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A curious story hovers over the rural community of Pan de Azúcar, belonging to the backward municipality of Minas de Matahambre.

There, next to the vestiges of a 19th century slave cemetery, the ruins of the legendary Cafetal El Carmelo, used as a façade by the Spanish landowner Francisco Marty, for the slave trade, remain.

According to local historians, Marty, who bought these lands in 1855, created a human reproduction center where men were paired with the youngest and healthiest women.

When the young slaves reached the right age, he prepared them in a trade and then sold them as skilled labour, which brought him great economic benefits.

Explored by archaeologists, speleologists and other scholars, in the municipality of Minas de Matahambre, there are still parts of the façade of the cemetery, fragments of the walls erected with rocks from the area, among other traces of slavery, plantation and coffee processing.

Belonging to the Viñales National Park, the area is today an incipient destination for ecotourism, not only for its historical attractions but also for its exuberant geography where caves with evidence of the phenomenon of the cimarronaje, the abundant rivers and the exuberant vegetation, have prominence.

Some 200 locals inhabit this intricate place, where hundreds of visitors come each year in search of first-hand experience of the unique history of the slave route in Cuba.

Anyone who considers himself a lover of history and seduces virgin nature will not be able to leave the west of Cuba without first entering the Sugar Loaf community, where history and nature live a romance.

For Visits: Consejo Popular de Pons, municipality of Minas de Matahambre. Pinar del Río

by: Victor Manuel Blanco