Changing face of Cuba - Al Jazeera English

Changing face of Cuba

For over 50 years Cubans have endured enmity and a trade embargo, and are now set for closer US ties.

Saif Khalid | | Arts & Culture, Latin America, Cuba

Havana, Cuba - The United States of America has finally revived diplomatic relations with the neighbouring island nation of Cuba after more than five decades.

The communist nation was kept on a tight leash by the world's most powerful nation, since severing of diplomatic ties in 1961 nearly two years after the Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro to power.

Cuba, a nation of about 11 million people, endured nearly half-a- century of enmity, crippling trade embargo, and American spy plots.

It was cut off from international trade but Cubans learned to live with limited resources.

Despite the odds, the country developed one of the finest healthcare systems in the world.

Art and culture, particularly music, also flourished under communist rule. In spite of sanctions, Cuba managed to attract international tourists on the back of its rich cultural heritage and pristine beaches.

Nearly two million tourists visited the island in the first six months of this year, bringing billions of dollars into the country.

Booming tourism has offered Cubans an extra income that they could not have dreamt of with low-paying government jobs. Waiters are one of the biggest earners compared to much-respected professions of medicine and teaching that pay as low as $40 a month.

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