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Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials include online resources to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.


Choices produces videos featuring top experts—professors, policymakers, journalists, activists, and artists—answering questions that complement the readings and lessons.


History, Revolution, and Reform: New Directions for Cuba

First edition. May 2015.


Cuba, often at center stage in international affairs, is again the focus of global attention. Since Fidel Castro stepped down after nearly fifty years as Cuba's leader, his brother, Raúl Castro, has embarked upon a series of reforms that are gradually but fundamentally changing the country. The 2014 announcement to normalize Cuba-U.S. relations after over five decades during which the two countries had no diplomatic ties also signifies a historic shift. Outsiders have highly diverging views about Cuba and its history, particularly since the 1959 Revolution, which made major changes to Cuba's government, economy, and society. While the revolution brought opportunities and advances long denied to many Cubans, others lost property, jobs, and the positions they held in Cuban society. Cubans today have very different opinions about their country's history and its future direction.

History, Revolution, and Reform: New Directions for Cuba explores Cuba's history from the country's precolonial past to its most recent economic, social, and political changes. Students re-create the discussions Cubans on the island are having about their country's future.


Part I of the reading focuses on the influence of Spanish colonialism on Cuba and Cuba's struggles for independence. Part II surveys the changes the 1959 Revolution brought to Cuba. Part III focuses on the Special Period and Cuba today.

The Choices Role Play

This activity is a simulation in which students step into the shoes of Cuban citizens and consider three distinct options for Cuba's future. By exploring this spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs underlying specific policy options and the trade-offs that accompany them. Ultimately, students are prepared to develop their own policy options for Cuba, as if they were a Cuban on the island thinking about the future of the country.


José Martí and His Legacy
Using a variety of primary sources as well as a timeline and map, students assess the contested legacy of José Martí among Cubans.

The Dance of the Millions
Students analyze economic data from Cuba's "dance of the millions" in 1920 and compare the prices of Cuban sugar to those of commodities in Germany that same year.

Operation Carlota
Using a variety of Cuban, U.S., Russian, South African, Angolan, and European sources, students assess competing perspectives of Cuba's foreign policy in Angola.

The Special Period
Using numerous sources from the 1990s, including literature, hip-hop lyrics, jokes, and art, students explore the relationship between politics and popular culture and gain a deeper understanding of what life was like for Cubans during the Special Period.

Cuba and the United States: A New Chapter
Students explore the changing relationship between the United States and Cuba by interpreting political cartoons on the restoration of diplomatic relations and monitoring news media coverage of U.S.-Cuba relations.

Photo Analysis: Looking at Cuba
Students analyze photographs of present-day Cuba, considering the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about life in Cuba.

The Options Role Play
Working collaboratively, students take on the roles of Cuban citizens and explore three different options for Cuba's future in a role-play activity.

Cuban Government
Students create their own working definitions of "democracy" and explore a variety of media sources to assess claims that Cuba is a democracy.

Cuban American Experiences
Using excerpts of Cuban American memoirs, students present perspectives representing a wide array of Cuban American experiences and points of view.