Republic of Cuba

History 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 was severe and exploitative and occasional rebellions 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 1,498 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2004.

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
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
Local long form: Republica de Cuba
Local short form: Cuba
Area: total: 110,860 sq km
country comparison to the world: 112
land: 109,820 sq km
water: 1,040 sq km
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
contiguous zone: 24 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)
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
Geography - note: largest country in Caribbean

Population: 11,451,652 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.3% (male 1,077,745/female 1,020,393)
15-64 years: 70.4% (male 4,035,691/female 4,030,103)
65 years and over: 11.2% (male 584,478/female 703,242) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.233% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 11.13 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 7.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 76% of total population (2008)
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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban
Ethnic groups: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1% (2002 census)
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: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2002 census)
People - note: illicit emigration 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

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 07 N, 82 21 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); not acknowledged by the Cuban Government as a day of independence
National holiday: Triumph of the Revolution, 1 January (1959)
Constitution: 24 February 1976; amended July 1992 and June 2002
Legal system: based on Spanish civil law and influenced by American legal concepts 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 Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (president since 24 February 2008);

First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Jose Ramon MACHADO Ventura (since 24 February 2008); 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 Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (president since 24 February 2008); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Jose Ramon MACHADO Ventura (since 24 February 2008)

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 24 February 2008 (next to be held in 2013)election results: Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz elected president; percent of legislative vote - 100%; Gen. Jose Ramon MACHADO Ventura elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 100%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (number of seats in the National Assembly is based on population; 614 seats; members elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 January 2008 (next to be held in January 2013)
election results: Cuba's Communist Party is the only legal party, and officially sanctioned candidates run unopposed
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
Major Political Parties: Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Fidel CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]
Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular (president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly)
International organization participation: ACP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS (excluded from formal participation since 1962), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - Cuba has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Jorge BOLANOS Suarez; 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 Chief of Mission Jonathan D. FARRAR; 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) 833-1653; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland
Flag description: Five equal horizontal bands of blue (top and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five-pointed star in the center; design influenced by the US flag

Economic Summary: The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. A major feature of the economy is the dichotomy between relatively efficient export enclaves and inefficient domestic sectors. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the depression of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies about 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela including some 30,000 medical professionals.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $108.2 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $54.71 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.3% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,500 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4.4%
industry: 22.8%
services: 72.8% (2008 est.)
Labor force : 4.962 million
note: state sector 78%, non-state sector 22% (2008 est.)
Labor force agriculture 24%, industry 25%, services 51% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 1.6% (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $45.42 billion
expenditures: $49.96 billion (2008 est)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.4% (2008 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
Industries - Products: sugar, petroleum, tobacco, construction, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals
Oil:  production: 61,300 bbl/day (2008 est.)
consumption:203,500 bbl/day (2006 est.)
proved reserves: 220.8 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
imports: 123,200 bbl/day (2005)
exports: 0 bbl/day (2006)
Natural gas: production: 1.218 billion cu m (2007)
consumption: 1.218 billion  cu m (2007 est.)
proved reserves: 70.79 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: $-2.691 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $3.78 billion  (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities: sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Exports - partners: Netherlands 5%, Canada 25.3%, Spain 5.7%, China 27.9% , Iran 4.3%(2008)
Imports: $14.5 billion  (2008 est.)
Imports Commodities: petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners: Spain 10.6%, Venezuela 31.5%,  US 6.6%, China 11.8%, Canada 6.7%, (2008)
Reserves: foreign exchange & gold:
$3.947 billion (2008 est.)
Debt - external: $19.58 billion (convertible currency); another $15-20 billion owed to Russia (2008 est.)
Currency: Cuban pesos (CUP) per US dollar - 0.9259 (2008 est.)note: Cuba has two currencies in circulation: the Cuban peso (CUP) and the convertible peso (CUC); 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.

Telephone system: main lines in use: 1.043 million (2007)
cellular: 331,700 (2008)
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 must be paid in convertible pesos, which effectively limits mobile cellular subscribership
domestic: national fiber-optic system under development; 95% of switches digitized by end of 2006; fixed telephone line density remains low at less than 10 per 100 inhabitants; domestic cellular service expanding but remains at only about 2 per 100 persons
international: country code - 53; fiber-optic cable laid to but not linked to US network; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 169, FM 55, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 58 (1997)
Internet country code: .cu
Internet hosts: 3,664 (2008)
Internet users: 1.31 million
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" (2007)

Airports: 136 (2009) Main airport: Jose Marti International Airport, Havana
Airports - with paved runways: total: 65
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 27 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 71
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 58 (2009)
Pipelines: gas 41 km; oil 230 km (2008)
Railways: total: 8,598 km
standard gauge: 8,322 km 1.435-m gauge (176 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 276 km 1.000-gauge
note: 4,533 km of the track is used by sugar plantations; 4,257 km is standard gauge; 276 km is narrow gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 60,858 km
country comparison to the world: 74
paved: 29,820 km (includes 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (2000)
Waterways:  240 km (2008)
Ports and terminals: Cienfuegos, Havana, Matanzas
Merchant marine: total: 11
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Spain 1)
registered in other countries: 13 (Bahamas 1, Cyprus 1, Netherlands Antilles 1, Panama 10) (2008)

Military Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR): Revolutionary Army (ER; includes Territorial Militia Troops (Milicia de Tropas de Territoriales, MTT)), Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, MGR; includes Marine Corps), Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT) (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2006)
Military - note:
the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the Cuban Army of its major economic and logistic support and had a significant impact on equipment numbers and serviceability; the army remains well trained and professional in nature; while the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment and the current severe shortage of fuel have increasingly affected operational capabilities, Cuba remains able to offer considerable resistance to any regional power (2008)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem: Hasten to battle, men of Bayamo,
For the homeland looks proudly to you.
You do not fear a glorious death,
Because to die for the country is to live.
To live in chains
Is to live in dishonour and ignominy.
Hear the clarion call,
Hasten, braves ones, to battle!

Al combate corred bayameses
que la patria os comtempla orgullosa
no temais una muerte gloriosa
que morir por la patria es vivir
En cadenas vivir es morir
en afrenta y oprobio sumidos
del clarin escuchad el sonido
a las armas valientes corred

"La Bayamesa" (The Bayamo Song) was first performed in 1868 during the battle of Bayamo, and the author of the song played a leading part in the battle. Two years later, he was captured by the Spaniards and executed by a firing squad. Officially adopted in 1940, the anthem was retained even after the communist revolution in 1959.

National Dish: Platillo Moros y Cristianos (Most famous dish)