Facts about Cuba
|Population||11,423,952 (July 2008 est|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins la|
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida
General info about Cuba
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.
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
What about 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
white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1% (2002 census)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies about 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 30,000 medical professionals.
air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation
Cities in Cubaabreus agramonte aguada de pasajeros alacranes alquizar amancio artemisa baguanos bahia honda banes baracoa baragua batabano bauta bayamo bejucal bolondron cabaiguan cabanas caibarien calabazar de sagua calimete camaguey camajuani campechuela candelaria cardenas chambas ciego de avila cienfuegos cifuentes colombia colon condado consolacion del sur contramaestre corralillo cruces cueto cumanayagua el cobre encrucijada esmeralda esperanza florida fomento gibara guaimaro guanajay guane guantanamo guines guira de melena guisa holguin jaguey grande jaruco jatibonico jiguani jobabo jovellanos las tunas los arabos los palacios madruga manati manguito manicaragua mantua manzanillo mariel marti matanzas mayari media luna minas moa moron niquero nueva gerona nuevitas palma soriano palmira pedro betancourt perico pinar del rio placetas primero de enero puerto padre quemado de guines rancho veloz ranchuelo remedios rio cauto rodas sagua de tanamo sagua la grande san antonio de los banos san cristobal san diego de los banos san jose de las lajas san luis san nicolas sancti spiritus santa clara santa cruz del norte santa cruz del sur santa fe santiago de cuba santiago de las vegas santo domingo sibanicu trinidad union de reyes varadero venezuela vertientes yaguajay yara zaza del medio zulueta