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Pinar del Rio
Educational Program

 
 

Sugar

 
     
  On and off ramps of the autopista, Cuba Small pizza and juice restaurant, Cuba Cuban pizza  
     
  Sugar cane fields, CubaThe cultivation of sugar cane was introduced in Cuba in the early 16th century by Diego Velázquez, quickly leading Cuba to export to Spain. After a significant reduction in exports in the following times, Cuba was once again the leading exporter of sugar in the 19th century. Growing demand from the international market and especially from the U.S. market pressured Cuba to specialize in the cultivation of sugar cane. By the end of the 1950s two-thirds of agriculture was in sugar cane and 80% of exports were sugar and derivatives, with serious social consequences for workers. Despite the preferential prices for Cuban sugar paid in the American market, this situation led Cuba to an excessive dependence on the price and quota of sugar in the unstable international market. This economic weapon of importers was used by the US against Cuba in 1960. After the revolution, diversification of agricultural production did not succeed, and Cuba concentrates both its human and physical resources on sugar production for new markets . An agreement with the former Soviet Union helped Cuba, but planned production could not be achieved and caused serious disruption to the country's economy in general.  
     
 

Sugar cane cleaning (de-leafing) machine, CubaHistorically, a lot of the central heartland of Cuba was devoted to sugar cane farming. The trend is for less emphasis on sugar and since the 1990, many archaic sugar factories have closed and no modern factories built, but miles and miles of land are still planted in sugar cane. Not as obvious, but in the area, there is other infrastructure to support sugar: cleaning (de-leafing) machine, railways for transport and processing facilities.

 
     
  UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) sign, Cuba UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) sign, Cuba UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) sign, Cuba UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) sign, Cuba UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) sign, Cuba  
We started seeing UEB (Unidades Empresariales de Base) signs back in Santa Lucia. There they were connected with mining and forestry. It took me more than a week of seeing them before I was motivated to start documenting the diversity. In this area, UEB has operations in cattle, poultry, sugar, rice, fruit, and almost every other agricultural commodity. In sort of the same way that ANAP is a cooperative for small producers, UEB is a conglomerate for industrial enterprises. But, based on published literature, ANAP may be more effective at what it is trying to do than UEB is at achieving its objectives -- capturing management expertise and efficiency, and transferring that to the success of if far flung components seems to be a challenge in Cuba.
     
  Organic farm, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaLarge chicken farm, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba While a lot of the land in this area seems to be associated with UEB, not all of the agriculture is corporate. Between some of the big farms are more traditional looking homestead, mostly growing vegetables.  
     
 

Banana and mango, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaMango orchard, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaAfter the sugar cane there was "fruit salad on the tree": This section of road was lined by large farms specializing in the production of mango, papaya, banana, citrus, guava, and other fruits. There is also an ornamental tree farm.

 
     
  Stefany, San Antonio de los Banos, Cubafresh juice stand, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaThis picture on the wall is labeled Stefany. Below the picture is Stefany, with the big smile, and her mother, the artist.

Rarely a group to pass up a fresh juice stand, we sampled (several glasses a person) what was being offered. Juice is sold in pesos, so it is usually only the equivalent of a few cents a glass.

 
     
  Church, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Church, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Street, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Street, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba River, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba  
  There is nothing overtly touristy about San Antonio de los Banos. It may be this very fact which should earn it a place on the list of places that should be visited. There are a couple of stately, classic churches, neighborhood streets are typical of small-town-Cuba, and a river runs through it -- the town.  
  Central Plaza, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Shaved ice seller, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Kiddy car, main square, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Restaurant, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Painting in restaurant, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba  
     
  Pedicab, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaAround town, the central plaza is active. For refreshment, there is shaved ice for sell, and for amusement, kiddy cars are available. In a near-by restaurant there is a surrealistic painting that seems to feature a broken scene and a lot of things being sucked into a giant toilet. One can assume that it is expressing a value statement. If you don't have your own bike, and need to get around town, Pedi cabs are available to help you out.  
     
  San Antonio de los Banos is noted for two institutions; the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) and the Museo del Humor:

EICTV was founded on December 15, 1986, by Colombian Colombian journalist, writer, and Nobel laureate  Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Argentinean poet and film maker Fernando Birri (considered the father of the new Latin America cinema), and Cuban theoretician and film maker Julio Garcia Espinosa, amongst others, including Sergio Muniz, a Brazilian film maker. Each year around 40 students are selected from across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe to complete the school's Curso Regular (Regular Course). The Curso Regular is an intensive three year syllabus; each student specializes in one of the following disciplines: documentary, directing, edition, cinematography, sound, production, or screenwriting. The campus is in the flat farm fields 2 miles northwest of town.

 
     
  Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Museum of Humor, Historic building, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaMuseum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba

San Antonio de los Baños has a history of producing famous humorist and satirical publication. From this cam the Museo del Humor, the oldest of its kind in Cuba and Central and South America. Its archives include tens of thousands of pieces.

 
     
  Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaMuseum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaMandela and Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaExhibits include paintings, sculptures, videos and caricatures. It hosts the International Biennial of Graphic Humour in early April of odd number years, that includes all types of presentations of humor. 2017 marks the twentieth biennial.  
     
  Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Castro, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Hlilary Clinton, Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba Museum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba  
     
  Museum of Humor, San Antonia de los Banos, CubaMuseum of Humor, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaThis is a wall-size bas-relief reflecting some Cuban history. The United States is represented by the character on the far left, with a peg-leg and a hook for a hand. At the edge of the island, a dog is lifting his leg towards the United States. The worker with the large hat, smoking a cigar and playing a guitar, whose finger board turns into the barrel of a gun, is a revolutionary. There is also a revolutionary perched in the top of the tree. The two small figures, one wearing a dunce cap and the other, a pudgy fellow with a bow tie, are carton characters from the early twentieth century who were used to represent the establishment. The skinny person on the right is a worker.  
     
 

nstituto de Investigaciones de Granos, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaLaboratorio Nacional de Parasitologia, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaInstituto de Investigaciones de Granos: The institution carries out research to provide the technical and scientific basis for improved grain production systems on rice, beans, soybeans, sorghum, maize, sesame, vines, peanuts and chickpeas. It is responsible for the conservation, reproduction and characterization of the genetic qualities of the plant varieties that it investigates.

 
     
 

Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas, CubaUniversidad de las Ciencias Informáticas, CubaUniversidad de las Ciencias Informáticas (UCI). Formerly the Lourdes SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) facility. It was the largest facility of its kind operated by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR, outside of Russia. At its peak during the Cold War, the facility was staffed by over 1,500 KGB, GRU, Cuban DGI, and Eastern Bloc technicians, engineers and intelligence operatives.

 
     
  Curiously, for over a mile, in front of UCI, the normally two-lane, asphalt, San Pedro road, becomes a six-lane, concrete-slab "highway". It is conspicuously similar in engineering to a military landing strip - written accounts confirm that it was used by transport aircraft to supply the Lourdes facilities.  
     
  Memorial al Soldado Internacionalista Sovietico, Cuba Memorial al Soldado Internacionalista Sovietico: A low visibility monument, inaugurated on 23 February 1978, it contains the remains of 67 Soviet military personnel who died in Cuba, mostly in 1962-64, and mostly in August, September and October of each year. Most were around age 22. These are the months of the latter rainy season and likely to coincide with the malaria season. It has only been since the 1970s that the Cuba health service worked to eradicate malaria. [The mosquito is still present but the disease is rare now.] Another piece of the story is that the mission to Cuba was so top secret that personnel were not told were they were going. According to one memoir, they didn't pack what could have been more appropriate kits for the tropical climate. They didn't have appropriate equipment, clothes, food, medicine, vaccination, etc. 

There is an eternal flame and a time capsule at the center of the memorial.

 
     
  Fruit stand, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaSolar voltaic panel frames, CubaBuilding with safety pin though the roof, DubaModern building, San Antonio de los Banos road, CubaOne the outskirts of Havana there is a variety of land uses: fruit and vegetable stands, a plot that is being developed for solar voltaic panels, a modern building, get its final touches that looks like it is intended to be a showroom for something, and an older building with a larger than life safety-pin stuck through the eve.  
     
  Classic truck, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaClassic truck, San Antonio de los Banos, CubaTaxi line, Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, CubaFinally, a couple of parting pictures on transport. To the right is an old pick-up that is set-up to carry people in the back, but this day was used for bicycles. And, the line of yellow taxis at Jose Marti International Airport, Terminal 3, waiting to carry arriving passengers into town.  
     
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