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República de Cuba
Republic of Cuba

Flag of Cuba Coat of Arms of Cuba
Motto
Patria o Muerte
Anthem
La Bayamesa
Map of Cuba
RegionCaribbean
CapitalHavana
Government Socialist republic
President
- From 2006Raúl Castro
Legislature National Assembly
History
January 1, 1959Cuban Revolution
Area109,886 km²
Population
- 200911,239,363
 Density102.2/km²
GDP2009 (PPP)
- TotalUS$ 109 billion
- Per capitaUS$ 9,700
CurrencyCuban peso
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The Republic of Cuba is a socialist republic in the Caribbean.


Background

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 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 southwest border - is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 982 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2009.[1]

Economy

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. The government announced it would eliminate 500,000 state jobs by March 2011 and has expanded opportunities for self-employment. President Raul CASTRO said such changes were needed to update the economic model to ensure the survival of socialism. The government has introduced limited reforms, some initially implemented 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.[2]

President

  • Raúl Castro () (July 31, 2006 - )



Nation

Cuban Polities

Caribbean Polities

Neighbouring Nations

References

  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview

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