Sugar cane was introduced to the Caribbean basin by Christopher Columbus. It thrived throughout the islands. Indigenous Tainos in Cuba were conscripted to harvest the cane. Once harvested, the cane was taken to sugar mills to be washed, shredded, then repeatedly crushed to produce sugar.
(Note: Columbus was quite the entrepreneur. - ML)
(Note: And like Henry Ford after him, it's hard to say whether his influence was a net positive or negative. - DM)