Photos of Cuba

Introduction

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 eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions 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 Spain in 1898 and, following three-and-a-half years of subsequent US military rule, Cuba became an independent republic 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 authoritarian 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. Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez, hand-picked by Raul CASTRO to succeed him, was approved as president by the National Assembly and took office on 19 April 2018.

The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4-6 billion annually. Cuba traditionally and consistently portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source of its difficulties. As a result of efforts begun in December 2014 to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Cuban Government, which were severed in January 1961, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in their respective countries in July 2015. The embargo remains in place, and the relationship between the US and Cuba remains tense. 

Illicit migration of Cuban nationals to the US via maritime and overland routes has been a longstanding challenge. On 12 January 2017, the US and Cuba signed a Joint Statement ending the so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy – by which Cuban nationals who reached US soil were permitted to stay. Illicit Cuban migration by sea has since dropped significantly, but land border crossings continue. In FY 2018, the US Coast Guard interdicted 312 Cuban nationals at sea. Also in FY 2018, 7,249 Cuban migrants presented themselves at various land border ports of entry throughout the US.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

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: 109,820 sq km

water: 1,040 sq km

country comparison to the world: 106

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries

total: 28.5 km

border countries (1): US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 28.5 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

mean elevation: 108 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Pico Turquino 1,974 m

Natural resources

cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 60.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 33.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 22.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 27.3% (2018 est.)

other: 12.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

8,700 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

large population clusters found throughout the country, the more significant ones being in the larger towns and cities, particularly the capital of Havana

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

soil degradation and desertification (brought on by poor farming techniques and natural disasters) are the main environmental problems; biodiversity loss; deforestation; air and water pollution

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 and Society

Nationality

noun: Cuban(s)

adjective: Cuban

Ethnic groups

White 64.1%, Mulatto or mixed 26.6%, Black 9.3% (2012 est.)

note: data represent racial self-identification from Cuba's 2012 national census

Languages

Spanish (official)

Religions

Christian 59.2%, folk 17.4%, other .4%, none 23% (2010 est.)

note: folk religions include religions of African origin, spiritualism, and others intermingled with Catholicism or Protestantism; data is estimative because no authoritative source on religious affiliation exists in Cuba

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.34% (male 929,927/female 877,035)

15-24 years: 11.81% (male 678,253/female 627,384)

25-54 years: 41.95% (male 2,335,680/female 2,303,793)

55-64 years: 14.11% (male 760,165/female 799,734)

65 years and over: 15.8% (male 794,743/female 952,348) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 46.7

youth dependency ratio: 23.3

elderly dependency ratio: 23.3

potential support ratio: 4.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.1 years

male: 40.2 years

female: 43.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Birth rate

10.25 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Death rate

9.22 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Net migration rate

-3.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Population distribution

large population clusters found throughout the country, the more significant ones being in the larger towns and cities, particularly the capital of Havana

Urbanization

urban population: 77.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.14% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.143 million HAVANA (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

36 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.19 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.72 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.41 years

male: 77.04 years

female: 81.92 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.2% of population

rural: 94.5% of population

total: 97.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.8% of population

rural: 5.5% of population

total: 2.6% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

8.42 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

5.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 96.1% of population

rural: 94.8% of population

total: 95.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.9% of population

rural: 5.2% of population

total: 4.2% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<500 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.9%

female: 99.8% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6.1%

male: 6.4%

female: 5.6% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

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 overland via the southwest border; the number of Cubans migrating to the US surged after the announcement of normalization of US-Cuban relations in late December 2014 but has decreased since the end of the so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy on 12 January 2017

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Cuba

conventional short form: Cuba

local long form: Republica de Cuba

local short form: Cuba

etymology: name derives from the Taino Indian designation for the island "coabana" meaning "great place"

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 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

etymology: the sites of Spanish colonial cities often retained their original Taino names; Habana, the Spanish name for the city, may be based on the name of a local Taino chief, HABAGUANEX

Administrative divisions

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

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 (Liberation Day), 1 January (1959)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest drafted 14 July 2018, approved by the National Assembly 22 December 2018, approved by referendum 24 February 2019

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly of People’s Power; passage requires approval of at least two-thirds majority of the National Assembly membership; amendments to constitutional articles on the authorities of the National Assembly, Council of State, or any rights and duties in the constitution also require approval in a referendum; constitutional articles on the Cuban political, social, and economic system cannot be amended

Legal system

civil law system based on Spanish civil code

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Suffrage

16 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (since 10 October 2019); Vice President Salvador Antonio VALDES Mesa (since 10 October 2019); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: Prime Minister Manuel MARRERO Cruz (since 21 December 2019); Deputy Prime Ministers Ramiro VALDES Menendez, Roberto MORALES Ojeda, Ines Maria CHAPMAN Waugh, Jorge Luis TAPIA Fonseca, Alejandro GIL Fernandez, Ricardo CABRISAS Ruiz (since 21 December 2019)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president and appointed by the National Assembly; it is subordinate to the 21-member Council of State, which is elected by the Assembly to act on its behalf when it is not in session

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (may be reelected for another 5-year term); election last held on 10 October 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (PCC) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 98.8%; Salvador Antonio VALDES Mesa (PCC) elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - 98.1%

note - on 19 April 2018, DIAZ-CANEL succeeded Raul CASTRO as president of the Council of State; on 10 October 2019 he was elected to the newly created position of President of the Republic, which replaced the position of President of the Council of State

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular (605 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority vote; members serve 5-year terms); note 1 - the National Candidature Commission submits a slate of approved candidates; to be elected, candidates must receive more than 50% of valid votes otherwise the seat remains vacant or the Council of State can declare another election; note 2 - in july 2019, the National Assembly passed a law which reduces the number of members from 605 to 474, effective with the 2023 general election

elections: last held on 11 March 2018 (next to be held in early 2023)

election results: Cuba's Communist Party is the only legal party, and officially sanctioned candidates run unopposed; composition - men 283, women 322, percent of women 53.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: People's Supreme Court (consists of court president, vice president, 41 professional justices, and NA lay judges); organization includes the State Council, criminal, civil, administrative, labor, crimes against the state, and military courts)

judge selection and term of office: professional judges elected by the National Assembly are not subject to a specific term; 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

Political parties and leaders

Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Raul CASTRO Ruz]

International organization participation

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, PIF (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jose Ramon CABANAS Rodriguez (since 17 September 2015)

chancery: 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 797-8518

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mara TEKACH (since 20 June 2018)

telephone: [53] (7) 839-4100

embassy: Calzada between L & M Streets, Vedado, Havana

mailing address: use embassy street address

FAX: NA

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; 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

National symbol(s)

royal palm; national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

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

Economic overview

The government continues to balance the need for loosening its socialist economic system against a desire for firm political control. In April 2011, the government held the first Cuban Communist Party Congress in almost 13 years, during which leaders approved a plan for wide-ranging economic changes. Since then, the government has slowly and incrementally implemented limited economic reforms, including allowing Cubans to buy electronic appliances and cell phones, stay in hotels, and buy and sell used cars. The government has cut state sector jobs as part of the reform process, and it has opened up some retail services to "self-employment," leading to the rise of so-called "cuentapropistas" or entrepreneurs. More than 500,000 Cuban workers are currently registered as self-employed.

The Cuban regime has updated its economic model to include permitting the private ownership and sale of real estate and new vehicles, allowing private farmers to sell agricultural goods directly to hotels, allowing the creation of non-agricultural cooperatives, adopting a new foreign investment law, and launching a "Special Development Zone" around the Mariel port.

Since 2016, Cuba has attributed slowed economic growth in part to problems with petroleum product deliveries from Venezuela. Since late 2000, Venezuela provided petroleum products to Cuba on preferential terms, supplying at times nearly 100,000 barrels per day. Cuba paid for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 30,000 medical professionals.

Real GDP growth rate

1.6% (2017 est.)

0.5% (2016 est.)

4.4% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Caa2 (2014)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$137 billion (2017 est.)

$134.8 billion (2016 est.)

$134.2 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2016 US dollars

country comparison to the world: 79

GDP (official exchange rate)

$93.79 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in Cuban Pesos at 1 CUP = 1 US$; official exchange rate

Real GDP per capita

$12,300 (2016 est.)

$12,200 (2015 est.)

$12,100 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 US dollars

country comparison to the world: 131

Gross national saving

11.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

12.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

12.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.7% (2017 est.)

services: 73.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 31.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 9.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 14.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -12.7% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, cassava, vegetables, plantains, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, milk, pumpkins, mangoes/guavas, rice

Industries

petroleum, nickel, cobalt, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, construction, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, sugar

Labor force

4.691 million (2017 est.)

note: state sector 72.3%, non-state sector 27.7%

country comparison to the world: 83

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 18%

industry: 10%

services: 72% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

2.6% (2017 est.)

2.4% (2016 est.)

note: data are official rates; unofficial estimates are about double

country comparison to the world: 30

Budget

revenues: 54.52 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 64.64 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

47.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

42.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$985.4 million (2017 est.)

$2.008 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Exports

$2.63 billion (2017 est.)

$2.546 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

Exports - partners

Venezuela 17.8%, Spain 12.2%, Russia 7.9%, Lebanon 6.1%, Indonesia 4.5%, Germany 4.3% (2017)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, nickel, medical products, sugar, tobacco, fish, citrus, coffee

Imports

$11.06 billion (2017 est.)

$10.28 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Imports - partners

China 22%, Spain 14%, Russia 5%, Brazil 5%, Mexico 4.9%, Italy 4.8%, US 4.5% (2017)

Imports - commodities

petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$11.35 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$12.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Debt - external

$30.06 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$29.89 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Exchange rates

Cuban pesos (CUP) per US dollar -

1 (2017 est.)

1 (2016 est.)

1 (2015 est.)

1 (2014 est.)

22.7 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,475,679

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.31 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5,911,586

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 53.32 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: lowest mobile phone and Internet penetration rates in the region, fixed-line teledensity is also low; fixed-line and mobile services run by the state-run ETESCA; mobile-cellular telephone service is expensive and must be paid in convertible pesos; the Cuban Government has opened several hundred Wi-Fi hotspots around the island, which are expensive, and launched a new residential Internet pilot in Havana and other provinces; as of 2018, 3G mobile service is available, if limited (2020)

domestic: fixed-line density remains low at about 13 per 100 inhabitants; mobile-cellular service is expanding to about 53 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 53; the ALBA-1, GTMO-1, and GTMO-PR fiber-optic submarine cables link Cuba, Jamaica, and Venezuela; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

Government owns and controls all broadcast media: five national TV channels (Cubavision, Tele Rebelde, Multivision, Educational Channel 1 and 2,) 2 international channels (Cubavision Internacional and Caribe,) 16 regional TV stations, 6 national radio networks and multiple regional stations; the Cuban government beams over the Radio-TV Marti signal; although private ownership of electronic media is prohibited, several online independent news sites exist; those that are not openly critical of the government are often tolerated; the others are blocked by the government; there are no independent TV channels, but several outlets have created strong audiovisual content (El Toque, for example); a community of young Youtubers is also growing, mostly with channels about sports, technology and fashion; Christian denominations are creating original video content to distribute via social media

(2019)

Internet users

total: 6,353,020

percent of population: 57.15% (July 2018 est.)

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"

country comparison to the world: 76

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 98,838

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 less than 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 18

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 560,754 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 17.76 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 64 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 7 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 10 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 16 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2017)

under 914 m: 27 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 69 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 11 (2013)

under 914 m: 58 (2013)

Pipelines

41 km gas, 230 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 8,367 km (2017)

standard gauge: 8,195 km 1.435-m gauge (124 km electrified) (2017)

narrow gauge: 172 km 1.000-m gauge (2017)

note: 82 km of standard gauge track is not for public use

country comparison to the world: 26

Roadways

total: 60,000 km (2015)

paved: 20,000 km (2001)

unpaved: 40,000 km (2001)

country comparison to the world: 76

Waterways

240 km (almost all navigable inland waterways are near the mouths of rivers) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 94

Merchant marine

total: 55

by type: general cargo 12, oil tanker 6, other 37 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 115

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Antilla, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo, Havana, Matanzas, Mariel, Nuevitas Bay, Santiago de Cuba

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Revolutionary Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, FAR): Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario, ER), Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, MGR, includes Marine Corps), Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Forces (Defensas Anti-Aereas y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria, DAAFAR); Paramilitary forces: Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT), Territorial Militia Troops (Milicia de Tropas de Territoriales, MTT), Civil Defense Force; Ministry of Interior: Border Guards, State Security (2020)

Military expenditures

2.9% of GDP (2018)

2.9% of GDP (2017)

3.1% of GDP (2016)

3.1% of GDP (2015)

3.5% of GDP (2014)

country comparison to the world: 28

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba have approximately 50,000 active personnel (39,000 Army; 3,000 Navy; 8,000 Air Force) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Cuban military inventory is comprised of Russian and Soviet-era equipment; the last recorded arms delivery to Cuba was by Russia in 2004 (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation for males, optional for females (2017)

Military - note

the FAR remains well trained and professional in nature, but 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 equipment; the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment has increasingly affected operational capabilities (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased to US and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the facility can terminate the lease

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Cuba is a source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; child sex trafficking and child sex tourism occur in Cuba, while some Cubans are forced into prostitution in South America and the Caribbean; allegations have been made that some Cubans have been forced or coerced to work at Cuban medical missions abroad; assessing the scope of trafficking within Cuba is difficult because of the lack of information

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Cuba’s penal code does not criminalize all forms of human trafficking, but the government reported that it is in the process of amending its criminal code to comply with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, to which it acceded in 2013; the government in 2014 prosecuted and convicted 13 sex traffickers and provided services to the victims in those cases but does not have shelters specifically for trafficking victims; the government did not recognize forced labor as a problem and took no action to address it; state media produced newspaper articles and TV and radio programs to raise public awareness about sex trafficking (2015)

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