Sobre la economía política de la producción azucarera en Puerto Rico (artículo de César J. Ayala)

9 05 2011

Si bien este es un blog que trata principalmente temas ferroviarios, a veces es imperativo tomar un desvío para atender otros aspectos históricos que estuvieron íntimamente relacionados con el desarrollo del ferrocarril en Puerto Rico. Como conocemos, la subsistencia de las operaciones ferroviarias a gran escala en Puerto Rico fue dependiente del negocio de transporte de caña, azúcar y mieles; sector que representaba la mayor proporción de los ingresos de la/las compañía(s).

En su artículo, publicado en el Volumen 14 de Research in Political Economy“Finance Capital vs. Managerial Control in a Colonial Sphere: United States Agribusiness Corporations in Puerto Rico, 1898-1934”, César J. Ayala hace un análisis de las imbricaciones entre el establecimiento azucarero local y la banca y los azucareros norteamericanos, y como éstos se constituyeron en un monstruo horizontal y verticalmente integrado que controlaba el mercado del azúcar en todos sus pasos, desde la siembra de la misma hasta la venta al consumidor en EE.UU.

Ayala analiza a profundidad las estructuras organizacionales y los vínculos intra y intersectoriales de tres grandes operaciones azucareras en Puerto Rico. A continuación las listamos, junto a las operaciones ferroviarias dependientes de las mismas:

1. The Aguirre Sugar Company – Operó el Ponce & Guayama Railroad, y otra línea ferroviaria propiedad de Luce & Co. (J.D.H. Luce fue el fundador de este grupo empresario)¹

2. The Fajardo Sugar Company – Era dueña de un ferrocarril con trazado entre Carolina y Humacao en su máxima extensión, a través de la Fajardo Development Co. ²

3. The South Puerto Rico Sugar Company – Fue dueña de un ferrocarril con trazado corto (Guánica Centrale Railroad) entre las estaciones Santa Rita y la Guánica Centrale. También fue dueña de grandes tramos de vía en otros términos municipales, como Cabo Rojo, Añasco y Ponce.³

En fin, que este artículo es lectura obligada para comenzar a apreciar el bosque integral de la organización del capital azucarero en Puerto Rico, que nos podrían tapar los árboles de considerar a las centrales como unidades individualizadas de producción.

Actualización (5/9/2011 22:18):  El amigo Dave Deyo, cuyos siempre acertados comentarios suelen ampliar la información contenida en este blog nos comenta algo más sobre las operaciones ferroviarias involucradas:

“Regarding the Fajardo Development Co. railroad, its original railroad extended from Fajardo westward to Mameyes, and southward to Naguabo. When the railroad assumed the franchise to complete a route originally granted to the Cia. Ferrocarriles de PR for a common carrier railroad, the FDC was extended to Carolina to connect with the American Railroad (operator). It then also connected with the Ferrocarriles del Este, said entity owning the track from Naguabo to Humacao. Over this route from Martin Peña through Carolina and on to Humacao, the American Railroad would assign a daily, mixed train which originated at Martin Peña.

Regarding South Porto Rico Sugar Co. trackage in Ponce, the Guanica Centrale railroad operated some original trackwork from the acquired Central Fortuna, which was called the Fortuna Estate. The original track had been mostly 24″ gauge, and after the 1912 purchase by the SPRSCo., had been converted to meter gauge. Cane harvested in the areas around Fortuna was carried in GC cars to a connection with the P&G just north of that site, and from there, P&G locomotives carried the cars to the American Railroad at Ponce for final movement to Santa Rita yard. The P&G did not own the track west of Descalabrado and the American Railroad just east of Ponce, but operated over a section of meter gauge track belonging to the Central Fortuna RR (which was built to fulfill a franchise given to supply common carrier service of the CFdePR (ARRCo.) to reach Guayama). The P&G is shown as the operator of the service, but the equipment was that of the American Railroad. The P&G did offer their own passenger service prior to this, between Santa Isabel and Guayama.”

Notas:
1
Ayala, C. J. (1994). Finance Capital vs. Managerial Control in a Colonial Sphere: United States Agribusiness Corporations in Puerto Rico, 1898-1934. 14 Research in Political Economy 195, 199.

2
Aponte. R. (2009). Ferrocarriles de Puerto Rico: Un catálogo.
 http://ferrocarrilesdepuertorico.web.officelive.com/p3railroadprlist.htm

3
Pumarada O’Neill, L. (1989). Trasfondo histórico del ferrocarril en Puerto Rico. San Juan: OEPH.

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9 05 2011
David Deyo

Regarding the Fajardo Development Co. railroad, its original railroad extended
from Fajardo westward to Mameyes, and southward to Naguabo. When the
railroad assumed the franchise to complete a route originally granted to the
Cia. Ferrocarriles de PR for a common carrier railroad, the FDC was extended
to Carolina to connect with the American Railroad (operator). It then also
connected with the Ferrocarriles del Este, said entity owning the track from
Naguabo to Humacao. Over this route from Martin Pena through Carolina
and on to Humacao, the American Railroad would assign a daily, mixed train
which originated at Martin Pena.

Regarding South Porto Rico Sugar Co. trackage in Ponce, the Guanica Centrale
railroad operated some original trackwork from the acquired Central Fortuna,
which was called the Fortuna Estate. The original track had been mostly 24″
gauge, and after the 1912 purchase by the SPRSCo., had been converted to
meter gauge. Cane harvested in the areas around Fortuna was carried in
GC cars to a connection with the P&G just north of that site, and from there,
P&G locomotives carried the cars to the American Railroad at Ponce for
final movement to Santa Rita yard. The P&G did not own the track west of
Descalabrado and the American Railroad just east of Ponce, but operated over a section of meter gauge track belonging to the Central Fortuna RR (which
was built to fulfill a franchise given to supply common carrier service of
the CFdePR (ARRCo.) to reach Guayama). The P&G is shown as the operator
of the service, but the equipment was that of the American Railroad. The
P&G did offer their own passenger service prior to this, between Santa Isabel
and Guayama.
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