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Map of Cuba
Introduction Cuba
Background:
The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule, marked initially by neglect, became increasingly repressive, provoking an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. It was US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 that finally overthrew Spanish rule. The subsequent Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence, which was granted in 1902 after a three-year transition period. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the regime together since then. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic recession in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,712 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2005.
Geography Cuba
Location:
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida
Geographic coordinates:
21 30 N, 80 00 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
total: 29 km
border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and remains part of Cuba
Coastline:
3,735 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Terrain:
mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m
Natural resources:
cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 27.63%
permanent crops: 6.54%
other: 65.83% (2005)
Irrigated land:
8,700 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common
Environment - current issues:
air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles
People Cuba
Population:
11,382,820 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.1% (male 1,117,677/female 1,058,512)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 4,001,161/female 3,999,303)
65 years and over: 10.6% (male 554,148/female 652,019) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 35.9 years
male: 35.2 years
female: 36.5 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.31% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
11.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
7.22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.22 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.99 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.41 years
male: 75.11 years
female: 79.85 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,300 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban
Ethnic groups:
mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%
Religions:
nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
Languages:
Spanish
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97.2%
female: 96.9% (2003 est.)
People - note:
illicit migration is a continuing problem; Cubans attempt to depart the island and enter the US using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, direct flights, or falsified visas; Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US including direct flights to Miami and over-land via the southwest border
Government Cuba
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
local short form: Cuba
Government type:
Communist state
Capital:
name: Havana
geographic coordinates: 23 08 N, 82 22 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
14 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 special municipality* (municipio especial); Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Ciudad de La Habana, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Isla de la Juventud*, La Habana, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara
Independence:
20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 10 December (1898); note - 10 December 1898 is the date of independence from Spain, 20 May 1902 is the date of independence from US administration; Rebellion Day, 26 July (1953)
Constitution:
24 February 1976; amended July 1992 and June 2002
Legal system:
based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president of the Council of State and appointed by the National Assembly or the 31-member Council of State, elected by the Assembly to act on its behalf when it is not in session
elections: president and vice presidents elected by the National Assembly for a term of five years; election last held 6 March 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: Fidel CASTRO Ruz reelected president; percent of legislative vote - 100%; Raul CASTRO Ruz elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 100%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (609 seats, elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 January 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: percent of vote - PCC 97.6%; seats - PCC 609
Judicial branch:
People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular (president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
only party - Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Fidel CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
ACP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS (excluded from formal participation since 1962), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; note - Cuba has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Bernardo GUANCHE Hernandez; address: Cuban Interests Section, Swiss Embassy, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone: [1] (202) 797-8518; FAX: [1] (202) 797-8521
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none; note - the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Michael E. PARMLY; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado, Havana; telephone: [53] (7) 833-3551 through 3559 (operator assistance required); FAX: [53] (7) 833-3700; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland
Flag description:
five equal horizontal bands of blue (top, center, and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five-pointed star in the center
Economy Cuba
Economy - overview:
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The government in 2005 strengthened its controls over dollars coming into the economy from tourism, remittances, and trade. External financing has helped growth in the mining, oil, construction, and tourism sectors.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$39.17 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.5%
industry: 26.1%
services: 68.4% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
4.6 million
note: state sector 78%, non-state sector 22% (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 21.2%
industry: 14.4%
services: 64.4% (2004)
Unemployment rate:
1.9% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
11.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $22.11 billion
expenditures: $23.65 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
Industries:
sugar, petroleum, tobacco, construction, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate:
5.1% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
15.65 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 93.9%
hydro: 0.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 5.4% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
13.27 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
72,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
205,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
532 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
704 million cu m (2004)
Natural gas - consumption:
704 million cu m (2004)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
70.79 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$49 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
$2.388 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Exports - partners:
Netherlands 25.1%, Canada 20.6%, China 9.7%, Spain 6.7% (2005)
Imports:
$6.916 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners:
China 15%, Spain 14.1%, Canada 8.7%, US 8.5%, Germany 7.5%, Italy 5.8%, Mexico 4.8%, Japan 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.618 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$12.56 billion (convertible currency); another $15-20 billion owed to Russia (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$68.2 million (1997 est.)
Currency (code):
Cuban peso (CUP) and Convertible peso (CUC)
Currency code:
CUP (nonconvertible Cuban peso) and CUC (convertible Cuban peso)
Exchange rates:
Convertible pesos per US dollar - 0.93
note: Cuba has three currencies in circulation: the Cuban peso (CUP), the convertible peso (CUC), and the US dollar (USD), although the dollar is being withdrawn from circulation; in April 2005 the official exchange rate changed from $1 per CUC to $1.08 per CUC (0.93 CUC per $1), both for individuals and enterprises; individuals can buy 24 Cuban pesos (CUP) for each CUC sold, or sell 25 Cuban pesos for each CUC bought; enterprises, however, must exchange CUP and CUC at a 1:1 ratio.
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cuba
Telephones - main lines in use:
849,900 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
75,800 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: greater investment beginning in 1994 and the establishment of a new Ministry of Information Technology and Communications in 2000 has resulted in improvements in the system; wireless service is expensive and remains restricted to foreigners and regime elites, many Cubans procure wireless service illegally with the help of foreigners
domestic: national fiber-optic system under development; 85% of switches digitized by end of 2004; telephone line density remains low, at 10 per 100 inhabitants; domestic cellular service expanding
international: country code - 53; fiber-optic cable laid to but not linked to US network; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 169, FM 55, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
3.9 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
58 (1997)
Televisions:
2.64 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.cu
Internet hosts:
1,918 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2001)
Internet users:
150,000
note: private citizens are prohibited from buying computers or accessing the Internet without special authorization; foreigners may access the Internet in large hotels but are subject to firewalls; some Cubans buy illegal passwords on the black market or take advantage of public outlets, to access limited email and the government-controlled "intranet" (2005)
Transportation Cuba
Airports:
170 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 78
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 37 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 92
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 62 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 49 km; oil 230 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 4,226 km
standard gauge: 4,226 km 1.435-m gauge (140 km electrified)
note: an additional 7,742 km of track is used by sugar plantations; about 65% of this track is standard gauge; the rest is narrow gauge (2005)
Roadways:
total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1999)
Waterways:
240 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 11 ships (1000 GRT or over) 33,932 GRT/48,791 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Spain 1)
registered in other countries: 17 (The Bahamas 1, Cyprus 3, Netherlands Antilles 1, Panama 8, Spain 1, unknown 3) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Cienfuegos, Havana, Matanzas
Military Cuba
Military branches:
Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR): Revolutionary Army (ER), Revolutionary Navy (MGR), Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Territorial Militia Troops (MTT), Youth Labor Army (EJT)
Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age; both sexes are eligible for military service (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 17-49: 2,967,865
females age 17-49: 2,913,559 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 17-49: 2,441,927
females age 17-49: 2,396,741 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 91,901
females: 87,500 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$694 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (2005 est.)
Military - note:
Moscow, for decades the key military supporter and supplier of Cuba, cut off almost all military aid by 1993
Transnational Issues Cuba
Disputes - international:
US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased to US and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease
Illicit drugs:
territorial waters and air space serve as transshipment zone for US and European-bound drugs; established the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes in 1999

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006