Cuban culture is a colourful, interesting, and often bizarre mix, hugely influenced by significant events in its history, both recent and past. Originally inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous people from South America, followed by Spanish colonial rule for centuries that brought a large number of African slaves to the country, Cuba’s culture is a heady mix of different European, American and African cultures.
Throughout the 20th century politics had a major influence on Cuban culture and it still does today. After struggling through years of corrupt politics heavily influenced by foreign powers and a repressive dictatorship that cost thousands of lives and saw the gap between the rich and the poor widen like never before, the Cuban revolution in 1959 saw Communism forcibly installed as the political and social structure which impacted every aspect of life, positively with the introduction of a national health service and free education for all and negatively with financial hardship, isolation suppression of civil liberties and freedom of speech.
In contrast to the political climate there is a deep passion for music and dance that is ingrained into the Cuban psyche. The birthplace of Salsa and a great influence on many other dance styles, music and art, the Cuban people’s passion for enjoying life is evident in the many bars, cafes and restaurants in its lively cities, towns and villages.
A visit to Cuba is a cultural experience unique to the island and one that will stay with you forever.