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Background: Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the country together since. Cuba's communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. 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. Havana 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 3,000 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2000; the US Coast Guard interdicted only about 35% of these.

Area: total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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
Coastline: 3,735 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 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 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: 24%
permanent crops: 7%
permanent pastures: 27%
forests and woodland: 24%
other: 18% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 9,100 sq km (1993 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: pollution of Havana Bay; overhunting threatens wildlife populations; 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
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: largest country in Caribbean

Population: 11,184,023 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.99% (male 1,205,159; female 1,142,070)
15-64 years: 69.14% (male 3,876,432; female 3,855,878)
65 years and over: 9.87% (male 511,589; female 592,895) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.37% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 12.36 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 7.33 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 7.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.41 years
male: 74.02 years
female: 78.94 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.03% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1,950 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 120 (1999 est.)

Ethnic groups: mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%
Religions: nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
Languages: Spanish
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.7%
male: 96.2%
female: 95.3% (1995 est.)
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 3,000 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2000; the US Coast Guard interdicted about 35% of these migrants; Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US; some 2,400 Cubans arrived overland via the southwest border and direct flights to Miami

Government type: Communist state
Capital: Havana
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
Independence: 20 May 1902 (from US)
National holiday: Independence Day, 10 October (1868); note - 10 October 1868 is the date of independence from Spain, 20 May 1902 is the date of independence from US administration
Constitution: 24 February 1976, amended July 1992
Legal system: based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 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
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
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
Elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly; election last held 24 February 1998 (next election unscheduled)
Election results: Fidel CASTRO Ruz elected president; percent of legislative vote - 100%; Raul CASTRO Ruz elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 100%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (601 seats, elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions; members serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 11 January 1998 (next to be held in 2003)
Election results: percent of vote - PCC 94.39%; seats - PCC 601

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: NA
International organization participation: CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS (excluded from formal participation since 1962), OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, 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 Fernando REMIREZ DE ESTENOZ; 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 Vicki HUDDLESTON; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado Seccion, Havana; telephone: 33-3551 through 3559 (operator assistance required); FAX: 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 - overview: The government, the primary player in the economy, has undertaken limited reforms in recent years to stem excess liquidity, increase enterprise efficiency, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services, but prioritizing of political control makes extensive reforms unlikely. Living standards for the average Cuban, without access to dollars, remain at a depressed level compared with 1990. The liberalized farmers' markets introduced in 1994, sell above-quota production at market prices, expand legal consumption alternatives, and reduce black market prices. Income taxes and increased regulations introduced since 1996 have sharply reduced the number of legally self-employed from a high of 208,000 in January 1996. Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-93 as a result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The slide in GDP came to a halt in 1994 when Cuba reported growth in GDP of 0.7%. Cuba reported that GDP increased by 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996, before slowing down in 1997 and 1998 to 2.5% and 1.2% respectively. Growth recovered with a 6.2% increase in GDP in 1999 and a 5.6% increase in 2000. Much of Cuba's recovery can be attributed to tourism revenues and foreign investment. Growth in 2001 should continue at the same level as the government balances the need for economic loosening against its concern for firm political control.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $19.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.6% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 7%
industry: 37%
services: 56% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.3% (1999 est.)
Labor force: 4.3 million (2000 est.)
note: state sector 75%, non-state sector 25% (1998)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 25%, industry 24%, services 51% (1998)
Unemployment rate: 5.5% (2000 est.)

Budget: revenues: $13.5 billion
expenditures: $14.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: sugar, petroleum, tobacco, chemicals, construction, services, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery
Industrial production growth rate: 5% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 14.358 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 94.2%
hydro: 0.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 5.1% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 13.353 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)

Agriculture - products: sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
Exports: $1.8 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Exports - partners: Russia 23%, Netherlands 23%, Canada 13% (1999)
Imports: $3.4 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, food, machinery, chemicals, semifinished goods, transport equipment, consumer goods
Imports - partners: Spain 18%, Venezuela 13%, Canada 8% (1999)
Debt - external: $11.1 billion (convertible currency, 1999); another $15 billion -$20 billion owed to Russia (2000)
Economic aid - recipient: $68.2 million (1997 est.)
Currency: Cuban peso (CUP)
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 22 pesos by the Government of Cuba (January 2001)
Fiscal year: calendar year

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, Soviet-built); 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)
Radios: 3.9 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 58 (1997)
Televisions: 2.64 million (1997)
Internet country code: .cu
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 4 (2001)
Internet users: 60,000 (2000)

Railways: total: 11,969 km
standard gauge: 4,807 km 1.435-m gauge (147 km electrified)
note: in addition to the 4,807 km of standard gauge track in public use, 7,162 km of track is in private use by sugar plantations; about 90% of the private use track is standard gauge and the rest is narrow gauge (2000)
Highways: total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1997)
Waterways: 240 km
Ports and harbors: Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba
Merchant marine: total: 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 54,821 GRT/78,062 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 7, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 5 (2000 est.)
Airports: 171 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 77
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 35 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 94
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 63 (2000 est.)

Military branches: Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) includes ground forces, Revolutionary Navy (MGR), Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR), Territorial Troops Militia (MTT), and Youth Labor Army (EJT); the Border Guard (TGF) is controlled by the Interior Ministry
Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 3,090,633
females age 15-49: 3,029,274 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,911,160
females age 15-49: 1,867,958 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 79,562
females: 85,650 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA
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
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 bound for the US and Europe; established the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes in 1999