I owe this vignette to my friends Agnes and Cecile, in Toulouse. They came to San German a couple of years ago, right when Hurricane Ike had ravaged a good part of the north-eastern geography of Cuba. The strong winds had left the entire area on end, all over the place. They climbed up on the roof and stared at the scenery. Today it’s no better, but the chimneys of the sugar production factory had been threatened with completely vanishing. Around that time they were conjectures and today, amid the other disaster (the economic one), there are only three towers left to expel the smoke.
In the past sugar production period, the prognostics of the national economy assured that it would be a historic sugar harvest because of its results (we did not know if they were negative or positive) while the workers complained about the lack of attention, low salaries, and long labor days, in addition to the unreachable quotas, where they would obtain a handful of convertible pesos as a bonus on top of their salaries (the majority weren’t paid this time because they allege that the company did not comply with the plan).
They are even talking about a possible foreign investment (China, Belarus, or Venezuela, perhaps) but the four towers will never identify the town as it formerly did: “The Sugar-Bowl Colossus”. However, the national media said that the sugar harvest from 2011- 2012 reached “modest” and “insufficient” results after a campaign full of deficiencies and non-compliance, ending in April with only 94 percent of what was expected.
This photo is also for “Rosi-de-Cuba” and Mario Jacas, who are very attentive with the San German natives who go to Miami; and for “La Piñareña” and for Lori, who both pay attention to every detail that could be known for those of us within the cordon.
It is also for the San German Club on Facebook (perhaps this is not an idyllic photo, but I owe it to those who asked me for it). This is the photo for Norman Trento and O.E, who with their professionalism ask me, nearly demand me, that I write about my nearest surroundings. For them, this kind of journalism is worth as much as the Other. For everyone, a photo, a couple of words, and good luck!
Translated by Raul G.
13 July 2012