Guillermo Barbès is an editor at La Voz de Yara. He spent two weeks crisscrossing Yara to meet his compatriots. From Esperanza to Isla Santuario, Guillermo found a country undergoing tremendous change.
By Guillermo Barbès. Photographs by Pedro Coñardo.
A decade ago, nobody would have bet on our little island. A lot of work was needed to heal the damage done by the Revolution of '67. Today, we see a new Yara. Thanks to the bold leadership of President Castillo, our country has been reborn. His goal is clear: to bring back the light to this jewel of the Caribbean.
Let me take you on a journey through Yara, and show you a proud nation on the rise.
1. A little taste of paradise in Esperanza
Papayas, lemons, lucumas -- you can find any fruit you'll ever imagine in the bustling markets of Esperanza. Take some time, and sample some freshly-squeezed juice. The constant security patrols are a reassuring presence, and you can safely lose yourself in the treasures of the city. Admire our ancient whitewashed pastel churches. Walk the streets and take in the glittering facades of the new constructions being built across the island. Savor your beverage as you awe at the inspiring statues that stand at the heart of every square.
Suddenly, a rare, vintage car cruises through the intersection. Everybody knows Esperanza is the promised land for car-lovers. And to continue our journey, we're going to need to get behind the wheel of one of those timeless beauties.
2. El Este, like being in a postcard.
A leisure drive takes you to the mesmerizing beaches of El Este. Flying Fish soar above the waves. Curious flamingos approach to examine your picnic lunch. When night falls, jellyfish glow in the dark. This "Jellyfish ballet" is guaranteed to take your breath away.
The locals love their traditional musical instruments. Maracas and charangos answer one another across the water. With the generous support of the government, this part of Yaran culture has returned and is here to stay. Sadly, it's time to go. We board a boat and leave our friendly compatriots in the east. Just over the horizon, Isla Santuario is waiting for us.
3. Isla Santuario
No island deserves its name more. It is truly a sanctuary from the world. It's usually forbidden to step foot on this paradise. Why? To protect our exotic wildlife, and encourage the breeding of protected species. Isla Santuario is a safe-haven for both animals and plants, and today, it's your playground.
Jorge will be your guide to these beautiful landscapes. He welcomes you to Mother Nature's garden with open arms. Jorge is a firm believer in recycling and protecting the environment, but his true passion is his horses. He leads you through the mountains, following secret paths only a few have tread. Jorge is a patriot and, like his country, always heads in the right direction.
You finally return to Esperanza with shining eyes. You have caught mere glimpses of the brilliant future that lies ahead. The signs are everywhere, like the tropical plants that take over our paradise. You have seen first-hand how our government protects and nurtures our national treasures.
Yara is in an extraordinary country, with an extraordinary destiny.