Cuba

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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 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.

The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4-6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source of its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US's southern border - is a continuing problem. In FY 2014, the US Coast Guard interdicted 2,111 Cuban nationals at sea, the highest number since FY 2008. Also in FY 2014, 24,289 Cuban migrants presented themselves at various land border ports of entry throughout the US. As a result of efforts begun in December 2014 by President OBAMA to re-establishment diplomatic relations with the Cuban government, which were severed in January 1961, the United States and Cuba reopened embassies in their respective countries on 20 July 2015. Over the past decade, there has been growing communication with the Cuban Government to address national interests.

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

Area 106/257

total: 110,860 sq km

land: 109,820 sq km

water: 1,040 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries

total: 28.5 km

border countries: 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:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 60.3%

arable land 33.8%; permanent crops 3.6%; permanent pasture 22.9%

forest: 27.3%

other: 12.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

8,700 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

38.12 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 4.42 cu km/yr (22%/14%/65%)

per capita: 392.6 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards

the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common

Environment - current issues

air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation

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%, mestizo 26.6%, black 9.3% (2012 est.)

Languages

Spanish (official)

Religions

nominally Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Santeria

note: prior to CASTRO assuming power

Population 80/238

11,031,433 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.96% (male 904,800/female 855,309)

15-24 years: 13.29% (male 752,160/female 714,384)

25-54 years: 47.16% (male 2,620,536/female 2,581,344)

55-64 years: 10.65% (male 562,207/female 612,438)

65 years and over: 12.95% (male 639,515/female 788,740) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.4%

youth dependency ratio: 23.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 20%

potential support ratio: 5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 40.4 years

male: 39.5 years

female: 41.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 210/233

-0.15% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 196/224

9.9 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 106/225

7.72 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 188/222

-3.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 77.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

HAVANA (capital) 2.137 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 85/184

39 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 180/224

total: 4.63 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 59/224

total population: 78.39 years

male: 76.08 years

female: 80.84 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 200/224

1.47 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

74.3% (2010/11)

Health expenditures 47/191

8.8% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

6.72 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

5.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 96.4% of population

rural: 89.8% of population

total: 94.9% of population

unimproved:

urban: 3.6% of population

rural: 10.2% of population

total: 5.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 94.4% of population

rural: 89.1% of population

total: 93.2% of population

unimproved:

urban: 5.6% of population

rural: 10.9% of population

total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.25% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

17,100 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 85/191

27.2% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 107/138

3.4% (2000)

Education expenditures 2/173

12.8% of GDP (2010)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 131/134

total: 6.1%

male: 6.4%

female: 5.6% (2010 est.)

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

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

several previous; latest adopted by referendum 15 February 1976, effective 24 February 1976; amended 1978, 1992, 2002 (2015)

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: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Suffrage

16 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (president since 24 February 2008); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Miguel DIAZ-CANEL Bermudez (since 24 February 2013); note - the president is both 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, appointed by the National Assembly or the 28-member Council of State, and elected by the assembly to act on its behalf when it is not in session

elections/appointments: president and vice presidents indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (no term limit); election last held on 24 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)

election results: Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (PPC) reelected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100%; Miguel DIAZ-CANEL (PPC) Bermudez elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote- 100%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (614 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority in a modified two-round vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the National Candidature Commission submits a slate of approved candidates who must obtain 50-percent of valid votes to be elected; if not, a byelection may be held or the seat remains vacant

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

Judicial branch

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

Political parties and leaders

Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Raul CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation

Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White)

National Association of Small Farmers

Patriotic Union of Cuba

other: political dissidents and bloggers

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

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

Economy - 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. Approximately 476,000 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 late 2000, Venezuela has provided petroleum products on preferential terms, supplying nearly 100,000 barrels per day. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 30,000 medical professionals.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 78/230

$128.5 billion (2014 est.)

$126.9 billion (2013 est.)

$123.5 billion (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$77.15 billion

note: data are in Cuban Pesos at CUP 1 = US$ Official Exchange Rate (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 167/225

1.3% (2014 est.)

2.7% (2013 est.)

3% (2012 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 135/230

$10,200 (2010 est.)

$10,000 (2009 est.)

$10,000 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

Gross national saving 137/179

12.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

13.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

12.8% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 55.8%

government consumption: 31.8%

investment in fixed capital: 10.9%

investment in inventories: 0.1%

exports of goods and services: 21.2%

imports of goods and services: -19.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4%

industry: 23.5%

services: 72.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 9/202

9.6% (2015 est.)

Labor force 80/233

5.111 million

note: state sector 72.3%, non-state sector 27.7% (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 18%

industry: 10%

services: 72% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 24/207

3% (2015 est.)

2.7% (2014 est.)

note: these are official rates; unofficial estimates are about double the official figures

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $2.721 billion

expenditures: $2.919 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 216/219

3.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 39/220

-0.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 140/176

31.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

32.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 165/226

4.4% (2015 est.)

5.3% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate

NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate

NA%

Stock of narrow money 144/192

$1.307 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$965.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 81/193

$24.63 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$24.08 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$NA

Current account balance 76/197

-$145.7 million (2015 est.)

$1.996 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 112/224

$4.41 billion (2015 est.)

$5.187 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

Venezuela 33.5%, Canada 15.9%, China 9.5%, Netherlands 4.5% (2014)

Imports 84/223

$15.24 billion (2015 est.)

$13.11 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - partners

Venezuela 38.7%, China 9.8%, Spain 8.4%, Brazil 4.7%, Algeria 4.4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 75/170

$11.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$11.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 78/206

$25.21 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$24.65 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 71/105

$4.138 billion (2006 est.)

Exchange rates

Cuban pesos (CUP) per US dollar -

18.43 (2015 est.)

22.7 (2014 est.)

22.7 (2013 est.)

1 (2012 est.)

0.98 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 76/220

19.14 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 76/219

16.2 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - exports 127/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 137/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 72/214

6.055 million kW (2013 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 48/214

99.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 74/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 144/214

0.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 120/212

0.1% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 56/214

50,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 40/214

74,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 36/214

160,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 71/215

124 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 74/214

92,660 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 63/212

170,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 78/214

15,080 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 101/213

24,640 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 64/216

1.034 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 89/215

1.034 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 84/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 184/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 57/212

70.79 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 79/212

25.99 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 67/219

total subscriptions: 1.26 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 144/217

total: 2.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: greater investment beginning in 1994 and the establishment of a new Ministry of Information Technology and Communications in 2000 has resulted in improvements in the system; 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; around 1.3 million Cubans owned cell phones in 2011; state communications started service of email to cell phones through nauta.cu accounts; Cuban Government has opened Internet cafes around the island, which are expensive and offer slow-speed connections

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; the ALBA-1 fiber-optic submarine cable links Cuba, Jamaica, and Venezuela; fiber-optic cable laid to but not linked to US network; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) (2011)

Broadcast media

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 169, FM 55, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

58 (1997)

Internet country code

.cu

Internet hosts 154/232

3,244 (2012)

Internet users 85/217

total: 3 million

percent of population: 27.5%

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" (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 43/236

133 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

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)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 69

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 58 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 41 km; oil 230 km (2013)

Railways 25/136

total: 8,285 km

standard gauge: 8,125 km 1.435-m gauge (105 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 160 km 1.000-m gauge

note: 82 km of standard gauge track is not for public use (2014)

Roadways 68/223

total: 60,858 km

paved: 29,820 km (includes 639 km of expressways)

unpaved: 31,038 km (2001)

Waterways 94/107

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

Merchant marine 135/156

total: 3

by type: cargo 1, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 1

registered in other countries: 5 (Curacao 1, Panama 2, unknown 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

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

Military and Security

Military branches

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) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17-28 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year service obligation; both sexes subject to military service (2012)

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

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 (2008)