Country of the World Cuba

About the country Cuba, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Cuba is a long, slender, crescent-shaped island on the north edge of the Caribbean, 90 mi. south of Key West, Fla., and about 100 mi. east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It is the most westerly of the West Indies and by far the largest. In general, the terrain is gently rolling, but there are mountainous areas, notably the Sierra Maestra in what was formerly Oriente Province in the southeast, Castro's base of operations during the revolution. Cuba has over 2,000 mi. of coastline, with many bays, inlets, and good natural harbors. Cuba's climate tends to the tropical, but the fact that it is an island moderates the temperature significantly.

Size: 44,217 sq. mi. (114,524 sq. km.).

Population: 9.5 million.

Who Rules: The head of state is the president, who conducts general policy and commands the Revolutionary Armed Forces. A Council of Ministers, headed by a prime minister appointed by the president, is empowered to establish foreign and domestic policies, implement laws, and issue decrees. However, ultimate constitutional authority now rests with the National Assembly of People's Power, composed of deputies elected to five-year terms. The Council of Ministers is directly accountable to the National Assembly, which meets twice yearly to pass laws, supervise all branches of the government, and, if necessary, revise the constitution.

Who REALLY Rules: Despite the introduction of "free" elections in 1974 and the adoption of a new constitution, Cuba is still controlled by a leadership elite consisting of Prime Minister Fidel Castro Ruz, First Deputy Raul Castro Ruz. and other top functionaries of the Communist party. After the revolution, the U.S.S.R. replaced the U.S. as Cuba's principal trade partner and source of military aid. As a result, Cuba's domestic and foreign policies are largely dependent on the Soviet Union, and Cuban-U.S. relations closely reflect U.S.S.R.-U.S. relations. On an international level, Cuba has supplied troops for Soviet ventures in Ethiopia, Angola, Uganda, and Mozambique. There are approximately 4,000 people serving time in Cuban jails for political crimes.

Cuban law requires men to share the housework and the responsibility for tending children.

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