Lesson 710 – Havana: Cultural Treasure House of the Caribbean

Havana, Cuba’s capital city is home to a prodigious wealth of colonial and nineteenth century architectural masterpieces. These are slowly and painstakingly emerging from neglect brought on by the U.S. economic blockade. Havana’s harbor and the city’s Revolutionary Square provide ideal backdrops for understanding Cuba from the late 1950s to the present, why it so appealed to Ernest Hemingway, why its fabled fifties-era taxis are still running, how African roots influence the city’s culture, and why even now it is a mecca for international tourists.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the geographical location, heritage, and attractiveness of Havana, Cuba.

Social Studies Standards

Global Connections: B, D & E

Discussion Prompts

  • The historian, Bill Beezley, states that Havana is the gateway to all of Spanish America. Discuss the meaning of this statement and the benefits and/or drawbacks of the island’s geographical location.
  • Fidel Castro wanted to give all Cubans basic needs, access to resources and opportunities, thus the revolution. Discuss the revolution and the revolutionary policies that have impacted the region/country.
  • Explore the concept of Cuban’s billboards focusing on helping improve human conditions in Cuba. What is the economic and social impact comparing to your region?
  • The reconstruction of Havana, a project to benefit not only tourists but also locals, is taking history into consideration. Discuss the meaning of reconstruction for the Cubans and compare to reconstruction efforts in your region.

Lesson Activities

  • Cubans endured invasions, pirates, U.S forces, Cuban revolutionaries, corrupt officials, and additional challenges and yet they still stand strong. Create a symbol that would illustrate the resilience of the people of Cuba and write a paragraph to explain it and why you chose it.
  • Using the idea/concept of the Cuban billboards, create a billboard to bring awareness and opportunities of a local or regional issue for those disenfranchised in your region.
  • Restore, save and conserve is what the reconstruction director is tasked to do. What would you like to see restored, saved and conserved in our global community? Describe the object, its importance to you and others, how it would keep the historical memory for the future, and a photo/illustration of it.
  • Despite of all the economic difficulties imposed on Cuba and Cubans, happiness seemed to be a common theme throughout the video. Create an improv group to act out funny moments/situations showing glimpses of what happiness looks like in Cuba.


  • Blockade
  • gateway
  • historical memory
  • invasion
  • microbiology
  • microorganism
  • organic farming
  • reconstruction
  • revolutionary
  • Soviet Union


In the Americas Season 7 Lesson Episode 10