Cuba is an island that was Spanish Colonized for many years. They brought African slaves to work on the fields of sugar and coffee plantations, two of Cuba's most rich resources. The Cubans fought for their independence from the Spanish and won in 1902 with the Spanish-American war. From there on Cuba had many government rulers that were oppressing and corrupted. In 1959 the Cuban Revolution was won, lead by revolutionary Fidel Castro who promised the people that things would be different from then on. Fidel made the country into a communist country based on the socialist ideas of Karl Marx and his Communist Manifesto. Cuba has been a communist country for more than 50 years. They are consider a third world country since they don't have many capital resources after the Soviet Union went down in the 1990s and due to the USA embargo in effect since 1961. The country has a very rich culture with distinct food, music, dances, and history which is implemented in schools at a young age and can be seen in small children anywhere around.

Jose Marti (1853-1895)
He is my favorite writer and poet. Born in Havana, Cuba, Marti from a young age voice his political views of liberty for Cuba from Spain. He was a political activist as well as a revolutionary for Cuba's independence. He was killed in military action in 1895 at the age of 42. Throughout his life he wrote many pieces of work including poems, essays, short story and journalism pieces. In Cuba he is a national hero, not only for his fight for Cuba's liberty but for his writing that became part of the Cuban culture and history. His unique works are part of every child education in Cuba, where they study his poems and short stories. Especially his poems are very famous in Cuban culture since they are patriotic at times but always passionate and have this deep, moving characteristic about them.

I Have a White Rose to Tend
I have a white rose to tend
In July as in January;
I give it to the true friend
Who offers his frank hand to me.
And for the cruel one whose blows
Break the heart by which I live,
Thistle nor thorn do I give:
For him, too, I have a white rose.

A Sincere Man am I
A sincere man am I
From the land where palm trees grow,
And I want before I die
My soul's verses to bestow.

I'm a traveller to all parts,
And a newcomer to none:
I am art among the arts,
With the mountains I am one.

I know how to name and class
All the strange flowers that grow;
I know every blade of grass,
Fatal lie and sublime woe.

I have seen through dead of night
Upon my head softly fall,
Rays formed of the purest light
From beauty celestial.

I have seen wings that were surging
From beautiful women's shoulders,
And seen butterflies emerging
From the refuse heap that moulders.

I have known a man to live
With a dagger at his side,
And never once the name give
Of she by whose hand he died.

Twice, for an instant, did I
My soul's reflection espy:
Twice: when my poor father died
And when she bade me good-bye.

I trembled once, when I flung
The vineyard gate, and to my dread,
The wicked hornet had stung
My little girl on the forehead.

I rejoiced once and felt lucky
The day that my jailer came
To read the death warrant to me
That bore his tears and my name.

I hear a sigh across the earth,
I hear a sigh over the deep:
It is no sign reaching my hearth,
But my son waking from sleep.

If they say I have obtained
The pick of the jeweller's trove,
A good friend is what I've gained
And I have put aside love.

I have seen across the skies
A wounded eagle still flying;
I know the cubby where lies
The snake of its venom dying.

I know that the world is weak
And must soon fall to the ground,
Then the gentle brook will speak
Above the quiet profound.

While trembling with joy and dread,
I have touched with hand so bold
A once-bright star that fell dead
From heaven at my threshold.

On my brave heart is engraved
The sorrow hidden from all eyes:
The son of a land enslaved,
Lives for it, suffers and dies.

All is beautiful and right,
All is as music and reason;
And all, like diamonds, is light
That was coal before its season.

I know when fools are laid to rest
Honor and tears will abound,
And that of all fruits, the best
Is left to rot in holy ground.

Without a word, the pompous muse
I've set aside, and understood:
From a withered branch, I choose
To hang my doctoral hood.

Casa de La Cultura- House of Culture:
The houses of Culture in Cuba are in every city and about one per neighborhood, they have been establish since Fidel came to power. This is an after school program where they have classes and activity of artistic and cultural nature for students and for the community in general. In Cuba children have art classes or designated hours for arts in their curriculum but only up to 6th grade. After that there are no more art classes given in the schools which is why the cultural houses were form where older kids as well as the younger ones could further their artistic interest. This is a government founded program like most of the programs in Cuba. They do at times charge a small fee for big presentations and the money is used to maintain the building. The house is also used by other people of the community to put on art shows and for art teachers to teach classes. I personally preformed several dances there and took modeling and dance classes there as well. In Cuba the arts are very much interconnected to the culture and to be artistic in some way or another is part of it. My mom and dad can both draw, I dance, my uncle is a wood sculpture and stain glass artist and like that I have many other family members that are in some way artistic in a field. In Cuba like this house of culture there are other artistic programs and art schools that one can attend by auditioning after 1st grade.

Teacher Training:
In Cuba there are specific schools for students who want to be teachers in the arts. In this schools student learn many other art forms other than the one they want to specialize in so they are well rounded in the arts, but they do majorly focus on their own discipline. An example of one of this school is the Eduardo Garcia Delgado Art School for instructors. Part of their programs is that third year students start their internships in schools where they go and teach or aid the teachers. Teachers who are not going to a school specific for arts instruction, but more for primary education where they are the one to teach all subjects are given courses where they learn a small amount of arts in order to be able to integrate it and use it as a tool in everyday classroom activities. In these younger children grades, up to about 6th grade, the classes and the school will have presentations, sort of school meeting in the school yards where students from different grades will do poetry readings, dances or other art interpretation from their own inspiration or just as a performance. This may be done individually or as a whole class, and is up to their teacher to organize them.

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Since Cuba is a communist country the education and all its programs are government founded and government based which means that all public education is free. From the time Fidel went into power he did express his desire to have art integration being part of children education. For them to have a least a basis, an exposure that they could further explore after that or that they could go right from the beginning to if wanted. Which is why in schools art programs are only available up to 6th grade, after that is up to the children to decide if they which to pursue something further. Cuba is a poor country but the founding for the art programs are still very much alive but they are not always the best of programs due to financial restrictions; but in a way all the financial restrictions make the Cuban people be very creative in their arts and in their everyday life.

Cuban people are very cultural and artistic since the arts are integrated into the Cuban culture and thus are integrated in the education of every child from the kindergarten to 6th grade which is up the grade the country can afford to expose children to the arts in school. After that children can pursue art in their own and there are many free governmental programs to participate in that can help them grow artistically. Since the arts are so fundamental to the culture and to the education of the Cuban people that you could go to a random neighborhood and knock door by door on every house and find at least one person who has some sort or artistic ability or talent whether is dance or drawing or singing. Cuba is a culturally rich country where people have learned to be creative not only artistically but creative in life and in the everyday hardships one may encounter in a third world country.