Las Hojas de Tobaco, Cuba
Emory University School of Medicine
In Pinar del Rio, women string tobacco leaves on long lines for them to dry to form traditional Cuban cigars. On private farms, a woman must sow 12 lines of tobacco to make $1, and can make $4 a day. In this communist society, each adult receives one chicken and one cup of cooking oil from the government each month. Nevertheless, the above farmer made an incredible lunch of chicken and plantains and pushed us to fill ourselves. The workers spoke of the toll the backbreaking labor takes on their bodies, but how they can barely access medications and doctors. Healthcare is technically universal in Cuba, but it is clear that those who can pay bribes get better care. The message the government sends to the rural areas is that they all work for the common good, but it is difficult to see who benefits.