Cuba // Northern Oriente //

Castro and Birán

A vast area of swaying cane and working plantations, the whole swathe of land southwest from Bahía de Nipe and west of the Pinares de Mayarí is given over to sugar. There’s nothing here for the casual visitor, though true Castro devotees may wish to make a pilgrimage to the tiny community of Birán, 44km southwest of Mayarí, near which, at the Finca Las Manacas plantation, Fidel Castro was born on August 13, 1926. He spent part of his youth here, until he was sent to school in Santiago, and he still owns the farm. Home to the former school, post office, bar, butcher’s, cock-fighting arena and a hotel, the tidy and well-maintained farm also holds the Sitio Histórico de Birán museum, with a collection of photographs, clothes, Fidel’s childhood bed and a 1918 Ford. Near the entrance are the well-tended graves of Fidel’s father Angel Castro and mother Lina Ruz.