National Geographic : 1962 Dec
-the Mercedita Central, refinery for Snow White sugar and distillery for Don Q rum. A chemical engineer, Luis R. Quifiones, showed me the mill-huge conveyer belts, sirupy boiler rooms as muggy as Turkish baths, white-dusted warehouses where the sugar was sacked. I asked how much cane the mill would chew up in a day, and found the answer staggering-5,500 tons! Tuna Brought From Distant Waters The waterfront of nearby Ponce is awash with paradox: A tuna-fish cannery scents up the port. "Yet not one of those fish was caught closer than 1,000 miles from here," an exec utive of the National Packing Company ex plained. "Our tuna comes from new fishing waters off Africa or Peru." This unlikely industry revives the sailing routes of the historic triangular trade of the 1700's-the old exchange of New Eng land rum for African slaves, which in turn were traded for West Indies molasses used in making New England rum. Now refrig erated ships bring African tuna for canning in Puerto Rico-and shipment to the U. S. east coast. Thanks to strategic location be tween product and market, tuna-scarce Fresh pineapples head toward market in Manati. Island canneries process much of the fruit. Tobacco grown in upland valleys makes excel lent cigar filler. Exports to the United States have spurted in recent years, partly because of the U. S. embargo on goods from Communist Cuba.