Cuba

Cuba

Overview
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

 is the second largest city. To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 is to the west, the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

 and Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 are to the south, and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 are to the southeast.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landed on and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain.
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Timeline

1539   Spain annexes Cuba.

1715   A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla leaves Havana, Cuba for Spain. Seven days later, 9 of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida. A few centuries later, treasure is salvaged from these wrecks.

1829   {{HMS|Pickle}} captures the armed slave ship ''Voladora'' off the coast of Cuba.

1839   Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinqué take over the slave ship ''Amistad''.

1868   Carlos Céspedes issues the Grito de Yara from his plantation, La Demajagua, proclaiming Cuba's independence

1869   José Martí founds the Cuban Revolutionary Party.

1875   Notorious New York City politician Boss Tweed escapes from prison and flees to Cuba, then Spain.

1898   Spanish-American War: The {{USS|Maine|ACR-1|6}} explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing more than 260. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.

1898   Spanish-American War: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports and the {{USS|Nashville|PG-7|6}} captures a Spanish merchant ship.

1898   Spanish-American War: U.S. Marines land on the island of Cuba.

 
Quotations

Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution. The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!

Speech made by Castro at Ernesto Guevara|Ernesto "Che" Guevara's memorial service on October 18, 1967
Encyclopedia
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation
Island nation
An island country is a state whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2011, 47 of the 193 UN member states are island countries.-Politics:...

 in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....

 is the second largest city. To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 is to the west, the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

 and Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 are to the south, and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 are to the southeast.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landed on and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained a territory of Spain until the Spanish–American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902. Between 1953 and 1959 the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 occurred, removing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

. A new government led by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 was later set up. The current Cuban government is considered by the 2010 Democracy Index
Democracy Index
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that claims to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states...

 as "authoritarian".

Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean, as well as the largest by area. Its people
Cubans
Cubans or Cuban people are the inhabitants or citizens of Cuba. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds...

, culture
Culture of Cuba
The culture of Cuba is a complex mixture of different, often contrasting, factors and influences. Cuba is a meeting point of European, African and continental North American cultures; little of the original Amerindian culture survives. Since 1959, the Cuban Revolution has also greatly affected...

, and customs draw from diverse sources, such as the aboriginal Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 and Ciboney
Ciboney
The Ciboney were pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The name Ciboney derives from the indigenous Taíno people which means Cave Dwellers; evidence has shown that a number of the Ciboney people have lived in caves at some time. Over the years, many...

 peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, the introduction of African slaves
Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies
Slavery in the Spanish colonies began with the enslavement of the local indigenous peoples in their homelands by Spanish settlers. Enslavement and production quotas were used to force the local labor to bring a return on the expedition and colonization investments...

 and its proximity to the United States.

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and an average life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 of 77.64. In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

's definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint
Ecological footprint
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet's ecological capacity to regenerate. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to...

 of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 of over 0.8 for 2007.

Etymology


The name Cuba comes from the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 language. The exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as where fertile land is abundant (cubao), or great place (coabana). Scholars who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the ancient town of Cuba
Cuba (Portugal)
Cuba is a town and municipality in Portugal with a total area of 172.1 km² and a total population of 4,775 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 4 parishes, and is located in the District of Beja....

 in the district of Beja
Beja (Portugal)
Beja is a city in the Beja Municipality in the Alentejo region, Portugal. The municipality has a total area of 1,147.1 km² and a total population of 34,970 inhabitants. The city proper has a population of 21,658....

 in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

.

Pre-Columbian era



Cuba was inhabited by Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 people known as the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

, also called Arawak by the Spanish, and Guanajatabey
Guanajatabey
The Guanahatabey were indigenous inhabitants of Cuba, They numbered about 100,000 and had lived on the island since at least 1000 B.C. They are considered to be the earliest inhabitants of the island. Hunters, gatherers, and farmers, these native Cubans cultivated cohiba , a crop upon which the...

 and Ciboney people before the arrival of the Spanish. The ancestors of these Native Americans migrated from the mainland of North, Central and South America several centuries earlier. The native Tainos called the island Caobana. The Taíno were farmers and the Ciboney were farmers, fishers and hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s.

Spanish colonization


After first landing on an island then called Guanahani
Guanahani
Guanahani was the name the natives gave to the island that Christopher Columbus called San Salvador when he arrived at the Americas. Columbus reached the island on 12 October 1492, the first island he sighted and visited in the Americas...

 on , 1492, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landed on Cuba's northeastern coast near what is now Baracoa
Baracoa
Baracoa is a municipality and city in Guantánamo Province near the eastern tip of Cuba. It was founded by the first governor of Cuba, the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1511...

 on or 28. He claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and named Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias
Juan, Prince of Asturias
John, Prince of Asturias, was the only son of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon who survived to adulthood.-Early life:...

. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain.-Early life:...

 at Baracoa; other towns soon followed including the future capital of San Cristobal de la Habana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 which was founded in 1515. The Spanish enslaved the approximately 100,000 indigenous people who resisted conversion to Christianity, setting them primarily to the task of searching for gold. Within a century the indigenous people were virtually wiped out due to multiple factors, including Eurasian infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s aggravated in large part by a lack of natural resistance as well as privation stemming from repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of the natives who had previously survived smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

.

Cuba remained a Spanish possession for almost 400 years (1511–1898), with an economy based on plantation agriculture
Agriculture of Cuba
Agriculture in Cuba has played an important part in the economy for several hundred years. Agriculture contributes less than 10 percent to the gross domestic product , but it employs roughly one fifth of the working population...

, mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

, and the export of sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, and tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 to Europe and later to North America. The work was done primarily by African slaves
African slave trade
Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse...

 brought to the island.

The small land-owning elite of Spanish settlers held social and economic powers supported by a population of Spaniards born on the island (Criollos
Criollo (people)
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

), other Europeans, and African-descended slaves. The population in 1817 was 630,980, of which 291,021 were white, 115,691 free black, and 224,268 black slaves.

Independence wars


In the 1820s, when the rest of Spain's empire in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 rebelled and formed independent states, Cuba remained loyal. Although there was agitation for independence, the Spanish Crown gave Cuba the motto La Siempre Fidelísima Isla ("The Always Most Faithful Island"). This loyalty was due partly to Cuban settlers' dependence on Spain for trade, their desire for protection from pirates and against a slave rebellion
Slave rebellion
A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery, and are amongst the most feared events for slaveholders...

, and partly because they feared the rising power of the United States more than they disliked Spanish rule.

Ten Years' War



Independence from Spain was the motive for a rebellion in 1868 led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes del Castillo was a Cuban planter who freed his slaves and made the declaration of Cuban independence in 1868 which started the Ten Years' War...

. De Céspedes, a sugar planter, freed his slaves to fight with him for a free Cuba. On 27 December 1868, he issued a decree condemning slavery in theory but accepting it in practice and declaring free any slaves whose masters present them for military service. The 1868 rebellion resulted in a prolonged conflict known as the Ten Years' War
Ten Years' War
The Ten Years' War , also known as the Great War and the War of '68, began on October 10, 1868 when sugar mill owner Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and his followers proclaimed Cuba's independence from Spain...

. The United States declined to recognize the new Cuban government, although many European and Latin American nations did so. In 1878, the Pact of Zanjón
Pact of Zanjón
The Pact of Zanjón was the treaty that ended the Cuban Ten Years' War. Slaves who had fought against Spain were given freedom. The Maceo brothers refused to sign the treaty and kept on fighting until they took to exile to return later. Calixto Garcia was released from Spanish prison....

 ended the conflict, with Spain promising greater autonomy to Cuba. In 1879–1880, Cuban patriot Calixto García
Calixto García
Calixto García e Iñiguez was a general in three Cuban uprisings, part of the Cuban War for Independence: Ten Years' War, the Little War and the War of 1895, itself sometimes called the Cuban War for Independence, which bled into the Spanish-American War, ultimately resulting in national...

 attempted to start another war known as the Little War
Little War (Cuba)
The Little War or Small War , was the second of three conflicts in the Cuban War of Independence. It followed the Ten Years' War of 1868–1878 and preceded the War of '95, itself sometimes called the Cuban War of Independence, which bled into the Spanish-American War, ultimately resulting in...

 but received little support.

Period between wars


In Cuba, a sophisticated and prosperous sugar industry had employed chattel slavery until the final third of the 19th century. Cuba produced 720,250 metric tons of sugar in 1868, more than forty percent of cane sugar reaching the world market that year. Slavery had been maintained in Cuba, however, while abolition was underway elsewhere. Abolition in Cuba began the final third of the 19th century, and was completed in the 1880s.

War of 1895


An exiled dissident named José Martí
José Martí
José Julián Martí Pérez was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban...

 founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in 1892. The aim of the party was to achieve Cuban independence from Spain. In Martí traveled to Montecristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi
San Fernando de Monte Cristi is the capital of Monte Cristi Province, Dominican Republic.It is located in the northwest of the country in the coastal lowlands, close to the border with Haiti.- History :...

 and Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 to join the efforts of Máximo Gómez
Máximo Gómez
Máximo Gómez y Báez was a Major General in the Ten Years' War and Cuba's military commander in that country's War of Independence ....

. Martí recorded his political views in the Manifesto of Montecristi
Manifesto of Montecristi
The Manifesto of Montecristi is the official document of the Revolutionary Party in Cuba; it was written by José Martí and signed by himself and Máximo Gómez on March 25, 1895 in Montecristi, Dominican Republic. In this document, José Martí exposed the causes that lead Cuba to fight against Spain...

. Fighting against the Spanish army began in Cuba on 1895, but Martí was unable to reach Cuba until 1895. Martí was killed in the battle of Dos Rios on 1895. His death immortalized him as Cuba's national hero.

Around 200,000 Spanish troops outnumbered the much smaller rebel army which relied mostly on guerrilla and sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 tactics. The Spaniards began a campaign of suppression. General Valeriano Weyler
Valeriano Weyler
Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife (Seed in Ambos Camarines.-Philippines:In 1888, he was sent out as...

, military governor of Cuba, herded the rural population into what he called reconcentrados, described by international observers as "fortified towns". These are often considered the prototype for 20th-century concentration camps. Between 200,000 and 400,000 Cuban civilians died from starvation and disease in the camps, numbers verified by the Red Cross and United States Senator and former Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Redfield Proctor
Redfield Proctor
Redfield Proctor was a U.S. politician of the Republican Party. He served as the 37th Governor of Vermont from 1878 to 1880, as Secretary of War from 1889 to 1891, and as a United States Senator for Vermont from 1891 to 1908....

. American and European protests against Spanish conduct on the island followed.
USS Maine

The U.S. battleship Maine
USS Maine (ACR-1)
USS Maine was the United States Navy's second commissioned pre-dreadnought battleship, although she was originally classified as an armored cruiser. She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt...

 arrived in Havana on 1898 to offer protection to the 8,000 American residents on the island, but the Spanish saw this as intimidation. On the evening of 1898, the Maine blew up in the harbor, killing 252 crew. Another eight crew members died of their wounds in hospital over the next few days. A Naval Board of Inquiry
Naval Board of Inquiry
A Naval Board of Inquiry is a type of investigative court proceeding conducted by the United States Navy after the occurrence of an unanticipated event that adversely affects the performance, or reputation, of the fleet or one of its ships or stations.- Convening the board :Depending on the...

 headed by Captain William T. Sampson
William T. Sampson
William Thomas Sampson was a United States Navy rear admiral known for his victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.-Biography:...

 was appointed to investigate the cause of the explosion on the Maine. Having examined the wreck and taken testimony from eyewitnesses and experts, the board reported on 1898 that the Maine had been destroyed by "a double magazine set off from the exterior of the ship, which could only have been produced by a mine."

The facts remain disputed today, although an investigation by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover
Hyman G. Rickover
Hyman George Rickover was a four-star admiral of the United States Navy who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors...

 in 1976 established that the blast was most likely a large internal explosion. Rickover believes the explosion was caused by a spontaneous combustion in inadequately ventilated bituminous coal
Bituminous coal
Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

 which ignited gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 in an adjacent magazine. The original 1898 board was unable to fix the responsibility for the disaster, but a furious American populace, fueled by an active press— notably the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...

— concluded that the Spanish were to blame and demanded action. The U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed a resolution calling for intervention, and President William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 complied. Spain and the United States declared war on each other in late April.

Early 20th century


After the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris (1898)
Treaty of Paris (1898)
The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed on December 10, 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the ratifications were exchanged....

, by which Spain ceded Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 to the United States for the sum of . Under the same treaty, Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over Cuba. Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, who had fought in the Spanish-American War and had some sympathies with the independence movement, succeeded McKinley as U.S. President in 1901 and abandoned the treaty. Cuba gained formal independence from the U.S. on , 1902, as the Republic of Cuba. Under Cuba's new constitution, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations. Under the Platt Amendment
Platt Amendment
The Platt Amendment of 1901 was a rider appended to the Army Appropriations Act presented to the U.S. Senate by Connecticut Republican Senator Orville H. Platt replacing the earlier Teller Amendment. Approved on May 22, 1903, it stipulated the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops...

, the U.S. leased the Guantánamo Bay naval base from Cuba.

Following disputed elections in 1906, the first president, Tomás Estrada Palma, faced an armed revolt by independence war veterans who defeated the meager government forces. The U.S. intervened by occupying Cuba and named Charles Edward Magoon
Charles Edward Magoon
Charles Edward Magoon was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of the Panama Canal Zone, Minister to Panama, and an occupation governor of Cuba...

 as Governor for three years. Cuban historians have attributed Magoon's governorship as having introduced political and social corruption. In 1908, self-government was restored when José Miguel Gómez
José Miguel Gómez
José Miguel Gómez y Gómez was a Cuban General in the Cuban War of Independence who went on to become President of Cuba.-Early career:...

 was elected President, but the U.S. continued intervening in Cuban affairs. In 1912, the Partido Independiente de Color
Partido Independiente de Color
The Partido Independiente de Color was a Cuban political party composed almost entirely of African former slaves. It was founded in 1908 by African veterans of the Cuban War of Independence. In 1912, the PIC led a revolt in the eastern province of Oriente. The revolt was crushed and the party...

 attempted to establish a separate black republic in Oriente Province, but was suppressed by General Monteagudo with considerable bloodshed.
During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Cuba exported considerable quantities of sugar to Britain. Cuba was able to avoid U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 attacks by the subterfuge of shipping the sugar to Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. The Menocal
Mario García Menocal
Aurelio Mario García Menocal y Deop was President of Cuba, from 1913 to 1921...

 government declared war on Germany very soon after the United States.

A constitutional government was maintained until 1930 when Gerardo Machado y Morales suspended the constitution. During Machado's tenure, a nationalistic economic program was pursued with several major national development projects
Infrastructure of Cuba
Cuban infrastructure is significant and includes: massive Spanish fortifications built in principal ports .Railroads were first built in the late colonial period...

 which included the Carretera Central and El Capitolio
El Capitolio
El Capitolio, or National Capitol Building in Havana, Cuba, was the seat of government in Cuba until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Its design and name recall the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., but it is only superficially similar...

. Machado's hold on power was weakened following a decline in demand for exported agricultural produce due to the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, attacks by independence war veterans, and attacks by covert terrorist organizations, principally the ABC.

During a general strike in which the Communist Party sided with Machado, the senior elements of the Cuban army forced Machado into exile. The Party then installed Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada was a Cuban writer, politician, diplomat, and President of Cuba.-Biography:...

, son of Cuba's founding father (Carlos Manuel de Céspedes), as President. During 4– 1933, a second coup overthrew Céspedes which led to the formation of the first Ramón Grau
Ramón Grau
Dr. Ramón Grau San Martín was a Cuban physician and the President of Cuba .-Youth:...

 government. Notable events in this violent period include the separate sieges of Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Hotel Nacional de Cuba
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. It was designed by the famous New York firm McKim, Mead and White and features an eclectic mix of architectural styles...

 and Atares Castle
Blas Hernández
Colonel Juan Blas Hernández was a prominent figure in the 1933 revolt against Gerardo Machado. He led various successful campaigns against Machado’s troops en route to Havana....

. This government lasted 100 days but engineered radical socialist changes in Cuban society, including the abolishment of the Platt Amendment and instating of womens' suffrage in Cuba. In 1934, Grau was ousted in favor of Carlos Mendieta
Carlos Mendieta
Carlos Mendieta y Montefur was a Cuban politician and Provisional President of Cuba.A chief opponent of Gerardo Machado, Mendieta was installed as provisional President of Cuba in 1934 by a coup led by Fulgencio Batista. During his presidency, women gained the right to vote and the Platt Amendment...

, the first in a series of puppet presidents subordinate to the army and its young chief of staff, Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

.

Fulgencio Batista was democratically elected President in the elections of 1940, so far the only non-white Cuban endorsed for the nation's highest office. His government carried out major social reforms. Several members of the Communist Party held office under his administration and established numerous economic regulations and pro-union policies, as well as the Cuban Constitution of 1940, which engineered radical progressive ideas. Batista's administration formally took Cuba to the Allies of World War II camp in World War II. Cuba declared war on Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 on , 1941, then on Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Italy on , 1941. Cuban armed forces were not greatly involved in combat during World War II, although president Batista suggested a joint U.S.-Latin American assault on Francoist Spain
Spanish State
Francoist Spain refers to a period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975 when Spain was under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco....

 in order to overthrow its authoritarian regime.


Ramón Grau
Ramón Grau
Dr. Ramón Grau San Martín was a Cuban physician and the President of Cuba .-Youth:...

, who lost in 1940 to Batista, finally returned in the 1944 elections by defeating Batista's preferred successor, Carlos Saladrigas Zayas
Carlos Saladrigas Zayas
Carlos Saladrigas Zayas was a Cuban politician and diplomat....

. In 1948, his Revolutionary Authentic Party won again when Carlos Prío Socarrás
Carlos Prío Socarrás
Carlos Prío Socarrás was the President of Cuba from 1948 until he was deposed by a military coup led by Fulgencio Batista on March 10, 1952, three months before new elections were to be held.- Governance :...

 won, the last person elected to the presidency by free and fair elections. The two terms of the Authenic Party saw an influx of investment fueled a boom which raised living standards for all segments of society and created a prosperous middle class in most urban areas. The gap between rich and poor became wider and more obvious.

The 1952 election was a three-way race. Roberto Agramonte
Roberto Agramonte
Dr. Roberto Agramonte was a philosopher and Cuban politician....

 of the Ortodoxos party led in all the polls, followed by Dr. Aurelio Hevia of the Auténtico party, and Fulgencio Batista, seeking a return to office, as a distant third. Both Agramonte and Hevia had decided to name Col. Ramón Barquín
Ramón Barquín
Ramón M. Barquín was a Cuban military colonel and opponent of former President Fulgencio Batista. Barquín was jailed by the Batista government for leading a failed coup attempt in 1956. He later fled Cuba in 1960 following the 1959 takeover by Fidel Castro.- Early life :Ramón M. Barquín was born...

 to head the Cuban armed forces after the elections. Barquín, then a diplomat in Washington, DC, was a top officer. He was respected by the professional army and had promised to eliminate corruption in the ranks. Batista feared that Barquín would oust him and his followers. When it became apparent that Batista had little chance of winning, he staged a coup on 1952. Batista held on to power with the backing of a nationalist section of the army as a "provisional president" for the next two years.

In March 1952 Justo Carrillo informed Barquín in Washington that the inner circles knew that Batista had plotted the coup. They immediately began to conspire to oust Batista and restore democracy and civilian government in what was later dubbed La Conspiracion de los Puros de 1956 (Agrupacion Montecristi). In 1954, Batista agreed to elections. The Partido Auténtico
Partido Auténtico
The Partido Auténtico was a political party in Cuba most active between 1933 to 1952...

 put forward ex-President Grau as their candidate, but he withdrew amid allegations that Batista was rigging the elections in advance.
In April 1956 Batista ordered Barquín to become General and chief of the army, but Barquín decided to move forward with his coup to secure total power. On 1956, a coup by hundreds of career officers led by Barquín was frustrated by Rios Morejon. The coup broke the back of the Cuban armed forces. The officers were sentenced to the maximum terms allowed by Cuban Martial Law. Barquín was sentenced to solitary confinement for eight years. La Conspiración de los Puros resulted in the imprisonment of the commanders of the armed forces and the closing of the military academies.

Cuba had Latin America's highest per capita consumption rates of meat, vegetables, cereals, automobiles, telephones and radios, though this consumption was largely by the small elite class and foreigners. In 1958, Cuba was a relatively well-advanced country by Latin American standards, and in some cases by world standards. Cuba attracted more immigrants, primarily from Europe, as a percentage of population than the U.S. The United Nations noted Cuba for its large middle class. On the other hand, Cuba was affected by perhaps the largest labor union privileges in Latin America, including bans on dismissals and mechanization. They were obtained in large measure "at the cost of the unemployed and the peasants", leading to disparities.

Between 1933 and 1958, Cuba extended economic regulations enormously, causing economic problems. Unemployment became a problem as graduates entering the workforce could not find jobs. The middle class, which was comparable to the United States, became increasingly dissatisfied with the unemployment. The labor unions supported Batista until the very end.

Revolution


On 2 December 1956 a party of 82 people on the yacht Granma
Granma (yacht)
Granma is the yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people...

landed in Cuba. The party, led by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, had the intention of establishing an armed resistance movement in the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

. While facing armed resistance from Castro's rebel fighters in the mountains, Fulgencio Batista's regime was weakened and crippled by a United States arms embargo
Arms embargo
An arms embargo is an embargo that applies to weaponry. It may also include "dual use" items. An arms embargo may serve one or more purposes:# to signal disapproval of behavior by a certain actor,# to maintain neutral standing in an ongoing conflict, or...

 imposed on 1958. By late 1958, the rebels broke out of the Sierra Maestra and launched a general popular insurrection. After the fighters captured Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.- History :Santa Clara was founded by 175 people on July 15th, 1689...

, Batista fled from Havana on 1959 to exile in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. Barquín negotiated the symbolic change of command between Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Lawton, Havana. Raised in an anarchist family that had left Spain before the Spanish Civil War, he became a key figure of the Cuban Revolution, along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro.-Political...

, Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

, Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

, and his brother Fidel Castro after the Supreme Court decided that the Revolution was the source of law and its representatives should assume command.

Fidel Castro's forces entered the capital on 1959. Shortly afterward, a liberal lawyer, Dr Manuel Urrutia Lleó
Manuel Urrutia Lleó
Manuel Urrutia Lleó was a liberal Cuban lawyer and politician. Urrutia campaigned against the Gerardo Machado government and the second presidency of Fulgencio Batista during the 1950s, before serving as president in the first revolutionary government of 1959...

 became president. He was backed by Castro's 26th of July Movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

 because they believed his appointment would be welcomed by the United States. Disagreements within the government culminated in Urrutia's resignation in . He was replaced by Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado
Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado
Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado was a Cuban politician who served as the President of Cuba from July 17, 1959 until December 2, 1976.-Background:...

, who served as president until 1976. Castro became prime minister in , succeeding José Miró
José Miró Cardona
José Miró Cardona was a Cuban politician. He served as Prime Minister for a period of some six weeks in early 1959, following his appointment by President Manuel Urrutia on January 5, 1959...

 in head of the state.


In its first year, the new revolutionary government expropriated private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 with little or no compensation, nationalized public utilities, tightened controls on the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

, and closed down the mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

-controlled gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 industry. The CIA conspired with the Chicago mafia
Chicago Outfit
The Chicago Outfit, also known as the Chicago Syndicate or Chicago Mob and sometimes shortened to simply the Outfit, is a crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, USA...

 in 1960 and 1961 to assassinate Fidel Castro, according to documents declassified in 2007.

Some of these measures were undertaken by Fidel Castro's government in the name of the program outlined in the Manifesto of the Sierra Maestra. The government nationalized private property totaling about USD , of which American property made up around USD .

By the end of 1960, the coletilla made its appearance, and most newspapers in Cuba had been expropriated, taken over by the unions, or had been abandoned. All radio and television stations were in state control. Moderate teachers and professors were purged. In any year, about 20,000 dissenters were imprisoned. Some homosexuals
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

, religious practitioners, and others were sent to labor camps where they were subject to political "re-education". One estimate is that 15,000 to 17,000 people were executed.

The Communist Party strengthened its one-party rule, with Castro as ultimate leader. Fidel's brother, Raúl Castro, became the army chief. Loyalty to Castro became the primary criterion for all appointments. In , the revolutionary government created a system known as Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution , or CDR, is a network of neighborhood committees across Cuba. The organizations, described as the "eyes and ears of the Revolution", exist to promote social welfare and report on "counter-revolutionary" activity...

 (CDR), which provided neighborhood spying.

In the 1961 New Year's Day parade, the administration exhibited Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s and other weapons. Eventually, Cuba built up the second largest armed forces in Latin America, second only to Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Cuba became a privileged client-state
Soviet Empire
During the Cold War, the informal term "Soviet Empire" referred to the Soviet Union's influence over a number of smaller nations who were nominally independent but subject to direct military force if they tried to leave the Soviet system; see Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and Prague Spring.Though...

 of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

By 1961, hundreds of thousands of Cubans had left for the United States. The 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

 (La Batalla de Girón) was an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Cuban government by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

s with U.S. military support. The plan was launched in , less than three months after John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 became the U.S. President. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 nations, defeated the exiles in three days. Cuban-American relations were exacerbated the following year by the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

, when the Kennedy administration demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet missiles placed in Cuba placed in response to U.S. nuclear missiles in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. The Soviets and Americans soon came to an agreement. The Soviets would remove Soviet missiles from Cuba and the Americans would remove missiles from Turkey and the Middle East. Kennedy also agreed not to invade Cuba in the future. Cuban exiles captured during the Bay of Pigs Invasion were exchanged for a shipment of supplies from America.

By 1963, Cuba was moving towards a full-fledged Communist system modeled on the USSR. The U.S. imposed a complete diplomatic and commercial embargo
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

 on Cuba and began Operation Mongoose
Cuban Project
The Cuban Project was a program of Central Intelligence Agency covert operations developed during the early years of the administration of President of the United States John F. Kennedy...

, a program of covert CIA operations.

In 1965, Castro merged his revolutionary organizations with the Communist Party, of which he became First Secretary; Blas Roca was named Second Secretary. Roca was succeeded by Raúl Castro, who, as Defense Minister and Fidel's closest confidant, became and remained the second most powerful figure in Cuba until his brother's retirement. Raúl's position was strengthened by the departure of Che Guevara to launch unsuccessful insurrections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and then Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, where he was killed in 1967.

During the 1970s, Fidel Castro dispatched tens of thousands troops in support of Soviet-supported wars in Africa, particularly the MPLA
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola - Labour Party is a political party that has ruled Angola since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975...

 in Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is a politician who was formerly the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991...

 in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

.

The standard of living in 1970s was "extremely spartan" and discontent was rife. Fidel Castro admitted the failures of economic policies in a 1970 speech. By the mid-1970s, Castro started economic reforms.

Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 (OAS) in 1962 in support of the U.S. embargo, but in 1975 the OAS lifted all sanctions against Cuba, with approval of 16 countries, including the U.S.

On 3 June 2009, the OAS adopted a resolution to end the 47-year exclusion of Cuba. The meetings were contentious, with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 walking out at one point. However, in the end, the U.S. delegation agreed with the other members and approved the resolution. Cuban leaders have repeatedly announced they are not interested in rejoining the OAS.

Recent affairs


As of 2002, some 1.2 million persons of Cuban background (about 10% of the current population of Cuba) reside in the U.S. Many of them left the island for the United States, often by sea in small boats and fragile rafts. On 1980, 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

vian embassy in Havana seeking political asylum. The following day, the Cuban government granted permission for the emigration of Cubans seeking refuge in the Peruvian embassy. On , 500 Cubans left the Peruvian Embassy for Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

. On , many of those Cubans started arriving in Miami via private boats and were halted by the U.S. State Department, but the emigration continued, because Castro allowed anyone who desired to leave the country to do so through the port of Mariel
Mariel boatlift
The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans who departed from Cuba's Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980....

. Over 125,000 Cubans emigrated to the U.S. before the flow of vessels ended on .


Castro's rule was severely tested in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse (known in Cuba as the Special Period
Special Period
The Special Period in Time of Peace in Cuba was an extended period of economic crisis that began in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, by extension, the Comecon. The economic depression of the Special Period was at its most severe in the early-to-mid 1990s before slightly declining...

), with effects such as food shortages. The government did not accept American donations of food, medicines, and cash until 1993. On 1994, state security dispersed protesters in a spontaneous protest in Havana.

Cuba has found a new source of aid and support in the People's Republic of China, and new allies in Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

, President of Venezuela and Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

, President of Bolivia
President of Bolivia
The President of Bolivia is head of state and head of government of Bolivia. According to the current Constitution, the president is elected by popular vote to a five year term, renewable once...

, both major oil and gas exporters. In 2003, the government arrested and imprisoned a large number of civil activists, a period known as the "Black Spring"
Black Spring (Cuba)
Black Spring refers to the 2003 crackdown on Cuban dissidents. The government imprisoned 75 dissidents, that included 29 journalists, as well as librarians, human rights activists, and democracy activists, on the basis that they were acting as agents of the United States by accepting aid from...

.

On July 31, 2006, Fidel Castro temporarily delegated his major duties to his brother, First Vice President, Raúl Castro, while Fidel recovered from surgery for an "acute intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding". On 2006, Fidel was too ill to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Granma
Granma (yacht)
Granma is the yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered cabin cruiser was built in 1943 and designed to accommodate 12 people...

boat landing, fuelling speculation that he had stomach cancer
Stomach cancer
Gastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus, lungs, lymph nodes, and the liver...

, although there was evidence his illness was a digestive problem and not terminal.

In January 2007, footage was released of Fidel Castro meeting Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, in which Castro "appeared frail but stronger than three months ago". In , Fidel Castro announced his resignation as President of Cuba, and on Raúl was elected as the new President. In his acceptance speech, Raúl promised that some of the restrictions that limit Cubans' daily lives would be removed. In , Raúl Castro removed some of Fidel Castro's officials
2009 Cuban government dismissals
-Officials:* Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque was dismissed on 2 March 2009. Fidel Castro then criticized him for love of power in a statement on 3 March, and Pérez Roque announced his resignation from all his party and state positions—membership on the Communist Party's Central Committee...

.

Human rights




The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses including torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial executions (also known as "El Paredón"). The Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 alleges that the government "represses nearly all forms of political dissent" and that "Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law".

Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists of any nation in 2008 (the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 had the highest) according to various sources, including the Committee to Protect Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit organisation based in New York City that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.-History:A group of U.S...

 (CPJ), an international NGO, and Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

. As a result of ownership restrictions, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest. The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected locations and they may be monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.

Cuban dissidents who commit crimes face arrest and imprisonment. In the 1990s, Human Rights Watch reported that Cuba's extensive prison system, one of the largest in Latin America, consists of some 40 maximum-security prisons, 30 minimum-security prisons, and over 200 work camps. According to Human Rights Watch, political prisoners, along with the rest of Cuba's prison population, are confined to jails with substandard and unhealthy conditions.

Citizens cannot leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission in addition to their passport and the visa requirements of their destination.

Economy




The Cuban state adheres to socialist principles in organizing its largely state-controlled planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government and most of the labor force is employed by the state. Recent years have seen a trend towards more private sector employment. By 2006, public sector employment was 78% and private sector 22%, compared to 91.8% to 8.2% in 1981. Capital investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The Cuban government sets most prices and rations goods. Any firm wishing to hire a Cuban must pay the Cuban government, which in turn will pay the employee in Cuban pesos. Cubans can not change jobs without government permission. The average wage at the end of 2005 was 334 regular pesos per month ($16.70 per month) and the average pension was $9 per month.

Cuba relied heavily on trade with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. From the late 1980s, Soviet subsidies for Cuban goods started to dry up. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba depended on Moscow for substantial aid and sheltered markets for its exports. The removal of these subsidies (for example the oil ) sent the Cuban economy into a rapid depression known in Cuba as the Special Period. In 1992 the United States tightened the trade embargo, hoping to see democratisation of the sort that took place in Eastern Europe.

Like some other Communist and post-Communist states following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba took limited free market-oriented measures to alleviate severe shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. These steps included allowing some self-employment in certain retail and light manufacturing sectors, the legalization of the use of the US dollar in business, and the encouragement of tourism
Tourism in Cuba
Tourism in Cuba attracts over 2 million people a year, and is one of the main sources of revenue for the island. With its favorable climate, beaches, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history, Cuba has long been an attractive destination for tourists...

. Cuba has developed a unique urban farm system (the organopónicos
Organopónicos
Organopónicos are a system of urban organic gardens in Cuba. They often consist of low-level concrete walls filled with organic matter and soil, with lines of drip irrigation laid on the surface of the growing media...

) to compensate for the end of food imports from the Soviet Union. In recent years, Cuba has rolled back some of the market oriented measures undertaken in the 1990s. In 2004 Cuban officials publicly backed the Euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 as a "global counter-balance to the US dollar", and eliminated U.S. currency from circulation in its stores and businesses.

Tourism was initially restricted to enclave resorts where tourists would be segregated from Cuban society, referred to as "enclave tourism" and "tourism apartheid". Contacts between foreign visitors and ordinary Cubans were de facto illegal until 1997. In 1996 tourism surpassed the sugar industry as the largest source of hard currency for Cuba. Cuba has tripled its market share of Caribbean tourism in the last decade; as a result of significant investment in tourism infrastructure, this growth rate is predicted to continue. tourists visited Cuba in 2003, predominantly from Canada and the European Union, generating revenue of . The rapid growth of tourism during the Special Period had widespread social and economic repercussions in Cuba, and led to speculation about the emergence of a two-tier economy. The Medical tourism
Medical tourism
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

 sector caters to thousands of European, Latin American, Canadian, and American consumers every year.

The communist agricultural production system was ridiculed by Raúl Castro in 2008. Cuba now imports up to 80% of food used for rations. Before 1959, Cuba boasted as many cattle as people.

For some time, Cuba has been experiencing a housing shortage because of the state's failure to keep pace with increasing demand. The government instituted food rationing policies in 1962, which were exacerbated following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the tightening of the U.S. embargo. Studies have shown that, as late as 2001, the average Cuban's standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

 was lower than before the downturn of the post-Soviet period. Paramount issues have been state salaries failing to meet personal needs under the state rationing
Rationing in Cuba
Rationing in Cuba refers to the system of food distribution known in Cuba as the Libreta de Abastecimiento . The system establishes the rations each person is allowed to buy through that system, and the frequency of supplies....

 system, chronically plagued with shortages. The variety and quantity of available rationed goods declined.

Under Venezuela's Mission Barrio Adentro
Mission Barrio Adentro
Mission Barrio Adentro is a Bolivarian national social welfare program established under current Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. The program seeks to provide comprehensive publicly-funded health care, dental care, and sports training to poor and marginalized communities in Venezuela...

, Hugo Chávez has supplied Cuba with up to 80000 barrels (12,719 m³) of oil per day in exchange for 30,000 doctors and teachers.

In 2005 Cuba had exports of $2.4 billion, ranking 114 of 226 world countries, and imports of , ranking 87 of 226 countries. Its major export partners are China 27.5%, Canada 26.9%, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 11.1%, Spain 4.7% (2007). Cuba's major exports are sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, and coffee; imports include food, fuel, clothing, and machinery. Cuba presently holds debt in an amount estimated to be , approximately 38% of GDP. According to the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, Cuba is dependent on credit accounts that rotate from country to country. Cuba's prior 35% supply of the world's export market for sugar has declined to 10% due to a variety of factors, including a global sugar commodity price drop that made Cuba less competitive on world markets. At one time, Cuba was the world's most important sugar producer and exporter. As a result of diversification, underinvestment, and natural disasters, Cuba's sugar production has seen a drastic decline. In 2002 more than half of Cuba's sugar mills were shut down. Cuba holds 6.4% of the global market for nickel, which constitutes about 25% of total Cuban exports. A 2005 US Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 report estimates that the North Cuba Basin could contain 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

, Cubans were allowed to build their own houses. According to Raul Castro, they will be able to improve their houses with this new permission, but the government will not endorse these new houses or improvements.

On August 2, 2011, The New York Times reported Cuba as reaffirming their intent to legalize "buying and selling" of private property before the year ends. According to experts, the private sale of property could "transform Cuba more than any of the economic reforms announced by President Raúl Castro’s government".
It will cut more than one million state jobs including party bureaucrats which resist the changes.

Government and politics




The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is guided by the ideas of José Martí
José Martí
José Julián Martí Pérez was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. He was also a part of the Cuban...

, Marx, Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 and Lenin. The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the "leading force of society and of the state". The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba is concurrently President of the Council of State
Council of State of Cuba
The Council of State of Cuba is a 31-member body of the government of Cuba, elected by the National Assembly of People’s Power. It has the authority to exercise most legislative power between sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power, subject to its approval, and to call the National...

 (President of Cuba
President of Cuba
--209.174.31.28 18:43, 22 November 2011 The President of Cuba is the Head of state of Cuba. According to the Cuban Constitution of 1976, the President is the chief executive of the Council of State of Cuba...

) and President of the Council of Ministers
Council of Ministers of Cuba
The Cabinet of Cuba is the highest ranking executive and administrative body of the Republic of Cuba, and constitutes the nation's government...

 (sometimes referred to as Premier of Cuba). Members of both councils are elected by the National Assembly of People's Power. The President of Cuba, who is also elected by the Assembly, serves for five years and there is no limit to the number of terms of office.

The Supreme Court of Cuba
Supreme Court of Cuba
The People's Supreme Court is the highest body of judicial power in Cuba. It is elected by, and accountable to, the National Assembly of People’s Power...

 serves as the nation's highest judicial branch of government. It is also the court of last resort for all appeals against the decisions of provincial courts.

Cuba's national legislature, the National Assembly of People's Power (Asamblea Nacional de Poder Popular), is the supreme organ of power; 609 members serve five-year terms. The assembly meets twice a year; between sessions legislative power is held by the 31 member Council of Ministers. Candidates for the Assembly are approved by public referendum. All Cuban citizens over 16 who have not been convicted of a criminal offense can vote. Article 131 of the Constitution states that voting shall be "through free, equal and secret vote". Article 136 states: "In order for deputies or delegates to be considered elected they must get more than half the number of valid votes cast in the electoral districts". Votes are cast by secret ballot
Secret ballot
The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous. The key aim is to ensure the voter records a sincere choice by forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery. The system is one means of achieving the goal of...

 and counted in public view. Nominees are chosen at local gatherings from multiple candidates before gaining approval from election committees. In the subsequent election, there is only one candidate for each seat, who must gain a majority to be elected.

No political party is permitted to nominate candidates or campaign on the island, though the Communist Party of Cuba has held six party congress meetings since 1975. In 2011, the party stated that there were 800,000 members, and representatives generally constitute at least half of the Councils of state and the National Assembly. The remaining positions are filled by candidates nominally without party affiliation. Other political parties campaign and raise finances internationally, while activity within Cuba by opposition groups
Opposition to Fidel Castro
The Cuban dissident movement is a political movement in Cuba whose aim is "to replace the current regime with a more democratic form of government". According to Human Rights Watch, the Cuban government represses nearly all forms of political dissent....

 is minimal and illegal.

The country is subdivided into 15 provinces and one special municipality (Isla de la Juventud). These were formerly part of six larger historical provinces: Pinar del Río, Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente. The present subdivisions closely resemble those of the Spanish military provinces during the Cuban Wars of Independence, when the most troublesome areas were subdivided. The provinces are divided into municipalities.


  1. Pinar del Río
    Pinar del Río Province
    Pinar del Río is one of the provinces of Cuba. It is at the western end of the island of Cuba.-Geography:The Pinar del Río province is Cuba's westernmost province and contains one of Cuba's three main mountain ranges, the Cordillera de Guaniguanico, divided into the easterly Sierra del Rosario and...


  2. Artemisa
    Artemisa Province
    Artemisa Province is one of two new provinces in Cuba, which creation was approved by the Cuban National Assembly by splitting former La Habana Province.Artemisa was the largest city and municipality of the former La Habana province...


  3. Havana
    Havana
    Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...


  4. Mayabeque
    Mayabeque Province
    Mayabeque Province is one of two new provinces in Cuba, which creation was approved by the Cuban National Assembly by splitting former La Habana province....


  5. Matanzas
    Matanzas Province
    Matanzas is one of the provinces of Cuba. Major towns in the province include Cárdenas, Colón, Jovellanos and the capital of the same name, Matanzas...


  6. Cienfuegos
    Cienfuegos Province
    Cienfuegos is one of the provinces of Cuba. The capital city of the province is also called Cienfuegos and was founded by French settlers in 1819....


  7. Villa Clara
    Villa Clara Province
    Villa Clara is one of the provinces of Cuba. It is located in the central region of the island bordering with the Atlantic at north, Matanzas Province by west, Sancti Spiritus by east, and Cienfuegos on the South. Villa Clara shares with Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus on the south the Escambray...


  8. Sancti Spíritus
    Sancti Spíritus Province
    Sancti Spíritus is one of the provinces of Cuba. Its capital is the identically named Sancti Spíritus. Another major city is Trinidad.The southern coast of the province is flat, but the western portion of Sancti Spíritus province is mountainous. The southeast has numerous mangroves and swamps...



  1. Ciego de Ávila
    Ciego de Ávila Province
    Ciego de Ávila is one of the provinces of Cuba, and was previously part of Camagüey Province. Its capital is Ciego de Ávila, which lies on the Carretera Central , and the second city is Morón, further north....


  2. Camagüey
    Camagüey Province
    Camagüey is the largest of the provinces of Cuba. Its capital is Camagüey. Other towns include Florida and Nuevitas.-Geography:Camagüey is mostly low lying, with no major hills or mountain ranges passing through the province...


  3. Las Tunas
    Las Tunas Province
    Las Tunas is one of the provinces of Cuba. Major towns include Puerto Padre and Amancio, as well as the capital, Victoria de Las Tunas ....


  4. Granma
    Granma Province
    Granma is one of the provinces of Cuba. Its capital is Bayamo. Other towns include Manzanillo and Pilón.-History:...


  5. Holguín
    Holguín Province
    Holguín is one of the provinces of Cuba, the third most populous after Ciudad de la Habana and Santiago de Cuba. It lies in the northeast of the country. Its major cities include Holguín , Banes, Antilla, Mayarí, and Moa....


  6. Santiago de Cuba
    Santiago de Cuba Province
    Santiago de Cuba Province is the second most populated province in the island of Cuba. The largest city Santiago de Cuba is the main administrative center...


  7. Guantánamo
    Guantánamo Province
    Guantánamo is the easternmost province of Cuba. Its capital is also called Guantánamo. Other towns include Baracoa. The province surrounds the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay.-History:...


  8. Isla de la Juventud


Military


Cuba devoted 9–13% of its GDP to military expenditures. Castro built up the second largest armed forces in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

; only Brazil's were larger. From 1975 until the late 1980s, Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities. Since the loss of Soviet subsidies Cuba has scaled down the numbers of military personnel, from 235,000 in 1994 to about 60,000 in 2003.

Foreign relations


From its inception, the Cuban Revolution defined itself as internationalist
Internationalism (politics)
Internationalism is a political movement which advocates a greater economic and political cooperation among nations for the theoretical benefit of all...

, joining Comecon
Comecon
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance , 1949–1991, was an economic organisation under hegemony of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world...

 in 1972. Cuba was a major contributor to Soviet-supported wars in Africa, Central America and Asia. In Africa, the largest war was in Angola
Cuban intervention in Angola
In November 1975, on the eve of Angola's independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist liberation movement MPLA against United States-backed invasions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two other liberation movements competing for power in the...

, where Cuba sent tens of thousands of troops. Cuba was a friend of the Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is a politician who was formerly the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991...

. In Africa, Cuba supported 17 leftist governments. In some countries it suffered setbacks, such as in eastern Zaire
Simba Rebellion
The Simba Rebellion was a 1964 rebellion in the former Republic of the Congo which began as a result of alleged abuses by the Congolese central government...

, but in others Cuba had significant success. Major engagements took place in Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Zaire, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

 and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

.

The Cuban government's military involvement in Latin America—mostly with the aim of overthrowing U.S. backed right wing regimes, many of them dictatorial—has been extensive. One of the earliest interventions was the Marxist militia led by Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967, though a modicum of funds and troops were sent. Lesser known actions include the 1959 missions to the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

. In the former, the Cuban government provided military assistance to a group of Dominican exiles with the intention of overthrowing the tyrannical dictator Rafael Trujillo. Although the expedition failed and most of its members were murdered by the government, today they are recognized as heroes and a prominent monument was erected in their memory in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 by the Dominican government. The Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana ("Memorial Museum of the Dominican Resistance,") where the heroes of 1959 feature prominently, is being built by the Dominican Government. The socialist government
Sandinista National Liberation Front
The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas in both English and Spanish...

 in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 was openly supported by Cuba and can be considered its greatest success in Latin America. Cuba is a founding member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. More than 30,000 Cuban doctors currently work abroad, in countries such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

. The membership of Cuba in the United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights , and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly...

 has received criticism.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 in 2003 accused the Cuban government of "continuing flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms". In 2008, the EU and Cuba agreed to resume full relations and cooperation activities. The United States continues an embargo
United States embargo against Cuba
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960...

 against Cuba "so long as it continues to refuse to move toward democratization and greater respect for human rights". United States President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 stated on , 2009, in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

 that "the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba", and reversed the Bush Administration
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

's prohibition on travel and remittances by Cuban-Americans from the United States to Cuba.

Geography


Cuba is an archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 of islands located in the northern Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 at the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 and the Atlantic Ocean. It lies between latitudes 19°
19th parallel north
The 19th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 19 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 24°N
24th parallel north
The 24th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 24 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 74°
74th meridian west
The meridian 74° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 85°W
85th meridian west
The meridian 85° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. The United States lies to the north-west, the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 to the north, Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 to the east, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

 to the south, and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to the west. Cuba is the principal island, surrounded by four smaller groups of islands: the Colorados Archipelago
Colorados Archipelago
The Colorados Archipelago is a chain of isles and cays on Cuba's north-western coast.The sea surrounding the islands is used mainly for fishing, with commercial captures of lobster, sponge, oysters, red snapper and tuna...

 on the northwestern coast, the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago
Sabana-Camaguey Archipelago
Sabana-Camagüey is an archipelago that lines Cuba's north-central Atlantic coast. It is located off the northern coast of the provinces of Matanzas, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey, and is bounded to the north by the Atlantic Ocean, specifically by the Nicholas Channel ...

 on the north-central Atlantic coast, the Jardines de la Reina
Jardines de la Reina
Jardines de la Reina is an archipelago in the southern part of Cuba, in the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila.It was named by Christopher Columbus to honour the Queen of Spain. Jardines de la Reina was established as a national park...

 on the south-central coast and the Canarreos Archipelago
Canarreos Archipelago
Canarreos Archipelago is an archipelago of Cuba.It is located south of the main island of Cuba, in the Caribbean Sea, at . It is bordered to the east by the Gulf of Cazones, to the north by the Gulf of Batabano and to the west by the Los Indios Channel....

 on the southwestern coast.

The main island is 1199 km (745 mi) long, constituting most of the nation's land area (105006 km² (40,543 sq mi)) and is the largest island in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and 16th-largest island in the world by land area. The main island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains apart from the Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges , which joins with others extending to the west...

 mountains in the southeast, whose highest point is Pico Turquino
Pico Turquino
Pico Turquino is the highest point in Cuba. It is located in the southeast part of the island, in the Sierra Maestra mountain range in Santiago de Cuba Province....

 (1975 m (6,479.7 ft)). The second-largest island is Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the Canarreos archipelago, with an area of 3056 km² (1,180 sq mi). Cuba has a total land area of 110860 km² (42,803 sq mi).

Climate


The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeasterly trade winds that blow year-round. In general (with local variations), there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 21 °C (69.8 °F) in January and 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July. The warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea and the fact that Cuba sits across the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico combine to make the country prone to frequent hurricanes
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

. These are most common in September and October.

Resources


The most important mineral resource is nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, of which Cuba has the world's second largest reserves (after Russia). Sherritt International
Sherritt International
Sherritt International is a Canadian energy company, based in Toronto, Ontario. It is involved in nickel and cobalt mining, thermal coal production, oil and gas exploration and production, and electricity generation...

 of Canada operates a large nickel mining facility in Moa
Moa, Cuba
Moa is a municipality and city in the Holguín Province of Cuba.Large nickel deposits located in the Moa area are exploited in part by joint ventures with the Canadian company Sherritt International.-Demographics:...

. Cuba is the world's fifth-largest producer of refined cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

, a byproduct of nickel mining operations. Recent oil exploration has revealed that the North Cuba Basin could produce approximately 4.6 Goilbbl to 9.3 Goilbbl of oil. In 2006, Cuba started to test-drill these locations for possible exploitation.

Demographics



style="font-size: 115%;" | Official 1899–2002 Cuba Census
Race % 1899 1907 1919 1931 1943 1953 1981 2002
White
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

66.9 69.7 72.2 72.1 74.3 72.8 66.0 65.05
Black 14.9 13.4 11.2 11.0 9.7 12.4 12.0 10.08
Mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

17.2 16.3 16.0 16.2 15.6 14.5 21.9 24.86
Asian
Chinese Cuban
A Chinese Cuban is a Cuban of Chinese ancestry who was born in or has immigrated to Cuba. They are part of the ethnic Chinese diaspora .-History:...

1.0 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.1 ?

Immigration to Cuba


Between 1882 and 1898, a total of 508,455 people left Spain, and more than 750,000 Spanish immigrants left for Cuba between 1899 and 1923, with many returning to Spain.

Current demographics


According to the census of 2002, the population was 11,177,743, including 5,597,233 men and 5,580,510 women. The racial make-up was 7,271,926 whites, 1,126,894 blacks and 2,778,923 mulattoes (or mestizos). The population of Cuba has very complex origins and intermarriage between diverse groups is general. There is disagreement about racial statistics. The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami says that 62% is black, whereas statistics from the Cuban census state that 65.05% of the population was white in 2002. The Minority Rights Group International
Minority Rights Group International
Minority Rights Group International is an organisation founded with the objective of promoting respect for the human rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples around the world...

 says that "An objective assessment of the situation of Afro-Cubans remains problematic due to scant records and a paucity of systematic studies both pre- and post-revolution. Estimates of the percentage of people of African descent in the Cuban population vary enormously, ranging from 33.9 per cent to 62 per cent".
Immigration and emigration have played a prominent part in the demographic profile of Cuba during the 20th century. During the 18th, 19th, and the early part of the 20th century large waves of Canarian
Canarian people
The Canarians are an ethnic group living in the archipelago of the Canary Islands , near the coast of Western Africa...

, Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

, Andalusian
Andalusian people
The Andalusians are the people of the southern region in Spain approximated by what is now called Andalusia. They are generally not considered an ethnically distinct people because they lack two of the most important markers of distinctiveness: their own language and an awareness of a presumed...

, Galician
Galician people
The Galicians are an ethnic group, a nationality whose historical homeland is Galicia in north-western Spain. Most Galicians are bilingual, speaking both their historic language, Galician, and Castilian Spanish.-Political and administrative divisions:...

, and other Spanish people immigrated to Cuba. Between 1900 and 1930 close to a million Spaniards arrived from Spain. Other foreign immigrants include: French, Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

, Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

, Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

, Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

, Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

, and other ethnic groups, including a small number of descendants of U.S. citizens who arrived in Cuba in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cuba has a sizable number of Asian people
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 who comprise 1% of the population. They are primarily of Chinese descent (see Chinese Cubans), followed by Filipino
Filipinos
Filipinos is the brand name for a series of biscuit snacks made by Kraft Foods. In Spain and Portugal they are produced and sold under the Artiach brand name. Under license to United Biscuits, in the Netherlands they are sold and produced locally under the Verkade brand...

, Koreans and Vietnamese people
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

. They are descendants of farm laborers brought to the island by Spanish and American contractors during the 19th and early 20th century. Afro-Cubans
Afro-Cubans
The Afro-Cubans were a latin jazz band founded by Machito in 1940; often billed as Machito and his Afro-Cubans. Their musical director, and an important musical innovator, was Mario Bauza, Machito's brother-in-law....

 are descended primarily from the Kongo people
Kongo people
The Bakongo or the Kongo people , also sometimes referred to as Kongolese or Congolese, is a Bantu ethnic group which lives along the Atlantic coast of Africa from Pointe-Noire to Luanda, Angola...

., as well as several thousand North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n refugees, most notably the Sahrawi Arabs of Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 under Moroccan
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 occupation since 1976.

Cuba's birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

 (9.88 births per thousand population in 2006) is one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. Its overall population increased continuously from around in 1961 to over now, but the increase has stopped in the last few decades, and a decrease began in 2006, with a fertility rate of 1.43 children per woman. This drop in fertility is among the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Cuba has unrestricted access to legal abortion and an abortion rate of 58.6 per 1000 pregnancies in 1996, compared to an average of 35 in the Caribbean, 27 in Latin America overall, and 48 in Europe. Contraceptive use is estimated at 79% (in the upper third of countries in the Western Hemisphere).

Cuba is officially a secular state. After having long maintained that churches were fronts for subversive political activity, the government reversed course in 1992, amending the constitution to characterize the state as secular instead of atheist. It has many faiths representing the widely varying culture. Roman Catholicism was the largest religion; it was brought to the island by the Spanish and remains the dominant faith, with 11 dioceses, 56 orders of nuns, and 24 orders of priests. In , Pope John Paul II paid a historic visit to the island, invited by the Cuban government and Catholic Church. The religious landscape of Cuba is also strongly marked by syncretisms of various kinds. Catholicism is often practiced in tandem with Santería
Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, a mixture of Catholicism and other, mainly African, faiths that include a number of cults. La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (the Virgin of Cobre) is the Catholic patroness of Cuba, and a symbol of Cuban culture. In Santería, she has been syncretized with the goddess Oshun
Oshun
Oshun, or Ochun in the Yoruba religion, is an Orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum. She should not be confused, however, with a different Orisha of a similar name spelled "Osun," who is...

.
style="font-size: 115%;" | Official Cuban migration to the U.S.
Year of
Immigration
White Black Other Asian Number
1959–64 93.3 1.2 5.3 0.2 144,732
1965–74 87.7 2.0 9.1 0.2 247,726
1975–79 82.6 4.0 13.3 0.1 29,508
1980 80.9 5.3 13.7 0.1 94,095
1981–89 85.7 3.1 10.9 0.3 77,835
1990–93 84.7 3.2 11.9 0.2 60,244
1994–2000 85.8 3.7 10.4 0.7 174,437
Total 87.2 2.9 10.7 0.2 828,577


Three hundred thousand Cubans belong to the island's 54 Protestant denominations. Pentecostalism has grown rapidly in recent years, and the Assemblies of God alone claims a membership of over 100,000 people. Cuba has small communities of Jews, Muslims and members of the Bahá'í Faith. Most Jewish Cubans are descendants of Polish and Russian Ashkenazi Jews who fled pogroms at the beginning of the 20th century. There is a sizeable number of Sephardic Jews in Cuba who trace their origin to Turkey. Most of these Sephardic Jews live in the provinces, although they maintain a synagogue in Havana.

Cuban migration


In the last half-century, several hundred thousand Cubans of all social classes have emigrated
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 to the United States
Cuban migration to Miami
Cuban immigration has greatly characterized 20th century Miami, creating what is known as "Cuban Miami".However, Miami reflects global trends as well, such as the growing trends of multiculturalism and multiracialism; this reflects the way in which international politics shape local...

, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and other countries. On 1994, the U.S. and Cuban governments agreed that the U.S. would grant at least 20,000 visas annually in exchange for Cuba's pledge to prevent further unlawful departures on boats.

Languages


The official language of Cuba is Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and the vast majority of Cubans speak it. Spanish as spoken in Cuba is known as Cuban Spanish
Cuban Spanish
Cuban Spanish is the dialect of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Cuba. As a Caribbean dialect, Cuban Spanish shares a number of features with nearby varieties, including coda deletion, seseo, and debuccalization.-Overview:...

 and is a form of Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish is the general name of the Spanish dialects spoken in the Caribbean region. It closely resembles the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and Andalusia....

. Lucumi
Lucumi language
Lucumi is a Yoruba dialect spoken by practitioners of the Santería religion in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. It is also known as Yoruba and Santeria. Lucumi is a liturgical language used in Santeria's prayers, chants and songs....

, a dialect of the West African language Yoruba
Yoruba language
Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

, is also used as a liturgical language by practitioners of Santería
Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, and so only as a second language. Haitian Creole is the second largest language in Cuba, and is spoken by Haitian immigrants and their descendants. Other languages spoken by immigrants include Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 and Corsican
Corsican language
Corsican is a Italo-Dalmatian Romance language spoken and written on the islands of Corsica and northern Sardinia . Corsican is the traditional native language of the Corsican people, and was long the vernacular language alongside the Italian, official language in Corsica until 1859, which was...

.

Education


The University of Havana
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas...

 was founded in 1728 and there are a number of other well-established colleges and universities. In 1957, just before Castro came to power, the literacy rate was fourth in the region at almost 80% according to the United Nations, higher than in Spain. Castro created an entirely state-operated system and banned private institutions. School attendance is compulsory from ages six to the end of basic secondary education (normally at age 15), and all students, regardless of age or gender, wear school uniforms with the color denoting grade level. Primary education lasts for six years, secondary education is divided into basic and pre-university education.

Higher education is provided by universities, higher institutes, higher pedagogical institutes, and higher polytechnic institutes. The Cuban Ministry of Higher Education operates a scheme of distance education which provides regular afternoon and evening courses in rural areas for agricultural workers. Education has a strong political and ideological emphasis, and students progressing to higher education are expected to have a commitment to the goals of Cuba. Cuba has provided state subsidized education to a limited number of foreign nationals at the Latin American School of Medicine. Internet access is limited. The sale of computer equipment is strictly regulated. Internet access is controlled, and e-mail is closely monitored.

Health


Historically, Cuba has ranked high in numbers of medical personnel and has made significant contributions to world health since the 19th century. Today, Cuba has universal health care and although shortages of medical supplies persist, there is no shortage of medical personnel. Primary care is available throughout the island and infant and maternal mortality rates compare favorably with those in developed nations.

Post-Revolution Cuba initially experienced an overall worsening in terms of disease and infant mortality rates in the 1960s when half its 6,000 doctors left the country. Recovery occurred by the 1980s. The Communist government asserted that universal health care was to become a priority of state planning and progress was made in rural areas. Like the rest of the Cuban economy
Economy of Cuba
The economy of Cuba is a largely centrally planned economy dominated by state-run enterprises overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and private enterprise in Cuba...

, Cuban medical care suffered from severe material shortages following the end of Soviet subsidies in 1991, followed by a tightening of the U.S. embargo in 1992.

Challenges include low pay of doctors (only $15 a month), poor facilities, poor provision of equipment, and frequent absence of essential drugs. Cuba has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world and has sent thousands of doctors to more than 40 countries around the world.

According to the UN, the life expectancy in Cuba is 78.3 years (76.2 for males and 80.4 for females). This ranks Cuba 37th in the world and 3rd in the Americas, behind only Canada and Chile, and just ahead of the United States. Infant mortality in Cuba declined from 32 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1957, to 10 in 1990–95. Infant mortality in 2000–2005 was 6.1 per 1,000 live births (compared to 6.8 in the United States).

The quality of public healthcare offered to citizens is regarded as the "greatest triumph" of Cuba's socialist system.

Culture


Cuban culture is influenced by its melting pot of cultures, primarily those of Spain and Africa. Sport is Cuba's national passion. Due to historical associations with the United States, many Cubans participate in sports which are popular in North America, rather than sports traditionally promoted in other Spanish-speaking nations. Baseball
Baseball in Cuba
Baseball is the official sport of Cuba.-The Early years :Baseball was introduced to Cuba in the 1860s by Cuban students returning from colleges in the United States and American sailors who ported in the country...

 is by far the most popular; other sports and pastimes include basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, and athletics. Cuba is a dominant force in amateur boxing
Amateur boxing
Amateur boxing is practised at the collegiate level, at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games, and in many other venues sponsored by amateur boxing associations. Amateur boxing bouts are short in duration and fighters wear head protection, so this type of competition prizes point-scoring rather...

, consistently achieving high medal tallies in major international competitions.

Music



Cuban music is very rich and is the most commonly known expression of culture. The central form of this music is Son
Son (music)
The Son cubano is a style of music that originated in Cuba and gained worldwide popularity in the 1930s. Son combines the structure and elements of Spanish canción and the Spanish guitar with African rhythms and percussion instruments of Bantu and Arará origin...

, which has been the basis of many other musical styles like salsa
Salsa music
Salsa music is a genre of music, generally defined as a modern style of playing Cuban Son, Son Montuno, and Guaracha with touches from other genres of music...

, rumba
Cuban Rumba
In Cuban music, Rumba is a generic term covering a variety of musical rhythms and associated dances. The rumba has its influences in the music brought to Cuba by Africans brought to Cuba as slaves as well as Spanish colonizers...

 and mambo and an upbeat derivation of the rumba, the cha-cha-cha
Cha-cha-cha (music)
The Cha-cha-chá is a style of Cuban music. It is popular dance music which developed from the danzón in the early 1950s.- Origin :As a dance music genre, cha-cha-chá is unusual in that its creation can be attributed to a single composer, Enrique Jorrín, then violinist and songwriter with the...

. Rumba music originated in early Afro-Cuban culture. The Tres
Tres
The tres is a 3-course, 6-string chordophone which was created in Cuba. A tres player is called a tresero in Cuba and a tresista in Puerto Rico.-Cuban tres:In Cuba, the son was created as a song and a salon dance genre...

 was also invented in Cuba, but other traditional Cuban instruments are of African origin, Taíno
Neo-Taíno nations
Neo-Taino nations are defined here as the assorted nations of the Caribbean islands, that together with the Tainos, were described on the arrival of European chroniclers or which arose after this historic record was established.-Introduction:...

 origin, or both, such as the maracas, güiro
Güiro
The güiro is a Latin-American percussion instrument consisting of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut in one side. It is played by rubbing a stick or tines along the notches to produce a ratchet-like sound. The güiro is commonly used in Latin-American music, and plays a key role...

, marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

 and various wooden drums including the mayohuacan
Mayohuacan
A Mayohuacan was a medal drum played by the indigenous Taíno people of the Caribbean. The instrument was played for songs that were performed during weddings. The drum was made of a thin wood and was shaped like an elongated gourd that measured up to one meter long and half a meter wide...

. Popular Cuban music of all styles has been enjoyed and praised widely across the world. Cuban classical music, which includes music with strong African and European influences, and features symphonic works as well as music for soloists, has received international acclaim thanks to composers like Ernesto Lecuona
Ernesto Lecuona
Ernesto Lecuona y Casado was a Cuban composer and pianist of Canarian father and Cuban mother, and worldwide fame. He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional quality....

. Havana was the heart of the rap
Rap
Rap may refer to:*Rapping, performance in which rhyming lyrics are used, with or without musical accompaniment ; while an MC performs spoken verses in time to a beat/ melody**Hip hop subculture**Hip hop music...

 scene in Cuba when it began in the 1990s. During that time, reggaetón
Reggaeton
Reggaeton is a form of Puerto Rican and Latin American urban and Caribbean music. After its mainstream exposure in 2004, it spread to North American, European and Asian audiences. Reggaeton originated in Puerto Rico but is also has roots from Reggae en Español from Panama and Puerto Rico and...

 was growing in popularity. Dance in Cuba has taken a major boost over the 1990s.

Cuisine



Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish
Spanish cuisine
Spanish cuisine consists of a variety of dishes, which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep maritime roots...

 and Caribbean cuisine
Caribbean cuisine
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Amerindian, British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Indian, and Chinese cuisine. These traditions were brought from the many homelands of this region's population...

s. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. Food rationing, which has been the norm in Cuba for the last four decades, restricts the common availability of these dishes. The traditional Cuban meal is not served in courses; all food items are served at the same time. The typical meal could consist of plantains, black beans and rice, ropa vieja
Ropa vieja
Ropa vieja, which is Spanish for "Old Clothes," is a popular dish of the Canary Islands, Cadiz, Greater Miami and the Caribbean, especially Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic...

(shredded beef), Cuban bread
Cuban bread
Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different baking method and ingredient list ; it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves...

, pork with onions, and tropical fruits. Black beans and rice, referred to as Platillo Moros y Cristianos
Platillo Moros y Cristianos
Platillo Moros y Cristianos is a famous Cuban dish. It can be considered to be the Cuban version of rice and beans, a dish found throughout the Caribbean and in Brazil.-Name:...

(or moros for short), and plantains are staples of the Cuban diet. Many of the meat dishes are cooked slowly with light sauces. Garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves are the dominant spices.

Literature


Cuban literature began to find its voice in the early 19th century. Dominant themes of independence and freedom were exemplified by José Martí, who led the Modernist movement in Cuban literature. Writers such as Nicolás Guillén
Nicolás Guillén
Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista was a Cuban poet, journalist, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered as the national poet of Cuba.Guillén was born in Camagüey, Cuba...

 and Jose Z. Tallet focused on literature as social protest. The poetry and novels of Dulce María Loynaz
Dulce María Loynaz
Daughter of the famous General Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, a hero of the Cuban Liberation Army and author of Cuban National Anthem lyrics; and sister of poet Enrique Loynaz Muñoz...

 and José Lezama Lima
José Lezama Lima
José Lezama Lima was a Cuban writer and poet who is considered one of the most influential figures in Latin American literature....

 have been influential. Romanticist Miguel Barnet
Miguel Barnet
Miguel Barnet is a Cuban writer, novelist and ethnographer. He studied sociology at the University of Havana, under Fernando Ortiz , the pioneer of Cuban anthropology. Fernando Ortíz's studies of Afro-Cuban cultures influenced many of the themes, both literary and scholarly, of Barnet.-Early...

, who wrote Everyone Dreamed of Cuba, reflects a more melancholy Cuba. Writers such as Reinaldo Arenas
Reinaldo Arenas
Reinaldo Arenas was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government.- Life :...

, Guillermo Cabrera Infante
Guillermo Cabrera Infante
Guillermo Cabrera Infante was a Cuban novelist, essayist, translator, and critic; in the 1950s he used the pseudonym G. Caín.A one-time supporter of the Castro regime, Cabrera Infante went into exile to London in 1965...

, and more recently Daína Chaviano
Daína Chaviano
Daina Chaviano is a Cuban writer.She is considered one of the three most important female fantasy and science fiction writers in the Spanish language, along with Angélica Gorodischer and Elia Barceló , forming the so-called “feminine trinity of science fiction in Latin America.”In Cuba, she...

, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, born in 1950 , is a Cuban novelist.-History:Gutiérrez grew up in Pinar del Río and began to work selling ice cream and newspapers when he was eleven years old. He was a soldier, swimming and kayak instructor, agricultural worker, technician in construction, technical designer,...

, Zoé Valdés
Zoé Valdés
Zoé Valdés is a Cuban writer.She studied in the Instituto Superior Pedagógico Enrique José Varona, but never graduated. From 1984 to 1988, she worked at the Delegación de Cuba in UNESCO in Paris, and in the Oficina Cultural de la Misión de Cuba in Paris. From 1990 to 1995, she was an editor of the...

, Guillermo Rosales
Guillermo Rosales
Guillermo Rosales was a Cuban novelist. A double exile, writing in reaction both to Cuba's totalitarian regime and to the indifference of Cuban-American exiles bent on achieving the American Dream, Rosales created some of the best Cuban literature of the second half of the twentieth century,...

 and Leonardo Padura have earned international recognition in the post-revolutionary era, though many of these writers have felt compelled to continue their work in exile due to ideological control of media by the Cuban authorities.

See also


  • Greater Antilles
    Greater Antilles
    The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

  • International rankings of Cuba
    International rankings of Cuba
    The following are international rankings of Cuba.-Demographics:*United Nations: Population, ranked X out of 223 countries*CIA World Factbook: Urbanization ranked X out of 193 countries-Economy:...

  • List of Cubans
  • List of places in Cuba
  • Television Serrana
    Television Serrana
    Television Serrana is a growing television and video project operating in Sierra Maestra in Cuba. TVS was founded by Daniel Diez Castillo who also is a director. Television Serrana is located in a small town, San Pablo de Yao, in the Buey Arriba territory. This small community inhabits 32, 000...



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