Although Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean,
it is only about a quarter the size of California
About 90 miles South of Florida,
and 50 miles west of Haiti, Cuba
enjoys a tropical climate, moderated by the trade winds.
The Sierra Maestra Mountain range is located at the Southeastern
end of the main island of Cuba, but the rest of the country is
mostly flat to rolling plains, with very little inland open water.
Cuba has about 2,500 square miles of
subtropical pine forest;
Now, that’s different…
Don’t see much of that in the rest of Latin America.
This is a statue of Hatuey, the first Cuban Revolutionary
leader. When the Spanish invaded Cuba in 1511, Hautey and
other Taíno chieftains led the population in a series of
revolts against the conquerors. By 1514, the Spanish were in
complete control of Cuba’s mainland
The Spanish captured Hatuey and the
other chieftains, and burned them alive,
just one of the many atrocities they
committed during their conquest
Oddly, although there are thousands of individuals of primarily Taíno
descent living in the Eastern mountain ranges of Cuba, and studies
indicate the presence of Taíno DNA in many, if not most of the folk
living in the Caribbean region, none of the official demographic studies
I was able to find mentioned Native American heritage…
Science vs. politics? The forgotten people?
There is a great variance in different agencies’
assessments of the ethnic makeup of the Cuban people.
Estimates of the number of folk of African Descent vary
from 10% to 62%. All authorities agree that at least
a quarter of the population is of mixed heritage,
probably far more.
Thomas, p 219
A little bit of this, a little bit of that…
About 1% of the Cuban population is of Chinese descent. Mostly, their
ancestors were brought from China in the mid 1800s to work in the cane fields
as indentured servants, although some 5000 came from the US, mostly
California, to escape the discrimination at that time (late 1800s)
When Fidel Castro’s regime nationalized all the businesses belonging
to Chinese owners, most of the full-blooded Chinese immigrants left
Cuba, giving rise to hundreds of Cuban-Chinese restaurants all over the
eastern seaboard of the USA, and Puerto Rico. Most of the Chinese
left in Cuba are of mixed ancestry.
Spanish sausage fried rice, anyone?
Unlike most Latin American countries, Cubans seem to like baseball
better than football (soccer). Many great baseball players have come
to America and other countries from Cuba. They are never mentioned
in a Cuban newspaper again, although folks still talk about them on
Yes, that’s Fidel himself
Cuba’s automotive culture is comprised of
many unique vehicles: old, pre-revolution
American cars, some Russian vehicles, and
some utterly Cuban constructs.
Not a whole bunch of new-car salesmen
You’ve been bad, you’ve been bad, you’ve been very, very bad!
Fidel Castro overthrew the dictatorship of
Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Between them, these
two men have defined the history of Cuba for nearly
sixty years; a bit more if you consider Batista’s
1940-44 stint as President, before electing himself
Dictator in 1952.
did very well under
Batista, perhaps less
so after Castro took
over; most especially
during the unfortunate
“Special Period” after
the breakup of the
Unlike other Latin American nations, Cuba allowed Russia to place
nuclear weapons and delivery systems in their country, thus
precipitating the “Cuban Missile Crisis” of 1962
Maybe the Cubans were mad about that US trade embargo put in place
several months earlier…
It was not recognized until the
Cuban Missile Crisis Havana
Conference in October 2002
that this Soviet B-59 submarine
was within minutes of firing a
15 kiloton nuclear torpedo at
US warships which surrounded
it on October 26, 1962, and
forced it to surface.
Apparently the captain had already ordered the nuclear torpedo made
ready to fire, when his second in command , Vasili Arhipov, persuaded
him not to deploy the weapon.
Thank you, Vasili!
One of the legacies of the Cuban Missile Crisis was the
“Hot Line” in the White House and the Kremlin,
designed to help prevent further misunderstandings
like the 13 days of fear that gripped the world in 1962…
(but not of the world…)
• All Slides: Google Images and Various Wikipedia Articles
• Slide 3 (Cuban Pine forests): wwf.panda.org
• Slide 4&5 (Population ratios): havanaguide.com(Thomas, p 219)
• Slide 7 (Spanish sausage fried rice): toliveandeatinnyc.com
•Slide 14 (Hot Line): http://www.globalaffairs.es/en/the-cuban-