Cultural Ancestry, Practices and Communication : A Case of Cuban Culture


Despite effects of globalization, there is still a persistence of deep cultural variation that does not seem to change. Culture encompasses the behavior, attitudes and values of social group, regional population or nations as regards to the way they deal with life environments including, among others, institutions and economic structures.  Interacting with another culture calls for the need to have the ability to communicate and negotiate cross-culturally as a vital ingredient for good coexistence as well as in a bid to avoid cross-cultural Faux Pas (Martin & Nakayama, 2010). The best way to avoid communication as well as cultural pitfalls keeping off from potential faux pas is preparation. Although it is not possible to foresee every possible scenario, there is need to have a basic understanding of a particular cultural background with an aim to avoid possible faux pas (Martin & Nakayama, 2010). This Paper highlights the cultural heritage and practices of the Cuban People. The Cuban culture represents a blend of diversified origins from Africa, Asia, America, as well as Europe. It enjoys a rich heritage in music, art and literature. The current Cuban culture has undergone a historically significant transformation and it now accentuates a friendly population that is very hospitable even to stranger.

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Cuban People Willingness to Share Thoughts, Feelings and Ideas

The willingness of the Cuban people to share thoughts, feelings, information, as well as ideas is hinged on the tenet of trust. Individuals tend to share their feelings and ideas with people they trust especially family members and close friends. It is pertinent to note that sexuality debate and racism are considered taboo subjects with the Cuban people. Sexuality and racism, being taboos, form a complicated array of subjects (Mayo, 2015). In addition, expressing undesirable attitudes is evidently considered as taboo in the Cuban Culture.

Touching Practice and Meaning with the Cuban Culture

In Cuba, touching is deemed to be a demonstration of love and affection. Consequently, touching among family members and close friends is generally practiced and widely accepted in a bid to express one’s feelings and in demonstration of affection. While touch in the Cuban culture is not linked to a sexual context, touching among the opposite sexes is considered sensitive and thus it is checked subject to age groups of the individuals as well as trust between individuals. Healthcare providers are permitted to touch an individual and ought to be done appropriately and respectfully in the course of medical examinations (Brice, 2002). The Cuban individuals tend towards a formality in their mutual treatment. Firm handshakes are notable as a common practice with a hug and a light kiss on a cheek is common between women, as well as women and men of close relations (Brice, 2002). An embrace along with a few pats on the back is also notable. In addition, there are instances of an unusual addition for the handshake where the two people slid their hands upward in a bid to grasp each other’s thumb after gripping the palm. There is the lingering of the handshake and touching of elbow or forearm. Another gesture noticeable during greetings is the casual fingering the lapel of the other individual’s suits (Kirk & Padura, 2001).

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Spatial and Distancing Strategies

As regards the spatial and distancing strategies for communication in the Cuban culture, different groups are not invariably allowed to mix freely and their interaction is subject to differences in sex, social classes and age groups. Being hospitable people, the Cubans are fond of using informal expressions such as ‘Carino’ (dear), ‘Mi diva’ (my life) and ‘Mi corazon’ (my heart) when addressing strangers (Mayo, 2015). Use of body language is a core feature in communication of the Cuban people. Use of handshakes represents a way of greetings as well as bidding farewells.

Use of Eye Contact

Eye contact in the Cuban culture is very crucial especially during greetings. The younger generation, for instance, are encouraged to invariably maintain eye contact particularly those taken to be of assertive representation as regards to communication and are in addition not submissive. Furthermore, eye contact is considered to be a sign of respect for young Cubans when dealing with older people as well strangers. However, there are varying perspectives as regards eye contact between the younger and the older Cubans. The variations occur subject to maintaining of eye contact among people of different age groups, family members, strangers and people of different sexes (Brice, 2002). Consequently, older Cubans are accustomed to limited eye contact in a bid to demonstrate a sense of respect.  This trait has been taken to infer enormous wisdom and portrays a sense of admiration. Older Cuban women tend to maintain a larger personal space and keeping distance from the men members of the community (Mayo, 2015).

Gestures, Facial Expressions, and Non-Verbal Communication

The Cubans are fond of indirect, high-context form of communication. They invariably infer and imply as opposed to verbalizing directly. In addition, the Cubans accords significant importance to the impact of body language, emotion, relationship and Para-verbal features of communication. It is a common occurrence in Cuba to employ lively facial as well as hand gestures while communicating as a way of non-verbal cues. In emotional circumstances, use of facial expression and hand gestures is preferred over speaking in loud voices. In a bid to gain better understanding of others, particularly strangers, Cuban heavily rely on non-verbal communication. The most common non-verbal communication cues include body and hand movement, physical touch, voice pitch, and emotional appearance (Saunders, 2008).

Non-verbal communication in Cuba largely involves sound and facial expression for purposes of conveying feelings and emotions. Handshakes are common during initial introductions. As greetings becomes more habitual, especially in the case of close friends and family members, hugs and kisses and cheeks are used. While speaking with a stranger, Cubans tend to maintain a relative distance (Saunders, 2008). This is also common while dealing with superiors within professional contexts.  In addition, standing with an upright posture is regarded important while communicating in professional settings, thus highlighting confidence, maturity and respect (Kapcia, 2005).

Past, Present and Future Perceptions of the Cuban Culture

It is vital to note that past perceptions and perspectives are majorly intended to examine the traditional cultural values with an aim to seek inspiration, direction and guidance. Being a past-oriented culture, Cuban society has invested substantially in its history in music, art, dance and literature. Having evolved over the decades, the Cuban culture is to some extent dynamic following the effects of globalization and the ever growing multi-cultural diversity. To this regard, it is pertinent to note that conventional archaic practices such as aggressive rebellion and social conservatism have been diluted over time, evident in the younger generations’ frequent use of technology and social media platforms (Mayo, 2015). While it is vital to view the Cuban culture from the past, present, and future, it is important to appreciate the optimism of the Cuban people as pertains to the future of their cultural heritage. It is reported that the Cuban thinking pattern calls for narration and a discourse of happenings and events as opposed to a logical linear sermon (Saunders, 2008).


The Cuban culture promotes both individualism as well as comprehensiveness, which seems appealing to Cuban population that seek uphold control and have personal choices but at the same time want to have a sense of belonging as well as being involved with something bigger.  The Cuban population also demonstrate considerable hospitality. Such hospitality is extended to individuals who are diverse from most of the members of the Cuban society. The Cuban culture values sentiments of collectivism as opposed to individualism. The culture of the Cuban tends to put considerable significance on loyalty towards the group (Kirk & Padura, 2001). It is crucial to note that prioritizing one individual, is likely to be disconcerting.  They emphasizes on the importance of the group. This group orientation is rooted in the traditional Cuban culture. Each group owes allegiance to the next larger group in the chain. If a group violates the expectations of the top group, it will be referred to as an unethical entity. These ethics only apply to groups inside Cuban society or within the sphere of Cuban ethical expectations. Furthermore, the Cuban people believe that long-term relationships are very important for a harmonious society. The members of a community support the efforts of each another for the communities and organizations to function well.

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