A kiss (from Old English cyssan "to kiss", in turn from coss "a kiss", perhaps onomatopoeic) is the touching of the lips to some other thing, usually another person. Science of kissing is called Philematology.
Kissing is a learned behaviour, related to the grooming behaviour seen between other animals. Many non-human primates also exhibit kissing behaviour.
Kissing as affection
In modern Western culture, kissing is most commonly an expression of affection.
Between people of close acquaintance, a kiss, often reciprocal, is offered as a greeting or a good-bye. This kind of kiss is typically made by brief contact of puckered lips to the skin of the cheek or no contact at all, and merely performed in the air near the cheek with the cheeks touching. Such kissing is a common greeting in European and Latin American countries between a man and a woman or between two women. Relatives may kiss children to comfort them or show affection, and vice versa.
As an expression of romantic affection or sexual desire, kissing involves two people kissing one another on the lips, usually with much more intensity, and for a considerably longer period of time. In more passionate kissing couples may open their mouths, suck on each others' lips, or move their tongues into each others' mouths (see French kissing). Sexualized kissing may also involve one person kissing another on various parts of the body.
In romantic and sexual kissing, the physical sensations are often of primary importance.
Kissing as symbolismA symbolic kiss
When not an expression of affection, a kiss is a largely symbolic gesture in that the purpose of the kiss is to convey a meaning, such as salutations or subordination, rather than to experience the physical sensations associated with kissing. Kisses on the cheek as salutations are traditional in many parts of continental Europe, and the number of kisses, alternating cheeks, depends on which region one comes from.
Kissing may also be used to signify reverence and subordination, as in kissing the ring of a king or pope. A kiss can also be rude or done for the sake of irritating or proving one's superiority. A rude kiss or a kiss with a smack is referred to, in the USA, as a buss.
A more ominous use of the kiss is as a symbol of condemnation as may be observed when a crime lord kisses an underling, in effect imposing a sentence of death upon that person, the ultimate "goodbye kiss" or the "kiss of death."
The term Kissing Hands is used to formally describe the appointment of the senior state figures to office by British monarchs. Though in the past, the monarch's hand was actually kissed, this is no longer so. When figures such as the British Prime Minister, cabinet members and diplomatics are formally appointed, they are said to have Kissed Hands. (Kissing the hand is still practised as a romantic flourish, especially in Latin countries.)Man kissing boy
Miyagawa Isshô, ca. 1750; One of ten panels on shudo themes from a shunga-style painted hand scroll. Private collection.
The term is also used for expressions of affection that do not involve the lips. The "Eskimo Kiss" is executed by the two individuals gently rubbing the tips of their noses together — in the Maori culture of New Zealand this is called a hongi. A "butterfly kiss" consists of two people putting their eyes close to each other and fluttering their eyelashes upon one another's.
A kiss can be "blown" using actions of the hand and the mouth. This is used to convey affection usually while parting, when the partners are physically distant but can view each other. Blown kisses are also used when a popular person wishes to convey affection to a large crowd or audience.
The kiss does not exist in all cultures, as certain societies find it repugnant.Young couple kiss in Minnesota, 1900
Asymmetry in kissing
In order to avoid clashing noses, a couple will often turn their faces to one side or another when kissing, so that their heads are at an angle from one another. Often, to make this more comfortable, one person, sitting upright, will support another, perhaps across their lap and in their arms, thus combining hugging and kissing. The person supporting the other is most likely taking the more active role in kissing the other. Writing in Nature, psychologist Oner Güntürkün observed couples kissing in public places such as airports and parks, and showed that the direction of turning is more frequently to the right than the left by a 2:1 ratio. Güntürkün ascribed this asymmetry to a neonatal right side preference.
(data from Nature 421, 711 (13 February 2003); doi:10.1038/421711a)
The anatomy of kissing
Kissing is a complex behaviour that requires significant coordination. The most important muscle involved is the orbicularis oris muscle; it is used to pucker the lips and informally known as the kissing muscle. The tongue can also be an important part of the kiss.The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.
Kisses in history, art and literature
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The tongue can also be an important part of the kiss. On a total population of 11 million, Cuba has 250,000 educators, 67,500 medical doctors, and 34,000 physical education and sports professionals and technicians.. The most important muscle involved is the orbicularis oris muscle; it is used to pucker the lips and informally known as the kissing muscle. More than 100 million USD are currently being invested in the pharmaceutical industry. Kissing is a complex behaviour that requires significant coordination. Today, Cuba is a leading nation in biotechnology, and Cuban expertise is exported to Iran ; however some claim that this relates to biowar potential . (data from Nature 421, 711 (13 February 2003); doi:10.1038/421711a). Combined with the removal of marginal land from sugar farming, this led to a reduction in total sugar production of over 70% from around 7 millions tons anually in the late 1980s to around 3 million tons annually in the late 1990s  ; to 1.6 million tons in 2004 .
Güntürkün ascribed this asymmetry to a neonatal right side preference. Currently, only organic agriculture is permitted by law, which while having the effect of reducing the need for imports, has also led to lower yields. Writing in Nature, psychologist Oner Güntürkün observed couples kissing in public places such as airports and parks, and showed that the direction of turning is more frequently to the right than the left by a 2:1 ratio. By restructuring its agricultural industry, and focusing scientific efforts on organic solutions, Cuba managed to rapidly and successfully convert the country to entirely organic production. The person supporting the other is most likely taking the more active role in kissing the other. Its agricultural sector, built on a large-scale, mechanized, chemical-based model, was instantly crippled. Often, to make this more comfortable, one person, sitting upright, will support another, perhaps across their lap and in their arms, thus combining hugging and kissing. In the early 1990s, post-Soviet Union, Cuba lost over 70% of agricultural chemical imports, over 50% of food imports, and an equally significant amount of oil.
In order to avoid clashing noses, a couple will often turn their faces to one side or another when kissing, so that their heads are at an angle from one another. However, it is wise to keep in mind that Cuban government is said by some to be less than open about agricultural abuses . The kiss does not exist in all cultures, as certain societies find it repugnant. Cuba is notable for its national organic agriculture initiative. Blown kisses are also used when a popular person wishes to convey affection to a large crowd or audience. Apparently not all of this has been completed since recently the housing conditions in Cuba are regarded as state secrets . This is used to convey affection usually while parting, when the partners are physically distant but can view each other. The Cuban government predicts that no less than 10,000 of the homes destroyed will be built again as new and the plans to finish and construct new homes to cover the most urgent requirements will continue, up to at least 30,000 additional housing.
A kiss can be "blown" using actions of the hand and the mouth. Plans to repair the majority of homes partially affected by Hurricane Dennis and others  are said underway. A "butterfly kiss" consists of two people putting their eyes close to each other and fluttering their eyelashes upon one another's. Over 7,300 homes have been completed in 2005; thus it is expected (estimating five people per residence) that in about three hundred years all housing will be replaced. The "Eskimo Kiss" is executed by the two individuals gently rubbing the tips of their noses together — in the Maori culture of New Zealand this is called a hongi. He says that if the United States get hit, the economy of the rest of the country will take the blow, but if a Caribbean island gets hit, that may devastate the entire economy. The term is also used for expressions of affection that do not involve the lips. All Caribbean islands suffer from hurricanes and the Cuban government uses this as an argument to urge the islands to cooperate, promoting an agreement of mutual self-insurance, so that if one island gets hit, the other islands will help it out.
(Kissing the hand is still practised as a romantic flourish, especially in Latin countries.). A major problem is damage from hurricanes. When figures such as the British Prime Minister, cabinet members and diplomatics are formally appointed, they are said to have Kissed Hands. The economy has been helped in recent years by strong tourism, international investment in nickel production and oil exploration as well as beneficial oil purchases from Venezuela, in exchange for medical services. Though in the past, the monarch's hand was actually kissed, this is no longer so. Although struggling with its economy since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has seen substantial improvements since the early 1990s. The term Kissing Hands is used to formally describe the appointment of the senior state figures to office by British monarchs. Behavioral caution appropriate for a command state are advised for vistors .
A more ominous use of the kiss is as a symbol of condemnation as may be observed when a crime lord kisses an underling, in effect imposing a sentence of death upon that person, the ultimate "goodbye kiss" or the "kiss of death.". government. A rude kiss or a kiss with a smack is referred to, in the USA, as a buss. citizens are liable to fines and imprisonment if discovered and prosecuted by the U.S. A kiss can also be rude or done for the sake of irritating or proving one's superiority. However, U.S. Kissing may also be used to signify reverence and subordination, as in kissing the ring of a king or pope. citizens can visit Cuba by travelling through other countries (like Mexico, Canada or the Bahamas) because Cuban immigration does not stamp the passports (the visum is a separate leaflet).
Kisses on the cheek as salutations are traditional in many parts of continental Europe, and the number of kisses, alternating cheeks, depends on which region one comes from. Nevertheless, U.S. When not an expression of affection, a kiss is a largely symbolic gesture in that the purpose of the kiss is to convey a meaning, such as salutations or subordination, rather than to experience the physical sensations associated with kissing. citizens are not officially banned from travelling to Cuba, they are generally prohibited from spending money there (exceptions are made for students studying in Cuba, diplomats, certain business people, and people with family members in Cuba), which amounts to a de facto travel ban, as Cuba requires that foreign visitors spend a minimum of three nights in a hotel; moreover, the only direct flights from the United States are strictly for those with family members in Cuba, or others with licences from OFAC. In romantic and sexual kissing, the physical sensations are often of primary importance. Although U.S. Sexualized kissing may also involve one person kissing another on various parts of the body.  The lack of domestic sources of capital financing, an inherent by-product of its socialist economic system, makes Cuba's debt extremely vulnerable to disruptions in trade.
In more passionate kissing couples may open their mouths, suck on each others' lips, or move their tongues into each others' mouths (see French kissing). Cuba also has other sources of debt including approximately $25 billion in debt disputed with Russia dating from the era of the Soviet Union. As an expression of romantic affection or sexual desire, kissing involves two people kissing one another on the lips, usually with much more intensity, and for a considerably longer period of time. Cuba owes approximately $5.4 billion in foreign debt to Paris Club nations such as France, Japan and Germany. Relatives may kiss children to comfort them or show affection, and vice versa. The main current trading partners of Cuba are: Venezuela, China, Spain, Canada and, the Netherlands. Such kissing is a common greeting in European and Latin American countries between a man and a woman or between two women. embargo was condemned for the 13th time in 2004 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, by 179 countries (out of 183 voting).
This kind of kiss is typically made by brief contact of puckered lips to the skin of the cheek or no contact at all, and merely performed in the air near the cheek with the cheeks touching. legislation is considered highly controversial, and the U.S. Between people of close acquaintance, a kiss, often reciprocal, is offered as a greeting or a good-bye. This extraterritorial U.S. In modern Western culture, kissing is most commonly an expression of affection. Any company that deals with Cuba risks problems dealing with the United States, so internationally operating companies may be forced to choose between Cuba and the United States, which is a far larger market. . Trade with the United States is restricted to cash-only transactions for food and medicine.
Many non-human primates also exhibit kissing behaviour. embargo. Kissing is a learned behaviour, related to the grooming behaviour seen between other animals. Cuba currently trades with almost every nation in the world, albeit with restrictions from the U.S. Science of kissing is called Philematology. One other factor in the proclaimed recovery of the Cuban economy were the remittances from Cuban-Americans, now much diminished, which for a while constituted a large part of the external inputs into the Cuban Economy. A kiss (from Old English cyssan "to kiss", in turn from coss "a kiss", perhaps onomatopoeic) is the touching of the lips to some other thing, usually another person. Since 2003, both tourism levels and nickel prices increased.
It lasted 30 hours and 45 minutes. In response, Cuba opened up to tourism, which is now a major source of income. The longest recorded kiss took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 5, 1999, between Karmit Tsubera and Dror Orpaz. For several decades, Cuba received what was effectively a Soviet subsidy, whereby Cuba provided the Soviet Union with sugar and the Soviets provided Cuba with petroleum at below market prices. In Lady and the Tramp, while Lady and Tramp were both eating the end of a noodle at the same time, their lips end up touching. The Cuban economy was hit hard in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Comecon economic bloc, with which it had traded predominantly. Auguste Rodin created the sculpture The Kiss (Le Baiser). See details at the Ludwig Van Mises Institute.
The Australian cover version is even titled Kiss Kiss. Other currencies, including the euro, were not affected. The Turkish 1997 hit song Simarik has a chorus that ends with two kiss sounds. At that time, use of the dollar in business was officially banned, and a 10% surcharge was introduced for the conversion of dollars (in cash) to convertible pesos, the island's new official currency. Gustav Klimt painted a work entitled The Kiss. dollar was made legal tender (the country operated under a dual-currency system); this arrangement was, however, revoked on 25 October 2004. In the Frog Prince fairytale, it is the male who is transformed from frog to man by a romantic kiss. In 1993 the U.S.
The Matrix turns the tables on this motif when Trinity kisses the sleeping main character Neo, bringing him back to life at the end of the movie. However, State Security is reported able to confiscate this money from individuals when it deems that appropriate . In the fairytale Sleeping Beauty and the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, a romantic kiss is used by a male to awaken or breathe life into a female, which feminist critics have interpreted as symbolising the suspect idea that women don't have much of a life unless their sexuality is awakened through the attention of men. who send money to relatives or friends. The last words of British naval commander Horatio, Lord Nelson, are said to have been 'Kiss me Hardy!' to one of his subordinates. Until recently Cubans also receive an estimated $850 million annually from Cubans in the U.S. In the gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss — a subversive use of the kiss, as it is a symbol of affection. But in the 1990s tourism saw an explosive growth, becoming the second most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean to the Dominican Republic.
In the 19th Century, until the richer ores of Chile were found, it was common to export some of Cuba's long mined copper ore to Wales History of Swansea and England . Historically, sugar, tobacco and (later) nickel were the main sources of foreign trade income for Cuba. "A recent report by the American agency for sustainable farming, Food First, said annual production of fruit and vegetables is growing at 250% a year." . That's an increase of around 30% year on year.", says Senora Hernandes, in charge of one of hundreds of small urban farms dotted around Havana.
And we expect this year's harvest to yield no less than 30 kilograms. When we first started this farm three years ago it stood at 18 kilograms. "Last year alone we produced 27 kilograms of vegetables per square metre. Since the fall of Cuba's many trading partners, the island has focused on urban communal farms.
Such federal spending in 2005 budgeted 68% towards education, healthcare, social security, cultural programs, sports, and scientific research. According to Cuban statistics, during the first half of the year the Cuban economy grew by 7.3%, with 9% growth expected by the end of the year.. Economic activity is thereby maintained largely by government spending. Cuba's socialist economy is primarily based on state ownership — exceptions to this include microscale private enterprises. Some of the well-known smaller towns are Baracoa which was the first Spanish settlement on Cuba, as well as Trinidad and Bayamo.
Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. In general (with local variations), there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The local climate is tropical, though moderated by trade winds. The island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains, with more rugged hills and mountains primarily in the southeast and the highest point is the Pico Real del Turquino at 2,005 m.
The main island is the world's 16th largest. Guantánamo Bay, is a naval base that has been leased by the United States since 1903, a lease that has been contested since 1960 by Castro. The Republic comprises the entire island, including many outlying islands such as the Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), previously known as the Isla de los Pinos (Isle of Pines). 760 miles long) of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is bounded to the north by the Straits of Florida and the greater North Atlantic Ocean, to the northwest by the Gulf of Mexico, to the west by the Yucatan Channel, to the south by the Caribbean Sea, and to the east by the Windward Passage.
The elongated island (aprox. Cuba, 65 million years ago, also received part of the impact of Chicxulub Crater with tsunami kilometers high reaching at least 500 Km away to the middle provinces ,  and beyond. Geologically Cuba was once in the Pacific, and crossing between North and South America before they were joined, "crashed" into what is now Florida . The present subdivisions closely resemble those of Spanish military provinces during the Cuban Wars of Independence, when the most troublesome areas were subdivided.
These in turn were formerly part of six larger historical provinces: Pinar del Rio (item 1 on map), Habana (items 2,3,4 on map), Matanzas, Las Villas (approximately 6, 7, 8, and 9 on map, Camaguey (roughly 10 and part of 11) and Oriente (part of 11, plus 12, 13, 14, and 15). Fourteen provinces and one special municipality (the Isla de la Juventud) now comprise Cuba. They also argue that the electoral system in Cuba today is more democratic than that the in most western nations, where the corporate elite hold much political clout. sanctions.
Supporters of the Cuban government will compare the human rights record to the authoritarian rule under the previous US backed regime of Fulgencio Batista, and they argue that the overall current situation would have been far better if it not for U.S. . It is routinely consulted by central government when new laws are being considered. There is however an official worker's central that serves as a central organization for all other trade unions, the Worker's Central of Cuba (Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, CTC).
Different political views are found within each of the unions. Elections of union officers at the workplace are open and competitive. Unions are self financed from monthly dues, which are paid by members to their local union official, and they receive no subsidies from the state. Cuban law permits workers to freely form trade union organisations and does not require such organisations to register with any state agency in order to function or to acquire legality.
All Cuban workers have the right to join a trade union, and although membership of a union is voluntary ninety eight per cent of the active population belong to one of the 19 trade unions in Cuba. .  Cuba remains one of the few countries in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere, to deny the International Committee of the Red Cross access to its prisons. Groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued many warnings about possible prisioners of conscience.
However, since Castro, in power for the last 47 years, denies access to many humanitarian organizations, it is difficult to determine exact numbers. The Cuban Government placed a moratorium on capital punishment in 2001, making an exception for perpetrators of an armed hijacking 2 years later. Dissidents currently complain of harassment; others claim torture . Yet, others report that from 1959-1987 there have been from 35,000 to 141,000  (table is in thousands) executions.
Many argue that only a few thousands of unjustified deaths have occurred under Castro's leadership. The Cuban government has in the past been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extra-judicial executions . (The 1976 Consitution and its 1992 revision require that the President of the Council of State be a member of the National Assembly). He is also First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and since 1976 a member of the National Assembly from the municipality of Santiago de Cuba.
Fidel Castro has been the head of government since 1959, first as prime minister and, after the abolition of that office with the adoption of the 1976 Constitution, as President of the Council of State, which also serves as head of state. A smaller Executive Committee consisting of the more important members of the Council of Ministers oversees normal business. Executive authority is formally vested in the Council of Ministers, a large cabinet comprised of 8 members of the Council of State, the heads of the national ministries, and other persons. However, save for two sessions a year, legislative power is exercised by the 31 member Council of State which is elected by the National Assembly from itself.
Legislative power is nominally in the hands of the National Assembly of People’s Power. Candidates for the National Assembly are nominated by municipal assemblies with one candidate for each seat and put to a approval vote where voters may approve all, some or none of the candidates(source: "Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-1998 Elections" by Arnold August). Neighborhood committees nominate candidates for the municipal assemblies who are then placed before the voters whom chose among several candidates. Elections are held by secret ballot and everyone age 16 or older can vote.
The Communist Party of Cuba is the sole legal political party, and no other party is legally allowed to exist. It has a relatively large influence in Cuba, but its authority is "moral", not on any legal authority. It makes recommendations concerning the future development of the revolution, and it criticizes tendencies it considers counterrevolutionary. Those selected are considered model citizens and strong supporters of the revolution.
The Cuban constitution states that, "the Communist Party of Cuba...is the superior guiding force of society and the state." Members of the Communist Party of Cuba are selected by the party in a thorough process that includes interviews with co-workers and neighbors. 30" . In 2005 an additional 7,610 Cuban emigrants from Cuba entered through the "southern border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. The numbers of Cubans who leave by sea is still about 2,000 a year but the trend is upward at present .
. soil without a visa, thus there is still an unofficial exodus ; these escapes are often most ingenious e.g. residency to any Cuban who arrives on U.S. law  grants U.S.
However, U.S. Under this, the United States grants a specific number of visas to those wishing to emigrate (20,000 since 1994) while those Cubans picked up at sea trying to emigrate without a visa are returned to Cuba. After the chaos that accompanied the Mariel boatlift, Cuba and the United States (commonly called the 1994 Clinton-Castro accords ) have agreed to limit emigration to the United States.  The emigration that occurred immediately after the Cuban Revolution was primarily of the upper and middle classes that were predominantly white, thus contributing to a demographic shift along with changes in birth rates among the various ethnic groups.
Since 1959, over a million Cubans have left the island, primarily to Miami, Florida where a vocal, well educated and economically very successful anti-Castro community exists (Cuban-American lobby). Cuba has historically been more heavily European than other Caribbean islands, and in 1950 was said to have a 75% white majority. Between 1900 and 1930 close to a million Spaniards arrived from Spain. Immigration and emigration have had noticeable changes in the demographic profile of Cuba during the 20th century.
(State of the World's Children 2005) However, this high abortion rate and very low birth rate, reminiscent of former Communist Eastern Europe and Russia, threatens to cause the population to shrink significantly in the coming decades, although this has not happened yet due to relatively small numbers of elderly.  Selective termination of high-risk pregnancies is one factor contributing to the low official infant mortality rate in Cuba of 5.8 per thousand births. Cuba has a high abortion rate of 77.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1996, 3rd highest in the world among 55 countries whose abortion rate was available to be compiled in a 1999 UN study. A contributing cause is Cuba's policy of abortion on demand.
The fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman (in 1995-2000) is the lowest of any country in the western hemisphere (tied with Canada and Barbados). Cuba has a low birth rate. Phillip Agee  and foreign activists of various radical causes . This population includes defectors from the US e.g.
There is internal illegal immigration to Havana seeking greater opportunities, these internal illegals are known as "palestinos." Cuba also shelters a population of non-Cubans of unknown size. The melting pot is expressed not only in a racial sense, but also in religion (see below) and the music of Cuba. Also, lighter skinned people often have more prestigious jobs (although in socialist Cuba this does not translate to a high difference in income). Nevertheless, the sizeable Jamaican population in Santiago de Cuba is frequently stereotyped as lazy.
In Cuba there is relatively little racial tension. Historical papers show that, while considered inferior to Cubans of European descent, they were considered superior to blacks due to their paler skin. Most stayed in Cuba, as they could not afford a return passage to China. The Chinese population in Cuba derives mostly from laborers who arrived in the 19th century to build railroads and work in mines, as was also occurring in the United States at this time.
According to the CIA's World Factbook, Cuba is 51% mulatto (mixed white and black), 37% white, 11% black, and 1% Chinese. Cuba has been able to reduce reported infant mortality to zero in certain remote rural areas.. Venezuela and Cuba have offered to provide another 100,000 Latin Americans with this service within the same period. 15,000 citizens of the Caribbean community will receive this form of medical care between the second half of June 2005 and June 2006.
Castro promises that one hundred thousand Venezuelans will receive these services this year, and until July 2005, 25,024 patients from said country, and a similar number of Cubans will have been operated on . The country is now able to operate and provide services in all branches of ophthalmology to hundreds of thousands of patients. Like a number of countries, Cuba has developed a hospital system for health tourists, taking advantage of a combination of low labor costs, an educated work force, and the ability of such tourists to pay in much desired hard currency for their care. Other patients from Central and South America bring the total to 100,000 free eye operations this year." .
"Since July 25, more than 3,000 people from ten Caribbean countries have had eye operations in Cuba funded by oil-rich Venezuela. On August 20, Cuba achieved what is almost certainly a world record - performing 1,648 eye operations at 20 hospitals in a single day.". Teams of Cuban doctors assess applicants for eye surgery before sending patients to Havana on special flights from ten Caribbean countries and more than 15 Latin American nations. "But one of Castro's most respected achievements is the establishment of a comprehensive health system producing one doctor for every 170 people, compared to 188 in the US and 250 in the UK.
During the UN's general assembly in 2000, Fidel Castro offered the United Nations 6,000 doctors for service in the third world. Cuba has also given treatment on the island to more than 14,000 children and 4,000 adults damaged by radiation in Chernobyl, which is actually more than the rest of the world combined has done for the victims during that catastrophe. Cuban doctors played a vital role in the health-care system of Sri Lanka in the 1980s, particularly in the war-torn North-east province, when a crisis in that country's education system limited the number of doctors coming out of universities. .
It dispatched physicians to help Nicaragua and Peru, then hostile to Cuba, recover from earthquakes. Cuba has sent doctors to underdeveloped nations and educated foreign doctors since the early 1960s. They offer medical services to 85,154,748 people; 34,700,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 50,400,000 in Africa and Asia. Today, according to Cuban government statistics, Cuba has over 71,000 doctors , with 20,000 health workers in Venezuela, and 5,000 more spread around the world in over 60 additional countries, as it views such missions an important part of its foreign policy.
Support from the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez has alleviated some of those problems. ,  However, like the rest of the Cuban economy, Cuban medical care has suffered from severe material shortages following the end of Soviet subsidies. The massive Havana hospital, "Calixto Garcia" as well as 72 others were operating well before 1959. Cuba has had good doctors for centuries such as Carlos Finlay, who determined how yellow fever was spread; thus during the 1898-1902 US presence in Cuba with much heroic sacrifice such as that of Clara Louise Maas  yellow fever was essentially eliminated.
Cuba's healthcare system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world; however WHO data cited here comes directly from national health authorities of each country . Castro has long made the promise of free, universal health care an important part of the case for his government. All students regardless of age and gender wear school uniforms with the color denoting grade level. This less than credible perfect percentage suggests data manipulation.
Cuba’s literacy rates by this criteria at 15 to 24 years of age (both male and female) is 100% . UNESCO data is reported as “estimates compiled from national population censuses and household surveys and updated to 2005” . . Cuban third and fourth graders were reported better educated in basic language and mathematics skills than children in other Latin American countries that took part in the study, with the "test achievement of the lower half of students in Cuba is significantly better than the test achievement of the upper half of students in the countries that (fell) immediately behind Cuba" in the study group .
In a 1998 study by UNESCO , and as explained by Fidel Castro, Havana, on September 16, 2002  Cuban education progress is excellent. Due to a massive campaign coordinated by the government but executed by the population, illiteracy was said eradicated a few years after the Cuban revolution; however, sometimes information on child labor in Cuba is missing . Yet, before the revolution, the illiteracy was at 23,6 percent (50 percent in rural areas). Historically, Cuba has had some of the highest rates of education and literacy in Latin America .
In 1961 private schools and universities were nationalized (without payment), , . The University of Havana, Cuba's oldest university, was founded in 1721; prior to 1959 there were other official including universities: Universidad de Oriente (founded in 1947) and Universidad Central de Las Villas (founded in 1857); private universities included: Universidad Católica de Santo Tomás de Villanueva (founded in 1946); Universidad Masónica, and the Universidad de la Salle in Nuevo Vedado. Important religious festivals include various days dedicated to the saints such as the "Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre" (the Virgin of Cobre, Cuba's patron saint, syncretised with Santería's Ochún) on September 8, and San Lázaro (Lazarus) (syncretised with Babalu Ayé), on December 17..................... As in most Latin American countries as well as Spain, this day is celebrated in conjunction with, or sometimes instead of Christmas Day.
In Cuba 6 January is the "Día de Reyes Magos" which in English means "Day of Kings" is celebrated to commemorate the day that the Three Wise Men came to visit Jesus according to the Gospels. Around 1999 over several years almost 400 Cuban Jews, from a population once numbering about ten thousand ,, left for Israel . In the 1960s about 8,000 Jews left for Miami . Havana still has one or two active synagogues and mosques.
Cuba has small but vibrant Jewish, Muslim and Bahá'í populations. Pentecostalism is also growing rapidly, and the Assemblies of God alone claims a membership of over 100,000 people. followed religious beliefs in Cuba, though these are by no means exclusive, and one can easily be a follower of several religious currents at the same time, as well as being a member of the communist party. The religious landscape of Cuba is strongly marked by syncretisms of various kinds.
Cuban "classical" music often includes music with strong African and European influences, and features symphonic works as well as music for soloists. Cuban "classical" music has also won international acclaim. Popular Cuban music of all styles has been enjoyed and praised widely across the world. The Tres was invented in Cuba, but other traditional Cuban instruments are of African and/or Neo-Taino origin, and include the maracas and various wooden drum variants.
chachachá was invented to make it possible for American 'Yankees' to dance to Cuban music. The "central form" of this music is Son, which has been the basis of many other musical styles like salsa and mambo. Cuban music is the most commonly known expression of culture. Borders book stores carry 1,991 titles on Cuba in stock.
Amazon.com (directed by Jeff Bezos who was raised by a Cuban family) currently lists 6,026 titles dealing with Cuba; Barnesandnoble.com lists 3,126. Authors both pro- and against the present Cuban government present their views in the US. A good number of U.S university presses continually present scholarly volumes on various Cuban topics. In Miami Cuban-American publishing houses are full of independent uncensored literature.
The Castro government lavishly funds its Cuban booths at bookfairs in Latin America. Cuban authors continue to produce large amounts of government supported printed and electronic work inside the Island. These repressive actions of the Cuban government have drawn much international condemnation e.g Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 author. Despite continual state repression, literature is very much alive in Cuba.
It has produced more than its fair share of literature, including the output of non-Cuban Ernest Hemingway. Cuban culture is much influenced by the fact that it is a melting pot of cultures, mostly from Spain and Africa. Now it is increasing again although at a far slower rate than before . This led to another unregulated exodus of asylum seekers to the United States in 1994, which was slowed to a trickle of a few thousand a year by the U.S.-Cuban accords.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 dealt Cuba a giant economic blow. Eventually the United States stopped the flow of vessels and Cuba ended the uncontrolled exodus. Under the Mariel boatlift, over 125,000 Cubans migrated to the United States. In response to this, Castro allowed anyone who desired to leave the country to do so through the port of Mariel.
In April 1980, over 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy in Havana seeking political asylum. . and Latin America , . It is believed by some  although disputed by others , that the Cuban government, now allied with its Venezuelan counterpart, continues "destabilization" activities efforts supporting radical and violent Marxist groups in the U.S.
Cuba  and the US have also engaged in continuing acts of espionage against one another , .  . The United States has also supported anti-Castro terrorist groups in their attacks against Cuba. In a 1976 notorious terrorist attack on Cubana Flight 455 in which 73 died was allegedly masterminded by CIA funded Castro opponents operating from Venezuela.
Castro and the US duel in Cold War actions. After this, the United States never openly threatened Cuba again, but was said to engage in absurdly elaborate covert activities to assassinate Castro, namely The Cuban Project. Within Cuba, Che is held as a hero of the socialist movement, but only since the mid 1980s, when the launch of the 'Era of Rectification' saw his ideas being re-asserted as Cuba distanced itself from Gorbachev's USSR. Che Guevara is known to have led the Cubans in the rebellion in the DRC, formerly known as Zaire.
Not only did Cuba aid in numerous South and Central American rebellions, but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the African continent. It was in Bolivia that Che Guevara, a major proponent of the socialist revolution, was asassinated after leading a Cuban led rebellion in the jungles of Bolivia. Between 1962 and the early 1970s, it has been known that Cuba sent trained guerillas to numerous South and Central American nations to aid in socialist revolutions which were, at the time, in progression. The Soviet Union backed down, agreeing to remove the missiles in exchange for United States promises to remove similar nuclear missiles in Turkey and to never invade Cuba again.
This is generally believed to be the closest the world has come to a nuclear war. In response, the United States put up a blockade in international waters. The Cuban Missile Crisis started with the Soviet Union installing nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962. In the rural central provinces the War Against the Bandits (circa 1959-1965) was suppressed by massed Castro militia, many executions and internal deportations of rebel supporters.
Church schools were confiscated, clergy were arrested,  and expelled en masse. ,(Priestland, 2003). The expected urban revolt collapsed when it became clear Brigade 2506 had been abandoned to its fate; and because the Soviet Union warned Castro, who ordered numerous executions and preemptive mass arrests of those thought likely to support a counter-revolution. Kennedy left the invaders stranded for fear of getting officially involved.
president John F. backed Cuban expatriates failed because U.S. The Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 by U.S. For more on these issues see the Economy section below.
embargo and other measures, such as prosecuting US citizens who vacation in Cuba. Since Castro came to power, the United States has since progressively enacted legislation intended to isolate Cuba economically via the U.S. at Bejucal and Bahia Honda), and the Chinese government still maintains a large electronic surveilance presence especially at a base in Havana Province. The USSR long after the Missile Crisis had bases in Cuba (e.g.
At first, Castro was reluctant to discuss his plans for the future, but eventually he declared himself a communist, and with the backing of Che Guevara, explained that he was trying to build socialism in Cuba, focusing on free health care and education for all, and began close political and economic relations with the Soviet Union and to a lesser extent with China.  The new revolutionary government adopted successive "land reforms" and eventually confiscated almost all private property. After the revolution, Che Guevara, industrial minister at the time, negotiated with the USSR for the export of Cuban sugar after the US decreased its imports of sugar from Cuba. Most of Cuba's sugar was exported to the United States because Cuba was given a large quota, which was paid above world prices in part to help domestic US industry.
Cuba’s main crop was sugar, for the American and to a lesser extent English market. According to Antonio Núñez Jiménez at the time when Batista was deposed, 75% of Cuba's prime farm land was owned by foreign individuals or foreign (mostly U.S.) companies. Castro established a Soviet-leaning one party Communist state, the first in the Western Hemisphere, although Castro did not officially reveal his Marxist-Leninist leanings until 1961. Batista fled the country on 1 January 1959.
He returned to Cuba on November 1956 with 82 fighters trained by Alberto Bayo (a former colonel in the Spanish Republican Army), and with the help of popular discontent managed to overthrow Batista. In 1953, Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada barracks, and was exiled to Mexico. As a result many civil and guerrilla groups started opposing him. However, in 1952 Batista seized power in an almost bloodless coup three months before the planned election and instituted an oppressive dictatorship.
He had passed a new progressive constitution and in 1944 left office retiring to Florida for a time. In 1940 he was elected president himself. Fulgencio Batista, a leader of the 1933 Sergeants' Revolt that overthrew the transitional government after Gerardo Machado’s dictatorship collapsed, became first the Army Chief of Staff and eventually the man in charge under a series of presidents. The Platt Amendment was revoked in 1934, but the lease of Guantánamo Bay was extended against a nominal sum.
troops occupied Cuba a second time from 1906 to 1909. Using the provisions of the Platt Amendment, U.S. Tomás Estrada Palma (term 1902-1906) was Cuba's first peacetime and elected president. Cuban independence was granted in 1902, though limited by the Platt Amendment, which granted the United States a major influence in Cuban affairs and required Cuba to grant the United States a lease for Guantánamo Bay.
Between 1895 and early 1898 revolution controlled most of the countryside and some towns, but the efforts of the Spanish, who held the major cities, to pacify the island did not cease until the United States occupied the island in the Spanish-American War of 1898. It is notable that some Taíno first fought the Mambi and then joined them to comprise the Hatuey Regiment . expansionism. Constitution and enjoyed some popularity in the United States, he was concerned about U.S.
While he expressed a preference for the U.S. He remains the major hero in Cuba to this day, and his legacy is claimed by both the supporters and opponents of the current government. The writer and rebel organizer José Martí landed in Cuba with rebel exiles in 1895, but little more than a month later was killed in battle. The colony's struggle for independence lasted throughout the second half of the 19th century with the first effort with any success being the Ten Years' War beginning in 1868 .
As a result Cuba became the world's major sugar producer, but by 1884, slavery was abolished after having been weakened during the struggle to secure independence for Cuba. Between 1791 to 1804, many French fled to Cuba from the Haitian revolution, bringing with them slaves and expertise in sugar refining and coffee growing. Cuban colonial forces participated in Spain's efforts during the American Revolutionary War, helping Spain to gain East and West Florida. However, the fortress would later become infamous as a place of execution and imprisonment, not unlike the Bastille in Paris.
The massive La Cabaña fortress, never taken by assault, which completely dominates Havana Bay was built soon after Havana, exchanged for Florida, was returned to Spain. Spanish mercantilism caused Spain to keep Cuba relatively isolated to external influences, but beginning with the year long occupation of Havana by the British in 1762 at the end of the Seven Years' War, Cuba became more open economically to both the importation of slaves and advances in sugar cultivation and processing. However, Cuba’s most effective defense was yellow fever which killed off invading forces. Attacks on both ships and cities required Spain to respond by organizing convoys to protect the ships and building forts to protect the cities.
England Guantánamo Bay) tried to take the possessions that the Spanish had gathered for themselves, and their colonial descendents viewed as their own. Jacques de Sores ), Alexander Exquemelin and Henry Morgan) and invasions as other countries (e.g. But once Taino/Ciboney uprisings were no longer a concern, new ones arose from buccaneers, pirates, and privateers (e.g. In this period there were further indigenous risings most especially that of Guamá, one of the last Taino leaders to organize resistance to Spanish rule.
After the conquest of the Americas the resulting treasure, mined gold and silver, emeralds, chocolate and several then important plant products such as dyes and medicine was transported in the Spanish treasure fleet from the Americas and later from the Philippines to Spain using Cuban ports as safe harbors along the way. Cuba had first served as base for Spanish conquest of the mainland of the Americas, but the island was almost depopulated in this effort. Today, Taíno descendants maintain their heritage near Baracoa. Their children were called mestizo, but the residents called them Guajiro, which originating in a Taino word roughly equivalent to squire has been translated as "one of us; they became the yeomen of Cuban wars neo-Taíno nations.
Most Conquistadors took Taínas as brides, common law wives or as was more frequent had casual sexual congress with these island women  since few Spanish women crossed the Atlantic in those days of conquest. Many indigenous Cubans fell victim to the brutality of Spanish conquistadores (as witnessed and lamented by Bartolomé de Las Casas) and the diseases they brought with them, which were previously unknown to them. Others were Jiguani, and Baracoa. One famous mainly indigenous town was Guanabacoa, today a suburb of Havana.
The Indigenous Cuban population, including the Ciboney and the Taíno, were forced into encomiendas during the Spanish subjugation of the island of Cuba. Approximately 16 to 60 thousand, or perhaps many more, indigenous from the Taíno and Ciboney nations inhabited Cuba before colonization. Europeans were shown by the indigenous Cubans how to cultivate tobacco and to smoke it in various ways. The Arawak and other such cultural groups are responsible for the flourishing development of perhaps 60% of crops in common use today and some major industrial materials such as rubber.
1947). Paul Sidney Martin [, ] that the inhabitants of these islands mined and exported metals such as copper (Martin et al. It is well known that these neo-Taíno had metallurgical skills, and it has been postulated by some e.g. Residues of Taíno poetry, songs, sculpture, and art are found today throughout the major Antilles.
The Taínos (Island Arawak) were part of a cultural group commonly called the Arawak, which extends far into South America. Taínos and Ciboney took part in similar customs and beliefs, one being the sacred ritual practiced using tobacco called cohoba, known in English as smoking. The Taíno were skilled farmers and the Ciboney were a hunter-gatherer society with supplemental farming. Most of pre-Colombian inhabitants of Cuba, including the Siboney, can in first approximation be classified under the general group of neo-Taíno.
Some scholars consider it important to distinguish the Taíno from the neo-Taíno nations of Cuba, the Lucaya of the Bahamas, Jamaica, and to a lesser extent from Haiti and Quisqueya (approximately the Dominican Republic), since the neo-Taíno had far more diverse cultural input and a greater societal and ethnic heterogeneity than the true high Taíno of Boriquen (Puerto Rico). Both groups were prehistoric neolithic, perhaps copper age, cultures. At that time Cuba was populated by at least two distinct indigenous peoples: Taíno and Ciboney (or Siboney). In 1511 Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar led the Spanish invasion, subdued the indigenous populations, to become governor of Cuba for Spain and built a villa in Baracoa, which became the first capital of the island and also in 1518  was technically the seat of the (Diocese) of the first bishops of Cuba.
Cuba was first visited by Europeans when explorer Christopher Columbus made landfall here for the first time on October 28, 1492, at the eastern tip of Cuba, in the Cazigazgo of Baracoa. . The Cayman Islands and Jamaica are south of eastern Cuba. Cuba is south of the eastern United States, and the Bahamas, west of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti, and east of Mexico.
The name Cuba is said to be derived from the Taíno word cubanacán, meaning "a central place." It is located in the northern Caribbean at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. IPA: [re'puβlika de ˈkuβa]) consists of the island of Cuba (the largest of the Greater Antilles), the Isle of Youth and various adjacent small islands. The Republic of Cuba (pron. GEOCIENCIAS 8 (6): 1-9. ISBN 959-7117-03-7.
I Convención Cubana de Ciencias de la Tierra. Significación paleogeográfica de la brecha basal del Límite K/T en Loma Dos Hermanas (Loma Capiro), en Santa Clara, provincia de Villa Clara. García-Delgado (2005). Díaz-Otero y D.
Iturralde-Vinent, C. A. Rojas-Consuegra, R., M. The author was first condemned to death for conspiring for independence against Spain ; after his sentence was commuted to ten years he escaped .
Oxford University Press, USA ISBN 0195143957 Deals with sexual mores and the traditions of mistresses during the Spanish colonial period, with many historic details, including the execution of Narciso Lopez. Villaverde, Cirilo 1882 (New translation 2005 by Sibylle Fischer and Helen Lane) Cecilia Valdes or El Angel Hill. Valdéz, Gabriel de la Concepción (Plácido) 1809-1844 (executed) Major, most well known poem and last poem “Plegaria a Dios.” ,  His poetry, was often considered subversive and anti-slavery by the Spanish authorities. ISBN 1559704772 Book is part of a second wave of literature written by exiles who escaped Cuba in the latter part of the Castro years.
Arcade Publishing; 1st English-language edition. Valdes, Zoe 1999I Gave You All I Had. The "Peanut Vendor" inspired classically trained Joseph Norman Henderson, author of Cuban Pete, to change his name to Jose Norman  and dedicate his work to music from the island    . In the Cuban vernacular to "cantar el manisero' to sing this song is to die.
The author was a Jewish immigrant to Cuba. Simons, Moisés 1928 El Manisero (the "Peanut Vendor") An extremely popular song with complex poly-rhythms. 1999 ISBN 0897298780 An example of Siboneyista poetry, a 19th Century resistanccolt likes eggse movement which expressed its, then illegal, wish to be free of Spain couched as Siboney, one of the Neo-Taíno nations poetry and narrations. Ediciones Universal.
Napoles Fajardo, Juan Cristobal (born 1829; believed killed by Spanish authorities in 1862) Selected work in Cucalambe (Decimas Cubanas): Seleccion De Rumores Del Hormigo. , . Lecuona, Ernesto (1895-1962) First major composition, "Malaguena," Roxy Theatre in New York 1927. University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0807855944.
Lazo, Rodrigo 2005 Writing to Cuba Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States. Gómez de Avellaneda, Gertrudis (1814-1873) Her large body of excellent work includes the anti-slavery novel "Dos mugeres" (1842) and the play "Baltasar" (1858) . First known Cuban narrative poem deals with the killing of an attacking pirate by the people of Bayamo. .
de Balboa y Troya de Quesada, Silvestre (1563-1649) 1608 Espejo de Paciencia. Public holidays in Cuba. Cuban cinema. Famous Cuban poetry and literature.
Present State of Cuban Literature. Music of Cuba.