DixPix Photographs



  Life in the Eastern Ranges of Cuba  


The mountain ranges between Guantanamo and Baracoa, in easternmost Cuba, are only moderately high, but they are rugged.  Access to many parts is poor, and some sectors have not been developed on even a primitive level.  This has given the campesinos who live there some measure of autonomy (at least in the 1990's) and freedom from the smothering effects of the Cuban government.  They grow much of their own food, although at the time of the author's visit there were serious problems with gardens being robbed by other campesinos.  And the government does try to get some measure of schooling and health work into even the more remote habitations.


As a mountain range poking up into the Caribbean winds, there is lots of rain. Click to see big picture (307x480 pixels; 73 KB)
In addition to cascades, the result has been steep slopes and canyons. Click to see big picture (303x480 pixels; 76 KB)
Here are two examples of typical dwellings in the mountains, surrounded by typical jungle, and gardens. Click to see big picture (640x213 pixels; 80 KB)
There are a lot of great fruits available up here, including the gaubana (Annona muricata) of the Annonaceae family. Click to see big picture (631x405 pixels; 107 KB)

More for trading, the Cacao, from which chocolate is derived.  (Theobroma cacao) which is now in the Mallow Family.

Click to see big picture (640x442 pixels; 108 KB)
And then there is coffee, here drying in the sun.  Apparently the only crop that the government comes to collect.  These are the berries-- the actual coffee bean is inside. Click to see big picture (640x438 pixels; 98 KB)
Campesinos relax on equipment abandoned by the Russians. The Soviets built many of these remote roads, but since their departure, despite work by gangs of prisoners, they were deteriorating in the 1990's. Click to see big picture (501x399 pixels; 110 KB)
A rum-press.  Another advantage of living in the mountains is that nobody is looking over your shoulder if you squeeze a little sugar cane with a press like this and brew some rum. Click to see big picture (515x399 pixels; 94 KB)
Lunch rats.  Hamsters? being raised for food on the side. Not a national dish like the Cuy of Peru. Click to see big picture (640x391 pixels; 99 KB)