Five Things Cuba Is Famous ForPosted on November 11th, 2009 No comments
I’ve wanted to visit Cuba for some time now, but it’s not easy. Hopefully Obama will remove the travel restrictions for American citizens that want to travel to Cuba. The minute they do, I’m heading over! The picture on the left is a picture of the coastal boulevard in La Havana. From all of the pictures I’ve seen I imagine that La Havana, Cuba’s capital, looks a lot like Cartagena, Colombia, maybe a bit more worn down but a very similar architecture. Anyway, for anyone that doesn’t know too much about Cuba, here are five things Cuba is famous for (Havana should be in this list, but I’ll save that for when I actually visit).
#1. It’s cigars. Cuban cigars are known worldwide as the best cigars. As the best they are also very expensive. Cuban cigars have been called the forbidden fruit because of their distinctive flavor and aroma. The Cuban government controls all cigar production in Cuba. Cuban cigars are made from tobacco, fillers, and wrappers grown, made, and manufactured in Cuba. Cuban cigars are for the most part hand rolled by master cigar rollers known as torcedores. Torcedores are considered artists in their field and are respected highly in Cuba and around the world. Although Cuban cigars are considered the best in the world they are illegal in the United States.
#2. It’s Fidel. Fidel Castro has been a polarizing figure for decades. He is at the same time loved and hated by many. Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 as a result of the Cuban Revolution against U.S. backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. After the overthrow of Batista in 1959, Castro took charge of the military and soon became the next dictator of Cuba. From 1959 through 1960 Castro began to make sweeping changes throughout Cuba. Castro nationalized all industrial businesses, made agriculture into a collective community, and took control of all American-owned businesses. It was also during this time period that Castro began to cut times with the United States and form an alliance with the Soviet Union. Although Castro denied being a communist, he had effectively transformed Cuba into a communist country.
#3. It’s rum. Cuban rum just as Cuban cigars is among the best in the world. Cuban rum has been called the spice of life with its smooth but strong flavor. As with Cuban cigars, rum is illegal in the United States because of the trade embargo that was enacted in 1962. Cuban rum is made from the sugarcane by-product known as molasses. This process of making rum was brought to Cuba by slaves from Africa. Cuba was the main supplier of rum in the 1700’s and today the most common brand of Cuban rum is Havana Club.
#4. It’s dancing. Cuba is famous for its spicy and sexy Latin dances. Picture in your mind moving passionately across the dance floor as you step in time to the beat of your dance partner’s rhythm. Cuban dances are about passion and immersing yourself into the story of the dance. The word Salsa was created in New York, however the dance originated in Cuba. Salsa combines a mix of the Danzón from the French, the Rhumba from Africa, and the Són of Cuba. The Cha-Cha-Cha also originated in Cuba. The Cha-Cha-Cha is similar to the Mambo and gained fame in the early 1950’s. The Cha-Cha-Cha is more sensual than the Salsa and can be more complex with its many rhythms.
#5. It’s baseball. Baseball is more than just America’s favorite past time. It is one of the most played sports in Cuba with a long and rich history. Baseball was brought to Cuba sometime around 1860 by Cubans who had studied and played along side sailors in the United States. Some of the greatest baseball players in the world are of Cuban Heritage. Cristóbal Torriente, Martín Dihigo, and José Méndez are all in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cubans have played baseball in just about every nation where baseball exists in the world. Not only have Cubans played abroad but many baseball greats from other countries have gone to Cuba to play as well.
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