Cuban culture is a conglomerate of many aspects. For one, Cuba hosts immigrants from countries all over the globe, including China, Africa, South America, and Europe. As a result, unique social and cultural traditions have flourished. What is more, after the Cuban Revolution, there was a literary explosion and Cuba transformed it into an intellectual hub where experts from around the world would meet. The tradition of intellectual discussion and globalized perspectives endures in Cuba.
One prominent member of the Cuban intellectual community is Leonardo Padura who, on November 8th, came to Washington University in St. Louis. He is an internationally recognized Cuban writer who is an eminence in the realm of mystery novels and a renowned journal and essay writer. However, in the United States, mainstream media never make mention of Padura, leaving the American people sadly deprived of a talent that the rest of the world recognizes.
Padura, who is highly educated, studied at the University of Havana. Through his success, we can appreciate the strong tradition and foundations of formal education in Cuba. Unfortunately, due to all the negative mediatic coverage on Cuba we tend to question that such a successful and extensive system could exist in the country. Primary education has greatly improved to the point where the literacy rate in Cuba has reached 100%, a remarkable feat considering that before the Cuban Revolution the literacy rate was around 60%. Cuba hosts 23 medical schools (whereas there were only 3 medicals schools prior to the revolution) that are free to those who are admitted. They train doctors from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and even the United States. Unfortunately, many of them leave for countries like Venezuela, highlighting the issue that there needs to be a safer economic environment for professionals in Cuba.
While it is important to stay up to date on current issues around the world, including in Latin America, it equally worthwhile to note less dramatic occurrences. Contrary to implications in the media, good things do come from places like Cuba. The island is the subject of much negative media, but sometimes flowers do flourish in the middle of desserts. Positive stories may not sell as well, but they are still significant and should be noticed.