Cuba

Map

Cuba Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast;

Natural Resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land;

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;

Population: 11,061,886 (July 2013 est.)

Factbook

Quick Facts About Cuba

Population

11,477,459 (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 18.1% (male 1,067,883/female 1,010,967)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 4,039,836/female 4,032,565)
65 years and over: 11.6% (male 600,461/female 725,747) (2010 est.)

Religions

nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah”s Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented

Languages

Spanish

Internet Users

1.45 million
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” (2008)

Country Name

conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
local short form: Cuba

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 last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

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 (DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT) (2010)

Dependency Status

*

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 that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raul CASTRO. Cuba”s Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US – using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border – is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,656 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2007.

Area – Comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Area

total: 110,860 sq km
land: 109,820 sq km
water: 1,040 sq km

Terrain

mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast

Climate

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

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