By 1935, US banking syndicates owned 80% of the cultivated land in Puerto Rico.
Most of this land was concentrated into sugar cane centrales.
All by themselves, the four largest centrales – Guánica, Aquirre, Fajardo, South Porto Rico Sugar – owned nearly half the total acreage of Puerto Rico’s farmlands.
The US banking syndicates also owned the postal system, the San Juan International Seaport, and the coastal railroad system.
This photo was taken by Edwin Rosskam in 1938. Every loader worked a 10-hour workday and hoisted 50,000 pounds of sugar cane per day, onto the flatbed trains.
50,000 pounds of sugar per day.