National Geographic : 1977 Jan
Slender pillar of the Cuban economy, sugarcane yields to a cutter's machete in Matanzas Province east of Havana. Pre harvest burning has removed the leaves for easier access to the stalk. Mechanical cut ters (above) may handle 75 percent of the harvest by 1980, alleviating the seasonal mobilization that drains other sectors of the labor market. But oxen (below) still haul loaded wagons to the sugar mill. A mountain of refined sugar (right), bound mostly for the Soviet Union and Japan, piles up in the seaport city of Matan zas. The sweet cargo accounts for more than 80 percent of exports.