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AT&T, Cuba phone service not up and ringing

Improved telephone service between the United States and Cuba, scheduled to begin Sunday, has been delayed by Cuban officials, an AT&T Corp spokesman said Sunday night.

The telephone company had hoped to use an existing undersea cable between West Palm Beach and a point close to Havana to establish direct-dial service between the two countries.

Fernando Figueredo, a spokesman for AT&T in Miami, said a last-minute hitch with the Cuban government put the plan on hold, possibly for weeks.

People wanting to call Cuba now must use an overseas operator.

INVESTORS WELCOME: Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage said on Sunday that foreign investment would no longer be unwelcome, even in crucial sugar cane production.

Lage, viewed as the architect of Cuba's economic reforms, spoke briefly of Cuban interest in investment at the annual Havana trade fair.

Until recently, the cane sugar production sector was not open to foreign investment. But Cuba has suffered two consecutive poor harvests, caused partly by a U.S. economic boycott and resultant lack of spare parts, fertilizers and pesticides.