Cuba

Flag of Cuba

Flag of Cuba

Bee Hummingbird

Bee Hummingbird

 

 

 

 

Country Cuba (Republic of Cuba)  (link to map of Cuba)
Continent Island nation between Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean
Capital Havana
Population 11,239,004 (2015 census)
Language Spanish
Religion Roman Catholic 60%, Evangelical Protestant 5%, Folk religion 17% (e.g. Santeria)
Terrain Mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Sports Baseball, volleyball, football, cricket, amateur boxing
Animals Birds:  the Cuban finch that is only 3.5” tall; the Bee hummingbird (world’s smallest at 2.25”); the Trogon (national bird, pictured above) and the Cuban Kite (thought to be extinct until 3 were recently found)

Mammals: the Greater Bulldog bat (lives near water and feeds mostly on fish); the Cuban Solenodon was thought to be extinct

Reptiles: The Cuban Treefrog is the largest in North America while the Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth is the smallest living frog in the Northern Hemisphere

Facts of Interest The island became a Spanish colony after Christopher Columbus visited in 1492

Large numbers of slaves were brought from African to work in the sugarcane and coffee plantations

US helped Cuba achieve its independence from Spain in the Spanish-American war of 1898 followed by full independence in 1902

After a string of regime changes, Fidel Castro led a rebel army to victory in 1959 to become president of the ruling Marxist-Leninist communist party

Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 nearly started nuclear war between the US and Russia

On February, 2008, Raul Castro took over as president

On July 20, 2015 the US and Cuba reopened embassies in their respective counties and passenger flights between the two countries resumed in 2016.

Concerns The government has repressed nearly all forms of political dissent; with reported human rights abuses including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial executions.  Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalist of any nation in 2008

More than 1.5 million Cubans have left the island for the US, Spain, Italy, Canada, Sweden as well as many other countries

Many animals are on the endangered list: e.g. Cuban Crocodile, Ground Iguana

Economic depression due to US embargo; country stuck in 1960’s

Mission The Presbyterian Church maintains witness in Cuba since 1890.  The gospel is preached in more than 40 communities across 4 provinces.

Many organizations support aid to overcome the poor economic conditions

Sources en.wikipedia.org; cia.com; culturequest.us; presbyterianmission.org; adventures.org