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Geography - note: largest country in Caribbean

total: 110,860 sq km
land: 110,860 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

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

Natural resources: cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, silica, petroleum

Environment - current issues: pollution of Havana Bay; overhunting threatens wildlife populations; deforestation


Population: 10,999,041 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (male 1,255,844; female 1,190,860)
15-64 years: 69% (male 3,770,154; female 3,753,094)
65 years and over: 9% (male 483,858; female 545,231) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.42% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 13.21 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.42 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.2 years
male: 72.83 years
female: 77.71 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.54 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Ethnic groups: mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 85% 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.)

National Capital:  Havana

Independence: 20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902)

Constitution: 24 February 1976

Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal

Political parties and leaders: only party - Cuban Communist Party or PCC [Fidel CASTRO Ruz, first secretary]


Economy - overview: The state plays the primary role in the economy and controls practically all foreign trade. The government has undertaken several reforms in recent years to stem excess liquidity, increase labor incentives, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The liberalized agricultural markets introduced in October 1994, at which state and private farmers sell above-quota production at unrestricted prices, have broadened legal consumption alternatives and reduced black market prices. Government efforts to lower subsidies to unprofitable enterprises and to shrink the money supply caused the peso's black market value to move from a peak of 120 to the dollar in the summer of 1994 to a low of 18-20 to the dollar in late September before climbing to 20-21 at the end of 1996. New taxes helped drive down the number of legally registered self-employed workers from 208,000 in January 1996 to 180,000 by December. Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-1993, the result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The drop in GDP apparently halted in 1994, when Cuba reported a 0.7% growth. Government officials claimed that GDP increased by 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996. Export earnings rose an estimated 40% in 1996 to $2.1 billion, largely on the strength of increased sugar shipments to Russia and higher nickel production through a joint venture with a Canadian firm. With the economic recovery, imports rose for the second
straight year, growing by an estimated 26% to $3.5 billion. Living standards for the average Cuban, however, have not improved significantly.

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 7%
industry: 31%
services: 62% (1996 est.)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes and other tubers, beans; livestock

total value: $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: sugar, nickel, tobacco, shellfish, medical products, citrus, coffee
partners : Canada 23%, Russia 21% China 7% (1996 est.)

total value: $3.5 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities : petroleum, food, machinery, chemicals
partners: Russia 14%, Spain 13%, Mexico 11% (1996 est.)

Debt - external: $10.5 billion (convertible currency, 1996); another $20 billion owed to Russia (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA


Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,053,716
females age 15-49: 3,007,277 (1997 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 1,896,023 (1997 est.)
females: 1,861,886 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: roughly 4% (1995 est.)

Military - note: Moscow, for decades the key military supporter and supplier of Cuba, cut off almost all military aid by 1993

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