Cuba - MC Grecof

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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.



Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Florida

Geographic coordinates:

21 30 N, 80 00 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 29 km
border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba


3,735 km

Maritime claims:

exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM


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


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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m

Geography - note:

largest country in Caribbean



11,184,023 (July 2001 est.)


noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban

Ethnic groups:

mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%


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





Country name:

conventional long form:
conventional short form:
local long form:
local short form:

Republic of Cuba
Republica de Cuba

Government type:

Communist state



National holiday:

Independence Day, 10 October (1868); note - 10 October 1868 is the date of independence from Spain, 20 May 1902 is the date of independence from US administration

Flag description:

five equal horizontal bands of blue (top and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white, five-pointed star in the center; design influenced by the US flag


Economy - overview:

The government, the primary player in the economy, has undertaken limited reforms in recent years to stem excess liquidity, increase enterprise efficiency, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services, but prioritizing of political control makes extensive reforms unlikely. Living standards for the average Cuban, without access to dollars, remain at a depressed level compared with 1990. The liberalized farmers' markets introduced in 1994, sell above-quota production at market prices, expand legal consumption alternatives, and reduce black market prices. Income taxes and increased regulations introduced since 1996 have sharply reduced the number of legally self-employed from a high of 208,000 in January 1996. Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-93 as a result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The slide in GDP came to a halt in 1994 when Cuba reported growth in GDP of 0.7%. Cuba reported that GDP increased by 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996, before slowing down in 1997 and 1998 to 2.5% and 1.2% respectively. Growth recovered with a 6.2% increase in GDP in 1999 and a 5.6% increase in 2000. Much of Cuba's recovery can be attributed to tourism revenues and foreign investment. Growth in 2001 should continue at the same level as the government balances the need for economic loosening against its concern for firm political control.


sugar, petroleum, tobacco, chemicals, construction, services, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery

Agriculture - products:

sugar, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans; livestock


Cuban peso

Currency code:




total: 11,969 km
standard gauge: 4,807 km 1.435-m gauge (147 km electrified)
note: in addition to the 4,807 km of standard gauge track in public use, 7,162 km of track is in private use by sugar plantations; about 90% of the private use track is standard gauge and the rest is narrow gauge (2000)


total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1997)


240 km

Ports and harbors:

Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba



on the slopes of the Sierra Maestra,


washed and unwashed Turquino, Altura, Cumbre


350/500 meter




January until May

Port of Export:

Santiago de Cuba, Havanna


in containers in bags (250 of abt. 60.- kos net)


292.000 bags

Export figures:

95.277 bags

Special remarks:

Offers are very scare

Caffeine content:

1,37 %

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