North America: Cuba

About Cuba

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.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Havana
Population: 11,184,023 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: NA%
Language: Spanish
Date of independence: 20 May 1902 (from US)
Form of government: Communist state
Title of Leader: President of the Council of State a
Natural Resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Environmental Issues: pollution of Havana Bay; overhunting threatens wildlife populations; deforestation
Agricultural Products: sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock
Imports: petroleum, food, machinery, chemicals, semifinished goods, transport equipment, consumer goods
Exports: sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Spain 18%, Venezuela 13%, Canada 8% (1999)
EXPORTS: Russia 23%, Netherlands 23%, Canada 13% (1999)


Cuba Headlines


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