa Latina said.
"Cuba will produce more than 14,000 houses annually with polyvinyl chloride, thanks to a bi-national project with Venezuela," project director Julian Alonso told the news agency.
Cuba is said to need about half a million homes to provide sufficient housing for its people.
Alonso said the machinery to produce the so-called "petrohouses" will arrive in Cuba next month and should be operating by September, with a daily production of 40 homes measuring 753 square feet each.
Venezuela, led by Cuban ally President Hugo Chavez, provides about 92,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba on favorable terms and has financed the modernization of the Soviet-era Cienfuegos refinery. Cienfuegos is 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Havana.
In December Chavez donated 100 of the plastic houses to Cuba and has promised to invest $1.3 billion for a petrochemical complex.
(Reported by Rosa Tania Valdes; Editing by Jeff Franks and Xavier Briand)