About Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is a tropical Island of about 750 miles located in the north side of the Caribbean where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It also lies close towards the southern region of Florida, US and towards the eastern region of Yucatan Peninsula within Mexico. The Island was first discoverd by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and remained a territory of Spain until the Spanish-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, and installing an alternative dictatorship led by Fidel Castro. It has over 11 million people and is the most populated Island in the Caribbean.
Havana is the capital and the largest city in Cuba and Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city. The economy is based on the socialist principles and most production are owned and run by the government and the labor force is usually employed by the state. It mainly depends on Tourism, Agriculture (sugar & tobacco, well known for its cigar) foreign investment and International Trades. The climate is semitropical with humid weather during the summer and the country is occasionally hit by tropical hurricanes especially in the months of August, September, and October. The e time best time of the year to visit Cuba is between the April to October.
Cuba Map
Location: Caribbean, Island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida
Area: total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 3,735 km
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Natural hazards: the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common
Population: 11,423,952 (July 2008 est.)
Ethnic groups: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1% (2002 census)
Religions: nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented
Languages: Spanish
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Natural Resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2002 census)
Judicial System: based on Spanish civil law and influenced by American legal concepts, with large elements of Communist legal theory; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Government type: Communist state
Capital: name: Havana
geographic coordinates: 23 07 N, 82 21 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Economy - overview: The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. Since late 2000, Venezuela has been providing oil on preferential terms. Cuba has been paying for the oil, in part, with the services of Cuban personnel in Venezuela, including some 20,000 medical professionals. In 2007, high metals prices continued to boost Cuban earnings from nickel and cobalt production. Havana continued to invest in the country's energy sector to mitigate electrical blackouts that had plagued the country since 2004.
GDP by sector: agriculture: 5.2%
industry: 25%
services: 69.8% (2007 est.)
Industries: sugar, petroleum, tobacco, construction, nickel, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals
Electricity: 110 V, 60 Hz, A, Type J may exist in some hotels
Currency (code): Cuban peso (CUP) and Convertible peso (CUC) for foreigners
Credit Cards: Most credit cards are accepted and banks offer ATM's as well as cash advances on credit cards. Tipping is normally paid to waiters, taxi drivers, maids and porters at 15%
Sales Tax: 25% sales tax or VAT.
Telephone system: international: country code - 53; fiber-optic cable laid to but not linked to US network; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)