Cubans in Florida worry about relatives after Hurricane Ian causes flooding, destruction, nationwide power outage
Hurricane Ian made landfall early Tuesday morning in Cuba’s tobacco-rich Pinar del Rio province, in the coastal village of Coloma — with winds of up to 125 mph and up to 14 feet of storm surge.
Cuban scientists confirm meteorite made impact in Viñales
The residents of a home ran out to their backyard to investigate and found black and white sparkly rocks on the floor. Cuban scientists who examined the rocks late Friday said they were without a doubt from outer space. Several researchers reported a satellite that covers the western hemisphere detected an apparent meteor flash in the Viñales area. The GOES-16 Lightning Mapper (GLM) may have caught the flash from the #Cuba meteorite this aftn. #cuba @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/AMmb9ZE6vB — Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) February 1, 2019#Cuba: Fragmentos del meteorito caído en las inmediaciones del Valle de Viñales en Pinar del Río, Cuba.
Hurricane Michael causes some destruction in western Cuba
PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba – Cuban government workers were cleaning up debris on Tuesday morning after Hurricane Michael destroyed already-damaged buildings in the western tip of the island. The storm's winds and heavy rainfall affected residents in Pinar del Rio where authorities evacuated about 300 people. She said it was already in bad shape, and she had been trying to get local authorities to help her secure it. Cuban authorities evacuated about 17,000 tourists staying at beach hotels in La Habana, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Matanzas, Granma. Cruise ships in the Western Caribbean also altered their course to avoid the storm.
Cuba's dormant mining sector gets boost from public-private partnership
Daniel Vanin, the project director of the joint venture, said they are preparing for about a decade of excavations at the open pit mine operation in Pinar del Rio -- west of the protected Parque de Viñales. Cuban officials trying to revive the mining sector released an investment portfolio that lists many more opportunities for foreign investors like this one. EMINCAR, the partnership between Geominera de Cuba and Swiss-based commodities group Trafigura working on the mine, was formed in 2012. They also working on repairing the Santa Lucia port to send production to the port of Mariel. "This is a better working life for the workers of the municipality," Cuban mine worker Felicia Despaine Puente said.
Cigar aficionados celebrate tobacco this week
HAVNA – The route to tobacco starts in Havana, where cigar aficionados are celebrating the 19th cigar festival through Friday, and ends in Pinar del Rio, where tobacco grows in the western part of the island. Francisco Lazo Diaz is a tobacco farmer. At age 61, he runs a tobacco cooperative with the help of the Cuban government. He grows a plant known as the wedding dress, because the “tobacco is the layer that goes on the outside of the cigar. They cover them so the plant grows without enduring too much sun or rain.
Despite Viñales' treasures, poverty hurts retiree
All is fairly quiet in Viñales' downtown plaza, named after national hero Jose Marti, until the tourists get off their buses. The province of Pinar del Rio is known for growing some of the best tobacco in the world, but Echevarria smokes a "puro" of less quality. But even when tourism money flows into the valley, Echevarria said he doesn't feel much hope, because he struggles to survive -- even though he has worked hard all of his life. Most of the retirees said they work on the side selling peanuts, cigarettes or whatever they can to get supplemental income. INTERACTIVE: Why UNESCO protects Valle de Viñales
Tobacco growers in Cuba's Pinar del Rio hope U.S. embargo is lifted
PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba – Like his father and grandfather, Jose Manuel Junco grew up working in the world's most revered tobacco land. He devotes his life to the rich red soil of the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, the island's westernmost 4,200 square miles. The farm's remote wooden warehouse can store three to four tons of tobacco at a time, even when they produce up to 46 tons, Junco said. The Cuban National Association of Small Farmers estimates Pinar del Rio has about 36,900 members. They would not only use the equipment to grow tobacco, but on the off season, they also grow vegetables and grains.
European tourists view Pinar del Rio as top Cuban destination
PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba – Whether they are Cubans coming back home to be with family or Europeans who visit to enjoy ecotourism and agrotourism, the industry thrives in Pinar del Rio. The most recent analysis comparing industries in 184 other countries by The World Travel and Tourism Council foresees significant industry growth within the next decade. Elsass said that she will continue to visit Cuba. The most popular MINTUR entities in Pinar del Rio are the Comunidad Las Terrazas in the Sierra del Rosario and Grupo Empresarial Campismo Popular, which focus on ecological tourism. INTERACTIVE: Fast facts about Cuba's tourism industryRELATED LINKS: Tourism industry in Cuba