The Republic of Cuba sits about 90 miles south of Key West Florida with a land mass of about 40,000 square miles.  About 11M people live in this island country with 2.2M people in its largest city, Havana.

Cuba became a Communist country in 1959 following a revolution lead by Fidel Castro and was a client state of the Soviet Union. But  with the Soviet Union’s fall in 1989, the country has been suffering economically. The economy is state-run with a large service industry catering to foreign tourists. in the last couple of years, under the guidance of Raul Castro, Cuba has finally begun to focus on developing its economy. As in many totalitarian countries, there are shortages of  basic goods, and Cuba has a thriving black market for necessities.

While poor, the Cuban government values health and Education.  There is a 99.8% literacy rate.  The infant death rate is lower than some developed countries and Cubans have an average life expectancy of 77.64 years.  Cuba has more physicians per capita than any other country in the wold. 

Cuba has been under an embargo from the US since the revolution in 1959.  Contrary to popular belief, Americans are not banned from traveling to Cuba. We are not permitted to spend any money there.  However, Americans can travel to Cuba under cultural exchanges, family visits or through humanitarian efforts.  In fact, we entered with a Humanitarian license under the auspices of an AIDS clinic.  Cuban Americans are allowed to send currency to their families in Cuba and do so regularly.

Cuba is a country of contrasts with an enormous potential for growth.

Spring 2011

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