As Havana experiences change, much of rural Cuba remains the same. But there’s hope to be found in warming ties with the U.S. and potential reforms.
CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports from the Cuban country side.
Havana is changing quickly. The millions who live in the tiny island nation’s capital are embracing a brave new world and the opportunities it brings.
But venture an hour and a half outside of Havana, to the small farming community of Alquizar and you’ll see a difference.
Farmers like 45-year-old Eivar Rivero say dramatic reforms are something they hear about and so far, haven’t really seen.
Rivero’s tractor is as old as he is, But, he says, it still does the job.
So the news about a new U.S. tractor factory to be built in Cuba that would provide expensive new equipment, right now means little to a man who has been able to feed his family with his reliable workhorse, the rich soil, and a solid government contract.
Rivero grows bananas, guava, coffee beans and citrus fruits. Constantly rotating crops to protect his greatest asset, Cuba’s fertile land.
Rivero grows the crops, and the government sells them and pays him.
Life is slow in the heart of the tiny town. Here bicycles, and ancient vintage U.S. cars are still the primary mode of transportation. There is no hustle and bustle here.
But city leaders like Yamila Alvarez Estevez say that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t welcome progress.
Rivero’s 11-year-old son Ernesto may literally follow his father’s footsteps. But there is no guarantee he will want to follow him into the business world.
Reforms are opening a new world here, one that could make Cuba dramatically different by the time Ernesto is ready to enter the workforce.