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More than 200 rivers wind their way across Cuba, watering the lush green scenery of the Caribbean's largest island. The land is made up of mountains, rolling hills, and flat plains, ail covered in a fertile soil that is ideal for growing sugar, tobacco, and a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables. Most Cubans are descended from the early Spanish settlers, or from Africans brought over later to work as slaves on the plantations. In recent decades, the socialist policies of the long-standing leader Fidel Castro have kept Cuba isolated from much of the world.Che guevara & Fidel Castro

In 1959, Fidel Castro and a group of rebels overthrew the ruling dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Since then, Cuba has been a communist state, aided by the Soviet Union until its breakup in the early 1990s. Many of Castro's social policies have been successful. Housing and health care have greatly improved, and most people can now read and write. However, the US remains hostile to the communist government.



Cuba's warm days and cool nights are ideal for growing tobacco. Tobacco leaves are picked when pale green and hung up to dry for 40-45 days. They are then sorted and packed for the fermentation process, which mellows the flavor of the leaf before it is sent to one of Cuba's famous cigar factories. Cigars are rolled by hand by men and women working at long wooden tables.


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