Cuba has been in the news a lot recently what with it strengthening ties with the USA for the first time in over 50 years and then the death of its iconic former leader and revolutionary figurehead, Fidel Castro. But what does this all mean and why is the tiny Island nation on the pages of every major media outlet?
Here we look at the beauty of the country and talk a little about its past and how it will affect its future.
So you may have been hearing a lot about this man in the news recently as he passed away at the age of 90, but what makes him so important? Well, this man is Fidel Castro, who, in 1959, overthrew the American-backed dictator of Cuba, General Fulgencio Batista who had implemented policies that meant landowners and wealthy casino and brothel operators benefited from the labor of the poor and so, largely, his toppling was seen as a good thing.
Initially, even America reached out to Castro but soon he implemented policies nationalizing industry and throwing out American interests which led to the USA to turn on him. As Cuba became a one-party Communist state that aligned itself with the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war and being so close to America, Castro became increasingly divisive as sweeping reforms to help out the poor laborers were put in place but opposition and objection were quelled swiftly and brutally.
America refused to trade with the Communist nation and put pressure on other countries to do so as well which meant the country suffered severe economic problems. Cuba began exiling those who it considered against its revolutionary policies and sent boatloads of refugees to Florida. Strangely enough, despite being shown as clamping down on freedoms largely championed in the West, Castro strongly opposed apartheid in Africa and wanted to see an end to colonialization around the world.