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  Geography
  People
  Government
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  Military
  Transnational Issues

Anyone going to Cuba should first take a look at this page. Any info you have on Cuba will come in handy when you go there. You really need to absorb the info on this page before going to Cuba .

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Map of Cuba

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Cuba
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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. Some 2,500 Cubans attempted the crossing of the Straits of Florida in 2003; the US Coast Guard apprehended about 60% of the individuals.

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   Geography    Cuba
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
21 30 N, 80 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 29 km
border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
3,735 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 33.05%
permanent crops: 7.6%
other: 59.35% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
870 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles

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   People    Cuba
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,308,764 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 20% (male 1,163,741; female 1,102,391)
15-64 years: 69.8% (male 3,949,197; female 3,948,196)
65 years and over: 10.1% (male 528,162; female 617,077) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 34.8 years
male: 34.2 years
female: 35.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.34% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.18 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.17 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-1.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 77.04 years
male: 74.77 years
female: 79.44 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.66 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,300 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97.2%
female: 96.9% (2003 est.)
People - note:
Definition Field Listing
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; some 2,500 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2002; the US Coast Guard interdicted about 60% of these migrants; Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US; some 1,500 Cubans arrived overland via the southwest border and direct flights to Miami in 2002

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   Government    Cuba
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
local short form: Cuba
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Communist state
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Havana
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
24 February 1976, amended July 1992 and June 2002
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 NA 2008)
election results: percent of vote - PCC 97.6%; seats - PCC 609
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular (president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
only party - Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Fidel CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), 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, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none; note - Cuba has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Dagoberto RODRIGUEZ Barrera; address: Cuban Interests Section, Swiss Embassy, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone: [1] (202) 797-8518
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none; note - the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer James C. CASON; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado, Havana; telephone: [53] (7) 33-3551 through 3559 (operator assistance required); FAX: [53] (7) 33-3700; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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

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   Economy    Cuba
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has undertaken 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. The government reluctantly allows a large dollar market sector, fueled by tourism and remittances from Cubans abroad.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $32.13 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $2,900 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5.5%
industry: 26.9%
services: 67.6% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.1% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.1% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.58 million
note: state sector 78%, non-state sector 22% (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 24%, industry 25%, services 51% (1999)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $17.21 billion
expenditures: $18.28 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, petroleum, tobacco, construction, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.4% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
163,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
532 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
600 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
600 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
42.62 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-273 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.467 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Netherlands 21.6%, Canada 17.6%, Russia 10.8%, Spain 8.6%, China 7.2% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.531 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Spain 16.3%, Venezuela 12.3%, Italy 8.4%, US 8.3%, China 7.5%, Canada 5.3%, Mexico 5.2%, France 4.8% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$582 million (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$12.52 billion (convertible currency); another $15 billion -$20 billion owed to Russia (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$68.2 million (1997 est.)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Cuban peso (CUP)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
CUP
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Cuban pesos per US dollar - 1.0000 (nonconvertible, official rate, for international transactions, pegged to the US dollar); convertible peso sold for domestic use at a rate of 27 pesos per US dollar by the Government of Cuba (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Cuba
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
574,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17,900 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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; cellular service, initially restricted, was opened to public access in 2003
domestic: national fiber-optic system scheduled to be completed by end of 2003; 85% of switches digitized by end of 2002 with entire system by end 2003; telephone line density remains low; 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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 169, FM 55, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
58 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.cu
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,529 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
120,000 (2001)

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   Transportation    Cuba
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
240 km (2004)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 49 km; oil 230 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 13 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 54,818 GRT/81,850 DWT
by type: bulk 3, cargo 4, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2
registered in other countries: 35 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
170 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 79
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 37 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 91
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 62 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Cuba
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
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 manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
17 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 3,134,622
females age 15-49: 3,075,534
note: both sexes are liable for military service (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,929,370
females age 15-49: 1,888,498 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 83,992
females: 91,901 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$572.3 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8% (2003)
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
Moscow, for decades the key military supporter and supplier of Cuba, cut off almost all military aid by 1993

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   Transnational Issues    Cuba
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
territorial waters and air space serve as transshipment zone for cocaine and heroin bound for the US and Europe; established the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes in 1999

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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