Portal:Cuba/Selected article

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Portal:Cuba/Selected article/1

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Tourism in Cuba attracts over 2 million visitors a year, and is one of the main sources of revenue for the island. With its favorable climate, beaches, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history, Cuba has long been an attractive destination for travelers from around the globe, and benefited from its close proximity to the United States to gain a reputation as a hedonistic escape for U.S. tourists. As relations between Cuba and the United States deteriorated rapidly after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the island became cut off from its traditional market by an embargo and travel ban imposed on U.S. citizens visiting Cuba, and the industry declined to record low levels within two years.

Following the collapse of Cuba's chief trading partner the Soviet Union, and the resulting economic crisis known as the Special Period, Cuba embarked on a major program to bolster its tourist industry in order to bring in much needed finance to the island. Schemes to encourage visitors resulted in the tourism surpassing Cuba's traditional export industry, sugar, as the leading source of revenue by the late 1990s. Visitors come primarily from Canada and Europe and tourist areas are highly concentrated around Varadero Beach, Cayo Coco, the beach areas north of Holguin, and Havana. The impact on Cuba's socialist society and economy has been significant, leading to complaints that the state has fostered a form of divisive wealth apartheid on the island.

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Salsa music is a diverse and predominantly Spanish Caribbean genre that is popular across Latin America and among Latinos abroad. Salsa incorporates multiple styles and variations; the term can be used to describe most any form of popular Cuban-derived genre, such as cha-cha-chá and mambo. Most specifically, however, salsa refers to a particular style developed in the 1960s and '70s by Cuban immigrants and Puerto Rican migrants to the New York City area, and stylistic descendants like 1980s salsa romántica. The style is now practiced throughout Latin America and abroad; in some countries it may be referred to as música tropical.

Salsa is essentially Cuban in stylistic origin, though it is also a hybrid of Puerto Rican and other Latin styles mixed with pop, jazz, rock, and R&B. Salsa is the primary music played at Latin dance clubs and is the "essential pulse of Latin music", according to author Ed Morales, while music author Peter Manuel called it the "most popular dance (music) among Puerto Rican and Cuban communities, (and in) Central and South America", and "one of the most dynamic and significant pan-American musical phenomena of the 1970s and 1980s". Modern salsa remains a dance-oriented genre and is closely associated with a style of salsa dancing.

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Fidel castro in 1959 in Washington, D.C.

History Will Absolve Me (Spanish:"La historia me absolverá") is the concluding sentence and subsequent title of a four-hour speech made by Fidel Castro on 16 October 1953. Castro made the speech in his own defense in court against the charges brought against him after leading an attack on the Moncada Barracks. Though no record of Castro's words was kept, he reconstructed them later for publication in what was to become the manifesto of his 26th of July Movement. The trial helped propel Castro into the public consciousness as a leading figure in the resistance to the government of Fulgencio Batista.

Though sentenced to terms of up to 15 years for their roles in the Moncada attacksentences[›], all of the rebels were released after an amnesty in 1955. Castro relocated to Mexico before returning to Cuba on the Granma yacht alongside other revolutionaries including Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Together they fomented the Cuban revolution that was to take power in 1959.

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Cuba-United States relations date back long before either of their independence movements. Plans for purchase of the nearby island have been put forward at various times by the United States. As the Spanish influence waned, the United States gradually gained a position of economic and political dominance over the island, with the vast majority of foreign investment holdings, the bulk of imports and exports in its hands, and a major stake in Cuban political affairs to uphold. Following the Cuban Revolution of 1959 relations deteriorated substantially, and have since been marked by tension and confrontations.

The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Cuba and has maintained an embargo which makes it illegal for U.S. corporations to do business with Cuba. US diplomatic representation in Cuba is handled by the United States Interests Section in Havana and a similar "Cuban Interests Section" remains in Washington; both are officially part of the respective embassies of Switzerland.

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Old Square, Havana.jpg

Havana (Spanish: La Habana [aˈβana]), formerly named San Cristóbal de La Habana) is the capital of Cuba. The city also forms one of the 14 provinces of Cuba, with the province called "City of Havana" (Ciudad de La Habana). With a population of more than 2.3 million, Havana is the largest city in both Cuba and the Caribbean. It is located just over 144 kilometres (90 miles) south-southwest of Key West, Florida. It is located on the northwest coast of Cuba, facing the Straits of Florida, and is surrounded by Havana Province to the south, east, and west.

Havana City is one of the smallest of the Cuban provinces, but the most populous. There are different architectural styles in the city, from houses of the 17th Century to modern constructions. Havana is the most important destination for tourists in Cuba and one of the most important in Latin America. It is also the center of government, and various ministries are based in the city, as are the head offices of businesses such as Corporacion Cimex. The industries in Havana are an important part of the economy of the country. Havana’s harbor is the most important in Cuba and through it come and go half of Cuba's imports and exports.

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Reconstruction of Taino village, Cuba.JPG

The Taíno are pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of Cuba and the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and some of the Lesser Antilles. It was believed that the seafaring Taíno were relatives of the Arawakan people of South America. Their language is a member of the Maipurean linguistic family, which ranges from South America across the Caribbean, and is thought to have been part of the larger, hypothetical group of Arawakan languages that would have spread over an even wider area. The Taíno of the Bahamas were known as the Lucayan (the Bahamas being known then as the Lucayas).

At the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492, there were five Taíno kingdoms or territories on Hispaniola, each led by a principal Cacique (chieftain), to whom tribute was paid. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the largest Taíno population centers may have contained around 3,000 people or more. The Taíno were historical neighbors and enemies of the Carib, another group with origins in South America who lived principally in the Lesser Antilles. The relationship between the two groups has been the subject of much study.

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The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in Havana, Cuba that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s. In the 1990s, nearly 40 years after the club was closed, it inspired a recording made by Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, some of whom were veterans who had performed at the club during the height of its popularity.

The recording, named Buena Vista Social Club after the Havana institution, became an international success, and the ensemble was encouraged to perform with a full line-up in Amsterdam in 1999. German film director Wim Wenders captured the performance followed by a second concert in Carnegie Hall, New York City for a documentary film that was accompanied by interviews with the musicians conducted in Havana. Wenders's film, also called Buena Vista Social Club, was released to critical acclaim receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary feature, and winning numerous accolades including Best Documentary at the European Film Awards.

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Jose Basulto, the organization's leader

Brothers to the Rescue (Spanish: Hermanos al Rescate) is a Miami-based activist organization headed by José Basulto. Formed by Cuban exiles, the group is widely known for its opposition to the Cuban government and President Fidel Castro. The group formed in 1991 and describes itself as a humanitarian organization aiming to assist and rescue raft refugees emigrating from Cuba and to "support the efforts of the Cuban people to free themselves from dictatorship through the use of active nonviolence".

The Cuban government on the other hand accuses them of involvement in terrorist acts. In the course of many flights throughout the early 1990s, the group's planes made repeated incursions illegals into Cuban territory. While these were widely considered airspace violations, Brothers to the Rescue believes that these were acts of legitimate resistance against the government. In 1996, ignoring a final warning by Cuba, two Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force, leading to international condemnation.

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The Plaza Mayor in Trinidad, Cuba, is the historic centre of the town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The buildings surrounding the central square date from the 18th and 19th centuries when trade in sugar from the nearby Valle de los Ingenios and slaves, brought great riches to the area. Many of the buildings surrounding the central square belonged to the wealthy landowners of the city. When the trade in sugar diminished and the slave trade ended in the mid-19th century, Trinidad became a backwater and because little building work was carried until the 1950s many of the historic buildings and streets were preserved, especially the grand constructions in the immediate vicinity of the Plaza Mayor. Today, most of the houses surrounding the square are home to museums.

The colonial houses of Trinidad are typified by red terracotta tiled roofs supported out beyond the walls by wooden beams. Pastel-coloured paintwork for the houses is normal with wood and plasterwork details picked out in different colours to the brickwork.

Portal:Cuba/Selected article/10 Granma is the yacht that was used to transport the fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot (18-meter) diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people. It is said to have been named for the original owner's grandmother.

The yacht was purchased on 10 October 1956 for the amount of MX$50,000 (US$15,000) from the U.S.-based Schuylkill Products Company, Inc. by a Mexican citizen secretly representing Fidel Castro. Castro's 26th of July Movement had attempted to purchase a Catalina flying boat or a US naval crash boat for the purpose of crossing the Gulf of Mexico to Cuba, but had been thwarted by lack of funds. The money to purchase the Granma had been raised in Florida by former President of Cuba Carlos Prío Socarrás.

Shortly after midnight on 25 November 1956 in the Mexican port of Tuxpan, Veracruz, the Granma was surreptitiously boarded by 82 members of the 26th of July Movement including their leader, Fidel Castro, his brother, Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. The group — who later came to be known collectively as los expedicionarios del yate Granma — set out from Tuxpan at 1 a.m. and, after a series of vicissitudes and misadventures, including the near foundering of their heavily overladen and leaking craft, disembarked on the shores of what is now Granma Province on 2 December. The location was chosen to emulate the voyage of Cuban hero José Martí, who had landed in the same region 61 years earlier during the wars of independence from Spanish colonial rule.

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Charles Edward Magoon

Charles Edward Magoon (December 5, 1861 – January 14, 1920) was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of the Panama Canal Zone and an occupation governor of Cuba. He was also the subject of several small scandals during his career.

As a legal advisor working for the United States Department of War, he drafted recommendations and reports that were used by Congress and the executive branch in governing the United States' new territories following the Spanish–American War. These reports were collected as a published book in 1902, then considered the seminal work on the subject. During his time as a governor, Magoon worked to put these recommendations into practice.

Portal:Cuba/Selected article/12 The Angolan Civil War began, when Angola won its war for independence in 1975, with the Communist MPLA fighting the anti-Communist UNITA. FLEC, an association of separatist militant groups, fought for the independence of Cabinda. Formally brought to an end in 2002, an estimated 500,000 people were killed in the 27-year-long war.

The civil war, one of the largest Cold War conflicts in the developing world, involved three main factions and several smaller ones. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola's (MPLA) base is among the Kimbundu people and the multiracial intelligentsia of Luanda. The MPLA, supported by the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, fought against the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), an organization based in the Bakongo region of the north and allied with the United States, the People's Republic of China and the Mobutu government in Zaïre. The United States, apartheid South Africa, and several other African nations also supported Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), whose ethnic and regional base lies in the Ovimbundu heartland of central Angola.

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Alicia Alonso 1955.jpg

Alicia Alonso (born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad Martínez Hoya; 21 December 1921) is a Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer. Her company became the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1955. From the age of nineteen, Alonso was afflicted with an by a sight condition and became partially blind. Her partners always had to be in the exact place she expected them to be, and she used lights in different parts of the stage to guide herself.

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