U.S.-Cuba RelationsCuban Economy and Communism
Having relied on its relationship with its ally – the Soviet Union – for economic trade and support, Cuba experienced a severe economic depression following the collapse of the Soviet system. In response, it eased many economic practices. In 1991, all references to Marxism and Leninism were removed from the Cuban constitution. In 1993, new laws were passed that allowed Cubans to own U.S. dollars, be self-employed, and open farmer's markets. In 1996, foreign companies were allowed to operate and own businesses and purchase real estate in Cuba.
Since 1962, the United States has had an embargo against Cuba, preventing food and medicine (among other goods) to be traded between the two nations. The intent of the embargo has been to make life economically difficult on Cubans, compelling them to rise up against Castro and demand democracy. In 1996, the Helms-Burton Act was signed into law, permitting lawsuits against foreign companies that invest in Cuba. The effect has been to hamper growth and investment in Cuba. The United Nations, along with American allies such as Canada and Mexico, have called for repeal of Helms-Burton.
Cuban Human Rights
Amnesty International, a leading human rights watchdog group, often cites in its annual report of worldwide human rights violations Cuba's practice of holding prisoners of conscience. There are approximately 500 such prisoners being held for opposition to Cuba's present leadership or for attempting to organize political opposition. When Pope John Paul II visited the island in January 1998, he condemned the Cuban government's human rights record, but he also criticized the U.S. government's embargo.
U.S. State Department Page on U.S.-Cuba Relations
Planet: Destination Cuba
Exchange: History of the U.S. Blockade of Cuba
Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month! Don't overlook this opportunity to study and enjoy activities about the history and culture of Asian-Pacific American communities.
Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.
May Calendar of Events
May is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Children's Book Week (5/13-19), Biographers Day (5/16), and Memorial Day (5/27). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, and Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!
Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.