The most beautiful land ever beheld by human eyes," Christopher Columbus is said to have exclaimed when he landed in Cuba in 1492.
Columbus's description is close to the truth. Cuba's countryside is a luxuriant green, graced by majestic palms that sway in the tropical breeze.
The beaches have fine white sands and crystal clear waters.
The people of Cuba have added to the natural beauty, also-cities like Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Camaguey have magnificent old Spanish colonial buildings as well as exciting modern architecture.
Sadly, the beauty of Cuba has been marred by struggle and oppression.
For most of their history, Cubans have lived under repressive governments.
Though the regime of Fidel Castro made life better for some people, overall the quality of life in Cuba has declined during his rule.
Today, Cuba continues trying to harmonize the beauty of its scenery with a good life for its people.