Cuba Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Cuba > Map Economy History

Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
Desembarco del Granma National Park

Facts About Cuba

Background: Fidel CASTRO led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule has held the country together since. Cuba's communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The country is now slowly recovering from a severe economic recession in 1990, following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies, worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Havana portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US - using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, or falsified visas - is a continuing problem. Some 3,000 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2000; the US Coast Guard interdicted only about 35% of these.
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Havana
Currency: 1 Cuban peso (Cu$) = 100 centavos

Geography of Cuba

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Florida
Geographic coordinates: 21 30 N, 80 00 W
total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries:

total: 29 km
border countries: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba
Coastline: 3,735 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Turquino 2,005 m
Natural resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 7%
permanent pastures: 27%
forests and woodland: 24%
other: 18% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 9,100 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to October (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common
Environment - current issues:pollution of Havana Bay; overhunting threatens wildlife populations; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: largest country in Caribbean

People of Cuba

Cuba is a multiracial society with a population of mainly Spanish and African origins. The largest organized religion is the Roman Catholic Church. Afro-Cuban religions, a blend of native African religions and Roman Catholicism, are widely practiced in Cuba. Officially, Cuba has been an atheist state for most of the Castro era. In 1962, the government of Fidel Castro seized and shut down more than 400 Catholic schools, claiming that they spread dangerous beliefs among the people. However, in 1991 the Communist Party lifted its prohibition against religious believers seeking membership and a year later the constitution was amended to characterize the state as secular instead of atheist.

Illicit migration is a continuing problem. Cubans attempt to depart the island and enter the US using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, direct flights, or falsified visas. Some 3,000 Cubans took to the Straits of Florida in 2000 and the US Coast Guard interdicted about 35% of these migrants. Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US; some 2,400 Cubans arrived overland via the southwest border and direct flights to Miami.

Population: 11,346,670 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  20.99% 
15-64 years:  69.14% 
65 years and over:  9.87%
Population growth rate: 0.37% 
Birth rate: 12.36 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.33 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -1.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 7.39 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  76.41 years
male:  74.02 years
female:  78.94 years 
Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman 
noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban
Ethnic groups: mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%
Religions: nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
Languages: Spanish
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.7%
male: 96.2%
female: 95.3% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Cuba > Map Economy History