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Sunday 25th June
Cuba Facts
The highest point in Cuba is Pico Turquino (2,005 m).

The Vinales Valley, an outstanding karst landscape, was added to the World Heritage List in 1999.

The coffee plantations of South-East Cuba dating from the nineteenth century were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.

Although Columbus landed in Cuba, it was Diego Velasquez who colonised the island for Spain.

Havana and Trinidad, cities founded by Velaquez, are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Jose Marti, who formed the Cuban Revolutionary Party in 1892, became a martyr in the first battle with the Spanish in 1895 riding to his death into the enemy lines.

The US Hershey chocolate company owned a large sugar plantation in Cuba.

The Tropicana, a very famous nightclub, was opened over half a century ago in Havana.

Before the Revolution, the Mafia ran many of Cuba's hotels and casinos.

Ernesto Che Guevara, a medical doctor, philosophical writer, poet and hero of the Cuban Revolution, became an international icon in the 1960s.

After the Revolution university students worked in the community to improve literacy. All Cuban towns have libraries.

The Americans have a Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay on the southern end of Cuba, leased until the year 2033.

One and a half million Cuban exiles live in Florida; Miami has a very large Cuban population.

The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has developed vaccines and drugs for a number of serious illnesses.

The International Medical Aid Programme has sent thousands of Cuban doctors to Third World countries and offers scholarships to medical students from Third World countries.

Cuban health care workers use computer technology to assist the implementation of Fidel Castro's objective that Cuba should be a world medical power.

Cuba's biotechnology industry has developed a vaccine for treating lung cancer which Cuban scientists say has prolonged the lives of Cubans suffering from the disease.

Cuba is world famous for its cigars such as Monte Cristo, Romeo y Julietta and Cohiba.

Cuba is a "living museum" of 1950s American Cadillacs and Chevrolets, etc. which have been kept running since the Revolution because no new US cars can be imported.

Carlos Acosta, the world famous ballet dancer, was trained through the Cuban state ballet system. At 16 he danced with the Bolshoi and went on to become a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London.

In 1993 a storm destroyed thousands of homes in Cuba. Hurricane Lili caused considerable damage in 1996.

Hurricane Dennis hit Cuba in 2005 causing widespread destruction; sixteen people lost their lives.

Tropical storm Gustav was one of a series of storms that hit Cuba in 2008. Hundreds of buildings were afffected and crops destroyed.

In February 2008 Raul Castro, Fidel's younger brother, took over as president; Fidel Castro led Cuba for nearly five decades.

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