Background: Fidel CASTRO Ruz led the rebel army to victory in 1959; since then the country has been under his iron hand. The Cuban Socialist Revolution, supported by the USSR, was exported to Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The country is gradually recovering from a severe economic downturn that followed the end in 1990 of $4 billion to $6 billion annual subsidies from the former USSR. Havana claims that the embargo imposed by the United States in 1961 is the cause of the country’s economic difficulties. See areacodesexplorer.com to know more about Cuba History.
Location: Caribbean region, an island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Florida.
Geographical coordinates: 21° 30′ N. latitude, 80° 00′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 110,860 km2; land surface area: 110,860 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania.
Land borders: total: 29 km; with neighboring states: with the US naval base in Guantanamo 29 km; note: the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay is used by the US and remains part of Cuba.
Coastline: 3,735 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; moderated by the trade winds; dry season from November to April; rainy season from May to October.
Terrain: mostly flat or rolling plains, hills and mountains in the southeast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Turkino peak 2,005 m.
Natural resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, quartz, oil, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 24%; cultivated land: 7%; pastures: 27%; forests and plantations: 24%; others: 18% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 9,100 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: East Coast hit by hurricanes from August to October (national average of one hurricane every two years); frequent floods.
Actual environmental problems: pollution of the Gulf of Havana; large-scale hunting threatens populations of wild species; reduction in forest area.
International environmental agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed but not ratified: Antarctica – Protocol on Environmental Protection, Kyoto Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life.
Note to the section “Geography”: largest country in the Caribbean.
Population: 11,184,023 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 20.99% (male 1,205,159; female 1,142,070); 15 to 64 years old: 69.14% (male 3,876,432; female 3,855,878); over 65: 9.87% (male 511,589; female 592,895) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.37% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 12.36 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 7.33 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.36 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male/female; under 15: 1.06 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65: 0.86 male/female; for the general population: 1 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 7.39 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 76.41 years; men: 74.02 years; women: 78.94 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.6 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adult population infected with HIV: 0.03% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 1950 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 120 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Cuban; adjective: Cuban.
Ethnic groups: mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%.
Believers: nominally, before Castro came to power, 85% were Catholics; Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, also adherents of Santeria.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 95.7%; men: 96.2%; women: 95.3% (1995 est.). Population – note: the problem of illegal emigration persists; Cubans are trying to leave the island and enter the United States, using homemade rafts, foreign smugglers, direct flights or fake visas; about 3,000 Cubans tried to cross the Strait of Florida in 2000; the US Coast Guard detained about 35% of emigrants; Cubans use not only sea routes to infiltrate the US; approximately 2,400 Cubans arrived by land via the southwestern border and a direct flight to Miami.
Conventional long form: Republic of Cuba;
conventional short form: Cuba; local long form: Republica de Cuba; local short form: Cuba.
State structure: communist state.
Administrative divisions: 14 provinces and 1 special municipality*: Villa Clara, Havana, Havana (city), Granma, Guantanamo, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Holguín, Pinar del Rio Sancti Spiritus, Santiago de Cuba, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Juventud Island*.
Independence: from May 20, 1902 (from the United States).
National holiday: Independence Day, October 10; note – October 10, 1868 – the date of declaration of independence from Spain; May 20, 1902 – the date of independence from the United States.
Constitution: adopted February 24, 1976, amended July 1992
Legal system: based on Spanish and American law, with significant elements of communist legal theory; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 16 years old; universal.
head of state: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (Prime Minister from February 1959 until February 24, 1976, when this post was abolished; Chairman from December 2, 1976); First Deputy Chairman of the Council of State and First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, General Raul CASTRO Ruz (from December 2, 1976); note – the President of the Council of State is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (Prime Minister from February 1959 until February 24, 1976, when this post was abolished; Chairman from December 2, 1976); First Deputy Chairman of the Council of State and First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, General Raul CASTRO Ruz (since December 2, 1976); note – the President of the Council of State is both head of state and head of government;
Government: Council of Ministers proposed by the President of the Council of State, approved by the National Assembly; note: there is also a Council of State whose members are elected by the National Assembly; elections: chairman and vice-chairman elected by the National Assembly; elections last held 24 February 1998 (next date not yet determined); election results: Fidel CASTRO Ruz elected chairman; the percentage of votes collected in the voting of legislators – 100%; Raul CASTRO Ruz elected vice-chairman; the percentage of votes collected in the voting of legislators – 100%.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly of People’s Power (601 seats, members directly elected from lists approved by a special commission for the consideration of candidates; term of office – five years); elections: elections last held 11 January 1998 (next to be held in 2003); election results: percentage of votes cast: RCC 94.39%; distribution of seats: RCC 601.
Judiciary: Supreme People’s Court; the chairman, vice-chairman and other judges are elected by the National Assembly.
Political parties and leaders: There is only one party, the Cuban Communist Party (RCC) (Fidel CASTRO Ruz, First Secretary).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: 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 USA: no; note – Cuba has an Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy headed by Fernando RE-MIREZ DE ESTENOZ; Address: Cuban Interests Section, Swiss Embassy, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone:  (202) 797-8518.
US Diplomatic Mission: No; note – the US has an Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy headed by Vicki HUDDLESTON; Address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado Seccion, Havana; Phone: 33-3551 to 33-3559 and 33-3543 to 33-3547 (operator assistance required); fax: 33-3700.
Description of the flag: five equal horizontal stripes alternating blue (top and bottom) and white; in the center of a red equilateral triangle, the base of which is the left side of the flag, there is a white five-pointed star.