Introduction ::Cuba

    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 eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba's communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US's southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard interdicted 1,275 Cuban nationals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2012.

Geography ::Cuba

People and Society ::Cuba

Government ::Cuba

    conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
    conventional short form: Cuba
    local long form: Republica de Cuba
    local short form: Cuba
    Communist state
    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 second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November; note - Cuba has been known to alter the schedule of DST on short notice in an attempt to conserve electricity for lighting
    15 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 special municipality* (municipio especial); Artemisa, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Isla de la Juventud*, La Habana, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Mayabeque, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara
    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
    Triumph of the Revolution, 1 January (1959)
    24 February 1976; amended July 1992 and June 2002
    civil law system based on Spanish civil code
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    16 years of age; universal
    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 Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (since 24 February 2013); 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 Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (since 24 February 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president of the Council of State and appointed by the National Assembly or the 28-member Council of State, elected by the assembly to act on its behalf when it is not in session
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    elections: president and vice presidents elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held on 24 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz reelected president; percent of legislative vote - 100%; Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 100%
    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 on 3 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: Cuba's Communist Party is the only legal party, and officially sanctioned candidates run unopposed
    highest court(s): People's Supreme Court (consists of court president, vice president, 41 professional justices, and NA lay judges; organized into the "Whole," State Council, and criminal, civil, administrative, labor, crimes against the state, and military courts)
    judge selection and term of office: professional judges elected by the National Assembly to serve 2.5-year terms; lay judges nominated by workplace collectives and neighborhood associations and elected by municipal or provincial assemblies; lay judges appointed for 5-year terms and serve up to 30 days per year
    subordinate courts: People's Provincial Courts; People's Regional Courts; People's Courts
    Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Raul CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]
    Human Rights Watch
    National Association of Small Farmers
    ACP, ALBA, AOSIS, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC (national committees), 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, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    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
    none; note - the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Chief of Mission John P. CAULFIELD; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado, Havana; telephone: [53] (7) 839-4100; FAX: [53] (7) 839-4247; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland
    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; the blue bands refer to the three old divisions of the island: central, occidental, and oriental; the white bands describe the purity of the independence ideal; the triangle symbolizes liberty, equality, and fraternity, while the red color stands for the blood shed in the independence struggle; the white star, called La Estrella Solitaria (the Lone Star) lights the way to freedom and was taken from the flag of Texas
    note: design similar to the Puerto Rican flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed
    name: "La Bayamesa" (The Bayamo Song)

    lyrics/music: Pedro FIGUEREDO
    note: adopted 1940; Pedro FIGUEREDO first performed "La Bayamesa" in 1868 during the Ten Years War against the Spanish; a leading figure in the uprising, FIGUEREDO was captured in 1870 and executed by a firing squad; just prior to the fusillade he is reputed to have shouted, "Morir por la Patria es vivir" (To die for the country is to live), a line from the anthem

Economy ::Cuba

Energy ::Cuba

Communications ::Cuba

    1.193 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    1.315 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    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; national fiber-optic system under development; 95% of switches digitized by end of 2006; mobile-cellular telephone service is expensive and must be paid in convertible pesos, which effectively limits subscribership
    domestic: fixed-line density remains low at 10 per 100 inhabitants; mobile-cellular service expanding but remains only about 10 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) (2010)
    government owns and controls all broadcast media with private ownership of electronic media prohibited; government operates 4 national TV networks and many local TV stations; government operates 6 national radio networks, an international station, and many local radio stations; Radio-TV Marti is beamed from the US (2007)
    3,244 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    1.606 million
    country comparison to the world: 79
    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" (2009)

Transportation ::Cuba

    133 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    total: 64
    over 3,047 m: 7
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
    914 to 1,523 m: 4
    under 914 m: 27 (2013)
    total: 69
    914 to 1,523 m: 11
    under 914 m:
    58 (2013)
    gas 41 km; oil 230 km (2013)
    total: 8,203 km
    country comparison to the world: 25
    standard gauge: 8,134 km 1.435-m gauge (124 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 69 km 1.000-m gauge
    note: 48 km of standard gauge track is not for public use (2011)
    total: 60,858 km
    country comparison to the world: 72
    paved: 29,820 km (includes 639 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 31,038 km (2001)
    240 km (almost all navigable inland waterways are near the mouths of rivers) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    total: 3
    country comparison to the world: 136
    by type: cargo 1, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 1
    registered in other countries: 5 (Curacao 1, Panama 2, unknown 2) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Antilla, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo, Havana, Matanzas, Mariel, Nuevitas Bay, Santiago de Cuba

Military ::Cuba

    Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR): Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario, 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 Forces (Defensas Anti-Aereas y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria, DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT) (2011)
    17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2012)
    males age 16-49: 2,998,201
    females age 16-49: 2,919,107 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 2,446,131
    females age 16-49: 2,375,590 (2010 est.)
    male: 72,823
    female: 69,108 (2010 est.)
    3.2% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the Cuban military of its major economic and logistic support and had a significant impact on the state of Cuban equipment; the army remains well trained and professional in nature; while the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment has increasingly affected operational capabilities, Cuba remains able to offer considerable resistance to any regional power (2010)

Transnational Issues ::Cuba

    US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased to US and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the facility can terminate the lease
    current situation: Cuba is a source country for adults and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; child prostitution and child sex tourism reportedly occurs in Cuba, and laws do not appear to penalize the prostitution of children between the ages of 16 and 18; allegations have been made of Cubans being subjected to forced labor, particularly with Cuban work missions abroad; the scope of trafficking within Cuba is particularly difficult to gauge due to the closed nature of the government and sparse non-governmental or independent reporting
    tier rating: Tier 3 - Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has not publicized information about government measures to address human trafficking through prosecution, protection, or prevention efforts but did share information about its general approach to protection for children and youth; the government has a network of shelters for victims of domestic violence and child abuse but has not verified if trafficking victims receive care in those centers (2013)
    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 (2008)