Cuba



Official Country Name
Cuba

Cuba Overview
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, marked initially by neglect, became increasingly repressive, provoking an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. It was US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 that finally overthrew Spanish rule. The subsequent Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence, which was granted in 1902 after a three-year transition period. Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the regime together since then. Cuba's Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. 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. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. 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 2,810 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2006.

Cuba Economy
The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken 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. In 2006, high metals prices continued to boost Cuban earnings from nickel and cobalt production. Havana continued to invest in the country's energy sector to mitigate electrical blackouts that have plagued the country since 2004.

Cuba Location
Cuba is located in Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida

Region
Cuba is located in Caribbean

Cuba Population
Cuba has population of 11,382,820 (July 2006 est.)

Cuba Climate
Cuba has tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)

Cuba Terrain
mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast

Cuba Natural Resources
cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land

Ethnic Groups in Cuba
Cuba has the following ethnic groups - mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%

Cuba Religions
nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented

Cuba Languages
Spanish

Cuba Capital
Cuba capital is Havana

Cuba Currency
Cuba currency is Cuban peso

Map of Cuba