My expectations regarding Cuba were influenced by visits to Mexico. Perhaps it was the climate similarities, or language, or just my periodic tendency to generalize; hence because they shared Latin roots I thought they would be very similar. The latin joy for music, dance and family are evident in both cultures. However, there were obvious differences. I did not see the same levels of poverty, graffiti, nor trash as I had experienced in Mexico. Cuba is among the highest ranked of all Latin American and Caribbean countries by ratings on the Human Development Index. When indicators of quality of life such as life expectancy, years of schooling, income levels, and standard of living are calculated for 187 countries the results show Cuba ranked 51st, ahead of each of the following: Mexico 57th, Panama 58th, Trinidad and Tobago 62nd, Costa Rica 69th, Venezuela 73rd, Jamaica 79th, Peru 80th, Brazil 84th, Belize 93rd, Honduras 121st, Nicaragua 129th, Haiti 158th. Quite an accomplishment for a small island country embargoed by the most powerful nation in the world.