Photos of Cuba

Satellite image of Cuba (center) and Jamaica (lower right). The southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Florida Strait appear at the top. The bright blue green color around the islands, particularly around those of the Bahamas in the upper right, is likely due to the brighter solar reflection over the more shallow waters that surround the islands. Image courtesy of NASA.

Introduction

Background

The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the arrival of Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492, as the country was developed 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 after three-and-a-half years of subsequent US military rule, Cuba became an independent republic in 1902.

Cuba then 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 handed off the presidency to his younger brother Raul CASTRO in 2008. 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 in 2018. DIAZ-CANEL was appointed First Secretary of the Communist Party in 2021 after the retirement of Raul CASTRO and continues to serve as both president and first secretary.

Cuba traditionally and consistently portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source of its socioeconomic difficulties. As a result of efforts begun in 2014 to reestablish diplomatic relations, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in their respective countries in 2015. The embargo remains in place, however, 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. In 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. Irregular Cuban maritime migration has dropped significantly since 2016, when migrant interdictions at sea topped 5,000, but land border crossings continue. 

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

comparison ranking: total 106

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

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

highest point: Pico Turquino 1,974 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 108 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

Geography - note

largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles

People and Society

Population

total: 10,966,038

male: 5,441,507

female: 5,524,531 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 84; male 87; total 85

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)

major-language sample(s):
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio file:

Religions

Christian 58.9%, folk religion 17.6%, Buddhist <1%, Hindu <1%, Jewish <1%, Muslim <1%, other <1%, none 23.2% (2020 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 for Cuba

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.3% (male 918,066/female 866,578)

15-64 years: 66.5% (male 3,670,531/female 3,623,658)

65 years and over: 17.2% (2024 est.) (male 852,910/female 1,034,295)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.9

youth dependency ratio: 23.1

elderly dependency ratio: 22.9

potential support ratio: 4.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 42.6 years (2024 est.)

male: 41 years

female: 44.4 years

comparison ranking: total 42

Population growth rate

-0.17% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 209

Birth rate

9.9 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 188

Death rate

9.5 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 45

Net migration rate

-2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 169

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: 77.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

2.149 million HAVANA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

39 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 105

Infant mortality rate

total: 4 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 4.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 187

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.1 years (2024 est.)

male: 77.8 years

female: 82.6 years

comparison ranking: total population 58

Total fertility rate

1.71 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Gross reproduction rate

0.83 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.9% of population

rural: 97% of population

total: 98.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population

rural: 3% of population

total: 1.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

12.5% of GDP (2020)

Physician density

8.42 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

5.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 94.8% of population

rural: 87% of population

total: 93% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.2% of population

rural: 13% of population

total: 7% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

24.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 56

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.7 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.77 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.23 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.69 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 85

Tobacco use

total: 17.9% (2020 est.)

male: 25.5% (2020 est.)

female: 10.3% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 92

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 4.8%

women married by age 18: 29.4%

men married by age 18: 5.9% (2019 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.7%

male: 99.6%

female: 99.7% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2021)

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

Environment

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, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Climate

tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 77.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.06% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 125

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 60

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 13.32 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 28.28 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 9.3 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,692,692 tons (2007 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 255,536 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 9.5% (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 1.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 740 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 4.52 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

38.12 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Cuba

conventional short form: Cuba

local long form: República 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 (Havana), 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 19 April 2018)

head of government: Prime Minister Manuel MARRERO Cruz (since 21 December 2019)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president and appointed by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 19 April 2023 (next to be held in 2028)

election results:
2023: Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (PCC) reelected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 97.7%; Salvador Antonio VALDES Mesa (PCC) reelected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - 93.4%

2018:
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 Councils of State and Ministers; 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 Councils of State and Ministers

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular (474 seats; (470 seats filled in 2023); 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

elections: last held on 26 March 2023 (next to be held in early 2028)

election results: Cuba's Communist Party is the only legal party, and officially sanctioned candidates run unopposed; composition- men 208, women 262, percent of women 55.7%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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 [Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez]

International organization participation

ACP, ACS, ALBA, AOSIS, CABEI, CELAC, EAEU (observer), 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, UNHRC, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Lianys TORRES RIVERA (since 14 January 2021)

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

telephone: [1] (202) 797-8515

FAX: [1] (202) 797-8521

email address and website:
recepcion@usadc.embacuba.cu

https://misiones.cubaminrex.cu/en/usa/embassy-cuba-usa

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Benjamin G. ZIFF (since 14 July 2022)

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

mailing address: 3200 Havana Place, Washington DC  20521-3200

telephone: [53] (7) 839-4100

FAX: [53] (7) 839-4247

email address and website:
acshavana@state.gov

https://cu.usembassy.gov/

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 9 (7 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Old Havana (c); Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios (c); San Pedro de la Roca Castle (c); Desembarco del Granma National Park (n); Viñales Valley (c); Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations (c); Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (n); Historic Cienfuegos (c); Historic Camagüey (c)

Economy

Economic overview

still largely state-run planned economy, although privatization increasing under new constitution; widespread protests due to lack of basic necessities and electricity; massive foreign investment increases recently; known tobacco exporter; unique oil-for-doctors relationship with Venezuela; widespread corruption

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$137 billion (2017 est.)
$134.8 billion (2016 est.)
$134.2 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars

comparison ranking: 82

Real GDP growth rate

1.77% (2022 est.)
1.25% (2021 est.)
-10.95% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 173

Real GDP per capita

$12,300 (2016 est.)
$12,200 (2015 est.)
$12,100 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 US dollars

comparison ranking: 129

GDP (official exchange rate)

$633.442 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.5% (2017 est.)
4.5% (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 83

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Caa2 (2014)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.7% (2017 est.)

services: 73.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 58; industry 126; agriculture 138

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

sugarcane, cassava, plantains, vegetables, mangoes/guavas, milk, pumpkins/squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

-6.73% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 206

Labor force

5.286 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 81

Unemployment rate

1.25% (2022 est.)
1.39% (2021 est.)
1.4% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 11

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 7.4% (2021 est.)

male: 7.6%

female: 7%

comparison ranking: total 173

Budget

revenues: $54.52 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: $64.64 billion (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-10.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 214

Public debt

47.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
42.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 115

Taxes and other revenues

58.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 4

Current account balance

$985.4 million (2017 est.)
$2.008 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 49

Exports

$8.769 billion (2020 est.)
$12.632 billion (2019 est.)
$14.53 billion (2018 est.)

note: GDP expenditure basis - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 119

Exports - partners

China 40%, Spain 13%, Germany 5%, Portugal 4%, Switzerland 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

tobacco, nickel, zinc ore, liquor, raw sugar (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$8.067 billion (2020 est.)
$10.971 billion (2019 est.)
$12.567 billion (2018 est.)

note: GDP expenditure basis - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 129

Imports - partners

Spain 23%, China 12%, US 10%, Brazil 8%, Netherlands 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

poultry, wheat, milk, plastic products, soybean oil (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$11.35 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$12.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Debt - external

$30.06 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$29.89 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 83

Exchange rates

Cuban pesos (CUP) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
1 (2017 est.)
1 (2016 est.)
1 (2015 est.)
1 (2014 est.)
22.7 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 7.667 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 14.559 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 3.688 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 151; consumption 86; installed generating capacity 75

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.4% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 1.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0.7% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

biomass and waste: 2.4% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

consumption: 2,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 4,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 34,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 165,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 124 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 659.434 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

consumption: 659.434 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 70.792 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

21.693 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 7,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 20.46 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 1.226 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 83

Energy consumption per capita

32.255 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.574 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 59

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7.6 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 68 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 106

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: internet availability has increased substantially over the past few years, only about 70 percent of Cubans have Internet access; 69 percent (7.6 million) have acces to cell phone service, 68 percent have internet access through their cell phone; in 2021 the Cuban Government passed a decree that strengthened its authority to censor Internet and telephonic communications; state control of the telecom sector hinders development; Cuba has the lowest mobile phone and Internet subscription rates in the region; fixed-line density is also very low; thaw of US-Cuba relations encouraged access to services, such as Wi-Fi hot spots; access to websites and mobile applications is controlled and censored; DSL and Internet are available in Havana, though costs are too high for most Cubans and access can be turned off by the government; international investment and agreement to improve internet access through cost-free and direct connection between networks (2021)

domestic: fixed-line density remains low at a little over 14 per 100 inhabitants; mobile-cellular service has expanded to about 63 per 100 persons (2021)

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)

Broadcast media

government owns and controls all broadcast media: eight national TV channels (Cubavision, Cubavision Plus, Tele Rebelde, Multivision, Educational Channel 1 and 2, Canal Clave, Canal Habana), two international channels (Cubavision Internacional and Canal Caribe), multiple regional TV stations, 7 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 (2023)

Internet users

total: 7.81 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 71% (2021 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"; issues relating to COVID-19 impact research into internet adoption, so actual internet user figures may be different than published numbers suggest

comparison ranking: total 77

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 231,654 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 115

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports

123 (2024)

comparison ranking: 42

Heliports

4 (2024)

Pipelines

41 km gas, 230 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 8,367 km (2017)

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

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

note: As of 2013, 70 km of standard gauge and 12 km of narrow gauge track were not for public use

comparison ranking: total 26

Roadways

total: 60,000 km (2015)

paved: 20,000 km (2001)

unpaved: 40,000 km (2001)

comparison ranking: total 79

Waterways

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

comparison ranking: 103

Merchant marine

total: 65 (2023)

by type: general cargo 13, oil tanker 10, other 42

comparison ranking: total 111

Ports

total ports: 34 (2024)

large: 6

medium: 3

small: 10

very small: 6

size unknown: 9

ports with oil terminals: 14

key ports: Antilla, Bahai de la Habana, Bahia de Sagua de Tanamo, Cabanas, Casilda, Cienfuegos, Nuevitas Bay, Puerto Guantanamo, 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, National Revolutionary Police (2023)

Military expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.9% of GDP (2018 est.)
2.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

Military and security service personnel strengths

limited available information; estimated 50,000 active personnel, including approximately 40,000 Army (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is comprised of aging Russian and Soviet-era equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17-28 years of age for compulsory (men) and voluntary (men and women) military service; conscripts serve for 24 months (2024)

Military - note

the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) are a central pillar of the Cuban regime and viewed as the guardian of the Cuban revolution; the FAR has a large role in the country’s politics and economy; many senior government posts are held by military officers, and a FAR-controlled umbrella enterprise known as the Armed Forces Business Group (Grupo de Administración Empresarial or GAESA) has interests in banking and finance, construction, import/export, ports, real estate, retail, shipping, transportation, and tourism

the FAR is largely focused on protecting territorial integrity and the state, and perceives the US as its primary threat; the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent end of Soviet military aid had far-reaching consequences for the FAR, transforming it from one of the largest and most capable militaries in the region, as well as one that was heavily involved in foreign missions during the Cold War, particularly in Africa, into a much smaller, home-based and defensive force with limited capabilities and armed with Soviet-era weapons and equipment (2023)

Transnational Issues

Trafficking in persons

tier rating:

Tier 3 — Cuba does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Cuba remained on Tier 3; the government took some steps to address trafficking, such as amending the penal code to include criminalization of labor trafficking; however, the government continued a policy or pattern to profit from labor export programs with strong indications of forced labor, particularly in its foreign medical missions program; the government continued to deploy Cuban workers to foreign countries using deceptive and coercive tactics, and failed to address an increasing number of allegations from credible NGOs and foreign governments of Cuban officials’ involvement in trafficking crimes; the government used its legal framework to threaten, coerce, and punish workers and their families if they left the labor export and medical programs (2023)

Illicit drugs

Cuba is not a major consumer, producer, or transshipment point for illicit drugs; domestic production and consumption curbed by aggressive policing; prescription drug abuse remains low