For those who live in the United States, little is known or said about Cuba. For the longest time, Cuba has been quite hostile, until recently when the United States President Barack Obama finally traveled there to make peace. Since few really know much about the country, here are 25 fantastic facts about Cuba:
- Driving cars
The only American cars that can actually be bought for private use in Cuba are those that were registered and acquired before the revolution. This is the reason why so many visitors will see classic cars from the 1950s in Cuba.
America actually spends nearly $34 million dollars a year to broadcast TV and radio stations to Cuba. The stations come from Miami, Florida. Those broadcasts reach less than one percent of Cuba’s 11 million residents. The broadcast signals are usually jammed regularly by the government.
- Operation Northwoods
This operation was proposed in 1962 by the United States government. The idea was to commit acts of “false flag” terrorism on American soil so that Cuba would eventually be blamed and public support for the United States invasion of Cuba gained. The plan was rejected by the Kennedy Administration.
- No internet
Cuba actually has a large no-internet file sharing- network with terabytes of regularly-updated movies, television, music, and software. These are delivered by USB drives from person to person with a two dollar subscription fee.
- Government vehicles
These cars are legally required to pick up any hitchhikers.
John F. Kennedy actually ordered over 1,000 of his favorite Cuban cigars the night before he signed the Cuban embargo.
There are only two countries in the entire world where they do not sell Coca-Cola. One of them is Cuba and the other is North Korea.
- Soccer fields
The CIA had concerns over the soccer fields along the coast of Cuba, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In September 1962, a CIA analyst had noticed the fields and became concerned because Cubans played baseball and only the Russians played soccer.
In 1961, Fidel Castro closed down Cuban schools for an entire year so that students from sixth grade and up could teach other Cubans how to read and write.
- Literacy rates
Thanks to the efforts of all of the children teaching the illiterate people in Cuba, the country actually has one the highest literacy rates in the world – 99.8%.
- Heavyweight Champions
In 1976, Teofilo Stevenson was offered five million dollars to turn into a professional heavyweight champion and go up against Muhammad Ali. Stevenson refused that offer, saying that no amount of money could compare to the love of eight million Cubans he was surrounded by. He won three Olympic gold medals for Cuba.
- Guantanamo Bay
The United States leased the Guantanamo Bay land from Cuba and writes them an annual check. Cuba refuses to acknowledge those checks and hasn’t cashed them in decades.
Cuba has two types of currency. One is used by the Cuban locals to buy their basic items and the other currency is for tourists to buy what are considered luxuries.
One of the proposals written to get rid of Castro was to spread rumors that he was the Antichrist, then fake the second coming. A United States submarine was to project an image of Jesus on some clouds near Havana while firing some star shells. Then, the voice of Jesus would come out of a loudspeaker and urge the Cubans to renounce communism.
- Fake airport
After plane hijackers demanded passage to Cuba in the 1960s, the FAA considered building a fake Havana airport in Florida. The United States agents would wait for the plane to land and then arrest the hijackers.
- John Lennon
There is one park in Havana where a security guard is paid to sit next to a John Lennon statue. The guard is in charge of taking Lennon’s glasses on and off if required, due to the fact that they are always being stolen or vandalized.
America has only won the World Baseball Cup four times, whereas Cuba has won it 25 times.
- CIA operation
The CIA came up with an operation to invade Cuba and take down Castro. The operation was named Operation Castration.
- Plane Hijackers
In 1972, three men hijacked an American DC-9 plane and demanded that it should be flown to Cuba. The hijackers wanted to make a deal with Castro by using it as a large payment. Instead, Castro had those men arrested and returned the original aircraft, passengers, and money to the United States.
- Nuclear strikes
Fidel Castro had recommended that the Kremlin should have a harder line against Washington, perhaps even consider nuclear strikes. The pressure eventually stopped after Soviet officials gave Castro a briefing on the ecological impact for his country if there were nuclear strikes on the United States.
Cuba actually provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined. What’s even more amazing is that Cuba struggles to acquire medicine and medical equipment due to the embargo that was placed on them by the United States.
Despite the embargo placed on the country, the United States is the fifth largest exporter to Cuba. The major difference is that Cuba has to pay cash for all of the imports; credit is not allowed.
Felix Carbajal, an Olympic marathon runner in 1904, had run in cut-off pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a beret. He even stopped to eat some apples, got stomach cramps, took a nap, then kept running to make it to fourth place.
The average salary in Cuba in 2013 was $20 a month.
- Cold War
Castro and about 500,000 Cubans took part in the Cold War proxy and anti-Colonialism wars in Africa. This led to the independence of Guinea, Mozambique, and Angola from Portuguese rule.