Cuba

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Republic of Cuba
República de Cuba (Spanish)
Five horizontal stripes: three blue and two white. A red equilateral triangle at the left of the flag, partly covering the stripes, with a white five pointed star in the centre of the triangle. A shield in front of a fasces crowned by the Phrygian Cap, all supported by an oak branch and a laurel wreath
Motto: Patria o Muerte Spanish
"Homeland or Death"
[1]
Anthem: La Bayamesa  ("The Bayamo Song")[2] File:United States Navy Band - La Bayamesa.ogg
Political map of the Caribbean region with Cuba in red. An inset shows a world map with the main map's edges outlined.
Capital
(and largest city)
Havana
23°8′N 82°23′W / 23.133°N 82.383°W / 23.133; -82.383
Official language(s) Spanish
Ethnic groups  65.1% White, 10.1% African, 24.8% Mulatto and Mestizo[3]
Demonym Cuban
Government Parlamentary socialist state
 -  President & Premier Raúl Castro
 -  First Vice President J. R. M. Ventura
 -  First Secretary of Communist Party Raúl Castro
 -  President of the National Assembly Ricardo Alarcón
Independence from Spain/U.S. 
 -  Declared October 10, 1868
from Spain 
 -  Republic declared May 20, 1902
from the United States 
 -  Cuban Revolution January 1, 1959 
Area
 -  Total 109,884 km2 (105th)
42,426 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible[4]
Population
 -  2010 estimate 11,241,894[4] (73rd)
 -  2002 census 11,177,743[4] 
 -  Density 102.3/km2 (106th)
265.0/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $114.1 billion[5] (63rd)
 -  Per capita $9,900 (86th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $57.49 billion[3] (68th)
 -  Per capita $5,100[3][4][6] (90th)
HDI (2011) increase 0.776[7] (high) (51st)
Currency Cuban peso(CUP)
Cuban convertible peso[8] (CUC)
Time zone CST (UTC−5)
 -  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−4)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .cu
Calling code +53

The Republic of Cuba (República de Cuba), is an island country in the Caribbean. It consists of the 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. Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous insular nation in the Caribbean. Its people, culture, and customs draw from diverse sources, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples; the period of Spanish colonialism; the introduction of African slaves; and its proximity to the United States.

The national liberation movement in Cuba succeeded with an assault on Fort Moncada on 26 July 1953 and ended with the seizure of power by Fidel Castro and his July 26 Movement on 2 January 1959. This overthrew the corrupt and brutal regime of Fulgencio Batista.

After the revolution, in February 1960, a trade and credit agreement with the Soviet Union was signed. In April, Soviet oil began to arrive in Cuba and, when the American-owned oil companies refused to refine it, Castro confiscated the Texaco, Shell and Standard Oil refineries. Between August and October 1960 Castro nationalised virtually all American-owned properties and most large Cuban-owned businesses. In October the United States announced a total trade embargo with Cuba. So, to survive the economic isolation, Castro looked towards the ‘Communist bloc’.

In April 1961, the day before the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro officially declared that Cuba’s revolution was socialist. By a convenient coincidence, and with no previous interest in left-wing ideology, in December 1961 Castro announced that he was now a Marxist-Leninist. In October 1965 the Communist Party of Cuba was formed. However, for several years it had no programme or statutes (its first Congress was held ten years later, in December 1975). Brought to power by mass support for national liberation, Castro and his ruling party, and since 2008 his brother Raul as leader, continue the development of socialism.

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate,[3][9] an infant death rate lower than some developed countries,[10] and an average life expectancy of 77.64.[3] 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.[11]

Military

As of 2014 the Cuban army of about 50,000, having played a vital role in the past, continues to provide the backbone of support to the ruling party.[12]

Health care

Cuba has developed a good health care system and a good system for training of health care workers. Providing health care workers to other countries is both a cornerstone of Cuban foreign policy but also a substantial source of export earnings. Particularly profitable, both diplomatically and financially, was the agreement with Hugo Chávez to provide medical care and training for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).[13]

Doctors receive free education in Cuba, but a monthly salary, in Cuba, of the equivalent of only $30 U.S. Cuba contracts with its doctors to go to other countries such as Brazil for a monthly salary of about $1,000 U.S, but charges about $4,000 U.S. a month to the country where the services are provided. Doctors are required to leave their children in Cuba. Doctors sent to other countries may become informed regarding the pay scales and conditions enjoyed by doctors in other countries and attempt to either defect, or break their contracts with the Cuban government.[14]

Freemasonry

Due to historical reasons freemasonry operates freely in Cuba.[15]

References

  1. Cuban Peso Bills. Central Bank of Cuba. URL accessed on 2009-09-07.
  2. National symbols. Government of Cuba. URL accessed on 2009-09-07.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 CIA – The World Factbook. Cia.gov. URL accessed on 2011-09-30.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Anuario Estadístico de Cuba 2010, Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas, República de Cuba. Accessed on September 30, 2011.
  5. Cuba. The World Factbook. CIA. URL accessed on 2009-04-06.
  6. Value was rounded down to the nearest hundred.
  7. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Tables.pdf
  8. From 1993 to 2004 the United States dollar was used alongside the peso until the dollar was replaced by the convertible peso
  9. unstats | Millennium Indicators. Mdgs.un.org. URL accessed on 2010-11-07.
  10. CIA World Factbook. Cia.gov. URL accessed on 2011-09-30.
  11. untitled
  12. "Cuba’s Reward for the Dutiful: Gated Housing" article by Damien Cave in The New York Times February 11, 2014
  13. "Cuba’s Health-Care Diplomacy: The Business of Humanitarianism" article by Maria C. Werlau World Affairs Journal March/April 2013
  14. "Cuban Doctors Revolt: ‘You Get Tired of Being a Slave’" article by Ernesto Londoño in The New York Times September 29, 2017
  15. "Another look at Freemasonry in Cuba" E C Ballard March 31, 2013

External links and further reading



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