HERSHEY, Cuba — Along the coastal highway 30 miles east of Havana, the road signs point to a turnoff for Camilo Cienfuegos City. It doesn’t exist. At least not by that name.
“AIR-shee” is what everyone still calls it. Hershey. That much remains.
Most of the rest of the model town founded by U.S. chocolate tycoon Milton S. Hershey in 1916 is in a state of heartbreaking ruin. The looming sugar mill, once among the world’s most advanced, is a gutted, ghostly hulk. Its rusting machinery spills from the wreckage as if blasted by a bomb or kicked apart by a giant.
Up and down Hershey’s grid of neatly laid residential streets, many of the original company-built houses remain, with clapboard siding and some of the only screened-in front porches anywhere in Cuba. The old company hotel and several of the bigger, stately flagstone homes, where the American…