La Torre del Carmen, the footprint of the sugar industry in Jaruco

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Permanent and inseparable guardian of the extensive plain where the towns of Bainoa, Jaruco and San Antonio de Río Blanco rise, the legendary Torre del Carmen of renowned renown, remains as a heritage symbol of the rural greenery of these parts.

For the current generation it is La Torre de Bainoa; for those of about 140 years ago, an appendix of the Sugar Mill, “Nuestra Señora del Carmen”, of the refined Jaruqueña Fernández de Castro family.













“Our Lady of Carmen” worked with the highest industrial technology of the moment, and this was reflected on more than one occasion by the local newspaper, “El Jaruqueño”.













Erected during the nascent sugar industrialization of the late nineteenth century in Cuba, this sugar colossus grew along the railroad tracks that were built to transport the cut cane.

The most important branch started from “Nuestra Señora del Carmen” to the “Vapor” pooch, crossing San Antonio de Río Blanco, and in 1906 the Sugar Company, “Pedro Fernández de Castro” inaugurated a passenger service between Caraballo and the kilometer 42 of the United Railways line, later replaced by a small line car pulled by a horse.

In the photoreport that dedicated “El Figaro” to the “Nuestra Señora del Carmen” mill, Jaruco also recounted how Fernandez de Castro’s daily life and the benefits this family provided his workers provided.


April 6, 1917. The United States declared war on Germany while increasing the intrusion of its capital in Cuba, and to date they had acquired two thirds of the lands of Jaruco. These and other measures led, for example, to the deactivation of those excellent rural schools where the children of the workers of Ingenio, “Nuestra Señora del Carmen” were educated.











In the first half of the last century, that ingenuity disappeared little by little until only one tower remained the house of the Fernández de Castro family and some stone walls located in its surroundings.

Resisting hurricanes, storms and strong winds, still the famous “Torre del Carmen”, sumptuous and erect, as the living memory of the dawn of the sugar industry in Cuba.

Photos taken from the magazine, “El Fígaro” that Gretel Fernandez de Castro jealously saves

Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero

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