The Industry of Sugar
Most of the history of sugar in Cuba lies in the former sugar mill named Reforma (Reform) located in the municipality of Caibarién, over 30 miles north of Santa Clara.
We are referring to the Museum of Sugar Agribusiness, a place which, since 2002, has kept and exhibited old machinery as well as sculptures and objects that illustrate the development of this industry in our country.
This Museum is situated in an area with a long sugar-growing history and sugar tradition, which go back to the construction of the first sugar mills and sugar refineries during the 18th century and part of the 19th century, when Cuba was a Spanish colony and exported the sweet product to that nation. It was among the leading exports of the island for many years.
At the Museum, open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, visitors can see the way sugar was produced in Cuba from the early years, with primitive instruments and slave labor.
Different areas and rooms make up this exhibition, which sums up the history of the sugar industry of Caibarién from 1850 to 1998, year of the last zafra (sugarcane harvest) at this particular place.
This guardian of stories and traditions of the sugar industry in the greatest of the Antilles, unique to this nation, is located in the small village called Marcelo Salado, Reforma in the past, just before getting to Caibarién, on 3rd Street and Final. Here you can still smell the freshly cut sugarcane and from time to time, you can hear the bells that in days gone by announced the beginning of the sugarcane toil.
Original by Yariel Valdés González
Translation: Beatriz Rodríguez