25 Little-Known Facts About Cuba: The Capital Of Revolution

Posted by , Updated on November 27, 2022

Cuba is the biggest island in the Caribbean Sea, with an official land area of 109,884 sq km (42,426 sq mi) and a population of more than 11 million. Arguably, one of the most talked about countries of the twentieth century, Cuba is famous for its Communist regime and the legendary icons of revolution it produced, most notably the country’s leader for fifty-two years (1959–2011), Fidel Castro, and one of the most recognized men of the century, Ernesto Che Guevara. Further, the country’s politics resulted in the notorious American embargo that has lasted for nearly six decades, while its close relationship with the USSR during the Cold War almost caused a nuclear war between the world’s two superpowers of the period in what is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962).

Of course, Cuba is not only famous for sociopolitical reasons, but for producing the finest cigars in the world, one of the best rums, its classic cars, and some of the most beautiful and scenic natural wonders a visitor can enjoy in the Caribbean. That’s the reason why Cuba has always been such a popular tourist destination for many years. In case you’re planning to visit the historic and beautiful country or you want to know more about it, check out these 25 Little-Known Facts About Cuba: The Capital of Revolution.


Cuban citizens were not allowed to use or own cell phones until 2008.

Cuban paradeSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Cuba is the only country that Americans need government permission to visit. That is, of course, because they can’t visit North Korea at all.

Source: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia Source: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

However, Hemingway was one American who dared to love and visit Cuba frequently. For that matter, he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls while living in Cuba.

Ernest HemingwaySource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Until 1997 contact between tourists and Cubans was outlawed by the Communist regime in fear that the foreigners would present a different reality to the locals from the one the media has been showing them. In the past nineteen years things have changed for the better.

HavanaSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Nearly 70 percent of the 2 million Cubans and Cuban Americans who live in America reside in Florida.

mapSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Just a couple of months ago Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in nearly a century, and the first since Castro’s revolution toppled a US-backed strongman in 1959.

Barack ObamaSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Matias Perez, a Portuguese man who lived in Cuba and started a canopy business in Havana, was an adventurer and balloon pilot who disappeared while attempting an aerostatic flight from the Plaza Parque Central on June 28, 1856. His disappearance had such an impact on Cuban culture that whenever something disappears into thin air Cubans say, “It flew away like Matias Perez.”

Matias Perez's statueSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Despite the few political analysts who claim that communism has been successful in Cuba and that most citizens are happy with it, the truth is Cuba is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the average monthly income being a depressing $26.27.

Cuban kidsSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

At an astonishing 99.8 percent, Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

School in CubaSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

John Lennon is particularly loved and admired in Cuba; he even has his own statue in a park that is named after him. The only problem was that people kept stealing the statue’s glasses and now there’s a guard who keeps an eye on them.

John Lennon's statueSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Cuba had over 150 nuclear weapons at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, all of them being the Soviet Union’s “gifts.”

Cuban Missile CrisisSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Coca-Cola was banned in Cuba for almost sixty years. It became legal again to buy the drink just last year. Cuba was only one of two countries where Coca-Cola was banned in the twenty-first century. The other country is North Korea.

Coca ColaSource: factmonster.com, Image: YouTube

We are not quite sure if this should tell us something about Cuban men, but penile enhancement surgery is free in Cuba.

Source: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba he clearly showed the world that he was dead serious when he said he would fight Western capitalism at any cost. He even ordered all Monopoly games in the country destroyed.

MonopolySource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Dating back to the Carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era, the manjuari is a fish you won’t find anywhere in the world except the waters of Cuba.

Manjuari of CubaSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Also, Cuba is the only place where you can see (you don’t want to get that close, though) the Cuban crocodile, a highly endangered and extremely terrifying reptile that some experts say is the most aggressive croc in the world.

Cuban crocodileSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Fidel Castro is known for many things and his beard is definitely one of them. However, very few know that he initially grew his beard simply because he couldn’t find razors due to the American embargo.

Fidel CastroSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

However, this backfired for the American government. Castro’s and Guevara’s beards became iconic symbols of resistance and rebellion in the West, especially among youngsters. The Cuban comrades’ beards annoyed the American government so much that it ordered the CIA to use a depilatory chemical on Castro to cause his beard to fall out. Apparently, the action failed.

Che Guevara and Fidel CastroSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Despite the animosity between the United States and Cuba on a political and cultural level, after Hurricane Katrina, Cuba was one of the first countries that offered to help with medical aid, Venezuelan gasoline, and $5 million. The American government rejected all of it.

Hurricane KatrinaSource: factmonster.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

You are not allowed to take a photo of any military, police, or airport personnel in Cuba. You will get arrested if you try.

Cuban military menSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

It is estimated that only 5 or 6 percent of Cuban citizens actually have access to the open, free Internet. The rest can only get access to a censored version that the government controls.

mapSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

The famous drink that we know as Cuba Libre in the United States and Europe (a drink made of rum, Coke, and lime) is not known by that name in Cuba. There it is called “mentirita.”

Cuba LibreSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

It is mandatory for every government vehicle to pick up hitchhikers or citizens who need a ride for whatever reason.

government vehicleSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

Despite the low income of the average Cuban and the country’s strict Communist policies, 92 percent of the population owns their own home.

Cuban houseSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

The first and also the last time it snowed in Cuba was on March 12, 1857. In other words, it has only snowed once in the country’s recorded history.

Winter LandscapeSource: factmonster.com, Image: Wikipedia

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