Cuban isolation and benefits

Caribbean islands are ecological treasure troves, harboring many species unique on Earth. Yet in our increasingly globalized economy, they’ve been invaded by foreign plants and animals, brought there either intentionally or by accident. On many islands, the invaders threaten to oust native species entirely.

Cuba is an outlier: Its trade and tourism dialed down more than half a century ago after Fidel Castro came into power, and has only been dialing back up in the last few decades. While many Cubans suffered under Castro’s regime, the economic isolation also protected the island from invasive species, according to a new study.