macrohistory & world report


Cuba placed in the Carribean Sea

Cuba (capital Havana) and neighboring states

Click for a larger Cuba

World Fact Book as of November 2014: "The government continues to balance the need for loosening its socialist economic system against a desire for firm political control. The government in April 2011 held the first Cuban Communist Party Congress in almost 13 years, during which leaders approved a plan for wide-ranging economic changes. Since then, the Cuban government has slowly and incrementally implemented limited economic reforms, including allowing Cubans to buy electronic appliances and cell phones, stay in hotels, and buy and sell used cars. The Cuban government also opened up some retail services to "self-employment," leading to the rise of so-called "cuentapropistas" or entrepreneurs. Recent moves include permitting the private ownership and sale of real estate and new vehicles, allowing private farmers to sell agricultural goods directly to hotels, and expanding categories of self-employment. Despite these reforms, the average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting downturn of the 1990s. Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms, and it currently supplies over 100,000 barrels per day of petroleum products. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 30,000 medical professionals."

Economic growth rate
2013: 3.1%
2012: 2.8%
2010: 2.4%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 19.7%
2005: 20%

Unemployment rate
2013: 4.3%
2012: 3.8%
2011: 3.8%
2010: 1.6%

Export commodities
Sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee

Export partners
2012: Canada 17.7%, China 10.8%, Venezuela 12.5%, Netherlands 9%. Spain 5.9%

Import partners
Venezuela 38.3%, China 11.7%, Spain 8.9%, Brazil 5.2%, US 4.3%

Cuba's exceptional health figures, 2011:
With Fidel Castro turning socialist there was, claims a Wikipedia article, "an exodus of almost half of Cuba's physicians to the United States, leaving the country with only 3,000 doctors and 16 professors in the University of Havana's medical college... In 1976, Cuba's healthcare program was enshrined in Article 50 of the revised Cuban constitution which states "Everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers; by providing free dental care; by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.


Living in an urban area
2010: 75%

Population density, calculated in 2004, is 102 persons per square kilometer, compared to 165 for the Cayman Islands and 239 persons per square kilometer for Haiti.

Ethnic groups
2001 census: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1%

Net migration rate
2012: Net loss of 3.59 persons per 1,000 population


Island in the Caribbean, 90 miles south of Florida.


Cuba has one political party, the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Fidel Castro is its First Secretary. 

The legislative branch of government is a unicameral body called the National Assembly of People's Power (Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular). It has 609 seats, occupied by persons elected to five-year terms, their candidacy approved by a special commission. 

The judiciary is headed by the People's Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo Popular). Its judges are elected by the National Assembly. 

Flag Desecration
Cuba is one of three countries with a law against flag desecration.

Recent History

From 1959 to 1976, Fidel Castro was Prime Minister – an office thatwas then abolished. In December 1976, Fidel Castro became President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, making him both the head of state and the head of government. His brother, General Raul Castro, was vice president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers.

Cuba suffered economically from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of Soviet aid. Wikipedia: "The loss of Soviet subsidies brought famine to Cuba in the early 1990s."

2003: The Castro regime imprisons 75 dissidents, including 29 journalists, librarians, human rights activists, and democracy activists, claiming that they were acting as agents of the United States by accepting aid from the US government. Amnesty International adopted 75 Cubans as prisoners of conscience. The European Union responded by imposing sanctions.

February 24, 2008: Fidel Castro steps down as president. The National Assembly has elected his brother Raul as his successor. Fidel remains First Secretary of Cuba's Communist Party, a position he has held since October 3, 1965.

June 2008: The EU lifts its sanctions against Cuba. The sanctions were suspended in 2005. The 2008 move is a formality described as an attempt to encourage Raúl Castro to make progress on civil rights.

2010: Cuba releases most of the 75 dissidents imprisoned in 2003 and exiles them to Spain.

April 2011: The government holds the first Cuban Communist Party Congress in almost 13 years, during which leaders approve a plan for wide-ranging economic changes. President Raul Castro says such changes are needed to update the economic model to ensure the survival of socialism.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.