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Culture Cuba

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Cuba : Discover the country's culture

Read

Novels, essays, short stories, travel tales:
"Before Night Falls" by Reinaldo Arenas (a Cuban poet and writer
"Trip to Havana" by Reinaldo Arenas
"La Habana para un infante difunto" by Guillermo Cabrera Infante
"Three Trapped Tigers " by Guillermo Cabrera Infante
"Cuban Rhapsody" by Eduardo Manet
"The Island of the Green Lizard" by Eduardo Manet

Guides

Cuba (Lonely Planet Country Guide) by Conner Gorry Havana: City Guide (Lonely Planet) by Brendan Sainsbury The Rough Guide to Cuba (Rough Guide Travel Guides) by Fiona McAuslan

Music

"Step Forward" by the Afro Cuban All Stars
"Bebo rides again" by Juan Pablo Torres (tromboniste)
"Safe at home" by Juan Pablo Torres
"Trombone man" by Juan Pablo Torres
"Como pica" by Juan Pablo Torres
"Echu Minga" by Miguel Anga Diaz

Listen to the following groups:
- Sierra Maestra
- Buena vista social Club
- Maraca
- Afro Cuban All Stars
- Casa de la Trova
- Omara Portuondo
- Orquesta Aragon
- Celia Cruz
- Rubén Gonzales
- Compay Segundo
- Ibrahim Ferrer
- Bebo Valdes

The "son", salsa's ancestor country, has been brought back to life by the remarkable Wim Wenders film "Buena Vista Social Club". Here you can discover old musicians and singers, Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer who, through the release of the film, have been able to develop an international career.

In the 40s, "the rhythm barbarian", Benny Moré, was king of the Havana cabarets. He is nowadays considered the greatest Cuban singer of all times. The after-Revolution is devoted to composers, such as Pablo Milanez and Silvio Rodriguez. Today, among a crowd of excellent singers and musicians, keep the names of Adalberto Alvarez, Isaac Delgado, Chucho Valdez, los Van Van, NG la Banda and the Charanga Havanera in mind.

Cuba : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

1511: Diego Velazquez and the first Spanish settlement.

1809: first uprising for Independence.

1895: second war of Independence.

1906-1917: American military intervention in Cuba.

1925-1933: General Machado's dictatorship.

1952: Fulgencio Batista coup.

1959: Fidel Castro takes over.

1961: failure of the Cuban-American invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

1962: Cuban missile crisis.

1980: 125,000 Cubans flee to the United States from the Mariel Port.

1989: Ochoa court case.

1990: the "Special Period" began.

1993: Cubans were allowed to possess Dollars.

1994: Balsero crisis. 30,000 Cubans flee the country.

1996: over 240 mixed companies in Cuba.

1999: visit of Pope John Paul II and speech made by Fidel Castro against sexual tourism.

2000: Cuba had 40,000 hotel rooms, of which 10,000 were jointly exploited by mixed capital companies.

2000: Elian became a national symbol.

2001: in June, Fidel Castro collapsed during a speech.

2004: Using Dollars was forbidden. Tourists and Cubans had to use the convertible Peso.

March 2005: Castro's government reinforced its control over the population. Limited contact with foreigners and no gifts were to be accepted. It was illegal to enter a foreigner's house without authorisation.

August 2006: Fidel Castro's health declined and he temporarily handed over power to his brother Raul Castro.

2009: Embargo lifted by Obama administration.

Cuba : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

1st January: Celebration of the successful Revolution.

1st May: Labour Day.

26th July: Anniversary of the attack of La Moncada.

25th December: Christmas.

June: San Juan and San Pedro Festivities, in Camagüey.

July: Havana Carnival and Santiago Carnival.

February: Cigar Festival, in Havana.

June: Boleros de Oro Festival in Havana and Santiago, every two years.

August: Beny Moré Festival, at Cienfuegos, every two years.

October: Latin-American Cultural Fiesta in Holguin.

October and November: Havana Ballet Festival, every two years.