Cuba. The question of Fidel Castro's possible return to
power, which has occupied both Cubans and the outside world
ever since he became ill and resigned temporarily in the
summer of 2006, was also not decided in 2007. The first
round of the municipal elections was held on October 21.
CountryAAH, municipal elections are the only open direct elections in
Cuba, but the municipal council does not exercise any real
power. Their only task is to elect delegates to the National
Assembly, who in turn elect members of the Cabinet and the
country's president. As Fidel did not run in the October
elections, it was thereby indicated that Brother Raúl's
takeover of power will be final.
However, Fidel has not been inactive. Beginning in June,
he wrote several articles in the official body of the
Communist Party Granma on various domestic and foreign
policy issues, was interviewed in Cuban TV and also received
visits from left-wing Presidents Evo Morales (Bolivia), Hugo
Chávez (Venezuela) and Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua). His first
public statement since leaving was in January, when he
personally called Hugo Chávez and talked for half an hour in
Chávez's daily radio program Aló Presidente.
In contrast to the US, the EU has shown interest in
closer contacts with Cuba since Raúl Castro took over.
During the year, as in the past, Spain was the driving force
in these efforts. Raúl also showed signs of being more
pragmatically minded than Fidel in financial matters, and
was for example. on several occasions openly critical of
Fideltrule Carlos Lage, Deputy Prime Minister. The National
Assembly's approval in June of a reform program for the
justice system also indicates a certain openness to EU
pressures and recommendations on human rights issues.
Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque, however, rejected the
EU's proposal for open dialogue as long as the diplomatic
sanctions imposed by the EU in 2003 following a human rights
Cuba - Havana
Havana, Spanish La Habana, capital of Cuba, on the north coast of
the island; 2. 1 million residents (2017). Havana is one of the oldest and
historically most important cities in the New World. It is also considered one
of the most beautiful; the well-preserved, but now severely worn, older parts of
the city (La Habana Vieja), together with the fortifications, have been declared
a UNESCO World Heritage. Restoration work is in progress.
Havana is Cuba's political, economic and cultural center. The city's
development has been linked to the port, which still handles a large part of the
country's foreign trade, especially of imports. José Martí International Airport
is 15 km south of the city center. Havana is also Cuba's largest industrial
city. In addition to the traditional, agricultural-based industry (sugar, rum,
cigars) there are, among others, the iron, steel, oil and chemical industries.
The university was founded in 1728.
Havana's oldest neighborhoods are located at the narrow port entrance and are
flanked by the three fortifications of Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro
(1587–97), Fortaleza de la Cabaña (1763–74) and Castillo de la Punta (16th
century). The buildings here are characterized by low Spanish colonial
residential buildings and partly by larger buildings such as the Palacio de los
Capitanes Generales (1773–93, now the town hall), Casa de Gobierno (1776–92) and
the Monastery of Santa Clara (1635–44, now the Ministry of Labor ). Here are
also several churches, for example the Cathedral of San Cristóbal (c. 1660–1724)
with a later Baroque facade (completed 1777).
The city's modern development focuses primarily on the Plaza de la Revolución
- Havana's administrative center - and along the Malecón boardwalk. Newer
buildings include the Academy of Art (1962-65) with its domed buildings in pink
brick by Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi and the university
area by José Fernández.
Havana was founded in 1515 by Cuba's conqueror and first governor, Diego
Velázquez. The city became an early gathering place for the Spanish convoys to
the mother country and thereby also a desirable destination for pirates. After a
French freebie raid, which virtually destroyed the city in 1555, the
fortifications began to make Havana the strongest fortress in Spain in America.
In 1607, Havana was appointed by royal decree as the capital of Cuba. The city
was occupied in 1762–63 by the British, who returned it to the Spaniards in
exchange for Florida. Since restrictions in trade with Spain were abolished in
1778, Havana soon developed into the world's new port city. The explosion of the
US warship Maine in the port of Havana triggered the Spanish-American war in
1898. Havana remained as the capital of the new state of Cuba, which was formed
in 1902. The city continued to grow rapidly during the 20th century. In
particular, the tourism sector expanded due to large US investments, a
development that was, however, interrupted by the revolution in 1959. In the
1990s, the tourism industry regained momentum.