Photoatlas Free interactive atlas with photos, facts, links and maps from around the world

  Flag of Cuba  Information on Cuba
Country Listing
Submit your own photo
Chat around the globe
Country Facts
Map 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

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

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

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

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

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, Marine Life Conservation

Geography—note: largest country in Caribbean


[Top of Page]

Population: 11,050,729 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (male 1,247,339; female 1,182,612)
15-64 years: 69% (male 3,795,310; female 3,777,454)
65 years and over: 9% (male 490,883; female 557,131) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.42% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 13.13 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.35 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.89 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.64 years
male: 73.29 years
female: 78.13 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.57 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Cuban(s)
adjective: Cuban

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.)


[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cuba
conventional short form: Cuba
local long form: Republica de Cuba
local short form: Cuba

Data code: CU

Government type: Communist state

National capital: Havana

Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (provincias, singular—provincia) and 1 special municipality* (municipio especial); Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Cienfuegos, Ciudad de La Habana, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Isla de la Juventud*, La Habana, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, Sancti Spiritus, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara

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

National holiday: Rebellion Day, 26 July (1953); Liberation Day, 1 January (1959)

Constitution: 24 February 1976

Legal system: based on Spanish and American law, with large elements of Communist legal theory; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers Fidel CASTRO Ruz (prime minister from February 1959 until 24 February 1976 when office was abolished; president since 2 December 1976); First Vice President of the Council of State and First Vice President of the Council of Ministers Gen. Raul CASTRO Ruz (since 2 December 1976); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the president of the Council of State, appointed by the National Assembly
note: there is also a Council of State whose members are elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly; election last held 24 February 1998 (next to be held NA)
election results: Fidel CASTRO Ruz elected president; percent of legislative vote—NA; Raul CASTRO Ruz elected vice president; percent of legislative vote—NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly of People's Power or Asemblea Nacional del Poder Popular (601 seats, elected directly from slates approved by special candidacy commissions; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 11 January 1998 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote—NA; seats—PCC 601

Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo Popular), president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly

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

International organization participation: CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS (excluded from formal participation since 1962), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note—Cuba has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Fernando REMIREZ DE ESTENOZ; address: Cuban Interests Section, Swiss Embassy, 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone: [1] (202) 797-8518

Diplomatic representation from the US: none; note—the US has an Interests Section in the Swiss Embassy, headed by Principal Officer Michael G. KOZAK; address: USINT, Swiss Embassy, Calzada between L and M Streets, Vedado Seccion, Havana; telephone: 33-3551 through 3559 and 33-3543 through 3547 (operator assistance required); FAX: 33-3700; protecting power in Cuba is Switzerland

Flag description: five equal horizontal bands of blue (top and bottom) alternating with white; a red equilateral triangle based on the hoist side bears a white five-pointed star in the center


[Top of Page]

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 semi-official exchange rate for the Cuban peso to move from a peak of 120 to the dollar in the summer of 1994 to 23 to the dollar by yearend 1997. New taxes introduced in 1996 helped drive down the number of self-employed workers from 208,000 in January 1996 to 176,000 by September 1997. Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-93, the result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The drop in GDP apparently halted in 1994, when Cuba reported 0.7% growth, followed by increases of 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996. Growth slowed again in 1997, to 2.5%, in part due to a poor sugar harvest. Export earnings declined 3% in 1997, to $1.9 billion, the result of lower sugar export volume and lower world prices for nickel and sugar. Imports remained unchanged in 1997 at $3.2 billion. Tourism plays a key role in foreign currency earnings. The disparity between those at the top of the ladder and those at the bottom has increased markedly in the past 10 years. Living standards for the average Cuban remain at a depressed level compared with 1990.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$16.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 2.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,540 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 7.6%
industry: 34.8%
services: 57.6% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 4.5 million economically active population (1996 est.)
by occupation: services and government 30%, industry 22%, agriculture 20%, commerce 11%, construction 10%, transportation and communications 7% (June 1990)
note: state sector 76%, non-state sector 24% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8% (1996 est.)

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: sugar, petroleum, food, tobacco, textiles, chemicals, paper and wood products, metals (particularly nickel), cement, fertilizers, consumer goods, agricultural machinery

Industrial production growth rate: 6% (1995 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 3.988 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 10.105 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 924 kWh (1995)

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

total value: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: sugar, nickel, tobacco, shellfish, medical products, citrus, coffee
partners: Russia 18%, Netherlands 14% Canada 13% (1997 est.)

total value: $3.2 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: petroleum, food, machinery, chemicals
partners: Spain 14%, Russia 12%, Mexico 9% (1997 est.)

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

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $46 million (1997 est.)

Currency: 1 Cuban peso (Cu$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Cuban pesos (Cu$) per US$1—1.0000 (non-convertible, official rate, linked to the US dollar)

Fiscal year: calendar year


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 229,000

Telephone system: among the world's least developed telephone systems
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station—1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 150, FM 5, shortwave 1

Radios: 2.14 million (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 58

Televisions: 2.5 million (1993 est.)


[Top of Page]

total: 4,677 km
standard gauge: 4,677 km 1.435-m gauge (132 km electrified)
note: a large amount of track is in private use by sugar plantations

total: 27,700 km
paved: 15,484 km
unpaved: 12,216 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 240 km

Ports and harbors: Cienfuegos, Havana, Manzanillo, Mariel, Matanzas, Nuevitas, Santiago de Cuba

Merchant marine:
total: 17 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 91,981 GRT/126,416 DWT
ships by type: cargo 9, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 6
note: Cuba owns an additional 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 463,155 DWT operating under the registries of Panama, Cyprus, Malta, and Belize (1997 est.)

Airports: 171 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 77
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 36 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 94
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 61 (1997 est.)




Click Here To Order National Geographic: The Photographs