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The Finca/Tobacco Farm, Cuba

Lorrie Dallek | Cuba

En Route

Governed by socialism, the people of Cuba all receive an education commensurate with their aptitude and interest level. They are also given food rations. These food rations are not sufficient to make ends meet. In response, most work one if not two jobs, 6 days a week, earning the equivalent of $1 US at each/day.

Curious about the most coveted cigars in the world, I took a closer look at how this applied to the tobacco farming. While the land is owned by the locals, they are obligated to sell a large portion of their crop to the government at a pre-set, low price. Many acres of land are farmed using hand tools and animals doing back breaking manual labor.

Starting in 1994, the government allowed farmers to sell their surplus production directly to the population. At 10 cigars for $25 it certainly seemed like a bargain to a naïve tourist. Despite the pricing structure, the quality as high as cigars purchased elsewhere but it helps put much needed money in the hands of the people.

I belong out amongst the people as an observer, participant and recorder of everyday life. I see and love the beauty of indigenous cultures. They make my heart jump. Every day I increasingly recognize that advanced communications, tourism and politics are changing this landscape. The old ways, passed from one generation to the next are dissipating and being abandoned. I am committed to capturing these images and telling the stories of these people before they are lost forever.





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