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Top 10 reasons to visit Cuba in July.

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- by Izzy and Ian
When international travelers think about summer in Cuba, the images that sometimes come to mind are heat, sun, tropical storms. The truth is that summer time, specially the month of July, is not as bad as many people think - it's the driest part of summer, and it marks a time in which Cubans are at the peak of enjoying their culture. In our opinion, there is no better time to see the real Cuba. To assuage any potential doubt, we offer you:
10 reasons to visit Cuba in July
1. Hope you like mango - and nearly every other delicious tropical fruit.So much is in season in July! Sweet mangos are practically dripping off trees. Pineapple is like candy. Avocado is everywhere, as is banana, guava, watermelon, and papaya. Mamey, which tastes a bit like a creamy pumpkin pie milkshake, is a Cuban favorite and a must-try. At breakfast you will be offered a large plate with a variety of sliced fruit for you to eat at your leisure. You'll also have a glass of freshly made trop…

Cuban Constitution Update: An important moment for Cuba. (Traducido al español)

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Written and translated by Izzy Valdés.
There are a lot of changes going on in the top levels of Cuban government right now. (Read our article about the recent elections here.) The first special session of the Cuban Parliament IX Legislature started in Havana on June the 2nd.
The 572 delegates of the Parliament gathered at the Havana Convention Center in order to analyze and approve the results of an administrative experiment: the integration of permanent decision-making commissions in the National Assembly of People’s Power (Cuban Parliament). This administrative experiment was carried out in the provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque from 2012 to present.
Responding to the new transformations of the Cuban socialist model, they approved the process of constitutional reform and the commission integrated by delegates in charge of writing and presenting the new constitutional project.
The commission to update the Constitution is increased by 33 parliamentary members that belong to different bac…

The History of Salsa Music and Dance (traducido al español)

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Written by Sophia Bass, translated below by Izzy Valdés.

I've always wanted to trace the origins of Salsa music. When I was traveling through Havana in 2017, I learned that Salsa is one of the most dynamic and important musical phenomena of the 1900's. Salsa combines Afro-Cuban dance, Spanish guitar, and complex rhythms that have become internationally acclaimed in cities such as New York City to Barcelona, Spain. While New York actually created the term "Salsa," the United States did not create the dance.

Historically, Cubans gave birth to the origins of what is referred to as Salsa. The term became popular to refer to the variety of music from Latin American countries including Mambo, Rhumba, Bomba, Cumbia, Charanga, and many other forms of dance. The most famous musicians of the 1950's were Tito Puente, called the King of Mambo, and Celia Cruz, known as the Queen of Salsa.

To trace the roots of Salsa music we can look to West Africa where slave trade thrived bet…

Cuba's Education System (traducido al español)

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Written by Sophia Bass, translated below by Izzy Valdés 

When I first arrived in Cuba I was intrigued when I learned that public education is one of Cuba's top priorities. Ever since 1959 when President Batista was in political power, he was determined to eliminate illiteracy throughout Cuba. According to the World Bank, Cuba reported 12.84% of GDP in 2010 for public spending on education. Today, Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

As I was perusing the streets of Old Havana, I met young men and women between the ages of twenty-five and thirty waiting tables or playing music on street corners. One man named José who served me coffee said, "Would you believe me if I told you I was a dentist?"

I replied, "Yes, but why are you serving me coffee then?"

José stated, "I make more money waiting tables than I do working as a dentist in Cuba."

José explained that the joke about Cuba is that there is a doctor or lawyer on every street corn…

The Forbidden Shore: A Documentary about Cuban Music (Traducido al español)

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Written by Sophia Bass, translated below by Izzy Valdés.
Cuba is known for its diverse music scene that combines European, African, and  Caribbean sounds. While you may be familiar with Cuban band, Buena Vista Social Club, the majority of the international world has not been exposed to Cuba's wide array of musicians and artists that play regularly on the streets of Old Havana. 
The documentary, The Forbidden Shore, showcases over 40 performances and interviews by Cuba's top artists. This film highlights how little the global world knows about Cuba and Latin America. Director Ron Chapman wanted the international community to know about the diversity of Cuban music. Chapman explains that he was in awe when he traveled to Cuba for the first time because he was unaware of the musical diversity on the Caribbean island.
Artistic Director, Diana Vargas states, "We wanted to show a snapshot of the work that is being produced in Cuba today." As many people wanted to learn why Ch…

Elections in Cuba: How it Works

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Written by Ian Sergeant and Sophia Bass

Cuba’s presidential elections having just passed, we thought we would help alleviate any confusion that there may be regarding Cuba’s electoral process.

In 2007, Raul Castro assumed power when his brother Fidel Castro fell ill. He was officially elected president in February 2008. After his reelection in 2013, Raul promised that he would only hold power for this second 5-year term, and then step down as president. This was extended by a couple of months after Hurricane Irma, in order to ensure the stability of the republic. On April 19th, 2018, Cuba’s National Assembly elected Miguel Diaz-Canel president of Cuba.

The National Assembly of People’s Power is Cuba’s Parliament and is made up of 605 members, chosen on a local level through democratic elections. The last election was March 2018. They are the only body in the Republic invested with constituent and legislative authority. This means that when it is time to choose new leadership, the respo…