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Cuba

Population: 11 047 251

GDP: 72 300 000 000.00 $

Description

 

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. Subsequently, the 1901 Platt Amendment to the Cuban constitution authorized the US to intevene in Cuba in the event of instability.

 

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 $4-6 billion annually. Cuba at times portrays the US embargo, in place since 1961, as the source if its difficulties. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the US's southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard interdicted 1,357 Cuban nationals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in 2013. Also in 2013, 14,251 Cuban migrants presented themselves at various land border ports of entry through out the US.

Population

 

Population: 11,047,251 (2014)

 

Nationality:  noun: Cuban(s)  adjective: Cuban

 

Ethnic groups: white 64.1%, mestizo 26.6%, black 9.3%

 

Languages: Spanish (official)

 

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Santeria

GDP

 

GDP: $ 72 300 000 000.00 (2012)

Military Organization

 

 

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 (Defensas Anti-Aereas y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria, DAAFAR), Youth Labor Army (Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo, EJT).

 

The collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the Cuban military of its major economic and logistic support and had a significant impact on the state of Cuban equipment; the army remains well trained and professional in nature; the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment has increasingly affected operational capabilities.

Conflicts and Disputes

 

Cuban 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.

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Havana

 

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida. Largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles.

 

Geographic coordinates:

21 30 N, 80 00 W.

 

Area:

total: 110,860 sq km

land: 109,820 sq km

water: 1,040 sq km.

 

Land boundaries:

total: 28.5 km

border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 28.5 km

note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and remains part of Cuba.

 

Coastline: 3,735 km.

 

Natural resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land.