And if the big 12 are not enough for you, custom-made scents can be created on site before your very eyes, reflecting your personality. In a bid to attain that, prior to starting mixing the scents, the alchemist-perfumer will give you a little chit-chat to reveal your state of mind, mood, character or anything else responsible for your attractive smelliness. The resulting product will be unique, very much like a fingerprint. The perfume bottles vary in style and sizes, and are also subject to the customer's selection.
Some of them are created by local ceramists, others - brought all the way from India. Cuban music is deeply rooted in Spanish and West African tradition, although influenced over the centuries by various genres from other countries.
The most notable such influences have been French and their colonies in the Americas and the U. Cuban music, in turn, has been rather popular in other countries, as well, and had its print on the evolution of jazz and salsa, Argentinian tango, Ghanaian high-life, West African Afrobeat, Dominican Bachata and Merengue, Colombian Cumbia and even Spanish Nuevo flamenco.
Those in favor of Cuban folk music must check out the recordings of Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes. If you're keen on Reggaeton, Eddy-K is your choice. It is safer to buy from authorized dealers, rather than street markets or vendors, as they may flog you some rubbish quality recordings. Although Cuban coffee is a distant runner-up to Cuban cigars in terms of popularity, it does enjoy a good reputation with coffee lovers worldwide and every Cuban at home and abroad.
The labor intensity of the production process, much of which is done by hand, is duly compensated by Cuba's cheap labor force which, in turn, keeps the prices at bay.
Cuban coffee packs quite a kick and its flavor, as many things Cuban, is quite strong and distinctive. Even a small cup will wake you up in the morning. It is actually a Cuban tradition to have a small shot of Cuban coffee each morning, as well as after dinner. The first coffee plant in the country was commissioned in by Jose Antonio Gelabert. Eventually, in , French colonists who fled Haiti after the local revolution and ensued abolition of slavery, brought along advanced methods of coffee production to Cuba.
At some point, Cuba became a main supplier of coffee to Spain, with coffee trade contributing to the island's economy more than its sugar production. Alongside turning into one of the country's major exports, coffee also proved essential to Cuban way of life and culture.
Most Cubans, those who live on the island or abroad, drink coffee at least two times a day as a must. The Revolution of saw nationalization of the Cuban coffee industry and brought it to a slow decline.
Nowadays, Cubans are allotted just 2 ounces of coffee for 15 days, and that coffee is of a very poor quality, mixed with other ingredients to make up volume. Although its origin is claimed by several countries, Cubans seem to be the strongest claimants of them all, considering the place the shirt holds in their culture. The pleated, button down garment comes in many variations, and is highly appreciated by the locals who tend to wear it almost everywhere, from the old men playing dominoes in the park to the young ones at wedding parties, as the most comfortable thing to put on in Havana's sweat drenching hot months.
The shirt is easily recognizable by its two or four front pockets and, most notably, the vertical rows of alforzas, providing the much needed ventilation. Today, guayabera enjoys a major comeback with both Cuban fashion designers and state-run manufacturers. Moreover, it's made a big splash in the U. Perry Ellis has launched a line, and the trendy Urban Outfitters followed suit.
But it's Cuba that made this loose-fitting garment truly famous, at par with Cuban rum and cigars. The bodyguards of Comandante Fidel often don guayaberas, and the majority of Cuban males have at least one in their wardrobe as a dress of choice for formal occasions. Cuban women also keep up with the trend, prompting a twist on the classic in the form of guayabera dresses and shirts for ladies. Jewelery Image Courtesy of: Aidan. As part of the Caribbean, Cuba has no shortage of coral, hence the abundance of coral jewelry on the island.
The locals have been engaged in coral jewelry making for centuries and some of the pieces they produce are true pieces of art.
They want to open, or reopen, lines of communication with the West in order to improve trade and technology transfers.
Angola in particular has sent numerous representatives to lobby in the United States for continued American investment. In sum, Cuban military assistance has not yet tipped the African scales irrevocably toward the Soviet bloc. Nevertheless, Cuba most certainly derives a benefit: a strategic link to several African nations, as well as a foothold on the continent for itself and the Soviet Union.
While Cuban and Soviet motives in Africa are compatible, it is likely that the Cubans initiated the major military programs. In any case Cuba, as a Third World nation, is a more acceptable presence to its hosts than the Soviet Union. The strategic importance of Africa, politically and economically, should not be underestimated.
The 51 nations of Africa comprise the second-largest continent in the world, with over twice the population of the United States. The value of mineral and oil resources is estimated at several trillion dollars. In addition, the Red Sea passage to the Suez Canal is of vital importance for transporting Soviet goods.
North Africa gives Cuba proximity to U. Angola has over 1, miles of coastline south of the Congo River, which serves as part of its northern border. This extensive access to the South Atlantic makes Angola a significant outlet for iron ore, diamonds and coffee, in addition to minerals from the central African nations.
Luanda is the principal port city in the north; Lobito and Benguela are the two major central Angolan port cities, and Namibe is the southern port. Major railroad lines run eastward from these Atlantic ports to the interior. Though these lines have only functioned sporadically during the civil war they are important links even to nonborder nations such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. If SWAPO were to win power, the South African government believes that the government on its northern border would be unfriendly, and South Africa would be susceptible to invasion by the Cubans from Angola through Namibia.
To force such a withdrawal, South Africa has repeatedly invaded Angolan territory, thereby increasing the perceived importance of Angola, and thus Cuba, in the geopolitics of the turbulent Cape of Good Hope. The economic stakes of the other African regions are much smaller: there is no major stake in the economically depressed Horn of Africa, which is of primarily strategic importance, but the former French and Portuguese colonies in the northwest support several small export industries as well as a lucrative fishing trade.
But for the civil war, which has brought the economy to a standstill, Luanda would rank among the very richest of sub-Saharan African cities. Angola also exported between 1 and 1. Gold, uranium, copper and bauxite resources have never been fully tapped. It is not difficult to understand, therefore, why Cuba chose to involve itself in the strategic southern cone of Africa.
The opportunity was provided by the collapsing Portuguese rule of Angola in the s. In theory, should have been the year celebrating the birth of the free and independent nation of Angola.
The transitional government, composed of these three parties, set November 11 as Angolan Independence Day, and constituent elections were planned for October The three political groups had united against colonial rule, but as independence approached each began jockeying for the dominant position.
The FNLA, founded by Roberto in , originally included Jonas Savimbi, who was the foreign minister and secretary general of the party. The first stage of external involvement with these groups consisted of shipments of arms from around the globe.
During and the Soviet Union took up the MPLA cause, supporting it vociferously in international forums and sending small amounts of arms. In September the MPLA was significantly fortified by the Soviet Union, which sent several shipments of guns and ammunition to its forces in exile in neighboring Congo.
In May Bravo met with Neto in Congo; Neto requested and received increased Cuban military equipment and training officers. The following month, Cuban military advisers arrived along with major increases in Soviet arms from Cuba. Cuban forces responded immediately to the South African challenge. Four hundred Cubans died in fighting that month. Despite the continuing turmoil the government of Portugal, its high commissioner and its troops completed their withdrawal by November 11, , and the MPLA declared victory.
In the second week of December, the most decisive clash occurred between South African and Cuban troops in the Battle of Bridge 14; the Cubans suffered heavy losses and were forced to retreat. On February 16 the secret Pike Report detailing the history of U.
In the years following its assumption of power, the MPLA, along with the Cubans and Soviets, fortified its position within southwest Africa. As a result of the coup attempt, Cuba reversed the scaling-down of its troop presence that it had begun in mid, increasing the total number to the current level of 30,, The 80,strong MPLA army is supervised by Cuban instructors, 25, to 30, troops and 5, to 10, civilian advisers.
The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces based there are divided into 15 regiments, with all but six within the parameter of the capital; one regiment is assigned to Cabinda in the north and the remaining five are in the south. Angola has also been a testing ground in military terms: Castro boasts of training over , Cuban troops there since Some military commanders have been forced to earn their stripes in Angola after military defeat elsewhere.
Not divided into formal regiments are the 1, Soviet soldiers who provide technical support for the Soviet military equipment, and 3, East Germans who operate the railways, telecommunications and intelligence facilities. While it was establishing Angola as its main Africa host, Cuba proceeded to make its presence felt elsewhere on the continent as well.
Between January and April , Cuban troops arrived at an average rate of 6, a month; the Cubans launched a counterattack, and the Somali army withdrew. Since then, Cuba has visibly sought to make its aid to Ethiopia a model of peacetime economic assistance, gaining a permanent, strategically important ally through technical and economic cooperation and an extensive medical training program. Nonetheless, 11, Cuban troops remain in the Horn of Africa, keeping a watchful eye over the still-contested Ogaden desert and defending Ethiopia from the insurgency of Eritrean rebels in the northern provinces of Tigray and Eritrea.
Thank you for supporting the free content on this site! For more information on affiliate links and cookies, see my disclosure page for more details. One thing that is often mentioning when discussing what to pack for Cuba is gifts or supplies for Cuban locals. In the past, supplies that Cubans have asked for have included vitamins, tampons, condoms, deodorant, school supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, towels, and shampoo.
That said, if you prefer a suitcase, you could certainly swap out a backpack for a suitcase. You do you! Generally, as I was traveling in a group of travelers, we ended up organizing taxis between cities as the tourist bus was almost always sold out. Whether you bring a suitcase or backpack, packing cubes are a life-saver for either, especially if you are visiting multiple places in Cuba and plan to be traveling every few days. However, I tried to pick the things that I thought were the most essential, that would have the worst impact on your trip if you forgot it.
Results have been mixed. Cuba says around 60 percent of foreign investment projects begun since the s have had to close. Sometimes it kicks foreign partners out, saying they failed to live up to their side of the deal.
Sometimes the companies leave on their own. The corporate landscape is still sparse, with only around direct investment projects and a similar number of deals in which foreigners manage a Cuban company without an equity stake. For years, foreigners' biggest complaints have been the lack of control over labor, the uncertain legal environment, and the multiple layers of bureaucracy to get a project approved.
The rule remains a minority interest. British-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever became the first major corporation to enter Cuba after the fall of Soviet communism. Desperate for hard currency and consumer products, Cuba agreed to a venture on a factory complex but when the year deal came up for renewal it insisted on majority ownership.
Unilever left the country although it is now in discussions on returning, several sources familiar with the talks said. An extreme example is that of Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian, who served three years in jail for bribery and other charges before being freed in February.
Tokmakjian had done business in Cuba for 20 years, then suddenly was arrested in and his company shuttered as prosecutors accused him of wooing officials and their families with gifts. His company called it a "travesty of justice".
Stephen Purvis, the former development director of British investment fund Coral Capital who built hotels and planned a golf course in Cuba, was arrested in in a crackdown on corruption.Cuba's monetary system implies two currencies: one for tourists and the other one for locals. The one for tourists - called the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) - has 26 times more value than the regular Cuban Peso (CUP), the country's national currency, also .