When foreigners think of Cuba, they often imagine the country’s famous beaches and beautiful green landscapes. Others think of rum, cigars, salsa, and other things the country is famous for. But these are not the only things that make the country special. The main reason the country may feel proud about are its citizens. Cuban people are talented in various areas, and many of them have achieved outstanding results in their fields and became famous worldwide. Here are some of the Cuban people everyone needs to know about.
Politician, military commander
Fidel Castro may be the best-known Cuban person ever. The name of the leader of the Cuban Revolution and former president of the country is known worldwide. It is also one of the most controversial figures in the country’s history, because not all people agree with the changes that he performed in the island after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and with his decision to assimilate the Socialist regime as the main political ideology of the country.
Poet, writer, journalist
The Cuban National hero, Jose Marti, has a very important role in the country’s history, as the main author of the strategy for freeing Cuba from the Spanish colonization. But apart from that, he also was a brilliant journalist who documented many of the events that happened not only in Cuba, but overseas as well during his lifetime. He is also known for his poems, which Cuban people learn since their childhood.
Another famous Cuban poet was Nicolas Guillen. One of the best Cuban poetry writers, he has received several awards for his work. His poems are not only loved in their original versions, but also musicalized and turned into famous songs.
Finally, talking about Cuban literature, it is impossible not to mention Alejo Carpentier. He is considered one of the most important writers not only in Cuba, but in Latin America, and all the Spanish-speaking world. It is difficult to find a Cuban who would not be familiar with his work.
Cuban musicians are a very important group among Cuban celebrities. Cuba is well-known for its music, and many of Cuban music artists are known worldwide. One of the major Cuban musicians is Benny More, known as the best Son singer in Cuba.
Singer, musician, composer
Another important figure in the world of Cuban music, Compay Segundo is a singer and composer who worked in various genres of Cuban music. He was not only popular in Cuba, but performed several world tours, spreading the popularity of Son, Salsa, and Bolero to other countries.
One of the best Cuban bolero singers, Celia Cruz has as much as 23 gold albums and several Grammy awards. She is sometimes called “The Queen of Cuban Salsa” for her outstanding work in the genre. She has also made a career as a movie actress.
Speaking of modern music, Pitbull is a representative example of famous Cuban singers nowadays. He was born in Miami to Cuban immigrants and made a brilliant career as a rapper. Among his biggest hits there are collaborations with the most famous artists of the USA.
Another form of art where Cuban people excel is ballet. Alicia Alonso is one of the greatest ballet dancers not only in the country, but in the whole world. She is famous for performing lead roles is the most famous ballets, and for founding the Cuban National Ballet – the first professional ballet company in the country, now performing all over the world.
Among male Cuban ballet dancers, the best-known one is Carlos Acosta. He has performed with some of the best ballet companies of Cuba, United States, and United Kingdom, successfully performing the lead roles of the best ballets.
Painter, fine artist
The best-known Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam worked in an avant-garde style portraying in his works the Afro-Cuban culture. He has received many awards for his work, and his main masterpieces may be found nowadays in the main museums of many cities all across the world.
The Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia has had a very successful career, starring in some award-winning Hollywood movies, such as “The Godfather Part III”, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “The Untouchables”, and “The Lost City”.
Daisy Fuentes is another Cuban actress who made a successful career in the US. She is now a well-known model, TV hostess and comedian. There are so much more talented and famous Cuban actors living both in Cuba and abroad, that it is impossible to mention them all.
Jose Raul Capablanca
Talking about famous people in Cuban sport, we will start with the legendary chess player Capablanca. He became the National Champion at age 13, and later won the title of World Champion. Capablanca was thought of as invincible, because of a surprisingly low percentage of lost matches.
One of the best-known Cuban sportsmen, Javier Sotomayor specializes in high jump. He is an Olympic gold medal winner and a world record holder. Although he retired in 2001 his record of 2.44 meters in high jump has not been beaten since.
Cuba has champions not only in high jump, but long jump as well. Ivan Pedroso, a former athlete specializing in long jump participated in numerous world competitions between 1990 and 2007 winning one gold medal in the Olympic games of Sydney 2000, and nine in other world championships.
Mijain Lopez, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time World Champion, and four-time Champion of Pan American Games is probably the best Cuban wrestler and one of the best sportsmen of the country. He specializes in Greco-Roman wrestling, 130 kg category.
Teofilo Stevenson is one of only three boxers in the world to win three Olympic gold medals. He has won a total of 12 medals in world championships, 11 of them gold. The BBC described Stevenson as “Cuba’s greatest boxer, once its most famous figure after Fidel Castro”.
Carlos Juan Finlay
Cubans are not only good in arts and sports, but is science as well. A good example of that is Carlos J. Finlay, who has made great discoveries in the field of medicine. He searched for the cause of yellow fever and came to the conclusion that it is transmitted by mosquitoes, and posteriorly developed a vaccine against the disease.
Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez
Arnaldo Tamayo was the first Cuban cosmonaut and the first person from Latin America to travel to space. On September 18, 1980 he boarded the Soviet spaceship Soyuz 38 and realized his historic mission of traveling to the outer space.