by Ted A. Henken, Miriam Celaya, and Dimas Castellanos, Editors


Cuba has a growing number of bloggers and Twitter users despite its very low Internet penetration and cellphone usage.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Cuba

October 2013


Pages 596
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Countries and Regions

Written by some of the best-known independent scholars, citizen journalists, cyber-activists, and bloggers living in Cuba today, this book presents a critical, complete, and unbiased overview of contemporary Cuba.

In this era of ever-increasing globalization and communication across national borders, Cuba remains an isolated island oddly out of step with the rest of the world. And yet, Cuba is beginning to evolve via the important if still insufficient changes instituted by Raul Castro, who became president in 2008. This book supplies a uniquely independent, accurate, and critical perspective in order to evaluate these changes in the context of the island's rich and complex history and culture. Organized into seven topical chapters that address geography, history, politics and government, economics, society, culture, and contemporary issues, readers will gain a broad, insightful understanding of one of the most unusual, fascinating, and often misunderstood nations in the Western Hemisphere.


  • Pays special attention to the opportunities, limitations, and challenges presented by the leadership of Raul Castro and his reforms
  • Provides an accurate, insider's perspective into contemporary Cuba supplied by Cubans who currently live and work on the island, in stark contrast with most accounts that are filtered through the lens of an outside observer
  • Supplies readers with a critical, comprehensive review of Cuban history, economics, politics, culture, and society that places current developments in historical context
  • Includes a glossary, an appendix of up-to-date statistical information, dozens of sidebars on a variety of important and unusual topics, and an annotated bibliography
Series Description

Nations in Focus

How did Poland and Slovakia avoid a GDP recession during the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–08—the only two member nations of the European Union to do so? What are the historic origins of the ongoing strife and tension in the Middle East, and what new developments and factors are adding to the discord in the 21st century? How are the lives of the Chinese people changing as China rapidly expands its economy and its international role? Students, travelers, business people, and policymakers have questions like these. ABC-CLIO's Nations in Focus provides the answers.

Titles within ABC-CLIO's Nations in Focus collection provide fascinating and informative portraits of nations large and small that play key roles in global and regional affairs.

ABC-CLIO's groundbreaking Nations in Focus explores many of the world's most intriguing and important countries, combining fascinating details with an insider's eye for defining characteristics. The series helps students, business people, and travelers understand the richness and complexity of each individual country—and appreciate its key role in the global community.

Nations in Focus brings readers up to date with each nation's history, geography, politics, economics, and contemporary issues. Offering unprecedented coverage on economic, cultural, and societal topics, the volumes provide analysis on issues of ethnicity, religion, gender, and education, as well as leisure, sports, and popular culture. The depth of content is complemented by a richly illustrated format that helps bring the topic to life.


  • Helps build a deeper understanding of countries that play major regional and global roles
  • Counters common myths and misconceptions with in-depth, factual materials that convey the richness and complexity of each country
  • Provides a context for understanding the everyday life of people in foreign countries that is essential for students and others seeking to learn more about the world's nations


  • A series of narrative chapters on history, geography, politics, society, culture, and more
  • A chronology of key historical developments up to the present
  • Sidebars on key biographies, places, and events
  • A Facts and Figures section providing statistical data on a variety of important topics
  • Information on culturally significant holidays and events
  • More than 100 photographs per title
  • A directory of business, cultural, government, and tourist organizations
  • An annotated bibliography of key print and nonprint resources
  • Glossary sections defining important terms and concepts
Author Info

Ted A. Henken, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Baruch College, City University of New York. His published works include ABC-CLIO's Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook as well as articles on Cuba in the academic journals Cuban Studies, Cuban Affairs, Latin American Research Review, Latino Studies, Cuba in Transition, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana, and Nueva Sociedad. Henken also writes about contemporary Cuba on his blog, "El Yuma" ( and is frequently interviewed about Cuba by major international media, including The New York Times, NPR, BBC, the Associated Press, Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor, The Miami Herald, Univision, Telemundo, and Marti Noticias. Henken holds a doctorate in Latin American studies from Tulane University.

Miriam Celaya is an independent journalist who regularly publishes articles in Diario de Cuba, Convivencia, and Voces magazine, and was a cofounder of the independent digital magazine Consenso (2004–2007). She is also the author of "Sin Evasión" (, one of Cuba's best-known blogs. Celaya earned her bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Havana and did graduate work in anthropology at the University of Havana and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, where she worked as an archeologist between 1984 and 2005. She has also worked as a professor of Spanish language and literature and lectured on Cuban history, archeology, and anthropology at the University of Havana, the Superior Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI), and the National Center for Preservation, Restoration and Museology (CENCREM). Celaya has published articles about native Cuban art and archeology in various cultural and scientific journals.

Dimas Castellanos writes for the digital publications Diario de Cuba, Convivencia, and Voces magazine. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Havana in 1975 and a degree in theology from Havana's Advanced Institute of Biblical and Theological Studies in 2006. He has taught Marxist philosophy at the University of Havana. An independent journalist, he also publishes his own blog, "El Blog de Dimas" ( and has won numerous journalism awards for his work. Castellanos has presented academic papers in the United States and Europe, including "Birth and Death of Civil Society in Cuba," at the Institute of Latin America of the University of Berlin and at the Department of Sociology of the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain (2009).



"This book is written very honestly with thought-provoking facts about one of our more interesting Latin American neighbors. This title is recommended for large public libraries and academic libraries."—ARBA

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