Monday 28 May 2012
After breakfast (sadly no fresh OJ, even the push-button espresso machine gone – I am such a spoiled American) we take an hour bus ride, fifty miles west of Havana, to the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. There had been major deforestation in the 19th century by the French colonial coffee plantation owners (who sought refuge in Cuba after the Haitian Revolution), leading to wholesale destruction of the ecosystem, degradation of the land, and resulting poverty for the campesinos.
So these coffee plantations (owned previously by imperialists) were wiped out and in 1968 the land was terraced, with bulldozers and by hand, with the help of people from Italy, England, France. (I think those were the countries the guide mentioned.) 3000 workers involved. 5million trees planted, 20 indigenous species including palms, breadfruit, cedar, ebony, Cuban pines (yes, I was surprised to see
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