Form of Government: Socialist republic
Area: 109 884 sq km
Population: 11 239 224 inhab. (estimate 2016)
Density: 102.28 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 23° - 20° N; long. 85° - 74° W
Capital: Havana=La Habana (capital) 2 130 081 inhab. (2016);
Currency: Cuban peso (100 centavos)
Human development index: 0.775 (rank: 68)
President and head of government: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (PCC), since 19 April 2018
Internet: www.one.cu (Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas)
Member of OAS, UN, WTO
International dialling code 0053
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 120
Driving side rigth
Internet code .cu
DST duration (start-end) mid March (Sunday 9)-early November
Annual average temperature (°C) L’Avana 25.1; Santiago de Cuba 25.4
Average temperature in January/July (°C) L’Avana 22/28; Santiago de Cuba 23/27.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) L’Avana 6/6; Santiago de Cuba 6/7
Annual average precipitation (mm) L’Avana 1225; Santiago de Cuba 1082
Days of rainfall (annual average) L’Avana 91; Santiago de Cuba 86
Politics and current affairs
On 19 April 2018, Miguel Díaz-Canel was elected President of Cuba by the National Assembly, replacing Raúl Castro, who remains at the helm of the Communist Party and, since June 2, the constitutional reform commission.
The archipelago of Cuba is in the Greater Antilles, lying between the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The main island basically consists of a limestone plain fringed with low hills on the side facing the Gulf of Mexico, which spread into the central part of the island (Sierra de Escambray). In the south-east, the plain is dominated by the Sierra Maestra (Pico Turquino, 1972 m). The coast is mainly marshy and the shore is dotted with coral reefs and many small bays. More than 1600 islands lie off the country’s coasts.
The climate is hot and humid with two very distinct seasons. The USA still maintains a naval base at Guantánamo, on the south-east coast of the island, claimed by Cuba.
A Spanish colony from the 16th century, the island came under American control in 1898 after the Spanish-American War and became independent in 1902, although America retained the “right to intervene in domestic affairs” (until 1934). Following the success of the revolution led by Fidel Castro (1 January 1959), the rule of the island gradually adapted to the Soviet political and institutional model, while the United States adopted rigid economic and trade embargos. The country’s leadership passed to Fidel’s brother Raúl Castro in 2008. During the presidency of B. Obama in the United States, there was a gradual reconciliation between the two countries (in 2015, the respective diplomatic headquarters were reopened) and the embargo was decreased, but rapports have weakened since D. Trump took office.
According to the Constitution of 24 February 1976, which was modified in 1992 and 2002, the government of the country is entrusted in institutional terms to the Communist Party (PCC) (in fact no other political parties are permitted). The National Assembly is made up of 605 members elected by the people for five-year terms from lists approved by the PCC (organized into Committees for the Defence of the Revolution) and meets twice a year; this elects the Council of State (31 members), which represents the assembly when it is not in session, and whose chairman is both Head of State and Head of the Government.
There is compulsory conscription for two years. The armed forces also play an important role in the management of the economy.
The legal system is based on Spanish and American law, with a large amount of Soviet input. The Supreme Court is based in Havana; the People’s Supreme Court has extensive powers. Cuba does not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
|Homicides||4.2||per 100 000 pop.||2012|
|Havana=La Habana||2 130 081||inhab.||2016|
|Santiago de Cuba||455 521||inhab.||2016|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2017)|
The regime is trying to reconcile grip over tight political control over the country with updating the economy. Measures have been taken to reduce the number of employees in the inefficient state machine, to encourage the growth of private enterprise and to prompt the flow of foreign capital, previously subject to tight restrictions. The development of local production is linked also to the need to reduce considerable reliance on imports. A double currency system is in force in the country, consisting of the peso (used to pay pensions and salaries) and the convertible (equivalent to the dollar and used in imports and by the tourism market), whose reform has been announced several times. Despite the favourable prospects of extracting hydrocarbons in the near future, the energy sector is dependent on low-cost power imported from Venezuela, whose economic crisis threatens the island’s supplies, and to a lesser extent from Russia. The success of hi-tech research programmes in the field of biotechnology has led to the creation of a joint-venture with European pharmaceutical companies.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||102.58||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-8 300||M US$||2017|
|Active population||5 240 357||units||2017|
|Active population, Females||38.3||%||2017|
|Unemployment rate, Females||44.2||%||2017|
|Expenses||29 322||M LCU||2014|
|Revenues||31 191||M LCU||2014|
The amount of land owned by co-operatives and private individuals has increased. The co-operatives are authorized to sell a small part of their production – over and above the amount which must be handed over to the state – on the open market. The main crops are still tobacco and sugar cane (whose plantations are far fewer than they were in the past). A certain amount of coffee is also grown (in the east of the island, for example), as well as fruit and vegetables. Maize and rice are widely grown, as are potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava for local consumption. Most of the forests lie in the eastern provinces, in Pinar del Río, on the Sierra de Escambray and the Isla de la Juventud.
|cereals, total||930.968||1000 t||2016|
|chillies and peppers||70.956||1000 t||2016|
|beans, dry||136.57||1000 t||2016|
|sugar cane||18 890.972||1000 t||2016|
|fruits, total||1 702.571||1000 t||2014|
|citrus fruits||121.928||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||2.434||1000 t||2016|
|chillies and peppers||6.111||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, dry||122.545||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar cane||442.307||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits||16.553||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||0.448||1000 ha||2016|
|timber||1 702 000||m³||2016|
|cattle||4 013.9||1000 heads||2016|
|cattle and buffaloes||4 013.9||1000 heads||2016|
|pigs||1 929.9||1000 heads||2016|
|sheep||1 652.9||1000 heads||2016|
|goats||1 185.4||1000 heads||2016|
|asses and mules||37.8||1000 heads||2016|
|birds||31 336||1000 heads||2016|
|crustaceans and molluscs||12 847||t||2016|
|freshwater fishes||24 745||t||2016|
The production of hydrocarbons (from the reserves at Motembo, Jarahueca, Cristales, Jatibonico and Santa Cruz del Norte) is still not sufficient to cover domestic requirements, even though Cuban reserves appear to be huge. Nickel (Sierra del Cristal) and cobalt mining (Moa) is important. The metalworking industry consists mainly of two steelworks near Havana and Las Tunas; nickel- and cobalt-refining plants are present in Holguín province. There are oil refineries at Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. There is a well-developed chemical and pharmaceutical industry (Havana) and a cement industry (at Mariel, Artemisa, Nuevitas, Cienfuegos and Siguaney). The textile industry is based at Matanzas, Ariguanabo, Alquízar and Gibara. The sugar-refining industry is being modernized; exports are mostly to Canada, Venezuela and China. Havana and Pinar del Río are important tobacco-processing centres. There is an important research centre for biotechnology near Havana.
|natural gas||1 185||M m³||2017|
|oil, crude||2 493.8||1000 t||2017|
|asphalt, natural||61.3||1000 t||2015|
|limestone||1 900||1000 t||2015|
|- thermal||18 317.78||M kWh||2015|
|- other renew.||753||M kWh||2015|
|- thermal||6 085||1000 kW||2015|
|- other renew.||566||1000 kW||2015|
|total net generation||19 118.78||M kWh||2015|
|total installed capacity||6 711||1000 kW||2015|
|coke, metall.||8||1000 t||2012|
|petrol||1 064.8||1000 t||2014|
|caustic soda||16.1||1000 t||2015|
|cotton fabrics||32.4||M m²||2015|
|cotton yarn||1.1||1000 t||2015|
|footwear||5 484 900||pairs||2015|
|beer of barley||257.1||1000 t||2014|
|fish, frozen||13.5||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||15 309.6||M units||2015|
|other paper||29||1000 t||2016|
|cement||1 517.8||1000 t||2015|
|manufacturing production||12 369.3||M US$||2015|
The main financial institution is the Banco Central de Cuba; new banks have been created, but foreign banks are banned. Cuba exports sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish and citrus fruits and pharmaceuticals; it imports oil, foodstuffs, machinery and chemical products. The port of Mariel is undergoing development thanks to Brazilian funding.
|China||1 353||M US$||2008|
Tourism. Tourism provides employment for 200 000 people and accounts for 40% of the country’s revenues. Most of the tourists who visit Cuba come from Canada, UK, Spain and Italy. Connections with the US resumed in 2015.
|Number of arrivals||3 968 000||units||2016|
|Receipts||3 069||M US$||2016|
|Civil aviation, km flown||22 200 000||km flown||2006|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||942.8||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||2.920||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||56.2||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education and health.
Education is free. School is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. There are 21 universities or university institutes. The public health system has achieved a great deal, and infant mortality has reached a level on a par with that of developed countries.
|Expected years of schooling||14||years||2015|
|Teachers, primary level||83 798||units||2015|
|Teachers, secondary level||91 289||units||2015|
|Hospital beds||4.1||per 1000 pop.||2015|
|Physicians||7.8||per 1000 pop.||2015|
|HIV||0.4||% of adults||2016|
|Museums, visitors||5 031 900||units||2015|
|Research and development spending||0.34||% of GDP||2016|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||79.44||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2016|