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Introduction Cuba
Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the country together since then. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic recession in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, or falsified visas - is a continuing problem. Some 2,500 Cubans attempted the crossing of the Straits of Florida in 2002; the US Coast Guard apprehended about 60% of the individuals.
Geography Cuba
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
total: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
total: 29 km
border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba
3,735 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m
Natural resources:
cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 33.04%
other: 59.35% (1998 est.)
permanent crops: 7.61%
Irrigated land:
870 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to October (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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles
People Cuba
11,263,429 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.1% (male 1,164,376; female 1,103,061)
15-64 years: 69.6% (male 3,932,604; female 3,909,523)
65 years and over: 10.2% (male 531,608; female 622,257) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 34.5 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 35.1 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.34% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
11.87 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
7.38 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 8.06 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.8 years
male: 74.38 years
female: 79.36 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.61 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,200 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
120 (2001 est.)
noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban
Ethnic groups:
mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%
nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
female: 96.9% (2003 est.)
male: 97.2%
total population: 97%
People - note:
illicit migration is a continuing problem; Cubans attempt to depart the island and enter the US using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, direct flights, or falsified visas; some 2,500 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2002; the US Coast Guard interdicted about 60% of these migrants; Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US; some 1,500 Cubans arrived overland via the southwest border and direct flights to Miami in 2002
Government Cuba
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
local short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
Government type:
Communist state
Administrative divisions:
14 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 special municipality* (municipio especial); Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Ciudad de La Habana, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Isla de la Juventud*, La Habana, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara
20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 10 December (1898); note - 10 December 1898 is the date of independence from Spain, 20 May 1902 is the date of independence from US administration; Rebellion Day, 26 July (1953)
24 February 1976, amended July 1992 and June 2002
Legal system:
based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly; election last held 6 March 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: Fidel CASTRO Ruz reelected president; percent of legislative vote - 100%; Raul CASTRO Ruz elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 100%
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president of the Council of State, appointed by the National Assembly; note - there is also a Council of State whose members are elected by the National Assembly
head of government: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (609 seats, elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 January 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: percent of vote - PCC 97.6%; seats - PCC 609
Judicial branch:
People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular (president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
only party - Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Fidel CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS (excluded from formal participation since 1962), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; note - Cuba has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Dagoberto RODRIGUEZ Barrera (since August 2001); address: Cuban Interests Section, Swiss Embassy, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone: [1] (202) 797-8518
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none; note - the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer James C. CASON; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado, Havana; telephone: [53] (7) 33-3551 through 3559 (operator assistance required); FAX: [53] (7) 33-3700; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland
Flag description:
five equal horizontal bands of blue (top and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five-pointed star in the center; design influenced by the US flag
Economy Cuba
Economy - overview:
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has undertaken limited reforms in recent years to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services but is unlikely to implement extensive changes. A major feature of the economy is the dichotomy between relatively efficient export enclaves and inefficient domestic sectors. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the severe economic depression of the early 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. High oil import prices, recessions in key export markets, damage from Hurricanes Isidore and Lili, and the tourist slump after 11 September 2001 hampered growth in 2002.
purchasing power parity - $30.69 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 7.6%
industry: 34.5%
services: 57.9% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.1% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
4.3 million
note: state sector 78%, non-state sector 22% (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 24%, industry 25%, services 51% (1999)
Unemployment rate:
4.1% (2001 est.)
revenues: $14.9 billion
expenditures: $15.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
sugar, petroleum, tobacco, chemicals, construction, services, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, biotechnology
Industrial production growth rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
14.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 93.9%
hydro: 0.6%
other: 5.4% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
13.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
50,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
163,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
532 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
600 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
600 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
42.62 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
$1.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Exports - partners:
Netherlands 19.1%, Russia 18.1%, Canada 14.3%, Spain 9.5%, China 7.3% (2002)
$4.8 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Spain 17.2%, China 12%, Italy 9.1%, France 7.6%, Mexico 7.3%, Canada 6.2%, US 5.6%, Brazil 4.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
$12.3 billion (convertible currency); another $15 billion -$20 billion owed to Russia (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$68.2 million (1997 est.)
Cuban peso (CUP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Cuban pesos per US dollar - 1.0000 (nonconvertible, official rate, for international transactions, pegged to the US dollar); convertible peso sold for domestic use at a rate of 1.00 US dollar per 27 pesos by the Government of Cuba (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cuba
Telephones - main lines in use:
473,031 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2,994 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: principal trunk system, end to end of country, is coaxial cable; fiber-optic distribution in Havana and on Isla de la Juventud; 2 microwave radio relay installations (one is old, US-built; the other newer, built during the period of Soviet support); both analog and digital mobile cellular service established
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 169, FM 55, shortwave 1 (1998)
3.9 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
58 (1997)
2.64 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2001)
Internet users:
120,000 (2002)
Transportation Cuba
total: 3,442 km
standard gauge: 3,442 km 1.435-m gauge (142 km electrified)
note: an additional 7,742 km of track is used by sugar plantations; about 65% of this track is standard gauge; the rest is narrow gauge (2002)
total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1999 est.)
240 km
gas 49 km; oil 230 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba
Merchant marine:
total: 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 59,257 GRT/90,295 DWT
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 5, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2 (2002 est.)
161 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 70
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
under 914 m: 31 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 91
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 63 (2002)
Military Cuba
Military branches:
Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) including Revolutionary Army (ER), Revolutionary Navy (MGR), Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Territorial Militia Troops (MTT), and Youth Labor Army (EJT); note - the Border Guard Troops (TGF) are controlled by the Interior Ministry
Military manpower - military age:
17 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,120,702
note: both sexes are liable for military service (2003 est.)
females age 15-49: 3,049,927
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,923,967
females age 15-49: 1,875,412 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 81,095
females: 87,780 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
roughly 4% (FY95 est.)
Military - note:
Moscow, for decades the key military supporter and supplier of Cuba, cut off almost all military aid by 1993
Transnational Issues Cuba
Disputes - international:
US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased to US and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease
Illicit drugs:
territorial waters and air space serve as transshipment zone for cocaine and heroin bound for the US and Europe; established the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes in 1999