Sugar, tobacco and rum… its seems the lyrics of a summer hit song but it’s the Cuban reality for thousands of people who wants to live a decent life despite carrying a blockade nearly up to 40 years.
Until the 90s of last century, sugar was the mainstay on which Cuba supported its exports economy and the ‘ingenios’, name given to the island sugar factories provided more than 500,000 jobs.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, the main customer for Cuban sugar, the fall in prices and the blockade that prevented the settlement of the defective parts of the assembly, the sugar factories were falling out of favor.
It took a long time to get over with only the help of the Cuban people and now Cuban plantations for sugarcane appear coming slowly back to life. If there was a time when the number of sugar factories approached the thousand factories, the few that begins to raise its head offer a lesson of determination and dignity… and a fantastic show to know a part of the history of the island.
Visiting plantations that for years, during the nineteenth century, were exploited by the slave labor imposed by the U.S., is now an experience that helps this incipient recovery to resume its status and provide the sugar production and export another section that will be very useful for the welfare of the people of Cuba: tourism revenue for visiting the sugar factories.
The experience is guided through tours, such as those offered by specialists as Halconviajes.com and Air Europa. Besides the beauty of the plantations which require very hard work, we can visit the sugar factories and learn the whole process that has to be done to this essential plant on the island to become the spoonful we add each morning in our coffee.
CC Image: Flickr/SOPHOCO