“... in the basket of the Mexican Gulf, a fruit from heaven is Cuba.”
Christopher Columbus, who started colonizing Cuba, had once said that this place is the most beautiful place the human eye has ever seen. From that point on, Cuba has become an attraction centre. The Spanish, who controlled the island for about four hundred years, saw Cuba as the ‘Key to the New World’. And though they abandoned most of the other colonies with relative simplicity, they tried everything to keep Cuba in their hands. During the Independence War, which started in 1895, the number of Spanish soldiers in Cuba made up to one sixth of the country’s population. The war did not result in Cuba’s victory, because the USA claimed rights to the island and conquered Cuba. Then, through other governments under their supervision, the USA started reforming this precious catch as they desired –all up until Fidel Castro and his friends surprisingly came into power in 1959. In 1962, the insistence on taking over Cuba made the USA bring the world into nuclear war. Even after Cuba adopted the Soviet line in the early 1970’s, it has always had a privileged position when compared to ‘Eastern Bloc’ countries.
Today, Cuba is a highly attractive country of tourism. Cuba, as the land of best cigars, rum, revolution, love, music and dance -with son, rumba, salsa, nueva trova and many others- welcomes millions of tourists a year. Why the world has their eyes on Cuba is no mystery. Varadero, Ancón, Santa María, Pilar, Santa Lucía, Guardalavaca and Maguana are just some of the spectacular beaches and Cuba has the best diving spots of the whole Caribbean, too. What’s more, authentic and effective cures are for many illnesses -such as lung cancer, diabetes, vitiligo and psora- in time has led Cuba to become a health centre for patients from all around the world.
Cuba is actually a set of islands, a constellation of 1,600 different islands. Covering an area of almost 110,000 km2 and a 1,250 km length, it is the largest country of the Caribbeans. Surrounded by the USA and the Bahamas in the north, Mexico in the west, Jamaica down south and Haiti in the east.
Cuba is home to more than 8,000 types of plants, and it is one of the few countries left to keep their local plant life. The typical plant species of Cuba are Roystonea regia, a type of palm, and sugar cane, which has been brought to the island by the Spanish. In contrast with the plant life, most animal species of Cuba have arrived from other countries. The national bird of Cuba is a type of trogon called Tocororo. Because they die when they are caged, the Tocororo is seen as a symbol of freedom. There are no wild animals and poisonous snakes in Cuba.
Cuba’s population is 11,240,000. The female-male ratio is almost equal and 65% of the population are white, 22% are from mixed races, 12% are black and 1% are of Asian descent. Average life span of Cubans exceed 76 years. The 75.6% of the population live in cities and in the 15 provinces of Cuba there are a total of 168 cities, including Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) that has an exclusive status. The 15 provinces are, from west to east, Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Havana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.