Climate: Cuba has tropical and subtropical ranges in climate. The dry season lasts from November to April, and the rainy season lasts from May to October. The average temperature for the dry season is 82 degrees farenheit, and the average temperature for the rainy season is 71 degrees farenheit. Cuba's temperature rarely drops below 40 degrees and rarely rises higher than 100 degrees. During the rainy season, the average rainfall reaches up to 50 inches.
People: Cuba's population is eleven million, making it the largest country in the Carribbean. About 70% of the population is urban, and 30% is rural. The ethnic groups are of a Spanish-American mixture. About 66 percent of the population is white, 12 percent black, and 22 percent of mixed ancestry.
Vegetation: One fourth of Cuba is covered with mountain forests. There is a lot of pine found in the western parts of Cuba. There are thirty different Native palm species, some examples are: Ebony, Cedar, and Mahogany. The Royal Palm is the most distinctive of the palms. The bark of Royal Palm is used to make peasant dwellings called bohíos, and the leaves are used as roof thatching.
Land: With an area of 44,218 square miles, Cuba is the largest of the Greater Antilles, which are islands that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. The island of Cuba is 90 miles south of Florida and a similar distance east of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Cuba is 750 miles long and ranges in width from 25 to 120 miles. Almost two-thirds of Cuba consists of level lands or gently rolling plains. The land is suitable for farming and cattle raising.
Wildlife: While fish and other marine life fill Cuba's oceans, there are hardley any land animals alive. At one time the island had deer, rabbits, peccaries, squirrels, and small wildcats, but that has all changed. Most of the land animals have been eliminated. Cuba has a lot of different varieties of birds. Some examples of the birds who meet in Cuba in the winter time are: pelicans, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, warblers, buzzards, gulls, and flamingos. Reptiles and amphibians, with the exception of lizards and frogs, are scarce. Poisonous snakes are scarce also, though boa constrictors are occasionally found.
Sports: Cubans, including their leader Fidel Castro, are very interested in athletics. Cubans play the same popular sports as most other countries in the world do. Some of the most popular ones are soccer, tennis, swimming, rowing, boxing, and sailing. Cubans often play baseball, softball, and basketball on major league U.S. teams.
Health: All medical servics in Cuba are free. Cuba's death rate and infant mortality rate were of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Infant mortality, which is the number of babies who die within a year of thier birth, is 9.4 per 1,000. With the help of the U.S., Cuba was the first Latin American nation to form a public health department. The island also was one of the first countries to eliminate malaria. Life expectancy is 75 years of age in Cuba.
Education: The literacy rate in Cuba has often been higher than many other Third World countries. In 1953 only ten percent of Haiti's population could read and write, while in the same period, Cuba's reading and writing percentage was 80. Education is free and required between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. After the age of 12, school attendance is optional. The languages taught in Cuba are mostly Spanish, but also English and Russian. There are four universities which exist in Cuba. The largest is the University of Havana, which emphasizes technology, agriculture, vocational training, and teacher training.
Economy: Major crops are sugar cane and tobacco. The fishing industry is active.
Government/Politics: After independence from Spain in 1899 after the Spanish- American War, Cuba became more and more important to the United States. United States industry invested heavily in Cuba, taking advantage of cheap labor. During Prohibition in the United States, Cuba became a resort/casino vacation spot for Americans. Many famous Americans, including Ernest Hemmingway regularly spent a great deal of time in the tropical island paradise. The capital of Cuba is Havana. The president of Cuba is Fidel Castro. He has been in power since 1958, when he and his followers overthrew the Batista regime. He established a communist dictatorship. There has been an economic embargo on goods in or out of Cuba by the United States of America since Fidel Castro took power.
Here are some interesting sites to visit:
José Martí is one of Cuba's greatest cultural/artistic heroes.
For more extensive information on Fidel Castro(student project), click here.