Essays academic service


An overview of the history country and people of cuba

Convinced he had discovered the East Indies he returned to Europe and went back to Cuba two years later. Cuba was inhabited by aboriginal peoples, known as Indocubans. The Indocubans, normally a peaceful people, offered fierce resistance under a brave leader named Hatuey, for a period of approximately three months, until his capture by the invaders. Once conquered, the Indocubans were nearly exterminated by the harsh working conditions imposed by the Spaniards and by diseases brought to the Island by the new arrivals.

Brief history of Cuba

To replace the dwindling indigenous labour force needed to work the gold mines, the cane fields and the tobacco plantations, the Spaniards started importing African slaves to the Island and soon slave trade became one of the most profitable activities. Havana then became a flourishing trading post as increasing numbers of ships, on their way to Europe, stopped to take supplies for the journey as well as goods to trade with the Europeans.

Spain, realizing the strategic importance of Cuba recovered Havana from the British a year later in exchange for other of its major colonial territories. US trade with the Island really took-off following its independence in 1776. To satisfy the growing demand for sugar in the US during the 1800s Cuban plantations were expanded and the number of African slaves brought to the Island vastly increased.

  1. Castro returns to Cuba Accompanied by a band of 81 men on board the yacht Granma, Castro landed in eastern Cuba on December 2, 1956, but most of the force was quickly killed or captured.
  2. Cuba reestablishes ties with Russia.
  3. Trade unionists attempted to provoke a general strike , but support among labour leaders collapsed after the government announced that anyone participating in the strike would be refused re-employment elsewhere. The gross national product contracted by as much as one-half between 1989 and 1993, exports fell by 79 percent and imports by 75 percent, the budget deficit tripled, and the standard of living of the population declined sharply.
  4. A little more than a month later, on September 4, he attempted to reassure the public that the presidential election would take place as scheduled in June 1958.

Discontent with Spanish domination extended from the aristocracy to other sectors of the population including the peasants and the African slaves and was manifested in different ways in the ensuing years. By the end of the year the Spanish were defeated and the US forces established a military occupation government which would last until May 1902.

The young country, with little experience in self-government, politically unsophisticated and with weak public institutions was plagued by corrupt governments which, combined with a growing economic dependence on the United States, resulted in many years of political turmoil and neglect of some sectors of the population and the steady deterioration of social conditions for many Cubans.

  1. In the ensuing years, the development of tourism facilities was also started, catering first to Eastern European and Soviet sun-seekers, and later to Western Europeans, Canadians and Latin Americans. The topography of the provinces near Havana and Matanzas is relatively flat and of low elevation.
  2. Political system Cuba is a republic with a centralized socialist system of government closely identified with the workers.
  3. Numerous bays, peninsulas and coastal reefs give Cuba a shoreline of 3,418 miles with more than 280 natural beaches.
  4. Language Spanish is the official language of Cuba and is spoken throughout the Island. It also had been used by such leaders as Zayas to get the people to support them as champions of Cuban liberty against U.
  5. With Cuban sugar exports facing an uncertain future, support for Batista within both the government and the influential agriculture industry virtually collapsed. Responding to the unrest, the United States imposed an arms embargo on Cuba in mid-March and suspended delivery of nearly 2,000 Garand rifles to the Cuban government.

In 1925, after several ineffectual presidents, Gerardo Machado took power and established a harsh dictatorial regime that would last for 8 years until the deteriorating economy provided the opportunity for his overthrow, on August 12, 1933, by the same military establishment and US-based interests that had supported him in the past. One of the engineers of the overthrow of Machado was Fulgencio Batista who, with US backing, governed Cuba until 1944. Batista again seized power in another coup in 1952, and quickly established another brutal and repressive dictatorial regime.

These were formed by students, labor organizations, intellectuals, the middle-class, farmers and peasants. On July 26, 1953, a group of some 150 young revolutionaries, lead by Fidel Castro, launched an attack on the Moncada Barracks, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

  • Excerpted from Doing Business with Cuba;
  • It ends ten years later with Spain promising changes in the government;
  • By 1960 the USSR had became the main purchaser of Cuban sugar and its most important supplier of petroleum products;
  • Between 1959 and 1993 an estimated 1;
  • It ends ten years later with Spain promising changes in the government.

Guevara joined the revolutionary group organized by Fidel Castro and together they planned a return to Cuba. The fight against Batista, coordinated by the Movimiento 26 de Julio, gained the support of the March 13 Students Movement, the Popular Socialist Party and other political and labor groups that together, after three years of growing and successful rebellion, forced Batista to give up power on January 1, 1959.

Batista and his collaborators went into exile leaving behind an impoverished economy and population. Castro came to power with huge popular support and formed a government that immediately set out to confront the problems it had inherited an economy near collapse, mainly geared to benefit American investors and to cater to the US tourist to the detriment of the Cuban people.

American displeasure with these measures was clear and the reaction of the US government was swift. In response, Cuba nationalized American-owned industries, mostly sugar mills. When the US petroleum companies threatened to cut-off oil supplies and paralyze the country, Cuba started purchasing oil from the Soviet Union which the US-owned refineries refused to process.

This resulted in the nationalization of the oil companies. As the US increased pressure on Cuba, the government of the Revolution sought, and found, new allies in the Soviet Union. By 1960 the USSR had became the main purchaser of Cuban sugar and its most important supplier of petroleum products. In practical terms, all commercial exchanges between the two countries had now come to an end. As Cuba faced the structural changes required by the realignment of its commercial relations, it also embarked into a series of ambitious social programs in benefit of the less advantaged sectors of the population.

During the 60s a massive program to eradicate illiteracy was launched and established, greater resources were devoted to the improvement of education and health facilities, there were massive programs to increase the availability of housing and increased economic resources were directed to the development of the rural areas.

The 10-million ton goal for sugar production an overview of the history country and people of cuba never achieved and the efforts to reach it may have even caused adverse dislocations in the Cuban economy.

By 1982, the Cuban government decided to modify its economic model and started to distance itself from the Soviet model. Also, in 1982, the Cuban government started to invest heavily in biotechnology and other high-technology areas such as pharmaceuticals, computers, computerized medical equipment and software.

In the ensuing years, the development of tourism facilities was also started, catering first to Eastern European and Soviet sun-seekers, and later to Western Europeans, Canadians and Latin Americans. Geography Cuba is the largest, most varied and most beautiful of the Greater Antilles islands. It is long and narrow, extending approximately 783 miles east-west in length; its width ranges from 120 miles to 20 miles.

No point in the Island is more than 50 miles from the sea. Numerous bays, peninsulas and coastal reefs give Cuba a shoreline of 3,418 miles with more than 280 natural beaches. Although most of Cuba is low, there are several upland and mountain areas that increase in height from west to east. In the extreme west along the coast is a beautiful and unusual area of eroded limestone, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula. Just west of Havana is the narrow Sierra de los Organos, which has elevations of 492 to 2,460 feet.

  • In 1959, Fidel Castro was able to overthrow Batista's government and gain control of the country;
  • He was elected president without opposition for a four-year term beginning February 24, 1955.

Many of the hills resemble isolated haystacks and border magnificent valleys, rich in vegetation and endowed with a great variety of beautiful and exotic orchids. Several mountain formations are found in central Cuba, the most important being the Sierra del Escambray, with Pico San Juan, its highest peak, at 3,806 ft.

In addition to mountain ranges and terraced uplands, Cuba has unusual erosion forms and picturesque valleys. The topography of the provinces near Havana and Matanzas is relatively flat and of low elevation.

Havana City, with a population of 2. The coast near Havana consists of endless sandy beaches and crystalline waters, dotted by tourist facilities. Also in this province is Varadero, known for its beaches of fine white sand, clear and transparent waters and comfortable resorts. The rugged topography of the Sierra Maestra, with elevations of up to 6,496 ft above sea level, is unique in the island and famous for its landscapes of breath-taking beauty and unbelievable variety.

The Cauto River, draining the southeastern mountains, is the longest roughly 2,149 milesbut is navigable for only 47 miles by small boats. Climate Cuba has a tropical trade-wind climate moderated by the surrounding waters.

The moist northeast trade winds reach most of the island except the deep isolated valleys and parts of the southeast coast, making the summers bearable and the winters usually warm and pleasant.

The temperature decreases slightly with elevation and exposure to open waters, but the mean annual temperature at Havana is 77 F. Two-thirds of its inhabitants are of European descent, mainly Spanish, nearly one-third are of African origin or mestizo, and about one percent are of Chinese roots.

The birth rate was 11. Life expectancy at birth is 78 years, the highest in Latin America. Language Spanish is the official language of Cuba and is spoken throughout the Island.

Cuba profile - Timeline

English is spoken by Cubans in many of the tourist areas such as Varadero, and in the more prestigious hotels in Havana and other large cities. However, once away from the tourist areas it is hard to function without some knowledge of Spanish. Many Cuban business people understand and speak English, but in most cases foreigners make a greater impact and find more acceptability if they address themselves in Spanish to their Cuban interlocutors.

Political system Cuba is a republic with a centralized socialist system of government closely identified with the workers. Political power rests with the Popular Power National Assembly, which nominates the Council of Ministers, the highest executive body. Its executive committee is composed of the president, the first vice-president and the vice-presidents of the Council of Ministers.

___ History of Cuba

It sits regularly twice a year. Between sittings of the Assembly the 31-member Council of State, elected from members of the National Assembly, takes over its function. Administratively, Cuba is divided into 14 provinces and 169 municipalities; each of the latter has an elected municipal assembly. Provincial and regional executive committees are elected by the members of the National Assembly.

All judges, from the highest to the lowest, are elected by the respective Popular Power Assemblies; in other words, the Supreme Court judges are elected by the National Assembly; the provincial judges by provincial assemblies and the municipal judges by municipal assemblies. The judicial system is based on the principle that all judges, be they professional or lay, are independent and are subject only to the law, and all professional or lay judges are elected, accountable and can be replaced.

In addition to the country-wide primary school system with sufficient capacity for all Cuban children, Cuba has 2,174 high school level institutions and 47 higher learning establishments.

There are approximately half a million students beyond grade nine attending school under government scholarships, including some 20,000 foreign students from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In addition to having nearly 100 percent literacy, Cuba has approximately one million technicians, technologists and university graduates in its labor force.

  • Present Cuban artistic talent includes Manuel Mendive, whose paintings of Afro-Cuban nude dancers are successfully exhibited throughout Europe;
  • To replace the dwindling indigenous labour force needed to work the gold mines, the cane fields and the tobacco plantations, the Spaniards started importing African slaves to the Island and soon slave trade became one of the most profitable activities;
  • Carlos Mendieta, who seemed to have the approval of most factions.

Health Public health has also been a high priority sector for the Cuban government since the late 1950s. As a result, the Cuban population enjoys one of the highest life expectancies at 75. The country has a total of 82,000 medical doctors, or one per 137 inhabitants. Cuban medical facilities perform sophisticated interventions, including organ transplants kidney, heart, bone marrow, corneal, liver, pancreas, etc.

Other social services available to the Cuban population include sickness, maternity, and work-injury benefits and old age, disability, and survivors pensions. Culture Cuban culture is strongly linked to Cuban history, so it is necessary to know the history in order to understand the culture. Cuba was rapidly conquered and colonized by the Spaniards during the early 1500s. The founding of the first seven towns culminated on November 16, 1519 with the founding of the town an overview of the history country and people of cuba later became Havana.

The founding of Havana was also the occasion for the first Catholic mass, which was performed underneath a massive silk-cotton tree. On the same site there is now a colonial building that houses a collection of paintings by the French artist Jean Baptiste Vermay, who roamed the Island and captured on canvas the images of early colonial life. Illness hitherto unknown in the New World combined with slavery conditions in the exploitation of the riches of Cuba caused the near extinction of the aboriginal Indocubans during the early years of colonization.

The fast disappearing labor force prompted the Spanish to import African slaves from all over the vast continent, the largest numbers, however, originated from West Africa, today Nigeria.

Due to their numbers, the Yoruba influence left a marked imprint on Cuban customs and even today their religion, mixed with Catholic and other rites, known as Santeria or the Rule of Ocha, is practiced in certain areas of Havana and other parts of the country.

The rebels from La Manigua, or the Mambisa Brigades, who already identified themselves as Cubans, sought to break away from Spain and rejected the leanings towards annexation to the emerging United States. At about the same time, on October 20, 1869, Perucho Figueredo, a musician and a patriot on horse back, facing the gates of the city of Bayamo, composed with his guitar, the most revered and best known musical piece of Cuba, the National Anthem, moments before the city was set alight by the rebels to keep it from falling intact an overview of the history country and people of cuba the hands of the advancing Spanish armies.

Their work influenced a generation of painters and writers through the Spanish-speaking world. Although the list of writers, poets and painters is long and continues to grow, the Cuban musicians and composers also left a deep mark along their way, introducing rhythms and beats based on African percussion instruments, principally the drums, that are now famous around the world.

Cuban dance is summarized eloquently by the National Ballet, directed by the undisputed Cuban prima ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonzo, whose fame has transcended Cuba to become a household name in Latin America, Europe and even the United States. Cuban theater also has produced outstanding works and performers, was recognized with several international awards and has been a strong influencing force in the development of film and television in the Island.

The African slaves, brought by force to the New World, were not only able to preserve their traditions and religion through songs and dances, they were also successful in influencing and shaping the development of the cultural expression of the newly emerging countries. Present Cuban artistic talent includes Manuel Mendive, whose paintings of Afro-Cuban nude dancers are successfully exhibited throughout Europe.

Havana is a city endowed with many culture-oriented institutions and organizations and Old Havana is home to a great number of them. Architectural treasures are not limited to Havana, nor are they limited to the colonial period.

Other cities and towns, like Trinidad, on the southern coast of central Cuba, possess well preserved colonial buildings and are in the process of restoring others. Cuba is, in other words, a country with over 500 years of history and with a well-defined sense of culture and most Cubans are all-too-aware of the riches of their country. Visitors to Cuba, for business or for pleasure, will find that Cubans represent a country with an energy and vitality that will endure not only in the works of its writers, painters, musicians and other artists, but also in the imagination and vigor of its people.

Religion The Roman Catholic religion was brought to Cuba by the Spanish colonizers and was practiced by nearly half of the population prior to the 1959 Revolution.