Reporting from Cuba

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On the Farm by Glenn Ells

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Today I had a drive in a vehicle that I used to drive here in Cuba about 12 years ago.

The old Ford van used to be regarded as Mr. Glenn´s van and transported Canadians and Cubans around this area for several years. We used the old buggy during our two five-year partnerships with Cuban farmers at Sandino Co-operative. Our deal was terminated in 2006 and the van, which had just played host to a falling tree, was placed in storage, with major dents and a shattered windshield.

Last year, I spotted the old girl on the highway outside of town, but questions about it resulted in vague answers. We arrived here last night, and today at Sandino, there was the old van parked by the office. It turned out that Frank, the co-op president and general manager, now drives it. 

He took Ron and I on a tour of the squash fields in it. A new diesel engine, windshield, transmission and paint job really picked the old van up.

Now that we do everything by contract, we don´t own any assets here, but it is interesting to see that some of our old stock is still rolling. The squash crops looks very good and we hope to get the first shipment away this week.

The Cubans are very excited about new rules that come into effect on Jan. 14 that will result in many more Cubans being allowed to travel.

With changes during the past two years that allowed cars and houses to be bought and sold and small businesses being encouraged to establish, we can see change starting to take place.

Mind you, what we call normal business practice is still a long way off, and what we are trying to do is often challenging, but it is still a great place to work on the winter.

Organizations: Sandino Co

Geographic location: Cuba

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