Cuba: The Land and the People 1950 Coronet; Pre-Castro Cuba

more at http://news.quickfound.net/intl/cuba_news.html

“This film is a general travelogue about Cuba.”

NEW VERSION with improved video & sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=podI-3bpCqw

Public domain film from the National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, ( Spanish: República de Cuba) is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country’s capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city. To the north of Cuba lies the United States (140 km or 90 mi away) and the Bahamas, Mexico is to the west, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained a territory of Spain until the Spanish–American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902. A fragile democracy, increasingly dominated by radical politics eventually evolved, solidified by the Cuban Constitution of 1940, but was definitely quashed in 1952 by former president Fulgencio Batista, and an authoritarian regime was set up, intensifying and catalyzing already rampant corruption, political repression and crippling economic regulations. Batista was ousted in January 1959 by the July 26 movement, and a new administration under Fidel Castro established, which had by 1965 evolved into a single-party state under the revived Communist Party of Cuba, which holds power to date.

Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean, as well as the largest by area. Its people, culture, and customs draw from diverse sources, such as the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and its proximity to the United States.

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and an average life expectancy of 77.64. In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF’s definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8 for 2007…

Cuba is an archipelago of islands located in the northern Caribbean Sea at the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It lies between latitudes 19° and 24°N, and longitudes 74° and 85°W. The United States lies 90 miles across the Straits of Florida to the north and northwest (to the closest tip of Key West, Florida), the Bahamas to the north, Haiti to the east, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to the south, and Mexico to the west. Cuba is the principal island, surrounded by four smaller groups of islands: the Colorados Archipelago on the northwestern coast, the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago on the north-central Atlantic coast, the Jardines de la Reina on the south-central coast and the Canarreos Archipelago on the southwestern coast.

The main island is 1,199 km (745 mi) long, constituting most of the nation’s land area (105,006 km2 (40,543 sq mi)) and is the largest island in the Caribbean and 16th-largest island in the world by land area. The main island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains apart from the Sierra Maestra mountains in the southeast, whose highest point is Pico Turquino (1,975 m (6,480 ft)). The second-largest island is Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the Canarreos archipelago, with an area of 3,056 km2 (1,180 sq mi). Cuba has a total land area of 110,860 km2 (42,803 sq mi)…

The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeasterly trade winds that blow year-round. In general (with local variations), there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 21 °C (69.8 °F) in January and 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July. The warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea and the fact that Cuba sits across the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico combine to make the country prone to frequent hurricanes. These are most common in September and October…

The most important mineral resource is nickel, of which Cuba has the world’s second largest reserves (after Russia)…
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Traveling to Cuba | Cuba Before the Revolution: The Land and the People | 1950

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This film is a general travelogue about Cuba before Fidel Castro’s Revolution.

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History of Cuba:
Cuba was launched as an independent republic in 1902 with Estrada Palma as its first president, although the Platt Amendment, reluctantly accepted by the Cubans, kept the island under U.S. protection and gave the United States the right to intervene in Cuban affairs. United States investment in Cuban enterprises increased, and plantations, refineries, railroads, and factories passed to American (and thus absentee) ownership. This economic dependence led to charges of “Yankee imperialism,” strengthened when a revolt headed by José Miguel Gómez led to a new U.S. military occupation (1906–9). William Howard Taft and Charles Magoon acted as provisional governors. After supervising the elections, the U.S. forces withdrew, only to return in 1912 to assist putting down black protests against discrimination.

Sugar production increased, and in World War I the near-destruction of Europe’s beet-sugar industry raised sugar prices to the point where Cuba enjoyed its “dance of the millions.” The boom was followed by collapse, however, and wild fluctuations in prices brought repeated hardship. Politically, the country suffered fraudulent elections and increasingly corrupt administrations. Gerardo Machado as president (1925–33) instituted vigorous measures, forwarding mining, agriculture, and public works, then abandoned his great projects in favor of suppressing opponents. Machado was overthrown in 1933, and from then until 1959 Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, a former army sergeant, dominated the political scene, either directly as president or indirectly as army chief of staff. With Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration a new era in U.S. relations with Cuba began: Sumner Welles was sent as ambassador, the Platt Amendment was abandoned in 1934, the sugar quota was revised, and tariff rulings were changed to favor Cuba. Economic problems continued, however, complicated by the difficulties associated with U.S. ownership of many of the sugar mills and the continuing need for diversification.

In March, 1952, shortly before scheduled presidential elections, Batista seized power through a military coup. Cuban liberals soon reacted, but a revolt in 1953 by Fidel Castro was abortive. In 1956, however, Castro landed in eastern Cuba and took to the Sierra Maestra, where, aided by Ernesto “Che” Guevara, he reformed his ranks and waged a much-publicized guerrilla war. The United States withdrew military aid to Batista in 1958, and Batista finally fled on Jan. 1, 1959.

Land and People of Cuba:
Cuba is the largest and westernmost of the islands of the West Indies and lies strategically at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, only 90 mi (145 km) from Florida. The south coast is washed by the Caribbean Sea, the north coast by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the east the Windward Passage separates Cuba from Haiti. The shores are often marshy and are fringed by coral reefs and cays. There are many fine seaports – Havana (the chief import point), Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Cárdenas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantánamo (a U.S. naval base since 1903). Of the many rivers, only the Cauto is important. The climate is semitropical and generally uniform, and like most other Caribbean nations Cuba is subject to hurricanes.

Cuba has three mountain regions: the wild and rugged Sierra Maestra in the east, rising to 6,560 ft (2,000 m) in the Pico Turquino; a lower range, the scenic Sierra de los Organos, in the west; and the Sierra de Trinidad, a picturesque mass of hills amid the plains and rolling country of central Cuba, a region of vast sugar plantations. The rest of the island is level or rolling.

The origins of the population include Spanish (over 35%), African (over 10%), and mixed Spanish-African (over 50%). Spanish is spoken and Roman Catholicism, the dominant religion, is tolerated by the Marxist government. Santeria, an African-derived faith, is also practiced, and there are a growing number of Protestant evangelical churches. The principal institutions of higher learning are the University of Havana (founded 1728), in Havana; Universidad de Oriente, in Santiago de Cuba; and Central Universidad de las Villas, in Santa Clara.

Traveling to Cuba | Cuba Before the Revolution: The Land and the People | 1950