50 Fascinating Facts about Cuba

Cuba is a small country that is located in the Caribbean Sea that is a part of the North American continent. It is an island country that consists of numerous archipelagos. The main island is known as the Isla de la Juventud. Cuba is home to 11.1 million people. Its capital city of Havana has a population of 2.1 million citizens. The total area of Cuba is 42,426 square miles (109,884 square kilometers) making it the 105th largest country in the world. Cuba’s official language is Spanish. They do not have an official religion, but Roman Catholicism is widely practiced throughout the country. The Cuba flag is a horizontal flag with blue and white strips in the background. On the left side of the flag is a red triangle with a white star located in its middle. The currency of Cuba is the Cuban peso or the Cuban convertible peso. They have two official currencies that are accepted in different areas of the country. Most Cubans are paid in both currencies, and can use the Cuban peso for most of their expenses, while the Cuban convertible peso can be used for luxury items.

Cuba Facts

1
Cuba’s government is a Marxixt-Leninist single party state that has been headed by a member of the Castro family for many decades.
2
The country’s total nominal GDP is $68.7 billion which gives it the 63rd largest economy in the world. Their total nominal per capita GDP is $6,106, which is the 88th greatest in the world.
3
Most of Cuba’s labor force is controlled and employed by the state.
4
Their main exports include fish, medical products, coffee and citrus fruits. Their main imports include oil, food, chemicals and machinery.
5
Cuba used to depend greatly on the Soviet Union to stabilize its economy. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba went through a time termed the Special Period in which their economy rapidly declined. To help recover, they legalized the use of the US dollar in business and began allowing self-employment.
6
Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, which is one of the highest in the world.
7
Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean in terms of population.
8
There are only 90 miles of ocean between Cuba and the tip of Florida in the United States.
9
The smallest bird in the world can be found in Cuba. It is the Bee Hummingbird, which only grows to be 2 inches in length.
10
There is a statue of John Lennon from The Beatles in the country of Cuba. It was erected in 2000 by Fidel Castro, after Castro declared John Lennon to be a music revolutionary.
11
Cuban food is a mixture of Spanish and Caribbean dishes that incorporates a lot of spices. Many traditional meals include black beans, shredded beef, rice, and plantains.
12
Every child in Cuba between the ages of 6 and 15 are required to attend school. Every school child wears a uniform, and the color of their uniform depicts their grade level.
13
Cuba operates under a universal health care system, and their doctors and medical community has contributed greatly to world health.
14
Dance is very important in Cuba. The Bolero, Mambo and Cha Cha was invented in the country.
15
On New Year’s Eve, Cubans burn dolls in order to symbolize forgetting bad times and looking forward to new and good times during the New Year.
16
Cubans don’t typically write their recipes down. Instead, they always pass them on orally from generation to generation.
17
Cubans refer to the island of Cuba as El Cocodrilo, which translates into the word crocodile. This is because from an aerial view, the island resembles a crocodile.
18
Christmas was not an official holiday in Cuba until 1997. Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1998, and in order to prepare for his visit, Cuba declared Christmas a national holiday.
19
There are 20 newspapers published in Cuba on a daily basis. This is down from the 58 that were published daily during the 1950s.
20
Until 2011, an import ban in the country meant that the only cars found on the roads were classic cars from pre-1959. Since 2011, the ban has gradually been lifted to allow more modern vehicles on the roads.
21
Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his most famous works “For Whom the Bell Tells” when he was living in Cuba.
22
Cuba is made up of over 4,000 islands and cays. The main island is the biggest in the West Indies.
23
Over 22% of Cuba's land is protected.
24
More than one million Cubans have moved to the United States since Fidel Castro's establishment of Cuba as a communist state.
25
In 2008, Fidel Castro resigned as the President of Cuba after having held the position for 49 years.
26
Cuba has the highest doctor to patient ratio in the entire world, and many Cuban doctors are sent abroad to help other countries that do not have enough medical professionals.
27
It has only snowed once in Cuba. This rare event occurred way back in 1857.
28
You can't take photos of military personnel, police officers, or airport personnel in Cuba, as this is illegal.
29
Sexual reassignment surgeries were made legal in Cuba in 2007, and they are supported under the country's public healthcare system.
30
Until 2008, Cubans were not allowed to own cell phones.
31
Cuba has two different currencies: One type is used by natives, while tourists use the other currency.
32
The United States pays Cuba over $4,000 annually to lease Guantanamo Bay. Cuba has not accepted the payment since 1959.
33
Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus claimed the land for Spain, which controlled it for over 400 years.
34
Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations in 2015 after being at odds for 54 years.
35
Prior to the restoration of diplomatic relations, residents of the United States had to obtain government permission before visiting Cuba.
36
Government vehicles in Cuba must stop to pick up hitchhikers.
37
The average salary in Cuba according to data from 2013 was about $20 per month.
38
In 2011, just 25% of people in Cuba had access to the internet. However, this number represents those who could visit state-controlled sites. Only 5% of the population had access to the open internet.
39
Until 2008, Cubans were not allowed to purchase their own computers.
40
Cuba is the first Communist country in the Western Hemisphere.
41
Cuba is the 16th most populous island in the world.
42
The president of Cuba serves a term that is five years. There is no limit to the terms served.
43
Baseball is Cuba's most popular sport. Boxing is also a popular sport in the country.
44
Between the ages of 17 and 28, both men and women are required to serve two years of service in the Cuban military.
45
The Cuban government owns and controls all broadcast media, including the country's radio and TV networks.
46
Cuba gained its independence from the United States in 1902 and became the Republic of Cuba.
47
Voting in Cuba is mandatory.
48
A prehistoric fish called Manger is found in Cuba. This is the only place in the world where this fish can be found.
49
There are over 250 museums in Cuba.
50
Cuba is known for its cigars, which are thought to be the finest in the world. All premium Cuban cigars are manufactured by the same company.

Cuba is a small island country with a colorful past. The country has been under the rule of the Castro family for decades now, which has given them a solid governmental front. Today, the country is working to improve its economy and rebound from the Special Period. They are leading the world in medical tourism and in medical knowledge, and part of their economic recovery has been due to doctors in the country exporting their services. The people of Cuba are vibrant and full of life. They are extremely family oriented, and love to have parties during all of the national holidays.

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