Famous people from Cuba
Here is a list of famous people from Cuba. Curious if anybody from Cuba made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who was Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the Commander in Chief of the country’s armed forces from 1959 to 2008, and as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, under his administration the Republic of Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and businesses were nationalized, and socialist reforms implemented in all areas of society. Internationally, Castro was the Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, from 1979 to 1983 and from 2006 to 2008. The illegitimate son of a wealthy farmer, Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of the United States-backed military junta of Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, and served a year's imprisonment in 1953 after a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks. On release he traveled to Mexico, where he formed a revolutionary group with his brother Raúl and friend Che Guevara, the 26th of July Movement. Returning to Cuba, Castro led the Cuban Revolution which ousted Batista in 1959, and brought his own assumption of military and political power. Alarmed by his revolutionary credentials and friendly relations with the Soviet Union, the U.S. governments of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy unsuccessfully attempted to remove him, by economic blockade, assassination and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. Countering these threats, Castro formed an economic and military alliance with the Soviets, and allowed them to place nuclear weapons on the island, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad was a Cuban-American salsa performer. One of the most popular salsa artists of the 20th century, she earned twenty-three gold albums and was renowned internationally as the "Queen of Salsa" as well as "La Guarachera de Cuba." She spent much of her career living in New Jersey, and working in the United States and several Latin American countries. Leila Cobo of Billboard Magazine once said "Cruz is indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history of Cuban music."
Andrés Arturo García Menéndez, professionally known as Andy Garcia, is a Cuban American actor. He became known in the late 1980s and 1990s, having appeared in several successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather Part III, The Untouchables, Internal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman. More recently, he has starred in Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen, and The Lost City. García was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Vincent Mancini in The Godfather Part III.
José Julián Martí Pérez is a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban Freemasons. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba's bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, and is referred to as the "Apostle of Cuban Independence." He also wrote about the threat of United States expansionism into Cuba. From adolescence, he dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans; his death was used as a cry for Cuban independence from Spain by both the Cuban revolutionaries and those Cubans previously reluctant to start a revolt. Born in Havana, Martí began his political activism at an early age. He would travel extensively in Spain, Latin America, and the United States, raising awareness and support for the cause of Cuban independence. His unification of the Cuban émigré community, particularly in Florida, was crucial to the success of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. He was a key figure in the planning and execution of this war, as well as the designer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party and its ideology. He died in military action on May 19, 1895.
Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy, the Cosmicomics collection of short stories, and the novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler. Lionised in Britain and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a noted contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez is a Cuban musician, and leader of the nueva trova movement. He is considered Cuba's best folk singer and known for his highly eloquent and symbolic lyrics. Many of his songs have become classics in Latin American music, such as Ojalá, Playa Girón, Unicornio and La maza. He has released nearly 20 albums. Rodríguez, musically and politically, is a symbol of the Latin American Left. His lyrics are notably introspective, while his songs combine romanticism, love, revolutionary politics, and idealism. He has been referred to as "Cuba’s John Lennon."
José Canseco Capas, Jr., is a Cuban-American former Major League Baseball outfielder, and designated hitter. Canseco has admitted using performance enhancing drugs during his playing career, and in 2005 wrote a tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he claimed that the vast majority of MLB players use steroids. After retiring from Major League Baseball, he also competed in boxing and mixed martial arts. Canseco is the identical twin brother of former major league player Ozzie Canseco.
Dámaso Pérez Prado
Dámaso Pérez Prado was a Cuban bandleader, musician, and composer. He is often referred to as the King of the Mambo. Pérez was his surname, thus Dámaso Pérez, his true name, became known by the paternal and maternal surnames Pérez Prado. His orchestra was the most popular in mambo. His son, Pérez Prado, Jr., continues to direct the Pérez Prado Orchestra in Mexico City to this day.
Desiderio Arnaz was a Cuban-born American musician, actor and television producer. While he gained international renown for leading a Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, he is best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American TV series I Love Lucy, starring with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. He and Ball are generally credited as the inventors of the rerun in connection with the show.
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the elected President of Cuba from 1940 to 1944, and dictator from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Batista initially rose to power as part of the 1933 "Revolt of the Sergeants" that overthrew the authoritarian rule of Gerardo Machado. Batista then appointed himself chief of the armed forces, with the rank of colonel, and effectively controlled the five-member Presidency. He maintained this control through a string of puppet presidents until 1940, when he was himself elected President of Cuba on a populist platform. He then instated the 1940 Constitution of Cuba, considered progressive for its time, and served until 1944. After finishing his term he lived in the United States, returning to Cuba to run for president in 1952. Facing certain electoral defeat, he led a military coup that preempted the election. Back in power, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans. Batista's increasingly corrupt and repressive regime then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba's commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large multinational American corporations that had invested considerable amounts of money in Cuba. To quell the growing discontent amongst the populace—which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations—Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his anti-Communist secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 people. For several years until 1959, the Batista regime received financial, military, and logistical support from the United States of America.
Yasiel Puig is a Cuban baseball outfielder.
Latin pop Artist
Jon Secada is an American singer and songwriter. Secada was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Hialeah, Florida. He has won two Grammy Awards and sold 20 million albums since his English-language debut album in 1992. His music fuses funk, soul, pop and Latin percussion. Secada also has worked as a songwriter for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore and other performers.
Pablo Milanés is a film score composer.
Steven Bauer is a Cuban-American actor. He is known for his role as Manny Ribera in the 1983 film Scarface, his role as Don Eladio in the AMC drama series Breaking Bad, and his role on the bilingual PBS show ¿Qué Pasa, USA?.
María Conchita Alonso
Latin pop Artist
María Conchita Alonso, better known as María Conchita, is a Cuban-born Venezuelan-raised three time Grammy Award–nominated singer/songwriter and actress.
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008. He is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and has also been First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2011. Raúl Castro was a rebel commander during the 1950s; after his brother Fidel Castro, took power, Raúl Castro was one of the most important figures in the new regime, serving as Minister of the Armed Forces from 1959 to 2008. On 31 July 2006, Raúl Castro was designated as the President of the Council of State in a temporary transfer of power due to Fidel Castro's illness. According to the Cuban Constitution of 1976, Article 94, the First Vice President of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the president. Raúl Castro was officially elected as President by the National Assembly on 24 February 2008, after Fidel Castro, who was still ailing, announced his intention not to stand for President again on 19 February 2008.
Heavy metal Artist
David "Dave" Lombardo is a Cuban American drummer and a co-founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer. He performed with Slayer on seven albums, including their groundbreaking 1986 release Reign In Blood and their 2006 release Christ Illusion, for which he received critical praise. Lombardo's music career has spanned more than 25 years, during which he has been involved in the production of 29 commercial recordings extending over a number of genres with bands such as Grip Inc., Fantômas, Philm, and Testament in addition to Slayer. Lombardo is most widely known as a very aggressive and exceptionally skilled heavy metal drummer. His use of the drums have been called "astonishingly innovative" and earned him the title "the godfather of double bass" from Drummer World. Over his career, he has had a significant influence on the metal scene and has inspired many modern metal drummers, particularly within both thrash metal and death metal.
Javier Sotomayor Sanabria is a Cuban former track and field athlete, who specialized in the high jump and is the current world record holder. The 1992 Olympic champion, he was the dominant high jumper of the 1990s; he is the only person ever to have cleared 8 feet. He is widely regarded as the best high jumper of all time. Cuban boycotts of the Olympics in 1984 and 1988 and an injury in 1996 cost him chances at additional Olympic medals, but he returned to win the silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Sotomayor retired in 2001.
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play. Due to his achievements in the chess world, mastery over the board and his relatively simple style of play he was nicknamed the "Human Chess Machine". Capablanca became the World Chess Champion in 1921 by beating Emanuel Lasker. He lost the title in 1927 to Alexander Alekhine.
Tomás Milián is a Cuban-American actor, best known for having worked extensively in Italian films from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.
Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz is a Cuban-Andorran professional baseball player who is nicknamed the Cuban Missile. A pitcher, Chapman plays in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. He has also played for Holguín in the Cuban National Series. Chapman bats and throws left-handed. He is listed at 6'4" tall and weighing 200 pounds. Chapman pitched for Holguín domestically and internationally for the Cuban national baseball team. He defected from Cuba in 2009 and signed a contract with the Reds in 2010. Chapman made his MLB debut that season. He won the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award as the best relief pitcher for July 2012. As of May 2013, he holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch speed in MLB history, after throwing a 105.1 mph fastball in 2010. He was also clocked by one radar gun at 106 mph in a later game, although this speed is disputed.
Latin jazz Artist
Arturo Sandoval is a Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer. He was born in Artemisa, Cuba. Sandoval, while still in Cuba, was influenced by jazz legends Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie, finally meeting Dizzy later in 1977. Gillespie promptly became a mentor and colleague, playing with Arturo in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in The United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected to the United States of America in Spain, while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and became a naturalized citizen in 1999. Sandoval's life was the subject of the 2000 TV film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy García. He currently resides in Calabasas, California. Sandoval has been awarded 9 Grammy Awards, and nominated 17 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award. On August 8, 2013, President Barack Obama announced that Arturo Sandoval would be a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Yuriorkis Gamboa Toledano is a Cuban professional boxer who, as an amateur boxer, won an Olympic gold medal in the flyweight division at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is the former WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion, being stripped of both titles. Gamboa's younger brother is fellow professional boxer Yoelvis Gamboa.
Mario Antonio Cimarro Paz is a Cuban-American actor.
Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz is a Cuban boxer who won the gold medal at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics in the bantamweight division. He is a seven-time Cuban national champion at bantamweight, and currently claims an amateur record of nearly 475 fights with twelve losses; the last of these losses being to Rencise Perez and Bekzat Sattarkhanov in 1998, Waldemar Font in 1999, and most recently against Aghasi Mammadov in 2003. After Rigondeaux's defection in 2009 he turned professional, where he remains undefeated and is the current WBA, WBO and The Ring magazine super bantamweight world champion, whilst the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board recognizes him as the junior featherweight world champion. Widely considered to be one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time, Rigondeaux has been lauded by boxing trainer Freddie Roach as being: "Probably the greatest talent I've ever seen". A documentary on Rigondeaux is in the works by filmmaker Brin-Jonathan Butler.
Daisy Fuentes is a Cuban television host and model. Daisy Fuentes broke barriers as MTV's first Latina VJ, and as Revlon's first Latina spokesperson to be signed to a worldwide contract.
Yoenis Céspedes Milanés is a Cuban professional baseball outfielder with the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball in the United States. Before joining the Major Leagues, he played in the Cuban National Series and was a member of the Cuba national baseball team. He won the 2013 Home Run Derby.
Carlos Santiago Espada Moises, also known as Charles Ashenoff and better known by his ring name, Konnan, is a Cuban professional wrestler and rapper. Konnan is well known in Mexico due to his appearances on Mexican television, particularly with the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, and has in the past been described as "the Mexican Hulk Hogan", reflecting his mainstream popularity. After serving in the United States Navy, Ashenoff began his professional wrestling career in Mexico, wrestling in both Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración. In the latter, he also acted as a booker and the first AAA Americas Heavyweight Champion. From 1992 to 1993, he worked in the World Wrestling Federation as Max Moon, and in 1996, he began working full-time for World Championship Wrestling. In WCW, he helped bring in other Mexican wrestlers to the promotion, as well as being a member of the Filthy Animals alliance. In 2002, he joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling where he was a part of two major alliances: 3Live Kru and The Latin American Xchange. He left the company in 2007 after filing a lawsuit against it, which was eventually resolved.
Industrial metal Artist
Alain David Jourgensen, is a Cuban-American musician best known as the founder and frontman of the industrial metal band Ministry. He is sometimes credited as Alain Jourgensen, Alien Jourgensen, Hypo Luxa, Dog, Alien Dog Star and Buck Satan. He is a member and/or founder of several industrial rock bands, performing as a singer, guitarist or keyboard player.
Latin jazz Artist
Ramón "Mongo" Santamaría Rodríguez was a rumba quinto master and an Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist. He is most famous for being the composer of the jazz standard "Afro Blue," recorded by John Coltrane among others. In 1950 he moved to New York where he played with Perez Prado, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Fania All Stars, etc. He was an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and soul, paving the way for the boogaloo era of the late 1960s. His 1963 hit rendition of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Mongo Santamaría was one of a handful of Cuban congueros who came to the United States in the 1940s and '50s. Other notable congueros who came to the U.S. during that time include Armando Peraza, Chano Pozo, Francisco Aguabella, Julito Collazo, Carlos Vidal Bolado and Modesto Durán. Many consider Santamaría to have been the greatest conga drummer of the twentieth century. Santamaría inspired the stage name of Japanese actor Yūsuke Santamaria. Additionally, his name is used as a pun in the film Blazing Saddles. When the character Mongo enters a scene, a Spanish-speaking peasant cries, "Mongo! Santa Maria!" before fleeing in terror.
Vida Guerra is a Cuban-born American glamour model. Her first notable appearance was in the U.S. edition of FHM magazine in December 2002; since then, she has modeled for many other men's magazines.
Olympic Track and field Athlete
Dayron Robles is a Cuban track and field athlete who specialises in the 110 metre hurdles. He won his first major medal in the 60 metres hurdles at the 2006 World Indoor Championships. He finished the 2006 season having improved his outdoor best to 13 seconds and become the Central American and Caribbean Games champion. Pan American gold came the following year in which also set a meet record of 12.92 seconds at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Final – making him the joint fourth fastest ever. He reached the pinnacle of his event in 2008 by setting a world record of 12.87 seconds in June at the Golden Spike Ostrava meet, and winning an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 12.93 seconds. Injury ruled him out for much of 2009, but he returned strongly with a championship record win at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He was disqualified at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics – Men's 110 metres hurdles.
Benny Moré, or Beny, was a Cuban singer. He is often thought of as the greatest Cuban popular singer of all time. He was gifted with an innate musicality and fluid tenor voice which he colored and phrased with great expressivity. Moré was a master of most genres of Cuban music, such as the son montuno, mambo, guaracha, and bolero. In particular, it is unusual for a singer to be equally proficient at both the fast rhythms and the slower rhythms, such as the bolero. Moré also formed and led the leading Cuban big band of the 1950s, until his death in 1963.
Chuchito Valdés is a musical artist.
Omara Portuondo Peláez is a Cuban singer and dancer whose career has spanned over half a century. She was one of the original members of the Cuarteto d'Aida, and has performed with Ignacio Piñeiro, Orquesta Anacaona, Orquesta Aragón, Nat King Cole, Adalberto Álvarez, Los Van Van, the Buena Vista ensemble, Pupy Pedroso, Chucho Valdés and Juan Formell.
Alpharita Constantia "Rita" Marley, is a Cuban-Jamaican singer and the wife of Bob Marley. She was a member of the vocal group The I Threes, along with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, who gained recognition as the backing vocalists for Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Carlos Miguel Gutierrez is an American former CEO and former U.S. Cabinet Member who is currently a Vice Chairman of Citigroup's Institutional Clients Group. He has previously served as the 35th U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2005 to 2009. Gutierrez is a former Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Kellogg Company.
Hip hop Artist
Felix Delgado, better known by his stage name Cuban Link, is a Cuban rapper.
Luis Posada Carriles
Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles is a Cuban-born Venezuelan anti-communist terrorist, and former Central Intelligence Agency agent. Posada has been convicted in absentia in Panama, of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Americas, including: involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed seventy-eight people; admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots; involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion; and involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term. Posada Carriles has always denied involvement in the airline bombing and the alleged plot against Castro in Panama, but has admitted to fighting for "freedom" in Cuba. In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada cannot be deported, finding that he faces the threat of torture in Venezuela. Likewise, the US government has refused to send Posada to Cuba, saying he might face torture. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 had elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was "an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks", a flight risk and a danger to the community. On September 9, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the District Court's Order dismissing the indictment and remanded the case to the District Court. On April 8, 2009 the United States Attorney filed a superseding indictment in the case. Posada-Carriles' jury trial had been set for February 26, 2010 but it was announced on February 22 that it would be postponed for at least three months. Posada-Carriles' trial ended on April 8, 2011 with a jury acquitting him on all charges.
Gothic rock Artist
Voltaire, is a popular Cuban-American dark cabaret musician. His stage name is his given middle name, which he shares with the famous French Enlightenment writer François-Marie Arouet. Recently, he has been using Aurelio Voltaire as his stage name, for, quote, "I got tired of there being other people releasing albums as Voltaire. There's an indie band in Germany and some American guy who makes instrumental hip hop. Like, do these people not do a ... google search before naming their bands? Anyway, it was just easier to distinguish myself from them by using my first name." Voltaire is also an experienced animator and comic artist, and is a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Pedro Pablo Zamora was a Cuban-American AIDS educator and television personality. As one of the first openly gay men with AIDS to be portrayed in popular media, Zamora brought international attention to HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues and prejudices through his appearance on MTV's reality television series, The Real World: San Francisco. Zamora's romantic relationship with Sean Sasser was also documented on the show; their relationship was later nominated by MTV viewers for "Favorite Love Story" award, and the broadcast of their commitment ceremony, in which they exchanged vows, was the first such same-sex ceremony in television history, and is considered a landmark in the history of the medium. U.S. President Bill Clinton credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing those living with HIV—especially to Latino communities—with his activism, including his testimony before Congress. Zamora's personal struggle with AIDS, and his conflict with housemate David "Puck" Rainey is credited with helping to make The Real World a hit show, for which Time ranked it #7 on its list of "32 Epic Moments in Reality-TV History".
Ibrahim Ferrer was a popular Afro-Cuban singer and musician in Cuba. He performed with many musical groups including the Conjunto Sorpresa, Orquesta Chepin-Choven and Afro-Cuban All Stars. Later in life, Ferrer became a member of the internationally successful Buena Vista Social Club.
Lorenzo Aitken, better known by the stage name Laurel Aitken, was an influential Caribbean singer and one of the pioneers of Jamaican ska music. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of Ska".
Latin pop Artist
Emilio Estefan, Jr. is a Cuban-American 19-time Grammy Award winning musician and producer. Estefan's first taste of celebrity came as a member of the Miami Sound Machine. He is the husband of singer Gloria Estefan, and the uncle of Spanish-language television personality Lili Estefan.
Hector Lombard is a Cuban-Australian professional mixed martial artist and former Olympic Judoka who is currently signed as a Welterweight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dionisio Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro, better known as Bebo Valdés, was a Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger. He was a central figure in the golden age of Cuban music, led two famous big bands, and was one of the "house" arrangers for the Tropicana Club.
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Lawton, Havana. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution, along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro.
Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista was a Cuban poet, journalist, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered as the national poet of Cuba. Guillén was born in Camagüey, Cuba. He studied law at the University of Havana, but he soon abandoned a legal career and worked as a typographer and journalist. His poetry was published in various magazines from the early 1920s and his first collection, Motivos de son, appeared in 1930. West Indies, Ltd., published in 1934, was Guillén's first collection of poetry with political implications. Cuba's dictatorial Machado regime had been overthrown in 1933, but political repression in the following years intensified. In 1936, with other editors of Mediodía, Guillén was arrested on trumped-up charges, and spent some time in jail. In 1937 he joined the Communist Party and made his first trip abroad–to attend a Congress of Writers and Artists in Spain. During his travels in the country he covered Spain's Civil War as a magazine reporter. Guillén returned to Cuba via Guadeloupe. He stood as a Communist in the local elections of 1940. The following year he was refused a visa to enter the United States, but he travelled widely over the next twenty years – in South America, China and Europe. Guillén's poetry was increasingly becoming imbued with issues of cross-cultural Marxist dialectic. He was prevented by the Batista government from entering Cuba in 1953, but was welcomed back by Fidel Castro after the revolution, becoming appointed president of the Unión Nacional de Escritores de Cuba–the National Cuban Writers' Union–in 1961. He also wrote some evocative and poignant poetry highlighting social conditions, such as "Problemas de Subdesarrollo" and "Dos Niños". He was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize in 1954, which was later renamed for Lenin under de-Stalinization and also the Laureate Of The International Botev Prize in 1976. He was the inaugural winner of Cuba's National Prize for Literature.
Reinaldo Arenas was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for Fidel Castro and the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government.
Félix Savón Fabre is a Cuban heavyweight boxer, a winner of three gold medals at the Olympic Games. Savón is considered a legend in amateur boxing and has won six world titles.
César Évora is a Cuban actor for Mexican telenovelas.
Aylín Mujica is a Cuban actress, model, and ballet dancer who currently lives in Miami, FL, USA.
Juan Leovigildo Brouwer Mezquida is a Cuban composer, conductor, and guitarist. He is the grandson of Cuban composer Ernestina Lecuona Casado.
Yoani María Sánchez Cordero is a Cuban blogger who has achieved international fame and multiple international awards for her critical portrayal of life in Cuba under its current government. Sanchez attended primary school during the affluent time when the Soviet Union was providing considerable aid to Cuba. However, her high school and university education coincided with the loss of financial aid to Cuba following the Soviet Union's collapse, creating a highly public educational system and style of living that subsequently left Sanchez with a strong need for personal privacy. Sanchez's university education left her with two understandings; first, that she had acquired a disgust for “high culture”, and second that she no longer had an interest in philology, her chosen field of university study. Sánchez, disillusioned with her home country, left Cuba for Switzerland in 2002, and it was during this time that she became interested in computer science. When she finally returned to Cuba, Sanchez helped to establish Contodos, a magazine that continues to act as a forum for Cuban free expression, and a vehicle for reporting news. Sánchez is best known for her blog, Generación Y; which, despite censorship in Cuba, she is able to publish by e-mailing the blog entries to friends outside the country who then post them online. The blog is translated and available in 17 languages.
Ernesto Lecuona y Casado was a Cuban composer and pianist of worldwide fame. He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional skill. His father was Canarian and his mother was Cuban.
Israel López, often known as Cachao, was a Cuban musician and composer who created and helped popularize mambo in the United States and across the globe, in the early 1950s. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won several Grammy Awards, and has been described as "the inventor of the mambo". He is considered a master of descarga.
Teófilo Stevenson Lawrence, known as Teófilo Stevenson, was a Cuban amateur boxer. He is one of only three boxers to win three Olympic gold medals, alongside Hungarian László Papp and fellow Cuban Félix Savón. The BBC described him as "Cuba's greatest boxer, once its most famous figure after Fidel Castro".
Odlanier Solís Fonte is a Cuban professional boxer. He won the Olympic Gold medal in Athens 2004 and was a three-time winner at the World Amateur Boxing Championships.
José Antonio Iglesias Alemán is a Cuban professional baseball infielder for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.
Mayra Verónica, is a Cuban-born, American model and singer who acquired her fame in the United States. Verónica's role on Univision's Don Francisco Presenta brought her to the attention of FHM magazine's US edition. After appearing in FHM she was included in its 2004 calendar and went on to do additional magazine work. She made appearances on many Spanish language television shows, as well as appearing in music videos and television commercials. She is noted for being a spokeswoman for USO.
Omar Sosa is a composer, bandleader, and jazz pianist.
Isabella Castillo Díaz, best known by her stage name Isabella Castillo, is a singer and actress born in Havana, Cuba. Her best known role is that of Graciela "Grachi" Alonso, main character of the Nickelodeon Latin America's series Grachi. Castillo has released several songs from the soundtrack of Grachi, sung alongside other members of the cast such as Sol Rodríguez, Kimberly Dos Ramos, Andrés Mercado, Maria Gabriela de Faria, Lance Dos Ramos and Willy Martin.
Niurka Marcos is a Cuban-born Mexican singer, dancer, actress, and erotic model. She is known professionally simply as Niurka.
Benny "the Kid" Paret, born Bernardo Paret, born in Santa Clara, Cuba, was a Cuban welterweight boxer. Paret won the world welterweight title twice in the early 1960s and died in 1962 following an unsuccessful attempt to defend the crown in what is considered to be the first ring death witnessed by a national television audience. Paret had a lifetime record of 35 wins, 12 losses and 3 draws.
Willy Chirino, born April 5, 1947 in Consolación del Sur, Pinar del Río, Cuba, is an entertainer and singer in the salsa style.
Jorge Luis Pila
Jorge Luis Pila is a Cuban actor. He is best known for his roles in several Telemundo produced serials such as Más Sabe el Diablo, ¿Dónde está Elisa?, Aurora, La Casa de al Lado, and La Patrona.
Baseball First baseman
Kendrys Morales Rodriguez is a Cuban professional baseball first baseman who is a free agent. He is a switch hitter who throws right-handed. Morales suffered an ankle injury on May 29, 2010, during a celebration of his walk-off grand slam, which kept him out of the Major League for nearly two years. On April 6, 2012, Morales returned to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's line-up for the season opener against the Kansas City Royals.
Baseball First baseman
Atanasio Pérez Rigal, more commonly known as Tony Pérez, is a former Major League Baseball player. He was also known by the nicknames "Big Dog," "Big Doggie," "Doggie", and "The Mayor of Riverfront." Until he was traded in December 1976, Pérez was a key member of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine". Apart from his years with the Reds, he also played for the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. He finished his career with a .279 batting average, 379 home runs, 1,652 runs batted in and 1,272 runs scored. After retiring, Pérez went on to coach and later manage the Reds and manage the Florida Marlins. He currently holds the title of Special Assistant to the General Manager with the Marlins. He has been with the Marlins organization since they were created in 1993, as the Florida Marlins. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Oscar Nunez, sometimes credited as Oscar Núñez, is a Cuban American actor and comedian. He was a member of The Groundlings and later portrayed Dunder Mifflin's paper supply accountant, Oscar Martinez, on NBC's The Office. He was the producer and co-star of the series Halfway Home on Comedy Central.
Sergio Oliva was a bodybuilder known as "The Myth". This sobriquet was arguably given to him by bodybuilder/writer Rick Wayne but Oliva himself has doubted this claim. Supposedly Wayne had begun calling Oliva "The Myth" "".
Ana de Armas
Ana Celia de Armas Caso is a Cuban actress. She currently lives in Madrid, Spain.
Luis Clemente Tiant Vega, born November 23, 1940 in Marianao, Cuba, is a former professional baseball player. He was a right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels. Tiant is one of five pitchers to have pitched four or more consecutive shutouts in the 50-year expansion era, with Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Gaylord Perry being the others.
Joey "CoCo" Diaz is a Cuban-American stand-up comedian and actor known for his recurring role as Joey on the TV series My Name is Earl, as well as in movies such as The Longest Yard and Taxi.
Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, is the spouse of Grand Duke Henri.
Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist and composer.
Orlando Hernández Pedroso, nicknamed "El Duque", is a Cuban right-handed former professional baseball pitcher. His greatest success came as a New York Yankees starter during that team's run of World Series championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000. He also won a championship in 2005 with the Chicago White Sox. He is the half-brother of pitcher Liván Hernández. Hernández is well known for his extremely high leg kick.
Eisler Liván Hernández Carrera is a Cuban professional baseball pitcher, who is currently a Major League Baseball free agent. He is the half-brother of pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernández.
Yunel Escobar Almenares is a Cuban professional baseball shortstop with the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. He debuted with the Atlanta Braves in 2007, and was traded to the Blue Jays in 2010.
Carlos Acosta is a Cuban ballet dancer. He has danced with many companies including the English National Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Houston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He has been a permanent member of The Royal Ballet since 1998, and in 2003 he was promoted to Principal Guest Artist, a rank which reduced his commitment to the Royal Ballet, enabling him to concentrate on a growing schedule of international guest appearances and tours.
José Ariel Contreras Camejo is a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher. He previously played for the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as the Cuban national team.
Ricardo León "Rick" Sánchez de Reinaldo, known professionally as Rick Sanchez, is a Cuban-American journalist, radio host, and author. He is currently a FOX News contributor, a columnist for FOX News Latino, a correspondent for Spanish language network Mundo Fox, and an afternoon radio host on WIOD 610 AM in South Florida. After years as the lead local anchor on Miami's WSVN, Sanchez moved to cable news, first as a daytime anchor at MSNBC and then later at CNN, where he began as a correspondent and ultimately rose to become an anchor. On CNN, he hosted his own show Rick's List and served as a contributor to Anderson Cooper 360° and CNN International, where he frequently reported and translated between English and Spanish. Sanchez was fired from CNN on October 1, 2010, following controversial remarks he made on a radio program. In July 2011 Sanchez was hired by Florida International University, to serve as a color commentator for radio broadcasts of the school's football team. His first game was on September 1, 2011.
Heavy metal Artist
Rudy Sarzo is a Cuban American hard rock/heavy metal bassist. Sarzo has played with many well known heavy metal and hard rock acts including Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Manic Eden, Dio, Blue Öyster Cult and Geoff Tate's version of Queensrÿche.
Erislandy Lara Santoya is a Cuban boxer. The southpaw was the 2005 amateur world champion at welterweight.
Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla, better known as Wifredo Lam, was a Cuban artist who sought to portray and revive the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture. Inspired by and in contact with some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, Lam melded his influences and created a unique style, which was ultimately characterized by the prominence of hybrid figures. Though he was predominantly a painter, he also worked with sculpture, ceramics and printmaking in his later life.
Carlos "Patato" Valdés
Carlos Valdes was a Cuban-born American conga player. In 1955 he emigrated from Cuba to New York City where he played with Willie Bobo in Harlem. He was also known by the name "Patato". He invented and patented the tunable conga drum which revolutionized use of the instrument. Tito Puente called him "the greatest conguero alive today." Since the 1950s Patato was among the congueros that were in highest demand in the Latin Music and jazz world. He played, toured and recorded together with singer Miguelito Valdés, Perez Prado, Beny Moré, Cachao López, with Tito Puente, Machito, Herbie Mann, Kenny Dorham, Cal Tjader, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and other, also with Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones, accompanying both on extended tours throughout Europe, and with the late Mario Bauza. Patato acted in and composed the title song of The Bill Cosby Show. In 1991 he contributed to the movie soundtrack for The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Patato was the leader of his own band 'Afrojazzia', which toured Europe in the spring of 1994. A lifetime smoker, Patato had emphysema and died of respiratory failure in Cleveland, Ohio on December 4, 2007.
Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, better known as Alberto Korda or simply Korda was a Cuban photographer, remembered for his famous image Guerrillero Heroico of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.
Peter Michael Bergman is an American soap opera actor best known for his portrayals as Dr. Cliff Warner on All My Children as well as Jack Abbott on The Young and the Restless.
Don Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain was a Spanish Nationalist commander during the Spanish Civil War. He was a veteran of the African wars where he rose to prominence serving with the Regulares Indígenas. He coined the term "fifth column".
Francisco Alejandro Gattorno Sánchez, better known in the show business world plainly as Francisco Gattorno, is a Cuban actor. He owns property in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida.
Alberto Juantorena is a Cuban former track athlete, famed for his nine foot stride length. At the 1976 Summer Olympics, he became the first and so far only athlete to win both the 400 and 800 m Olympic titles.
Lincoln Rafael Díaz-Balart was the U.S. Representative for Florida's 21st congressional district from 1993 to 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously served in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. He retired from Congress in 2011 and his younger brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, who had previously represented Florida's 25th congressional district, succeeded him.
Paul Lafargue was a French revolutionary Marxist socialist journalist, literary critic, political writer and activist; he was Karl Marx's son-in-law, having married his second daughter Laura. His best known work is The Right to Be Lazy. Born in Cuba to French and Creole parents, Lafargue spent most of his life in France, with periods in England and Spain. At the age of 69, he and 66 year old Laura died together in a suicide pact. Lafargue was the subject of a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Shortly before Marx died in 1883, he wrote a letter to Lafargue and the French Workers' Party leader Jules Guesde, both of whom already claimed to represent "Marxist" principles. Marx accused them of "revolutionary phrase-mongering" and of denying the value of reformist struggles. This exchange is the source of Marx's remark, reported by Friedrich Engels: "ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste".
Georg Stanford Brown
Georg Stanford Brown is a Cuban-American actor and director, perhaps best known as one of the stars of the ABC police television series The Rookies from 1972–76. On the show, Brown played the character of Officer Terry Webster. During the 1960s, Brown had a variety of roles in television and film, including a portrayal of Henri Philipot in 1967's The Comedians, and playing Dr. Willard in 1968's Bullitt. In 1972, Brown starred in Wild in the Sky, co-starring Brandon deWilde, as anti-war, anti-establishment guerrillas, who devise a scheme to destroy Fort Knox with an atomic bomb. Brown later played Tom Harvey in the 1977 television miniseries Roots, and 1979's Roots: The Next Generations. In 1980, he starred in the highly successful Stir Crazy opposite Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. He then went on to a supporting role in yet another miniseries North & South in 1985 as a character named Grady. Brown co-starred in the Showtime television show Linc's from 1998 thru 2000. Brown also directed several second-season episodes of the television series Hill Street Blues.
Rey Ruiz is a salsa singer from Cuba. Ruiz reached international fame across Latin America, Europe and among Hispanic music fans in the United States.
José-Maria de Heredia
José-Maria de Heredia was a Cuban-born French poet. He was the fifteenth member elected for seat 4 of the Académie française in 1894.
Carlos Manuel Leon is a Cuban personal trainer, comedian and actor and is most famous for his former relationship with singer Madonna, who gave birth to their daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, on October 14, 1996. Leon is known for his acting work in the television show Oz, three episodes of Law & Order, and as the struggling addict in Anne B. Real. Leon made his Broadway debut playing the role of Charles Filch in Wallace Shawn's adaptation of Brecht & Weill's The Threepenny Opera, with Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper, and Ana Gasteyer. He has also been a guest on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.
Ojani Noa is an actor, film producer and chef.
Guy Cuevas is a Cuban-born writer, musician, and legendary Paris disc jockey. Born Guillermo Cuevas Carrión, he worked the turntables and the crowds at Club Sept, and Le Palace before becoming the artistic director, first of Les Bains Douches, then the Barrio Latino. As a DJ he was known for a creative mix featuring the funk and soul of the Philadelphia Sound, along with his close connections to the world of high fashion.