+53 is the dialing code for Cuba.
Cuba in the Caribbean is one of the last communist countries in the world. Over the past ten years, some market economy reforms have been implemented, but the Communist Party has maintained a firm grip on power. The hopes of a change were high when the Cubans got a new younger leader in April 2018 after being ruled by brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro for nearly 60 years.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Cuba, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
The Republic of Cuba is located in the Caribbean island group of the Greater Antilles. The distance to the US state of Florida is 14.5 miles and to Haiti in the southeast it is closer to 8 miles. The country consists of the main island of Cuba, the smaller island of Isla de la Juventud (Youth Island) and 1 600 small islands. In total, the islands’ area corresponds to just under a quarter of Sweden’s.
The main island’s coast consists of bays, sandy beaches, cliffs and coral reefs. Two-thirds of the area is plains and low hills, such as the areas around the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo in the southeast. Mountains occupy a quarter of Cuba. At the far west is the karst mountains Guniguanico, in the middle of the island rises the Sierra de Trinidad and in the south-east is the Sierra Maestra mountain range with the country’s highest peak, Pico Real del Turquino.
The climate is tropical with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. The annual rainfall amounts to an average of 1,400 mm and falls mainly during the rainy season lasting May – October. Between July and October, the country is often hit by tropical hurricanes.
When it comes to climate change, the UN Climate Panel expects the sea level around the Cuban Islands to rise by 1.5 meters by the year 2100. If the predictions strike, large areas will be submerged along the coasts where a quarter of all Cubans reside. With climate change are also coming more and more violent storms that can push water far ashore and destroy fresh water reservoirs and crops.
|Cultivated land||60.3 %|
|Land area||110860 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||-0.15 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||77.1 %|
|Death rate||7.72 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||80.84 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||76,085 years|
|Birth rate||9.9 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||4.63 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||19140 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||1003.4 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||1034 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||27.5 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||23 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||38 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||3% of the workforce|
|GDP||10200 per resident|
|Primary occupations||19.7 %|
|Secondary profession||17.1 %|
|Tertiary professions||62.2 %|
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
110 860 km2 (2018)
Swedish – 6 hours
Adjacent country (s)
United States (Naval Base Guantánamo)
Capital with number of residents
Havana 2 130 000
Other major cities
Santiago de Cuba (510 100 inv), Holguín (354 300 inv), Camagüey (329 200 inv), Santa Clara (254 500) Bayamo (238 200 inv) (2017)
Pico Real del Turquino (1974 m)
Average Precipitation / year
Average / day
22 °C (Jan), 28 °C (July)
New constitution approved in referendum
The Cuban electorate approves with a clear majority, almost 87 percent, a new constitution after an intensive campaign for the Yes side. It states that the socialist system is “irrevocable” and that in the future the Communist Party is the only allowed party. According to the new constitution, the president can only be re-elected once and must not have reached the age of 60 when he takes office. As before, the term of office of the President is five years. The Cabinet meetings will continue to be chaired by the President of the National Assembly and not by the President. A prime minister is to be appointed by the president to lead the government’s daily work. Private companies are mentioned for the first time as legitimate economic operators. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is prohibited. For the first time, the no-votes, 9 percent, are also registered and just over 4 percent of voters have submitted blank ballots. The turnout is just over 84 percent. The referendum has been preceded by a process in which citizens discussed a draft new constitution for three months in the autumn of 2018. It included some more radical changes that are not included in the proposal that voters may decide on, including that same-sex marriage should be allowed. Citizens’ proposals to introduce direct elections to the presidential post have also not been included. inter alia that same-sex marriage would be allowed. Citizens’ proposals to introduce direct elections to the presidential post have also not been included. inter alia that same-sex marriage would be allowed. Citizens’ proposals to introduce direct elections to the presidential post have also not been included.
Direct mail to USA resumed
Letters and parcels can now be sent directly by flight between Cuba and the United States and do not need to make the detour over third countries as before. Direct mail between the countries was established in 2016 on a trial basis. Now the business becomes permanent.
The President shows support for Venezuela
President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s first trip abroad goes to the country’s closest ally, Venezuela, where he is received by his Venezuelan colleague Nicolás Maduro. Díaz-Canel assures Maduro that Venezuela will always and unconditionally enjoy support from Cuba. He says one purpose of the trip is to show solidarity with Maduro after his re-election to the presidential post on May 20. The election has been condemned by the United States, Canada, many other Western countries as well as most countries in Latin America.
The EU contributes to environmentally friendly energy
15th of May
The EU and Cuba sign an agreement giving Cuba € 18 million in support to increase its use of renewable energy. Cuba’s goal is that a quarter of the energy will come from renewable sources by 2030. The EU also plans to fund a program that will improve access to food in the country. 80 percent of all food consumed by Cubans is purchased from abroad.
Historical shift on the presidential post
The National Assembly appoints Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel to succeed R aúl Castro as president. With the shift in the presidential post, the Castros brothers almost formally rule for 60 years, but Raúl Castro remains as leader of the Communist Party and is thus expected to continue to have decisive influence over politics. Miguel Díaz-Canel is congratulated for his new office by China, Russia, the UK and Spain and by leaders across Latin America. From the United States there will be no congratulations, just a call on the new president to increase the political and economic freedom of the Cubans. In his first speech after the election, Díaz-Canel promised to pursue the “revolution” and nurture the legacy of Fidel Castro but also implement the economic reform policy initiated by Raúl Castro.
Canada sends diplomats’ relatives home
The families of Canadian diplomats in Cuba receive orders to go home. The reason is that some of them suffer from similar health problems as employees we reported to the US Embassy in Havana (see October 2017).
New parliament appointed
11th of March
Cubans nominate delegates to the country’s parliament, the National Assembly. There is no real choice as there is only one candidate for each post. More than half of the candidates, 322, are women. The Natonal Assembly in turn appoints the members of the powerful government whose chairman is the country’s president. The election to the Cabinet takes place in April and incumbent President Raúl Castro, 86, has made it clear that he does not want to be re-elected as chairman. His favorite to succeed him is one of the younger veterans of the Communist Party, 57-year-old Miguel Diáz-Canel.