So here’s audience, ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR,
FIVE. Here ya go. Good? Yep. Okay. So when I hear someone mention the country of Cuba
the first things that come to my mind are good food, communism, and Ricky Ricardo. But
I am here to tell you tonight how there is so much more to Cuba than its Communist Party
and a character on a Television show. First, I’ll tell you a little bit more about Cuba.
Then I will tell you about how you may visit Cuba and what you should know before you do
and finally, I will tell you more about the Cuban citizens and their culture. Let me begin
by telling you more about Cuba itself. Cuba is an archipelago of two islands, the
Island of Cuba and the “Isle of Youth,” located approximately 90 miles south of the
United States. It is almost the size of the state of Pennsylvania. They have low hills
and fertile valleys with an average annual temperature of 75 degrees, which would be
nice, right? The “Land and Climate” section on Cuba, by CultureGrams World Edition, also
says that May through October is their wet season when rain and hurricanes are more prevalent.
Cuba is a socialist state operating under the Communist Party.
Fidel Castro, the well known President stepped down in 2006 and was replaced by his brother
Raul. Raul has introduced social reforms to help stimulate the Cuban economy. But in a
section on the “Government” in Cuba, by CultureGrams World Edition, he has announced
his plans to retire in 2018 and he will be replaced by his current vice president. Now,
I want to tell you about what it would entail to travel to Cuba but I must warn you that
this has recently changed. Currently it is illegal for a US citizen to travel to Cuba
specifically for vacation purposes; however there are people to people programs, where
you can travel to Cuba on a authorized visa that will allow you to interact with Cuban
citizens and learn more about their culture. But it’s not a vacation, it’s a culture trip.
However, according to Pete Kasperowicz’s article, “Cuba shuts down US travel visas,”
on The Hill website, as of February 14 of this year, that has been shut down. Cuba is
no longer authorizing travel visas for US citizens. The only way that a US citizen can
legally travel to Cuba as of now is on a humanitarian trip, and what that means is you would have
to go with a religious group or a mission group to travel to Cuba. Finally, let me tell
you more about the Cuban citizens and their lifestyle and culture. There are several integrated
ethnic groups in Cuba, but 65 percent of the country is comprised of Spanish white descent.
According to a CultureGrams section on “Language” in Cuba, Spanish is the official language,
but English is a required course of study in their school systems. Most people don’t
actual practice a religion, although most Cubans will say they are Catholic. The people
of Cuba are energetic and family oriented. There is music, and dancing and festivals,
they are are hospitable and they like to host guests in their homes with food. Some of their
favorite foods, which I’m familiar with, are flan, beans and rice, um, plantains, and mangoes.
They have a collectivistic culture. They have strong family ties. Um, multigenerational
families are common, and it’s not uncommon for grandparents to help raise the children.
As far as communication is concerned, they like to speak a lot with their hands, they
make their conversations very animated, and often times they will interrupt the person
that they’re speaking with, but it is not meant to be offensive. And they like to keep
an intimate to personal distance between them and the person that they’re speaking to. In
terms of extracurricular activities, baseball is the most popular sport, which, my ladies
here are familiar with. And Dominoes is a common form of entertainment in the actual
home. When it comes to vacations, Cubans like to go to the beaches of Cuba or also go camping.
So as you can see, based on what we’ve talked about here tonight, there is much more to
Cuba than its communist party and Ricky Ricardo, on the Lucy show. First I told you about Cuba’s
geography and their government. And then I told you what it would mean to travel there,
and finally, I wrapped it up by telling you more about their people and culture. After
hearing all of this about Cuba tonight, I hope that you have a better understanding
of their unique and energetic lively culture.