Highlights of Cuba


This was an unusual holiday as Elizabeth explained. It was not sitting around by a swimming pool or visiting theme parks it was experiencing the way in which Cuban society has dealt with its economic isolation from the western world.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. It is 750 miles long and up to 130 miles from north to south with a population of about 12million. To the north is the Atlantic Ocean and to the south, the Caribbean Sea.
Its recent political and economic history have shaped Cuban social outlook. The Communist revolution of 1959 under the leadership of Fidel Castro led to the United States cutting off all trade links. Cuba had then to trade with the former Communist states of eastern Europe especially the U.S.S.R. However trade was again hampered with the demise of Communism within Europe. Elizabeth told us that the Cuban government has concentrated its efforts away from the acquisition of wealth and has concentrated on improving social standards. Cuba has an exceptionally high standard of literacy, 100% in most of the younger age groups. It has also achieved comparatively good levels of basic health care. Infant mortality is low and life expectancy is high compared with other islands in the region.
The populace of Cuba is still poor, Elizabeth pointed out. Her pictures of street traders, showed us how some Cubans made their living selling or bartering goods. We saw photographs of old cars upon which the locals had used their ingenuity to keep running. We were told how luxury items espeicially electrical goods were not in evidence and that to buy a television would cost more than a flat rented from the government.
More photographs showed us how politically aware Cubans are. One of these showed Che Guevara's last letter to his revolutionary comrades immortalised on a concrete pillar.
Elizabeth told us that she did venture away from the main urban area, with her tourist party she ventured up into the highlands. This was a mainly forested area which was hot and humid where tropical plants, such as mimosa, hibiscus and poincettia could be seen. Again luxuries were missing but the sense of community was apparent.
After undertaking a little research of my own it is hard to determine the truth.about Cuba. Political extremes slant even the most basic of facts about its development since 1960.

So thanks to Elizabeth in giving an unbiased view of Cuba and it's society.