EDUARDO GARCIA LAVANDERO
WEST OF HAVANA
AUGUSTO CESAR SANDINO
PABLO DE LA TORRIENTE BRAU
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Originally named El Pilar this mill was re-named in honour of a contempoary of Fidel Castro.  He
joined the revolutionaries opposed to President Batista and took part in a number of actions against
the government forces. On 23 June 1958 he met with the comrades of the Revolutionary Directorate
in Havana.  Government agents surrounded the building, and although Lavandaro escaped he was
betrayed and after a brief gun battle he was shot dead.

All of which was a lot more exciting than my one and only visit to this mill.  Although a total of eleven
steam locomotives were recorded as being present, reports suggested that most of the work by the
late 1990's was being undertaken by diesels with only three steam locomotives serviceable.  Our group
found ALCO 2-6-0 No.1302 standing outside of the mill with a line of derelict engines close by.  With
so many other mills to visit there was little point in spending much time at this location  
Busy doing not much at all .....
ALCO 2-6-0 No.1302 stands by the
water crane in the evening light at
Eduardo Garcia Lavandaro.  This
particular locomotive was built at
ALCO's Pittsburgh plant in 1904
Standing nearby in what can best
be described as a steam graveyard
was Baldwin 2-8-0 No.1801 - an
engine destined never to work
again on the Cuban sugar lines
Map of the sugar lines and loading
points at Central Eduardo Garcia
Lavandaro
In May 2002 the government announced that Cuba would dramatically downsize its sugar industry - making official a change  
that had been coming for years due to international market conditions.  With sugar prices falling steadily, and having lost the
Soviet bloc subsidies that had for decades propped up the industry there was little choice but to cut back production.  The
decision has brought about the closure of many mills with a dramatic impact on the local population who were dependent of
the industry.   

At Eduardo Garcia Lavandero meetings were held with the workers to explain the changes in the industry and the effects it
would have on their 3000 strong community.   People worried about services continuing – ambulances, water, electricity and  
transportation … which they were promised would continue as before.  35 of the railway staff were found jobs at a nearby mill
as were over 400 other workers.  Others were enrolled into full and part-time education with the aim of enabling them to find
alternative employment.  There is a a new agricultural and livestock enterprise which has attempted to re-employ mill
workers and farm cooperative members who are no longer growing sugar cane producing fruits, vegetables, poultry, and
pork, and some of these products are bring sold to state enterprises that supply the tourism industry.  In many cases the  
steam locomotives and mill machinery have been moved to other mills or have been left behind to slowly rust away.

Source:  
Cutting Losses published by Lexington Institute, Virginia, USA