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Cuba (/ˈkjuːbə/ (About this soundlisten); Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkuβa]), officially the Republic of Cuba (RCUB.ogg), is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi) (109,884 square kilometers (42,426 sq mi) without the territorial waters). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including short-term arbitrary imprisonment.

Under Castro, Cuba was involved in a broad range of military and humanitarian activities in Guinea-Bissau, Syria, Angola, Algeria, South Yemen, North Vietnam, Laos, Zaire, Iraq, Libya, Zanzibar, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo-Brazzaville, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Cuba sent more than 400,000 of its citizens to fight in Angola (1975–91) and defeated South Africa's armed forces in conventional warfare involving tanks, planes, and artillery. Cuban intervention in Angola contributed to the downfall of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
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Cuba's provinces as shown on a 1910s map

Oriente (Spanish for "East" or "Orient"), known as Santiago de Cuba Province before 1905, was one of six provinces of Cuba until 1976. The earlier name is still used to refer to the eastern part of the country. Fidel and Raúl Castro were born in a small town in this province (Birán).

The province was split in 1976, with the administrative re-adjustment proclaimed by Cuban Law Number 1304 of July 3, 1976. Historical Oriente is currently represented by five different provinces: Las Tunas Province, Granma Province, Holguín Province, Santiago de Cuba Province, and Guantánamo Province. Read more...

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The following are images from various Cuba-related articles on Wikipedia.

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  • ... that Spanish general Valeriano Weyler (pictured) devised a reconcentration plan for Cubans in 1897 that is believed to be the origin of the tactic of concentration camps used during the 20th century?

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In December 1971, the freighters Leyla Express and Johnny Express were seized by Cuban gunboats off the coast of Cuba. The Leyla Express was stopped off the Cuban coast on December 5: the Johnny Express was intercepted by gunboats of the island of Little Inagua in the Bahamas ten days later. Some of the crew of the Johnny Express, including the captain, were injured when the gunboats fired on their vessel. The freighters both carried Panamanian flags of convenience, but belonged to the Bahama Lines corporation, based in Miami. The company was run by four brothers, Cuban exiles who had previously been involved in activities directed against the Cuban government. Cuba stated that both vessels were being used by the US Central Intelligence Agency to transport weapons, explosives, and personnel to Cuba, and accused the ships of piracy. Cuba had suspected the involvement of one of Bahama Lines ships in shelling the Cuban village of Samá, on the northern coast of Oriente Province, a few months previously; several civilians had died in the attack. The US government and the Bahama Lines denied the accusations.

Cuba released the crew of both ships to Panamanian custody, but announced that José Villa, the captain of the Johnny Express, would face trial as he had confessed to being an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency. The US asked the Panamanian government of Omar Torrijos to negotiate his release. Rómulo Escobar Bethancourt and Manuel Noriega traveled to Cuba, where they negotiated Villa's release into Panamanian custody, in return for which criminal charges were brought against Villa in Panama, though he was released without being convicted. The success of the negotiations undertaken by Noriega were later used by him to bargain with the US government. As a consequence of the incident, the US ordered all its naval and air forces in the region to go to the aid of any ships coming under attack from Cuban vessels. A Panamanian mission which investigated the incident concluded, based on the ships logs, that the vessels had in fact brought insurgent forces to Cuban territory, and that the Cuban government's accusations were accurate. Read more...

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Ana Albertina Delgado Álvarez (born April 1963 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban artist. Her main disciplines are painting, installations and photography. She studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro in Havana, Cuba. In 1988 she graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Havana, Cuba. During the 1980s she was member of the group Vinculación and also of the Group Puré in Havana, Cuba. Read more...

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Cyclura nubila

The Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila), also known as the Cuban ground iguana or Cuban iguana, is a species of lizard of the iguana family. It is the largest of the West Indian rock iguanas (genus Cyclura), one of the most endangered groups of lizards. This herbivorous species with red eyes, a thick tail, and spiked jowls is one of the largest lizards in the Caribbean.

The Cuban iguana is distributed throughout the rocky southern coastal areas of mainland Cuba and its surrounding islets with a feral population thriving on Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico. A subspecies is found on the Cayman Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Females guard their nest sites and often nest in sites excavated by Cuban crocodiles. As a defense measure, the Cuban iguana often makes its home within or near prickly-pear cacti. Read more...



Selected picture

Credit: Elemaki
View of a street in Trinidad, Cuba, part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Quote of the day

Máximo Gómez writing to Tomás Estrada Palma in 1895.

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