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The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in theCaribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city.HP 586006-321 Battery

To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico is to the west, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus found and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain. HP 586006-361 Battery

Cuba remained territory of Spain until theSpanish–American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902. Between 1953 and 1959 the Cuban Revolution occurred, removing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.HP 586028-341 Battery

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, culture, and customs draw from diverse sources, such as the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slavesand its proximity to the United States.HP h588178-141 Battery

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries,  and an average life expectancy of 77.64. In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF's definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8 for 2007. HP 593553-001 Battery

Etymology

The name Cuba comes from the Taíno 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 theancient town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.HP 593554-001 Battery

Pre-Columbian era

Cuba was inhabited by Native American people known as the Taíno, also called Arawak by the Spanish, and Guanajatabey 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.HP HSTNN-CB0W Battery

The native Tainos called the island Caobana. The Taíno were farmers and the Ciboney were farmers, fishers and hunter-gatherers.

Spanish colonization

After first landing on an island then called Guanahani on October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba's northeastern coast near what is nowBaracoa on October 27  or 28.HP HSTNN-CB0X Battery

He claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain  and named Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa; other towns soon followed including the future capital of San Cristobal de la Habana which was founded in 1515.HP HSTNN-I79C Battery

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, HP HSTNN-I81C Battery

including Eurasian infectious diseases aggravated in large part by a lack of natural resistance as well as privation stemming from repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of the natives who had previously survived smallpox.HP HSTNN-IB0N Battery

Cuba remained a Spanish possession for almost 400 years (1511–1898), with an economy based on plantation agriculture, mining, and the export of sugar, coffee, and tobacco to Europe and later to North America. The work was done primarily by African slaves brought to the island.HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

The small land-owning elite of Spanish settlers held social and economic powers supported by a population of Spaniards born on the island (Criollos), 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.HP HSTNN-LB0W Battery

Independence wars

In the 1820s, when the rest of Spain's empire in Latin America 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"). HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

This loyalty was due partly to Cuban settlers' dependence on Spain for trade, their desire for protection from pirates and against a slave rebellion, 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.HP HSTNN-OB0Y Battery

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. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

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 ended the conflict, with Spain promising greater autonomy to Cuba. In 1879–1880, Cuban patriot Calixto Garcia attempted to start another war known as the Little War but received little support. HP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

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 1n 1868, more than forty percent of cane sugar reaching the world market that year. HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

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 founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York in 1892. HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

The aim of the party was to achieve Cuban independence from Spain. In January 1895 Martí traveled to Montecristi and Santo Domingo to join the efforts of Máximo Gómez. Martí recorded his political views in the Manifesto of Montecristi.  Fighting against the Spanish army began in Cuba on 24 February 1895, but Martí was unable to reach Cuba until 11 April 1895.HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

Martí was killed in the battle of Dos Rios on 19 May 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 tactics. The Spaniards began a campaign of suppression. HP NBP6A174 Battery

General Valeriano Weyler, 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.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

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 Redfield Proctor. American and European protests against Spanish conduct on the island followed.HP NBP6A175 Battery

USS Maine

The U.S. battleship Maine arrived in Havana on 25 January 1898 to offer protection to the 8,000 American residents on the island, but the Spanish saw this as intimidation. On the evening of 15 February1898, the Maine blew up in the harbor, killing 252 crew.HP NBP6A175B1 Battery

Another eight crew members died of their wounds in hospital over the next few days. A Naval Board of Inquiry headed by Captain William T. Sampson was appointed to investigate the cause of the explosion on the Maine. Having examined the wreck and taken testimony from eyewitnesses and experts,HP WD548AA Battery

the board reported on 21 March 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 in 1976 established that the blast was most likely a large internal explosion. HP WD549AA Battery

Rickover believes the explosion was caused by a spontaneous combustion in inadequately ventilated bituminous coal which ignited gunpowder in an adjacent magazine. The original 1898 board was unable to fix the responsibility for the disaster, but a furious American populace, HP Envy 17 Notebook PC Battery

fueled by an active press— notably the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst— concluded that the Spanish were to blame and demanded action. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution calling for intervention, and President William McKinley complied. Spain and the United States declared war on each other in late April.HP Envy 17T Battery

Early 20th century

After the Spanish-American War, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris (1898), by which Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States for the sum of$20 million. Under the same treaty, Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over Cuba. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Theodore Roosevelt, 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 May 20, 1902, as the Republic of Cuba. HP GSTNN-Q62C Battery

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, the U.S. leased the Guantánamo Baynaval 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.HP HSTNN-IB1E Battery

The U.S. intervened by occupying Cuba and named Charles Edward Magoon 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 was elected President, but the U.S. continued intervening in Cuban affairs. HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

In 1912, the Partido Independiente de Colorattempted to establish a separate black republic in Oriente Province, but was suppressed by General Monteagudo with considerable bloodshed.

During World War I, Cuba exported considerable quantities of sugar to Britain.HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

Cuba was able to avoid U-boat attacks by the subterfuge of shipping the sugar to Sweden. The Menocal 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. HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

During Machado's tenure, a nationalistic economic program was pursued with several major national development projects which included the Carretera Central and El Capitolio. Machado's hold on power was weakened following a decline in demand for exported agricultural produce due to the Great Depression, HP 586006-361 Battery

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. HP NBP6A174 Battery

The Party then installed Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada, son of Cuba's founding father (Carlos Manuel de Céspedes), as President. During 4–5 September1933, a second coup overthrew Céspedes which led to the formation of the first Ramón Grau government.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

Notable events in this violent period include the separate sieges of Hotel Nacional de Cuba and Atares Castle. This government lasted 100 days but engineered radical socialist changes in Cuban society and a rejection of the Platt Amendment. In 1934, Fulgencio Batista and the army replaced Grau with Carlos Mendieta.HP 588178-141 Battery

Fulgencio Batista was democratically elected President in the elections of 1940 and his administration 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.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Batista's administration formally took Cuba to the Allies of World War II camp in World War II. Cuba declared war on Japan on December 9, 1941, then on Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941. Cuban armed forces were not greatly involved in combat during World War II, Sony NP-F330 Battery

although president Batista suggested a joint U.S.-Latin American assault on Francoist Spain in order to overthrow its authoritarianregime.

Ramón Grau won the 1944 elections and in 1948, Carlos Prío Socarrás won the elections.Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

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. Nikon D80  Battery

Roberto Agramonte 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 to head the Cuban armed forces after the elections. Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

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 10 March 1952. Dell T555C Battery

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. HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

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 put forward ex-President Grau as their candidate, but he withdrew amid allegations that Batista was rigging the elections in advance.HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL Battery

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 4 April 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. HP Pavilion DV9700 Battery

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.HP Mini 702EA Battery

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.HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO Battery

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.HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

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.HP Pavilion DV6-1030US Battery

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 landed in Cuba. HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

The party, led by Fidel Castro, had the intention of establishing an armed resistance movement in the Sierra Maestra. 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 imposed on 14 March 1958. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM Battery

By late 1958, the rebels broke out of the Sierra Maestra and launched a general popular insurrection. After the fighters captured Santa Clara, Batista fled from Havana on 1 January 1959 to exile inPortugal. Barquín negotiated the symbolic change of command between Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, HP EliteBook 2530P Battery

Raúl Castro, 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 8 January 1959. Shortly afterward, a liberal lawyer, Dr Manuel Urrutia Lleó became president. HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

He was backed by Castro's 26th of July Movement because they believed his appointment would be welcomed by the United States. Disagreements within the government culminated in Urrutia's resignation in July 1959. He was replaced byOsvaldo Dorticós Torrado, who served as president until 1976. Compaq PP2100 Battery

Castro became prime minister in February 1959, succeeding José Miró in that post.

In its first year, the new revolutionary government expropriated private property with little or no compensation, nationalized public utilities, tightened controls on the private sector, and closed down the mafia-controlled gambling industry. HP Compaq KU532AA Battery

The CIA conspired with the Chicago mafia 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.HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ Battery

The government nationalized private property totaling about USD $25 billion, of which American property made up around USD $1 billion.

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.HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

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, 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.HP Compaq Business  NC4400 Battery

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 September 1960, the revolutionary government created a system known as Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), which provided neighborhood spying.HP Pavilion ZD8227 Battery

In the 1961 New Year's Day parade, the administration exhibited Soviet tanks and other weapons. Eventually, Cuba built up the second largest armed forces in Latin America, second only to Brazil. Cuba became a privileged client-state of the Soviet Union.Nikon D200 Battery

By 1961, hundreds of thousands of Cubans had left for the United States. The 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion (La Batalla de Girón) was an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Cuban government by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exiles with U.S. military support. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy became the U.S. President.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exiles in three days. Cuban-American relations were exacerbated the following year by the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Kennedy administration demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet missiles placed in Cuba placed in response to U.S. nuclear missiles in Turkey and the Middle East.Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

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. HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

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 on Cuba and began Operation Mongoose, a program of covert CIA operations.

In 1965, Castro merged his revolutionary organizations with the Communist Party, of which he became First Secretary; Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

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, Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

and then Bolivia, 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 in Angola and Mengistu Haile Mariam in Ethiopia. Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

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 (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. HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

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 walking out at one point. However, in the end, the U.S. delegation agreed with the other members and approved the resolution.Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

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.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

Many of them left the island for the United States, often by sea in small boats and fragile rafts. On 6 April 1980, 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian 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.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

On 16 April, 500 Cubans left the Peruvian Embassy for Costa Rica. On 21 April, many of those Cubans started arriving inMiami 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. Dell Studio 1537 Battery

Over 125,000 Cubans emigrated to the U.S. before the flow of vessels ended on 15 June.

Castro's rule was severely tested in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse (known in Cuba as the Special Period), with effects such as food shortages.HP PPP009H Adapter

The government did not accept American donations of food, medicines, and cash until 1993. On 5 August 1994, state security dispersed protesters in aspontaneous protest in Havana.

Cuba has found a new source of aid and support in the People's Republic of China, Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

and new allies in Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela and Evo Morales,President of Bolivia, 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". Dell PA-12 Adapter

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 2 December 2006, Fidel was too ill to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of theGranma boat landing,Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

fuelling speculation that he had stomach cancer, 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".Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

In February 2008, Fidel Castro announced his resignation as President of Cuba, and on 24 February 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 March 2009, Raúl Castro removed some of Fidel Castro's officials. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

Human rights

The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial executions (also known as "El Paredón"). Acer AS07B41 Battery

The Human Rights Watch 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". Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists of any nation in 2008 (the People's Republic of China had the highest) according to various sources, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international NGO, and Human Rights Watch.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

As a result of ownership bans, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest.  The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected people and they are monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

Cuban dissidents 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.Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

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. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

Economy

The Cuban state adheres to socialist principles in organizing its largely state-controlled planned economy. 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.Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

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. From the late 1980s, Soviet subsidies for Cuban goods started to dry up.Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

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 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 democratization of the sort that took place in Eastern Europe.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

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. Cuba has developed a unique urban farm system (the organopónicos) to compensate for the end of food imports from the Soviet Union. Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

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 as a "global counter-balance to the US dollar", and eliminated U.S. currency from circulation in its stores and businesses. Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

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.Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

1.9 million tourists visited Cuba in 2003, predominantly from Canada and the European Union, generating revenue of $2.1 billion. 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.Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

The Medical tourism 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.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Studies have shown that, as late as 2001, the average Cuban's standard of living 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 system, chronically plagued with shortages. The variety and quantity of available rationed goods declined.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Under Venezuela's Mission Barrio Adentro, Hugo Chávez has supplied Cuba with up to 80,000 barrels (13,000 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 $6.9 billion, ranking 87 of 226 countries.Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

Its major export partners are China 27.5%, Canada 26.9%,Netherlands 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 $13 billion, approximately 38% of GDP.HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

According to the Heritage Foundation, 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.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

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.Sony NP-FH100 Battery

A 2005 US Geological Survey report estimates that the North Cuba Basin could contain 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In 2010, 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.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

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, Marx,Engels and Lenin. The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the "leading force of society and of the state".Apple MacBook Pro Battery

The first secretary of the Communist Party is concurrently President of the Council of State (President of Cuba) and President of the Council of Ministers (sometimes referred to as Prime Minister of Cuba). Members of both councils are elected by the National Assembly of People's Power.Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

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 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.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

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.Canon EOS 450D Battery

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".Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

Votes are cast by secret ballot 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.Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

No political party is permitted to nominate candidates or campaign on the island, though the Communist Party of Cuba has held five party congress meetings since 1975. In 1997 the party claimed 780,000 members, and representatives generally constitute at least half of the Councils of state and the National Assembly. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

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 is minimal and illegal.

The country is subdivided into 15 provinces and one special municipality (Isla de la Juventud). Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

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.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Military

Cuba devoted 9–13% of its GDP to military expenditures. Castro built up the second largest armed forces in Latin America; only Brazil's were larger. From 1975 until the late 1980s, Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

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. Cuba is secretive about its military spending.

Foreign relations

From its inception, the Cuban Revolution defined itself as internationalist, joining Comecon in 1972. Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

Cuba was a major contributor to Soviet-supported wars in Africa, Central America and Asia. In Africa, the largest war was in Angola, where Cuba sent tens of thousands of troops. Cuba was a friend of the Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam. In Africa, Cuba supported 17 leftist governments. HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

In some countries it suffered setbacks, such as in eastern Zaire, but in others Cuba had significant success. Major engagements took place in Algeria, Zaire, Yemen, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

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. Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

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 and Panama.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. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

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 inSanto Domingo by the Dominican government. The Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana ("Memorial Museum of the Dominican Resistance,") Asus f82 Battery

where the heroes of 1959 feature prominently, is being built by the Dominican Government. The socialist government in Nicaragua 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. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

More than 30,000 Cuban doctors currently work abroad, in countries such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The membership of Cuba in the United Nations Human Rights Council has received criticism.

The European Union in 2003 accused the Cuban government of "continuing flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms".HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

In 2008, the EU and Cuba agreed to resume full relations and

cooperation activities. The United States continues an embargo against Cuba "so long as it continues to refuse to move toward democratization and greater respect for human rights". United States President Barack Obama stated on April 17, 2009,Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

in Trinidad and Tobago that "the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba", and reversed the Bush Administration's prohibition on travel and remittances by Cuban-Americans from the United States to Cuba.

Geography

Cuba is an archipelago of islands located in the northern Caribbean Sea at the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

It lies between latitudes 19° and 24°N, and longitudes 74° and 85°W. The United States lies to the north-west, the Bahamas to the north, Haiti to the east, Jamaica and theCayman Islands to the south, and Mexico to the west. Cuba is the principal island, surrounded by four smaller groups of islands: the Colorados Archipelagoon the northwestern coast,Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago on the north-central Atlantic coast, the Jardines de la Reina on the south-central coast and theCanarreos Archipelago on the southwestern coast.

The main island is 1,199 km (745 mi) long, constituting most of the nation's land area (105,006 km2 (40,543 sq mi)) and is the largest island in the Caribbeanand 16th-largest island in the world by land area. Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

The main island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains apart from the Sierra Maestra mountains in the southeast, whose highest point is Pico Turquino (1,975 m (6,480 ft)). The second-largest island is Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in the Canarreos archipelago, with an area of 3,056 km2 (1,180 sq mi). Cuba has a total land area of 110,860 km2 (42,803 sq mi).HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

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. Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

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 frequenthurricanes. These are most common in September and October.

Resources

The most important mineral resource is nickel, of which Cuba has the world's second largest reserves (after Russia).Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

Sherritt International of Canada operates a large nickel mining facility in Moa. Cuba is the world's fifth-largest producer of refined cobalt, a byproduct of nickel mining operations. Recent oil exploration has revealed that the North Cuba Basin could produce approximately 4.6 billion barrels (730,000,000 m3) to 9.3 billion barrels (1.48×109 m3) of oil. Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

In 2006, Cuba started to test-drill these locations for possible exploitation.

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.HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

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. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

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. HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

The Minority Rights Group International 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".Dell T117C Battery

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, Catalan, Andalusian, Galician, and other Spanish people immigrated to Cuba. Asus x5dij-sx039c Battery

Between 1900 and 1930 close to a million Spaniards arrived from Spain. Other foreign immigrants include: French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Greek, British, Irish, 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.Dell Inspiron 1464 Battery

Cuba has a sizable number of Asian people who comprise 1% of the population. They are primarily of Chinese descent (see Chinese Cubans), followed byFilipino, Koreans and Vietnamese people. They are descendants of farm laborers brought to the island by Spanish and American contractors during the 19th and early 20th century.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

Afro-Cubans are descended primarily from the Kongo people. , as well as several thousand North Africanrefugees, most notably the Sahrawi Arabs of Western Sahara under Moroccan occupation since 1976.

Cuba's birth rate (9.88 births per thousand population in 2006) is one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

Its overall population increased continuously from around 7 million in 1961 to over 11 million 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.HP Pavilion dm4 Battery

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).Sony NP-FS11 Battery

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.Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

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 January 1998, Pope John Paul II paid a historic visit to the island, invited by the Cuban government and Catholic Church. Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

The religious landscape of Cuba is also strongly marked by syncretisms of various kinds. Catholicism is often practiced in tandem with Santería, 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. Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

In Santería, she has been syncretized with the goddess Oshun.

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.Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

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.IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

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 to the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and other countries. Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

On 9 September 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 and the vast majority of Cubans speak it. Spanish as spoken in Cuba is known as Cuban Spanishand is a form of Caribbean Spanish.Apple MB771 Battery

Lucumi, a dialect of the West African language Yoruba, is also used as a liturgical language by practitioners of Santería, 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 and Corsican.Sony DSC-P5 Battery

Education

The University of Havana 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.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

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.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

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.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

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.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

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.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

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.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

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.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

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, Cuban medical care suffered from Dell Latitude D830 Battery

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.Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

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). Asus Eee PC 1201PN Battery

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).Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

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. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

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 is by far the most popular; other sports and pastimes include basketball, volleyball, cricket, and athletics. fujifilm np95 Battery

Cuba is a dominant force in amateur boxing, consistently achieving high medal tallies in major international competitions.

Music

Cuban music is very rich and is the most commonly known expression of culture.Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

The central form of this music is Son, which has been the basis of many other musical styles like salsa, rumba and mambo and an upbeat derivation of the rumba, the cha-cha-cha. Rumba music originated in early Afro-Cuban culture. The Tres was also invented in Cuba, but other traditional Cuban instruments are of African origin, Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

Taíno origin, or both, such as the maracas, güiro,marimba and various wooden drums including the mayohuacan. 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, Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

and features symphonic works as well as music for soloists, has received international acclaim thanks to composers like Ernesto Lecuona. Havana was the heart of the rap scene in Cuba when it began in the 1990s. During that time, reggaetón was growing in popularity. Dance in Cuba has taken a major boost over the 1990s.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Cuisine

Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean cuisines. 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.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

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 (shredded beef), Cuban bread, pork with onions, and tropical fruits. Black beans and rice, referred to as Platillo Moros y Cristianos (or morosfor short), and plantains are staples of the Cuban diet. HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

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. Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

Writers such as Nicolás Guillén and Jose Z. Tallet focused on literature as social protest. The poetry and novels ofDulce María Loynaz and José Lezama Lima have been influential. Romanticist Miguel Barnet, who wrote Everyone Dreamed of Cuba, reflects a more melancholy Cuba.Dell Latitude E6500 Battery

Writers such as Reinaldo Arenas, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and more recently Daína Chaviano, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Zoé Valdés,Guillermo Rosales 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.Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

The economy of Cuba is a largely state-controlled, centrally planned economy overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and private enterprise in Cuba. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government, and most of the labor force is employed by the state. Asus R33030 Adapter

In the year 2000, public sector employment was 76% and private sector employment was 23% compared to the 1981 ratio of 91% to 8%. Capital investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The Cuban government sets most prices and rations goods to citizens. Dell Mini 1011 Battery

In 2009, Cuba ranked 51st out of 182 with an HDI of 0.863; remarkably high considering its GDP per capita only places it 95th. Cuba also significantly outperforms the rest of Latin America in terms of infant and child mortality, morbidity, educational attainment and an array of other social and health indicators.toshiba pa3332u-1brs Battery

In the 1950s, Cuba had a vibrant but extremely unequal economy, with large capital outflows to foreign investors. The country has made significant progress since the Revolution towards a more even distribution of income. Despite the economic embargo by the United States,HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

the economy grew at a rate higher than the rest of Latin America until the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main trading partner. Between 1990 and 1993, Cuba's GDP declined by 33%. Yet Cuba has managed to retain levels of healthcare and education,  and since 2000 the economy is rapidly recovering.HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

Cuba has a highly-developed service industry with one of the largest professional workforce in the world. Its number of doctors per capita is ranked #1 in the world.

Cubans receive low housing and transportation costs, free education, and health care and food subsidies. Corruption is common, though far lower than in most other countries in Latin America. Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

History

Cuba prior to the Revolution had a one-crop economy whose domestic market was constricted. Its population was characterized by chronic unemployment and deep poverty. United States monopolies like Bethlehem Steel Corporation and Speyer and Company gained control over Cuba's national resources, from which they made huge profits. Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

The banks and the country's entire financial system, all electric power production, and most industry was dominated by US capital. US monopolies owned 25 percent of the best land in Cuba, and more than 80 of all farm lands were occupied by sugar and livestock-raising latifundia. 90 percent of the country's raw sugar and tobacco exports was sent to the USA.Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

Before the Revolution, most Cuban children were not included in the school system. There was almost no machine-building industry in Cuba.

87 percent of urban homes had electricity, but only 10 percent of rural homes did. Only 15 percent of rural homes had running water. Nearly half the rural population was illiterate, as was about 25 percent of the total population. Dell Mini 1011v Battery

Poverty and unemployment in the rural areas forced desperate residents to migrate to Havana, where there was high levels of crime and prostitution. More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1958 was either underemployed or unemployed. Schools for blacks and mulattoes were vastly inferior with those for whites.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Afro-Cubans had the worst living conditions and held the lowest paid jobs.

Although Cuba ranked ahead of other countries in Latin America purely in average GDP, a third of the population lived in poverty.Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

Cuban Revolution

Following the Cuban Revolution, the country made economic progress. In the period 1960-85, real income growth per capita averaged 3.1 percent per year, compared to 1.8 percent in the rest of Latin America. As a result of this growth, Cuba's per capita income in 1987 exceeded $3500, compared to only $2200 in the rest of Latin America.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

Unemployment in Cuba was minimal. Basic services for Cuban citizens have been maintained and improved. Lower income groups have experienced a rise in their wages and state-set prices have remained stable for Cubans. President Raúl Castro has recently fired half-a-million workers from state-run economy to increase discipline.Asus M50 Battery

The share of agriculture in the GDP fell from 25 percent to only 10 percent in 1985. The country has had immense industrial growth, with manufacturing's share in the GDP rising from 23 to 36 percent. In the 1980s, with the exception of Argentina, Cuba's manufacturing share was the highest in Latin America. Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

Branches of industry such as machinery and transport equipment have had significant growth, as their share of manufacturing output rose from under 2 percent in 1961 to over 20 percent in 1986.

Between 1980 and 1985, Cuba introduced over 100 new products for export and had significant growth in exports of citrus fruits, steel products, gas stoves, paper products, transport material, radios, batteries, among others.Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

Cuba also has succeeded in reducing poverty and equalizing the distribution of wealth. According to the United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America, the decile ratio (share of total income for the top 10 percent of wage earners divided by the bottom 10 percent) in Latin America was 45 to 1, while that of Cuba was only 4 to 1.HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

Cuba's income distribution was more than 10 times more equal than the rest of Latin America in the 1980s. Before the Revolution, Cuba's decile ratio was 65 to 1.

During the Revolutionary period, Cuba was one of the few developing countries to provide foreign aid. Foreign aid began with the construction of six hospitals in Peru in the early 1970s.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

Foreign aid expanded later in the 1970s to the point where some 8000 Cubans worked in overseas assignments. Cubans built housing, roads, airports, schools, and other facilities in Angola, Ethiopia, Laos, Guinea, Tanzania, and other countries. By the end of 1985, 35,000 Cuban workers had helped build projects in some 20 Asian, African and Latin American countries.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

For Nicaragua, Cuba pledged to provide over $130 million worth of agricultural and machinery equipment, as well as some 4000 technicians, doctors, and teachers. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Some have attributed the Cuban economic success to Soviet subsidies. However, comparative economic data has shown that the amount of Soviet aid is comparable to that received by U.S.-backed regimes in the rest of Latin America, such as Chile under Augusto Pinochet.HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

Special Period

The Cuban economy is still recovering from a decline in gross domestic product of at least 35% between 1989 and 1993 due to the loss of 80% of its trading partners  and Sovietsubsidies. This era was referred to as the "Special Period in Peacetime" later shortened to "Special Period". Dell Studio PP39L Battery

A Canadian Medical Association Journal paper states that "The famine in Cuba during the Special Period was caused by political and economic factors similar to the ones that caused a famine in North Korea in the mid-1990s. Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

Both countries were run by authoritarian regimes that denied ordinary people the food to which they were entitled when the public food distribution collapsed; priority was given to the elite classes and the military." Cubans had to resort to eating anything they could find, from Havana Zoo animals to domestic cats.Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

Because of the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc, Cuba experienced economic difficulties, which led to a drop in calories per day from 3052 in 1989 to 2600 in 2006.HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

The government has undertaken several reforms in recent years[when?] to stem excess liquidity, increase labour incentives, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. To alleviate the economic crisis, the government introduced a few market-oriented reforms including opening to tourism, allowing foreign investment, HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

legalizing the U.S. dollar, and authorizing self-employment for some 150 occupations. (This policy was later partially reversed, so that while the U.S. dollar is no longer accepted in businesses, it remains legal for Cubans to hold the currency.) These measures resulted in modest economic growth.Dell T117C Battery

The liberalized agricultural markets introduced in October 1994, at which state and private farmers sell above-quota production at free marketprices, have broadened legal consumption alternatives and reduced black market prices.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

Government efforts to lower subsidies to unprofitable enterprises and to shrink the money supply caused the semi-official exchange rate for the Cuban peso to move from a peak of 120 to the dollar in the summer of 1994 to 21 to the dollar by year-end 1999. Living conditions in 1999 remained well below the 1989 level. Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

New taxes introduced in 1996 have helped drive down the number of self-employedworkers from 208,000 in January 1996.

Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-93, the result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. Asus S1 Adapter

The drop in GDP apparently halted in 1994, when Cuba reported 0.7% growth, followed by increases of 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996. Growth slowed again in 1997 and 1998 to 2.5% and 1.2% respectively. One of the key reasons given was the failure to notice that sugar production had become dramatically uneconomic.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

Reflecting on the Special period Cuban president Fidel Castro later admitted that many mistakes had been made, “The country had many economists and it is not my intention to criticize them, but I would like to ask why we hadn’t discovered earlier that maintaining our levels of sugar production would be impossible. Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

The Soviet Union had collapsed, oil was costing $40 a barrel, sugar prices were at basement levels, so why did we not rationalize the industry?"

Recovery

Due to the continued growth of tourism, growth began in 1999 with a 6.2% increase in GDP . Dell Studio PP39L Battery

Growth in recent years has picked up significantly, with a growth in GDP of 11.8% in 2005 according to official Cuban information . In 2007 the Cuban economy grew by 7.5%, below the expected 10%, but higher than the Latin American average rate of growth. Accordingly, the cumulative growth in GDP since 2004 stood at 42.5 %.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Post-Fidel reforms

In 2007, Raúl Castro's administration hinted that the purchase of computers, DVD players and microwaves would become legal. However, monthly wages remain less than 20 U.S. dollars. Mobile phones, which have been restricted to Cubans working for foreign companies and government officials, have become legalized. HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

The new program could put phones in the hands of hundreds of thousands of Cubans.

Energy production

Due to the reliance on declining Soviet era electricity generators, many areas of Cuba suffered  frequent blackouts and brownoutsfor extended periods, creating additional pressure on society. HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

To counter these problems, the government has put Cuba through an "Energy Revolution", which has placed increased emphasis on the efficient use of electrical energy and more efficient, small-power generators linked in a synchronized network. The country has increased the number of solar- and wind-powered generators.Compaq Presario CQ35-100 Battery

Citizens are also encouraged to swap their old, electricity consumptive lamps with those of newer model to reduce consumption, which is also complemented with a new power tariff, which imposes economically punitive measurements on inefficient use of power.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 Battery

Though development was hampered by large-scale damage created by Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Wilma, which cut Cuba's electricity generation capacity by half in the areas most affected, Cuba now exceeds the government set demand in electricity production.HP Pavilion ZE4500 Battery

Raul Castro told Cubans in his July 26 speech in 2007, that the Special Period is not yet over.

Government policies

Rationing in Cuba refers to the system of food distribution known in Cuba as the Libreta de Abastecimiento ("Supplies booklet"). HP G62-100EB Battery

The system establishes the rations each person is allowed to buy through that system, and the frequency of supplies. It is rumoured that the rationing card, and the whole rationing system, will be abolished. The abolishment of the rationing system will become official at the next Communist Party of Cuba's party congress set for April 2011.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX Battery

On top of rationing, the average wage at the end of 2005 was 334 regular pesos per month ($16.70 per month) and average monthly pension was $9.

A person can get more jail time for killing a cow (10 years in prison) than killing a human. HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO Battery

Those who sell beef without government permission can get three to eight years in prison. Eaters of illegal beef can get three months to one year in prison.

After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, citizens were not required to pay a personal income tax (their salaries being regarded as net of any taxes).HP EliteBook 6930P Battery

However, from 1996, the State started to impose income taxes on Cubans earning hard currency, primarily the self-employed.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Cuba 65th (from best to worst) out of 180 countries, better than most other countries in Central or Latin America.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA Battery

Agriculture

As a result of inefficient state-run agriculture, Cuba imports up to 80% of the food it rations to the public. After coming to power, Raúl Castro, Fidel Castro's brother, has ridiculed the bureaucracy that shackles the agriculture sector.

Before 1959, Cuba boasted as many cattle as people.Compaq Presario CQ71 Battery

Today meat is so scarce that it is a crime to kill and eat a cow without government permission.  Cuban people even suffered from starvationduring the Special Period.

Industry

In total, industrial production accounted for almost 37% of the Cuban GDP, or US$6.9 billion, and employs 24% of the population, or 2,671,440 people, in 1996.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery

More recently Cuba's world-class biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry is gaining in its importance to the economy. It has been claimed that soon it will become Cuba's main source of foreign exchange. Among the products sold internationally are vaccines against various viral and bacterial pathogens, HP G6000 Battery

and promising anti-cancer vaccines are undergoing exhaustive clinical trials. Some Cuban scientists, like V. Verez-Bencomo, have been awarded international prizes for their contributions in biotechnology and Sugar Cane. Cuban vaccines are sold, among other countries, in Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and several Latin American countries.HP HDX X18-1005EA Battery

Tourism

In the mid 1990s tourism surpassed sugar, long the mainstay of the Cuban economy, as the primary source of foreign exchange. Tourism figures prominently in the Cuban Government's plans for development, and a top official cast it as the "heart of the economy". HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

Havana devotes significant resources to building new tourist facilities and renovating historic structures for use in the tourism sector. Cuban officials estimate roughly 1.6 million tourists visited Cuba in 1999 with about $1.9 billion in gross revenues. In 2000, 1,773,986 foreign visitors arrived in Cuba. Revenue from tourism reached US $1.7 billion.HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 Battery

The rapid growth of tourism has had widespread social and economic repercussions in Cuba. This has led to speculation of the emergence of a two-tier economy and the fostering of a state of tourist apartheid on the island. This situation was exacerbated by the influx of dollars into the Cuban economy during the 1990s,HP Pavilion DV6100 Battery

potentially creating a dual economy based on the dollar (the currency of tourists) on the one hand, and the peso on the other. Scarce imported goods - and even some of local manufacture, such as rum and coffee- could be had at dollars-only stores, but were hard to find or unavailable at peso prices. HP EliteBook 2730P Battery

As a result, Cubans who earned only in the peso economy, outside the tourist sector, were at an economic disadvantage. Those with dollar incomes based upon the service industry began to live more comfortably. This widened the gulf between Cubans' material standards of living, in conflict with the Cuban Government's long term socialist policies.HP Pavilion DV9000 Battery

Retail

Cuba has a very poorly developed retail sector. There are no large shopping centers and the commercial districts that existed before the revolution are largely shut down. Those that remain carry few and poorly made products that are priced in dollars and are too expensive for the average Cuban to purchase.HP Pavilion DV7 Battery

The majority of the stores are small dollar stores, bodegas, agro-mercados (farmers' markets) and street stands.

Poverty

Typical wages range from factory worker's 400 non-convertible Cuban pesos a month to doctor's 700. That is only around 17-30 U.S. dollars a month. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery

However, the Human Development Index of Cuba still ranks much higher than the vast majority of Latin American nations. After Cuba lost subsidies in 1991, malnutrition resulted in an outbreak of diseases and general hunger. Despite this, the poverty level reported by the government is one of the lowest in the developing world,HP Compaq Business 6735S Battery

ranking 6th out of 108 countries, 4th in Latin America, and 48th among all countries. Pensions are among the smallest in the Western hemisphere at $9.50. In 2009, Raul Castro increased minimum pensions by 2 dollars, which he said was to recompense for those who have "dedicated a great part of their lives to working... and who remain firm in defense of socialism".HP 540 Battery

International trade

The Netherlands receives the largest share of Cuban exports (24%), 70 to 80% of which go through Fondel Finance, a company owned by the Van 't Wout family who have close personal ties with Fidel Castro. Currently, this trend can be seen in other colonial Caribbean communities who have direct political ties with the global economy.HP Compaq Business NW9440 Battery

(for example, British West Indies, United States Virgin Islands, French outer-territories, and so on). The second largest trade partner is Canada, with a 22% share of the Cuban export market.

Foreign investment

Since the Special Period, Cuba has actively courted foreign investment. HP Compaq Business  TC4400 Battery

All would be foreign investors are required to form joint ventures with the Cuban government. The sole exception to this rule are Venezuelans, who are allowed to hold 100% ownership in businesses due to an economic agreement between Cuba and Venezuela. Cuban officials said in early 1998 that there were a total of 332 joint ventures. HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

Many of these are loans or contracts for management, supplies, or services normally not considered equity investment in Western economies. Investors are constrained by the U.S.-Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act which provides sanctions for those who "traffic" in property expropriated from U.S. citizens.HP HSTNN-LB31 Battery

As of March 1998, 15 executives of three foreign companies have been excluded from entry into the United States.[citation needed]Over a dozen companies have pulled out of Cuba or altered their plans to invest there due to the threat of action under the Libertad Act.HP Pavilion DV3-4000  Battery

US Dollar

In 1993 the Cuban Government made it legal for its people to possess and use the U.S. dollar. From then until 2004, the dollar became a major currency. To capture the hard currency flowing into the island through tourism and remittances - estimated at $500–800 million annually - HP Pavilion TX1000 Battery

the government set up state-run "dollar stores" throughout Cuba that sold 'luxury' food, household, and clothing items, compared with basic necessities, which were bought using the Cuban peso. As such, a gap in the standard of living developed between those with access to dollars and those without.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  Battery

Jobs that could earn dollar salaries or tips from foreign businesses and tourists became highly desirable. It was common to meet doctors, engineers,scientists, and other professionals working in restaurants or as taxicab drivers.HP 448007-001 Battery

However, in response to stricter economic sanctions by the US, and because the authorities were pleased with Cuba's economic recovery, the Cuban government decided in October 2004 to remove the American dollar from circulation. In its place, the Cuban convertible peso is now used, HP Compaq Business  6530B  Battery

which although not internationally traded, has a value pegged to that of the dollar. As a source of additional revenue, a 10% surcharge is levied for conversions from US dollars to the convertible peso; this surcharge does not apply to other currencies, so it acts as an encouragement for tourists to bring currencies like Euros, HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  Battery

pounds sterling or Canadian dollars into Cuba. Indeed, an increasing number of tourist zones now also accept Euros directly for many transactions.

Self-employment

To provide jobs for workers laid off due to the economic crisis that the government was having difficulty providing,HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB Battery

and to try to bring some forms of black market activity into legal, and regulated, channels, Havana in 1993 legalized self-employment for some 150 occupations. The government tightly controls the small private sector, which has fluctuated in size from 150,000 to 209,000, by regulating and taxing it. HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  Battery

For example, owners of small private restaurants (paladares) can seat no more than 12 people and can only employ family members to help with the work. Set monthly fees must be paid regardless of income earned and frequent inspections yield stiff fines when any of the many self-employment regulations are violated. HP Pavilion DV9500  Battery

Rather than expanding private sector opportunities, in recent years, the government has been attempting to squeeze more of these private sector entrepreneurs out of business and back to the public sector. Many have opted to enter the informal economy or black market. HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  Battery

In recent years there has developed what is called "urban agriculture", production which takes place on small parcels of land in the cities. Growing organopónicos (organic gardens) in the private sector has been attractive to city dwelling small producers who get to sell their products in the same place where they produce them, HP Pavilion DV5-1111EA Battery

avoiding taxes and enjoying a measure of government help from the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) in the form of seed houses and advisers.

Connection with Venezuela

The relationship cultivated between Cuba and Venezuela in recent years has resulted in agreements in which Venezuela provides cheap oil in exchange for Cuban "missions" of doctors to bolster the Venezuelan health care system.HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX BatteryCuba, with the second-highest per capita number of physicians in the world (behind Italy), sends tens of thousands of doctors to other countries as aid, as well as to obtain favorable economic terms

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